Marvel Double-Shot #2— Poser

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Marvel Double-Shot #2: Masks, Page 4. 2002.
Oil on canvas, 20 x 30".

Just in case you didn't hear, yesterday's post was a flaming hoax in honor of April Fool's Day. I invented the entire story and doctored existing photos of British stunt man, Steve Truglia. It was all in good fun and, judging by the number of hits I got, many of you enjoyed it. Now on to a true story:

Early in my career, I was very dependent on reference for just about everything, but especially for figures and faces. In other words, if I had to paint a character, I had to find a model. For my first sequential Marvel work, I collaborated with Christopher Priest, whose script called for a (surprise, surprise) beautiful woman. That being the case, I was compelled to find one (more so than usual).

Marvel Double-Shot #2: Masks, Page 3. 2002.
Oil on canvas, 20 x 30".

I found such a muse at my gym and, after a couple workouts, built up the courage to ask her if she would be willing to pose. This was actually made easier by the fact that she worked out with her boyfriend, so it didn't appear to be just a lame pass. My dad was with me at the time, so he had my back, perhaps lending a certain credibility to my case. Furthermore, since I was working out, I had every excuse to be sweaty.

Progress photo by my mom. Yes, I am wearing pants;
it was hot in my 'rents garage.

Her name was Priscilla and, after my initial pitch, the first words out of her mouth were, "Is it a porn comic?" It was not; and so I had my model. I invited her (and her boyfriend and, ultimately, another friend) to my house for the photo shoot (I was still living with my parents at the time—classy). She did a fabulous job, taking direction very well, and giving me the inspiration I needed to finish the comic. My girlfriend at the time, who was home in Cleveland for the summer, took the whole thing in stride (and ultimately shared a scene with her as another character in the story).

My dad, posing—apparently Dr. Doom did undergrad
in Providence. I constructed the mask out of aluminum
flashing with craft paint for the rivets.

Thank you so much for helping me celebrate Wacky Reference Week! I may have some announcements next week, but we shall have to wait and see. In the meantime, have a great weekend!


  1. I have this comic! I loved the opening splash page too. This was a very original look at the Lord of Latveria, both by you and Priest.

    Your "Valeria" is certainly a memorable. It's too bad Mark Waid killed her off in the Fantastic Four!

  2. Hello Paolo!
    I've been away for some time!
    Glad to see your art and your blog still getting better and better (and better and better and...)
    Cheers from Sicily and, of course, Happy Easter!

  3. More amazing stuff! I think we all really wanted to Pyrotechnic Paolo to be real, ( I still think that picture, doctored or not, would be awesome for a bio page on your website )

  4. I got a copy of this comic as soon as I heard it was out, and it's sitting on my bookshelf as we speak. Pretty cool to read the story behind it. Perhaps one day, if we ever run into each other again, you can autograph it for me :) I really enjoy following your career on your blog. Great April Fools prank, too!


  5. your drawings are really fantastic, with a reference to draw people or other things to help Also The Same Thing As You When I draw something on my comics or when a position is hard to the.
    These Days I started to make paintings, Already Have two on my blog.
    go to my blog:

  6. Debosika: Thanks! Since this was to be a painted comics, Priest wanted a more "realistic" take on Doom... something like a military dictator, which ended up looking pretty cool.

    Salvo: Thanks so much. Happy Easter to you as well.

    Evan: Thanks! Maybe if I ever do that in reality, I'll use that as my official avatar.

    Vini: Thanks! Keep using the reference for things that are challenging, and someday you may find that you don't need it anymore.

    Jill: My "old flame," it's great to hear from you! This may be old news, but I heard you are now in possession of miniature human. Congrats!

  7. I would awesome if I could get the comic autographed by both you and Priest. Did you keep all the paintings or sell them to collectors?

  8. Doh! Should have read "It would be awesome"

    Happy Easter too!

  9. Debosika, the easiest way for me to sign something is at a convention. I don't know if you plan on going to any this year, but I'll be at San Diego and New York (and France if you can make it).

    As for the originals, I still have almost all of them. I don't have them posted at because they're at my parents' home in FL. If you're interested, feel free to e-mail me (address is under my profile) and we can discuss.

  10. Just caught this post - very cool peek at your early work and seeing that it was a family affair!

    That pic of Daddy Doom was a great way to start the day.

    I'm working on my first comic now and pretty beholden to photo ref. I'm working it out and feeling more confident with my rendering and looking forward moving on to more freehand cartooning.

  11. Thanks, Michael. Mom helped too. This cloak wasn't mine, but she eventually made a green one for me that I use to this day for all kinds of reference... and the occasional Halloween costume.

    As for cartooning, it's just a matter of time. By going through the process of gathering reference and gleaning what you like from it, you'll eventually internalize the human body so that you can "call it out" on command. At least that's what I keep telling myself.

  12. Thanks for the insight Paolo!

    And, yay mom!


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