Thor: Marko Djurdjevic interview

Marko Djurdjevic is best known for his Marvel cover work - it's his job to induce you to buy comics - but as David discovers, he's also a thoroughly nice bloke. Yay!

As the launch of his highly anticipated work on Thor #7 rapidly approaches, Marko Djurdjevic breaks free of his chains and takes some (much needed) time out to talk to us about character ideation, working at Marvel and much more importantly, the best kinds of vodka…

DoG: Hi Marko! Could you define your style for us, briefly?

MD: (laughs) WowW! That’s a really tough question!! Because I don’t consider myself to have a style or anything, I just do what I like to do and I try to do it best! (laughs) It’s the only approach I have, I don’t think about myself having any form or style. Although it does tend to be rather realistic; not too stylised at all, it’s not as exaggerated as comic art normally is, you know. I try to go for a more realistic looking approach to my art.

This maybe comes from the fact that I have never been a comic geek or anything, I stopped reading comic books when I was like fourteen or something and only recently got back into them when I was hired by Marvel. There’s a big gap in my life where I didn’t have any contact with comics at all so it basically didn’t influence my artwork, and that’s also why I think maybe why I haven’t been that interested in others people work. That’s the thing.

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DoG: So how did your first comic book for Marvel come about?

MD: This is my first full comic book ever! Back when I was sixteen or eighteen I tried doing some comics for myself but they were fucking horrible so I just had to burn them. They were fucking ridiculous; they were botched and horrible to look at! So this is basically my first sequential artwork if you want if like that, my first full comic, but Marvel have been approaching me about doing this since like forever. Since I started out they asked me to do sequential artwork but we simply couldn’t find the right gig for me, for the first year so I kept doing my covers until Thor came up and I was like, you know, I’m gonna do this!

There were couple of good offers but you know, like this offer was especially good because there is just the two issues and it’s a good start out for me because basically I never did sequential artwork before. I didn’t want to jump on to a twelve issue ongoing series or whatever and realise halfway through them that I’m not the guy to do this. It’s better to start slow and find your way through than decide to jump on something different later on, so just two issues was the perfect start for me.

DoG: If other comic books haven’t influenced your style, what does influence your work?

MD: I’m definitely influenced by lots of different things – from music, from reading, from I don’t know… I have a lot of different sources of inspiration that I tap into when I need to get something done. What I do try to do is just stay away from other people’s work, because they might influence you too much in a level that you don’t want to be influenced in. And you don’t want to look somebody else, you want to look like yourself.

DoG: What books would you recommend?

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MD: Ah, it all depends. The only book I can really recommend or the only author I can really recommend that I can read over and over again and it never gets tired, is Charles Bukowski.

DoG: What’s your favourite doodle?

MD: That’s a tough question, because if I have free time I try and stay away from working at all. I work so much that I savour every second that I have free and I try not to draw at all. You’ll never see me draw when I’m having a coffee or something.

DoG: Who in the world of comic books would you be in awe of?

MD: In awe? That’s such a strange question because I don’t tend to be in awe of people.

DoG: Oh. Okay, well, what I meant was, there are a lot of iconic figures working at Marvel, is there anyone you’d be overwhelmed by?

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MD: Well, I’d rather meet Spider-man than some creator, you know, that would put me in real awe! I mean, there’s nothing too interesting about me, I’m just a dude that draws, I know there’s nothing special about me that people would be standing in awe in front of me.

DoG: I’m not convinced. I’m sure the kids at comic conventions and in their bedrooms around the world taking inspiration from your work would beg to differ…

MD: But that’s really what we’re working for, at the end of day what it comes down to you’re basically an entertainer and I’m happy to entertain kids you know. It’s my biggest pleasure to like see a twelve year old picking up a book that I did and dreaming about being a comic book artist. That’s what the magic is, everything else is just production and a job, you know that’s what it boils down to. But if you can inspire a kid that’s maybe the best part of being a comic book artist.

DoG: Is this where the inspiration for your DVD came from?

MD: Well, my DVD wasn’t an educational DVD. The DVD is from my time in San Francisco when I was living in the States. It’s basically, you know, for a lot of young artists it’s hard to understand or even imagine what the job of a concept artist is about (which was my job previously to being a comic book artist) so basically the DVD focuses around all of that – how to approach the industry and how to design characters for video games and whatever. Because for a lot of countries that don’t have art academies or colleges to teach young artists about becoming concept artists, it’s hard for these young artists to understand what the concept art business is all about, so I suppose the DVD does have an educational factor to it, in that it helps people get their ideas down and find a way to break into the industry if they’re interested. So that’s the whole secret about the DVD. It’s not about “how to draw like me,” it’s more like how to find inspiration like me, where to pick ideas from. I also go through the entire process of creating characters out of your imagination on the DVD.

DoG: How do you think I would describe you?

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MD: Wow! (laughs) You’d possibly say the guy is, ah… not taking enough care of himself? (laughs)

DoG: We have to ask, what is the connection with vodka? (Marko’s blog is entitled Six More Vodka.)

MD: What’s the connection with vodka? (laughs) That comes back to the previous question where you would think I don’t care enough for myself because you would see a guy that drinks a lot. That’s the connection with vodka! I have a horrible history of vodka and me.

DoG: Russian or Polish?

MD: Russian, Polish vodka tastes like ass!

DoG: Marko Djurdjevic it’s been a pleasure, thanks for your time.

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Thor #7 is in stores now…

Interviews at Den Of Geek