This July, in the pages of CrossGen's "Crux" #28, a whole new adventure begins. Series writer Chuck Dixon has big plans for this arc, in which we find Atlantis under attack by a very large Negation force and the city is forced to act in a way that will change their world forever. But the changes don't stop there. Beginning with this issue the series also debuts new series penciler Sergio Cariello, who recently left gigs with DC Comics to work exclusively with CrossGen. For the Brazillian born artist the decision to make the move from freelancer to CrossGen exclusive didn't come easy.
"After a lot of praying I found peace at making such a drastic move for the following reasons," Cariello told CBR News.
"I really like Mark Alessi's philosophy and vision for this business.
"I heard good reports from the people who work here.
"I liked the idea of the change of pace, with a steady schedule, as opposed to the crazy schedule I was in before. (Which allows me to spend more time with my wife and enjoy some paid vacation for a change!)
"CrossGen made me feel important, valuable and wanted! They really made me feel 'at home.' There is such a great, friendly atmosphere here, with lots of talented people and great art displayed throughout the facility, emanating a major boost of creativity and inspiration!
"The chance to work on such a fun book written by a friend and prolific writer such as Chuck Dixon.
"Sunny Florida (It's like returning to Brazil)!"
Cariello has spent the last couple of years work with DC on "Azrael: Agent of the Bat." Since he's just starting out at CrossGen he can't really comment on the many operational differences between DC and Crossgen, but he does very much enjoy the Bullpen set-up at CrossGen, where artists, writers, colorists and letters all work together in the same building.
"I really enjoyed my years at DC," Cariello told CBR News. "It is too soon to have a marked creativedifference to point out, other than the fact …of creative input -- even in the writing -- and the enthusiasm of the whole team, allowed by the 'Bullpen' set up. If I'm not happy with something I can just walk up to the member of the team and vice-versa. This way, the book will only go to the printers after everyone has made an attempt to do their best work and we're all happy with the end result. That is made possible by the 'one page a day' set up."
Cariello works closely with writer Chuck Dixon. In fact, Dixon's desk is only a few steps away from Cariello's drawing board. They also have some history, having worked together back at DC, and this familiarity allows Cariello creative input when it comes to telling the story through his art.
"Chuck and I have worked together in the past, and although he gives me a full script to work from, he's flexible and trusts my judgment, as far as storytelling and preferences in what to include in a page."
Providing the art for "Crux" is markedly different than his previous assignments, especially when compared to the work he did on "Azrael." While he may be used to drawing the towering spires that made up the high-rises of Gotham City, in "Crux" he'll be working with an entirely different sort of landscape.
"I've drawn so many different stories in the last 12 years in this business," said Cariello. "Every new project brings me new challenges, and I enjoy that struggle of getting myself acquainted with the characters and gathering all the references necessary for the job at hand. Although 'Crux' does not require much existing, realistic references, much has been established and as I read the script, some images pop in my head that maybe I've seen before in another fantasy book, which won't hurt to get a hold of and help me in the creative process."
Some artists rely heavily on the colorists attached to a book to handle some of the less "fun" aspects of the art chores, for example the backgrounds and similar pieces of the panel. This doesn't work for Cariello. The artist isn't comfortable leaning on the colorists too much, preferring to finish the entire page himself.
"I believe that a page should not depend on color to be clear. I like my pages to be able to stand on their own, before any ink of color is added to them. The colors should enhance what's already indicated there. If, for some reason, I decide that a special effect, which won't have any holding lines, should better serve the story, I'd suggest that to the colorist, but that should be planned first, in the pencils stage anyway."
For regular readers of "Crux," Cariello tells CBR News that those who became accustomed to the work of Steve Epting should be pleased with what he brings to the series. Cariello points out that he and Epting share a lot of the same artistic influences, which will make the transition from one artist to another less drastic. Joining Cariello on the art chores will be Roland Paris on inks, ("…who has done a great job so far," said Cariello) and Laura Villari on colors ("[who] is doing a terrific job…").
And what should new and old readers to "Crux" expect from the series now that he's jumped on board the creative team?
"They should look forward to a great reading, fun, entertaining, well-produced comic book, that continues the quality that the previous team started."
"Crux" #28 hits stands July 23rd.