Talking with 'MEK' artist Eric Canete

Mon, March 18th, 2002 at 12:00am PST

Comic Books
Keith Giles, Staff Writer

[MEK]Eric Canete has built a steady following with his angular anime art style on projects like "Mr. Majestic" and the recent "Cybernary 2.0," but soon he'll be working alongside one of the most celebrated comics writers in the business. Later this year Warren Ellis and Canete will collaborate on "MEK," a three-issue mini-series coming from Wildstorm.

"I have been a fan of Warren's work for a while," Canete told CBR News. "I had started a rapport with Warren through my editor, John Layman. John forwarded some of my work to Warren and the seed was planted from there. I was working on 'Cybernary' at the time when Warren e-mailed me with the idea. I was excited and I said, 'YES!' and now, here I am."

Details regarding the plot of the book have been sketchy. Assumptions based on the first few images released by Ellis led some to speculate that the book would deal with androids. Canete shed a bit more light on the subject. "I think the main reason that Warren released that first image is because it's a bit misleading as to what the real story is all about. A 'red herring' of sorts. As far as the real story, It's about a young woman named Sarissa Leon. She's come back to her hometown to find an old flame murdered and now she's making it her personal business to find out the 'how's' and 'why's.' The technology, or 'MEK' as it's more commonly called in this world, is as mainstream as today's tattoos. But there are seedier aspects of the technology."

For Canete, working on this projects was appealing for one simple reason. "Well, Warren Ellis is the main motivation for working on the project. I've wanted to do something with him for a while now and the opportunity finally came up. How can I pass that up? Also, Wildstorm was so open to any and all of my ideas for the book, being that it is a creator owned project. I get to ink this book myself which will allow me to experiment with things on that level that I couldn't do in 'Cybernary.' All around, it's a very 'creative forward' project. That's exactly the thing I needed to recharge after such an involved book like 'Cybernary.'"

[MEK]Canete just completed his work on Wildstorm's six issue mini-series, "Cybernary 2.0" "It was so much fun. It was a great way for me to really follow up my lackluster performance on that 'Wildcats: Ladytron' book. I wanted to show people that I had more to offer than the overly simplistic drawings I had in that book. 'Cybernary' offered me that opportunity. Working with Joe Harris was a real compliment to my work habits. Joe had 4 out of the 6 scripts already written out when I came onboard. I would get to a section of the script and would think up a better scenario of how to make it more cohesive to the over all visuals. Joe was so open to all of that and very accommodating to all of my ideas. My editor, Aaron Watanabe, allowed me to explore and experiment with the characters visually outside of the parameters of the people who had worked on her previously. This was such a relief because how was I supposed to leave my mark on her when she was originated by the late, great Nick Manabat? I had to have some room to operate and Wildstorm gave me a very wide berth. Then when I found out that Carrie [Strachan] was going to be onboard - it was just that much easier to ensure my vision would be executed at a very high level. I was very lucky to be involved with something like that."

While "Cybernary 2.0" allowed Canete to further refine his art, many fans have been hoping that the mini-series would be collected in trade paperback format soon. Canete shares those expectations. "I hope so too. But I can't tell you whether or not there will be one. I think it would be such a great validation of the work done by all parties involved if they did produce one. It would be a nice thing to have under my belt as well. They didn't include my 'Mr. Majestic' work in the TPB that came out a few months back, so I still have to hit that particular milestone. Let's wait and see. I'll cross my fingers too."

Would Canete be interested in returning to the Cybernary character in the future? "Yeah! That would be an awesome thing! But I've got to be honest with you, I don't have the endurance to do an ongoing book. At one point when my work was catering to a simpler rendering style, I think it would have been possible. But these days I just don't think I have it in me. But nothing dictates that I have to be involved in an ongoing series. I'm sure there are illustrators out there who would love to take a crack at the character who have exciting styles and can produce work at a faster rate than what I'm capable of. I'd love to see that."

Currently Canete is focused on completing the three issues of "MEK." "I'm trying to get things lined up now to make sure everything is ready to go by the time I turn in my last page of MEK, but for the most part, my concentration is primed for this project. I trust the guys at Wildstorm to take care of me as far as what's on deck after MEK wraps up."

Canete has some ideas about what he'd like to tackle when "MEK" is finished. "I'd like to take a shot at doing a Batman book. It's just wishful thinking, mind you, but if I could convince Grant Morrison to write another monster like he did for 'Arkham Asylum,' that would be so awesome. I also like what Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning are doing with the new 'Legion' book. That's the kind of deep space, action/adventure stuff I'd like to work on someday. It's really exciting to read and Copiel's art adds that much more, very exciting stuff."

Canete also has aspirations to eventually develop a few creator-owned projects down the line. "Well, 'MEK ' is a creator owned project. From my understanding, it belongs to Warren and me in equal parts. I do have ideas of my own, but at this point all my efforts are concentrated on what DC/Wildstorm has planned for me. My working relationship with Wildstorm keeps me as busy as I would want, so a creator-owned bit of my own isn't on any forthcoming 'to-do' list for me."

 
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