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NOCC: Spotlight on Jesus Saiz

Company: Wizard World
Product: New Orleans Comic Con 2013 Coverage

This is my third time at Wizard World Comic Con, and every time I manage to find a new artist to follow and a new book to add to my pull list. Last year, it was Rob Guillory and Chew; this year it is Jesus Saiz and "Beowulf," a back-up story in Sword of Sorcery at DC.

Saiz’s career began in Spain. He trained as an oil painter at an art academy, and had planned on following that career path. As a kid, he’d always enjoyed comic books and liked drawing, though it wasn’t until he met his friend David Macho that he realized that he could actually have a career as a comic book artist. With Macho’s help, he worked on small collaborative projects at smaller publishers until coming the US, where he began working on the Dark Horse titles Iron Reich 3000 and Star Wars Tales.

Although he has done work on several superhero titles for DC, including Birds of Prey in the New-52 and Resurrection Man, Saiz’s primary influences are older Conan titles, which have had a major influence on his "Beowulf" story.

Saiz was quick to point out that he’d never read the actual epic of "Beowulf;" he’d only seen translations in other media, such as comics and movies. However, his version still hits all of the original’s plot points and characters, but within the current DC continuity. The story takes place after a cataclysmic event wipes out nearly everyone on Earth, including its heroes. The aftermath sets mankind back into a "modern medieval" period. Influences are clearly inspired by fantasy – particularly the Viking culture – but with a few "modern" twists, like football helmets for headgear. Eagle-eyed readers will even spot a few relics of the past, including Blackhawks symbols, or perhaps the mark of a certain Caped Crusader dotted in the background.

Although the story is set within DC continuity, he is given freedom to choose how things should look and play out. According to Saiz, this amount of control is common when an artist is asked to create a world. However, this usually isn’t the case. While working on Birds of Prey, he had to keep in-check with continuity. He’ll even be able to show the event that led to the end of the world.

Although the New-52 re-launch has sent a few fans into a tizzy, Saiz said he likes the changes, especially since it shakes up continuity – something he isn’t a massive fan of anyway. From Saiz’s viewpoint, the market needed a shock to the system, and the re-launch was an interesting thing to do.

"Beowulf" is currently on its second issue, though Saiz plans to carry the story as long as he can, especially since it is the closest he’ll ever get to drawing Conan -- at least as long as he’s at DC.

-Starscream, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ricky Tucker

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