Interview with Providence Colorist Juan Manuel Rodríguez

Providence colorist Juan Rodríguez – photo courtesy of Rodríguez

Juan Manuel Rodríguez is the colorist for Providence. Rodriguez lives in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He lives with his wife Maria and their two daughters Sofia and Camila, and a brand new baby boy who just arrived this week.

Rodríguez studied Graphic Design at Interamerican Open University (UAI). Earlier he studied Cartoon and Illustration with Marvel and DC illustrators Juan Bobillo and Marcelo Sosa and studied Multimedia Design and Web and Digital Art at the Argentine Institute of Computation (IAC).

Juan Rodríguez illustration for Bastion

All of Rodríguez’ professional career is related to design and comics. He taught Graphic Design, Multimedia, and Digital Art classes for eight years and also worked for advertising agencies for several years. His art was frequently published in the science fiction magazine Bastion.

Bloodrayne comic cover by Juan Rodríguez

He started coloring comics professionally in 2005 for Image’s Noble Causes, then for the IDW series Zombies!: Feast. He colored Digital Webbing’s BloodRayne, Boom Studios’ Hunter’s Moon, and Devils Due Publishing’s Jericho comics continuation of the television series. He also did some covers and projects for Marvel and Image Comics with Rob Liefeld.

Rodríguez began coloring for Avatar Press in 2008, where he colored Gravel: Combat Magician, Chronicles Of Wormwood, Wolfskin, Crossed (including Badlands and Wish You Were Here), Neonomicon, Night of the Living Dead, Lady Death, God is Dead and now Providence.

The interview took place over email in early 2017. Rodríguez’ original Spanish language text appears below the English translation.

Facts Providence: Do you read a lot of comics? What were your favorite comics growing up?

Rodríguez: When I was a kid I read a lot of comics, I read everything. Thanks to my Uncle Carlos, who was a comic book fan, I started reading old comic strips from DC and Marvel, then many European comics (especially Metal Hurlant [Heavy Metal] magazine), and national magazines like Fierro, Scorpio, Paturuzú. My favorites include Batman and Justice League by Keith Giffen, The Killing Joke by Alan Moore and Brian Bolland, [Moore’s] Swamp Thing, V for Vendetta, Watchmen, Miracleman, and Arkham Asylum by Grant Morrison and Dave Mckean.

Did you read a lot of H.P. Lovecraft before you started doing the colors for Moore and Burrows’ Lovecraft comics? What are some of your favorite Lovecraft stories?

I have read some Lovecraft books. The stories I remember most are: “The Colour out of Space,” “The Call of Cthulhu,” “The Whisperer in Darkness,” and “Dagon.”  Continue reading

SWIM Podcast: Moore on Lovecraft and a Hint About Providence 11

Alan Moore by Daniel P. Carter - via Instagram
Alan Moore by Daniel P. Carter – via Instagram

There is an excellent two-part interview with Alan Moore up at the Someone Who Isn’t Me podcast hosted by Daniel P. Carter. Alan Moore completists will be interested in listening to the entire interview: part 1 and part 2. Moore discusses consciousness, Jerusalem, magic, the Northhampton Arts Lab and much more. It includes quite a bit on H.P. Lovecraft, and even a reveal of some of what is in Providence #11.

In part 1 (minute 34:15) Moore describes the leap from pre-linguistic awareness into modern human consciousness, which he calls “the entire haunted palace” echoing the Edgar Allen Poe story The Haunted Palace which lends its title to Providence #10.

In part 2 (starting at minute 43:35) Moore speaks at length about Lovecraft, and offhandedly reveals something about Providence #11. Below is a partial transcript:

Carter: I’m going through Providence at the moment. It’s made me go back and read Lovecraft again, which I hadn’t done. I got into his work when I was really young – just in really silly ways as well. I’d found out about him through liking Metallica. They have a couple of songs: The Call of Cthulhu and The Thing That Should Not Be. Also through the role-playing game. Then started reading his work. I only read The Courtyard and Neonomicon fairly recently, after getting into Providence. It started making me look into other things like Kenneth Grant saying the idea that there was some kind of link between Lovecraft –

Moore: That Lovecraft is intuiting something –

Yeah. Which is essentially going back to something we said initially about how art is created. Where does art come from? Where does writing come from.

It’s a valid idea, I guess. It’s just that Lovecraft was such a fierce rationalist. Now I know Kenneth Grant gets around that by saying “ah – he didn’t know that he was channeling these things that are real.”

I think it’s more complex than that. The thing is Lovecraft came up with all these things purely out of his own imagination. They had enormous resonance because Lovecraft was almost an unbearably sensitive barometer of, what I suppose you might call American dread.

He was frightened about everything. He was awkward with women. He was frightened of immigrants – or despised them – if there’s any difference; but also, other than these average middle class fears of his time, Lovecraft was reading science magazines, and he understood the revolution that was going on in science: how Einstein had practically undone the whole of humanity’s conception of where it stood in the universe. And had re-written a lot of the basic rules of the universe.

I think Lovecraft was initially horrified by Einstein, but then came to absorb his theories and probably to understand them. It seems that he has understood and he’s taken them on board. So what Lovecraft’s fiction was reflecting was that we existed in a hostile random universe – well, not so much hostile but completely oblivious. A universe so vast that we were reduced to the tiniest, most insignificant speck – in a remote corner of this infinite blackness.  Continue reading

Submit “Ask the Artist” Questions Now For Providence’s Jacen Burrows

Jacen Burrows Cthulhu (detail) - drawing for Providence #1 Pantheon variant cover
Jacen Burrows Cthulhu (detail) – drawing for Providence #1 Pantheon variant cover

Providence artist Jacen Burrows has generously agreed to do an “Ask the Artist” session for readers of Facts in the Case of Alan Moore’s Providence. Submit your questions now; use the comments section below. Starting this Friday July 15, 2016, Burrows will be responding to questions.

The Facts Providence team will be collating questions, in some cases combining similar questions and passing them along to the artist. Burrows says it’s fine to ask about earlier works, but that he won’t answer questions about page rates nor will he show scripts because they are not his property.

If you’re interested in asking a question, go for it. For background, you might want to check our Jacen Burrows appreciation essay or these earlier interviews where he has spoken about Providence:

Questions are in the comments below. On or around July 15, we’ll create a new page with Burrows’ answers, and we will update this post to include a link to that new answers page. Update: the new page – with your questions and Burrows’ answers is here.


Alan Moore Interviewed on the 20th Century

As we all wait with bated breath for Providence No.6 (no release date other than a cover date of December 2015, which basically means it could come out a month earlier or up to a couple months after December) we’ve been enjoying some interviews Alan Moore has been giving that have included hints about Providence. There was a recent interview online at Goodreads, and this interview video with John Higgs where the two talk about the 20th Century. Moore touches on From Hell, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, science fiction, and more. Below is a transcript of the portions concerning Providence and H.P. Lovecraft (which starts about Minute 2:30):

Higgs: What struck me about reading Providence – even though it’s not so overtly about the 20th Century – is the Lovecraftian world view probably sums up that time better even than my book or anything deliberately about the 20th Century. Do you see it as a —

Moore: Well, yeah. I see… Researching Providence was quite an eye opener. And it changed my opinion of Lovecraft. Not of his stature as a writer. In fact that only continues to increase the more I think about it. But more of an understanding of him in relation to his times. The thing is Lovecraft is generally positioned as an outsider, probably because that was the name of one of his most famous stories, so it’s not much of a reach.

But you actually look at Lovecraft and he was homophobic – this at a time when gay men – principally gay men, some gay women as well, but that was different – were starting to emerge quite vocally and very visibly onto the streets of New York. There was a huge gay subculture in the early 20th Century New York. It wasn’t just something that started after the second World War. And these were becoming more visible.  Continue reading

Alan Moore On Providence, Rhode Island, and More

For the full article, go to Goodreads!
For the full article, go to Goodreads!

There’s an excellent Q&A with Alan Moore posted over at Goodreads today, mostly focused on horror. Below are four brief excerpts from Moore regarding Providence:

Q: How extensive was your research on Providence, Rhode Island? Did you find anything in its history of particular interest? Have you ever visited?

Alan Moore: Actually, with Providence I found that given the considerable amount of Providence history contained both in Lovecraft’s work and letters, along with the fairly exhaustive studies of Providence in some of the Lovecraft scholarship and biography that I’ve been immersed in, it was the less-immediately-connected places like Athol and Manchester, New Hampshire that demanded the most research. Interestingly, 2015 being the 125th anniversary of Lovecraft’s birth, I was contacted by the Providence town authorities with an incredibly generous offer to sail me into Providence on a tramp steamer and let me look around the place without obligation of public appearances. Not having a passport and thus being relatively geostationary, I had to decline…although in some ways I think that, as with a lot of places, I prefer to keep my own private imaginary Providence intact. For me – and this is no doubt a purely personal quirk of no especial meaning – I’ve found that with historically based projects such as Providence or, for that matter, From Hell, the very best and most satisfying reference tool, after you’ve read all the necessary history and absorbed it, is a simple period map. Continue reading

Jacen Burrows Providence Interview at Bleeding Cool

Jacen Burrows' Providence artwork preview via Bleeding Cool
Jacen Burrows’ Providence #1 artwork, preview via Bleeding Cool

We fans tend to focus on Alan Moore, who gives lots of interviews and deserves plenty of attention, but there are also Moore’s collaborators, who toil to bring Moore’s scripts to the page.

The artist who brings Moore’s Lovecraftian vision to life is Jacen Burrows. Burrows did Neonomicon, The Courtyard, Recognition, and is now visualizing Providence.

One early 20th Century visual reference Burrows mentions is J.C. Leyendecker. Image via Tumblr
One early 20th Century visual reference Burrows mentions is J.C. Leyendecker. Image via Tumblr

There’s a short March 2015 Bleeding Cool interview with Burrows where he discusses Providence, from research, to visual influences, to working with Alan Moore. The article also includes six pages of color preview pages of Burrows’s Providence artwork, sans word balloons.

Here are a couple of excerpts from the interview:

You could take a real classic gothic horror approach like an old Universal or Hammer Film and go absolutely crazy with otherworldly stuff and atmosphere, but for this book, we wanted to focus on a tangible historical realism throughout. The hope being that when the horrific things happen or when our lead character stumbles into the darker corners of the Lovecraftian world that they will be all the more horrific in contrast. Robert Black doesn’t live in a shady nightmare world; he lives in our world, which sometimes intersects with things that will horrify him down to his bones. There are definitely some opportunities to design and show some really scary stuff, but I think it is the contrast with the recognizable but still somewhat alien 1919 setting that amplifies the creepiness.

Continue reading

Moore Providence Interview in Bleeding Cool 16

New Providence page revealed in Bleeding Cool Magazine #16. Art by Jacen Burrows
New Providence page revealed in Bleeding Cool Magazine #16. Art by Jacen Burrows

There is a new Alan Moore Providence interview out this week in Bleeding Cool #16. The interview is only available in the print edition, though a few follow-on questions and responses, that apparently didn’t fit, were posted online here.

Though the first three Providence #1 pages were previewed here, and lots of covers have been publicized, one of the fun things in this issue of Bleeding Cool is a reveal of yet another a page (right), which includes mention of Joris-Karl Huysmans, a famous French Decadent writer.

The interview is short. It’s six printed pages, including over a page for introduction, and about half the space is dedicated to images.

Moore mentions some problems in Neonomicon:

[W]hen I got the opportunity to do Neonomicon, I probably wasn’t taking it as seriously as it needed to be taken. I was relying on my own imperfect memory of Lovecraft’s work and trusting that it would be adequate. Though I’ve very proud of the work we did on Neonomicon, it did present a couple of problems. The first was that I had carelessly identified Lovecraft’s Innsmouth with Salem, whereas Lovecraft himself says that Arkham is Salem.

The interview outlines extensive year 1919 period research undertaken by Alan Moore, Jacen Burrows, Steve Moore, Joe Brown, and Ariana Osborne, as well as Moore’s introduction to Leslie Klinger’s New Annotated Lovecraft.

Moore discusses Lovecraftian research he has been reading. What many readers of these interviews may miss are references to specific works of Lovecraftian scholarship that Moore peppers his response with, which give some insight into his process. Continue reading