Comic Book Biography: Pasqual Ferry

by Rik Offenberger

Pasqual Ferry has come a long way from Plasmer to the Ultimate Universe. I contacted Pasqual in Spain and he agreed to chat with Newsarama about his career and what we can expect from him in the next few months.

Newsarama: First off, let's kill some of the minor controversy - your actual name is Pascual Ferrándiz, yet you are credited as Pascual Ferry, Pascal Ferry and even Pasqual Ferry. What is the preferred spelling?

Pasqual Ferry: My preferred spelling is PASQUAL Ferry. My real name is PASQUAL FERRÁNDIZ, so the “Pasqual” stuff is the same. The fact that sometimes the name is written “PASCAL” is because this is how it is pronounced in English. Pascual is how it is prounounced in Spanish. I’m Catalonian, and my name in this idiom is PASQUAL, with a “Q” I hope that it will be the definitive way that everybody knows my name!

NRAMA: You had a successful career in Spanish comics, what brought you to Marvel UK?

PF: Well “successful” is a very generous adjective. I was just a guy that could do the comics that I wanted. But the sales in Spain aren’t enough to be successful… at least in the kind of comics that I did.

Marvel UK was the opportunity of work in the super hero genre, especially with Marvel stuff that I really loved since I was a little boy. Also it was a great challenge, because at that time I was very far away from that style, or better said, of that kind of concept. 

NRAMA: Was working on Plasmer different the working on comics in Spain?

PF: Well first, there were a lot more pages every month, and it was very hard to achieve, In fact it is still hard. I just to try to remember the kind of energetic stuff that I loved when I was young and I was reading comic books all the time. Putting my anatomy lessons in order was another priority. And the most difficult thing of all was to be “different” then all the others artists. It was a really fantastic experience although the final result wasn’t as nice as I would have wanted.

NRAMA: When Marvel UK closed how did you make the transition to Marvel US?

PF: I am the most boring man of the earth. It is thanks at the infinite patience of Mariano Nicienza - every week he would take my phone calls imploring him for work from Marvel. Talking seriously, my entry into American comics was very tough. My style wasn’t the most popular at the time. Adequate projects did not seem to exist, and the transition was very slow in comparison of my - never beloved enough - partners Salvador Larroca and Carlos Pacheco, who gained access to Marvel faster then light, through the big Door. I entered a year after them…form the “normal” door... Mariano, Bobby Chase, James Felder, and Ben Raab saved my life.

NRAMA: You worked on a lot of fill in issues at this point in you career, did you have to look for work, or did editors just use you for fill ins as they had openings in the schedule?

PF: Well, when Marvel did discover that my style “fit” in their books, everything was easier. They told me that I never would be without work again. And they carried out their promise. Before the current project was finished they wuold be calling me for the next one. It has been this way since Heroes for Hire. It was a very wonderful phase of my career.

NRAMA: You just mentioned Heroes for Hire, it was your first regular series was, how did you get this assignment?

PF: In the beginning, my assignment was Defenders. Not H4H. Defenders was a book that I wanted to do frenetically, because I could draw one of my favorite Marvel characters, Doctor Strange. But the series had several changes in the course of its creation. The first one was the change of the name. The new one would be Power Corps and the writer was Roger Stern. The final version of all the changes is well known.

NRAMA: After Heroes for Hire ended you moved to Warlock, it was an X-Men spin off and part of the new Marvel Tech line. Did it feel like you had really made it on American comics?

PF: Well it wasn’t exactly my feeling when I took the job. At this stage of my career I was more interested in doing characters that I would really enjoy drawing. Curiously, I always have loved the Warlock character and the fact that he would be a transformer. The fun part of his power attracted me a lot. When I noticed that Louise Simonson would be the writer and Bobbi Chase was the editor the deal was unbreakable. Unfortunately the book had very poor sales from the beginning, but that didn’t make us enjoy doing the series any less. I didn’t make my mark in American comics then, because my books at Marvel was the worst selling and only a small group of people read them.

NRAMA: Why did you leave Marvel for Superboy?

PF: I wanted a change. I had work on projects at Marvel but not any with high profile characters. DC called me, and the possibility of Superman was in the air. Also the opportunity of work again with my close friend Joe Kelly was a real hook. First we would do a Superboy saga; and after that: Superman!! I wanted a High Profile, and he is one of the best in the superhero market.

NRAMA: You spent three and a half years working on Superman related titles. What attracts you to Superman?

PF: His status of an Icon, also to do books with characters that everybody knows. I really wanted to draw some one that everybody knows. The typical question: What are you drawing? Hey I’m doing Warlock! And the reaction of the people was always the same…What the &%*4?

But if you say: Superman! Well, things change a lot. You know - egocentric sickness. It was very fun…in the beginning.

NRAMA: You were on a rotation on Action Comics, and you would do some issues and Duncan Rouleau would do other issues. How did that arraignment come about?

PF: Well, Duncan came before me. He was to draw the title alone, and he’s one of the most imaginative artists of the industry without doubt. But Eddie Berganza wanted to do a kind of experiment. One story arc wuld have Duncan, and then another me. It didn’t sound too bad, really. The reality is that the “plan” never happened this way. Just a few months. In the end I was the big fill-iner, the man without a book but with all the books at same time. In the end, I had the opportunity to be alone on Action. Unfortunately, it happened when sales were down, and a new team was ready for the changing of the guard.

NRAMA: That said, why did you leave a regular assignment like Action Comics, for a mini-series like Adam Strange?

PF: The changing of the guard in Superman came about; and I had to leave the title with  the rest of teams. Also, when you are on one comic book too long, something happens. Simple, and yet sad. I wanted to draw some character that wouldn’t have connections with other books. Without crossovers. And I wanted to draw sci-fi. Robots, Space Ships, Weird planets… Adam was my most logical, and heart felt, choice.

NRAMA: Adam Strange had never been an extremely popular character; didn’t this seem like a risk?

PF: You never know which will be a real risk when you do a new book. I thought that Superman would be my big step in the industry and was the contrary. So, why not take a risk? The only one, real risk for sure is when you don’t have a good writer and good promotion - especially, if you aren’t working with a “High Profile” character. Poor sales are guaranteed in that case. Of course, they're guaranteed if you do a bad work too. In the case of Adam Strange we had both of the good things going for us. Andy Diggle is one of the most exciting writers in the industry and the book had a reasonable amount of promotion. But the real success of the series was the Internet word of mouth. In fact, the Internet has become  one of the big keys in the success of any comic book.

NRAMA: Had you been a fan of Adam Strange prior to working on the series?

PF: Not a crazy one. But I love his look and his background

NRAMA: The art style you used on Adam Strange was different then your pervious work. Was this colored directly from your penciled work, or was it partially inked?

PF: This was one of the advantages of working with this kind of series. You can experiment with new techniques.  In the beginning, I wanted to ink the pages myself, so I discovered the process of working with computer inks. With this stuff, I found that my drawings were closer to what I wanted to show to the reader. But the most important thing was that I can do all the grey work with Photoshop - illuminating the scenes, and giving the effects that I wanted in every moment. It was like being the director of photography of a film. More work for me, but on the other hand the final effect was more like I always was imagined my comics. Besides, I had the enormous luck of have at Dave McCaig doing the colors. He understood very well what I wanted to do with this “new style” and also add his own touch.

NRAMA: There were a lot of positive reviews and praise for this series. Is it more rewarding to get this type of reaction when you are working on a minor character?

PF: As an artist, you always want good reviews. Unfortunately it does not usually happen with some logic. At least, not with the logic in the artist mind. My first Superman book was one of the comics I worked the hardest on, and nobody liked the effort.  Warlock was a very poor selling book… so when you are doing a new thing and people like it, it is a real pleasure. Frankly, one that I didn’t have in the past. I never will forget Adam Strange, believe me.

NRAMA: Your next assignment was a very high profile project, Grant Morrison’s Seven Soldiers: Mister Miracle. How did you end up with this assignment?

PF: I was talking with Dan DiDio in Barcelona. We talked about several projects after Adam Strange, and then after some glasses of campaign he offered me the project with Grant. A great moment, really big for me.

NRAMA: What was working with Grant Morrison like?

PF: A very special moment for me, I wanted to work with him for a long time. It was a short and unfortunate moment, but wonderful. He is a genius, and a very kind person.

NRAMA: You redesigned Mister Miracle costume for this series, what type of guidelines were you given?

PF: Respect the old one. But I was more interested in the global look of the book. I wanted to do some psychedelic, crazy style that had different effects than I did in Adam Strange.

NRAMA: Though Mr. Miracle was lined up, you're no longer on the title. Were you removed?

PF: Not at all. Let’s say that in the end, the schedules have to take the blame for my departure from the book. I had a much tighter adjusted plan to do the whole series, but the plans always change. Things never happen like one thinks in the beginning. Sometimes, the most unexpected factor of the deal can fail. At least in my case it always does happen this way.

NRAMA: Since leaving Mr. Mircale, you've signed a three year exclusive contract with Marvel. What brought you back to Marvel?

PF: They offered me a very nice deal. And I really wanted to return to draw all the fantastic characters with all these incredible writers that are working there right now. It’s like an old debt with this universe. My departure from DC was a little sad, but it’s a new beginning for me. Like we said before, it’s a very big risk again. I’ll be working with high profile characters or maybe not…

NRAMA: Marvel announced that you would be working on Ultimate Iron Man II and Ultimate X-Men/Fantastic Four. What’s next after those mini-series?

PF: That will maintain me for at least 7 months of work. So it’s premature to talk about what will be the next after these nice projects. But I have all confidence in Joe Quesada. Also I have been talking with some writers about some things… And the prospects are very cool.

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