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Cellblock 1138 - 1997-1999 - 2000 - 2002 - 2003+

Interview with Carlos Ezquerra

theForce.net's Paul Ens (Ghent) has been looking forward to upcoming Mara Jade comic series for a long time. As such, it was a special treat to have the opportunity to interview the artist for the series, Carlos Ezquerra. Carlos is best known for his work on Judge Dredd, and he has his own web page where you can check out his work.

Paul received and reviewed a preview copy of Mara Jade #1 before the interview. Mr Ezquerra was kind enough to scan in some preliminary sketches he created for the series. Click on the various sketches to see a larger, more detailed version.

Photo TF.N: Thank you very much for taking the time to answer a few questions. How did you come to get the assignment for 'Mara Jade: By the Emperor's Hand'?
Ezquerra: After I finished Boba Fett #1/2, Peet Janes offered me the Thrawn project, but later on he thought my style would be even better on a Mara Jade project. It made me very happy, as she is the kind of strong character I love to draw.

TF.N: Are you a long time Star Wars fan?
Ezquerra: I've been a fan of SW since I saw the first film back in the seventies. It had a great impression on me at the time. It was like seeing a real comic book on the screen!

TF.N: How is working in the Star Wars universe different than in the universe of Judge Dredd or other projects you've done?
Ezquerra: There is not too much difference. Maybe with Judge Dredd I am more free, but this is due to the fact that I created that universe. As long as the writing is good and the characters are well defined and have their own personality the differences are minimal. I have been very lucky up to now as all the writers I have been working with are top class (with John Wagner over twenty five years, Alan Grant, Garth Ennis, and now Michael Stackpole and Timothy Zahn).

TF.N: Mara Jade did not appear in the Star Wars films. Did you model your version of her after a real world person?
Ezquerra: No, as her personality is so well defined, the visualization came instantly. I tried to make her face "the mirror of her soul". After that I had only to give her continuity with the look other artists have given her before me, as I think this is very important from the reader point of view.

TF.N: This series has had a lot of fan input. Did you see any of the fan feedback on Jade's appearance? If so, how did it affect your drawing?
Ezquerra: I had several conversations with Peet about how the fans saw Mara, and after reading the great description of her by Timothy and Mike I coincided with them in everything. She is not a comic book bimbo. She is a realistic character, beautiful, with a very strong personality, powerful, loyal and if necessary ruthless, yet at the same time quite complex on the inside. Like a very real person she can have doubts and regrets. All that is what I want to show in my drawings.

TF.N: Will the animation in MJ #0 follow the same lines as 'Crimson Empire #0' with "moving cutouts" and the camera sweeping over still pictures, or can we expect something else?
Ezquerra: My part in the Mara Jade #0 preview was like any standard comic story to be printed on paper. I think the animation is been done by the same creative team and very similar to Crimson Empire, with only some things will be changed to better suit my style of artwork.

TF.N: I love the detailed crowd scenes in MJ #1. How do you decide when to make any given member of the crowd from an established Star Wars species and when to use your own creation? Do your own creations have to pass Lucasfilm approval before they can be included?
Ezquerra: I don't have any rule, I tried to portrait the types better suited for whatever is happening in the script. If I found one from the established SW species fine, if not I made one up. Once my mind is "inside" the SW universe they came quite naturally. If it is a new alien type and the character serves a degree of importance in the story, LFL may choose to review and approve/disapprove the design. As I understand it, established species are always preferred, but new creators are encouraged to make things up as well.

TF.N: You did both penciling and inking duty for Mara Jade. Do you prefer inking your own work? What materials do you use?
Ezquerra: I always ink my own work, as I am very sketchy in penciling. It is very difficult for anyone to ink my work. The reason for this is that when I am penciling I am telling the story and I am not interested in details, I leave it for the inking.
When I receive the script I read it with the pencil in my hand, and it is like seeing a film in my mind, so I choose the scenes I consider more important and I put it on paper at the same time. Sometimes there are little details in the script that I think can look better in another way, then I pick up the phone and after a few minutes talking with the writer or the editor we reach a compromise.
Once the story is in pencil, I send copies to the editor for the lettering and getting the approval from Lucasfilm, and start inking, normally with technical drawing pens number 0.2, 0.3 and 0.5 for lines and a couple of brushes for the black surfaces.

TF.N: Thank you for your time, Mr Ezquerra. I look forward to the series!

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