Leading up to her signings at our Chicago locations the week, Mirka was kind enough to sit down for a few questions about her background and creative process. For more from Mirka, check out her Twitter (@mirkand) and Instagram (@mirkand89).
GRAHAM CRACKERS COMICS: I understand you are from Italy, can you tell us from what part, and how was it like growing up there?
MIRKA ANDOLFO: I was born in Naples, in Southern Italy. My city is well known for many important things, especially pizza! I grew up studying art and enjoying comics (both American and Japanese manga), and when I was 19 I moved to Turin, in Northern Italy, where I actually live and work with my fiancé.
Did you have a comic shop near you as a child? If so can you tell us about it? If not what was your introduction comics?
When I was in high school, I used to spend most part of my free time in a very nice comic shop, called Starshop, pretty close to my school. Thanks to that, I discovered little by little many more comics, also thanks to the owner of the shop, who always had a piece of good advice for me.
What was the first comic book you ever read (And can you tell us what you liked or didn’t like about it and if it made you want to read more comic books.)?
Like almost every child in Italy, I grew up with “Topolino”, that’s the magazine starring Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and other Disney characters. That is when I was very young. Then, if I have to say, the first comic I read after this was “W.I.T.C.H.”, always by Disney, and that’s thanks to this comic that I decided to become a comic artist. In the last few years, I was lucky, and I was asked to draw the covers for a new edition of this book!
Are there any influences in your art or storytelling from growing up in Italy? If not what are your biggest influences for your work?
To be honest, I never thought about that… Of course, my work is influenced by my life and my experience, but I don’t know if growing up in Italy was something that influenced me. I always put on my job all my experiences, so, I suppose, yes…
For anyone who’s never followed your work, why should they read Mercy?
Because it is a project I worked on very hard, and it already had a very good reaction from people in Italy. Then, as usual for my comics, it is a book with a very strong female character: that’s what I enjoy working on. What readers I meet at convention usually says to me, it seems that my storytelling is a mix between European comics and American comics, so I think that could be a point.
Having worked for a few companies like DC, Image, and BOOM, what is the project you’re most proud of, and the one that you would recommend to something who’s never read any of your work and why?
First of all, I think we should split my work between my books as a creator (Unnatural, Un/Sacred, Mercy) and my books as an artist (at DC, Marvel, etc.). As an artist, the book I’m probably most proud of is Teen Titans #12, the Metal tie-in. It is a book I’m very happy about, it had a very good reaction, and I was honored because I was the comic artists drawing the first appearance in a comic page of the Batman Who Laughs. As a creator, it’s difficult to say, but I think Unnatural, because it’s my first book published in the U.S., and it has opened up many possibilities for me.
I understand that you are writing and doing the art for Mercy, which part of creating a comic series is your favorite and can you tell us why?
For sure, when I create the main character. I never plan that before, I start drawing, and If a character starts telling me something, then I go building a world for her. Then, it’s hard work to continue (and I enjoy a lot), but this first spark is the one I prefer. So, if you wish to know who could be the main character of my next book, you could take a look at my social media.
After being able to work for DC and getting to draw quite a few characters throughout different series and variant covers, is there a character that you haven’t gotten to do anything with in the DC universe that you hope to someday work on and why?
Well, my dream was to draw Harley Quinn, and I was so lucky to do that many times, both in Bombshells and in the regular series. Then, one of my favorite I didn’t have the chance to draw so far is Poison Ivy…
With your series Unnatural ending with 12 issues and 3 graphic novels, can we expect Mercy to be about the same length of storytelling, or do you have more planned for this series?
Nope, Mercy is shorter. When I started working on that, I decided to do a limited series of 6-issues. But consider that every issue has 28 pages of comics (instead of the 20 of Unnatural)… I decided to do that because it seemed to me that it was the best for the kind of storytelling I had in my mind for this book.
Are there any Comic Creators out there that you would like to work with in the future?
First of all, let me say that I feel SO lucky for the amazing creators I had the chance to work with: they helped me a lot growing up as a professional. Then, I was just proposed to draw a short story written by one of my favorite writers (I never worked with before), and I’m so thrilled about that. There are for sure a lot of Comic Creators I love and I would like to work with in the future. If I have to say just one name, I’d say Stjepan Sejic.
What are some current series that are you enjoying at the moment old or new?
Even if I don’t have enough time to read, the series I’m enjoying more right now are Death or Glory, [Batman] The White Knight, and Saga.
Thanks again for your time, Mirka, we’ll see you at the signings!