Ascendant: Star-Spangled artist Jinky Coronado, who did a variant cover for the upcoming crowdfunded graphic novel as well as ashcan focused on the character Stiletto, recently explained how she would respond to critics of her art who say “real women don’t look like that.”
If you are unfamiliar with Ascendant: Star-Spangled Squadron it is a 96-page graphic novel that is currently crowdfunding on IndieGoGo. According to a press release the campaign was 265% funded with over $26,000 USD raised in the first 24 hours it launched on IndieGoGo.
The book’s creator Alexander Macris revealed what the book is about, “In Star-Spangled Squadron, we are telling not just the origin story of two iconic characters, not just the origin story of the Squadron, but the origin of the setting itself. ”
“It’s Day Zero for the Ascendant universe and readers will witness the first ascension of the modern era, the first battle between superhero and supervillain, and the first conflict between rival teams,” he added.
On top of Coronado addressing her critics, she also provided details on what the comic book scene looks like in the Philippines, how she got involved with Ascendant: Star-Spangled Squadron, and if she happened to ascend what her superpower would be.
The interview was conducted by Ascendant: Star-Spangled Squadron creator Alexander Macris and provided to Bounding Into Comics as an exclusive. Along with the interview, Macris provided an exclusive first look at a number of pages from an ashcan focused on the superhero Stiletto, which is available to purchase as an add-on via the IndieGoGo campaign for the graphic novel.
Alexander Macris (AM): Tell us about your background in comics. How did you get started? What are some of the books you’ve worked on?
Jinky Coronado (JC): I’m from Iloilo, Philippines, where I read all the local comics published there, anthology stories. I even bought comics and made a little business of renting them out to people! I loved comics! Twenty-two years ago, I attended a free Creating Comics Seminar in Manila. David Campiti of Glass House Graphics was the teacher! I attended up learning a lot, went to every Seminar he taught, and even married the guy!
After I moved to the USA, I focused on creating a comic book sort of based on my life — BANZAI GIRL, that is having another collection of my work released this year.
Besides two decades of BANZAI GIRL on and off, I’ve drawn covers for ARCHIE and for Zenescope, several volumes of AVALON HIGH with bestselling author Meg Cabot, some DARK HUNTERS stuff for Sherrilyn Kenyon, a bunch of EXPOSURE stories in the vein of The X-Files, some MARKIPLIER stories for the YouTube star, a supernatural romance series called PANDORA’S BLOGS, and now some work on ASCENDANT! There’s more, but that’s a good start.
AM: What is your drawing process? Do you prefer to work with traditional media or do you work digitally?
JC: Although I have a Wacom Cintiq at my desk, I don’t use it for comics artwork. I have a big, heavy light table I bought in Brazil many years ago. Really sturdy. I still draw on paper. My method is to do a bunch of pencils on tracing paper, trying different things, taping it all together. Then I take a fresh sheet of bristol board and lightbox it. I’m still using pencils, but I draw with a finesse to make it look inked. When I’m done, I scan it and send it to my brother Pejee, who cleans and finesses it in Photoshop so it all looks like inks.
AM: You have a reputation for drawing very sexy characters. Pin-up style comic art has become controversial in recent years. Have you had to “tame it down” lately? Which publishers still embrace your style?
JC: If someone has a problem with a pretty girl drawing pretty girls, it is indeed THEIR problem, not mine. If they don’t like it they’re not my audience, so they can move on to something more suiting their likes. I don’t like sandwiches much but I don’t stop other people from eating sandwiches.
I won a bunch of beauty pageants before getting married and was a calendar model and FHM lingerie model after getting married, so I obviously have no problem with sexy stuff.
Understand, too, that I can work in several styles. I can draw a cartoon style; I can do a sexy style that looks sort of like Dean Yeagle mixed with J. Scott Campbell; I have a clean, pretty, real style without such exaggeration. So it’s never a matter of taming anything down, it’s delivering a style the editors hire me to draw. AVALON HIGH looked nothing like EXPOSURE. ARCHIE stuff doesn’t look like PANDORA’S BLOGS.
AM: How do people react to your art when you share it online?
JC: My fans love it! I even launched a Kickstarter for BANZAI GIRL last month that reached its funding goal in 17 minutes, so I must be doing something right.
AM: How would you reply to someone who criticizes your illustrations by saying “real women don’t look like that?”
JC: It’s a two-level answer: First, have they ever watched a beauty pageant? Checked out the women on Instagram? Real women DO look like that. Second, we’re not drawing average women, we’re drawing make-believe. Characters who fly, people with powers, or from other dimensions and other worlds. They can accept people shooting power beams out of their fingers, but if those people have long fingernails or can run in high heels, that’s crossed the line! I have long fingernails and can run in high heels, by the way.
AM: You and several other artists on the project are Filipino. What is the comic book scene like there? Is there a distinct Filipino comic book style? Is it more like western or manga style?
JC: When I started, and for decades leading up to that, there was the “classic Filipino style” that was best shown in the USA by Nestor Redondo, Alfredo Alcala, Tony DeZuniga, and Rudy Nebres. Over these past couple of decades, the Filipinos — many of them trained by Glass House — developed their own versions of more Americanized styles. Some incorporate manga or anime elements, others European influences…it’s become much more global.
AM: What would you say to aspiring artists who want to break into comics?
JC: Learn from what’s come before you. Don’t re-invent the wheel. You can get so much out of studying the best who came before you — and that means go back 50 years, not just 5. There’s a whole history of comics that should be a part of your learning.
AM: How did you get involved in the Ascendant: Star-Spangled Squadron project?
JC: Author Alexander Macris approached Glass House Graphics about artists who could do sexy styles but could also do action, and I was on that list! I read Alex’s concept and wanted to draw for it! I wish I’d had time to draw his entire graphic novel — it’s great.
AM: Who are your favorite characters from among the Star-Spangled Squadron?
JC: Stiletto — the bad guy being a good guy despite herself. And Aurora — I really want to know her story! I wish she had her story in that first graphic novel! I think I was the first artist to draw them both, and I love their outfits.
AM: If you ascended, who would you become and what superpowers would you have?
JC: Wow. I’m already Banzai Girl, so wouldn’t I be cheating on myself? (Laughs) In any case, I wouldn’t mind the power to remove selfishness from people’s hearts. That, all by itself, would change the world.
Ascendant: Star-Spangled Squadron has currently raised $32,627 USD from 249 backers. There are 24 days left in the campaign.
What do you make of Jinky Coronado’s response to critics regarding her art style? Do you plan on backing Ascendant: Star-Spangled Squadron and grabbing the ashcan featuring Coronado’s artwork?