Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: You recently launched a Kickstarter campaign for the new graphic novel, Inferno Girl Red, and co-creator Mat Groom had incredibly kind things to say about your work on the project. What intrigued you originally about the graphic novel’s concept and creating this new world?
Erica D’Urso: When Mat reached me out for the first time, I was a little skeptical, because I still didn’t know what exactly “Inferno Girl Red” was. When I read the pitch, I totally changed my mind. Càssia is an extremely interesting character, I loved her from the start and it was almost like reading about myself. A girl that needs to find the power to believe to make her bracelet express its full power, that’s a story I want to know more about.
BD: As mentioned in our prior interview, the story deftly combines various iterations of superhero storytelling, from YA dramas to Japanese tokusatsu, with a touch of British boarding school fiction thrown into the mix. What can you tell us about your shared creative process in working with Groom, colorist Igor Monti, letterer Becca Carey, and editor Kyle Higgins in blending these narratives and bringing them to life on the page?
ED: At first there were only me, Mat, and Kyle. We tried to understand what we wanted and how we wanted it done. I made several studies of characters, the city, and we worked together with our own experiences and knowledge to add something to the final product. Igor and I share the same “vibe” for colors: we both like energy and strong lights and shadows; we share love for the same sources; and we’re getting along really well! With Becca we tried to find a modern, still not-too-adult kind of lettering. This is not my field, but I think that Becca did an amazing job!
BD: As an artist, what can you tell us about your method for finding inspiration in other works or creators, yet making each new creation wholly your own style?
ED: I’ve always thought of myself as a versatile artist. What I mean is that I’ve always been flexible with my style and it’s changed continuously. At first I thought it was a problem; I was afraid that no one would be able to recognize me. But now, I’ve accepted and embraced it. Art should never be stopped and could take many forms. So, from project to project, I can change a little to fit better in the genre or in the storytelling. I have many inspirations from different styles; when I first approach a new project, I already have in mind a board of artists or sources I think would work amazingly with the story. For Inferno Girl Red in particular, my keywords were Power Rangers, Promare, Simone di Meo, and other little influences of comics I read or shows I saw. What I do next is trying to embody the best version of what my keywords are, and understand what in particular I can give to the project that is only mine.
BD: What are some of the fun backer rewards that are available to those who contribute to your Kickstarter campaign?
ED: The prints we “collected” from various artists are amazing. I saw them arrive little by little, and it was really exciting! But what really amazed me is the replica helmet made by Starchild Props. I never imagined I could see a character of mine become so real!
BD: At Fanbase Press, our #StoriesMatter initiative endeavors to highlight the impact that stories can have on audiences of various mediums. How do you feel that Cássia’s story will connect with and impact readers, and why do you feel that this story was important for you to bring to life?
ED: As said before, Càssia and I share a pragmatic worldview, that it’s the most logical thing to do to not get hurt or disappointed by the future. Believing is hard, because, sometimes, it feels like jumping into the void, and we tend to keep our feet rooted to earth because this way we know already what will happen, and we can feel more confident. But without believing we can’t dream—and dreaming is what leads us to some of the greatest things we have today. (If Leonardo didn’t dream to fly, how could we think to have airplanes today?) Believing, dreaming, hoping for a better future, praying—they’re all a blind promise we make to ourselves, and it’s hard to make this step sometimes, but I hope that the readers who feel close to this issue will read about how Càssia didn’t give up on believing.
BD: Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to find out more about Inferno Girl Red and its Kickstarter campaign?
ED: We have the @INFERNOGIRLRED Twitter account where we keep everyone updated about all the news and interviews about the comic!