By Jim Beard
Spanish artist Daniel Acuña loves to do it all himself. Design, pencil, ink and paint; one of Marvel's newest Young Guns, known for his stellar work on ETERNALS, delivers a complete visual package.
"Maybe [artist] Richard Corben is to be blamed for it," reflects Acuña. "In my earliest memories, I remember seeing his comic books at home-they were my father's, who tried to hide them from me. So in trying to imitate him I started to develop a more complete art style, not only with pencils and inks but also with volume, and finally, color."
Though Corben tops of Acuña's list of inspirations, the illustrator also cites such diverse comic legends as Jack Kirby, John Romita, Simon Bisley and Hal Foster as creative guides. After achieving a degree in Fine Arts in his native country, his path to unique artistic expression was never really in doubt.
"For me it was the natural thing to do, and I wanted to do covers, so nice and colorful, above all because this way your art has no boundaries or the least possible," he relates. "And there came a moment in which my style was the sum of it all, where the process starts with the pencils and ends with color or greytones.
"That's why, at the beginning, I was afraid of the American industry, since I thought it would be difficult that I could show my 'true face,' the kind of art in which I think I can shine as an artist."
But shine Acuña did, first on a project with fellow Spanish artist Santi Arcas entitled Claus & Simon in Hollywood, and then on other Claus & Simon stories. The tales remain special to the artist, and he goes so far as to refer to them as a "part" of himself.
Ultimately alighting at Marvel Comics, a leader in the American industry he once felt intimidated by, Acuña found himself assigned the cover work he longed for. Then came ETERNALS, a project he found both exhilarating and a source of pride for his accomplishment on it.
But it's those lovely covers that still tickle Acuña's fancy, providing a different avenue of expression from interior comic work.
"It's a lot of fun getting out of the 'routine' of your own project and [jumping] into others, even if it's only as cover artist," he notes.
Acuña's marvels at his being named a Young Gun artist, and even being compared to some of those lofty legends in his inspirational list. Still, he tries to take it all in stride.
"Of course it doesn't change the way you work, but it does influence your mood, and well, it helps to know that you are not doing so bad," comments the artist on his success. "I tend to be quite negative with my own work and it gives me a lot of strength to keep working."
Aside from pencils on UNCANNY X-MEN ANNUAL #2 and cover work on such projects as NOVA, DARK REIGN: NEW NATION and DARK TOWER: TREACHERY, Acuña's also toiling away on a hush-hush assignment, one that he hopes will excite his fans once it's announced. Until that time, they'll have to imagine a Marvel Universe as only he can deliver it in his inimitable style.
"Every single character I grew up reading, really," he replies when asked which Marvel characters he'd like to work on. "The Fantastic Four, Power Man, Daredevil, Dr. Strange, Nova, Captain Marvel, the X-Men, Hulk, and above them all, Spider-Man."
And at the end of the day, after working at his dream job, Acuña kicks back just like anybody else, Young Gun or otherwise.
"When I'm not working I go to the movies with my girlfriend, drink coffee with my friends and play tennis," he explains. "Also, these days, I'm trying to get better at Guitar Hero!"
To see more of Daniel Acuña, swing over to Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited! And keep it here for more Young Guns Spotlights!
Check out the official Marvel Shop for your favorite Marvel Heroes!