Practitioners 5: Eduardo Risso

As a catch up for all new visitors to Beyond the Bunker, we’ll be representing the original Practitioners series 1-55 (Simon BisleyChris Bachalo and featuring the most influential comic creatives in history). Thoroughly incomplete but featuring legends like Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Frank Miller and Alan Moore already more will be hitting the site every two alternate weeks. For now though, sit back every Tuesday for a run-down of the men and women who created the comic industry we know today. (Or check the full list in the menus above). This week: 100 Bullets and Batman artist and long-running Azzarello creative partner, Eduardo Risso.

Following on from the previous feature on Brian Azzarello we’re looking at the other creative that made 100 Bullets what it was – a pivotal, gravitational piece of visceral and memorable power.


Only an artist with the craftsmanship to make a coffee machine a focus in a scene filled with tension and intrigue could have maintained the awe inspiring integrity and scope of a series like 100 Bullets. Every once in a while an artist will simply prove the power of a black line on a white canvass and no one shows the clarity and purpose of line placement better than Eduardo Risso. He is the dangerous surgeon of the practitioners – his knowledge of anatomy, feature and form informing a sharp, efficient and unflinching style that tears the page between pitch blackness and sharp simple colours – a playground for colourists Grant Goleash and Patricia Mulvihill. In a yankee-centric medium Risso is now synonomous with Brian Azzarello and 100 Bullets, however Eduardo Risso is a multinational artist reknowned in North and South America and Europe for his graphic, noirish linework and efficient and poster-natural artwork. As a western reader, embedded in American comic books anyone’d be forgiven for believing his name was made in the US. Not so.

Like a wandering Mariachi, Risso was born in Leones in Córdoba Province, Argentina and started as a cartoonist in 1981, drawing his first collaborations for the morning paper La Nación and the magazines Erotiocon and Satiricon in his home country. In 1986, he worked for Eura Editoriale of Rome, Italy, and in 1987 he drew Parque Chas, scripted by Ricardo Barreiro. The series was first published by Fierro in Argentina, comic history, and then by Totem in Spain, Comic Art in Italy and finally the complete series as a graphic novel in France, Germany, Denmark, Belgium, Holland, Poland and the United States – no doubt catching the attention of comic industry decision makers there. In 1988, he drew Cain, again scripted by Barreiro, again in Black and White giving rise to a clear inking style that was unforgiving to detail. With each new series Risso’s work has increased in clarity and precision.

He is prolific in his work – every year of working on 100 Bullets turfing up other work including Batman 620-625. Most recently he can be found in the pages of Logan 1-3. The canuckle head giving a character that could’ve been born with Risso in mind to Risso’s gritty and dominating style. While 100 Bullets remains Risso’s most prominent achievement (covering 11 years of his working history and earning him an Eisner for Best Artist) we haven’t seen the best of him yet.

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Introducing Ivanna Matilla : Colourist on Moon

We would like to take this opportunity on the run up to the big launch to introduce Ivanna Matilla, colourist on Moon 1. After the creation of the first 12 pages of Moon it became clear that the work required a deft hand. At Beyond the Bunker our intention is always to put out the best work possible and while there were possibilities of myself (Steve Penfold) doing the colour there were very good reasons why I should not. Namely that I was not adept enough at colouring digitally (as was required) and that I was no where near fast enough. I had already had experience of working with a colourist on Fallen Heroes with Gat Melvyn (introduced next week) and have enjoyed a good working relationship with him throughout (excluding a couple of hiccups – you’ll see what I mean next week) but nothing could prepare me for the sheer exuberant sweetness of working with Ivanna Matilla. Perpetually cheerful she has been brilliant throughout what would have been a really difficult process of bringing on a new creative and showing them the ropes.

NAME: IVANNA MATILLA
HOME COUNTRY: ARGENTINA
PREVIOUS PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE: THE UNFORGIVABLE (Graphic novel) http://www.theunforgivable.com/
INFLUENCES: LIQUID (Christian Lichter) and SIMON BORK.
INTERESTS: Painting, Cinema, Teaching, Learning languages

An English teacher 200 miles from Buenos Aires in Argentina, Ivanna Matilla has a boyfriend with a comic book shop in the town in which they live. Making time to paint (digitally), Ivanna stands out as one of the best digital colourists out there. Totally self taught (‘because she didn’t have time to study’) she only has one professional job to her name (much like everyone else on Beyond the Bunker), a graphic novel named Unforgivable. (http://www.theunforgivable.com/). A late find in the search for a new colourist for Moon 1 her eclectic and abstract style was not immediately the first choice – as we were looking for a horribly commercial artist – but with second looks at her Deviantart page she completely won us over. Between her skin tones and clothing detail and her lighting and shading her work represented something we initially thought was too advanced for our comic book – but we thought nah, let’s treat ourselves. And we were wrong to ever doubt it, her style fits well with a story of a fairytale gone slightly sideways and she had been a pleasure to work with throughout. Moon 1 was completed within two months (an incredible feat considering it is neither her day job and Christmas and a trip to her brothers for a week coincided with it. But nothing stopped her and Moon 1 simply wouldn’t have happened without her. We (and you I imagine) look forward to more of her stuff in Moon 2 and we are really proud to have her as the third member of Beyond the Bunker.

She also has a habit of ‘marking’ my work with arrows and questions about what this means and what’s that for. Two characters would not have had had hands in Moon 1 if it hadn’t’ve been for Ivanna. She requested two air tickets to Britain for the ‘Beyond the Bunker launch party’ as payment for the work she’s done. Unfortunately we can’t stretch to it right now but if her work attracts as many people as it should we should be able to afford a private jet within a few months.

Every time I see more of Ivanna’s work I am more and more in awe of her talent. We hope we can work with her for as long as we can hold onto her as she represents an incredible talent. Well, take a look for yourselves…. we’ll be showcasing her favourite pieces from her Deviantart collection over the coming weeks.