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Creator Interview: Marcorossi

Tantz_Aerine at 12:00AM, April 27, 2024

It's time for another interview, with Marcorossi, one of DD's most active and proliferate webcomic artists, who also has FINISHED WEBCOMICS.

But enough intro on my part! Let's let Marco talk, here we go!

1. Let’s start! Tell us a bit about yourself.

Hi! I’m Marco. I was born in 1976, so when you’ll read these lines I’ll be 48, and I’m Italian.

I’ve been a comic fan since when I was a little kid, I first tried to draw a comic for a fanzine for a club of comic/rpg fans (a rather nerdy club!) when I was 17.

Then during university years, while studying for my “scienze della comunicazione” (media studies) degree, I enrolled in a comic course held by two professionals, and I went on practicing during all those years, but finally stopped drawing when I finished uni and started working (normal white collar job in the marketing office of a small private university).

Then around 2014 I realized the existence of webcomics and I started drawing again, and here I am.
My other two hobbies are: tabletop RPGs and some marial arts (Judo and Nippon Kempo, a sort of Karate). I’m overweight and unathletic so I’m not very good at the last two, but hey at least I do some exercise and do something that I find fun.

2. Now, tell us about your comics- finished and ongoing.

I have 3 finished webcomics and an ongoing one.

The first is GeMiTo 2073, it is a cyberpunk detective story. It is the first webcomic that I started in 2014, so the first 15 pages are drawn traditionally, and then abruptly I bought a graphic tablet and started drawing the pages 16-100 with it (the first pages are really very rough)!

When I started GeMiTo I didn’t know exactly what to do, so I proceded this way: there is a first story block that is the setup of the story, then four story blocks each dedicated to one major character, and then a final block with the story ending.

However when I actually tried to write it I realized that this scheme didn’t work all that well, so I wrote it down like a short story and then broke it down in 100 pages, but I wasn’t totally satisfied (I’m the kind of person who likes to do everything in a schematic way).

Then, I bought a variety of screenwriting manuals (I’m kinda obsessed with this kind of things) and wrote a second, much shorter (32 pages) comic to test that kind of sheme. The second is Bunyan Mk7, giant robot story. When I was a kid giant robots were all the rage, and also later I was a fan of the Patlabor franchise, so I liked the idea of writing a giant robot story, but honestly I don’t believe enough in the concept to make a long story, so the 32 pages format was probably for the best (originally I hoped to cram the whole story in 20 pages but really it was too crammed).

After Bunyan I started a new story, The True Face, that overall went on for 270 pages. While in the previous two stories I started with a fixed number of pages in mind, with The True Face I already had a better grasp of the structure of the story I was drawing, so I knew it would have been 8 chapters long and roughly what would have been the main point of each chapter, but overall I was much freer in writing. I must say that a 270 pages continuous comic, drawn over 6-7 years, was really a big work and something I’m quite proud of.

After The True face, I’m currently working at Killing Ape Theory, a sci-fi comic based on the idea of a space station where, for more than a century, everyone grew up in a world totally without violence. This is the one where I’m going more free wheeling of the four, since I didn’t even divide it in chapters. I expect it to be around 150 pages long, though I can’t be sure now (I’m just at page 45).

3. What are your inspirations for each of your comics? Feel free to give us pictures, too. (by Dragonsong12)

For GeMiTo it is difficult to say what was the main inspiration, I just knew I wanted a cyberpunk detective story with a badass cybergirl as a protagonist, but probably there are a lot of subconscious influences from the many sci-fi stories/comics that I read during the years. I should note that, after I finished the comic, I realized that the metallic half face of the protagonist is exactly the same of that the bad guy in Zabogar, a tokutatsu that I vaguely recall I liked when I was a very small kid.

Zabogar bad guy

For Bunyan Mk7, the main inspiration is Patlabor, although years ago I read the version of Mazinger Z drawn by Ota (that has many ironic parts) so it inspired me too. Also I wanted a western-like setting, so I took the names of Bunyan and the Blue Ox from American folklore, though I researched them on purpose so I can’t really say that this was an “inspiration”. I tried to keep the sort of self-made-man ethos that exists in some old American frontier movies, and in writers like Heinlein, even though it is actually a bit far from my political leanings, but I tought it was appropriate for the story.

Mazinger Z by Ota

For The True face, there are clear influences and also one anti-influence. The anti-influence is this: when I was a kid/boy, I read a ton of fantasy tales/novels (I read LOTR when I was 12), and was a very big fan of fantasy; nowadays fantasy is a much more common genre, but because it was popularized largely by videogames there are many many stories that remind a videogame, e.g. in having a very mechanical magic system or similar.

Old fantasy was based on legends and perhaps mythology, so that kind of “exact” worldbuilding doesn’t make sense and, in facts, IMHO kills the atmosphere more than a bit. So mostly I wanted to write a more old-fashioned fantasy story, based on legends, myths and perhaps ancient history, but the farthest removed from the “gaming” influence.

The positive inspirations were instead:

1) The White Goddess, a nonfiction book written by an American poet/literate who was convinced to have unlocked the secret origins of many Greek myths from their original matriarchal religion (this is based on theories from the 19th century, most likely wrong, that however influenced largely, for example, modern Wiccan cults).

2) A famous book from 1919, Jurgen: a comedy of justice, one of the very first fantasy novels, though mostly there is just one (important) scene that comes from there.

3) As a general style, the writings of Clark Ashton Smith, a writer contemporaneous of Lovecraft and Howard, at the time also very famous but today less remembered.

Robert Graves, author of The White Goddess

For Killer Ape Theory, very vaguely the nonfiction book “On Aggression” by Konrad Lorenz, but I can’t say more because the story is still ongoing. Perhaps also the old comedy-western They Call me Trinity (and in some images, but only as images, the bad punks from Hokuto no Ken).

Konrad Lorenz, etologist, author of On Aggression, and unfortunately also Nazi collaborator, whoops

4. Do you have a specific “muse” (inner voice) that speaks to you or is it a chorus of influences? (by Bravo1102)

I think I don’t have a specific “muse”, but rather a lot of subconscious influences, however those are very mixed so that I often can’t really say from where a specific idea came.

5. Is everything planned beforehand in your comics or is everything a work-in-progress that can be altered at any time? (by Andreas Helixfinger)

In my first comics I planned most stuff in great detail, mostly because I couldn’t distinguish important plot points from the rest, so I had to think to everything beforehand.

In my last two comics, I trust myself more and also I have a better grasp of story structure, so I can work with a more generic idea of where I want the story to go. About this “story structure” thing, I’m a bit fixated with it and I bought and read many manuals about story structure (at least 5). I must say that I suspect that this approach doesn’t work for everyone: it depends on the kind of story you want to write, and also on how your brain works, but for me they are a big help and make me feel freer in writing, whereas other people might find following this kind of schemes limiting, or even blocking.

6. What’s the philosophy of your work, do you have a goal you want to reach or a message you hope to convey? (by Amelius)

I do not have a specific message that I want to convey, but I have found that, when I start working on a plot or even sometimes when working midstory, if I look at the plot “from the outside” there is some specific dramatic contrast, something like a “theme”. So when I have doubts on how to go on, or what characters to introduce, I think about the “theme” and think to scenes or characters that can help put this theme more in the spotlight, and this generally helps with the story. For example in Bunyan the main lead is someone who lived his own life without ever trying to do something seriously, but now he has to “man up” and do something on his own; the main antagonist on the other hand is someone obsessed by his family and heritage; in some sense the two characters are similar and the theme is to grow up and create one’s own life with one’s own hands.

But this “theme” is only good for Bunyan, not for the other stories.
Though arguably both GeMiTo and Killer Ape Theory are about violence and aggressivity.

7. What’s your stance in originality, do you think it’s the most important thing or do you believe that making the best version of a story is the key to a successful comic? (by Amelius)

Neither. I think that what is important is that a story feels believable and heartfelt, so when a story is full of clichés and seems like someone took three other famous movies/comics and just mixed them together, this makes the story feel cold and less interesting. But on the other hand the point is not to be “original” in the sense of making weird things, but just to make things belieavable. For example in a “boy meets girl” story, it is not important that things are original and weird, after all romance is more or less the same for everyone, but it is important that people can immedesimate in the two leads, so they must feel realistic and not just standards.

8. Let’s talk about your characters! Tell us a bit about the main character(s) about each of your comics. Use pics!

GeMiTo: the lead is Miriam. She is a very badass cybergirl that acquired a military cyberbody during a war, in order to avenge her family, but since then has calmed down and is now more of a pacifist. She still has her cyberkiller body but now the world is at peace, so she’s unemployed. Ouch!


Bunyan: the lead is Adrian, he comes from a very rich family but since he’s a lazy good for nothing he squandered all the money and so now has to man up and do something. Also unemployed. While Miriam is a dark character, quite dramatic, Adrian is more comedic and also generally in a better mood.


The True face: the lead is Pumpu, a not excessively bright guy who start off as a slaver in a bronze age culture, but then has to confront his own values and his own culture from the outside and has to change. Said change includes a personal growth from being a bit of a man-child to being a more mature and responsible person. He also has a monobrow. He is somewhat halfway between Adrian and Miriam in that he is more comedic, but the story as a whole is more dramatic.


Killer Ape Theory: the lead is Querida, a too serious from her own good woman, also quite introverted, but the second lead Aaron (who is a completely unserious jackass, personally inspired by Ataru Moroboshi from Urusei Yatsura) will also have an important part, but huh huh I can’t say more because it’s still ongoing.

Aaron and Querida

9. How do you go about designing characters? Do you build the character around the story or the story around the character?

When I think about the story, I start with a few vague ideas but then I try to condense them into a small number of characthers (3-5) who are opposed one to the other for some reason (e.g. in Bunyan Adrian is a lazy bum, Blaga is a super rigid authoritarian fixated on his own family, Ela is a very rigid person also somewhat oppressed by her family). So in this sense the charcters are created after the plot, but the plot is largely made of contrast between characters.

On the whole I see this as a more plot-driven than character-driven method, however characters are still central.

On the specific question of graphic design, I honestly first think the mani characters and later I sketch them, but the graphic design comes as an aftertought, also because I mostly want them to be simple and easily recognizable, I’m not a very realistic drawer.

10. Which character do you enjoy drawing the most? The least? Who would you redesign if you had the chance and what changes would you make? (by Amelius) (feel free to show pics/examples/sketches!)

In my current comic, I like drawing Querida (because she is very simple to draw) and Zhao (also very schematic and I like the macho appearance), but I hate drawing Aaron because his glasses are a hell to draw. Generally I hate myself everytime I put in some detail that that looks cool but then is long to draw.

I hate drawing this guy’s glasses

11. What are some shortcuts you’ve learned in your process that have helped you the most? What are some things you would never do again? Are there some art rules or lessons you’ve been taught that haven’t worked for you personally? (by JCorrachComics)

Difficult to say, as I said in term of story I work much more easily (and freely!) following a schematic structure, but this might not work for everyone. I don’t think to any specific shortcut about drawing, other than I try to keep a simple drawing style. Proabbaly there are one thousand small things, but I can’t think to a single big thing.

Perhaps about coloring, I used always the same palette, and then each scene is masked with a pair of opposite colors to keep consistency and atmosphere, and this made coloring faster.

12. What’s something you’ve had a hard time drawing (backgrounds, hands, etc)? (by Spooky Kitsune)

Animals! And scenes with a lot of people! And weird perspectives! And people who physically interact with each other so that their bodies are somewhat connected! And… and… ok more or less all the usual things I suppose. I think I’m not a very instinctive drawer, although with years of practice I learned to draw at a decent level.

13. What inspired your comics’ settings? Feel free to use pics! (by Casscade)

Not much pics because I think my comics in a non visual way, images come only at the end, but:

GeMiTo: it is set more or less where I live, but in a cyberpunk future. In particular here in northern Italy there is this identitarian pary, the Lega, that started about northern Italians disliking southern Italians (there is a century-long migration flow from poorer southern Italy to more industrialized northern Italy), but lately changed into Italians hating migrants from elsewhere (largely from noth Africa, but also eastern Europe). When I was a teen it was still into the north VS south mode, and I disliked it (perhaps because I myself was born in central Italy, not exactly in the north), and then it was very strange to see this party, initially a separatist party, morph into a nationalist one against immigrants. So in the future setting of the comic, I played a bit with these identities because Italy is somewhat split between north and south, but now the north is the poor part and the south is pard of a richer superstate with capital Istanbul.

Bunyan: I was a big fan of Patlabor, and liked the idea of robots used for industry. But since I couldn’t just copypaste that settings, I tought of mixing it with the idea of the american frontier, projected on a distant planet. Initially I wanted to have all characters with Russian names, because for some reason in Italy we always have sci-fi characters with non-Italian names, and english was a bit boring, but then Russian naming conventions are difficult so I went with Romanian, that has a simpler name-surname convention.

The True Face: nothing in particular but the huts in the villages are inspired by “trulli”, a particular kind of traditional house that exists in the Apulia region in southern Italy.

a trullo

Killer Ape Theory: the idea of floating bases on Venus’ atmosphere is a project that really exists, however the idea of a story in a closed space station comes from Otomo’s story “Space rose”.

14. What are your favorite comics or manga of all time? (by Spooky Kitsune)

There are many: Nausicaa of the valley of the Wind, Maison Ikkoku, History of the three Adolphs; in terms of American comics for a while I was a great fan of Frank Miller; in terms of Italian comics there are many authors that I like (or liked when I was a teen) etc.. I mostly read mangas though, so probably Nausicaa and Maison Ikkoku take the crown.

15. What is the worst movie or book you ever watched/read all the way through because you believed it just had to get better? (by Bravo1102)

Sailormoon: I bought many volumes of the comic. Not all the way through tough.

16. Show us your favorite page from each of your comics and your least favorite. Why did you pick these ones?


I really lucked out with this, it’s really cool

Least favourite:

Sorta useless, after this I passed to the graphic tablet.


Turns out I like drawing robots, this page has many robots. No particular least favourite.

The True Face
I have many pages that I like but not a specific favourite, but I have a disfavourite:

Sorry, the last picture sucks, but I spent too much time on that already

Killer Ape Theory

because it makes me think of 2001 space odyssey

Least favourite:

too empty.

17. What’s the most experimental thing you’ve tried in your comics so far? (by InkyMoondrop)

Not much, other than experimenting with my drawing style. Mostly I think that story should be more important that form, so if something is too experimental it distracts from the story and in my view this is a no no.

Perhaps the weirdest stylistical choice I had was one page where I reversed the usual idea of cinetic lines on the background and had the main character filled by cinetic lines and the background without them.

feel the experiment, also weird colors

18. If you sat at a bar with the Duck, what would you order? (by Paul Eberhardt)

A Negroni, because it has no analcoholic component so it can’t be watered down. Or a Spritz done with Campari. Or a beer, but an ale, never a lager. Probably if we are in for a long chat the ale. I’m not an heavy drinker but I like the taste of alcoholics a lot, so I have to check myself.

19. What are your thoughts on collaboration on a comic? Have you ever tried? (by Paul Eberhardt)

I never tried, honestly I already don’t have enough time to complete my own stuff.

20. Cake or pie? (by Bravo1102)

Ugh, I had to search on Quora to find the difference! If we are speaking of sweets, I like creamy stuff like tiramisù or cheesecake, so I’d say cake. I also like salted pies though. I’m a vegetarian and I often eat salted pies. Hmm, salted pies, now I’m hungry.

Thank you so much Marco for an amazing interview!

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marcorossi at 4:28AM, April 30, 2024

Thanks a lot to everyone, you are all too generous to me.

J_Scarbrough at 8:33PM, April 29, 2024

I think that's the mark of a truly dedicated artist when they start out not knowing exactly what they're doing, but the longer they stick with it, and begin to really develop their sensibilities, then everything becomes second nature to them.

Ozoneocean at 6:43PM, April 29, 2024

-Robert Graves- ugh... I was excited when I took delivery of his books (years and years ago), but very shortly I realised that so much of his takes on the myths were so wrong- just obviously his own interpretations imposed over the top.

Ozoneocean at 5:11PM, April 29, 2024

Marco is a stone cold level genius! Leaves me in awe.

InkyMoondrop at 11:56AM, April 29, 2024

Very good, interesting read! Thanks for the answer!

kawaiidaigakusei at 9:31AM, April 28, 2024

This marcorossi is cool. Great interview, Tantz. Great interview responses, Marco.

Ironscarf at 6:00AM, April 28, 2024

A really interesting interview, even your least favourite page looks good to me! It's great to get some background on what inspired the work.

plymayer at 7:40PM, April 27, 2024

Some interesting insights. Marcorossi's comics are entertaining and well presented.

marcorossi at 4:16PM, April 27, 2024

@mks_monsters Thanks a lot [blushes]

mks_monsters at 11:09AM, April 27, 2024

Great interview by someone I truly admire.

Roberto Fabris at 9:08AM, April 27, 2024

Yay for Marco! Bravo!

PaulEberhardt at 7:58AM, April 27, 2024

Great interview! Thanks for all the insights in your working process, Marco!

marcorossi at 7:06AM, April 27, 2024

Yay I'm famous!

mg78 at 4:07AM, April 27, 2024

well done! (1st too)

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