The GeeksverseChikara Cover Artist Marco D’Alfonso

Chikara Cover Artist Marco D’Alfonso
Published on Monday, July 11, 2011 by

Chikara is proof that comic book nerds can throw down in the square ring. It is a seemingly odd small market wrestling promotional company that mixes luche libre rules with comics and 80s pop-culture. One of the most striking things about Chikara is their reliance on DVD and the internet to help sale their product to a wider market. While selling DVDs is not new in wrestling. The Chikara DVD covers are eye catching. Clearly from the onset the 80s pop-culture and comics takes center stage incorporating homages with wrestlers to sell the product.

The Chikara website gives full credit to one artist for those geekily eye catching covers: Marco D’Alfonso.

Kitty and Cobra

D'Alfonso created this for KittysPryde.com

Marco D’Alfonso is a graphic artist in Canada. He is the man behind most of the Chikara DVD covers (despite what the Chikara website says he did not do them all). D’Alfonso is also a comic fan. Besides working on the DVD homage covers he has also worked on toy and video game designs.

How do you pick comic covers to homage in your Chikara DVD covers?
Marco D’Alfonso: It’s a back and forward between me and the Chikara guys. It’s a fun because we are comic dorks and we send images we like back and forth. It really depends on the line-up for the event, if there is a trio of bad guys vs a trio of heroes we typically find a cover containing the same amount of characters. But there are times when we think something might be a good gag and we just sub-in chikara characters in the cover, a good example of this working is a Green Arrow cover we homaged some time ago. A lot of the time there are just some really iconic covers that have to homaged just because they are just so classic like the Avengers #1 and Giant Sized X-men #1.

Among your homage covers are transformers and G.I. Joe. Which of the two properties is your favorite to read? Which could you see yourself being hired on as a guest artist for?
D’Alfonso: I grew up a fan of both properties but I must say I’m a bigger fan of Transformers. What is cooler than transforming alien robots? Aesthetically Transformers are way cooler looking, but I think drawing a 22 page comic would probably be the death of me, that would be a tough deadline to meet, so many of the characters have so much detail involved that I would just get lost. I have worked on some Transformer Products for Hasbro in the past and doing concept work is one of the best experiences I’ve had as an artist. As for reading I’m a big fan of what Devil’s Due did with G.I. Joe some years ago, and I have been meaning to read the old G.I. Joe marvel stuff. The Transformers comics I could never really get into perhaps I will go back and give it another shot.

How did you hook up with the Chikara folks?
D’Alfonso: Way back in 2003 I was an intern at an illustration studio and they encouraged me to submit some G.I. Joe fan art to a forum that was running a contest. I was a bit over anxious and I did something like three submissions. Little did I know the folks at Chikara was scouting for artists on these forums. Chikara then contacted me about doing an event poster, and I was thrilled! I didn’t know anything about Chikara back then, but I did a little bit of research and I loved the way the characters looked and I couldn’t wait to get started on the poster. It was actually my first paid work. Since then it has been a really good working relationship, I will always be grateful to Chikara for believing in me and giving me work when I thought I was terrible.

What is your favorite Chikara cover?
D’Alfonso: My favorite cover is the Watchmen #1 homage featuring Los Ice Creams. Instead of the iconic smiley face pin in blood, you’ve got chocolate syrup and sprinkles being poured on Ice Cream Jr.’s head. For me it just seemed to make perfect sense, the colour scheme was pretty well the same with Ice cream Jr and the yellow pin, and the end result is hilarious! It still makes me laugh.

Looking through your portfolio you have quite a few styles represented. How do you describe your artistic style?
D’Alfonso: As a freelance illustrator I try to keep my style versatile just so I can adapt to different clients needs. I think that is most apparent in my Chikara DVD homage covers, they span all kinds of different eras in comics. As for my personal style, I’ve never really tried to describe it. I really like crisp and clean approach. I Like a lot of bold and vibrant colours and I like to throw in halftone patterns and textures whenever I can to give my work a pop-py kind of feel.

You have captured colorful characters working with Chikara’s wrestling covers. If you could pick a colorful wrestler from the Shimmer stable, ShimmerWrestling.com, to draw who would you pick and what would draw you to her?
D’Alfonso: I’ve definitely drawn a couple of the wrestlers in the Shimmer stable as some of them have ties to Chikara. But if I had to pick one that would be fun to draw it would have to be Leva Bates. I like the goggles she wears, very Ramona Flowers-ish, but it also seems like she is quirky and kind of a comic nerd! Definitely a plus!

Besides the wrestling DVD covers, have you worked on any full length comics yet?
D’Alfonso: I’ve done some behind the scenes stuff for Marvel but nothing I could really put my name on. I’ve done some independent comics as well. I’d really love to make a push into doing full length comics someday, but for now I’m having fun doing concept art as well as the Chikara stuff. Doing comics will always be the dream.

In your online portfolio you have drawings of various versions of Spiderman. What is your favorite Spiderman?
D’Alfonso:Wow that is a really tough question! Of course I love the classic Spidey costume, but growing up in the 90’s and beyond there was at least a dozen different looks for Spider-man i like the clone saga sleeveless hoody look, I even like the shoulder padded spider-armor! But I think most of all I love the Spider-man 2099 look. It’s just so sleek and futuristic and kind of creepy it just seemed to really stand out for me. I’m really happy they included him in Spider-man shattered dimensions. They really did his character and environment justice in the game I think.

I can tell we came through Spidey comics about the same time. I too love the crazy Spider-armor, but will always love 2099. 2099 was new when all of the other spider representations seemed so trenched in mythos. Nice choice. Now, on to another Marvel character question. Also in your online portfolio you have a cool Ghost Rider on a Vespa scooter. Have you thought about a story to put with that particular piece of art or was it conceived purely for the visual mish mash?
D’Alfonso: Haha no I haven’t really thought of a story for Vespa Ghost Rider. I don’t really know who he would fight or anything like that. I don’t really remember how that image came about. I think of a lot of stupid mish mashs of characters that think would be funny or stupid. Some of these characters you can’t really take serious all of the time. But I think if Ghost rider was riding around on rollerblades he would still scare the piss out of people.

Since the 2099 love dates you, that means you probably watched Batman Beyond on TV when that was nice. Are you reading the revived Batman Beyond comic? What are your thoughts on the art?
D’alfonso: I’m not reading it.. yet.. I’ve really been meaning to. I loved the cartoon back in the day and was super psyched for the comic but I kept putting it off until it was collected in trade then i just kind of forgot about it. I’m a real big fan of alternate futures and things like that (Spider-man 2099). One of the things that really stood out for me was the covers by Dustin Nguyen, I think he is a genius, he can do no wrong. As for the interior art, growing up a Wildstorm fan I’ve always liked Ryan Benjamin’s art. Damn I can’t wait to pick up this trade now!

Kill Bill Resevoir Dogs

Let’s switch gears from comics to movies. Which director do you like better Quentin Tarantino or Robert Rodriguez?
D’Alfonso: I love Quentin Tarantino. I just love his dialogue, and his characters. I think whatever he does is just bleeds awesome. I’m a huge fan of Kill Bill as well as Reservoir Dogs and of course Pulp Fiction. He’s also into a lot of cool things as well, revenge flicks, old school kung fu movies and comic books. I also really like the soundtracks to all of his movies. I thoroughly enjoy his work. As for Robert Rodriguez I love the humor in his movies just the over the top crazy action is something to behold. His movies are just fun. Sin City is also one of my all time favorites, very well done in my opinion.

Is your art part of the upcoming Chikara trading card game?
D’Alfonso: Sadly no. It seems like a real cool project to be a part of, but the game was done all in house by the gaming company.

Artistically, what are your goals for the next five years?
D’Alfonso: Artistically i would just like to improve on some things for sure, just be the best artist I can be. Just like anything else you have to keep working at it if you want to improve, and that’s what I would like to do just put more time aside and improve on the fundamentals and sketch a lot more. I’d like to read more books on storytelling as well, perhaps pick up some new digital coloring tricks. I just want to grow as an artist hopefully doing cool things that people will enjoy.

Professionally, what are your goals for the next five years?
D’Alfonso: Professionally I think there are a lot of mediums that I would love to get more and more into. I’ve really enjoyed doing toy designs so I would love to do more of that on a more consistent basis. As well I’ve had some experience doing concept designs for video games, but nothing I would deem super cool, so I’d like to get more into that. Of course the dream is always comics but that is something I think I have to work hard to achieve so maybe that might take more than five years to fulfill that dream but it is always something to aspire to. Honestly, I would just like to create anything that is cool and fun that people enjoy, that is what makes me happy. Professionally I think I just am getting started.

Check out D'Alfonso's website and blog for more examples of his art.

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