In this article, we have the privilege of doing an exclusive interview with a very talented and inspiring artist, Manuel Loza, aka Captain Manu, do not miss, Artists who inspire Captain Manu Part 1.
He will give us details about his origins in the world of comics, apart from telling us about his experiences as a student of great and acclaimed masters of comics. Continue reading! Don’t miss it.
An incredible artist
Welcome, dear readers, to our exclusive interviews! Today we are pleased to talk to one of the best adventure comic artists of the moment: Manuel Loza, aka Captain Manu(@manucapt).
Who achieved popularity with his beloved character Almer, in addition to making great productions such as Red Star and Nathaniel Fox, in this first part of the interview, he will give us details about his origins in the world of comics, he will tell us about his experience as a student of the master Oswald, and which were the works that made him fall in love with adventure stories. Pay attention to this formidable artist!
How did you become a cartoonist?
I have drawn comics since I was 10 years old, I think that, since I was very young, I was more interested in telling a story, or telling a story, than in drawing.
I had a very lonely childhood, I played a lot with little dolls that broke and I put them together, glued them, made up stories and invented characters, maybe a Batman with Transformer legs.
I used to draw them, and I felt that only with the drawing I could not transmit all the story I had invented, and since I was very young, I used to read comics all day long, and I used to draw them to show them to my classmates and tell them “See, he has a story, as if the character was alive”.
Later, when I was a teenager, I began to study with Oswald, and that’s when I began to love comics and understand that I couldn’t do anything else.
What was it like to study with a master like Oswald?
It was incredible, first, I went with him, because I started to have a lot of discipline problems at school, I was a 15 year old teenager, who didn’t know what was going to become of his life, and the only thing he liked was to draw.
When you are a kid, you have a whole world that tells you that you have no future with that, and for me, it was the only thing I liked, so I started going to the psychologist, because it was very complicated, and he told my parents, this kid talks about comics all day, enroll him in a comics course, and that’s how I started with Oswald.
I loved him, because he talked about comics, he talked about drawing, how to make them, he gave us exercises, but everything he had to explain, he explained it by telling a story, that seemed fabulous to me, for everything there was an anecdote, something to tell, after all, he was teaching us how to tell stories.
I adored him, and on top of that, at some point I discovered that Oswald gave me his house number and because he was from Quilmes, I was from Quilmes, I remember that I would call him and he would say, let’s have a coffee, and then I realized that I lived about six blocks from Oswald’s house.
So, I started going and calling him, ringing his doorbell and bothering him often. I loved talking to him. Then I kept making comics, and I started a publishing house called Panxa, then I never stopped making them, which I always liked the most.
When did you fall in love with adventure stories?
When I was a kid, my life was about superheroes, and that’s already a little bit into adventure stories, besides, my dad, who is not a super comic book reader, always talked to me about adventurers.
He and my maternal grandfather talked about Sandokan and Robin Hood, since I was very young, those names were always around and I always ended up reading books from the Robin Hood collection.
My grandfather used to give me lots of adventure books, lots of Alexandre Dumas, lots of Stevenson, for example, Stevenson’s Black Arrow, I read it many times.
Then, when you finish high school, and you are in that middle age of adolescence, when you go to the bookstore and buy whatever you want, I started strong, but very strong, with Emilio Salgari.
I have a mini library of Emilio Salgari, the Black Corsair trilogy seems to me something from another planet, at that time of buying a lot of books, I read a lot of Tolkien.
My grandfather had also given me a modernized adaptation of the King Arthur myths by John Steinbeck, called The Acts of King Arthur, a book that I had to buy again because I destroyed it.
Then, I got an edition, which brings the letters between John and his editor, while the book was being written, a beautiful thing.
Then, when my grandfather gave it to me, I was already very much in love with King Arthur, as a child, I watched over and over again, the movie Excalibur by John Boorman, and something happened to me, which happens a lot with people of my generation.
I am 39 years old, I am one of those who, to a large extent, was raised by my grandparents, because I have two professional parents, so my grandfather, when I was a kid and there were not many movies in video stores, rented Excalibur over and over again.
I watch it now, and it has sex and gore scenes, but I was already hooked on armor from that time.
When I started reading and buying Salgari books, I found in Quilmes, King Arthur books written in the Middle Ages, like when in high school they make you read the Cantar del Mio Cid (I think, if this didn’t happen, I wouldn’t have been so hooked with the adventure) They were translated medieval books, and not very expensive.
Therefore, I became a collector, and a very amateur medievalist, but very much in love with the subject.
What do you think is key to tell adventure comics?
Oesterheld said that the genre story is the best vehicle for social commentary, but I think that in a good adventure story you are talking about something that happens, and that is very deep.
A good adventure story, at some point, has a commentary on the world or on the emotionality of people, it is always a metaphor for something more complex, stronger.
For me, when that appears in an adventure story, it is what differentiates a Disney film from “heavy” stories. Alexandre Dumas said that the only adventures worth telling are those that change the hero’s heart.
I like that, there has to be some growth in the adventures.
Conclusion, part one
We all agree on one thing, inspirational and incredible artists, have amazing life stories, fight for a dream, no matter how many may object or say otherwise. In this case especially, Manu had great support from his father and grandfather, plus a great teacher like Oswald.
It is really interesting how he describes his experiences and what you remember of them, adolescence and childhood are unique moments that mark the life of a great artist.
So much for this first part of the interview, read on for the second part to learn more about Captain Manu’s techniques, tools and recommendations!