Comic books are a creative medium that allow the artist to showcase vivid visuals while also telling a story. It’s an expressive art form that can be difficult to create, and yet Buffalo’s own Kevin Delgado accomplishes this feat.
Kevin Delgado is a local independent comic book creator who illustrates prints, and designs graphic novels. His primary work is on his self-created graphic novel series, Volantis, which he illustrates and co-writes. He also has his own publishing outlet known as Solstice Art. I had the pleasure of sitting down with Kevin to discuss his journey as an independent artist.
How did you get into illustrating and comics?
Everyone draws and colors at some point. My older sister fed me comics when I was a kid, plus cartoons like Batman the Animated Series and X-Men were on as I was growing up. I had a knack for something artistic, so my mom signed me up for painting lessons. I got tired of painting the same old boring stills of tea kettles and wanted to focus on something that piqued my interest more.
Why did you choose comics specifically?
There was actually a long time where I didn’t like comics. I did when I was a kid, but didn’t get back into them until college. A lot of people I went to school with were into them. That was around the time the Astonishing X-Men comics came out, and the X-Men have always been my favorite. I got more into comics, and they became something I was really passionate about.
Are there any comic artists or writers who inspire you?
Todd MacFarlane, John Cassady, Jim Lee, Alan Moore, Tom King… My house is a small library, and there are so many people to name. Recently, I’ve been really into Ryan Stegman’s Venom, and I like the Immortal Hulk a lot. There’s an endless list. I’ve also been really into Cartoonist Kayfabe on YouTube.
I definitely had to learn it over time. I’m always learning more, even now.
Tell me about Solstice Art.
Solstice Art is my publishing company. It’s the legal outlet to publish my work through.
Tell me about Volantis.
Volantis is the graphic novel that I created. It’s about a character named Carlos Wendella whose family runs the only flourishing city in the post-apocalyptic world. The family becomes more corrupt as the city grows. It’s science fiction, but it uses ideas and technology that I can see actually happening, similar to what was seen in the original Star Trek series.
How did you get the idea for it?
It was like a fever dream. Ideas for it kept coming to me and I would write them down. It’s based around the era of science fiction I like, from around the 1950’s, mixed with my personal morals with some embellishments.
What’s next for Volantis? Will it be continuous?
Yeah, it’ll be continuous. Every six issues tells a mini story within the greater whole. There are only six issues right now, but I plan on having thirty six. Issue seven is being worked on right now. I want to get to the point where I can distribute paperbacks.
Do you have an ending in mind?
Definitely. I have an ending planned, and it’s different than any ending I’ve ever seen in fiction.
I plot and edit. I give the story elements that I come up with to my co-writer, Peter Badami, who puts it together.
Do you have any ideas for other stories or comics you’d want to do in the future?
Yeah. Like with any storyteller or artist or creator, the more you do it, the more you hone your craft. I would like to see my craft improved before approaching any other idea I have. I’m approaching my projects one at a time to see how my work evolves. I’m still learning and evolving as an artist.
You illustrate a lot of prints of Marvel and DC characters. Do you have any favorites you have done? Are there any that you want to do that you haven’t?
Definitely. I’m working on an X-Men piece right now and want to start over. I want to do a big Masters of the Universe print with the heroes on one side and the villains on the other, facing off. I take suggestions and am open to ideas, but it’s gotta be something I’m personally attracted to. I prefer it to be something I’m a fan of. I usually prefer drawing darker stuff.
Do you have any advice for anyone else who wants to create comics?
Don’t expect to do it as a living. Do it for the art and enjoyment, and maybe it’ll work out for you. Like all artforms, make sure you have a day job to support you while you work on it. Put a lot of work into it, as much as you can. Invest a lot of time into it. Learn the fundamentals first. Get people to look at your work. Either they will support you, or you will get helpful feedback to improve.
Hearing about how much Kevin focuses on his art and how passionate he is about it is nothing short of inspirational. Anyone who has an artistic side should take a page from Kevin’s book and go for it.
His series Volantis is a unique concept, and I’m excited to see where it goes. He has illustrated prints of a wide variety of comic book characters ranging from Harley Quinn to Groot, all of which are more than worth checking out. You can find and purchase Kevin’s comic books at Gutter Pop Comics, Empire Comics, and Queen City Bookstore. You can also pay his website a visit to see and buy his illustrated prints and Volantis comics. You can also catch Kevin at comic conventions. His next appearances will be at Cleveland Comic Con on September 7th, a book signing at Book Outlet in the Boulevard Mall on September 14th, the Rochester Independent Comic Expo on September 28th, and Buffalo Comicon at the Buffalo Marriott on October 19th. Feel free to stop by, chat with him about comics, and check out his work.