The uncanny Jerome Opeña

Jiggy Cruz
Geek Speak

Many people may not know that there's a new Filipino Artist making waves in mainstream comics.

Marvel released "Uncanny X-Force" written by Rick Remender. Other than the brilliant story that is "The Apocalypse Solution," what fired up this new title was the gorgeous art of Jerome Opeña.

Wolverine leads his black-ops team of Psylocke, Archangel, Deadpool, and Fantomex and they have to prevent the Age of Apocalypse. The only problem is that Apocalypse is a young boy. Will the X-Force assassinate a child to prevent the Age of Apocalypse or will they raise him to be a part of the X-Men? "Uncanny X-Force: The Apocalypse Solution" Premiere Hardcover is now available in Comic Odyssey and Druid's Keep.

So, anyway, back to the artist.

Yes folks, Jerome is Filipino and his art is just way too awesome. Have you seen his Wolverine and Deadpool? The graduate of the Academy of Art in San Francisco was born in the Philippines and is currently living in the US. He loves lumpia and Batman. Daredevil comes in a close secons though. We contacted Jerome for an exclusive Yahoo! PH interview and here's what he has to say for his Filipino fans.

How long have you been in the industry? What was your first gig?

I began working sporadically in the industry starting around, 2002-03.  I did a few little jobs here and there but didn't really work full time till around 2006.  My first job was a short story in Metal Hurlant.

When did you leave the Philippines? Are you in touch with people here?

I was born in the Philippines, but never actually lived there.  My father worked for an international agricultural organization that was based in Taiwan, so that's where I was raised.  My family then moved to the U.S. when I was around 16 years old and I've lived here ever since.  I do have some family and friends who live in the Philippines and I'm in touch with them every so often.

"Uncanny X-Force" was freakin awesome! The art was just amazing! How was that like?

Thank you very much! Uncanny X-Force has been really great and a lot of fun to work on.  I think it's got one of the coolest collection of characters in the X Universe to round out the team and Wolverine being on it is a definite plus.  Though I've been having the most fun I've ever had in comics, it's also been the biggest challenge for me.  This was my first team book so it was a  big adjustment for me to have to juggle multiple characters and to try to make each one look distinct from the other.  Plus, I'm not the fastest artist in the world, so it has been a daily grind to try to get the work done.

What was it like working with Rick Remender?

Rick is great.  He and I have been working together for several years now and I owe a lot of where I am right now to him.  Several years ago, when I was floundering and I couldn't get any work, Rick was the only one to contact me and we've been collaborating ever since.  He has always been a big supporter of my work and I will always be grateful to him for that.  Aside from being a great guy, he is also an excellent writer who has really distinguished himself as one of the best in the industry.  Working on X-Force has been the biggest thing for both of our careers, so I'm just glad that we got to do it together.

Who was your favorite character to draw in "Uncanny X-Force"? Why?

I think, aside from Wolverine, my favorite character to draw would have to be Deadpool.  I know he's a pretty polarizing character and people seem to either love him or hate him, but I've always really liked the guy and I think it's mainly because he never takes himself too seriously.

What are your upcoming projects?

At the moment, I'm working on more issues for Uncanny X-Force so you will see me back on the title eventually.

Who do you want to work with in the future? Any writer in mind?

Rick is always going to be my first choice, but if I had to to pick someone else, I think I would either hope to one day work with either Ed Brubaker or Jason Aaron.

Any character you want to work on in particular?

I would have to say either Batman or Daredevil would be dream projects for me.  Also, anything with Hawkeye or Iron Fist would be great.

When will you visit the Philippines?

I'm not sure when I will be visiting the Philippines.  The last time I was there was in late 2002, so it's been a while.  My wife really wants to visit because she's never been there before, so I'm sure a trip to the country will happen some time down the line.

A lot of aspiring artists want to break into the biz, any tips for them?

I guess one of the main things I can advise would be to really work on storytelling. Things like: characters, backgrounds, perspective, etc. are all very important to doing good comics, but storytelling is something that, I think, many of the major companies are looking for.  This is one of the hardest things to learn and I'm still struggling with it and working to improve it everyday. Also, don't just focus on drawing characters in cool poses.  Learn how to draw all sorts of things. You never know when you might be called on to depict, for example, Thor sitting on a chair, eating a bowl of noodles, with a bear in a car about to run him over. If you can draw Thor and the bear (because who doesn't like to draw bears?), but you never learned how to draw everything else, then your job is going to be that much more difficult. I know that's a really silly example, but, if you can expand the amount of things you know you can draw, the better off you will be.

Any parting shots for your fans in the Philippines?

Thank you all very much for all your support! Maraming salamat!