Comics Creators

Wednesday Fan Chat #27 - Matteo Scalera


Welcome Millarworlders new and old. Every Wednesday we host a Fan Chat with a creator from the world of comics or film. These sessions are a one hour, AMA (Ask Me Anything) style chat. We’ve had great guests like Sean Murphy, Kelly Sue DeConnick and Christopher Mintz-Plasse who have shared their stories and answered your questions. You can check out all previous chats in our Millarworld AMA Archive.

This week our guest will be comic artist Matteo Scalera. Matteo hails from Parma, Italian and is one of 12 artists selected in C.B. Cebulski’s “ChesterQuest” to bring new talent to Marvel Comics. Since then he has worked on Deadpool and Secret Avengers at Marvel, Valen the Outcast and Incorruptable for Boom! and is currently the co-creator and artist on his Image title, Black Science. Please give Matteo a warm Millarworld welcome. You may wait until chat time to ask questions or leave your questions in this thread ahead of time. All posts other than questions for Matteo will be deleted. Thank you.

If you are having trouble find the chat time for your time zone, check this link.

Millarworld Annual - Artist Submission Guidelines!!

It’s so nice to have you here, Matteo. Thank you for joining us. I have a couple of questions.

  1. As one of the winners of ChesterQuest, what advice would you give new artists submitting samples for the Millarworld Annual?
  2. From what I understand, Italy has a rich comics history. What made you want to draw American comics?


Hello Sir!, thank you for taking some time tfor this chat, here are my questions (sorry for the amount):

1.- The more important question: when will you work in a Millarworld book?
2.- Do you have another creator owned book to launch soon besides Black Science?
3.- You have worked with many good comic book writers (among the best in the industry), with wich one do you willing to work?
4.- Do you still uses your blogger?

Thank you!


Thanks for taking time out to do this Q&A session Matteo!

As an artist what do you think are the elements that make an effective comic cover?


Matteo, how do you find working on creator owned stuff compared to Marvel or Boom?

It seems a very strong position for Image recently.


Hello Mr. Scalera! I’m a huge fan and thank you for doing this chat.

I recently got multiple portfolio reviews at a comic book convention and they all said that my figures were a bit stiff.

Your figures are very expressive so I’m wondering if you can give me any pointers as to how I can loosen up my art a bit.

Also sir, do you have any tips on how to make good panel compositions while keeping the shots varied enough to sustain interest?

Thank you very much sir.


Also Mr. Scalera, do you have any tips on how to finish a page a day?

Thank you again sir!


Hi everybody! And thanks for having me here!!
And here’s my first reply:

  1. As a general advice, I would say "be conscient of your level and skills as an artist."
    If you think there’s still stuff you’re not good at, inks for example, just show your pencils. If they’re good enough, you’ll make it, and eventually they’ll find an inker that fits your style. Show only your best, what you’re really good at.
    Also, make sure to have everything on your samples: dialogue sequences, action sequences… And not just characters, put also nice settings, cool backgrounds. That’ll show you’re a well-rounded artist.
    Another important thing, pretty related to point 1: spend time on those pages. Nowadays, a lot of young artists tend to be obsessed with their speed in working. There’s no point, at this first stage. Right now your main concern should be QUALITY, and that’s it. Doesn’t matter if it takes 3 or 4 days to do a page. With time, you’ll get used to draw a lot, and then you’ll start to get faster eventually, but it’s not something you should be worried at the beginning of your career, IMHO.

  2. Yeah, Italy has a really rich comic books culture: we have our stuff, but we also read stuff from all around the world, and that is what I grew up with: italian comics (like Dylan Dog or Tex), argentinians, but also american comics, manga, and french/belgian books.
    Growing up, though, I started to understand that my style and attitude couldn’t fit with italian books (too many rules, and not enough action), neither french books (too many panels per page, and not enough space to go crazy energetic) or manga (too much work to do, not enough time to chill out, ehehehe), so at the age of 24 I spent all my money on a flight to San Diego and went to the Comic Con, and I started to show my work around.


Hello Matteo. Thank you for taking the time to chat with us today. As no one has asked the question yet (it’s a bit of a Millarworld tradition), can I ask what your favourite Kurt Russell movie is?



  1. Ask Mark!!! :wink:
  2. I actually had a project written and drawn by myself, called Retrievers. It was supposed to be a four-issues story, but I’ve never had the chance to complete issue #4, 'cause I was too busy working on Marvel stuff. One day I think I’ll try to finish it!
    Also, there’s another thing cooking up on the creator-owned side, but I can’t tell anything yet, sorry!!!
  3. see reply #1:smiley: :smiley: :smiley:
  4. I’ve stopped using it a couple of years ago, I don’t know why, honestly, eheh… But I see that Twitter and Instagram work pretty well and they’re really fast and immediate. Plus, I have the tendency of being pretty lazy, sometimes, to be honest. My blog and my deviantart page required too much time. But who knows, maybe I’ll re-start using them one day!



Interesting you mentioned Italian comics. Over the past couple of years I’ve been getting into Franco-Belgian comics thanks to the UK company Cinebook translating them into English and I’d love to hear about some of the Italian books you mentioned. Are there any Italian comics you think that should be translated and become better known on a global stage? Either current ones or ones from your childhood? I’d love to hear a little bit about them.


Well, let me start saying that at the beginning, starting as an interior artist, I had problems working on covers.
The main problem was that my covers weren’t actual covers, they were more like big panels. I was so focused on explaining what was going to happen on the interiors, that I was losing sight of the main thing, which is the idea, the “feel” of the book (sorry for my bad english here).
For an effective cover, you don’t actually need a lot of elements, most of the time. You just focus on the main element of the story and you try to elevate it, putting a huge spotlight on it. Sometimes it could just be a moment, like a hand holding a flower, or an eye with tears. Sometimes it’s just a feeling (for example, on Black Science, most of the times you need to sell is the sense of danger, since they always end up in really dangerous worlds)
Hope my reply makes some kind of sense, eheheh


Well, puttingit simply, on a more “economical” point of view, when you work for Boom or
Marvel, you get a page rate, and no matter how much your series sells, you’ll
always get that money (plus a certain percentage when it gets published as a
TPB or hardcover or if the floppies sell really good). Working on a
creator-owned project means that the more your project sells, the more money
you get.

So, at the end,
it’s really up to you and your abilites.

On a more
“philosophical” point of view, let’s say that working for the majors is like
being a school teacher, and being a creator is like being a father/mother
raising a baby. In both cases you have big responsabilities, but at the end of the
day, a bad teacher will go back home and still earn his monthly salary. If
you’re a bad parent, there’s a fair chance you’re raising a psycho. If you’re a
good teacher, you’re helping preparing young guys to the world, but you can’t
teach them forever and probably won’t have the chance to see the results in
person. If you’re a good parent, you’ll have the pleasure to give to the world
another good human being, which I think it’s one of the most rewarding things
in life.


Thanks! That makes perfect sense Matteo! I appreciate you being honest about your own experience of covers too.


Hi Matteo
Are you able to work on more than one book at a time? I know Black Science & Dead Body Road came out at the same time, but I’m not sure what scheduling was like. I just wonder, if you are to do another creator owned, like maybe with Millar :wink: Would you need to take a hiatus from Black Science?


How long will Black Science run? Is it planned for 25 or 50 or 100 issues?


Wow, that would probably need a few hours, eheheh.
I’ll try to give you my best advice, trying not to sound cheap.
Drawing is a “mind activity”. It’s something that you understand with time, it’s a different way to observe what surrounds you. Learning how to draw isn’t like learning how to throw a muay thai kick, or how to swing a baseball bat. It doesn’t require a physical training, it requires a lot of thinking, a lot of reasoning.
With that said, what gives energy to figures and actions is the composition line. An exercise you could do is take some of your panels, put them over a light table, them put a clean piece of paper over them, and try to find the main lines of the bodies you’ve drawn (not talking about the outlines, talking about the structure lines… Hope I’m being clear enough here). Then do the same on my stuff, or on other artists that you consider to be expressive, and then compare the structures you came up with. Even with just the lines, you’ll see there’s a difference in the energy that those lines express (at least, that’s what I’m supposing, since you’ve been told your figures have the tendency of being stiff).
Now, back to my first concept: you need to see where the problem is, and constantly think about it, while working on your pages. If you understand where the problem is (composition lines probably, in your case), your brain will slowly adapt and try to solve that problem, if you stay focused on it. I honestly don’t think there’s a specific exercise you should do. You just pay attention to it and adapt. Make your brain work.

As for panel composition, you should try to extablish a sort of connection, a kind of wave that connects each panel, and try to make every panel communicate with each other. Every panel composition should drive the eye to the next panel, and that, I think, is the main goal, if you want your pages to read well.

As I told you, these subjects would require waaaaay more time, I’m just hoping I’ve been helpful enough!
Good luck!


As I said on my first post, and since you’re still not a professional artist (sorry if I’m wrong here, you just told me you had your portfolio reviewed, so I’m supposing here):
DON’T FOCUS ON YOUR SPEED right now. Just be focused on the quality of your pages. once you’ll get good enough, and you’ve found your ideal quality on your pages, then you can start thinking about your speed, about how to obtain that quality standard in less time.
It’s like being focused on the color of your car, while it still misses the engine. It’s pointless, trust me. :smile:


Eheheheh, let’s start saying that I’m not a huge movie expert. I love watching movies, just to be clear. But I’m not an expert.
That said, I would put Big Trouble in Little China in first position, but I would also give Escape for New York a mention of honor, to be honest :smile:


Well, some of the Dylan Dog stories have been published in the States as well. By Dark Horse, I think. There’s some of the best contemporary italian artists there. Dunno if it’s been published in the States, but you should definitely find a special Dylan Dog story, called Mater Morbi, written by Roberto Recchioni and illustrated by the amazing Massimo Carnevale (probably one of the best artists in the world right now, IMHO). That issue is a masterpiece.
Also, I suggest you to look out for any Sergio Toppi (R.I.P.) book. I can’t even explain in words how good they are.