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Friday September 13, 2013 MYT 8:53:00 PM
Friday September 13, 2013 MYT 1:00:59 PM
by kaleon rahan
Marvel’s international talent scout Chester B. Cebulski talks about his interesting role.
EVER wished you could go globetrotting in search of the next Jim Lee or Alex Ross? Well, dream on … that job is currently held (securely) by Chester B. Cebulski, better known as “CB” – Marvel’s international talent scout!
The 40-something Cebulski put paid to my hopes of replacing him by declaring that he loves his job very much despite the extensive travel, crossing multiple time zones and keeping in touch with the team he manages back in the United States.
This being his fourth visit to the Singapore Toy, Game & Comic Convention (STGCC), we asked about the hits, misses, miss-hits and misfits he has experienced and encountered in this interesting role.
You have been a regular feature at STGCC; what’s the pull factor here? How many aspiring artists gained employment with Marvel?
We have auditioned many but the “hit rate” has not been great. Not many make it into the system – some have joined other companies, while there have been a lot of “one-hit wonders”, largely due to burnout! To date, we have only recruited two Singapore artists since I started reviewing portfolios in the STGCC.
There is this “myth” that Asian talents only produce manga-esque styles of art. Is this a fact, based on the portfolios you have reviewed?
This is not true, as Asians don’t just draw manga-style. Manga itself is very diverse. This art form is influenced by culture, fine art and diversity. It’s like food, where it involves a mixture of so many styles and from different influences.
Being a food connoisseur, any chance of the Marvel Universe going into the cooking genre (a la “Marvel Vs Food”)?
We have a few “gastronomic” projects, namely Chris Cosentino (dubbed the Greatest Chef in History), who teams up with Wolverine in a one-shot special – Wolverine: In The Flesh. There is also the Marvel Superheroes’ Cookbook: F&W’s Test Kitchen Superheroes, where I collaborated with F&W to offer more than 50 dishes from award-winning chefs.
What do you look for in a talent? Purely art? Or are there other X-factors?
Three things they must have: 1) ability to tell a story; 2) a unique style; and 3) the personality to fit in with the Marvel family, i.e. the “mental fortitude”. To encourage this, constant communication between talents and management is emphasised. We hang out during the weekend to do fun things with the families. For those based abroad, online facilities (e.g. Skype, Facetime) are used to help them break in.
What are the “Don’ts and Don’ts” (yup, said the word twice) when submitting a portfolio for review?
Never show (me) your old work, i.e. a picture you drew when you were five years old which was stuck on a fridge. You are (only) as good as your last work.
Never show unfinished work. Don’t give excuses why (it isn’t finished) as this reflects poorly on your character and raises doubt on your ability to deliver, if hired.
Never show sketches and cover illustrations. As we are looking for “storytellers”, sequential pages is what we want to see.For those applying online: Never “cold call” by sending huge digital files of your work. Send us an intro and a link to a blogspot.
What was your most memorable/ridiculous moment on the job?
I was once asked to cosplay as Chewbacca at a convention, because “Han Solo’s” partner was absent. Then, there were also artists who followed me to the men’s room and wanted to show me their portfolios (which I refused). What tops it all are people who don’t know the difference between Marvel and DC characters.
Is there any Marvel character you wish people would draw more? (Hint to all artists padding your portfolios.)
Dani Moonstar (aka Mirage), Karma and Illyana Rasputin, all from the New Mutants.
What if Stan Lee wasn’t famous and asked you for a job today? Would you hire him?
Yes, I would. Stan has the same energy level, talent and enthusiasm he had 40 years ago.
Tags / Keywords:
Lifestyle, Worlds of Wonder, comics, Marvel
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