Talking Shop with Cristian S. Aluas

Q: First, tell us a little about yourself. And where you’re from?

A: I’m a professional artist with a career spanning over 16 years. I’ve published books and produced short films. I’m originally from Canada and live in Manhattan now.

Q: Let’s start with an icebreaker. What superpower would you want to be given?

A: Super strength and a better hairline. I’m bald. Kidding. The strength would be good though. I think that can be useful to be super strong. I can help society and that would be a valuable trait.

Q: What was the FIRST comic you ever read and how did it inspire you to become the artist you are today?

A: Action Comics #594. Booster Gold beats the crap out of Superman. I loved the John Byrne art and the story was compelling because I knew as much that Superman was supposed to win. I found it at a garage sale in Ottawa. With it, I also got a
Master of Kung-Fu comic with Paul Gulacy art. He used to draw Bruce Lee as he was, with very defined muscles. I learned anatomy from copying those pages. This was before I used to devour muscle magazines.

Q: What was the TOUGHEST thing you’ve had to face in your career as an artist and how did you overcome it?

A: The toughest thing in my career was this failed book launch back on Friday, December 13th, 2002. I was launching a
specialty art book that I handmade. There were 29 artists and writers featured in the book. I had some of them flying in from across Canada to read at the launch. The problem was, I was so involved in the production of the book that my communication efforts with the venue slipped. They didn’t know that even though I was swamped, I had everything angle covered, including an alcohol license for the venue. So they canceled my launch one hour before the event. I hadn’t slept in three days. I went home and fell on my bed, defeated. I was soon awoken by a phone call. My friends and colleagues were on the steps of the downtown venue. I went back. Handed out free books to make it up to them. It was a massive financial loss. I literally had zero dollars to my name, working towards that show. A miracle happened. The graphic designer of the book talked to another venue and we had the launch with music bands a few days later. It was a huge hit.
Packed house. Fast forward 16 years, a copy of the book (which features an actual painting on the cover) is in the library archives of the National Gallery of Canada. My biggest loss is currently my proudest achievement.
I’ve done about 50 events, speaking engagements, and book launches since, so I’m pretty confident now that everything I
touch is going to be fantastic!

Q: There are 2 comics launching on October 4th. Please tell us about this event and these comics.

A: I’m the artist for both of them. One is very mainstream, with a great message, and the other ultra independent.
Camouflage #1 is written by Doug Stevenson, who is flying in for the launch from British Columbia, while the colorist
Edgar Arce is also flying in from Paraguay. The comic is about a unique superhero that is on an environmental mission to save an endangered Spirit Bear and fight big corporations. My graphic novel, Big Boss Comic, is an action-packed assassin story that was originally posted daily on Instagram. The event will be at a cozy and trendy community bookstore named Word
Up Bookstore, on Thursday, October 4th, 6PM-7:45PM, at 165th and Amsterdam Ave.

Q: Immediately, I recognize the title of your book/name of your protagonist “Big Boss” as the name of a character from the
MGS series. Is there any correlation or inspiration you got from the game?

A: I’m afraid I don’t even know what “MGS” stands for. Someone has mentioned that there was a character named “Big Boss” on some video game. That character apparently looks totally different. I created my character back in Canada, while I was still in high school, over 20 years ago. His first incarnation can be researched at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Museum at  Ohio State University (…/864A368A…). My character’s looks are inspired by the old black and white film actor David Niven and his physique and attitude are inspired by protagonists from films like Heat and James Bond, although he’s an independent contract killer.

Q: The Amazon description for the Big boss book says that the comic started on Instagram. How did that start and when did
you know this project would transform from online into a book?

A: I published another graphic novel with the character and produced a short live-action film before this. The idea was to keep the character going, while I simultaneously spent a year and a half writing a feature-length screenplay. I needed a
format that would hold me accountable for producing art each day so I decided on Instagram as a platform. I posted one panel per day, five days per week, for over 13 months straight. I knew from the beginning that I was going to compile this into its own graphic novel. I was hoping there wouldn’t be as much editing but there was quite a lot that I wanted to touch up before it went to print. I redrew some panels, took out a few, added new ones, and changes some dialogue. Even though you can still read it for free on Instagram, what I’m presenting now is the definitive version. This is also a one-man
operation, unlike my previous volume, “Big Boss: Gun For Hire.” Comic book writing and drawing in it’s purest form.

Q: I can see that the big boss comic is a part 2. Is there going to be a part 3?

A: There might be a part
three. I have some ideas. We’ll see how this is received first. I’m just happy that I can have this all completed into a format that I can be proud of.

Q: What is the other comic involved in the launch and what is it about?

A: As I mentioned, it’s very eco-friendly. There’s a guy named Camo and he works with a conservationist named Raven. She’s got special powers and he develops
powers too. It’s pretty wild! Some of my best work, really. The cool thing is that I did everything on this comic but the writing. It’s my friend Doug’s comic but it’s special to me too. I’m curious which comic my peers gravitate to more, Camouflage or Big Boss Comic. They are both very different but both an extension of my talents.

Q: How can we find you on social media, the internet, in person, and online stores?

A: You can find me @bigbosscomic on Instagram, at my website, and Big Boss Comic is available on
Amazon/Kindle/Comixology. In person, come to the comic launch on October 4th! I’m also gonna have a table at Diversity Con
at FIT on Oct 12th (…/diversity-comic-con/index.php). I’m a small independent creator so you can reach me easily by email through my website. I always respond to positive comments, sales,
and commission opportunities.