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How I got started in Comics

This interview was conducted on June 3, 2006 at Danny Bulandi's home in South San Francisco, California, USA


Frank Baldevarona: Good afternoon Danny, how are you doing today?

Danny Bulanadi: I am very well and fine, thank you.


FB: You were born and raised in the Philippines?

DB: I was born in 1946 in Manila, Philippines.


FB: When you were younger, what got you interested in drawing?

DB: When I was a young boy, I used to draw on the side of my house and the side of the stairs. Sometimes, during a full moon, I would draw on the ground. Everyone liked what I was doing, they said, “Oh, you will be an artist when you grow up.” Using a stick, I would draw Tarzan and even portraits of my grandmother and mother, which made them very happy.  That’s when I knew I would really like to be an artist. My mother used to buy me American comics such as Batman, Superman, and westerns.  When she got home I would get them from her and start drawing, copying from the comics.


FB: Where did you study to be an artist?

DB:  I studied various art forms in the University of Santo Tomas in the Philippines.


FB: You started working as an apprentice for:

DB: Tony deZuņiga. When I was working for GMS Komiks, I met Tony, talked to him and found out he was looking for an assistant. I applied for it and was accepted. He adopted me, I lived with him, and he taught me what he knew.


FB: So, Tony recruited you as his assistant?

DB: Yes, to do sketches of some of his novels, such as Hokus Pokus. It was about a guy who worked in the circus as a magician who became a masked superhero. Hence, Hokus Pokus.


FB: What kind of comics did you illustrate in the Philippines?

DB: There were alot. When I became established as artist, I worked for the top publishing company, Roses Publication. The books I worked on were Pilipino Komiks, Hiwaga, Espesyal Komiks, Tagalog Klasiks, and even Liwayway.


FB: Did you work as a commercial artist while in the Philippines?

DB: At the time, my mind was strictly on Komiks. I couldn’t really do anything else, due to the strict deadlines.  Sometimes, they would give you a script that was due the next day.


FB: How many pages was that?

DB: That would be a four-page script. So sometimes you would work all night and not get any sleep.  And there was more pressure in that you did both pencils and inks.


FB: So did you do pencil breakdown and then finish in ink?

DB: Right, because you needed to finish it on time.


FB: And comics then were weekly?

DB: Bi-weekly. So in two days, they needed the finished product, so that they could take it to print, and publish it the next day.


FB: So in the early 70’s you came over with Tony deZuņiga?

DB: No. They came first. I came around 1975 and went directly to New Jersey, to my friend, Romeo Tanghal. He helped me get into the DC Comics offices, where I met Joe Orlando.  Joe saw my work and liked it. He gave me some inking assignments. As I finished those assignments, Joe gave me more and more work like Kamandi, Legion of Super Heroes, and Weird War. There were so many that I can’t recall them all.


FB: At that time they were inking jobs?

DB: In DC Comics, I was a both a penciller and an inker.


FB: How did you transition over to Marvel Comics?

DB: When I worked for DC, I also applied to Marvel to get more assignments. Louise Jones, who was the editor of the Micronauts really liked my work. She gave me my first Marvel job on the Micronauts.


FB: That was inking over Pat Broderick, later Gil Kane, then Butch Guice.

DB: Right, and all the other pencillers who worked on the book in between those guys.


FB: Tell me about your work in Canada.

DB: I met Scott Sterling in San Jose, CA. He wanted to promote his television station in Canada. He hired me as his artist.  So I created Captain Newfoundland (later Captain Atlantis) and helped design Captain Canada and other superheroes in the Atlantic Universe of superheroes.


FB: You also did some artwork for TV Guide?

DB: Yes, I did a series in TV Guide, using Captain Newfoundland and Captain Canada.


FB: Somewhere in the 90’s you changed the way you ink from a rendering style to more (then) current style of inking. What brought about the change?

DB: Sometimes, the penciller wants their style to show through. This was about the time when Jim Lee started getting famous. Everyone was drawing or inking like Jim Lee. When I worked on Fantastic Four, I studied and adopted Jim’s style, which really clicked with Paul Ryan’s layouts. That was a very successful run for Marvel, selling millions of copies and garnering me lots of royalties (laughs). Captain America was another book that I inked in that style for a long time. That was over Ron Lim, Kieron Dwyer, Dave Hoover and many other pencillers. Sometimes I helped the artists by tightening up their loose pencils, so that they would look good in the finished product.


FB: Any other professional work aside from comic books?

DB: I was a freelance artist in the gaming industry. My job was to create character designs for video games. I also worked for Hanna-Barbera. This was during the slow-down in the comic book industry. I did storyboarding for Johnny Quest. I also worked for Marvel Productions on the Transformer cartoons. I did mostly character and background design.


FB: That was in…

DB: I believe that was around 1988. I moved to Los Angeles. I also freelanced work for some other companies in the area.


FB: You are primarily known as an inker but want to shed that image. What else do you do?

DB: Unfortunately, at the time Marvel had a lot of deadlines to meet and saw that I could finish my inking commitments quickly.  They liked my pencils, but needed me more as an inker. I can pencil as well as ink. I have done commercial art, gaming art, storyboards, watercolor, and painting.


FB: You like to paint.

DB: Oh, yes. I paint in my spare time. I like to paint subjects such as American Indians, Filipino folk life, and scenery.


FB: Recently you finished up a 312-page comic book adaptation of both the Old and New Testament books of the bible. How did that come about?

DB: A fan recommended me to a missionary, who in turn worked with Michael Pearl of No Greater Joy Ministries. The missionary I spoke with wanted to replace the pictures in his missionary pamphlet from American scenes to those of the Philippines, since that was where he was going.  I did a few pages for him, which got the attention of the main office of No Greater Joy Ministries. Michael Pearl liked my work and gave me a call to discuss the adaptation of the bible into comic book form. I thanked God and then met with Michael to go over his plan. The discussions took over a week. Soon after returning home, I started receiving scripts, from Michael. I would fax him back pencil roughs. The whole project took over two years to complete. I handled both penciling and inking jobs. The book is called “Good and Evil”, which is soon-to-be, if no already published. The plan is to translate it into other languages, to be used as a missionary tool.


FB: What are you doing now?

DB: I am currently retired, working on some commission artwork and painting. I am hoping to get back into the comics field. Ralph Maccio contacted me about some possible work, but that is waiting on others to come to reality. Tentatively, it would be as an inker over Tom deFalco on Spiderwoman.


FB: For the fans, that are reading this, is there something you want to say?

DB: First of all I really want to thank my fans for their support. Please check out my website to see what else I can do, then send me an email or two. I am available for commission work. I can pencil, ink, ink over other artists, do color-wash and paint. Take a look at the gallery in my website.


FB: About the website, one of its main purposes is to dispel the notion that Danny Bulanadi is just an inker.

DB: That’s it. I also hope that it will expose me and show the world who I am and what I can do as an artist.


FB: One last question. How do you pronounce your last name?

DB: It is pronounced in the Italian style. (Boo-lah-NA-dee).


FB: Thank you Danny for giving us the time for this interview.

DB: You’re welcome. Thank you.

The artist amid his art

Danny Bulanadi and Frank Baldevarona

Leif Erikson meets Captain Atlantis

The Art of Danny Bulanadi 
All characters in the images on this site are Š copyrighted and owned by their respected creators and companies. www.bulanadiart.com does not intend to infringe on any copyrights held by these parties.