Recently, Walter Simonson told us in our interview some of the story arc details behind the World of Warcraft comic book. This time we asked Ludo Lullabi various questions about his career background and how he acquired the opportunity to pencil the artwork of this successful Wildstorm comic book. The moment fans of the World of Warcraft game beheld Ludo’s artistic style they fell in love with the comic book. The community may now find out more about Ludo Lullabi, if he plays the MMORPG, and how long will he be commited to this project. At the bottom, we have exclusive preview images of World of Warcraft# 4 courtesy of DC Comics. Issue# 4 hits newsstands on February 20th, 2008.
1.Could you introduce yourself to the World of Warcraf fans? Personal life highlights such as college, and career background.
Ludo: My name is Ludo Lullabi, I’m 29 years old. I’m a self-proclaimed BD artist, and I live in Southern France.
I’ve worked on several series in France (Eternal Midnight, Kookaburra Universe, Lilian Cortez) … Paralell with World of Warcraft, I’m working on the adaptation to manga format of the best selling french comic book named “Lanfeust de Troy”; the name of the manga is Lanfeust Quest.
2. After reading the World of Warcraft Con-exclusive Ashcan (sampler), I found out you submitted files to Blizzard and the idea of a WoW adaptation to comic books. Were you who got the ball rolling for the comic book to become reality, or was this something already set in motion by the time you contacted Blizzard?
Ludo: When I proposed my services to Blizzard for the adaptation of World of Warcraft in comic book format, they were very fast in their reply, saying that they enjoyed what I’ve done and that it would be me who would do the comic book; meanwhile, I didn’t really knew if there really was a project of adaptation going on, or if it was planned for a later date.
3. What did Blizzard tell you about your artwork talent?
Ludo: Like I said earlier, I’ve had very positive feedback from Blizzard regarding the drawings I sent them and while I’m working on the comics, I know they are very happy with the results.
4. In the Ashcan, it says World of Warcraft# 1-12 comic book is your first American project. Did you have to relocate to the United States? If so, what challenges or good things have happened to you ever since?
Ludo: No, I didn’t have to relocate, this is in fact my first United States work and I think it won’t be the last considering I have several french projects I’m working on at the same time as “Lanfeust Quest “, while I’m in France. My work with the US is done with a lot of mail exchanges, and the use of transports to send my drawings from my home to San Diego.
5. How was your first approach with DC/Wildstorm?
Ludo: At the beginning, I was working on the project with my french editor (Soleil Productions), because we thought on making an adaptation of World of Warcraft for Europe. I wasn’t really expecting doing it with Wildstorm for the United States. Soleil Productions is always in charge of distributing the series in France and my first contacts with DC Comics were made by liaison of Soleil. Nowadays I’m in direct contact with Wildstorm, but Soleil is still very commited in the project.
6. What was your reaction when they called you to join the World of Warcraft comic book team?
Ludo: It was something rather unreal when I made the file. I wasn’t really expecting much out of it, it was something like “I have nothing to lose”, but I wasnt expecting when the comic was made official. Now that the project is well started and I’m working on it, it’s still very weird when people talk about WoW on the television, internet, or the press, because that reminds me thats me who is making the comics of this enourmous game; and that occupies a large part of my daily job ; It’s very weird ; I sometimes think about my first hours of the game when it came out in France some years ago without having a clue that it was going to be me who would be doing the comics!
7. How has your relationship with Wildstorm spanned out so far?
Ludo: It’s Wildstorm who is in charge of supervising the elaboration of the comics, and it’s them who centralize the project. So I only have very few direct contacts with them, it’s mostly mails from them.
8. How is your communication with Walter Simonson?
Ludo: It’s Wildstorm who’s centralizing, so I don’t have direct contact with him.
9. How do you deal with his notes to create each panel?
Ludo: That depends on what I gotta do, if it’s a page that needs references, I do research either on the net, or directly in-game. After that, I try to work out on a solution to make something I want to draw and that works with Walter’s script. The method we use is pretty flexible to me, because I can easily adapt the script to my style, and then Walter reworks on the texts according to my drawings.
10. Do you have any contact with Sandra Hope and Randy Mayor after you are done with all the panels? Or does someone else take care of supervising that coloring and ink matches the Warcraft mythos and style?
Ludo: Like I said, it’s Wildstorm who’s centralizing ; however, I’m really satisfied with the work on the ink and colours, so I don’t supervise much on those aspects. I’m a big fan of Sandra since “OUT THERE ” and Randy’s work is top quality. I don’t know if he has someone who supervises the colours for consistency, or if he does research by himself, but either way I think that he’s respecting the World of Warcraft universe.
11. Have you played Warcraft III or its previous games?
Ludo: I’ve played Warcraft 3 and i also have the expansion which is sitting on one of my shelves. In fact I searched for those games after the beginning of the project to refine my knowledge of the warcraft mythology, but because of lack of time I never advanced much on those games. Fortunately, there’s lots of ways to learn about the lore, mainly the internet. But I really discovered this universe in World of Warcraft.
12. I heard you are an avid World of Warcraft player, with a level 70 character. Are there any outdoor, indoor or dungeon scenarios, landscapes, objects, NPCs that you find inspiring as to capture as artwork? I noticed how you captured Dire Maul from a Zeppelin view, and a sketch of the Booty Bay entrance.
Ludo: I’m a big WoW player, at least I was, because of lack of time my level 70 is feeling a little lonely ; but that may change with “Wrath of the Lich King,” which will certainly be a lot of fun with my editors. I’d love to draw Illidan, or Arthas and work on their mythology ; but I think Blizzard prefers to develop the intrigues which are still rather fuzzy in the universe.
13. Did you look at Blizzard artists’ drawings and concept art as a guide for the comic book, or did you play the game to look at Orgrimmar and other locations?
Ludo: Both, I’ve studied the decoration in the game to keep it faithfull for the players, and also the work of the artists to familiarize myself with their vision of the universe without the constraints and graphical limitations of the game.
14. Do you have the ability/intent to introduce any unique design elements to the warcraft world, such as architecture or creatures, or is it strictly by the books?
Ludo: They gave me carte blanche” for certain elements. For example, in issue # 3 there’s an Elemental in the Pools of Vision that wasn’t suppossed to be there. They let me draw that ; nevertheless I took into account the fact that it was necessary to make it look as a creature that you could find in the game thus I made it so that one can believe that it made part of the Earth elemental family.
15. Is this your first fantasy world related project?
Ludo: No, the manga I’m working in France is a Fantasy series. Another series I’ve worked (Lilian Cortez) could also be considered fantasy (but more of the style “Final Fantasy”).
16. Did you find any challenges along the development of each comic book issue? How did you overcome them?
Ludo: Actually I’m more and more at ease with this project, I was a little shy at first, but in time I got used to it. My biggest difficulties are the deadlines, because I also have a contract with the manga “Lanfeust Quest”. So every month aside from the 22 pages of World of Warcraft, I also have 60 pages of manga to do, and it’s very difficult to keep up with the deadlines. At this moment, I’m a working “no life”
17. How much involved is Blizzard Entertainment when it comes to approving each artwork, panel, page, and comic book issue you work on? (Samwise Didier, I guess)
Ludo: I know that there’s alot of people in Blizzard who are observing the right unfolding of the project, they help me check if there’s any mistakes in the mythology, the races, etc. … and when I do have corrections to do, it’s usually in terms of “change that dagger into a staff”, or something along those lines …
18. Any plans in your career beyond World of Warcraft# 1-12?
Ludo: I probably should only do the first arc (#1-6) but it will have an extra issue ( so it’s #1-7), after that I will only do the covers of #8-13 … but I will certainly be back. The french manga is already taking an enormous amount of time, and I do love drawing it … but I also love drawing World of Warcraft. Actually, I love all these projects, too bad there’s only 24 hours in a day!!
Thanks, Ludo Lullabi for your time and dedication to the World of Warcraft comic book and to this interview. Fans may visit the Comics Store Locator to search their nearest store by zipcode to buy the most recent issues. On July 2008, DC Comics is releasing World of Warcraft Vol. 1, a tradepaper back collecting the first 7-issues of the first arc.