The idea behind AWA is that by putting creators first, we all benefit. Our tagline says it all: “Where the best creators do their best work, for you.” We think the quality of our original stories backs that up, and our fans, critics, and the industry seem to agree with us.

Our “Creator of the Month” program lets us spotlight a different writer, artist, colorist, letterer or more each month, allowing you to get a glimpse into what makes them tick. (What’s more, you may ask? As you may know, AWA is venturing into film and TV, so you may just see a director or other movie auteur show up on these pages over time, too!)

Creator of the Month – February
Felipe Cunha
Artist: Gatsby, Little Black Book
Follow Felipe on Instagram @felipe_cunha

What is your favorite comic character or fictional character of all time? Why?
Spider-Man is by far my favorite, might be the character I’ve done fan-art of the most throughout my life.

Who most influenced you in the world of comics?
It varies a lot, currently I think the artist I look up to the most and who might have the biggest influence on my work is Greg Smallwood, I don’t know if stylistically that’s very noticeable but that’s who I look at the most. I think his biggest influence might actually be his workflow, he posted a lot about how he works on a page which is a more collage-like approach that I started to integrate into my own process and that made a world of difference.

Who most influenced you outside of the world of comics?
Definitely my parents. My dad got me into comics from a very early age and my mom enrolled me in art classes with a focus on comics specifically. That was the first step that got me on a trail that led me to where I am today.

Tell me about your favorite story/panel/art page from an AWA series you’ve worked on.
I was lucky that GATSBY was such a visually rich book that allowed me to go crazy on a lot of extravagant scenes, so I have a lot of favorites there because of it. But to be more current I’ll pick page eight of the first issue of Little Black Book, the splash page where we first see the titular book, it was a lot of fun coming up with names, numbers and trying as much as possible to emulate a very used up little address book. A little bit of random trivia is that the exterior of that book is modeled after an old sketchbook I have since 2008.

Tell me about a favorite story/panel/art page from an AWA series you did NOT work on.
Grendel, Kentucky from my fellow Little Black Book co-creator Jeff McComsey and Tommy Lee Edwards is one of the most beautiful comics I’ve seen. When I was still developing my style and still drawing on paper, Edwards was one of my biggest influences, that rough, densely inked look is mesmerizing, and I wanted to emulate that as much as I could. As I changed my main medium to digital, I went for a cleaner look that departed a lot from that era, I still love it though and he remains one of my favorite artists of all time. It’s tough to choose just one page or panel but it’s probably one at the very beginning of the first issue when we first see the weed bushes, I can stare at that page alone for hours.

If you were a comic book character, would you rather be the hero or the villain?
Definitely the hero, we have way too many real-life villains and not as many heroes. Not that I’d choose to be a villain if that ratio was the opposite but it’s an added motivation for this particular choice.

What’s your favorite comic book or graphic novel?
I think Art Spiegelman’s Maus is my most re-read graphic novel ever so that takes the cake easily.

What’s your favorite moment in comics ever?
I think it has to be the food court scene on Luther Strode, it’s like a Where’s Waldo of gore. Tradd Moore’s hyper detailed line work along with Felipe Sobreiro’s moody colors makes it for an all-time favorite moment.

What’s your favorite comic book genre?
I don’t think I have one, the versatility of the medium allows for a range of different stories that I want to see them all. I like the mundane, grounded slice of life stories as much as the big visual extravaganzas of superhero books.

Would you rather be invisible or have the ability to fly?
I’d like to be invisible. I like my privacy but the possibility of dramatically reducing the length of any trip by just flying there is surely enticing.

Do you think you could survive in a zombie apocalypse?
I’m at the start of yet another fitness journey, if this is the one to stick, I might have a chance but if things stay the way they are now there’s no way, I wouldn’t live past The Walking Dead’s pilot episode.

Do you listen to music while you’re creating?
I listen to podcasts 90% of the time but sometimes I’m on a more positive mood and I want to listen to music, something to match that feeling and keep me on a creative groove.

What is your favorite song or band?
Anyone that marginally knows me in person is able to answer that question, it’s the Foo Fighters and it’s been like that since I was 15. Last September, I saw them for the 7th time and managed to snag a setlist after the show. It’s also my first tattoo so I’m that guy, the Foo guy.

What is the best advice you ever got?
Be kind and communicate, it didn’t even come from just one person, it’s one of the most recurring advice I see from creators and it’s crazy to think people cannot follow that. It’s hard enough to break into an industry most people dream about their whole life, why would you put up barriers between you and your collaborators? Just tell people stuff, don’t leave anyone hanging, it’s not that hard.

Dog person, cat person, or…?
Cat person but I love dogs too

Where is your happy place?
My workspace

Tell us one of your guilty pleasures.
Can’t say I have one, I think it’s fine taking a liking of anything you want without having to feel guilty about it, as long as it’s within the confines of the law and you’re not hurting anyone, just be happy.

If you were stranded on an island with any 3 people — real or fictional, living, or dead — who would you pick?
Tom Hanks from Cast Away and Bear Grylls for their survival expertise and Stephen King so he can tell us spooky stories by the fire as our resident survivalists cook our dinner.

What’s the last movie you watched?
The Rise of Skywalker, I didn’t see it in theaters because it was so badly slammed, so much that I didn’t even care about getting its biggest spoiler. It’s been a few years now and after another set of criticism on a podcast I was listening to it made me morbidly curious to finally see it. The story is indeed as bad as people say but I think the fact that I’m not so attached to the franchise made it an easier watch than I thought. Plus, it has a nice balance of practical and computer-generated effects, something that lacks in modern blockbusters where nothing feels real.

What’s the last comic you read?
Wonder Woman Earth One by Daniel Warren Johnson. It’s the first Wonder Woman book I’ve read, and I liked it a lot, especially the subversion of a lot of the DC universe mythos in a very unique art style.

What is your favorite type of pizza/pizza topping?
The Neapolitan from a local pizzeria here is incredible, you watch them being made as you wait by the counter.

If you could have anything in the world for a last meal, what would it be?
Anything my mom cooks, don’t even have to choose a specific one.

What do you want fans to know about you?
That might be the hardest one as with most artists I’m kind of a private person, which I know is kind of contradictory because we have to promote our books. I think I like answering questions rather than providing information of my choice, people’s interest in me or my work make me be more open.

So maybe I’m encouraging people to reach out to me? I think that’s what it is!

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