Comics Salopia 2022: An Interview With Esad Ribic

by Olly MacNamee

After going missing, in which time he managed to tuck away a steak at a local hostelry, Esad Ribic arrived fashionably late. But, host Leonard Sultana quickly dived in with the questions and got the panel going.

Of course, Thor with writer Jason Aaron, was quickly mentioned. And in Spain, Loki, is still his most popular work being regularly reprinted. And, it would seem each country have their different favourites. That as about all that was said on that subject at this point.

Ribic is aware that many readers in an already niche market, may be focussed just on one corner of a superhero universe. Thus, when Ribic started on Eternals, he recognised that many readers may never have known him before this gig. Given his immense talent, this is rather an insightful and philosophical view into the business

Influentially, Ribic mentions Frank Frazetta and Moebius. Being of European stock, Ribic was fortunate enough to be … to European and American comics, so he had a wide range of artistic influences to absorb as he grew up. 

Discussing his work on Secret Wars, Ribic mentioned how sometimes the goal posts can change. The last minute decision to swell the series from eight to nine issues suggested, from the outside, Ribic was late. When he wasn’t. And so when he was seen doing commissions at a New York comic con, he was seen as slacking off. Why wasn’t he finishing the issue? Well, at that point, all issues had been completed, but Marvel had decided to change publication dates. Not Ribic’s decision, but he took the flack. As he says it, of course.

In turns of turning work in, he is never that precious. But, will always look to improve moving forward. He seems to work a few hours a day so he doesn’t get bored and slow down. He feels this way he actually works quicker that way

On his work ethic, he seems to have it down to a fine art. And while he is working he likes listening to a wide variety of listening. Podcasts, Heavy Metal, Jazz Rock, Orchestral, the lot. 

Rainbow’s Stargazer would be his perfect soundtrack to his run on Thor, for anyone interested. But, before starting on Thor, he did meet up with Aaron in New York over a few drinks. I imagine more than a few.

Of course, the subject of Thor and the swipe seen in the trailer was brought up. And on this Ribic, “couldn’t care less,” Once he has handed in his work, it’s Marvel’s. Funnily enough, he was actually invited to the premier (albeit only ten days ago), but he was already committed to Comic Salopia. He even suggests that this film may use even more of his designs than the trailer suggests. Joking he’ll be seeing it to see what he can send over to his lawyers. After all, the character of Gorr comes from his and Aaron’s Thor run. But a very visually different take on his original character. Nowhere near as alien. Still, maybe there’s a payout there somewhere, right?

Talking then about his most recent work, Eternals, with the remit they were starting from scratch on this franchise. For Ribic, he didn’t have the heavy lifting Kieron Gillen had, he was happy to simply stick to the character designs. With the Eternals you either have to go all-out full camp (like Jack Kirby), or the opposite way and full-on serious (like Neil Gaiman). Ribic and Gillen went for a happy medium, which I feel they have achieved. 

Finally, he was asked about he X-Men/Avengers/Eternals Judgment Day cross-over. With having done a big event comic (on Secret Wars he did twelve hour working days, seven days a week!) he was quick to turn down the chance to take on this cross-over. He’s done it before and never again.

And, that’s about it. Not bad for an interview that started late. I just hope you don’t get heartburn from wolfing down that steak, Esad. 

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