Nelson DeCastro
Born into the humble DeCastro family on February 17, 1969, this comic book master of pen and paintbrush is best known throughout the industry by his first name...Nelson. Nelson was fortuitous enough to sell his first work to Marvel Comics in 1993, while still attending Manhattan's prestigious School of Visual Arts. The piece was a striking painted cover for the popular occult hero, Ghost Rider. But the young artist cites as his first "comic book experience" —his first pen & ink foray into sequential panel art— a 6-page comic book story he completed for Marvel's Custom Comic division. When asked if circumstances forced him to choose between painting and drawing, Nelson cringes. The versatile artist insists that he enjoys both art forms with equal passion. If he spends six months rendering in black and white, Nelson spends the following six months painting in full color. "But since people seem to appreciate my paintings more than they do my pen and ink work, I guess I'd have to choose the paintbrush," he admits. Nelson reserves a soft spot in his heart for the classic characters, especially Wolverine, Spider-Man, and Spider-Man's gallery of sinister villains. Rather than thinking these characters suffer from too much exposure, Nelson constantly challenges himself to portray them in novel situations and surroundings. Deadline pressures serve as a constant reminder that sleeping habits can change at the drop of a hat. The ebullient artist has learned to drink massive amounts of coffee while struggling to finish a piece without sacrificing quality. Whereas Nelson has found the comic book industry to be financially rewarding, he wouldn't be in the business if his heart wasn't in it. "There's nothing on the planet I'd rather do — except maybe become a cast member on 'Saturday Night Live' where I could be surrounded by supermodels. Or maybe I'd try my hand at Hollywood special effects." The talented creator worked on his own three-issue series for Dark Horse Comics. This horror comic was a sequel to the critically acclaimed Eudaemon mini-series he produced for the same company in 1993. Not only did Nelson supply all the artwork, but also he wrote it and created all the characters for the series. The characters Nelson would love to illustrate on a regular basis are Batman and, of course, Spider-Man. "I know him well enough, which is the most important thing. I'd love to take a swing at him, no pun intended." Nelson also cites Hellboy as a potential character he'd like to handle, "but it's being done so well right now, I'd probably just mess it up!" Mr. DeCastro considers John Romita as his primary influence in the comic book field. The first comic book he can remember reading as a child was a John Romita Spider-Man featuring the Gibbon. "That comic really did its job because it made me feel sympathetic for the bad guy." Feeling a sense of nostalgia, Nelson is happily working on a portrait of the Gibbon, for the Legion of Losers trading card subset from Fleer. The young artist also seeks inspiration from album covers and other sources outside the comic business. "Caravaggio is a master," he asserts. "He's just phenomenal. I can stare at a piece by him forever." Nelson adds Joe Jusko, Frank Frazetta, and Simon Bisley to his list of painting influences. "They have comic style painting down to a science. But I've been told my stuff stands apart from them because I try so hard to make each painting photorealistic." In fact, one of the greatest compliments Nelson ever received about one of his pieces was from an editor who expressed that he felt as though he could "just reach in and touch the guy." What does the future hold for multi-talented artist with the single nomenclature? "I'd like to try my hand at sculpting, but I can never find the time," he laughs. When he isn't working feverishly at his easel or his drawing table, Nelson can be found playing his guitar like a madman. He also admits to enjoying hockey, just for the fights. As if h