INTERVIEW: Artist and Co-Creator Erica D’Urso Brings the Action and Emotion to Inferno Girl Red

Inferno Girl Red in costume

Mat Groom and Erica D’Urso’s Inferno Girl Red has taken off on Kickstarter. Following up on our interview with writer Groom, we’re checking in with D’Urso to chat about her art and other creative contributions to this exciting new character and story.

How did you get involved with the project?

Mat and Kyle reached me last year after a lot of research. At first I gave some samples for designs and pages, because they wanted to see how it would go, but I was totally taken by the project and the idea of studying the tokusatsu genre in depth and started proposing more and more ideas. I was really inspired and one day they wrote to me that they officially wanted me for Inferno Girl Red. I cried a lot that day, I’m a very emotional person, haha!

What is your favourite thing about Cássia as a character? How is this thing reflected in how you draw her?

Càssia is a pragmatic girl, her feet are rooted to the earth and I feel really close to this side of her. She has this dragon bracelet around her wrist which can magically turn her into Inferno Girl Red, and she doesn’t believe it—how could it be possible? But it’s real, and she has to find the ability to believe in it. Believing, having faith, they’re some of the hardest things to do in life, and I feel scared just like her. I wanted to give her a lot of material beliefs and objects; she’s practical because she doesn’t believe in invisible things, like fashion trends or religion. It’s also fun to draw her with her roommate Hariette, because she’s the opposite of Càssia.

You’re no stranger to drawing women in action such as Xena and Captain Marvel, but are there any differences in your approach to the action in Inferno Girl Red in comparison to your previous comic character adventures?

This is a bit strange, to talk about this to someone for the first time, but when I read a project pitch, into my mind there is already a picture of the image and style I want. It’s not already there, of course, because I need several studies and samples to understand what my head already figured out the first time. But somehow, it’s like having a board with all the references and inspirations I need.

For every project I work on, I’d like to do what I think would work best with the story, so my style and my storytelling could change because of this. For Inferno Girl Red, I wanted to break free from my own patterns; I’m usually an overthinker and redo panels and pages several times because of a “perfect” ideal I look for. But Inferno Girl Red isn’t perfect, it has to be real, so this time I wanted to feel more free from what usually binds me drawing other heroines and see what more freedom can do with my relationship with drawing itself.

Do you have any unique stories about how you’ve come up with and executive some of the more dramatic poses?

There’s not much to say, to be honest, except that sometimes I have to act the scene itself to understand how a character is moving, haha! For the first page we showed on the Kickstarter, for example, I imagined the iconic pose of Goku in DragonBall, but I didn’t want it to be exactly the same, so I tried myself to do a Dragon Blast! and in the end I finished the pose with both fists closed, and that’s also a sign that Càssia still doesn’t believe it so much herself.

Tell us about your experience with working with Mat Groom on this project. As a co-creator, where and how did your ideas slide in?

This is my first co-creator project I worked on. Before this I worked only on characters already existing or worlds that are currently represented or even real places. Rarely have I been able to create something and every time, because of the deadlines, I couldn’t put the same effort I have put into Inferno Girl Red. I can say that it’s another world and Mat is the button that switched on my creativity again. At first I was pretty cautious; I was asking myself, “What can I propose and how much of myself can I try to put in?” But after the first emails exchanged, I started to ask and to suggest, and we ended up being on the same page. It’s an amazing feeling!

Mat indicated that the costume design is all you. How did you come up with the design concepts for the character and her costume?

I prefer saying that the costume design is a team effort. It’s true, I drew it by myself, but we worked together on what we liked and what we didn’t for some time, especially for the helmet. My very first idea for the costume was pretty far from the tokusatsu general idea, because my information about the genre was poor at first. What I came up with at first was something more similar to Evangelion and there was no helmet but a change of hair color, more similar to a Magical Girl transformation than a tokusatsu one. I started doing research into Power Rangers, but Kamen Rider was my favorite design, so I tried to imagine a Rider more similar to a dragon and with a more present-day style adding something like the shoes! I think that I’d lose the entire day talking about how much time we spent on the helmet, but I’m glad that the final design took us to a real helmet replica!

That real replica helmut is the latest tier on the Kickstarter, along with Radiant Black/Inferno Girl Red team up prints and giclees from various artists. The Kickstarter runs until May 5.


Wendy Browne

Wendy Browne

Publisher, mother, geek, executive assistant sith, gamer, writer, lazy succubus, blogger, bibliophile. Not necessarily in that order.