Interview by Lourd de Veyra
FLY Magazine issue no. 10 - 4th quarter 1999
U.P. Fine Arts Graduate Arnold Arre used to work for several advertising agencies, until he finally realized that he was destined to work on comic books instead of ads and storyboards. AGE OF THE VALKYRIE, one of his earlier efforts, generated a lot of hate mail from whom he suspects as feminists. Arre continues to illustrate Alamat's BATCH72, and has contributed to magazines like Folio and Agenda. He is also the animator of MTV Asia's now defunct CHITO CHAT.
What makes him different from his comic book artist contemporaries is Arnold Arre's focus. In a genre populated by Western-styled characters with supernatural powers who talk with a Brooklyn twang, Arre exercised his freedom of choice by making use of our own homegrown myths and legends. He combined modern sensibilities and creates characters based on actual people (mostly friends) where his sense of humor gets the better of him as he weaves them all into a high engaging storyline. Check out THE MYTHOLOGY CLASS, a multi-part series about a motley group of restlessly curious college students who suddenly find themselves thrust into the world of enkantos, tikbalangs, Ibalon warriors, diwatas, and other fascinating creatures from Philippine folklore. "I was interested in the idea of how something like a Tikbalang would react if he sees flyovers," he explains.
Considered as his most personal work to date, THE MYTHOLOGY CLASS was started in August of 1997 and finished in July '98, ending up with 326 plus pages. If only for the audacity to weave Gen X with the elements of Philippine myths and legends, the man and his work deserve significant notice.
WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE BEEN IF YOU WEREN'T A COMIC BOOK ARTIST?
Probably a filmmaker (but considering the state of the local industry right now, I'm damn glad I'm not.)
WHAT CHANGED YOUR MIND ABOUT YOUR CAREER PATHS?
An autumn day in Germany staring out the window and suddenly realizing that the only thing I want to do in this planet is to tell stories.
WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER THE MOST INFLUENTIAL COMIC BOOKS OF ALL TIME?
Arzach Tales; War Machine; Starwatcher series; the Dark Knight Returns (damn good book!); Silver Surfer "Parables". I derive my artistic inspiration from: the stories I've read, the people I've known, the places I've been to, the experiences I've been through.
WHAT IS THE CRAZIEST THING YOU HAVE EVER DONE?
Craziest thing I've ever done and swear to God I'll never do it again: Completely passing up on an opportunity to work on a major comic book company and all because of love.
WHAT WAS THE IMPETUS FOR "THE MYTHOLOGY CLASS"?
I would say cultural interests an evening of reminiscing my college days (it was one of those sleepless nights and before I knew it, I was writing and drawing the entire book)
WHAT DO YOU LISTEN TO WHEN YOU WORK?
When I work, I listen to these CDs/artists: for jazz/pop: Sting, Incognito, Brand New heavies, Swing Out Sister, S-tone Inc. and Kevyn Lettau. For techno: the Chemical Brothers, Orbital, the Prodigy, and Fatboy Slim. For industrial: Ministry, KMFDM, Fear Factory. For classical: Tchaikovsky (probably the most underrated musical genius).
IF THESE COMIC BOOK CHARACTERS HAD BEEN REAL PEOPLE WHO WOULD YOU HANG OUT WITH?
Arzach, Druuna, and Dagger.
IF YOU WERE FREE TO CHOOSE, WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO WORK ON?
My dream project (comic book) is: To make a feature length film and do a comic book adaptation of Allan Lightman's "Einstein's Dreams".