Romeo Tanghal SR. Interview
Romeo Tanghal Sr, is one of the best inkers and complete artists in the comic book industry. I had the special honor of posing a few questions to him, and he very graciously shared his insight on his career and his genuine love of the art!
For those not familiar with Mr Tanghal’s work he has worked on such books as: Fantastic Four, Captain America, Wonder Woman, Teen Titans, Batman and many more. Mr Tanghal’s career spans from 1970’s all the way to the 2000’s. And working on such iconic characters, and with so many diverse creative teams has given Mr Tanghal a better appreciation of not just art, but also appreciation of the fans as well. So without a further adieu let’s get the show on the road!
We the Nerdy (WTN) : When did you decide you wanted to do art, and if you had any inspiration what was it?
Romeo Tanghal: I always wanted to draw, anything that inspired me. My notebook in high school is full of sketches of my classmates, teachers and doodles. I was an artist in the class, and whenever there was a contest, I’d always win. There were local comic book artists in the Philippines. They were Redondo, Coching and Alcala, they were the dominant artists, and I always brought their comics to school and looked at them when the classes became boring. Then I met a comics artist who was already making a name for himself, and I became an assistant to him when I graduated high school. That was when my fate as the comic book artist was molded.
WTN: You do different type of art, from comics, realism, abstract… but if you had to say what would be your favorite type for you to do?
RT : I personally like to do cartoony and funny images the best and I have many ideas, but inking Super-Heroes is where the money is so I follow the money. When I was an inker, I just inked my assignment and considered it work. Like a machine… and the work offers never stopped. And just so you know I have no life at all (haha). I seldom watch TV but I knew all music because it is my companion all day and all night as I work.
WTN:What was the point for you, when you wanted to do comic book art, and did you have any inspiration on that front?
RT : The point is, I wanted to do comic book art with Jose Luis Garcia Lopez and George Perez because they are good and I learned from them. But most of my art came from mediocre artists that I always saw mistakes from, but correcting them would change their style and that pisses them off. You noticed, maybe, why every inking done by Redondo, Alcala, Nebres on someone’s else’s pencils shows their style, because their corrected the original image and don’t follow the lines. I personally do not correct mistakes (not unless the editor told me to do so) and the penciler’s shows and pencillers and editors both like it.
WTN: Do you have a favorite comic book artist, and if so why do you prefer them?
RT : Jose Luis Garcia Lopez, George Perez, Kerry Gamill… just to name a few… They are great! Their storytelling, anatomy, perspective, dramatic shots, etc etc are just inspiring!
WTN: You have worked with George Perez on some of the most iconic titles, what brought about that collaboration and what was the favorite book to work with Mr Perez on?
RT: I was getting regular works w/editors and getting high scores on deadlines. When George and Wolfman arrived at DC w/ the Titans, they couldn’t find the artist fitted to handle George’s intricate pencils. Because I am fast and because Perez and Wolfman did not really see what I can do… they gave it to me as a trial. I passed the trial and rest is just history. Anything that George pencils delighted me!
WTN: Who is your favorite character to draw and why, if you have one?
RT: Starfire. I can always find a good action pose for her. Easy for me to do.
WTN: What was your first professional work you got, and how did that come about?
RT: Professional work is when you got paid. My first assignment was paid, but it was a short story, and I honestly do not remember anymore. Point is apparently they saw my potential and just continued giving me work!
WTN: George Perez always seems like such a class act whenever he shows up on the convention circuit… How was your experience working with Mr Perez?
RT: You got it right. He is a class act! Well, I was invited again by Heroes aren’t Hard to find Comic Convention when they held their 30th anniversary of the New Teen Titans, and I was very grateful for that, and well New Teen Titans team is not complete w/out me. But of course George was the superstar!
WTN:What would you say your personal favorite comic book is? (It does not have to be something that you worked on)
RT: My favorite comics are those that have a good art in them. Art is always my number one draw and stories? Well they don’t matter as much if the art is bad.
WTN: For your inspiration, do you draw it from different media, and if so what allows you to get in the right mindset to draw?
RT: Pencil, it always starts w/ a pencil to doodle and eraser. You “doodle” with your mind to get what you want, and until you are happy with the idea you came up with. When I try to copy something verbatim, I see I can’t ever get satisfied, so I always use my imagination to create, and I like to come up with new ideas off the cuff. Imagination is unlimited and always new, so you could say that is my inspiration.
WTN: As I am a fan of Teen Titans, who is your favorite Teen Titan and why?
RT: Again…Starfire is my favorite. Don’t know why? Maybe easier for me to draw her.
WTN: Last Question… is there a book that you might consider coming out of retirement for right now, and at least do a cover for, and if so, what would that be?
RT: The New Teen Titans, pencils by Jose Luis Garcia Lopez. I’d love to ink again his fantastic action scenes and storytelling. He is phenomenal! If you will ask me who is my favorite artist? Its JOSE!
And there we have it… insight into one of the best comic book artists, that brought a lot of smiles and wonderment to people, with his vast library of work, and best of all still treats fans fairly, as he is a fan of the medium himself. He truly does what he loves to do, and we are grateful for it!