Photo by Jim Massara
Comic book artist Drew Geraci in his Jonesboro studio.
JONESBORO Drew Geraci was 5 years old — and it was love at first sight.
Armed with a dollar his parents had given him to spend in a hospital gift shop, Geraci spotted the perfect purchase: an issue of “Captain America.” Even today he can remember the colors — “garish,” he says fondly — and the name of the man who drew it, John Romita, at that time one of Marvel Comics’ top artists.
“I re-read that issue to death all week,” Geraci says. “I was hypnotized by it.”
It’s little wonder then that the kid who fell in love with comics grew up to draw them for a living. Geraci now plies his trade from a drafting table in his Jonesboro home, where he finishes illustrations in ink of some of the best-known comic book characters in the world.
Geraci, who attended art school in his native Pittsburgh, says that as a child his friends were always asking him to draw Spider-Man and other popular superheroes.
“I would always doodle in my notebook and stuff like that,” Geraci says. “Even when I was 6 or 7 I was making my own comics. I would staple them together, write letters pages, the whole works.”
Comics even helped him to some extent get through high-school English, says Geraci, who learned from Marvel Comics’ Stan Lee-inspired writing style how to build a sentence.
Not surprisingly, Geraci considers himself to be a lifelong fan of Marvel Comics, which publishes the adventures of Spider-Man, the X-Men, the Incredible Hulk and The Avengers. More surprising, then, is that he’s spent most of his career working for the competition, DC Comics, which publishes comics featuring Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman. He’s inked them all at one time or another.
A word about “inking” a comic book: Comics have been committee creations since their earliest days, with separate people writing, pencilling, lettering and inking the artwork. Even though he can draw just fine, thank you, Geraci has worked primarily inking other artists’ pencil drawings because he’s good with detail and doesn’t draw quite fast enough to meet regular comic-book deadlines.
But don’t ever tell him that he’s just tracing someone else’s work.
His answer to anyone who jokes that he’s just a “tracer”?
“If you think it’s that easy, then you try it,” he says.
Geraci developed his eye for detail, working what he calls “old-school” art and production jobs that involved close-up work done by hand before the days of desktop publishing and Photoshop. One of those jobs, in the art department of A&P’s now-defunct office in East Point, led him to meet his wife Karen, who was an accountant. She was also a Jonesboro native. They eventually settled there.
These days, Geraci stays busy adding finish to advertising art of Marvel characters, popular because of the recent Avengers movie. He also draws private commissions, mostly through his website and Facebook page. The future may also lead him to teach. Geraci says he worked with students at Savannah College of Art and Design a few years back and would love to do it again.
In his spare time, Geraci keeps up with the latest superhero movies — he loves the recent Avengers movie, of course — and watches “Boardwalk Empire” on HBO and the National Geographic Channel. He’s also a big fan of the sitcom valentine to geeks, “The Big Bang Theory.”
“When it comes to being persnickety and know-it-all about comics, I’m Sheldon,” Geraci says with a smile.