1: Who are you and what do you do?
I’m Joe Benitez and I draw comic books.
2: How did you get into what you do in the comic book field?
I showed my work to publishers, submitted samples to Marvel, DC, Image, Valiant, Extreme, anyone and everyone who at the time would take submissions. And I got rejection letter after rejection letter for over a year. But any time I got rejected, it just made me feel like working harder and getting better. I kept working at it and in '93 decided to go to SDCC to show my work. I showed it to whoever would see it. Image liked it and I was hired right there by Top Cow. A month later I got a call from DC to see if I was interested in working for them but I had already been hired by Top Cow. At the time though, that's where I wanted to be. Image was king then, it was my dream to work with Mark and Jim and all the Image guys. There was no other place I wanted to be than at image at that time. The journey can be difficult, but if you believe in your work, keep at it. If someone says it's not good enough, keep at it. And then keep at it some more until you get hired.
3: What was the first comic book you ever bought? What attracted you to it?
GI Joe, #47 I think. I was into the GI Joe toys and cartoons. One day I had some money for chips and a soda, but I saw the comic and opted to spend my money on that instead.
4:What do you do to get into your creative zone?
Usually start sketching, drawing whatever comes to mind, whatever’s in my head. Then start working one panel at a time. Put on some music, trance or new age instrumental, and eventually I get into the zone.
5: Have you ever doubted your talent? If so, how did you work through your doubt?
Many times. You just have to keep going. What I found out is that usually when you’re not confident in your work, or your work isn’t up to your standards, it just means your ability hasn’t caught up to your imagination. So you have to keep working on it til you do. Every artist gets to that point where you either quit or keep going. I’ve just never quit.
6:What is your favorite creation?
Probably Lady Mechanika. It was the first character that I had absolute power in dictating the direction of it from start to finish, it was the first time I was able to craft a character that ended up the way I imagined it.
7:Have you ever been faced with negative feedback? How was this reflected in your work, if at all?
Yes. Early on I used to take it very personal until I realized you can’t please everyone. And them not liking your work has nothing to do with your talent , it doesn’t negate your work, you just can’t please everybody and you shouldn’t worry about that.
8:Who is your greatest influence?
Probably Todd McFarlane.
9: In thinking about the things that you have created, is there something that you hated but the public may have loved?
No. I wouldn’t say there’s a particular everything. But there have been times people have given praise for work I thought was sub-par, I didn’t understand why people would like it. I can’t think of anything specific, actually the LM #0 LBCC cover, not that I hated it, but I didn’t think it was that great but people seemed to really like it for some reason.
10: If your creative work were edible, what would it taste like?
I have no clue how to answer this one….all I know is it would be spicy.