Artist Ronilson Freire shares first peek at Titan Comics' new Wolfenstein series

Contributed by
Aug 16, 2017

MachineGames and Bethesda Softworks' sequel to its 2014 Wolfenstein: The New Order, Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus is about to storm the video game market in time for Halloween with its insane brand of Nazi-annihilating, alt-history sci-fi horror. It marches maniacally into stores October 27 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Microsoft Windows.

Titan Comics is keeping the Wolfenstein wagon rolling with a two-part prequel comic, simply titled Wolfenstein, that provides a kickass lead-in to the upcoming Bethesda video game. It's written by Dan Watters (Assassin's Creed, Limbo), with art by Brazilian illustrator Ronilson Freire (Justice, Inc, Green Hornet) and Piotr Kowalski (Dark Souls, Age of Ultron).

Here's the solicitation synopsis:

Dive headfirst into the alternate universe of Wolfenstein, a world where the nazis won the war thanks to super-advanced killing machines and vicious robot dogs. B.J. Blazkowicz returns to take on the nazis in this new two-part comic, based on the much beloved gaming franchise. Can Blazko stop the march of goose-stepping boots? Or will the sinister hans hartmann get his way?

We have an exclusive interview with the talented Ronilson Freire, whose captivating linework on Titan's The Mummy series last year brought a refined sense of horror to the classic Hammer Films adaptation.

Check out Freire's candid analysis of this new Wolfenstein project and a preview of his phenomenal interior artwork in the gallery below.

Titan Comics' Wolfenstein #1 assaults comic shops on September 13.

What was your introduction to the famed Wolfenstein franchise?

Talking about Wolfenstein is a trip to the '90s, at a time when comics were just a hobby in my life. I worked full-time with advertising as an illustrator and developing advertising campaigns.The first version of the game I came into contact with was still the MSDOS version of Windows. "First person" shooter games were new, but they were beginning to dominate the PC gaming market. I confess that the game did not arouse much interest in me at that time. I liked Wolfenstein's successor, the game DOOM.

Was there a large amount of research involved before tackling this '60s-set comics project?

I always had a fascination for everything related to World War II. I have books from the '60s that I found in a used book store and from childhood I read all about it. I remember that my grandmother had a Reader's Digest collection on World War II, and it fascinated me. The photos, the heroic stories.

Did you have fun drawing pages for this Wolfenstein prequel story?

Working on the Titan series was a great gift! Developing characters and machines related to Nazi Germany was fascinating. I like the retro-themed futuristic style, and it was my first project of the genre.

What were some of the obstacles in creating the title's distinctive, detailed style?

Perhaps the biggest challenge has once again been the radical change in my style! It had only been two months since I had finished illustrating the series THE MUMMY: PALIMPSEST for the same publisher, and Hammer, owner of the series and Titan partner in that project, had demanded a more "dirty" feature, dull as it was a series of horror. I am able to absorb new influences and direct the project I am working on at the moment. I ended up going back to my original drawing school with a cleaner design that fit the theme better.

Wolfenstein contains some wild technology and futuristic machines. Were they inspiring to bring to life?

I like the challenge of designing machines and their complex structures. I try to make them look really functional. Drawing on Wolfenstein's machines was wonderful in that respect. I had a certain comfort because I received a large collection of references of the game from the publisher. Yet I had to create some of the vehicles, like the robotic bulldozer heroes drive in Book 2 of the series. In this case the challenge was to develop the concept in the same technological style of the game. I used parts references and mechanical parts of robots and cyborgs in the series. I think the result was excellent, I hope you like it.

How was the collaboration process with writer Dan Watters?

Dan Watters' screenplay is excellent. It flows naturally, and it clearly details what you want on each page, including the layout of the pictures. All this without being overstepped by unnecessary explanations, and once again I had the freedom to work with enough freedom. I found wonderful trust between writer, draftsman, and publisher. I sent layouts for approval only from the first book. In the second book I was given permission to skip this phase and go straight to the end of the pages.

This Wolfenstein artwork is fantastically rendered and must have pushed you artistically. How did Titan assist you with delivering such amazing pages?

For the first time I worked with an art finalist (ink). Actually with two !! That way I could dedicate more to the pencil, although I did the final art (ink) of all the book 1 and some pages of book 2. In that way I was able to better develop the narrative, facial, and corporal expressions of the characters. I counted on the talent of the inkers Thiago Gomes and Zilson Costa, who did a thorough job. Congratulations to both! I hope to soon return to work on a new project as bold and enjoyable as WOLFENSTEIN!