Q&A: Sergio Cariello
A: I just picked up the pencil and got busy with it! Watching TV, and life around me, and reading comics fed my brain with enough imagery to draw. I spent hours on the floor drawing with all kinds of writing tools on all kinds of surfaces. My brother and I just loved to draw everything, everywhere.
Q: You created an original comic strip character for a local newspaper at age 11? How did that come about?
A: It was on a Sunday afternoon that I found out this newspaper welcomed young artists to draw for them. I sat down and created the strip, Frederico the detective, that same day, with the speech balloons and all. I submitted it and a few weeks later my strip was awarded best strip among kids my age.
Q: What brought you to the United States? Where did you attend school?
A: I came to the U.S. because I found a school that taught students how to draw comics. First I went to the Word of Life Bible Institute in upstate New York, and then I attended the Joe Kubert School of Cartoons and graphic Arts in Dover, NJ. I eventually became an instructor at the Kubert School, teaching a variety of classes, for seven years.
Q: You’ve illustrated our favorite comic book characters, from Spiderman and Batman and Superman to
Wonder Woman and The Avengers. How did you get involved with The Action Bible?
A: I got an email from Mary McNeil and Bob de La Pena from Cook asking if I’d be interested in drawing for The Action Bible. They saw a drawing I did of the Crucifixion for another Christian book and gave me a tryout page for David and Goliath. Instead of one pencil page with one panel inked and colored, as they requested, I submitted the entire page inked, colored and lettered!
Little did Mary and Bob know that my parents had bought The Picture Bible [earlier version of The Action Bible] for my brother and I when we were kids. I had immersed myself in those stories, which I had already heard in Sunday School, because I could not only read the words but see the stories as well. I consider my illustrations for The Action Bible to be a lifetime achievement!
Q: What is your hope for children who pick up The Action Bible?
A: I hope they finish the cycle by immersing themselves into The Action Bible as I did with the original Picture Bible as a child. I also hope it will bring life to them and inspire them to do great things for the Artist of Artists, Jesus Christ Himself. After all, it’s ALL about Him.
Q: How is The Action Bible different from other illustrated children’s Bibles?
A: There are many different ways to illustrate the Bible, but I did it in the style I’m accustomed to: the comic book format. It’s more dynamic to have images and text intertwined, constantly pulling the reader’s eye toward the ultimate climax of the story, progressing like a movie. I hope The Action Bible will draw audiences of all ages with its dramatic storytelling format.
Q: Has this project been particularly fulfilling since it is based on characters and stories from the Bible?
A: Absolutely ! Many times I‘ve encountered myself playing the character, subsequently feeling what he or she was feeling, embracing the same challenges and applying them in my own private world. It was a thrill combined with all the emotions that the stories carry with them—a 4th dimension experience because it tapped into my soul.