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BossLogic On Scooping Marvel, Working With The Rock, And His Future In Fan Art And Beyond - Exclusive Interview

Kode Abdo, better known by his professional name and social media handle, BossLogic, started out his work in the realm of fan art cobbling together tributes to a favorite TV show on Photoshop. From those humble beginnings, he has ascended into a rarified place to which few fan artists can aspire. His work has garnered him a massive online following, which counts among its ranks some pretty big names from the worlds of superhero television and cinema, including Jake Gyllenhaal of Spider-Man: Far from Home and Brie Larson of Captain Marvel.

If things stopped there, it'd make for a pretty fun story, but BossLogic's arc aims higher, as the attention he's earned in the fan art game has translated into several opportunities to work with some pretty big-name collaborators. The Russo brothers, directors of several Marvel Cinematic Universe films, have commissioned the artist for multiple pieces tying in to the studio's era-capping epic, Avengers: Endgame, and there's apparently more to come from the Marvel/BossLogic relationship. The artist isn't just a Marvel phenom, though, having been tagged by none other than Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson to craft imagery of the action superstar in a role he would eventually land, Black Adam.

In our exclusive chat, BossLogic reveals his secret origin story, talks about his entree into the Marvel pantheon, and breaks down the art of taking fandom into a visual medium.

BossLogic breaks through

How did you get started with fan art, and what was the first project for you that sparked that particular avenue, artistically?

So, basically, I started off doing just normal art and my own concepts and stuff. I was always used to fan art, but I started watching the show Arrow on the CW Network and, every week, I would make a mock-up poster for it. And people started enjoying it, picking it up, and recommended me doing it for other shows like Flash, and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., all that sort of stuff. But then, I started expanding into casting people, and stuff, and that just blew up. And, ever since then, I've just created more stuff.

What was it about Arrow, specifically, that you found inspiring?

Well, the first couple of seasons were pretty damn good television, and it was the best comic book TV series that I've watched since probably Smallville. Basically, there was stuff I wanted to see in the series, so I would make a mock-up poster to maybe, I don't know, see if I could influence it or maybe get the directors to look into maybe adding that in. But yeah, I just wanted the show to go in a direction that I saw it going in, but it didn't end up going there in the other seasons. It's still a spark, like, creativity-wise.

What would you say is your favorite fandom, for lack of a better way of putting it? And what is the moment with it that made you a fan? Is it comics, is it movies, TV? Where would you say that lies?

It's pretty global. I'd say all pop culture, but for me, it's cartoons, like comics, all that sort of stuff. I didn't start off hardcore with the books, but then I got into the books after liking the characters and wanting to learn more of them. I was a very big anime buff at the first, Dragon Ball Z and all that sort of stuff, but it all blends together. That's why I like mixing them up.

Obviously, this started out as a hobby, as something you were doing for yourself. What was the moment that you realized it was taking off and becoming this phenomenon?

Basically, when the Russo brothers reached out to me, after I was making mockup posters for The Avengers. So, the Russo brothers reached out and told me to come visit them when I'm in L.A. And, ever since then, I've had the opportunity to make official Endgame posters. So, that's when it kind of transitioned from fan art to official art.

You were garnering a pretty big following with the work you were doing for a while, right?

I was. It was the first time ever working with Marvel officially, so it was kind of a big deal for me. 

That's interesting because, back in the past, you probably would've had studios coming down on you, or sending cease-and-desist letters. What do you think changed that instead the creators of these properties are embracing the stuff you do?

I think it was the social network age. People make fan art, and they put it out there as kind of pre-promotion for the company, especially when the fan art is good and very global and it brings attention to the movie. Studios pay thousands and thousands, even millions, to advertise their stuff, and people are just advertising it for them, I think some studios may actually like that. Actually, some studios I've seen embrace that, where they get fan art contests, they get fans to make fan art and they use them officially, which is good, because they interact with their fans and they don't look like a cold company. They look like they're looking at their fans.

What you're saying is absolutely true but, for so long, that lesson seemed obvious to everybody on the fan side, but the people on the business side didn't seem to be getting it.

Yeah. It is good now. It's like, I think the people in charge of advertising kind of see the global scale of things. For instance, if a TikTok influencer took something about a movie and that goes global, gets a million hits, that's millions of hits that they didn't pay a cent for, and that's money for them.

Marvel and the Rock get into the BossLogic business

So, what was that moment like for you when the Russo brothers, out of the blue, reached out to you, talking to you about your art?

That was surreal. It was messaged in an email, so it didn't feel like it was too crazy. But when I went to L.A. and I got there and went into their studio, I went into their office and stuff, he was the most chill dude, Joe Russo. We just talked shop. He was telling me how much he loved my work, and he put me in contact with the heads of Disney, and got me on Endgame. And from then, we've done a few jobs together as well. I got a few upcoming projects with them, as well. So, it's kind of crazy, the turn of events.

Is there anything you can tease about what you have upcoming, or are the Marvel snipers waiting to get you?

It's all NDA for now. They're exciting projects, through. You guys would dig them.

So, the other big name that you've been associated working with was the Rock. Can you talk a little bit about that experience, and working with him?

So, basically, with the Rock situation, I created some fan art of Black Adam and I created some fan art of Superman. And he'd been seeing them, and one day, he liked my status and he tweeted it, but then he actually followed me, and then sent me a message via DM saying that he would like to work with me on a certain project. So, then, I gave him my email, and then he sent it. He sent his agent to give me the brief of what it was, and he wanted a picture of basically Superman beating the crap out of Black Adam, because he wanted to promote that image, which made no sense. But yeah, that was okay.

Did you have any back and forth with him in the creation process, or was it just kind of him giving you the green light and you doing what you do?

Well, his agent showed him. He got a comic strip from one of the fan comics where Superman knocked out Black Adam, and they said they wanted to recreate that piece. I did my own take on it and it turned out good, but I still don't get why he wants to be beat up.

If you're going to be beat up, then being beat up by Superman is a pretty good badge of honor.

Yeah! And after that, he shared it, and then he announced a little bit later on that he was Black Adam.

Other than the names we've talked about — The Rock, the Russo, the Jake Gyllenhaal thing on The Tonight Show — has there been anyone else who's reached out to you or expressed interest in your work that's surprised you?

Ryan Reynolds has helped me out a lot, and also, I've done a couple of jobs for him. He's really generous and he's actually helped me with stuff in the industry. So, he's a big help to me.

Was that primarily Deadpool stuff?

For him? No, I did some stuff for his Netflix movie, 6 Underground. I did some stuff for that officially.

You should actually redeem Ryan Reynolds as the Green Lantern. I think if anyone can do it...

I would do it, but I think he really, really, really hates the character.

What would you say is your favorite fan casting piece that you've ever done?

Well, it happened! I've done Mahershala Ali as Blade, and that was my favorite, but that's an actual thing now.

What was your reaction when you read that news? Were you just, like, "Call me, Kevin Feige?"

That's actually a true thing now. I met Kevin Feige at the Endgame premiere, and he goes, "Why do you keep spoiling my announcements?"

BossLogic's dream comic artist collaborations

Is there a fan casting piece you've done that you most hope comes true in the future?

Probably the John Krasinski as Mr. Fantastic. I know it's a famous casting, but it's just there.

A little gray dye on the sides and he'd be set.

And Emily Blunt is his wife, so that works, chemistry-wise.

When you're doing these fan casting pieces, do you take into account whether, realistically, this person could or couldn't be cast, or is it just letting your imagination run wild?

No, I try to go for realistic. I kind of don't like when people say, "Oh, he's too short, he's too tall." I don't think that really matters in Hollywood, especially on camera, unless they're super tall. But, yeah, I kind of try to go realistic.

I think a lot of people were really psyched about your Taron Egerton Wolverine, specifically because of the height.

Yeah. And also, Joe Russo kind of digs that idea as well, so it kind of works. I hope they'll actually look into it.

When it comes to working with other artists, you did work with Jim Lee on one of those Black Adam prints. He's a pretty famous name in the comics world. What was that experience like?

That was one of the highlights of my career, because I grew up with the Jim Lee comics and the cards and stuff, especially when it was back in the X-Men days. And I received the phone call from him, and he's like, "Hey, this is Jim Lee. Basically we're doing a project." The Rock reached out to him and they want to do a collaboration with me." And I'm like, "Yes, sure."

How did that collaboration work?

So, basically, I think the Rock and his team reached out to DC. and they wanted, I think Jim Lee on it, or Jim Lee and me on it, so they decided to do a collaboration piece. I got to recreate one of Jim Lee's official original Black Adam outlines. That was crazy.

Are there any other artists in the comics world you'd really be dying to collaborate with?

Probably Alex Ross. I love his stuff. I grew up with his stuff as well.

Do you have a particular Alex Ross title or piece that you've always come back to as your favorite?

You've probably seen it. One of my favorite of his pieces was this blood-red sort of Superman. He has him floating, and the cape kind of blends into him. And there's also one where Superman's got his shirt unbuttoned and he's sitting on the couch next to a lamp.

Alex Ross's stuff is always so beautiful.

Yeah, they kind of feel real to you even though they're not real. That's why I love his stuff.

You just characterized Alex Ross's art really well. Do you have a style that you go for specifically?

My stuff, I kind of lean towards realistic kind of takes, kind of like Alex Ross. I'm heavily influenced by his stuff. I love his stuff.

Would you say he's your biggest influence as an artist?

Influence-wise for fan art, yeah, he's basically one of my biggest influencers. But for art in general, there's an artist called Michael Luna. He's the one that basically keeps me going in art. I wanted to quit a million times, but he's the reason I'm still doing it.

BossLogic at the movies and beyond

Let's talk about your movie posters. You mentioned the Endgame one. Your Aladdin poster also really popped. Movie posters seem like a really interesting art. There's been a lot of criticism of them over the years with just the floating heads and the black background, and that kind of thing. What do you think makes for a really compelling movie poster?

Story. Story is the most important, but just to put it out there, when you see the floating head stuff, you've got to remember there's two aspects to that. The floating head stuff is usually in the actor contracts. They need to be on the poster. And sometimes, the company just wants actors, and actors, and actors on the poster. For me, my favorite type of poster doesn't have actors in it. It's just a subtle, very, very deep storytelling picture, and you don't need even faces for that. The message is there. That's what I love about posters.

Is there a movie poster that really inspires you, either as an artist or a fan?

I love the simplicity of the classic stuff. If you look at the Exorcist poster, the classic Exorcist, where he's standing outside her house. You know which one I'm talking about?


So, basically, you've got the priest just standing outside her house. There's a silhouette, there's a light, and basically you feel what he's feeling in that picture. And there's not much going on.

You can draw a parallel from that directly to your Aladdin poster, because you have a lot going on within the plume coming out of the lamp, but it's just all based on that one plume. Was that what you were shooting for there?

I wish I had more time on that one. I had four days on that one. They gave me the project and said, "You've got four days. Can you do something?" I'm like, "Yeah, okay."

That's pretty good for four days.

The execution is not bad. It's just thinking of the idea is the problem. That's the one that takes the time.

Doing work with these big properties with Marvel and Disney is a big deal. In the future, are you looking more for that type of work? Are you looking to just do more of your own thing? Where do your aspirations lie from here?

I actually have a team now, a team of artists in New York, and we work together on huge projects. There's actually a company that's going to be announced on the 30th that we've been working on for three months. It's a big gaming company, and it's kind of big news. But, all in all, with this team, I'm looking... I love doing posters for companies and stuff, but we have a million and one ideas of our own that we want to bring to life. That's movie ideas, short movie ideas, crazy characters. And that's the field I want to get into. I want to be my own production house creating stuff. I want to make something come to life, like having the characters, people do stunts as the characters and stuff, that sort of stuff.

Will you still always do fan art?

Yeah, I'll always be that artist, but just a little less.

Just as a wrap-up question, here, who would you say is your favorite superhero of all time?

Honestly, it's Magneto. Because a lot of people don't see him as a superhero, but if you look at his morals and what he's doing to influence people, I just love everything about him.

Who would you cast as the new Magneto?

I don't know. Because the current one is so good that I don't want it to change.