Author name: Matt McGloin

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Disney Sees Superhero Dollars In Marvel Unknowns – Nova Movie?

Good to see Nova get a little PR!

 

The Associated Press –

Movie fans have shown a willingness to be entangled by Spider-Man’s web over, and over, again. But will they want to crawl into the comic book world of Nova, seen here in an image provided by comic-book giant Marvel Entertainment Inc. That’s the kind of question facing The Walt Disney Co. as it nears its $4.2 billion purchase of Marvel Dec. 31, 2009.

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Shame on Shamus: Big Apple Con to Compete With NYCC

News: Big Apple Con vs NYCC

It is reported at various outlets across the internet that Gareb Shamus has announced his Big Apple Con(job) will compete with the New York Comic Con, both set to be held next year on the same weeked, October 7th-10th and a few miles apart from one another.

I’m not a big fan of Gareb Shamus and his rag mag Wizard. As I see it, that magazine lost its magic a long time ago.

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Review: Nova #29 (Marvel Comics)

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Writers: Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning

Artist: Kevin Sharpe

Colorist: Bruno Hang

Cover Artist: Brandon Peterson

 

Warning: Contains Spoilers

 

I was thoroughly pleased with last month’s issue of Nova. This month’s issue is a mixed bag. Some things I liked quite a bit and some things I didn’t like at all. I’ll explain in some detail what I liked and didn’t like. So, this review is going to be longer than usual. As always, let’s begin with a recap of this month’s story.

At the end of last month’s issue, the reformed Corps was faced with their first major mystery: A ship looking remarkably like Rhomann Dey’s starship from The Man Called Nova #1 (1976) was found within The Fault. In Issue #29, we learn that the ship is actually an Upholder Class ship of the line, named the Resolute Duty, lost some 35 years ago. The Worldmind detects life signs aboard the ship and Rich and a few of his crew of Corps recruits (now reduced to Denarian rank, issued red uniforms, and referred to as Probationers) rush over to board it and investigate. The team splits up and begins to investigate each section of the ship, finding it in disrepair and with no obvious inhabitants. Meanwhile, a mysterious cloaked figure seeks to stop The Worldmind’s scans of the ship by attacking The Worldmind with nanotechnology. The nanotechnology attack takes The Worldmind offline, causing the Probationers left on Nu-Xandar to briefly consider disobeying orders and rushing out to help Rich. Rich is then attacked by the sole surviving member of the Resolute Duty crew, Centurion Zan Philo, who has reportedly been carrying out his duty as a Corpsman for the past 35 years even though he was way outside of his jurisdiction in an alternate universe. Philo quickly realizes that Rich is the Nova Prime and joins forces with the Corps against The Worldmind’s attacker, revealed as the bounty hunter Monark Starstalker (from Marvel Premiere #32, published in 1976). Starstalker fights the Corps to a standstill and then demands that Philo release one the prisoners held in the Resolute Duty’s brig so Starstalker can collect the prisoner’s bounty. The Worldmind comes back online, but in The Worldmind’s absence, Ego has come back to life and is in the process of evicting the Corps from its surface. The issue ends on a cliffhanger with “Mindless Ones” (yeah – just like the ones from Dr. Strange) attacking the Resolute Duty to free the mysterious prisoner that is Starstalker’s quarry.

I think Issue #29 is best understood as a transitional issue, marking a turning point in the series from a single-character-focused book to an ensemble-focused book. As such, many old plot points/devices had to be efficiently wrapped, new plot points/devices had to be introduced, and new character development had to be undertaken. That’s a full plate for any one issue of any comic; and few writers would be able to succeed in pulling off such a feat with any measure of coherency. I am happy to say that the immensely skilled DnA did succeed in accomplishing this Herculean task; but purely as a result of being transitional, #29 ended up being one of the more mediocre issues of the series thus far.

That being said, there were many things I liked about #29. I especially liked the (apparent) addition of the Resolute Duty starship to the cast. I refer to it as an addition to the “cast” both because it’s onboard sentient PRIME quantum computer, if still active or repairable, would qualify it as having a personality; and because there is a long tradition in popular SF series (e.g., Battlestar Galactica; all the Star Trek franchises) of treating starships (even non-sentient ones) as “cast” members. As a 33 year Nova fan, I really appreciate DnA’s obvious respect and affection for the Nova mythos in resurrecting a version of the iconic starship that helped capture the imagination of so many of us long term fans when it was originally depicted on the cover and first pages of The Man Called Nova #1 (1976). I’ve always maintained that one of the many lost opportunities of the first Nova series and every subsequent series featuring Nova was the under-utilization of the starship (whose name is unknown; though most fans simply refer to it as “The Nova Prime Starship” or “Rhomann Dey’s Starship”) that brought Rhomann Dey to Earth. DeFalco seemed to grasp the iconic stature of the ship; making it MC2 Nova’s base of operations in Spider-Girl and various other MC2 titles where MC2 Nova appeared; but otherwise, after the events of Rom #24, the 616 Marvel Universe was not (until recently) again graced with an appearance of this lovely ship which so elegantly balances the retro stylization of times gone by with the typical technical functionality we’ve come to expect from SF portrayals of military starships of the future. The original “Rhomann Dey Starship” was at first described as a unique experimental craft that was larger than several of the gas giant planets in our solar system combined; then immediately ret-conned by Marv Wolfman himself in the letters pages of The Man Called Nova as being vastly smaller (later referred to as more than a mile long). It has always been assumed by fans that the “Rhomann Dey” starship perished with the Champions of Xandar during Nebula’s attack on Xandar which precipitated both the Second Fall of Xandar (Avengers #260; 1985) and the re-activation of Rich Rider’s dormant Nova powers (New Warriors #1; 1990). I really liked it that DnA made the effort to establish some specific parameters for the Resolute Duty (e.g., 3 miles long; designated by a keel number; identified as an “Upholder Class Nova Corps Patrol Cruiser”). To me, the class and cruiser designations imply that the Upholder Class Patrol Cruisers were fairly commonplace ships of the line which saw action near the time of the First Fall of Xandar (as described in The Man Called Nova #1; 1976 and Fantastic Four #’s 204-214); but not during Xandar’s earlier Imperial Era (as seen in Uncanny Origins #4; 1996), as Xandar’s ships of the line during the Imperial Era bore no resemblance to Upholder Class Starships. Likewise, after the Second Fall of Xandar (Avengers #260) and up to the near present (Annihilation Prologue); Xandar’s ships of the line bore no resemblance to Upholder Class Starships. How are we continuity slaves to reconcile the apparent commonplace status of Upholder Class Starships with the original portrayal of Dey’s ship as unique? Was Dey’s ship perhaps an experimental refit of an older starship (shades of Star Trek’s Enterprise NCC-1701 being refitted and re-designated NCC-1701-A)? Was Dey’s ship perhaps merely a smaller, newer, unique version of a tried and true design? The answer remains to be seen; but – enough of my geek fest surrounding the starship.

Moving on, I also liked it that the Corps will (apparently) soon be abandoning Ego. I just never liked the Corps being headquartered on The Living Planet; so Ego evicting them is fine by me. Hopefully, they’ll move into The Resolute Duty and make it their new HQ for awhile.

I really like the new ensemble cast of characters. A recurring cast is exactly what this series needed. For the Lone Ranger adherents; don’t fret – there’s still room for reasons to be contrived to send Rich Rider off for solo adventures.

I was happy to see the return of Monark Starstalker. DnA are to be commended for resurrecting Marvel cosmic characters from times past who have lain dormant for far too long.

The Philo character was intriguing; but some questions are nagging at me. Why didn’t The Worldmind recognize him? Is he who he says he is? What happened to his crewmates? Finally, does he really have to over-use the “ultra” qualifier? I realize a catch-phrase is being established; but come on – it doesn’t have near the charm and potential of say – “I am Groot” – and it actually could become ultra-annoying after awhile (see – now he’s got me doing it).

Now for some things I didn’t like. First up – art nit-picks. As to the red uniforms and glowing chest stars for the probationers, I have only two words: design flaw. Bright red things (e.g., Stop signs, fire trucks, fire alarm switches, etc.) and glowing things are designed to grab attention by standing out from the background. What military issues red uniforms to their troops these days? I think the British dropped the red coats a loooong time ago for good reason. Also, why are standard uniforms’ chests stars suddenly starting to glow? Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed Irani’s glowing boobs as much as the next man; but the chest stars on a standard uniform have never glowed before – and it’s another bad idea in that it’s akin to painting a target on one’s chest before entering battle. No military is going to design uniforms to make troops easier visual targets. Speaking of easier visual targets, what’s with all the billowy clouds and contrails surrounding the lower torso’s of every Corpsman in flight? What could possibly be forming clouds and contrails in the vacuum of space? All these things are annoying artistic flourishes that really need to go. What should replace them you say? Well, for a start, what’s wrong with merely making the probationers lower ranking Corpsmen (e.g., Denarians or Millennians) in the appropriately rank designated standard Navy-Gold uniform? These red-shirted (and don’t think for even a moment that the SF symbolism of red-shirtedness was lost on me) probationers have Denarian chest stars and Centurion helmet stars. Is that intentional or an artistic mistake? I really wish Marvel would print a copy of the rank designations for the uniforms from the Novaprimepage database and issue it to all the artists for the book so these distracting ranking mistakes on the uniforms will cease. Also, these are flying soldiers – essentially living weapons designed by an advanced civilization. They are not 21st Century jet planes. I would think an advanced science would work to eliminate clouds and contrails while their living weapons are in flight in atmosphere (and there should be no clouds/contrails in the vacuum of space anyway).

Other than those nit-picks about the art described above, I was fairly satisfied with Sharpe’s work on this issue. Of course, Hang continues to do an outstanding job as colorist.

The loss of quantum radio contact with The Worldmind is starting to be an overused plot device. I use the term “quantum radio” because I know of no other method than quantum entanglement to allow instantaneous communication between The Worldmind and Corpsmen separated by many light years. Disrupting a quantum radio communication would not be impossible; but it wouldn’t be easy. This is a plot device that needs re-thinking.

The most annoying thing about this issue was once again having the Corps reduced to being a bunch of push-overs in a fight. I know that the point was to establish Starstalker as a bad-ass; but let’s not forget the Corps went toe-to-toe with The Imperial Guard last issue and gave an admirable accounting of themselves. I’m just having a hard time believing that a blind guy with a Seeing Eye robot bird could best Rich and four other Corpsmen at the same time.

Likewise, I was disappointed that The Worldmind went down so easily. No or inadequate defense against nano-tech? What!? I would surmise that the Nova Corps uniforms are nano-tech based given their morphing and self-repair functions. Besides, what advanced civilization would be totally buffaloed by nano-tech? I mean, our own civilization is beginning rudimentary use of nano-tech; so I would expect that a civilization many thousands of years advanced from us would have mastered it by now.

Speaking of The Worldmind, I’m still on the fence about the Ko-Rel personality imprint. Don’t get me wrong, I loved Ko-Rel during the Conquest arc. She worked wonderfully as an actual Corpsman. As the embodiment of The Worldmind though – well, she’s just not working for me so far. I’m just not feelin’ her smart-assy, bitchy, informal Worldmind personality. I’ll give it a few more issues to make sure; but if she doesn’t start to warm up, I’m going to start hoping for a reboot. Hey Ko fans, she can always be resurrected in the flesh via cloning once Xandar is rebuilt. In the meantime, maybe the Resolute Duty has a back-up copy of the original Worldmind personality stored in its PRIME computer.

So, in summary, #29 is not the best issue of Nova to date; but it is far from the worst. I expect once #29 is read in the context of what I expect to happen in #30, it’s ranking on my Nova favorites scale will move up a few notches. In the meantime, this series is still very safe on my pull list. As far as I’m concerned, even a mediocre transitional issue of Nova beats everything the competition has to offer. Quite simply, Nova is comicdom’s undisputed King of military science-fiction epic adventure.
 

Article by: Bill Meneese

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S.W.O.R.D At The Ready: Interview With Kieron Gillen

The latest title unsheathed from the X-Universe, S.W.O.R.D., written by Kieron Gillen with art by Steven Sanders is set to debut this November.

The secret organization known as S.W.O.R.D. (Sentient World Observation and Response Department), was first introduced in Joss Whedon’s Astonishing X-Men. John Cassady, the artist who worked on Astonishing, is doing the art for the covers of the ongoing series.

CosmicBookNews.com’s Editor, Matt McGloin, spoke with writer Kieron Gillen on what characters fans will see, how the organization might handle some of the more powerful cosmic threats and whether or not Marvel’s “Cosmic” villains or heroes will pop in to give S.W.O.R.D. a run for their money.

CosmicBookNews: Can you tell us a little about the ongoing S.W.O.R.D series? Can you describe the organization S.W.O.R.D for us?

Kieron Gillen: S.W.O.R.D. has been around for fifty years. It’s a Sister agency to what SHIELD use to be. Where SHIELD dealt with internal security, S.W.O.R.D. looks to the stars. On this galactic scale, SHIELD are the FBI. S.W.O.R.D. are the CIA. Their mandate is a little larger than that. They’re partially border security, partially diplomatic corp and partially full-on intergalactic spies trying to head off any threat against terra firma before it exists.

In short, S.W.O.R.D. stops something like Secret Invasion happening eight times a year, without anyone knowing.

CosmicBookNews: Can you tell us about the characters involved, Henry Gyrich, Beast, Agent Brand — what are their roles in S.W.O.R.D?

Kieron Gillen: Up until Secret Invasion, Abigail Brand was commander of S.W.O.R.D.. Since then, the trans-national body which governs it has inserted Henry Gyrich as a co-commander. They’ve split the duties between them as they try to rebuild the organization. That Brand is even in co-control says a lot about how important she was in actually stopping the Skrull invasion. While there’s a floating role, Brand tends to look more outwards while Gyrich looks inwards. Brand is mainly dealing with aliens out there.

Gyrich is mainly dealing with aliens right here. Brand, being a compulsive micromanager, and he does a lot of the day-to-day running of the Peak, which is S.W.O.R.D.’s orbital headquarters. They spend 99 percent of the time there doing the day-to-day responsibilities.

The other one percent is where our stories focus, where Brand stops all the enormously hard work and starts having to take enormous risks to save the world. On those days, she’s Jack Bauer with less stubble.

Beast is only now cementing his relationship with S.W.O.R.D.. He’s Brand’s primary science officer, but is also in her “A-Team” of field agents. As in, a core team she tends to take everywhere. The empath Sydren (who you’ll have seen in Astonishing X-men) and Lockheed (who you’ll have seen in THE MIGHTY MARVEL UNIVERSE FOREVER) are the other core pair.

CosmicBookNews: The mission of S.W.O.R.D is to remove all alien beings from the earth. How are they going to go about this? Some aliens are arguably a lot more powerful than the earth based characters, how will S.W.O.R.D deal with, say a Silver Surfer class threat?

Kieron Gillen: With difficulty.

It’s tempting to leave it like that. “With difficulty” is absolutely the point, and how they approach those problems will reveal a lot about the organization.

S.W.O.R.D. has kept itself mostly secret for fifty years. It’s not the sort who generally go in with seven-hundred tanks. In this case, with those too powerful to fight, they’d try and work out an appropriate motivation for them to leave.

Of course, the Surfer isn’t on earth at the moment, so that particular one isn’t a problem.

CosmicBookNews: Furthermore, there are a lot of aliens on the earth, for instance would S.W.O.R.D look to remove a certain alien symbiote or even the “aliens” from Asgard?

Kieron Gillen: The certain alien symbiote’s an interesting one. Brand suspects that Gyrich is actually an appointee via Osborn’s political weight. As such, whether Gyrich actually goes for Venom or not will tell us a lot about what’s really going on here.

The Asgardians are another interesting one. I suspect the lawyers are still arguing over that one, but S.W.O.R.D.’s don’t really consider any of the pantheons on Earth as aliens. Intra-dimensional threats, abstractly, are under A.R.M.O.R.’s domain.

Or maybe it’s just they’ll be the last ones on the list.

CosmicBookNews: How far will S.W.O.R.D. go to achieve this? Even if it means direct conflict with their parent organization, H.A.M.M.E.R. and Director Osborn? Are they under orders from Osborn?

Kieron Gillen: As I said above, there’s a suspicion of influence. But strictly speaking, S.H.I.E.L.D. – and now H.A.M.M.E.R. – isn’t actually their parent organization. It’s a sister organization. Osborn’s influence, if any, is indirect.

Gyrich and Brand are at each other’s throats throughout the series, but there’s one thing which they both agree on. They do whatever it takes to make Earth safe. Where they differ is their belief in what it actually takes to make Earth safe.

CosmicBookNews: At the end of Beta Ray Bill: Godhunter we saw Beta Ray Bill state that he “is home.” Will Beta Ray take part in S.W.O.R.D. in any way? Do you have any other plans for using Beta Ray Bill?”

Kieron Gillen: When I wrote “Home” I was mostly referring to the idea that he’s back with what remains of his people – and thus wherever he is, he’s basically home. Secondarily, I was referring to Earth. Thirdly, more the emotional state. It was that sort of line.

Of course, I totally wrote an ongoing relationship between ’em. Ti Asha Ra is staying on the Peak. Bill owes Brand a favour. While he does appear in the first arc, I do have hopes to use him down the line. I’ve got enormous empathy for the horse-headed fella.

CosmicBookNews: Are there plans to include Marvel’s cosmic characters in this at some point?

Kieron Gillen: One of the best things about writing this series is the amount of the toys in the Marvel box that you get to play with. Anything that crosses the boundary between Earth and the Heavens is in our domain. That totally includes all the cosmic characters. I have a mad crush on several.

CosmicBookNews: Thanks so much for your time! We look forward to reading S.W.O.R.D. which is do to hit stores November 11th!

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    Jim Gibbons Let Go From Wizard

    News: Wizard

    The Associate Editor, Jim Gibbons, from Wizard Magazine has been let go.

    This came across my desk earlier today, as news about Wizard’s latest employee release was made known late last night.

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    Interview with Brad Walker, Penciler Guardians of the Galaxy

    After Marvel’s intergalactic storyline, Annihilation, changed the cosmic landscape of their universe, Marvel Comics is following it up with War of Kings. And in that storyline, the “Guardians of the Galaxy” will play an integral roll as the alien races of Marvel are set to go to battle once more.

    And what will it take to help bring that storyline to life? How about an artist from Batman and Superman comics – Brad Walker.

    Walker is one of the hottest up and coming artists in the industry and Walker spoke with CosmicBookNews about how he got into the business and working with DC and Marvel Comics.

    CosmicBookNews: First, thank you for taking time out to be interviewed!

    Brad Walker: Anything to help me procrastinate!

    CosmicBookNews: Can you give us a little bit on your background? Where did you grow up and how early of an age did you start to draw?

    Brad Walker: My dad was in the Air Force, so I grew up all over the country. But I drew as far back as I can remember. Probably 3 or 4 years old. I lived in Chicago when I was little, and they used to show the old 60’s Spider-Man cartoon there, and I watched it religiously. So, that was one of the first things I learned to draw. I would draw him ALL the time.

    CosmicBookNews: When did you decide you wanted to pursue comic books as a career? Did you take your portfolio to conventions to get noticed or go another route?

    Brad Walker: I decided to pursue it probably sometime in middle school, when I started reading comics on a regular basis. After that, I never planned to do anything else. I’m “All-the-Eggs-in-One-Basket Brad.”

    CosmicBookNews: [Laughs]

    I see you went to the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD). Do they have a specific program or course for comic book artists?

    Brad Walker: Yeah, they have a program for Sequential Art, which I was in. I don’t know about now, because I don’t keep up with such things, but at the time, it was the only college in the country with such a specific major. “School of Visual Arts” in New York has a cartooning major (as do a few others), but the Sequential Art major is specific to comic books and story boarding. They had a bunch of really great professors who I learned a lot from and with whom I’m still friends.

    CosmicBookNews: Can you share with us a little of your experience studying there?

    Brad Walker: It was a great time! I met the majority of the friends I have to this day, and I got to draw for four years straight. And they even gave me a Bachelor’s Degree! Suckers!

    CosmicBookNews: A few years after graduating you did some work at DC. Can you explain how that came about?

    Brad Walker: That actually came about as a result of going to SCAD (see kids! It works! Give them your money!). I was living in New York at the time, and one of my old professors got in touch and said he was going to be in town with the kids from his Summer Semester. They were going to be visiting DC, and he asked if I wanted to come along. We met up with the (then) Batman Group, and they liked my stuff. I kept talking to them (read: bugging them), and they eventually gave me work.

    CosmicBookNews: What was your first published work for DC and how did it feel seeing it out on the stands?

    Brad Walker: Two back-ups stories in Detective Comics #795 and 796. Greatest feeling in the world. Followed closely by my first cover on Action Comics #848.

    CosmicBookNews: Regarding Action Comics, is this something you pursued or were you asked to do these? Must have felt pretty good being part of the Superman mythos. How was it working with Kurt Busiek?

    Brad Walker: My editors on the Batman stuff, Matt Idelson and Nachie Castro moved to the Superman books, and were drunk enough to ask me. I freaked out when they mentioned it was with Kurt. He’s easily in my top five favorite comic writers ever, and a blast to work with! He’s probably the most creative guy I’ve ever talked to. His head just seems to have a constant flow of ideas! And I learned a lot from talking to him about the pages, because he’s got such a natural grasp of storytelling. I loved every minute of it!

    CosmicBookNews: Also, with DC, you penciled some issues of Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight. What would you say was the difference between drawing the Superman titles compared to these Batman titles and which did you prefer? Was one more difficult than the other?

    Brad Walker: That was the stuff I did immediately after the Detective back-ups. My first full length work. So, it was tainted by having very little idea what I was doing, but boosted by unbridled enthusiasm. I love Batman probably right behind Superman (from the DC side of things). It’s different tonally, but to be honest, I was working so hard back then not to screw up, and get it done fast, and trying to impress my editors that it probably wasn’t as thought out as much as it should’ve been. Maybe I’ll get to go back to Batman someday, when I’m a little more confident with my work…

    CosmicBookNews: Overall, how would you rate your experience working with DC?

    Brad Walker: I’d give it an 11! But I won’t tell you out of what… No, I’ve loved working for DC, and technically still do (I’m still half way through an unsolicited project). I’ve got lots of friends there, and I would always draw anything that Matt Idelson asked me to, because I owe him my career. But, to be honest, Marvel characters have always been slightly closer to my heart, so I’m looking forward to getting a little more comfortable over there!

    CosmicBookNews: So how did you come to work for Marvel?

    Brad Walker: I met Bill Rosemann in my accountant’s office, last year.

    Seriously!

    CosmicBookNews: How is it working under Editor Bill Rosemann?

    Brad Walker: I love working for Bill!

    He’s a great guy, and smart editor and every note he’s ever given me has been spot on. He’s really supportive, and he and I share the worst tastes in television in the entire comic industry.

    And his assistant, Michael Horwitz has been fantastic, too. He just started on the book in the middle of issue 8, and from my perspective, he didn’t miss a beat.

    CosmicBookNews: Currently, you are penciling Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. You just recently did your first two complete issues with them, issues eight and ten. The art was really great. Do you enjoy drawing these space type stories?

    Brad Walker: I did all of issue 8, and [I penciled] 13 pages of issue 9. And I love drawing all the Marvel space stuff! It’s probably as exciting to me as Batman and Superman.

    And thanks. I’m glad you liked it

    CosmicBookNews: You said you only penciled part of issue 9, was there any particular reason why?

    Brad Walker: I couldn’t do it in 12 days. Hey, 13 pages in that amount of time ain’t too bad!

    CosmicBookNews: How many issues are you going to do?

    Brad Walker: I did 8 through 10, and I’m working on 13 through 15, right now. I’m hoping to do up to (at least) issue 18, but we’ll have to see how the deadline looks at 15.

    I’d draw it as long as they’d let me though, cause it’s so much fun.

    CosmicBookNews: Does it bother you when the cover is done by someone else, do you prefer to do them or doesn’t it really matter?

    Brad Walker: I don’t mind at all having somebody else do the covers. I like doing them, but they can be frustrating because so many other people need to sign off on them (understandably) than a regular page. And they can be much more time consuming.

    CosmicBookNews: What about coloring? Obviously, penciling a 22 or more page book is quite time consuming, but if you had the time and option would you prefer to color your own work?

    Brad Walker: No, I don’t really “see” in color. That’s the one step of the process I would probably never aspire to. And Wil Quintana – the artist that’s doing the colors on Guardians is a genius.

    I couldn’t even imagine pages looking as nicely as he makes them actually look.

    CosmicBookNews: Can you quickly take us through your process of penciling an issue of Guardians of the Galaxy? How much time, on average do you spend, on a page. Can you share with us what computer programs you like to use?

    Brad Walker: I read through a script and sketch my first impression of each panel right there in the margins. Then, I draw out each page really loosely about 3 x 4 inches. Once I have everything placed where I want it, I enlarge that to 400 percent and trace it onto the boards. Then, I go through and draw it all with a real, live pencil.

    I only use a computer when I need to scan stuff to show to [editors] Bill, Mike, Dan, and Andy.

    I hate computers.

    I spend about a day on each page. Some a little more, some a little less. It – kinda – evens out…

    CosmicBookNews: They say an artist is never satisfied. Would you say that is true in regards to how you feel about your work?

    And, regarding that topic, how many revisions do you make before you send it in?

    Brad Walker: Yeah, I like my work for about a day after I finish it, then I hate it. I try not to get hung up in revisions.

    You can really fall into a vortex, that way. If I notice something I did that I’m unsatisfied with, I just try to apply that lesson to the next page.

    Sometimes, Bill will ask for something to be a little different for the sake of continuity, or to make something more clear, but it’s always been small, and it makes the page better.

    CosmicBookNews: What about Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning? Are they real particular?

    Brad Walker: Well, they’re amazing. So, there’s that.

    And I couldn’t say they are particular, because I haven’t seen the need to stray from anything as written.

    I can see everything they ask for, pretty much dead on, the first time I read through a new script.

    They’re very vivid and they haven’t complained, so I can’t be that far off.

    I think all this cosmic stuff they are doing is going to be remembered for a long time and I think it’s really stellar (yes, I said that) work.

    CosmicBookNews: Were you a fan of the original Guardians of the Galaxy from 1990s? If so, any particular character a favorite?

    Brad Walker: I didn’t read it, no. I think the characters are still cool looking, though. I know a lot of people probably think they’re corny looking, but I’d love to get a flashback sequence, or something with them. I think a good artist can make just about any character look cool without some fancy redesign. I thought Paul Pelletier made them look great in issue 7!

    CosmicBookNews: I have to ask this question, are you a fan of Wendell Vaughn?

    Brad Walker: Yeah, I love him. I liked that old series that Greg Capullo drew with him.

    I just read the Nova issue of the “Annihilation series” today, where he died. I’m catching up on a lot of “Annihilation” stuff.

    It’s too bad he would be impossible to bring back from the dead.

    Sigh.

    CosmicBookNews: [Laughs]

    Seeing how we are on the topic of characters, which ones are your favorite?

    Brad Walker: Okay, number one will always be Spider-Man. Always.

    After that, here are the other contenders: The Thing, Superman, Thor, Iron Man, Captain America, Batman, Green Lantern, Silver Surfer, Hawkeye, Scarlet Witch, Vision, Green Arrow, Hercules (Marvel’s), and (Monica Rambeau) Captain Marvel.

    There are tons I’m leaving out, but that’s a short list that comes to mind, right now.

    CosmicBookNews: So Spider-Man is your favorite, which Spider-Man stories are your favorite and which artist?

    Brad Walker: Yeah, far and away my favorite. I would go so far as to say that I don’t think there was a single, bad issue of Amazing until about 1994. Even when it was silly, it was still a good Spider-Man comic, and it was fun to see where Peter Parker was going. And I think the current stories are the best it’s been since 1994.

    And yes, I’m aware that answer will have legions of Mary Jane lovers hating me.

    Forever.

    Sorry – it’s fun, these days.

    But, my favorite runs are the Lee/Ditko/Romita ones, the (enormous) Conway/Andru run, the Stern/Romita Jr. one, the DeFalco/Frenz stuff, and the Michelinie/McFarlane/Larsen/Bagley runs. Yeah, I know that’s almost the first 30 years.

    For artists, I’m partial to the guys from those runs, plus I think Marcos Martin and Mike McKone are doing really great work, right now.

    CosmicBookNews: So, I take it you wouldn’t mind be called upon to do Spider-Man?

    Brad Walker: Yep. I’d be fine, about that.

    CosmicBookNews: What artist influences you most?

    Brad Walker: Uh. The Silver Age guys, I guess. I’m a big Kirby guy. As well as Ditko, Romita, Buscema, and Neal Adams. I love Walt Simonson, Alan Davis, Frank Quitely, Carlos Pacheco, Ivan Reis, Marcos Martin, and Ron Garney, for newer guys that spring to mind.

    CosmicBookNews: What advice would you give to aspiring artists? Do you intentionally try to create your own “style?”

    Brad Walker: Uh…. do something else??

    Actually, I’d say don’t develop a “style”.

    Draw everything, and draw it from life. Try to make it look real. Your comic book influences will come through regardless, so you might as well learn fundamentals. And as far as looking at comics. Look for the storytelling. Look at the old guys, cause anybody you like from the past 20 years is aping somebody from before that. You might as well learn from the source.

    Oh, and be prepared to do it till your fingers hurt. Literally. If you don’t like it enough that that sounds appealing, then this isn’t the career for you. My hand is cramped up, as I type this.

    [But as for style] I think of new ways to render sometimes, but that’s not to form a “style” as much as it’s a different attempt to get a point across. Like I said, before, your style will come through, whether you like it, or not. I really have no idea what my work looks like. In my head, it’s a photograph and any amount that it doesn’t turn out that way on the page is just due to the restrictions of my implements, my time, and my talent.

    CosmicBookNews: How do you feel when you read those internet message boards in regards to someone remarking, good or bad, about your work?

    Brad Walker: Well, I love hearing that people like our stuff. There’s no better feeling than knowing that you’ve pleased somebody who really loves a book, or a character.

    And I’m pretty good about criticisms because artwork is completely subjective, and not everybody is going to be into your stuff.

    I mean, name any artist, and I can go online and find somebody who hates them. So, you’ve gotta take that stuff in stride. But I really appreciate when people say specific things they’d like me to change.

    After [Guardians of the Galaxy] issue 8 came out, somebody on a board somewhere wrote that Paul Pelletier drew a better Gamora. So, I went on and asked him what he liked better about Paul’s version, and he said that she’s supposed to have heels on her boots. So, in issue 10, I was able to fix that.

    In that respect, the internet is a really great tool for comic artists! But, then there are the whiny babies on there who are venting about other things they’re missing in life. Like I do on my “Two and a Half Men” message boards.

    CosmicBookNews: [Laughs]

    What comics do you currently read?

    Brad Walker: I love Spider-Man, right now. Green Lantern [from DC Comics]. Dan and Andy’s stuff and I’m not just saying that cause I’m involved.

    I’ve just gotten into the Punisher Max trades, and I’m loving them. I’m enjoying Trinity, and everything that Ed Brubaker does. I’m really excited about the Dan Slott Mighty Avengers, and I loved the Superman books, up through New Krypton. We’ll have to see if it holds my interest without Supes in it, though.

    CosmicBookNews: Is there anything you wish to plug?

    Brad Walker: Just Guardians, and the War of Kings storyline in general. I’m going to be drawing my little heart out to try and make my chapters look great. So, hopefully that comes across.

    And, on that note, I should get back to my page…

    CosmicBookNews: Thanks for your time, Brad.

    Brad Walker: No problem! Glad to do it!

    Be sure to pick up Guardians of the Galaxy issues 8 through 10 on sale now, issue 13 hits stores April 15th and look for issues 14 and 15 soon, penciled by Brad Walker.

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