The director has parted ways with the studio over what insiders say are creative differences between him and Ryan Reynolds, the actor who plays the titular Marvel character.read moreRead More »
The death of the comic book artist, whose work also included 'Hellblazer' and 'The Punisher,' was announced Saturday morning on social media.read moreRead More »
Donald Glover has a surprisingly important space cape to wear in his new role.read moreRead More »
Donald Glover is officially your new Lando Calrissian. Lucasfilm has announced that Glover will play the younger version of “Star Wars’” Cloud City administrator turned Rebel Alliance general in the upcoming standalone Han Solo film.
Glover will join Alden Ehrenreich, who was confirmed to play...Read More »
Nas may be Brooklyn born while Spider-Man remains Queens to the core, but this fall, they nonetheless will come together in the pages of Marvel Comics. Or, on the cover anyway.
Thanks to the art stylings of Sam Spratt, Spidey will take his seat on the couch and homage the cover to Nas’ 2012 return to form “Life is Good” on a variant cover to AMAZING SPIDER-MAN: RENEW YOUR VOWS #1. We talked with the artist to see how the project came together, how it felt to tackle a comic book cover for the first time, and more.
Marvel.com: To begin with, how did you get connected with the project? From your perspective what made it an interesting artistic challenge?
Sam Spratt: As a lot of things do, just nice people saying nice things to each other about other nice-ish people.
The cover started linking together when my good friend—and crazy talented rapper—Logic was talking with Marvel to have a Hip Hop variant done of his album “The Incredible True Story.” I have painted Logic’s artwork/album covers for the last few years including “The Incredible True Story” so Harrison Remler—Logic’s manager and phenomenal human being—threw my name out there. A few nice emails between nice people later I was attached to making a Spidey x Nas homage.
As for the challenge, while I’ve been able to paint album art for several Hip Hop and other recording artists, there’s no foundation that you’ve got to adhere to. Illustrated album artwork these days is a fraction of what comes out, and there’s no real rules that need to be followed. With this, drawing/painting a long-running and beloved character that’s already been done in thousands of different ways by thousands of different legendary artists over decades in an industry I had never been in before. It’s a trickier start point.
Marvel.com: Were you given a choice of title/character? If so, why were you attracted to Spider-Man in particular?
Similarly, were you able to choose the Nas cover in particular to homage? If so, why Nas? Were you just really attracted to it as a piece of art or did it speak to the character you were capturing in some way?
Sam Spratt: From the get-go Marvel said it’d be a cover for AMAZING SPIDER-MAN: RENEW YOUR VOWS meets Nas’ “Life is Good,” so while I'd love to say I made the brilliant connection myself, that was all Marvel’s Hip Hop covers team—all I had to do was say yes to painting a tribute for one of my favorite characters and favorite rappers. Just one of those “duh, yes, let's do this, whatever, I'm in” kind of projects.
Marvel.com: From a technique perspective, can you walk us through your process? How do you choose what kinds of paints and tools to use and why?
Sam Spratt: So, I’m all digital from sketch to finish using a Wacom Cintiq tablet/pen. I come from an oil painting background and in pretty much everything I make, I’m at least trying to figure out how to translate as much of the grit and randomness which I’ve always loved about those classical painting techniques I started with into a world where pixels get pushed around like paint.
Typically, I’m juggling several projects at once and revising/iterating on them constantly to make sure whoever I’m working for gets to feel happy with what I’ve made for them. Digital painting loses some of the messy magic of traditional tools but gains perks that accommodate an often bonkers schedule—quickly being able to work on top of your mistakes, shift colors, nudge, and push things around without letting paint dry or starting over. This is crucial and makes changing my mind several times about Spidey’s eye shape or MJ’s dress design feel within reach.
That said, the technique isn’t that different, still rooted in old-school Rubens paint layers; building up from a gesture drawing to a sketch on a toned background, to blocking in shadow, glazing in translucent color and texture, rendering the forms out in opaque color, refining the lighting, revising mistakes in anatomy or shape, and going in with all the final fun little details from Spidey’s webbing to the buttons on the couch.
Marvel.com: Looking at the Nas original, there are a few places you make some interesting departures from the “Life is Good” cover. In the case of the Spidey’s suit, obviously, there was no choice. However, the use of the white dress, as opposed to green, and the design of the black leather couch are both choices you made. Why did those changes make sense to you? How did they pull together the work for you?
Sam Spratt: Well, as mentioned, I’d never worked in comics before, so my background with a bunch of other industries—music/film/games/advertising/TV/books/theater/etc but never this—had me admittedly worried it would be somehow more rigid; stricter parameters and guidelines to do things like use a specific pantone swatch of red and blue on the Spidey suit, exact ratios of head size to torso, and adapt or mold my style to fit Marvel’s well-oiled machine. But that was more just fear of the unknown.
The reality was that y’all run such a well-oiled machine, that at least in my experience working with [editor] Chris [Robinson], [talent manager] Rickey [Purdin], and [Editor-in-Chief] Axel [Alonso], it went down as smoothly as any project I’ve ever worked on. They were completely open to and encouraged everything I suggested from the lighting, style, texture, anatomy, down to MJ’s wedding dress design and the tufted leather web-couch.
Marvel.com: Overall, how was the experience of doing a Marvel cover and homage to Nas in one swipe?
Sam Spratt: Dope.
Marvel.com: Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso, in the past, has talked about a connection between comics and hip hop. What do you think links the two art forms?
Sam Spratt: I think the connection between the two has always been there, but what hits me is that these commonalities are growing rapidly. Hip Hop since its inception in the 70’s has given voice to many Americans whose stories, sounds, culture, inspirations, and art were unfortunately largely suppressed or ignored by the mainstream. Comics have long had messages of inclusiveness, and have certainly had moments being ahead of the times in trying to show a wider range of human experience, but there has been a marked shift in recent years to better showcase fresh perspectives with Black Panther, Luke Cage, Ms. Marvel, Captain America, Ironheart, etc.
This new period lets more people, kids especially, get to see their faces, voices, genders, beliefs, and stories reflected in their art–and not just reflected, but done so as heroes, leaders, bosses, and bad-asses who are flawed, complex, well-written characters created by incredible talent—invested in the same way as any hero. Hip Hop and comics aren’t a niche or a space carved out of existing genres anymore, they’re massive industries that move culture and their success has helped move the needle in celebrating our differences through sharing the fantastic, beautiful, brilliant, sad, fun, toxic, terrifying, daring, and different artwork and stories that have always existed from other people’s perspectives, but didn’t always have such a large platform to be seen and heard.
Then again, maybe I’m over-thinking it. At least each have their own snarky, handsome, rich, genius, with a goatee and a god complex. Stark and Ye would get along just fine.
Look for Sam’s work November 9 when AMAZING SPIDER-MAN: RENEW YOUR VOWS hits stands!Read More »
Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling and relative newcomer Storm Reid are also on the call sheet for this Disney sci-fi fantasy.read moreRead More »
Buckle up, True Believers, it's time for the thrill ride known as This Week in Marvel! Intern Amanda sits in the hosting chair for the very first time, joining Ben to talk about a slew of great comic book releases, including BLACK PANTHER #7, MOCKINGB...Read More »
Best known for her acting roles in “Cabin Fever: Patient Zero” and “#Horror” as well her extensive modeling career, Lydia Hearst can add another role to her resume now: Screamfest Ambassador.
We recently spoke with Lydia about what that means exactly, her favorite horror films, her favorite Marvel movies, and more!
Marvel.com: To begin, what are the roles of a Screamfest Ambassador?
Lydia Hearst: Well for starters, I am a huge fan of anything and everything horror. It was an honor when they asked me to be the ambassador and the face of this year’s Screamfest and, as I’m sure you know, this is sort of the largest and longest running horror film festival here in the United States; so essentially the Sundance of horror. I was first introduced to it last year when I had a film that I was in called “Condemned” and I wish I could have attended more of the festival. So this year when I come back I’m going to be attending the festival, I’m going to be introducing as many of the films as I can as my schedule will permit and I will also be moderating many of the Q&A’s after.
Marvel.com: What would you say are some of your favorite horror films?
Lydia Hearst: Oh that’s a tricky question. I honestly love horror so to sort of name one is probably one of the most difficult questions for me as a fan. I mean, there are so many incredible directors and films, if you think about it. The original “Nosferatu” and Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining.” Then “Jacob’s Ladder” and Wes Craven’s “The Hills Have Eyes” and Adam Wingard’s “You’re Next” which I think that’s one of the more interesting ones that has come out recently where you see a woman not just as a scream queen but really kicking butt.
Marvel.com: What do you think draws you to the horror genre in the first place?
Lydia Hearst: Oh gosh, I have this morbid curiosity about where films are going to go and the areas that they’re going to explore. With a genre like this, the audience doesn’t have to get that happy ending that you get with so many of today’s films. And with horror, it’s one of those things where you can kind of enjoy and get that adrenaline rush of being scared but at the same time you’re safe.
Marvel.com: If Lydia Hearst had a super power, what would it be and why?
Lydia Hearst: Oh, that’s a good question. I feel like there’s a lot of super powers I would want. I mean I feel like part of me—I love the Hulk or She-Hulk; that might be one of my favorite female super heroes.
Marvel.com: I always see you and Chris [Hardwick] at a lot of our movie premieres. Do you have any fun stories from going to any that you remember?
Lydia Hearst: I think all of the films are amazing. I mean we always have fun. It’s kind of the greatest date night that we ever get to have when we go to those premieres. [“Captain America: Civil War”] was a pretty incredible film. I mean between all the excitement and the cast that was there and everything that happens on screen. I mean we love all things sci-fi and Marvel. All of it, it’s amazing. There really isn’t anything better.
Screamfest lasts until October 27 in Hollywood. You can catch Lydia in upcoming films “Two For One and “Swing State.” Follow her on Twitter @LydiaHearst.Read More »
You asked for it—and you’re going to get it. After years in the darkness, the X-Men step back into a colorful tomorrow.
Coming in Spring 2017, the X-Men family of titles regroups with a diverse line-up of ongoing series including CABLE, GENERATION X, ICEMAN, JEAN GREY, and WEAPON X. Leading the ResurrXion will be two new flagships: X-MEN BLUE and X-MEN GOLD.
While exact details on this upcoming initiative remain scarce, we spoke with editors Mark Paniccia and Daniel Ketchum about the heart of the X-Men, why this shift should please longtime fans, and much more.
Marvel.com: What is the mission statement of ResurrXion?
Mark Paniccia: Easy. X-Men are heroes. Of the Marvel Universe. These mutants have saved the world enough times they deserve to be called what they are.
Daniel Ketchum: Without spoiling too much about the ending of INHUMANS VS X-MEN, the X-Men have been living with a cloud hanging over their heads—literally. The current roster of X-Men titles has been defined by this pervading sense of doom, the fact that mutantkind is on the brink. Well, one way or another, the impending threat of extinction subsides, and this is the story of what happens next. The X-Men have a future. Now what are they going to do with it?
Marvel.com: What are the most important elements of the X-Men books that will be present in ResurrXion?
Mark Paniccia: The same stuff that made these stories and characters we love so much stand out time and time again. Crazy cool adventures. Awesome super powers. Groundbreaking science fiction and heartbreaking romance. And the element of surprise. When I was first introduced to the X-Men as a reader back in the [Chris] Claremont/[John] Byrne days I was always on the edge of my seat. I want readers to feel like they are on that same emotional roller coaster that made me come back month after month. I want to tap into that same creative energy that had us feeling what the characters were feeling, rooting for your heroes and cheering them on during battles where you thought they had no chance. And those quiet moments that made you smile because they were so real and relatable. I can’t tell you how excited I am about this line and the stories we’re going to be telling.
Daniel Ketchum: Extinction is no longer staring them in the face, so the X-Men can exhale and turn their attention back to doing what’s defined them since the beginning: Protecting a world that hates and fears them. These new titles won’t cast the X-Men as members of a species fighting for their survival but rather as big, bright, colorful super heroes who want to demonstrate to the world that they want to walk with them hand-in-hand into the future. They’ll have costumes with capes, a school, and softball games. Oh, there will be softball games. The goal is to tell exciting new X-Men stories while keeping an eye on the tropes and touchstones that longtime X-Men fans cherish.
Marvel.com: Why give solo books to Iceman and Jean Grey?
Mark Paniccia: These are characters rich with stories to tell. And characters readers want to read about. We’ve given a lot of face time to other characters and felt it was time to put the spotlight on two of these beloved cast members.
Daniel Ketchum: Because it’s about time, isn’t it?
Jeff Lemire wisely identified that there’s much story to be told when it comes to both Iceman and Jean Grey, which is why he included them in EXTRAORDINARY X-MEN. But one of the pitfalls of writing a team book is that you can really only spend so much time with any one member of the cast. So while we did get hints of larger stories, we didn’t really get to delve deep with either one of these characters. Doing solo series will give writers and readers that opportunity.
Marvel.com: What can we expect from the new books with old names, GENERATION X and WEAPON X?
Mark Paniccia: With GENERATION X we’re tapping into the demand for the school book. The school is such a big part of the X-Men mythos it feels wrong not to have a series devoted to it for this long. And I think readers will like the cast and the creative team. This will be a book that will seem familiar but it’s going to have a very fresh vibe to it and I can see it being a very endearing run for fans of this kind of book.
WEAPON X is our darkest book and that’s an understatement. I’m asking my writer to push the boundaries on this, go as far as we can take it in the rating. I haven’t done a lot of dark books in my career at Marvel. I’ve always had that itch I wanted to scratch. This is going into the abyss. Visceral. Shocking. You’ll step back and for a minute and be like “What the [expletive] just happened? Did they really do that? I’m loving this!!!”
Daniel Ketchum: GENERATION X and WEAPON X follow in the footsteps of their predecessors in terms of tone and spirit, but otherwise they blaze their own trails.
So, GENERATION X will bring you plenty of teenage drama, school uniforms, awkward kissing, and young X-Men being thrown into peril that would test the mettle of even the most seasoned veterans. And—of course—Jubilee. Because how could you do a GENERATION X book without Jubilee?
Marvel.com: How will the flagship Blue and Gold books appeal to X-Men fans?
Mark Paniccia: These are the return to the quintessential X-Men team books. Rosters you’re going to love. The kinds of stories we all grew up on. You’re going to dig them and maybe even feel a little competition between the books, trying to outdo each other. If I do my job right, there will be readers who are Team Blue or Team Gold. Don’t get me wrong. You’ll enjoy both but you will have a home team.
Daniel Ketchum: Let’s not skip over the fact that we titled these books X-MEN BLUE and X-MEN GOLD! From the top down, we conceptualized these series as our love letters to the characters and stories that made us the stalwart X-Men fans we are today. Both books boast all-star lineups and the adventures they embark upon are fitting of their statures. These are the classic heavy-hitter X-Men, doing what they do best.
Marvel.com: How were the creators working on ResurrXion selected?
Mark Paniccia: It wasn’t easy. There are lots of great creators with great X-Men stories to tell. All I can say is that everyone involved has a particular love for the X-Men, a passion that’s only rivaled by my editorial team. With that kind of energy behind the books I can tell you these are going to be some amazing runs and I couldn’t be prouder of the lineup of talent we have.
Daniel Ketchum: Well, Mark wanted to put a bunch of pictures on the wall and throw darts, but I thought that might give people the wrong idea. So instead we just reached out to creators we love, who we knew had X-Men stories to tell. Some are creators readers are familiar with and others are new voices we’re bringing to into the mix.
What else can you tease about this initiative?
Daniel Ketchum: Some random thoughts I’ve had in the past week:
- If I say, “A beloved X-Man returns and will lead the X-Men into the future,” who will readers think I’m talking about?
- Who is Andre Mexer, again?
- Let's be honest: Katya and Tatianna were the real winners of All-Stars 2.
- It's always the Phoenix. Always.
Stay tuned to Marvel.com and our social channels for the latest updates on ResurrXion as we count the days to Spring 2017!Read More »
Good news for “Dragon Ball” fans based in the U.S.: You soon can stream official episodes of the latest installment of the anime series airing in Japan.
Crunchyroll and Toei Animation have announced that “Dragon Ball Super” (with English subtitles) will be available to stream through their platform...Read More »