By Sarah Cooke
Fans of The Winter Soldier know that these days, he leads the group of ex-baddies known as the Thunderbolts. And they’ve certainly got their fair share of drama to contend with.
Last week, we chatted with writer Jim Zub, and this week, we caught up with artist Sean Izaakse, who takes the reins from Jon Malin for THUNDERBOLTS #6 and #7. He gave us a glimpse into his experience bringing Bucky and crew to the page.
Marvel.com: What character have you enjoyed working on the most?
Sean Izaakse: I really enjoy working on Atlas. He’s one of my favorite THUNDERBOLTS characters from years back. He has a lot of very relatable qualities. Out of all of the characters on the team, he probably has the most sincerity when it comes to turning over a new leaf, and that’s something the readers can connect with. You can really feel for someone who wants to do better than they have in the past.
Marvel.com: What have you found unique or interesting about working on THUNDERBOLTS?
Sean Izaakse: Something that I’ve found I like a lot about working on these characters is that they may not have the expertise of Spidey or Cap, but they have other interesting qualities. With Cap, you know he pretty much has things under control when he gets into a tough situation, and what you love about reading a Cap story is seeing how he beats the bad guys. But the Thunderbolts still sort of need to get it together, so when they get into a tight spot, you don’t always have that same level of certainty that they’re going to get out of it. You find yourself rooting for them for different reasons.
Marvel.com: There’s a lot of talk about the way female characters are drawn, and we really like the way Moonstone is represented because she’s visibly strong, the way you’d expect someone in her position to look. What’s your thinking on that?
Sean Izaakse: I based her on the fitness model Anllela Sagra, who’s very physically fit. And that’s really how I thought Moonstone would look—she’d appear strong and tough. And as far as what she wears, I took inspiration from a lot of the movies that I watch. I wanted her to wear leather jackets; I didn’t try to dress her in outfits that were supposed to be “cute,” because she dresses for comfort, she’s not trying to impress anyone. I like to think of her as the anti-hero version of Carol Danvers. She does her thing and won’t back down from anyone. She’d look Magneto or Doctor Doom in the face and say, “Just come at me, bro!”
I’m also really interested in her because she’s not the apologetic type. She doesn’t feel ashamed of her past. She wants to do things differently moving forward, but her attitude is more along the lines of, “I did these things that weren’t great, I’m trying to do better now, let’s get past it already,” whereas some of the others hold onto a lot of shame or guilt.
She has a very different outlook from, say, Atlas’s, and I like them both for different reasons. These characters all have sort of troubled pasts, but they have very different approaches to dealing with and atoning for what they’ve done, and that aspect of the series really appeals to me.
Marvel.com: Can you tell us a little about your experience working with Jim Zub and coming together on how to tell the story visually?
Sean Izaakse: Jim likes to be collaborative, which makes it a great experience. The way he writes his scripts gives me as an artist plenty of room to try different things. If I want to put my dog in the background, there’s space to do that. It gives me a chance to really have fun and be creative.
Marvel.com: Can you talk a little about any advantages or challenges that go along with coming on board for the sixth issue? You’ve probably had to think about attuning your style to the earlier issues, but also putting your unique spin on it.
Sean Izaakse: At first, I tried to match what Jon had already done. And of course, we all want to emulate the artists we look up to. I take a lot of inspiration from artists like Alan Davis and Stuart Immonen. And there are often certain elements of their styles that I really like, and that I try to nail down. But I’ve found that when I focus on that too much, I tend to lose something of my own style.
So eventually, I realized that Marvel didn’t necessarily hire me to come on board as the next Jon Malin—or the next Alan Davis or Stuart Immonen. They hired me because there was something about my style that appealed to them.
Of course, I felt very nervous about whether everyone would like what I’ve done. But everything has gone very well.
I’ve also enjoyed getting inside the characters’ heads—which informs how I draw them. It often takes a few pages to figure out exactly how I’m going to represent them, and with THUNDERBOLTS, I’ve had a great experience with figuring these characters out.
THUNDERBOLTS #6, featuring the art of Sean Izaakse alongside Jim Zub’s writing, touches down August 31!
Read More »