‘I’ve Got A Little More Dark Going On': Ryan Stegman Talks Drawing Wolverine [Interview]
In continuing the publisher's recent trend of restarting titles at #1 for its All-New Marvel NOW initiative, last week Marvel revealed plans for Wolverine #1. Beginning in February, the new Wolverine series will continue to feature writer Paul Cornell, but now he'll be collaborating with new series artist Ryan Stegman.
Perhaps best known for his recent work on Superior Spider-Man, launching that title with Dan Slott, Stegman will come on board as the regular Wolverine artist following the conclusion of "Killable," the series' current major storyline. Stegman brings a style that stands in contrast to the work Alan Davis and Mark Farmer are currently producing on the title, but his grittier, thicker line work also seems well-suited for the title.
ComicsAlliance spoke to Stegman about the challenge of drawing one of Marvel's most popular characters, working with Cornell, designing a new supporting cast, and the Wolverine artists that inspire him.
ComicsAlliance: It's been announced that with Wolverine #1, Logan will be working with a group of super villains. What can you tell us about the plot of this new series?
Ryan Stegman: As far as I know, I can't say much! Pretty much everything is a spoiler. I CAN say that I got to do a little designing, which I always enjoy. And I tried to give the characters a modern yet simplified look. And Paul has given them some cool powers that will be exciting to draw.
CA: Can we expect a tonal shift from the previous Wolverine series? What style of book can readers expect?
RS: There will naturally be a tonal shift in the art because I draw differently than Alan Davis. I generally find that I draw a little differently for every project. It's not necessarily conscious, but I can already sense that I am approaching Wolverine a little differently than I did Spider-Man. I've got a little more "dark" going on.
I think of Wolverine as a slightly scary character at times and I'm trying to convey that.
As a person that's read all of Paul's run up to this point I think our run will be a little different in that we're introducing new characters and expanding Wolverine's universe. In the first series you saw a lot of SHIELD and Wolvie's usual supporting cast. But this time around we have new characters, and they're clearly villains which makes this a much darker book.
There will still be plenty of big action though. I've already drawn a lot of it and I'd imagine that's why I was asked to draw this book, because that's what I like to draw!
CA: You've drawn a lot of Spider-Man recently -- how has it been taking a crack at Wolverine?
RS: Luckily, Wolverine fits into the same sort of mold drawing-wise that Spider-Man does. What I mean by that is, Wolverine is one of the characters that you can go a little cartoonier with. And that's something that I definitely prefer to do.
Spider-Man is long and angular, Wolverine is short and more rounded. But they both put me into the same mindset of exaggeration. I have a little more difficulty drawing "stoic" characters like a Captain America. But Wolverine and Spider-Man, they are both full of personality and humor, and I really gravitate to that.
CA: Have you had to change how you draw at all for this book? If so, how?
RS: As I mentioned before, I have changed somewhat. I don't think I HAD to, it just sort of happens organically when you sense the tone of the story. Also, we have Mark Morales inking, whereas I inked a lot of my Spider-Man stuff. Mark is a much better inker than me. As in, he's one of the best in the industry and I'm not very good at it. Haha. So the gap is quite large.
So it may look a little different, but for the better.
CA: Are there any comics, movies, TV shows, etc. that are providing inspiration for your art on Wolverine?
RS: There are so many comics that inspire me. Sometimes I will go through phases for a week or two where I have to stop looking at comics because I get so inspired that it's almost detrimental to my work. All of a sudden I will want to do something like my inspirations rather than just being myself.
Specifically for Wolverine I have always been inspired by how Joe Madureira drew him and how Marc Silvestri drew him. I'm trying very hard to do my own thing with the book, but it's hard because the way those guys draw him is now in my DNA. So I'm sure fans will see it seeping through at times. But I think there's still plenty of me in there too.
CA: The promo image for the new series shows Wolverine with a new costume and a gun! What's the deal?
RS: Ha! Well, all will be told in the story. There's been plenty of speculation on the message boards that I've seen about it. A lot of people want to write it off out of hand but Paul is an awesome writer and I know for a fact that it all makes sense. So all I can say to that is: Read the book! All will be revealed.
CA: Did you design the new Wolverine costume? If so, what were your considerations for the design? What was important to you for the new costume?
RS: I did not! Kris Anka did. Kris has been designing a lot of costumes for Marvel lately and with good reason. He's awesome. I believe I was told his inspiration for this costume was a samurai motif.
CA: The super villains Wolverine falls in with are all-new -- have you enjoyed creating their visuals? What can you tell us about how they'll look?
RS: Yes! I always enjoy creating new costumes. I try to keep costumes very simple. My idea of a good costume is one most anyone can see once and then re-create from memory because it is so universal. So that's what I tried to do here. Just make them simple and iconic.
CA: What's it been like working with Paul?
RS: It's awesome! I love Paul's work. It's very well thought out and it has a ton of heart. The characterization is some of the best in comics.
When I first started on the book I had an adjustment period because I was so used to working with Dan Slott who writes Marvel style. Paul's scripts are much tighter and now that I've fully adjusted I really, really love it. There's a lot of subtlety in the scripts that I enjoy pulling out.
CA: Tell us about the rest of the art team you're collaborating with for this series.
RS: Well, we've got the aforementioned Mark Morales. One of the greatest inkers not just right now but of all-time. I am so lucky to be working with him. I can't even handle it. He tells me that I should be seeing the first pages he's inked tomorrow (Sunday) and I am absolutely dying in anticipation.
David Curiel is coloring, and he is great. I actually didn't know him or his work until Jeanine Schaefer suggested him and sent me a bunch of his work. I was blown away. He has a very modern look and he handles cartoony, clean art very very well. He adds a lot of style and I can't wait to see what he does. I think this'll be a very exciting looking book.
CA: What's your favorite Wolverine story of all time?
RS: Geez, too many to say! I'd have to say that the Wolverine that is most burnt into my memory is the Wolverine that Joe Mad was drawing back during his run on Uncanny X-Men. So I'll just say that whole era. Even though a lot of people had problems with that stuff, I had none. Because I was 15 years old and it was flipping awesome!