Comics coloring is one of the most unappreciated aspects of the medium, despite enhancing the thematic subtext of a work and just making it look better. In this series I'm going to shine a spotlight on some of the best and most interesting colorists in comics.
Rico Renzi is one of the most recognizable colorists in the business. Whether he's working on Marvel comics like Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, She-Hulk, and Howard the Duck, or a Vertigo title like FBP, it's easy to spot a Renzi-colored comic. Renzi always employs a striking color palette. His backgrounds and spot colors take advantage of the fact that comics don't always need to be realistic. While Marvel and DC comics are often colored in a more orthodox style, Renzi employs bold contrasts even there.
Marvel's steady stream of announcements ahead of next week's Previews reveal continued today, first with the surprising reveal of the new team on Captain Marvel, and then with news of Spider-Gwen's return. The latter announcement is less groundbreaking, but still very welcome, and it comes with a twist. The original Spider-Gwen creative team of writer Jason Latour and artist Robbi Rodriguez will continue to be the Spider-Gwen creative team after Secret Wars --- and Gwen's adventures will continue to take place in a separate reality from the main Marvel Universe.
Sad news; the third volume of Boom Studios/Archaia's Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard comes to an end next week with the fourth of its collections of short stories by some of the most talented artists in the industry, spinning their own mousey tails tales within the world of David Petersen's Mouse Guard.
But good news! The series is going out just as strong as it came in, with new stories illustrated by True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys' Becky Cloonan, Big Hero 6 animator Ryan Lang, and Sabertooth Swordsman's Aaron Conley in stories of ghosts, monsters, and a drunken journey into the belly of the beast. And best news, we have a two-page preview of each story for you to enjoy.
Everyone needs to get on board the Spider-Gwen train, because the hooded Gwen Stacy Spider-Woman was one of the most exciting new (or improved) characters of 2014, with our favorite new costume of the year, and with February's Spider-Gwen #1, by Jason Latour, Robbi Rodriguez, and Rico Renzi, she'll aim to really make her mark as the best spider-themed hero out there. OK, that's a tall order. But definitely in the top three, which places her in the top 1% of spider-heroes.
Marvel has released a three-page unlettered preview of Spider-Gwen #1 showing Gwen in action, plus a look at three awesome variant covers by Adam Hughes, Skottie Young, and Kris Anka. The Hughes cover offers a glimpse of classic Gwen; Young serves up another of his fantastic baby variants; and Anka treats us to a shot of an unmakes Spider-Gwen delighting in the joy of webswinging. It's a gorgeous image that shows Gwen every bit at home on the end of a webline as Peter Parker. (She might want to put that mask back on, though. J. Jonah Jameson would kill for this picture.)
The closest thing Marvel has to a pure superhero, the return of Squirrel Girl with a new ongoing series from Ryan North, Erica Henderson, Rico Renzi and Clayton Cowles is very good news indeed. First seen in a classic Steve Ditko story where she canonically proved herself to be stronger than class 100 cyberwizard Doctor Doom and smarter than the +40 intellect of Tony Stark, the character has taken on cultish status over the last few years. The basic idea is: no matter how tough a character says they are, or their fanbase wants them to be, this teenage girl with Squirrel Powers is always going to be tougher.
Gwen Stacy was meant to stay dead. Her death back in 1973 in Amazing Spider-Man #121, by Gerry Conway and Gil Kane, was a mark of maturation for the genre, a sign that superhero comics were ready to embrace more sophisticated storytelling. Her death became as defining to Spider-Man's story as that of his Uncle Ben. It could never be undone.
But there's no such thing as "never" in superhero fiction. Gwen Stacy is back -- sort of. The character's debut as another reality's Spider-Woman in Edge of Spider-Verse #2 by writer Jason Latour, artist Robbi Rodriguez, and colorist Rico Renzi was so well received that the character will spin off into her own ongoing series, Spider-Gwen -- created by the same team, and set in a world where Peter Parker is just as dead as Gwen Stacy is in the main Marvel Universe. ComicsAlliance spoke to Latour, Rodriguez, and Renzi, to find out more about their plans -- and their response to Spider-Gwen's new-found popularity.
The news of a Spider-Gwen series broke Friday at New York Comic-Con, but with a few details missing. Thanks to Marvel's Spider-Verse panel on Sunday we now have confirmation; the book will be ongoing, it will be called Spider-Gwen, and the Edge Of Spider-Verse #2 team of Jason LaTour, Robbi Rodriguez and Rico Renzi will indeed all return.
The same panel also confirmed an ongoing series for another spider-woman, Silk, a recently introduced character who was bitten by the same radioactive spider that gave Peter Parker his powers back in Amazing Fantasy #15. Silk will be written by Supernatural TV writer Robbie Thompson and illustrated by New Warriors cover artist Stacey Lee. And on the subject of books with female leads, earlier in the day at the Women of Marvel panel, Ms. Marvel writer G. Willow Wilson was announced as the new writer on the all-female X-Men series.
That fan response to Marvel's Spider-Gwen one-shot Edge of Spider-Verse #2 was so profound can be chalked to a number of important factors that we've covered before, but perhaps none as crucial as the exhilarating visuals created by artist Robbi Rodriguez and colorist Rico Renzi. The duo earned praise from us and others for introducing a kind of crackling, almost reckless sense of energy and fun into an already aesthetically diverse Marvel Universe (or alternate universe, as the case may be).
But this came as no surprise to readers of FBP: Federal Bureau Of Physics, the Vertigo series Rodriguez and Renzi launched last year with writer Simon Oliver. FBP's mantra is "the impossible is always possible" thanks to its universe's occasional and frequently catastrophic breakdown of all known laws of physics. It's a premise that allows artists to be artists, and Rodriguez and Renzi dive wildly into their talents for hugely expressive, hypercolored images that -- along with routinely gorgeous covers by Nathan Fox -- have made FBP one of the most visually compelling American comics around at the moment.
Coco Chanel once opined that “fashions fade, only style remains the same.” In channeling the latter through the former, Gwen Stacy’s Spider-Woman disagrees to great effect in the self-contained Edge Of Spider-Verse #2, on sale now and nominally part of Marvel's Spider-Verse crossover event. The electric color palette and the asymmetrical hairdos and the wildly winged eyeshadow might look dated in a few years’ time, sure, but these pages bleed a fluorescent adolescent attitude found across time and space, from 19th century Spain’s hipster majos to Siouxie Sioux. This is a Gwen that owes as much to Peter Parker as she does to Tank Girl. This is a Gwen—and a comic—with style.
If you weren't already sold on writer Jason Latour (Southern Bastards) and artist Robbi Rodriguez (FBP) doing a re-imagining of Gwen Stacy in which she is a new version of Spider-Woman in Edge of Spider-Verse #2, what if I offered you this to sweeten the deal: Gwen is the drummer in a band, they're called the Mary Janes, and they have a song that ruminates on Mary Jane Watson's classic "Face it tiger, you just hit the jackpot" line from Amazing Spider-Man #42.
Wait, you thought Gwen Stacy was dead, right? Edge of Spider-Verse is a prelude to Marvel's Spider-Verse event, which brings in "every Spider-Man ever," including versions from alternate universes, to fight a common threat. This version of Gwen Stacy is one of those alternate universe characters. Possessing her own spider-powers and a rad costume, she's already been a hit with Spidey fans based on the few images seen so far.
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