EXCLUSIVE: Artist Ryan Stegman Talks THE SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN, SCARLET SPIDER And More
After launching a new Scarlet Spider ongoing series with writer Christopher Yost and a team-up with Jonathan Hickman during his critically acclaimed Fantastic Four run, artist Ryan Stegman is now facing perhaps his greatest challenge yet. Next January will see the release of issues #1 and #2 of Dan Slott's The Superior Spider-Man and it is Stegman who will be providing his incredible artwork for both those and the third instalment the following month.
Artist Ryan Stegman talks to us here about his first arc with writer Dan Slott on The Superior Spider-Man, the pressures of working on a comic book surrounded by so much hype, his role in bringing back Scarlet Spider and much, much more! Check it out.
When plot details for Amazing Spider-Man #700 were leaked, they were understandably met with a great deal of upset and scepticism from fans. However, now that the issue has actually gone on sale, the reaction has been overwhelmingly positive (as you can see from my 5* review by clicking HERE). Regardless, with a bold new status quo now firmly established, it falls to Slott and Stegman to continue the story of the new Spider-Man. The latter was kind enough to recently take the time out of his hectic schedule to talk to us here at CBM about his past, present and future projects; specifically his work on both Scarlet Spider and The Superior Spider-Man.
Firstly, can you tell us about how you became a comic book artist and how you ended up working at Marvel?
Well, I guess I just aimed at being a comic book artist and somehow made it work out! I started by posting stuff on internet forums like Digital Webbing and then I got some interest from writers that had projects that they wanted to get going. So I'd draw stuff here and there and then I got a job drawing a book called "Midnight Kiss" for Markosia Comics. That was then transitioned into "Magician: Apprentice" for the Dable Brothers, a company that was then bought by Marvel. And suddenly I had Marvel editors and I was off to the races.
"Superior Spider-Man" has been one of Marvel's most talked about comics before the first issue has even been released; how do you feel to be involved in a book surrounded by so much speculation and hype?
Personally, I couldn't enjoy it anymore. I think it's probably much easier to be in my position than it is for Slott or Wacker. They bear the brunt of all of this. I am just the guy that draws it! But to have this many people care passionately about something you're working on is great. Even the negativity. They're all moved to think SOMETHING about it, and to me that's what makes good comics.
Do you enjoy interacting with fans on Twitter and seeing their reactions?
Absolutely. I do most of my fan interaction on Twitter because I think it makes my life easier in that it only allows 140 characters. So I can have short conversations with a lot of people rather than having long conversations with a few people. Because there's only so much time in the day. But yeah, I am very extroverted and yet I chose a profession where I work in my basement all by myself so I crave the interaction.
You've obviously known about the identity of the Superior Spider-Man for a while now. How did you feel when Dan [Slott] told you his plans for "Amazing Spider-Man #700" and beyond?
We were at C2E2 this past year when we went out for pizza and he laid it all out for me. I felt like I was in a secret CIA meeting. Dan was actually very open about it, he didn't seem to be too concerned about anyone finding anything out. But at the time, nobody would have known how big what he was cooking up would be. When he finished telling me EVERYTHING, because you see, ASM 700 is just the tip of the iceberg, I basically said, "Holy shit. That's amazing." I couldn't believe I was being given the opportunity to work on something so epic.
Can you take us through your working relationship with Dan and how it perhaps differs from other writers you've worked with?
The only real difference is that Dan writes more Marvel Style. Meaning he sends scripts without specific dialogue in them, but the descriptions are all there. And then he writes around what I do. But he gives plenty of info. On issue 3 of Superior, he's given me three pages of fight scene where I pretty much get to do whatever I want and that's a first. But yeah the major difference is that he gives a ton of slack and then is willing to work to what I do. And it's awesome.
What sort of input did you have in the design of the new costume and have you enjoyed putting your own unique spin on the suit so far?
I had no input! It was sent to me after I was given the job. I like it though, there's some cool features. As for adding my unique spin...Of course that's fun! I can't help but do that with every character that I draw. So I made some adjustments. I definitely make his eyes bigger than I've seen the other artists have. But I've always been a huge fan of the huge Spidey eyes, so I wasn't going to let anything stop me from giving him huge eyes!
We know that you're providing art for the first three issues, but how soon will you be back on the series after that?
You know, I'm not sure yet. That's a conversation that I'm sure I'll be having shortly! But probably around issue 10 I'd imagine? We'll see.
Is there any chance you can give us a clue as to what we should expect from the first arc?
Ha, I have to be very careful. But I think I can say that you will see a lot of things you didn't expect, that's for sure.
How much of a different approach have you taken to drawing the Superior Spider-Man to characters like Peter Parker or Kaine?
Well, Kaine is really where I took the detour. He's the different one. I made him bulkier and more menacing because that made sense for his character.
Talking of Kaine, what was it like for you to be involved with bringing him back to the Marvel Universe in his own series with Christopher Yost?
Definitely the highlight of my career up to this point. To see that book thriving and see other artists drawing that costume is just amazing. I hope it lasts forever. Part of me will always feel ownership over that character and the characters in that book because I was so connected to it. So I get such a kick out of it.
Did you manage to catch "The Amazing Spider-Man" in theatres earlier this year? If so, what did you think?
Ahaha...I'm tugging at my collar right now and gulping. I haven't seen it yet. I have a 22-month-old son and he's pretty much curbed the whole movie theater thing for me for a while. I OWN the Blu-Ray, but just haven't had the free time to watch it yet. As you can imagine, this Superior stuff is pretty much consuming me for the time being!
What advice would you give to anyone interested in becoming a comic book artist?
Practice, practice, practice. The thing that separates somebody that makes it from somebody that doesn't make it is just the work they put in. It's totally true and it's quantifiable. Just work harder than the next guy!
Finally, what would YOU like to say to fans about why they should pick up "Superior Spider-Man"?
Here's the truth: You have no idea what's coming. So you can complain and scream and say you're not going to pick it up, but if you don't you're going to regret it. Also, I drew it super awesome. So why not buy it, y'know?
Absolutely. Thanks for taking the time to talk to us Ryan!
The Superior Spider-Man #1 goes on sale on January 9th, 2013. You can check out Ryan's website by clicking HERE and follow him on Twitter at @RyanStegman.
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