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Gabriel Hardman: Agent of Art

The ATLAS artist signs exclusive with Marvel and prepares to tackle The Hulk

Art by Gabriel Hardman

By Kevin Mahadeo

Artist Gabriel Hardman decided to sign exclusively to Marvel Comics for many reasons, but perhaps one above the rest: he didn't want to break up the band.

"Marvel is primarily the only company I've worked for since coming back into comics," says the artist. "I've had a great relationship with [editor] Mark Paniccia and working with [writer] Jeff Parker all the time and also Elizabeth Breitweiser, my colorist. We have sort of a team that it seems would be bad to break up. I just wanted to keep producing comics that I was excited about with those people."

Of course, the awesome artist's love for the Marvel Universe extends beyond his creative compatriots. Hardman says he enjoys the "flawed characters and the crazy fantastical situations set against more or less a real work." The artist experiences both of these elements on a regular, monthly basis with his current project the ongoing ATLAS series written by Parker.

Art by Gabriel Hardman
"I like that it's a diverse group of character that are not conventionally super heroes," he says. "And that it has a sensibility that's while it's within the Marvel Universe and of the Marvel Universe, it's slightly askew. They have a sort of pulpy sensibility that really, really appeals to me. Yet, they're still a contemporary thing. The thing I like to get across [in my art] is combining older influences and strong storytelling concepts and set them in a contemporary way."

The series also allows Hardman to draw one of his favorite characters: Gorilla Man. The artist says that the character really resonates with him and that he likes the idea of a gorilla that's still a very expressive character.

"I enjoy drawing Mister Lao, the dragon, as well," shares Hardman. "It's funny because I'm not a fantasy fan and I'm not big for dragon and fairies and the like, but I like taking fantastical stuff and drawing them in a grounded sort of way, where they don't seem mundane, but they feel a little bit more real world. There's a big, giant splash of him in [ATLAS #2] that I really dug. And I'm actually drawing another giant splash of him

Art by Gabriel Hardman
right this second. But overall, I feel like my stuff is less about the big, perfect, splashy image and more about telling the story in a nuts and bolts sort of way. The most important thing to me by far is, 'Are we telling the story and is everything clear, but still dynamic and exciting?'"

Beyond the cast of ATLAS, there remain many other characters the artist says he enjoys portraying.

"I got the chance to draw Spider-Man couple of times in the AVENGERS VS ATLAS limited series and I don't know why, but I really, really enjoy drawing Spider-Man," he notes. "There are tons of other characters I like to draw. I just drew a sketch of Mysterio that I posted on Twitter and people say that he's a ridiculous looking character, but I think he's awesome. I love drawing him. I don't care what everybody else says."

As mentioned previously, along with the characters, working with his creative partners provides one of the greatest joys in at Marvel for Hardman.

"I think it just came together by happenstance, but we all fell into a grove, particularly when we were doing AVENGERS VS ATLAS," he recalls. "I think Jeff and I have similar sensibilities. They're not necessarily the exact same sensibilities, but where [they] intersect is really good. And Elizabeth

Art by Gabriel Hardman
is just an amazing colorist. She just has taste and has the ability to execute that in a way that no other colorist I've worked with has been able to do. And I virtually never have to give her notes on things. She manages to just get the tone and atmosphere of everything exactly right and totally enhances the work.

"Colors can so easily destroy a book," continues Hardman. "I can do the best job in the world, but if the colorist isn't well matched or doesn't do a great job, it can be really devastating for the book. Every element of the book works together so that you have an awesome, whole product."

As for what the future holds for the artist, he plans to continue on ATLAS as long as possible, but he also informs readers to keep their eyes open for his take on the green goliath known as The Hulk.

"Me and Parker and Elizabeth are going to work on another book that is going to be big and have a lot of explosive punching and other big action things in it."


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Awesome artist congratulations!