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Thunderbolts: Introducing Declan Shalvey

The artist makes his Marvel debut with THUNDERBOLTS #148 for a two-part Shadowland tie-in

By Marc Strom

Artist Declan Shalvey has steadily earned a name for himself as a gifted storyteller since he broke onto the comics scene with his Eagle Award-winning work on Hero Killers, and now the Irish native will bring his style to the House of Ideas for the very first time.

Shalvey will make his Marvel debut with THUNDERBOLTS #148 on September 15, helping writer Jeff Parker bring the series' two-part Shadowland tie-in to life while regular series artist Kev Walker takes a brief break before returning with issue #150.

Luke Cage sketch by Declan Shalvey
"Jeff Parker seemed to like my work so showed it to editor Bill Rosemann, who also liked what he saw," recalls Shalvey of how this opportunity came about. "Luckily, they had planned a two-issue break for Kev Walker, so I got the job. Good timing I guess."

Marvel's characters and creators had a major impact on Shalvey's developing interest in comics and art growing up.

"I was a huge Marvel nerd when I was a kid," he shares. "I mean, I like a lot of DC characters, but I generally prefer way more of the characters at Marvel. Seeing Mark Bagley's Spider-Man run [and] Jim Lee and Andy Kubert's X-Men work totally blew my mind when I was a kid. So many Marvel comics really inspired me. I grew up in a small town in Ireland, so all the adventures in Marvel comics were unique and thrilling to me."

For his work on THUNDERBOLTS, Shalvey produced a number of sketches of each of the team members to get a handle on their unique characteristics.

"I haven't really drawn many established characters before," remarks the artist. "I've just previously finished a year-long run on 28 Days Later, where there was only one recognizable character, but she had never been drawn before. These characters are different; they are clearly identifiable yet have had various artists 'put their stamp' on them. So I thought it was

Crossbones sketch by Declan Shalvey
important to play around with them before working on the pages, just to get comfortable [with] them, before I actually started drawing the sequential pages."

As Shalvey became acquainted with each character, one stood out as both the most challenging and exciting to draw.  

"Maybe Juggernaut is the answer for both," suggests the artist. "I knew about him from being an X-Men fan at a young age. Juggernaut is also the biggest and most imposing figure. He's bloody huge, so knowing how far to push his size and appearance in relation to the other guys is a delicate balance."

Beyond the Thunderbolts, Shalvey would love to have a chance at a number of other Marvel characters one day.

"Punisher, Daredevil, Iron Fist," he lists. "I really like the Marvel street-level characters a lot, which is great because the two issues I'll be drawing are tie-ins to the street-level Shadowland story. And as a huge

Iron Fist sketch by Declan Shalvey
X-Men nut growing up, I'd be lying if I said I wouldn't get a thrill from drawing them."

Leaving off, Shalvey looks forward to his two-part story hitting shelves:

"I hope people like it. Everyone has been so supportive and encouraging about this project so I really hope I can live up to people's expectations."


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      the sketches look good, hope this guy can deliver in the book


      i think personally,the thunderbolts is marvels best team book. warren ellis run on the book is classic.