By Jim Beard
Comic fans across the spectrum can't wait for the debut of AVENGERS/INVADERS, the blockbuster 12-issue limited series co-written by Alex Ross and Jim Krueger, to land in stores May 7.
But the excitement stems not simply from a desire see the return of the Invaders, new Ross work, or even a still kicking Captain America. No, fans also can't wait to behold the amazing interior artwork by invincible illustrator Steve Sadowski.
To say the Canadian artist is excited about his upcoming mega-gig would give short shrift to the true depth of feeling he has for the project, his compatriots Ross and Krueger, the characters, and for comic books in total.
"[It] feels real good," elates Sadowski. "I have been waiting on this for quite some time, and to finally have the green light feels very very
good! I'm excited about working on, in my opinion, the most exciting characters at Marvel right now. To be working on them with Alex and Jim is really about the most exciting thing for me in a very long time!"
Aside from the chance to work alongside talents the caliber or Ross and Krueger, Sadowski has other reasons for getting his pencils extra sharp for this historic endeavor.
"I have been a huge fan of The Avengers, ever since I was a kid," recalls the artists. "Even though I had a chance at them earlier with [writer] Geoff Johns' run [on AVENGERS in 2003], they were solo stories, and I didn't have the opportunity to really spread my wings as much as I'd have liked to. I am loving
where the Avengers are at these days. Marvel has always seemed a more 'dangerous' universe, and I'm really digging where the characters are finding themselves these days.
"Also, to be working with one of my art heroes, Alex, is nothing short of amazing."
Most fans would agree that if AVENGERS/INVADERS doesn't qualify as a "big heroic epic," then few other projects would. Sadowski, an artist known for not
only his dynamic figure work and his personality-saturated faces but also the ability to juggle scores of characters fits in perfectly.
"That's one of those team book tricks, I think," reflects the draftsmen. "If a particular character isn't getting the dialogue for that scene, I've always put them in the front of the camera. It's a way to involve them without having to give everyone something to say. Of course there are always favorites that emerge, and chances are they will find their way to hog some camera time!"
Speaking of favorites, who does the artist count among his preferred members of the sprawling cast he's currently dealing with?
"I like so many of them right now," muses Sadowski. "There are old favorites like Ms. Marvel, Hawkeye/Ronin and Wonder Man. Honestly the new
guys are most interesting: Cage, Iron Fist, Spider-Woman, Ares and hell, even Wolverine. All very interesting and bring something unique to
the table! I'm loving their presence!
And what of the Golden Agers?
"Well, of the original five [Invaders], I'd have to say the sidekicks, Bucky and Toro. I've always enjoyed the perspective that having the teens around provides. If you allow the next wave of Invaders, then Union Jack by a long stretch. I think his look is just classy and perfect. That said, I am most looking forward to drawing The Human Torch. One of my major
goals is to make him as different as possible from the Johnny Storm look. I want it to be clear that this is not the same character, just by looking at him. I think he should somehow be more frightening and imposing."
A book like AVENGERS/INVADERS means a certain amount of research into historical periods for an artist. The Invaders fought the good fight in an era that is both familiar to many readers through such vehicles as The History Channel and books, and also strangely alien to current sensibilities and outlooks. Sadowski has his
own sure-fire way of "getting it right":
"Luckily WWII is a heavily documented period! I use everything
I can, from live models, to photographs to action figures, toys, to reference shots from the library. To me, it's the end results that matter, and I've found it most enjoyable to work this way to get what I want as the final job."
AVENGERS/INVADERS #1 ships on May 7. For more of the Invaders, you can head over to Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited.