By Ryan Penagos
Arthur Suydam. Mention zombies and Marvel in the same breath and his name is guaranteed to come up. But, oh, there's so much more to Arthur Suydam. A cover artist sensation over the last year, the venerable painter's career in mainstream comics began just this past year with the MARVEL ZOMBIES as his formal introduction and calling card.
Always at the pinnacle in any list of fantasy and horror artists throughout his career, Suydam has now stepped into the realm of comic superstardom thanks to his work at Marvel, particularly with MARVEL ZOMBIES. Fortunately for the House of Ideas, Suydam will be with Marvel for quite a while as announced at New York Comic Con, he's signed exclusively with the home of Spider-Man, Daredevil and the X-Men.
When asked if what his favorite work with Marvel has been so far, the newly minted exclusive artist couldn't pick just one. "That's a tough one to answer," remarks Suydam. "I really like them all, really. Different covers for different reasons. Which is one of the reasons I've been reluctant to sell the originals up to now, though many buyers have inquired. I am very partial to the Spidey Wedding and Secret Wars pieces. I think maybe because they were some of the most difficult to finish. All those characters squeezed into that narrow comic space...Nyaah! Then there is the X-MEN #265 cover and the Wolverine Origins cover I did recently. That may be my favorite non-zom Marvel illustration today.It's always evolving, with the latest work usually being my favorite for a time."
But that's all in the past. The future is the key and Suydam has plenty going on. When asked which characters he would most like to work on, he had this to say:
"I've been planning to do my take on the Marvel mainstream universe characters for a long time, now. I have always had some definitive ideas on what I thought could be done to help some of these characters reach broader audiences (in trade paperback collections). I just needed a chance to show what I could do. MARVEL ZOMBIES was my first chance to share some of those ideas. Hats off to Robert [Kirkman] for being on the same wavelength.
"I have a library I've been working in my spare time--high-concept plot scenerios and strategies for Marvel mainstays complete with a set of commandments. The 7 commandments, I call them. For high-concept story development, creativity insurance. When working on a cover, I develop a storyline in mind that goes with each and every piece before I begin--complete with a spider web of plots and subplots--like 'Seinfeld.' That's where I start.
"And sure, I'd like to work on Wolverine, maybe co-write with another Marvel writer. I have some progressive ideas for high-concept mini-series that I would like to co-write with another writer for Marvel."
by Barry Kitson
When asked which fellow writers and artists Suydam would like to work with, he came up with a who's-who list of today's top comic talent. "Mark Millar, Brian Bendis, Jeph Loeb, Joss Wheden, John Cassaday, Brad Meltzer, JMS, Geoff Johns. My favorite is definitely Robert [Kirkman], though. I can relate to the way his brain works. I think we're a prefect match, so long as we're going over the top. That's where I always want to be."
Over the top works perfectly for Suydam. What specific Suydam-ified covers could be in the works? "All the Kirby covers from the Sixties. I love the camp. Like old 'B' sci-fi movies. The Giant Gilla monster, The Crawling Eye, The Woman Eater...all great stuff."
Great stuff indeed. And in years to come, we have no doubt the next generation of artists will be saying the same things about Suydam's work.
Keep your eyes peeled to Marvel.com for more on Suydam's upcoming work and make sure to stay hip to all our New York Comic Con coverage