By Matt Powell
Barry Kitson's spider-sense is tingling.
Beginning with the stand-alone AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #558 in May, the stellar artist from THE ORDER teams up with writer Bob Gale to chronicle the brand new adventures of Spider-Man and his amazing cast!
If the thought of a Kitson-rendered Spider-Man gets you psyched, imagine how the man himself must feel:
"I'm still pinching myself to make sure I'm not dreaming the whole situation," beams Kitson. "There's definitely a buzz around the character and an 'uncertainty factor' in the post-'Brand New Day' world that I think is a vital element in turning up the excitement in comics. I thought that was the thing that made CIVIL WAR so great; it opened up so many uncertainties in the Marvel Universe."
While the artist's forte has been handling ensemble casts, like California's Initiative team from in THE ORDER, he's just as pumped to get his hands on the tight-knit group of the Spider-Man family from New York City.
"I'm just getting so much fun out drawing all the Spider-Man cast of characters," enthuses the artist. "I want to draw them all!"
Partnered with Gale, Kitson reveals their collaborating attitudes remain "pretty much in sync" and he's been influential in the crafting their stories. Nevertheless, the artist in Kitson flows strong with the biggest boon of their partnership being plenty of space to draw.
"Bob writes a good deal of 'wiggle room' for the artist in his scripts which is great for me as I get a chance to pace many of the scenes and play with the page construction," explains Kitson.
There's always been a consistent stream of friends and foes shuffling in and out of Peter Parker's life at any given time, and Gale and Kitson aim to keep that tradition with the inclusion of newly-introduced villains Menace and Freak in their arc.
"Visually, they're both great fun," notes Kitson. "Menace is rather goblin-esque in nature and great fun for all the reasons that the Goblin was. Villains as weird and outlandish as Freak are a boon to most artists—a great chance to go over the top and have fun—so you get to run riot with your imagination."
The villains may seem to steal the show, but keep your eyes open for Spidey-mainstay Dr. Curt Connors aka the Lizard, who Kitson teases "will play a role." Also, the artist hints to expect "a few new developments in Peter Parker's domestic life."
Getting back to the drawing board, Kitson notes he's been an avid follower of not only Spider-Man, but also the myriad of superstar artists to pencil his webs.
"Just about every great artist that has tackled [Spider-Man has] influenced me in some way," shares the artist. "I'm not sure if any of those influences will be very pronounced in my version, but I'd love to think some little traces of [Steve] Ditko,
[John] Romita Sr. & [Romita] Jr., Gil Kane and their ilk might be buried in there somewhere along with all the inspiration."
A master in his own right, Kitson muses how he'd like to extend his artistic reach throughout the Marvel Universe, but nevertheless, the artist is just as delighted with where he's standing right now.
"I'm just concentrating on doing the very best job I can and having fun with one of the greatest comic characters ever!"
Barry Kitson comes to Spidey's world in May, but you can check out some of his artistic influences from the first 100 issues of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN with Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited.