Cable: Independent Spirit

Artist Jamie McKelvie talks about wrapping up his two-issue stint on Marvel's time-traveling mutant!

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CABLE #12
black and white
preview art by
Jamie McKelvie

By Marc Strom Cable has a more independent look these days. Artist Jamie McKelvie, perhaps best known for his creator-owned works Phonogram and Suburban Glamour, finishes off a two-part stint with writer Duane Swierczynski on CABLE in issue #12, on sale March 4. McKelvie's desire to work within the world of Marvel's Merry Mutants both with CABLE and with his story in last year's X-MEN: DIVIDED WE STAND limited series stems back to his longstanding affection for the group. "I have a lot of love for the X-Men characters," the artist admits. "It stretches back to reading X-MEN and X-FORCE back when I was 13, following through [to writer Grant] Morrison's [run on] NEW X-MEN, which is where I got back into the X-Universe when I was at university. "One thing I love about comics is the variety," he elaborates. "You can have crime comics, fantasy, science fiction, slice-of-life, superheroes—and they can all coexist and tell great stories. That's really what it's all about for me. If it's a great story, the genre is unimportant. Luckily, I've been involved in some great stories at Marvel. The artist says that working on CABLE has proved only "slightly different" than working on his other projects. "On Phonogram and Suburban Glamour I don't really have an editor, but with CABLE I've been in almost daily contact with [Executive Editor] Axel [Alonso] and [assistant editor] Sebastian [Girner], sending over pages, discussing plot points or costume references, and all of that.

CABLE #12
black and white
preview art by
Jamie McKelvie

"The other thing is, skinny indie kids don't have muscles like Cable does, so that was a learning process," McKelvie jokes. "It's great, though, I love being challenged. If I didn't have challenges, it would all get pretty boring pretty quickly." Similarly, McKelvie finds that working on established characters as opposed to those of his own creation has its slight differences. "You have to pay close attention to consistency," he notes. "Obviously, [regular series artist] Ariel [Olivetti] and I have different styles, but there is continuity in the way the characters dress and things like that. It's cool, though—I talked things over with Duane when I was starting the series and decided to give Hope a haircut. Something a bit tomboyish and practical, as they were to be wandering the wastelands. Subsequent artists are now using the haircut I gave her, which is a minor thing, but a nice little stamp of my own to leave behind." CABLE #11 consisted largely of Nathan and Hope wandering a bleak, barren landscape by themselves, which offered McKelvie a chance to really dig into the characters. "When you're dealing with a script like [that], focusing on two characters, it's very important to consider expressions, emotions and body language," McKelvie explains. "It's important to get across how the characters actually feel, and also how they express those feelings. Hope is a lot more open than Nathan, who spends a lot of the time pretending he isn't worried about their situation so that he doesn't scare her. So she smiles, she grimaces, she rolls her eyes, whereas Cable often tries to keep a mask up." Looking towards next month's issue, McKelvie promises fans more Hope as the drums of the upcoming "Messiah War" crossover with X-FORCE grow louder.

CABLE #12
black and white
preview art by
Jamie McKelvie

"I think issue #12 is where Hope really comes into her own," the artist remarks. "There's a sequence that shows just how smart and resourceful she is. There's also another shift forward in the action and plot after #11's focus on the relationship between Nathan and Hope, leading into the upcoming crossover." Lastly, while McKelvie has already worked with Cable and Nightcrawler, he wouldn't mind getting his hands on a number of Marvel's other characters. "I've already drawn one of my favorite characters—Nightcrawler—but I'd still love to work on a few more. In the X-Books, Rachel Grey and Pixie are two favorites, Rachel going back years, and Pixie a new addition. I'd love to draw a Pixie series. "In the wider Marvel Universe, I'd like a crack at drawing Spider-Man. But, you know, who wouldn't?" CABLE #12 goes on sale March 4, but you can check out more of Nathan Summers right now on Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited. Check out the official Marvel Shop for everything X-Men! Download episodes of "X-Men: Evolution" now on iTunes!

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