By Jim Beard
After blasting through expectations with the new hit PUNISHER ongoing series, writer Rick Remender has secured his next target: an exclusive contract with Marvel Comics.
"I've produced a couple dozen volumes of creator-owned work in the past few years and have scratched that itch fairly thoroughly," Remenders muses. "I'm in a place at Marvel where I love both the work and the people I'm working with, so it wasn't a tough decision. All the planets aligned to not only give me a shot at some of the characters I loved as a kid, but to spin them in a way that stays true to my sensibilities.
"[Marvel Executive Editor] Axel Alonso and I have very similar ideas about what makes good comics and I think that comes through in the new PUNISHER series. Though it's been a lot of hard work, my
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time at Marvel so has been one of the most rewarding work experiences I've had. Truth be told, I'm flattered they want me around."
Best know for creator-owned series such as Fear Agent and The End League, Remender has established himself as an all-around creator, covering both writing and illustrating. He firmly believes his art background positively impacts his scripting.
"It plays into my pacing for sure," he says of his graphics experience. "Good pacing comes down to being able to visualize what is necessary to show, where to add beats to slow it down, where to remove beats to speed it up. If you pace a sequence correctly, after establishing clear stakes and engaging characters, something as simple as two guys having a gunfight can be momentous.
"While working as a storyboard artist at Electronic Arts I fell in love with beat-by-beat action sequences. Jack Kirby, a street fighter himself, understood how to play out action and fighting. He'd never draw a batch of unrelated static images. One punch always moved with fluidity into the next, action/reaction. He knew how to capture motion on the page and in my estimation that is the trick to fully engrossing the reader."
Referring to himself as someone who likes "merging classic kitschy aesthetics with contemporary storytelling technique and themes," Remender says his enjoyment of working in comics comes from kicking off a platform of pop culture he loved as a kid and launching into modern storytelling.
"When people say they don't like Frank Castle in his classic outfit I know we're coming from very different places and tastes," he states. "His classic outfit is the only thing I want to see him wear in the Marvel Universe. If the story and art are
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high quality, with a modern sensibility with a take that naturally fits the character, it makes it that much more fun to see the classic iconic outfits, especially if there are some kitschy or even cheesy elements."
Sadly, the writer must for now remain all but mute on Frank Castle's immediate future.
"To tell you anything about the insanity I've got planned would spoil some very big moments," says Remender. "When people find out who is drawing some of the upcoming stories and what is happening they'll be shocked. It's overused hyperbole but in this case it's dead to rights. The next year holds the biggest changes in the life of Frank Castle we've ever seen.
"The upcoming events in the Marvel Universe crash down on Frank. Hard."
Good thing the man with the skull on his shirt can count on Rick Remender in his corner. He's exclusively yours, Frank.
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