Marvel NOW!

Sketchbook Into Mystery Pt. 1

Artist Valerio Schiti shares exclusive designs and commentary on bringing Sif to new life!

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Sif designs by Valerio Schiti

By Tim O’Shea

From the opening pages of writer Kathryn Immonen and artist Valerio Schiti’s Marvel NOW! take on JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY, none could doubt the raw power, conviction and confidence of Sif, the Asgardian warrior.

But before drawing those first pages, Schiti embarked on a series of designs to make sure he captured all the might and nuance that Immonen’s script grants upon the book’s lead character. In the first installment of a two-part series detailing his designs for JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY, Schiti explains what it took to capture the core of Sif in his art.

To see more of Schiti’s Sif in action, purchase JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #648 on sale next Wednesday, January 30.

“My first concern was about Sif herself: what does she looks like? When I read Kathryn Immonen’s script I started thinking about Sif more like an athlete than a top model. She’s a fighter, she’s almost [six foot eight inches] tall. She struggled for a long time since she’s immortal so I thought that I must show some muscles. Not too much, of course. Larger shoulders, smaller breasts but still beautiful—or at least I hope so!

Sif designs by Valerio Schiti

“The costume is a reinterpretation of Sif’s previous outfits. My purpose was to make it all as realistic as possible so I thought to transform the usual two-dimensional decorations into actual objects like the belts, the body armor, the new boots—there’re many versions, with little differences. Kathryn’s script was the starting point of those ideas: Sif travels a lot, she uses a flashlight, she carries a book; how could she do such things without proper equipment to carry them? Anyhow Kathryn and my editor, Lauren Sankovitch, asked me to change the first version of the costume because it was too thin for the winter climate and because I did the biggest mistake: the boots! A warrior shouldn’t wear heels! The wedge was a good compromise; obviously it’s still uncomfortable in battle but is more believable by sight.

Sif design by Valerio Schiti

“I submitted three designs: a battle one, a “casual” one and the one Sif wears on Niffleheim. The casual outfit basically is the battle one but without the armor, we can still see the ‘hot pants’ under the skirt. So many great artists like [Jack] Kirby, [Walter] Simonson [and Olivier] Coipel used this kind of design before me; I think it’s very cool and also easily recognizable. The Niffleheim one is just the battle design with a skinned yeti on it. I decided to use the head of the beast as a hood since we need to hide Sif’s face for a sequence. The skinned creature was a Kathryn’s idea and I think it’s correct: if outside is cold even a goddess needs some kind of ‘fur coat’ and if she’s also a warrior she will find out how to get it from an enemy!

“There’s another important thing: the weapon. Usually this kind of character has a single weapon, a typical one, an object that characterizes them. The classic Thor has his Mjolnir, Fandral has a light sword, Hogun a mace; Sif’s weapon is a sword of course but a big one, a two handed one that sometimes she uses with a single hand! So how strong is she? It was my ‘silent’ way to say: you better not mess with this girl!”

Later this week, Valerio shares his design work on the rest of the JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY cast!

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