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Journey Into Mystery Monster Sketchbook Pt. 1

Valerio Schiti and Kathryn Immonen reimagine classic Marvel creatures to battle Sif!

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Rorgg sketch by Valerio Schiti

By Tim O’Shea

In January, JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY writer Kathryn Immonen and artist Valerio Schiti spoke with Marvel.com about establishing the look for Sif and her supporting cast.

Schiti eagerly wanted to open up about redesigning some of the classic JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY that stomped through the early 1960’s before Sif or even Thor graced the Marvel Universe. He held back in those interviews because he did not want to spoil the monster treats in store for readers in issues #648 and #649.

But now all the great monster redesign details—including work on Rorgg, Gomdulla, Emperor of Mars and Spragg—can be told!

In the first installment of a two-part series, Schiti happily shares his affection and respect for the classic Marvel monsters with us.

Gomdulla sketch by Valerio Schiti

Kathryn Immonen: [Rorrg] was always on my short list of desirables [to appear in JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY]. I knew early on that what had been planned to be the Spider-Man guest appearance was going to be Superior Spider-Man. Rorgg was always the logical choice either way. The real change was how Spider-Man interacted with Sif but I think that Spidey would have had much the same reaction to Rorgg, as in, "Jerk can't even count. Probably can't even spell 'cephalothorax' either."

Valerio Schiti: I’m so happy that Kathryn included Rorgg! I mean, have you seen his face? The original version was a bit creepy, but I imagined him like just a stupid, arrogant beast. He thinks to be clever and important but he’s just a freak, so I decided to exaggerate his dumb expression, I added the drool and made him kind of a mad, old, bold guy, with two big sad eyebrows. It’s a hoot to have the opportunity to draw a character like that.

I don’t want to do spoilers [for those who have not read the issue yet] but, as Kathryn said, the irony in this sequence is that the Superior Spider-Man doesn’t even try to fight with him; I guess he’s actually “superior” in any way.

A special mention goes as usual to Jordie Bellaire and hers amazing colors. When I first saw her work, that green blood literally splashed out of the pages. That girl really knows how to highlight a panel!

Rro and Emperor of Mars sketch by Valerio Schiti

Valerio Schiti: Basically Gomdulla is a mummy; nothing more and nothing less. Ok, a huge one but still a mummy! So I tried mostly to show what’s under the bends and of course there’s a dead body. At first I was thinking to show the whole body and the weird zombie-like way Gomdulla probably walks but now the final panel is more incisive or at least I hope so.

Valerio Schiti: [The Emperor of Mars and Rro] are the most similar to the classic versions. Not because I didn’t want to change them, I’m not so lazy, but because I don’t even need to, since they were already perfect for the part. The humor of a barbarian emperor on Mars and the stereotype of the classic big, green monster in Tokyo was the right fit for the scenes that Kathryn wrote, her writing does all the magic here.

Tomorrow in the second part, Schiti discusses redesigning Spragg, the fun of laying out Rro’s big Tokyo moment as well as the Ruler of the Earth’s look for JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #648!

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