Marvel NOW!

Avenging Artist: Mike Deodato Pt. 1

The Marvel veteran discusses his first Avengers collaboration with Jonathan Hickman and much more!

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Avengers #11 preview art by Mike Deodato

By Paul Montgomery

This summer, Earth’s Mightiest Heroes face a grim threat from beyond the stars.

As the Marvel Universe hurtles towards Infinity, Brazilian artist Mike Deodato prepares to visualize the exploits of two core groups: the courageous, ever-expanding Avengers field team and their clandestine counterparts in the Illuminati.

As artist for upcoming arcs on writer Jonathan Hickman’s AVENGERS and NEW AVENGERS, Deodato returns to a cast of characters whose exploits have paralleled his own evolution as a creator. How does Hickman’s depiction of these champions differ from past collaborators, and just how daunting does Deodato find the plunge toward perilous Infinity?

We spoke to him about just that.

Marvel.com: This is far from your first experience drawing the Avengers cast, but much of those stories were collaborations with Brian Michael Bendis. From your position, how does Jonathan Hickman's approach in the Marvel NOW! era differ? Does this call for a change in your storytelling style?

Mike Deodato: Jonathan's writing is mysterious, broader, strange; like Alan Moore’s take on Marvelman. I did change my approach for a lighter and more detailed one. I wanted to raise my game because of the other artists on the book. Adam Kubert, Jerome Opena and Dustin Weaver are tremendous talents and I didn’t want to have my ass kicked that hard.

Marvel.com: Both of these titles play a pivotal role in the upcoming Infinity event. As someone who's tackled both street level and otherworldly adventures, does the approach of a larger-than-life cosmic blockbuster fill you with excitement or anxiety?

Avengers #11 preview art by Mike Deodato

Mike Deodato: [Laughs] My time with Brian Bendis was like being drafted into the army. Nothing scares me anymore, man. Drawing 10 panels per page and 10 characters per panel made me fearless. [Laughs] I love space adventures! My first arc for SECRET AVENGERS was on Mars, and I felt very much at home. Of course, people have always said I'm an alien, anyway. Maybe I need better friends!

Marvel.com: When an artist is tasked with telling a story set in Manhattan or even up on a S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier, there's always reference material to consult. With cosmic stories, things might get a little more abstract. What do you look to for inspiration when realizing a space battle?

Mike Deodato: That’s the best part of drawing this kind of stuff: you can make up everything! "You are only limited by your own imagination," as they say. If it's new—new characters, new environments—there's no need to be faithful to this or that reference, you can go wild. But, of course, I always look for inspiration from movies and from some artists I admire in the genre, such as Alex Nino, Howard Chaykin, Jim Steranko, and so forth. Inspiration is everywhere, from a sponge being a moon rock to an inverted spaceship becoming an alien cityscape. Nothing goes to waste.

Marvel.com: Hickman's introducing a wide variety of new characters and reconfiguring some older ones. Have you latched on to anybody in particular?

Avengers #11 preview art by Mike Deodato

Mike Deodato: I love Thor, and it’s been great to have the chance to draw him more in these issues. Also, I drew the Savage Land and the New Men for the first time, and it was so fun. [Marvel] really should think about doing a New Men ongoing series.

Marvel.com: Do you appreciate a larger cast? Or even a revolving cast from month to month?

Mike Deodato: I know that a lot of artists prefer single-character books because they've [got] fewer characters to draw and can finish a book more quickly. Me? I feel I've risen to the challenge. I like new. I like experimenting. So, yes, a larger cast is perfect for me, and I dote on the interactions and relationships. Avengers is the place to be.

Later this week, Mike shares his process and goes over his growth as an artist!

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