Tuesday Q&A

Tuesday Q&A: Ramon Villalobos

The Original Sins artist talks the Young Avengers, shows exclusive pages, and reveals the secret to drawing great pizza!

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The boys of summer return, as Hulkling, Marvel Boy and Prodigy star in their own recurring ORIGINAL SINS storyline, set amongst the fallout of Marvel’s galaxy-spanning murder mystery.

Young talents writer Ryan North and artist Ramon Villalobos plunk a few more coins in the jukebox to give these core Young Avengers some extra time on the dance floor. Unfortunately, the shadow of Original Sin threatens to put a damper on the festivities, with the Hood as the prime party-pooper.

We caught up with Marvel newcomer Villalobos to learn more about his approach to the story.

Marvel.com: The Young Avengers enjoy a fervent fan following. How do you define that appeal and attraction? 

Ramon Villalobos: I think the Marvel Universe as a whole has always been about the weirdo outcasts being heroes who look super rad and Young Avengers is that idea perfectly modernized. Because they're probably weirder than most, [they’re] probably going to have a slightly more niche audience than the regular Avengers or the X-Men or whatever but those fans will be even more intense and personally invested.

      Marvel.com: Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie and Mike Norton put a real stamp on the Young Avengers with their recent run. Is that daunting at all? What do you and Ryan want to bring to this franchise in terms of tone and new additions?

      Ramon Villalobos: It was definitely incredibly nerve racking following up the Gillen and McKelvie/Norton stuff. When I first started working on ORIGINAL SINS I was really excited to just get a reason to spend an elongated amount of time with that stuff and was psyched when [editor] Wil Moss sent over those 15 issues for me to read. The guys have said really nice things about how it looks on Twitter so it's definitely encouraging.

      My style was one of the specific reasons I was asked to do the Young Avengers stories when I was brought in, so I wanted to stay true to my own aesthetic without completely ignoring what came before me, you know? I think it’s just cool that as a pretty young guy, I get to draw a story with pretty young characters.

      Marvel.com: You're focusing primarily on Hulkling, Prodigy and Marvel Boy, correct? Do you have a favorite?

      Ramon Villalobos: Well I'm unabashedly a huge fan of Grant Morrison, so the opportunity to get to draw a comic with one of the characters he created at Marvel [with Marvel Boy] was definitely a huge thing for me. If I had to pick one character of the bunch, he'd probably be my favorite. Hulkling and Prodigy both are a lot of fun to draw though, for sure.

          Marvel.com: What’s your takeaway after working with Ryan North? Any surprises in getting to know each other?

          Ramon Villalobos: So far there haven't been really any big surprises; it’s been pretty straightforward as far as working with writers go. He had a very detailed breakdown of all five parts of the story and I guess the biggest surprised was how well he was able to write it all out without it feeling too crammed.

          Marvel.com: He has a sordid history with dinosaurs, what with his legendary web comics Dinosaur Comics. Does that obsession come across in the scripts? Has he snuck any in? 

          Ramon Villalobos: [Laughs] He has not. I did think it was weird though when I got the script and every page had the same exact panel count and description though. I guess that must be a bad habit to break. 

          Marvel.com: Tell us about drawing pizza. Not everyone is able to capture the weight or the deliciousness, but from what I'm seeing here....

          Ramon Villalobos: You know, I have a long storied history with pizza. Some people have even [gone] so far as to call me the “Last Honest Pizza Expert” on the internet. My brother makes pizza professionally at the best pizza place in Stockton so I think expertly crafted pizza is just something that runs in the Villalobos family bloodline.

              See what Ramon Villalobos has cooked up for the Young Avengers along with Ryan North in ORIGINAL SINS beginning on June 11!

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