Tuesday Q&A

Friday Q&A: Chris Samnee

The artist of Daredevil takes us inside his work on the book!

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Daredevil #26 preview art by Chris Samnee

By Jim Beard

Chris Samnee’s been juggling everything that writer Mark Waid’s been throwing at him in the ongoing DAREDEVIL series.

Recent issues have seen Matt Murdock following the near-obscured trail of a mysterious opponent with a beef against him the size of Manhattan. Samnee has illustrated that quest with loving detail, bringing a new dimension to the Man Without Fear’s world and its characters, including a new sparring partner called Ikari.

We got with Samnee to ask him about his work on the book, its fans, his method of dealing with all of Waid’s demands, and his overall devotion to making DAREDEVIL one of the most visually engaging Marvel titles on the racks.

Marvel.com: Chris, overall, what's been the most rewarding part of your work on DAREDEVIL to date?

Chris Samnee: I'd have to say fan response. Obviously you can't make 100% of people happy 100% of the time but it seems that, for the most part, folks are happy with having me on art duties. It's been really nice to hear from DD readers at shows or on Twitter that they're digging what we're doing on the book.

Daredevil #26 preview art by Chris Samnee

Marvel.com: What's your working relationship like with Mark Waid? How much back-and-forth is there between you two to make the book happen?

Chris Samnee: Working with Mark has been one of the best collaborations I've had the pleasure of being a part of. He's always open to me messing around with layouts and pacing and month in and month out delivers the great kind of stories that get me excited to get to work in the morning.

As for the back and forth, it tends to differ a bit from issue to issue but for the most part Mark already has in mind what he wants to do with a particular issue—I think. Sometimes we'll chat on the phone before an issue gets started, sometimes we talk midway through to troubleshoot a plot point or character introduction. Generally, though—unless it's a prolonged fight scene like in DAREDEVIL #25—Mark sends along a full script and, short of an e-mail or two before getting started, I tend to just jump into layouts with both feet. Any tweaks I do from the script are noted in the margins and after a few days’ work I send 'em off to Mark [and editors] Steve [Wacker] and Ellie [Pyle] for approval and CC letterer Joe Caramagna so he can see where what I had in mind for balloon placement.

Daredevil #26 cover by Chris Samnee

Marvel.com: How much do you and colorist Javier Rodriguez confer? What's the greatest thing to you that he adds to the overall artwork?

Chris Samnee: Before he starts each issue I try to run down scene by scene the time of day and where the major light sources are but Javier and I have gotten into such a rhythm over the past year or so, and he's such an amazing artist in his own right, that I doubt he even needs my notes on that stuff. He somehow manages to deliver pages better than I could hope for in every batch. I swear he gets better every dang issue. We're really lucky to have him on the team.

Marvel.com: What went into the design of Ikari for DAREDEVIL #25? What was the intent with his look?

Ikari by Chris Samnee

Chris Samnee: Ikari really started from a conversation Mark and I had about opposites and how Daredevil didn't really have an opposite number villain in the Marvel universe. There's Bullseye, of course, but I've never really been able to see him as the flip side of DD. Anyhow, since the big bad has been pulling DD's strings since the beginning of the series with a number of things that tie back into Matt's past, we toyed with the idea initially of Ikari wearing the armored 90’s era costume. As I sat down to sketch that outfit though I started thinking about how, as we see in #25 and #26, the Hand plays a major part in the “Big Bad Man in a Can's” plans, so I sketched out a quick version of Matt's original yellow and black costume as if it had been designed by ninja.

I added the kanji for “moon” to his chest to play up opposites since Ikari—as he would soon become known—is the Moon to Daredevil's Sun. From a distance it also has the added bonus of resembling the big capital “D” from the original Bill Everett designed Daredevil suit.

By the time he made it into the book from that initial sketch he barely changed at all.

Daredevil #30 cover by Chris Samnee

Marvel.com: Anything coming up over your next few issues that you're either really looking forward to drawing or that you can't wait for the fans to see?

Chris Samnee: Oh gosh, I'm usually so wrapped up in whatever issue I'm currently working in that it's hard to think much about what's to come. There is a really cool guest appearance in #30 that I just finished the cover for a few weeks ago that I'm pretty excited about.

Beyond that I'm having such a great time working with Team Daredevil that I'm really just looking forward to keeping this run going and seeing what sort of messes Matt and Foggy find themselves mixed up in next.

Pick up DAREDEVIL #26 on May 22!

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