ALL-NEW-INVADERS #1 offers not only a new take on several classic super heroes, but a return to greatness for Marvel's original super team. In that spirit, we offer a unique, three-part look into artist Steve Pugh's sketchbook that will illuminate the groundwork that led to his final designs and layouts for the series.
One of the definite perks of drawing ALL-NEW INVADERS has to be the incredible opportunity to work with three of Marvel's most legendary heroes: Captain America, Namor the Sub-Mariner, and the original Human Torch. They've all been fighting the good fight for more than 70 years now, but artist Steve Pugh sees them as fresh, vibrant characters just itching for new adventures.
Marvel.com: Steve, you're literally working with the foundation characters of the Marvel Universe in Cap, Namor, and Torch--how's that feel?
Steve Pugh: Yeah, I know it! I was taken aside by a friend and told the Invaders was his Avengers and to take care of them! You can't side-step the iconic behemoth of Captain America. The shield, the big "A" on the head, even for a kid like me who didn't see Marvel Comics growing up [in England], I somehow still knew about Cap and who he was. He seeped into my consciousness through stickers and gum cards. Namor and Torch too; it's incredibly exciting to be thrown into their world.
Steve Pugh: Sure, that's true; in the flashback scenes [in ALL-NEW INVADERS] Torch is rendered, as best I can, in his classic look, but in the present day James [Robinson] reasoned he'd have had time to finesse and explore his powers so he can create much more elaborate fire storms around himself. This gives me the chance to really go wild with the brush; it's a much more dynamic, aggressive look, and the colorist, Lee Duhig, is adding an even bigger level of cool to it. I started off trying to draw individual flames, but it looked too controlled, too cartoony, so I went heavy with the fast texturing and rough brushes!
Marvel.com: Speaking of color, what kind of a role will it play in this series?
Steve Pugh: Color in modern comics is probably the most important element on the page, as it sets all the zones of light and dark, handles almost all the mood setting and is certainly the thing that the reader takes in first, before the art, even before the words. We're very lucky to have Lee on board--he's a powerhouse and has been turning in spectacular pages. His Torch in particular is breathtaking!
Steve Pugh: Well, I'm biased because all that stuff takes ages to draw! But a real problem is that it distracts from the story telling. The more detail, the slower the eye reads the page, and instead of a reader's eye traveling down a muscled arm to the punch at the end of it, there's all those seams and pockets and armor leading the eye off in different directions, so the panel has less impact. The more of a person's body and muscle stresses you can see, the more you can use those cues to ramp up the dynamism of a panel. Daredevil just standing in a doorway every muscle tensed looks impressive as hell, [but] cover him in Lego armor, and [stuff] and you'd lose it all.
That said, there are a lot of exceptions, I think the Captain America make-over is pretty great. I like that he looks more like a modern soldier; that makes sense, it fits his spirit.
The trick with the new costumes is to draw the man first, let the figure dictate the shape, and not let the armor overwhelm that silhouette.
Come back tomorrow for more sketches, art and commentary from Steve Pugh, and mark down January 22 for ALL-NEW INVADERS #1!