Beyond the tale that’s kicking off in the upcoming MILES MORALES: ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN, there’s a story behind the scenes equally as fascinating as the return of the Ultimate Universe’s Spidey. This one involves artist David Marquez, a talented guy who’s no stranger to Ultimate Spider-Man fans and who now finds himself once again swinging with the web-slinger alongside writer Brain Michael Bendis.
Listen in as Marquez explains how he landed the project, how he’s approaching the art, and what the future might look like.
Marvel.com: David, do you remember how it felt when you were first asked to work on ULTIMATE COMICS SPIDER-MAN?
David Marquez: It was utterly surreal. I hadn't been working at Marvel all that long; I had done one issue of SECRET WARRIORS with Jonathan Hickman, and then the FANTASTIC FOUR: SEASON ONE graphic novel with Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa. I had been speaking with Marvel about doing more work, but the offer to work on ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN came totally out of the blue. I had been reading the book since the very beginning back in 2000 and was a huge fan of the new series with Sara Pichelli on art. I almost didn't believe it at first, but once it all really set in as real I buckled down and was committed to proving that I was up to the task. The fact that they've kept me on as artist on MILES MORALES: ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN is, for me, the biggest achievement of my career so far.
Marvel.com: What's the very best thing for you as an artist about working with Brian?
David Marquez: Honestly, the best thing is just how easy it is. Brian's scripts match up so well with what I love to draw: great action balanced out by strong characters and heartfelt emotional arcs. It's always a joy to read though a script and discover all these incredible opportunities to do something cool. And our working relationship is pretty close; we live in the same city and get to hang out fairly often. It's great to see the ideas for the Ultimate Comics Spider-Man grow from a passing idea in conversation to the finished, fully fleshed out story of the script.
Marvel.com: Do you have certain things in mind to do with the new series visually? Will it have its own look, apart from what you've done with the character previously?
David Marquez: Absolutely. Brian and I have spoken about wanting this new series to have a unique visual edge. In particular, I'm playing a lot with heavy blacks in my art, and more fluid, dynamic layouts. It's incredibly important to me that I never grow complacent or stagnant in relation to the work that I'm doing, and the new book is providing an incredible opportunity to try to stretch myself artistically.
Marvel.com: What's a typical work-day like for you on this book? How much of it is research and how much actual drawing?
David Marquez: The easy answer is that it depends. Now that I've been on this character for a while, there isn't that much research left to do; I feel very comfortable with Miles and the Ultimate Universe. But that said, I'm always trying to bring as much to the art as possible. Every new issue's script references some new part of New York that I have to learn more about to try to sell convincingly on the page. And I want the characters to look believable, so I spend a good amount of time researching new fashion trends, trying to make every character's style tell something about them but also reflect what people—and teens—look like in the real world. And I constantly go back to the series before I came on—folks like Mark Bagley, Stuart Immonen, David Lafuente, Mark Brooks and Sara Pichelli have been doing this far longer than I and I'm always picking up new things every time I go back through their issues.
Marvel.com: How do you approach the character of Miles from a visual standpoint?
David Marquez: At first it was very important to show just how new he was to being Spider-Man. He didn't more nearly as smoothly as Peter, and was really faking it until he made it. Now, he has much more experience under his belt and so looks and moves much more confidently as Spider-Man. But he's also gone through some terrible things in his personal life: the death of his super villain uncle, the death of his mother, his father abandoning him.
And he's still so young. Perhaps even more than Peter, Miles is haunted by the weight of the cowl, and even more than his physicality as a super hero, I want readers to see his pain and his struggles and to feel for him.
Marvel.com: Apart from Miles, what are some of the other characters that you've really looked forward to getting back to on this series and why?
David Marquez: I love the entire supporting cast so much. Ganke and Kate Bishop are so much fun to draw, and each bring out such different sides of Miles. They're the two people he loves most in the world and for that alone I love drawing them.
Marvel.com If you were able to bring one new character into the series, who would it be and why?
David Marquez: Having already gotten to design the ultimate versions of Cloak and Dagger I am a very happy man and I'm not sure I would want to be greedy asking for more. But, if pressed, I'd love to draw some Ultimate Moon Knight!
MILES MORALES: ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #1 swings on sale April 7