By Jim Beard
Eternally excited. Eternally enthusiastic. This is artist Daniel Acuña's brain on ETERNALS.
"I couldn't believe it when my agent told me [I had the job]," says the Spanish-born Acuña. "At that moment, ETERNALS was the series I had been dreaming of doing. And I thought 'This is incredible! The characters, the concepts, the situations, it has it all!!!' I've [wanted] to do a project involving [Jack] Kirby characters since forever."
Debuting June 11, the new ongoing ETERNALS series teams the powerful writing duo of Charles and Daniel Knauf (IRON MAN) with the fan favorite visuals of Acuña. The resulting confluence inaugurates a daring new era for the legendary Jack Kirby concepts, a sprawling 1970s saga that has been described as Kirby's last great series for Marvel.
Acuña hopes to maintain the spirit of "The King" in his ETERNALS work, his first major gig for Marvel.
"I always have Kirby's version next to me and I always check it for inspiration and to avoid getting too far [from] his original vision," the artist admits. "So I involve myself deeper into every detail of the characters' look. From the reason a [costume] is like it is, to the 'machine haircuts.'"
"When I started I thought about going a little Kirby with my style, but in the end I saw it was useless, that my style is completely different, and doing that would be a problem," Acuña further explains. "So I try to be faithful to the essence, to convey with my work the emotion I feel when I read his work."
Many factors contribute to Acuña's enthusiasm for the new ETERNALS series, not only the opportunity to work on a series that he describes as "somewhat closer to science-fiction than super heroes," but also the chance to collaborate with the Knaufs.
"I love their scripts and they keep getting more and more intense and absorbing me more and more," says Acuña of the father-son writing team. "I can honestly say that, when I get a new script I first read it as a fan of their work, because I know no details of what will come next, and that makes me enjoy it even more.
"They challenge me with some of the things they ask for-like drawing the Celestials and make them believable in all their gigantic dimensions and extravagancy. They don't let me relax and that helps me keep growing and advancing as an artist"
The ETERNALS cast sprawls in every direction, encompassing heroes, villains, and that which lies somewhere in-between. The 2006 ETERNALS limited series by Neil Gaiman and John Romita Jr. took Kirby's foundation and cemented it to the Marvel Universe of today, forming and re-forming favorite characters.
"Ikaris is my favorite because he's kind of an iconic super hero character and I like to show those values on a page, and the original design of his suit is amazing," Acuña enthuses about the series' central character.
"The best part about this project is that I don't love one or two of the heroes, or super villains, I love absolutely all of them!"
The artist's love translates onto the printed page, as the lush previews of the ETERNALS #1 art prove. The new series should guarantee that this rising star won't be
falling back to Earth anytime soon.
"The thing I enjoy the most is the very different environments I have to develop, that are also a challenge for me as a creator, when it comes to portraying them in both a convincing and emotional way," Acuña reflects. "From a military parade to a Celestial attack to a Deviant city-every issue is one hell of a trip!"
ETERNALS #1, written by Charles and Daniel Knauf with art by Daniel Acuña, touches down in comic shops everywhere on June 11. For more Eternals, visit Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited.