By Kiel Phegley
Big events mean twists, turns and shakeups for the heroes of the Marvel Universe, but they often mean the same thing for the creative teams behind Marvel's hottest titles.
At Wizard World Chicago, word came down of one such creative twist today as artist Billy Tan will become the full time pencil artist for the flagship series NEW AVENGERS following the conclusion of series writer Brian Michael Bendis' SECRET INVASION limited series.
"It was surreal disbelief and extreme excitement," explains Tan of how he felt when offered the gig. "I have never met nor talked to Brian Bendis before this. So you could only imagine how I felt when he asked me if I would be interested in taking over NEW AVENGERS.
"I got to talk to Brian on the phone once since then. I was genuinely surprise how easy he was to talk to. He is real nice and down to earth, and best of all, he was really respectful. He asked me if there were any characters or ideas I would like to do and he would try to incorporate them into the story. Not that I [had] any at that time but it was real cool for him to value an artist's opinion."
According to Bendis, Tan's recent take on the book's all-star lineup in SECRET INVASION tie-ins from earlier this summer made it clear he had found the man for the job.
"We're always lucky to get these great A-list guys to come and do our bits here and there when we're doing one-shots and Billy came in and blew my mind," enthuses the writer. "Every once in a while someone comes in and you go, 'Woah! That's great!' And Billy did that."
And while Bendis left an impact on his new artist with his collaborative spirit, Tan caught the writer off guard in his own way. "We offered it to Billy, and it was very cute," says Bendis. "Billy asked if he had won a game show. It was very sweet."
But the creative love fest doesn't stop with writer and penciler as Tan will be joined on art by the top duo of inker Matthew "Batt" Banning and colorist Justin Ponsor.
"'Batt' is truly one of the best inkers in the industry," Tan proclaims. "His inks are full of energy and sharp as it can be. His line work could enhance the work of any penciler. Justin's color is amazing! His color choice, lighting and rendering are just right on. I couldn't be happier to have them as a team. If fans are happy with the visual of the book, credits go to these guys."
While the end of SECRET INVASION may still be in doubt, Bendis does promise that the new status quo hitting the team with Tan's first issues won't look anything like previous incarnations...and neither with the New Avengers team.
"There's a lot going on in the book in terms of fallout from SECRET INVASION," vows Bendis. "It isn't like MIGHTY AVENGERS where people go, 'Here's who we can have. Who do you want?' There will be a pretty drastic lineup change up because the whole Marvel Universe will be shaken up."
For Tan's part, the artist stands ready and willing to tackle whatever comes his way.
"I'm good with whatever he throws at me as long as he lets me draw Hulk at some point. Wait, did I say please? Pleaseeee..."
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