Captain America: First Vengeance

Captain America: Luke Ross' First Vengeance

Artist Luke Ross raps about Captain America's official movie tie-in!

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By Jim Beard

Can’t wait for this summer's blockbuster "Captain America: The First Avenger" feature film? Marvel's heard your cries and kicked off an official movie tie-in with CAPTAIN AMERICA: FIRST VENGEANCE, an eight-issue digital comic available exclusively on the Marvel Comics App!

Captain America: First Vengeance #3 preview art by Luke Ross

Writer Fred Van Lente and artist Luke Ross delve deeper into the history of Johann Schmidt--aka the Red Skull--in CAPTAIN AMERICA: FIRST VENGEANCE #3, available for download now. We checked in with Ross to talk to him about his approach to the issue, with its incredible scenes of historical figures and environments.

"The masterly way that Fred Van Lente presented the historical events in the FIRST VENGEANCE #3 script got me very excited and transported me quickly into the story," Ross says. "After reading each page, I had many ideas for the panels popping out of my mind. So, it was easy for me to visualize the sequences but I saw them more like a movie then a comic book, which led me to go with more simple compositions and angles for most of the panels. What is more challenging for me sometimes is coordinating the visual ideas after brainstorming and properly choosing those which illustrate the scene more efficiently--and also having some visual appeal.

"I had a lot of luck; Fred was very generous with including most of the references I needed for the story, such as the Berlin Opera house and the Nazi uniforms. I only had to look for a few other things that I had some doubts about, for example the orchestra musicians on page three. I wanted to check if I should or should not include women in a German orchestra of 1934. On most of the images I've found of that period I didn't see female musicians, so I drew a 'mustache orchestra.' And I also looked for some good references of Hitler and Himmler, which are not so difficult to find."

Captain America: First Vengeance #3 preview art by Luke Ross

The artist also walked away with a few favorite scenes from FIRST VENGEANCE #3, ones he's personally very proud to have been a part of illustrating.

"I'm very happy with the action scenes where Cap fights this very big dude," Ross notes. "But the whole 1934 sequence pleases me a bit more because the characters are basically only simply talking and I think they're still interesting pages.

"I also think that the layout of page nine works well; it presents the events of 'The Night of the Long Knives' in a way that avoids the violence, showing it in a subtle manner. I'm very happy with the final results--Richard Isanove did splendid work on the colors, bringing more life to the pages and making my pencils more exciting."

Working within the Marvel Cinematic Universe means having access to the film's unique designs to insure continuity between screen and comic, a situation which Ross describes as a personal thrill for him.

"The generous guys at Marvel Studios sent me tons of stills showing the actors, uniforms, weapons, vehicles, etc.," he reports.

Captain America: First Vengeance #3 cover

"Those stills have basically everything I need to draw the characters well. I got very excited with sneak peeks that I got from them, having the chance to get an exclusive look at the characters and getting a good idea of some of the scenes from the movie."

Ross also reports that working on a digital comic means adopting only a slightly different mindset for the art than with a traditional printed comic.

"As CAPTAIN AMERICA: FIRST VENGEANCE is initially a digital comic, I avoided drawing crazy page layouts to allow for an easy and pleasant reading experience on digital media," he says. "Anyway, I think the way we read on [an] iPad is not too different from the way we read on a printed comic, so it will work well as a hardcopy version too."

Read CAPTAIN AMERICA: FIRST VENGEANCE #1 for free, and download issue #3 now available on the Marvel Comics App!

Check out the official "Captain America: The First Avenger" teaser site as well as its news hub right here on Marvel.com for the latest on Cap's big screen adventure hitting theaters July 22!

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