Inside FEARLESS DEFENDERS with Artist Will Sliney
Irish artist Will Sliney is making his Marvel debut with Fearless Defenders starting in February 2013, but he's been steadily making a name for himself over the past few years, illustrating books including Farscape at BOOM! Studios, the United Kingdom versions of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, plus Pigs and MacGyver — yes, that MacGyver — for Image. We talked to Sliney about entering the world of Marvel NOW!, what he likes about the Fearless Defenders concept and characters, and working with series writer Cullen Bunn. Courtesy of Marvel, we're debuting brand-new interior pages from Fearless Defenders #1, presented throughout the article.
Will Sliney: Yep, Marvel always was one of my main goals as a comic book artist. Most of the drive I have as an artist came from watching the Marvel cartoons as a kid, and finding any reprints that I could get my hands on here in Ireland. My childhood dream was to be Spider-Man — when that didn’t pan out, I took to drawing him. I’ve been pretty lucky this year as I’ve got to tick a few boxes: creator-owned work with Celtic Warrior, Star Wars and now Fearless Defenders.
In terms of which work drew Marvel's attention, even while working on a lot of books over the past few years, I always made sure to keep sending sample scripts their way. It’s tough do with regular comic work, but I often found it was in those pages that I pushed myself the most and improved with each one.
Nrama: What is it about Fearless Defenders that specifically appeals to you, and in what ways do you see the book as specifically suited to your skills?
Sliney: Fearless Defenders is going to be such a fun book to draw. One of the things that helped me get the gig was a good ability to get big personalities across in each character. Right off the bat we have two completely different characters, Valkyrie and Misty Knight. Obviously they both are going to enjoy beating the crap out of whatever foes come in their way, but they will do so with different styles. Misty has got to have a swagger about her, and Valkyrie will be much sterner. This is just the tip of the iceberg with the potential characters available for the book, too. That is what really excites me.
Nrama: On that same subject, it definitely sounds like a book that's granted the creative team a lot of room to well, create — new characters, new situations, new settings. What has that experience been like for you thus far? How much have you been able to bring your own style and perspective to the series?
Also, in dealing with Valkyrie and her whole mythological background, I quite like being able to draw from the huge wealth of this type of Norse history we have here in Ireland, so you may see subtle hints of that appearing in design choices. Funnily enough it was my own descendants that defeated them here nearly 1000 years ago.
Nrama: A major element of Fearless Defenders is that it's an all-female team, a very welcome site in the superhero genre. How important is that aspect to you? And what different challenges, if any, does that present to you as the illustrator of the book?
Sliney: It’s funny, when the book was first being described to me I didn’t click that it was an all-female team, I was thinking of the characters as individuals at first, and playing in my mind how they would work together. It was only when I heard that Val was recruiting a new team of Valkyrior that it sunk in.First and foremost, it’s important to tell a good story, and I love the overlaying concept, as well as all of the script that I have read. If people are looking for a good story, then I think they will be happy in the same way that people looking for an all-female team with a good story will be too.
Sliney: Well, like I mentioned before, it’s important to stay true to these characters. I’m approaching Val and Misty as two very powerful, independent women who should be drawn as such.
Definitely I’m going to be staying pretty close to the classic versions for now. Looking at Mark Brooks’ great cover reaffirmed to me how good they already look.
Nrama: How has the collaborative process with writer Cullen Bunn been so far? He mentioned that you were able to meet in person at NYCC, which had to be valuable, as many writer-artist teams don't ever get that chance.
It’s simple really, we have a chance here to do something really special here and both of us believe in putting in the hard work to do so. I’ve already wrapped work on the first issue and I could not be more proud of it. It’s my best work. Now I just got to stay up a little later, and make issue two even better.More from Newsarama:
- What We Learned From Marvel's JANUARY 2013 Solicitations
- Marvel NOW! Gets an All-Female Team of FEARLESS DEFENDERS
- DEADPOOL Flips the Manuscript with Classics KILLUSTRATED