***This article contains spoilers for issues #1-#8 of Age of Ultron.***
Carlos Pacheco has had a rather illustrious career illustrating at both Marvel and DC, with titles under his belt including Fantastic Four, Superman, Green Lantern, Uncanny X-Men and the creator-owned Arrowsmith, with Kurt Busiek.
His latest project sees him alternating with Brandon Peterson for the second half of current 10-part event miniseries Age of Ultron. Peterson is handling scenes set in the altered present, with Pacheco drawing sequences in Marvel's pre-Ultron early days, in which Wolverine and Invisible Woman have made a rather fateful decision involving founding Avenger team member Hank Pym.
With Age of Ultron #9 out this coming Wednesday, June 5, we talked with Pacheco about working with Age of Ultron writer Brian Michael Bendis, channeling the spirit of the Silver Age, and how the 12-part 1999-1999 miniseries Avengers Forever helped lead to this assignment for him.
Newsarama: Carlos, in Age of Ultron, you've been illustrating the sequences set in the past Marvel Universe. Visually, you've definitely been evoking the Silver Age while still retaining your own style — what can you say about your artistic approach to your Age of Ultron scenes? Did you use much Marvel Comics from the era as reference?
Carlos Pacheco: I grew up reading Marvel comics from Fantastic Four issue #1 (or so), since the Marvel Universe was published in Spain with a big delay from the original US edition, so the events we are telling and retelling in The Age of Ultron are a part of my comic sentimental education.
These issues were the ones that made me a Marvel big fan. [Age of Ultron editor Tom Brevoort] knew that since we worked together in another big "geek" piece: Avengers Forever. I assume he wanted me to do this sequence of the Age of Ultron because of that.
Nrama: You illustrated the pivotal moment in Age of Ultron #6, with Wolverine killing Hank Pym in the past. What can you say about bringing that scene to life — and getting to draw the death of such a major Marvel character?
Pacheco: Well, the first thing that a "geek" learn after years of reading superhero comics is that nobody lives forever and that nobody dies forever.
Nrama: The Age of Ultron story as a whole has had a larger than normal amount of secrecy surrounding it, as those involved have said from the beginning. What was that like, for an artist? Was it a case of only being privy to the scenes you were working on?
Pacheco: The truth was that I was only knew what happened in my scenes… yes, I know, comics are done way better in the fan's mind.
Nrama: You've worked with Brian Michael Bendis a bit before — New Avengers #32, just a bit before Age of Ultron — but this is your first project with him at length, which is somewhat surprising given how many high-profile Marvel stories you've both done over the years. What has the experience been like collaborating with him?
Pacheco: Yes, this is our first collaboration, but he came to Marvel when I was about to move to the Distinctive Competence. Brian (like Geoff Johns at DC) has a profound knowledge of the superhero field he works with… but he's always trying to go further with no room for complacency in his work.
And that's nice.