Talking to War of Kings' Paul Pelletier

Paul Pelletier on War of Kings

War of Kings #2, page 2

Marvel’s War of Kings is well underway and the galaxy may not be the same when the dust finally settles as Black Bolt and the Inhumans, alongside the Starjammers, attempt to protect the Kree Empire from the treacherous Vulcan and the encroaching Shi’ar Empire. We contacted Paul Pelletier, artist on War of Kings, to talk about his role on the project as well as a number of the challenges of being a comic book artist on such an epic story with a large body of players.

Newsarama: Paul, War of Kings is going ahead ful steam, with issue #2 hitting shelves last week; just how epic did you think things were going to get when you got involved with Marvel's cosmic books and characters?

Paul Pelletier: I had a feeling it would be quite an adventure, but War of Kings really bumped it up a few notches. T o be honest, I was a little intimidated by the initial plot synopsis I read for this series! I didn't know if I would be the right guy for this job, but I decided to take it one page at a time, and I feel that I'm doing a pretty solid job dealing with the insanity of it all!

NRAMA: This story rolls along at quite a furious clip; what's the trick to creating such fast-paced action without it turning into a pose-fest?

PP: It's easier when the action is specific to character abilities, rather than generic fight scenes. Rocket Raccoon will not have the same moves as Gladiator....Havoc will be different than Triton and so on. It helps reduce the chance on falling back on tried and true action poses. I've always enjoyed fight scenes more when they are character specific.

War of Kings #2, page 3

NRAMA: Visually, what do you think are some key elements that make Vulcan such an interesting character to draw?

PP: Well, when he first appeared in X-Men, he was a pretty generic looking character. I really like the "Caesar" look he's got going on now. He's got that crazed Roman emperor look that's fun to mess around with. It really sets him apart from the other characters in the series.

NRAMA: The cast of War of Kings is absolutely sprawling and your style really seems to suit a big-cast book. How much more demanding is a book with such tremendous amount of characters? Is there advantages to numbers?

War of Kings #2, page 4

PP: It's demanding in the fact that I have to keep tons on reference around to keep the costumes correct. That can be tedious! It's also difficult for me to quickly get a good grasp of these characters since I have to jump around so much. I just do the best I can in the amount of time I have before deadlines!

One of the perks of drawing this many characters is that I'll never get bored! It's fun to deal with different body types and character traits. Going from Groot to someone like Karnac, and everyone else in between, is quite a trip!

NRAMA: Without giving anything away, are there any upcoming scenes that you've drawn for War of Kings that you're particularly proud of?

PP: Everything! I'm surprised my head hasn't exploded yet!

NRAMA: Do you have any particular favorite characters you like drawing from War of Kings?

PP: I think that Gladiator has become my favorite. I usually gravitate to the "funny" character in a book, but Gladiator is such a regal bad-ass! I really enjoy his stoic and powerful nature. I also dig the Inhumans....each character is so distinctive. It's a testament to the genius of Kirby and Lee.

NRAMA: How much creative input do you have in terms of storytelling? Are there moments where you, as the artist, step in and say, "I have a better idea..."?

War of Kings #2, page 5

PP: Yeah. The more that I comfortable I become working with a writer, the more I'll want to take liberties with how sequences are paced. Dan and Andy [Abnett and Lanning, respectively, the writing team] can probably tell you that I have gotten much bolder with tweaking the visual outcome. I'll never change the spirit of what the writer wants, but if I feel the story flows better a different way, or if an action sequence could be better paced, I'll put my creative slant on it. Someday, I'd like to be involved a bit more on the front end of a plotting session. It's much easier to input ideas at the beginning of the process than to try and shoe-horn them as I pencil.

NRAMA: Also, in terms of storytelling and being a veteran to the industry—are there still new tricks you'd like to learn?

PP: Heck yeah. I've had no formal training, so I've got tons to learn. I'd love to have the pure storytelling ability of John Byrne; I marvel at the design sense of someone like Pasqual Ferry; I'd love my pencils to have the power that Kirby or someone like Romita Jr. has; someday, I'll try to get Jim Cheung to teach me the secret to drawing a great looking talking heads page—he's the best! When I look at a guy like Alan Davis, I realize how far I have to go, and how much I still have to learn. I would just like to keep having fun and hopefully improve my skills as I continue along my career.

NRAMA: When you were starting out, if you could go back and give yourself some advice—what would it be?

War of Kings #2, page 6

PP: I'm pretty pleased with how my career has gone, so I guess I'd tell young Pelletier to stick with his plan and work extremely hard, never give up on your goal, and always try to hit your deadline!

NRAMA: Are there any books or creators that you'd like a shot at that you haven't had the opportunity to work with so far?

PP: As far as team books go, I'd love to do something with Alpha Flight. Other characters I'd love to take a crack at would be Hulk or Thor—maybe something with Kazar and the Savage Land?

NRAMA: What's in store for you after War of Kings?

PP: I have no idea. Maybe Guardians of the Galaxy again? I haven't heard anything yet from Marvel, so I guess I'll have to wait and see!

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