Invincible #66Cory Walker debuted on the comics scene in 2003, partnering with Robert Kirkman on the superhero series Invincible from Image bringing a new modern light to the story of a teenager inheriting the good (and bad) of his father’s superhero career. Walker’s art style showed a fresh clean art style comparable more to animated series than to Image’s stereotypical Image house style.
Since leaving regular penciling duties on Invincible 2004, he’s kept a part of the series doing covers, back-up stories and continuing his partnership with Kirkman doing issues of The Irredeemable Ant-Man and the current Marvel Max series Destroyer Max.
Announced earlier this year on G4 TV, Walker will be returning to the series he helped create, illustrating a two-part story arc in Invincible #66 & #67. The story promises to set the stage for a Viltrumite War, which has been building in the series since it debuted back in 2003. It will find Invincible’s father, Nolan, partnering with fan-favorite Allen the Alien as they begin amassing weapons capable of combating Nolan’s former Empire.
Earlier this month we spoke to writer Robert Kirkman about all things Invincible, and now we turn to his Invincible co-creator to find out about his return the title and his work on Destroyer MAX.
Newsarama: You’re back in the mix drawing two complete issues of Invincible, the first full issues since way back in issue #7. You’re done some back-up strips here and there, but now you’re back in the seat for two issues. What’s that like for you?
Cory Walker: For the most part, I'm really excited. Even though I left the book, I always cared about it a great deal and I don't ever want there to be a time that I'm not involved with it in some capacity. Being able to come back to do two issues of the regular series, and not a spin-off or a back-up is great, because I was always worried about how my back-ups and other minor contributions would be perceived. I don't want to be Bruce Kulick on a Kiss tribute album (I realize he wasn't a founding member, but still).
CW: It's also a concern, that with Ryan Ottley making the book so much his own, how the fans will react to my brief return. I don't want to let anyone down. Aside from that, though, I'm thrilled to be back, no matter how brief.
NRAMA: Why was this story-arc the one to bring you back in?
CW: Being a prelude to the Viltrumite war, I think these two issues are better suited for a guest illustrator than any other two issues would be. It's a nice aside that doesn't involve what Ryan's doing elsewhere in the book. But really, I just love Allen and Nolan. I've got a special place in my heart for those guys.
NRAMA: You’re balancing this with your other project, Destroyer Max, over at Marvel with some Robert guy. For fans of your work, this has been the biggest output of yours in years – what would you chalk that up to?
CW: Time. I'm not really a monthly guy, for whatever reason. Destroyer has been in the works for a while, and it just works out that my two issues of invincible ship in the months following the end of Destroyer.
NRAMA: You created Invincible with Robert Kirkman and was the primary artist on the title until you left with issue #7. Ryan Ottley really wowed people by stepping up to the challenge – how do you think he’s done filling your shoes now several years later?
CW: It's no secret how I feel about Ryan Ottley. I love that guy. It's like I had to abandon my wife and kid because I couldn't support them and they went off and found themselves a millionaire. The book couldn't possibly be in better hands. The book now, is so visually different now and I love it. Ryan is really one of the best in the business and I'll fight anyone who says otherwise. I will kick them in the dick.
NRAMA: I’d say you’re kidding, but I read Destroyer MAX #1 and I know you’d do it. But getting back on track -- how do you feel your style and methods have changed since Invincible #7?
CW: Hopefully, they've changed quite a bit. If you're looking at Invincible #6 and are worried about me coming back and my issues looking like that, I wouldn't sweat it. Looking at Destroyer will give you a much better idea of what it'll look like. I mean, I think I've learned a lot since I left Invincible, and lately, I've gotten a little more comfortable with inking, and haven't been so anal about every little line being perfect and in it's assigned place. Hopefully the art will feel more organic and energetic.
NRAMA: Is it just me, or do you really enjoy drawing Allen the Alien? Why is that?
CW: How can you not love that guy. Allen has been a favorite of mine since his inception. Drawing a muscle-bound goof-ball alien with one eye is always a joy. I think you'd be hard-pressed to find someone that wouldn't love the shit out of drawing Allen.
NRAMA: Without spoiling it for us, can you tell us some of the things you’re drawing in these two issues?
CW: Nolan and Allen in space. That's all I can really say, I think. It's going to be a blast, though, you'll just have to trust me.
NRAMA: Will you be inking yourself on this, and who will the colorist be on your issues?
CW: I'll be inking myself on these two issues. I've worked with some guys who are great with ink, but it's not nearly as fun letting someone else ink my work as it is doing it myself. FCO Plascencia will be handling the coloring, beautifully, I'm sure. He's fantastic and it's his book, so there's no need for anyone else to step in. That should help to keep some visual continuity as well, so the art change won't be too jarring.
NRAMA: Switching to Destroyer MAX, wow. The first issue was way more gruesome than I thought. Was there talk about how far you and Robert could go with this? Were there things that you couldn’t show?
CW: It never really came up. I mean, it's a MAX book, so obviously we have soooo much more leeway as far as gore goes than we would in a regular Marvel book. I don't know if I'm just desensitized or what, but the first issue didn't seem that bad to me. It's not all that gruesome, if you think about it, there's just a ton of blood. Issue three is pretty blood-heavy as well, but I don't think the violence is unsettling or anything.
NRAMA: What made Destroyer MAX a project you wanted to work on?
CW: It's about an old bad-ass stabbing people with things that aren't sharp. That's awesome. In all seriousness, though, it's a great story about the end of a man's life and how he deals with it. He wants to make sure the world is a safer place for his family in his absence.
Destroyer is a great old guy that loves his granddaughter and turns bad guys into pudding.
NRAMA: How would you compare doing Destroyer MAX with working on Invincible?
CW: Y'know, it's not as different as you'd think. Going into Destroyer MAX, Robert and I were basically starting with a clean slate. With 700 issues of imaginary continuity to explain away any inconsistencies fans might find with the old Destroyer stories, we were able to kind of make this thing our own and do what we wanted to do with it to tell the story we wanted to tell. It's the closest thing to creator-owned that either of us have done at the big two, I think, which makes it a lot like the early days of Invincible. Not to mention I'm doing almost as many issues of Destroyer as I did of Invincible. [laughs]