Adi Granov on Illustrating an ASTONISHING CAPTAIN AMERICA

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Adi Granov turned a lot of heads on his 2005-2006 run on Iron Man with writer Warren Ellis for the "Extremis" storyline — so much so, that he ended up helping design the character's armor for the 2008 film and working with that movie's director, Jon Favreau, on the 2008 Iron Man: Viva Las Vegas miniseries.

Since then, his comic book output has been limited to covers for titles like Amazing Spider-Man and X-Men: Legacy, so it's a pretty big deal that he's providing the interior art for Astonishing Captain America, announced by Marvel Comics at the New York Comic Con on Friday.

The comic, about an enemy from the World War II past of Steve Rogers that resurfaces in the present day, is written by Andy Diggle, whom Newsarama talked to about the announcement over here. We talked Granov about what Captain America means to a Bosnian-born artist that lives in the United Kingdom, teaming with Diggle and making his return to interior art with Astonishing Captain America.

Newsarama: Adi, you and writer Andy Diggle are both European. What kind of valuable perspective do you think that brings to working on a character literally called Captain "America"? And what qualities about the character make him relevant throughout the world?

Adi Granov: I lived a large portion of my life in the US, so I think I have an interesting vantage point on patriotism and its values and respect by different nations. Obviously Captain America is a patriotic icon to Americans, but is also, perhaps surprisingly, very popular and respected by the European fans. I think he is recognized as a hero and a symbol of a particular era of our history and the sacrifices Americans and European soldiers made in WW2 which is intrinsically liked to Europe, so in that context his outfit and name are a part of his uniform rather than overly patriotic boasting. At least that's my (possibly overthought) view on it… But on the other side, because a large part of the story takes place in the former Soviet Union, and I was born in a place close to the Eastern bloc, I perhaps have a good advantage to bring this world alive better than most.

Nrama: This is also the first time for you and Diggle to be working together, and that’s an exciting team for readers. It's very early still, but how much are you looking forward to be working with the other? Have far you into the collaborative process?

Granov: When Tom Brevoort brought Andy's name up I immediately agreed. I've known Andy socially for a while and his work for even longer so I couldn't be happier to work with him. With him I've had one of those rare feeling about a writer when everything seem to be falling in the right place. Sometimes, even being a fan of a particular writer, early on I realise that our views on something, or a process of working, just don't gel, but with Andy I felt we wanted the same things and saw them in a very similar way. He took everything I suggested and made it a lot better, and everything he came up with I wished I had thought of, which is a great situation for an artist to be in!

Nrama: Art-wise, how are you approaching rendering Captain America? Your best known Marvel work has been with Iron Man, and I imagine the process in illustrating the two — one being high-tech, one being fundamentally old-school military — could be pretty different.

Granov: I suppose technically it is different, but overall my approach is not dissimilar. The big advantage is that Captain America has most of his face exposed, which helps a great deal with showing emotion. My take on the superheroes is to respect what makes them "super" but to give them layers of believability, which is what I tried to do with Iron Man by making the suit look like it could possibly exist and actually be worn by a human. Captain America is superhuman, but I think it's not necessary to put him in reality defying skintight outfits to accentuate that. I like to place superheroes in a gritty approximation of reality and to make them seem almost believable, but clearly very dangerous and deadly, much as I did with Iron Man and his enemy Mallen in “Extremis.” I wouldn't call it realistic by any stretch, but I often cite the movie Predator as some kind of a benchmark for the feel I try to achieve.

Nrama: It's been a couple of years since you've provided interior art for a series. How eager were you to get back to that?

Granov: Definitely! It's my favourite form of illustration and, as a lifelong comic book fan, it is what I like doing the most. Due to the nature of my art style, it is very time consuming to do interior artwork, so I tend to choose the projects I do carefully. This one I am very excited about!

Which upcoming CAPTAIN AMERICA series has you most interested? (There's a lot to choose from!)

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