Spider-Man 2099 may not be living in the future anymore, but that doesn't mean he -- or his series artist Will Sliney -- is avoiding high-tech tools to get the job done.
In the new Spider-Man 2099 series launching in October, Miguel O'Hara has a job with Spider-Man's Parker Industries. And given Spider-man's new status quo (what Amazing Spider-Man artist Giueseppe Camuncoli calls "Batman Inc. meets Iron Man."), where Spider-Man 2099 falls into this new era for the Spider-family remains to be seen, but Sliney tells us that "things don't get any easier" for O'Hara.
Sliney recently shared details about a particularly intensive ("American Ninja Warrior-esque") scene he drew for Spider-Man 2099 #1. The artist created CGI models of the environment to better illustrate the scene. Newsarama spoke to the Irish artist about this extra work, as well as the big picture for Miguel O'Hara.
Newsarama: Will, how is this new Spider-Man 2099 series different from the previous volume for you?
Will Sliney: In many ways, this feels like a new season, but one where the stakes are a lot higher. Peter has done a great job of building up a great cast of characters over the last couple of years, whether they came from the main title, Spider-Verse, or Secret Wars 2099. Now it feels like it is all coming together into this new story.
It's most definitely a dark book. His own timeline was doomed in the last series and things don't get any easier for Miguel as the story continues.
Nrama: On the art side, the big change is the new costume designed by Kris Anka. What are your impressions of it, and how do you think it matches the story you and Peter are telling?
Sliney: Kris has a bit of a gift for designing costumes. I had a few ideas in my head for what it could look like, and Kris just blew that out of the water. It's a dream of a costume to draw coming at it from an artist point of view. You can use the lines in it to give Miguel a strong sense of speed and power. Story-wise it's needed to bring Miguel up to the level he needs to be to combat the upcoming threats. It fits in nicely to the whole new Spidey universe of Parker Industries too.
Nrama: I'm told that you've done some intricate computer modeling for some scenes already the new series. Can you give us an example and walk us through what you've done?
Sliney: Yes, I was a 3D artist for a few years before I left full-time into the world of comic books, so I know my way around 3D Studio Max. If I see in the script or a series outline that we will be visiting a particular environment for more than a few pages, then it’s always worth my while investing time into building that area.
It very specifically only works on things that are inorganic, and can even get tricky when you want to model in surfaces that are aerodynamic too.
We have a scene in the opening issue -- one of my favorite scenes to draw and one where Frankie Darmata's colors on the scene really helped knock it out of the park -- where Miguel takes part in an athletic ninja-based theme show. The assault course is one that is built up mainly with girders and scaffolding holding together the various obstacles, so it is perfect to model up.
I have attached a few images, where if you look closely, it’s mainly built up of cylinders and rectangles. Then, almost like with LEGO or a modeling kit, you piece them all together, with the added advantage of being able to multiply the objects.
A good example of this is the girders you can see in the model. It’s basically a cube made out of 14 cylinders that is repeated hundreds of times.
The main advantage then is that I have reference tailored exactly how I want it, to the model I created.
But it's actually great for helping to map out a complicated scene, as you can use it to plan where you place your characters, in an environment that will stay consistent. This really helped with Secret Wars 2099 when I had rooms full of about 20 people. I knew which area of a room I would draw a character standing, so with that, I can easily see what background should be near them.
One important point though is that once you have made the model, it still hasn't done all the work for you. You have to incorporate it into your work, using your own line weight, weathering and shadows to match up with your figure work, so there still is lots of work left to do after it is built.
Nrama: Giuseppe Camuncoli described the new Amazing Spider-Man status quo as "Batman Inc. meets Iron Man." If I can call Miguel now one of Peter's agents so to speak, what unique hole does Miguel fit into for the larger Spider-family plans?
Sliney: Heh, I don't know if you could ever call Miguel one of Peter's agents. He does work closely with him of course now that he has left Alchemax for Parker industries, but this is very much Miguel's own story.
Everything about Spider-Man 2099 was done in a way to differentiate him from Peter, even down to the way he moves.
One of the first things Peter told me when I joined the book was that Miguel rarely, if ever, swings on a web. He is much more likely to glide using his cape. His new costume will push him even further away from the traditional Spider-type movements.
Nrama: Understood. Speaking of new and different, a new character being brought into this volume is Doctor Chronos. What can you tell us about him?
Sliney: Not too much unfortunately. You’ll just have to read the book! Although, I can say that I have just spent a full month drawing the guy.
Nrama: OK, we’ll let you leave it at that.
Let me ask you next about Miguel’s home timeline. Miguel's now living in the modern-day Marvel U, but can you say if any jaunts back to 2099 -- or other times, for that matter -- could be in the plans for the future?
Sliney: I don't think you can have Spider-Man 2099 without seeing him appear in that timeline. People won't have long to wait to see it, but everything that has happened in our previous 2099 runs still affect the world.
Nrama: Last question, Will: big picture, how are you looking at improving on what you and Peter did in the previous volume?
Sliney: Over the course of the last series, we jumped around with the various events that took place in the Marvel universe. This one, right after issue one, will become incredibly focused on a new threat for Miguel, one that hasn't really been done in the Marvel universe before.
Mostly, what improves it for me is the cast of characters like I mentioned before. Peter David has always been incredible at building worlds, and we have ended up with a book that is starting to star much more than just Miguel, and most of these characters were created specifically for this title. I'm really looking forward to seeing what people think of it.