Artist Goran Sudzuka has made a name for himself as a guest artist on some of the biggest titles in comic books, from Wonder Woman, Y: The Last Man, to the most recent Thors. Sudzuka even pulled double duty this summer, illustrating part of Thors with Chris Sprouse while also inking Dalibor Talajic's Master of Kung Fu. And the Croatian-born artist shows no signs of slowing down.
His next project, What If? Infinity – Dark Reign pays homage to some of Sudzuka’s heroes, Gil Kane and John Romita, while also revisiting some classic Marvel moments; a task Sudzuka feels more than capable of handling.
Sudzuka spoke with Newsarama about juggling his various projects, revisiting one classic Spider-Man scene, and what he wants to do next. Sudzuka shared the various stages of two pages from What If? Dark Reign as well.
Newsarama: Goran, thanks for doing this. My first question is an easy one -- what are you working on today?
Goran Sudzuka: I had a very intense summer, working on a few books simultaneously, so now I'm taking a short break; traveling to comic conventions and filling my time with commissions.
Nrama: Recently, the big project for you has been helping out on Marvel's Thors series alongside Chris Sprouse. How's that been for you?
Sudzuka: It's been great! I was already working on Master of Kung Fu when I got the call to work on Thors but I just couldn't turn it down - Jason Aaron is one of my favorite writers today and I've been a long-time fan of Chris Sprouse.
The deadlines were tight, but I didn't mind putting in some extra working hours.
Nrama: Sharing a book with another artist perhaps isn't the most ideal of circumstances, but how is it sharing the book and trying not to be too different from one another?
Sudzuka: It wasn't my first time doing something like that - I did it on Y - the Last Man with Pia Guerra and on Wonder Woman with Cliff Chiang.
I was never asked (or tried myself) to adapt my style to other artists. I think I was chosen because our styles are already similar enough. Add the colorist and inkers who'd do the whole book and you get quite the consistent result.
Of course, there's the pressure of filling some really big shoes, but you do your best and enjoy being a part of a team on such great book(s)!
Nrama: Who's been your favorite Thor to draw? And has there been one you didn't get to draw but wanted to?
Sudzuka: Groot Thor, of course!
I wish I got to draw more of him and take a shot at Beta Ray.
Nrama: Next up after this you're re-teaming with your Ghosted partner Joshua Williamson on the one-shot What If? Infinity - Dark Reign. What interested you about this project?
Sudzuka: Josh asked me a year ago if I would be interested in working on one of the What If one-shots he's been pitching to Marvel and I said "yes" before I even knew what it was going to be about.
One-shots are always fun because it's a standalone issue so you can do it fully concentrated, and it being a What if story just doubles the fun.
What made it even better is that Josh provided a really great script way upfront so I was able to do it without any pressure from deadlines and really give it my best.
Nrama: What's been your favorite part about this issue?
Sudzuka: The Gwen Stacy scene. That was a very unique thing to do and I'm especially proud of it.
Nrama: And on the flipside, what's been the most difficult?
Sudzuka: Same scene. It's an homage (recreation, to be more precise) to a classic Gil Kane/John Romita scene and they've been my heroes since I was a kid. Still are.
So I really wanted to do justice to it and hopefully I succeeded. Again, it was crucial that I had all the time I needed, so I didn't let it go until I was happy with the result.
Nrama: In addition to drawing, you've also being doing some inking over your friend Dalibor Talajic's Master Of Kung Fu. What's that like, drawing one book while inking another?
Sudzuka: Switching from one to the other was refreshing. Very different than switching from one book to another where you do complete pages like I was doing with Ghosted and Wonder Woman.
When you work with a great team there's the relief from knowing that you don't have to do all the work. Sometimes doing both pencils and inks gets redundant, tiring. This way you do your part on each page and don't have to return to it later.
Nrama: Do you think working with another artist like that influences your own drawing work to any degree?
Sudzuka: I certainly hope so. I think I learned a lot working with other artists. Dalibor is a great artist and things I usually struggle with he can do with such ease. His work on Master Of Kung Fu was stellar and we're really proud of this book.
Years ago I was working with Goran Parlov on Outlaw Nation and I was always saying that inking Goran's pencils is the best school an artist can get.
Nrama: After Thors finishes and What If? Infinity – Dark Reign, what are you working on next?
Sudzuka It's still early to say. I'm negotiating my next gig right now. Hopefully I'll wrap it up at NYCC.
Nrama: What kind of work do you want to do next?
Sudzuka: I don't have any preferences regarding genre. I just want to draw good stories.
Working with such great writers like Jamie Delano, Brian K. Vaughan, Brian Azzarello or Jason Aaron spoils you. If I have a good script I don't care if it's a super hero book, western or crime.