Kang War III just ended in Mark Waid and Mike Del Mundo's Avengers #3, but Kang Wars IV and V are coming fast behind them in the next two issues. While it might be hard to keep up with for readers and some creators, Del Mundo told Newsarama it's been thrilling to transition from a cover artist to doing interiors on a monthly team book.
As part of this time-hopping storyline, Del Mundo has been able to create new iterations of Kang - ranging from an even more far-flung future version, a gorilla version, and most recently, M.O.D.O.K. Kang. That plus the ensemble Avengers cast has kept Del Mundo busy - so much so that he's pulled back on the number of covers he does.
Newsarama talked with Del Mundo about the art of Marvel's Avengers, digging into the details of designing, color theory, and just plain differentiating between all the colorful costumes.
And don't worry, we talk about M.O.D.O.K. Kang.
Newsarama: Mike, you're right in the midst of a run on Avengers with writer Mark Waid, without a doubt the biggest gig of your career thus far. You have three issues on stands, and a fourth coming soon - how does it feel?
Mike Del Mundo: It feels great! Working with Mark is a blessing and doing art chores for a book I grew up with as a child is just hard to comprehend. Let's just say I'm super stoked.
Nrama: This is a big deal, in terms of Q rating, but also in terms of the demands on the book - previously you had only done books with solo leads. What's it like drawing a team book fighting a team of Kangs?
Del Mundo: It's definitely a lot more work [Laughs]. But that's to be expected when you're dealing with a team book that's comprised of around six or seven characters but I love the challenge of it and it's hella fun drawing all the cool costume designs and diverse cast. Drawing Kang is soooo goood as well. Throughout these issues he's won me over to be my favorite villain.
Nrama: How have you adapted your color theory to deal with characters that have such varied visuals on the same page?
Del Mundo: It's definitely a challenge especially without the use of black lines on the characters which I do a lot. I'm almost using tricks like atmosphere (smoke, fog) to separated characters, blurred effects (depth of field) and sometimes I'll keep background characters simple and less rendered. I also make a conscious point to do a lot of warm and cools where needed.
Nrama: You and Waid have started out with a big time-spanning story with Kang War Three, and are already planning a sequel in the next arc with Kang War IV and Kang War V. What's it like dealing with a story with such unusual set-pieces?
Del Mundo: I love it! The fact that a lot of the story finds itself in the far off future, I was able to create tech, fashion and characters without feeling restricted to a specific part of history. I was almost freestyling the tech and just having fun with it. I even drew a M.O.D.O.K. Kang, because you know...it's Kang.
Nrama: Let’s talk about that, designing all these different variations on Kang. What were your thoughts in designing them?
Del Mundo: I was basically figuring out what would be fun to draw as Kang throughout the issue. My thought was, if they stick around for a bit, they need to be simple and fun. So I came up with a M.O.D.O.K. type of Kang basically a walking Kang head and a Gorilla Kang. I was also thinking they would need to differentiate from the original Kang to make it easy for readers to tell them apart.
Nrama: Artists sometimes tweak the heroes they draw when they take over - have you felt the need to do much of that with the individual Avengers in this?
Del Mundo: I never felt the need to but I will exaggerate certain expressions here and there based on how the dialogue flows. Also, there’s a lot of detail in some of the costumes so I will simplify them depending on what's happening in the panel and whether it's needed.
Nrama:You are solicited through March's Avengers #5. Are you on for the long haul?
Del Mundo: I hope so!
Nrama: One side effect of doing a monthly book has been the reduction in the number of covers you do elsewhere - I see you only doing Mosaic and the occasional variant else as opposed to your busiest years as a cover artist in 2014 and 2015. How is that for a change of pace?
Del Mundo: Well, I did the Carnage arc and The Vision arc this year and a bunch of variants at the same time as Weird World and it was definitely taking a toll my schedule so I had to calm down a bit with Avengers, especially because it was a team book.
I like the change of pace, I really wanted to put all of my effort into this book and get some sleep. [Laughs]
Nrama: More and more artists are doing the whole art package in comics - pencilling, "inking," and even coloring. It's a trend - but why do you do it?
Del Mundo: Well, I started off as a cover artist so once I started interiors it just happened organically. I believe when I did Elektra, Marvel wanted somewhat of a similar style to my covers so that probably attributed to doing the whole package too. Since then, I've been doing it on my own. Well not exactly, I gotta shout out Marco D'Alfonso for the color assist. He's been a huge help throughout my interior work.
The one thing I can say is that when you're doing it on your own, you have a lot of control. You can go back and forth, making edits to your art, changing color schemes, taking away panels and adding panels if needed.
Nrama: So big picture, what are your ultimate goals with Avengers since you plan on being on the book for a while?
Del Mundo: Right now, I'm discovering a lot of new visual tricks and I like that it's working with the Avengers and like any other artist, to learn and master this craft of comics. Also to have fun!
Nrama: Last question, what can you tell people to look forward to in future issues of Avengers?
Del Mundo: Lots of time travel and a big surprise at the end of issue 4 but I can't say or I'll give it away. You're also going to learn a lot more about Kang.