Marvel has had schools for mutants and schools for heroes, but never one for magic-users - until this Wednesday.
Wednesday, March 4's Strange Academy #1 by writer Skottie Young and artist Humberto Ramos inducts a new group of characters into the Marvel U - teenage magicians/warlocks/witches/what-have-yous. With a teaching group including the likes of Dr. Strange, Dr. Voodoo, and Scarlet Witch, they have a lot to learn.
With the series debuting in less than 24 hours, Ramos spoke with Newsarama about Strange Academy, his long history of drawing teen heroes, and what kind of surprises he has for the new ongoing.
Newsarama: Humberto, you're constantly drawn to drawing teen heroes - from Impulse and DV8 to Crimson, Champions, and now this new team in Strange Academy. What’s it like drawing teen heroes now versus when you started?
Humberto Ramos: Well, I honestly want to believe my drawing skills are better now and that aloud me to translate the ideas and personalities of the kids the right way.
Nrama: How did Strange Academy come together?
Ramos: Strange Academy came together in a lift from the airport in Mexico where I was Skottie Young's driver.
He asked me... "I know Spider-Man has been your goal to reach for many years and you have achieved that, so now what?" then I told him my plans for the future, those always included working with him in a project and he interrupted me saying something like, "Now that you mention it... "
Nrama: And here we are.
What can you tell us about the characters of Strange Academy? We know Dormammu’s son is in the class.
Ramos: The coolest thing about Strange Academy is that we are creating a new set of characters that hopefully the fans will get to know and fall in love with, so yes Dormammu's kid is one of them but we like to call him Doyle.
You want to know about our kids? then order Strange Academy #1 now!
Nrama: Is there a particular character you’ve connected with as you’ve been drawing Strange Academy?
Ramos: Come on man! That's like asking me who's my favorite son! I'd rather let the fans to choose their favorite. please let us know, we are listening.
Nrama: Without being too spoiler-y, what’s on your drawing board today?
Ramos: Right nowm I'm revealing how one of kids' "skills" grows rapidly.
Nrama: Many fans know you from your long run on Spider-Man. What are the key differences between drawing a whole team or class, versus a story focusing on a single superhero?
Ramos: Deadlines!!! [Laughs]
Deadlines are different when you only have to draw a single character in a panel than 9 or 10 in almost every panel in almost every page, but i'm loving every second of it.
Nrama: As you mentioned, you’re working with writer Skottie Young, who is an artist in his own right. How has it been developing a working relationship with him? Does his own artistic sensibility come through in the scripts?
Ramos: I respect Mr. Young as a creator and fellow artist and I f***ing love Skottie; he is a beloved person in my life, and once again I'm sooooo lucky to get to work with the people I admire, respect and love.
That answer the question?
Nrama: Definitely. What’s your favorite thing he’s put in a script so far?
Ramos: I hate everything!!!! [Laughs] Every panel I have to design a new set, character, or environment - er go I love it all.
Nrama: We have to assume these students aren’t just heading to class without trouble, given this is the Marvel Universe. What are they up against in this series? What villains or threats can you tease us on?
Ramos: I can only tell you we will have both familiar and new faces.
Nrama: Strange Academy is a new twist on an old Marvel idea – the school for teen heroes. What sets this series apart from everything you’ve worked on at Marvel?
Ramos: I will answer this by saying Marvel is trusting us into bringing new tenants to the House of Ideas.