As Steve Rogers begins his new adventures as a Super Soldier, artist Dale Eaglesham is starting his new adventure working on the dark, edgy espionage story by Ed Brubaker.
Utilizing a darker style than he's used to drawing, Eaglesham is launching the four-issue mini-series with Brubaker in July, taking Steve Rogers on a mission away from his Secret Avengers team. According to Brubaker, the story will address the question, "Who would this character be if he weren't Captain America?" and will bring him closer to his past as he dons a new costume and new role in the Marvel Universe.
Eaglesham is coming off a stint drawing Fantastic Four for writer Jonathan Hickman, which was his first job after becoming a Marvel exclusive artist last year.
Newsarama talked with Eaglesham about what readers can expect from his art on Steve Rogers: Super Soldier as he delves into the shadows of Steve's world, and the darker side of his own style.
Newsarama: Coming off Fantastic Four, how are you planning to approach Steve Rogers: Super Soldier differently? Ed Brubaker's work is usually very grounded in reality, while Fantastic Four is more otherworldly. Will that influence how you approach this project?Dale Eaglesham: Unfortunately, “otherworldly” material has been the exception more than the rule in my career. I’ve often worked with gritty realism and the types of heroes that populate it. The Punisher, the Creep, H.E.R.O., Batman… so this is very familiar territory. I’m excited about taking on Super Soldier because this is realism with a twist, a type of story I have never done before. This is a high-octane espionage story. Trust no one in this house of mirrors. I brought a measure of realism to the Fantastic Four, and I’m bringing a measure of the fantastic into Captain America by pushing the envelope within the context of realism. So I guess both projects got nudged into a grey area of comics that is hard to define, an area I love to inhabit.
Nrama: Have you been a Steve Rogers or Captain America fan for long, or looked back at some older Cap comics?
Eaglesham: I have a story and a half to my credit as far as Cap is concerned, and aside from an old Kirby Cap comic, I have nothing in my collection. This is one of the few times where I have no specific inspirations or direction to go in. How I will approach the art is a mystery to me at this stage, and that seems appropriate for this story: Expect the unexpected.
Nrama: What are your thoughts on Steve Rogers as a character as you draw him. I'm reminded of a discussion we once had on how you drew Kal-L, remembering he comes from a different time and world -- will it be similar for Steve Rogers, since his roots are also in the distant past?
Eaglesham: I think someone who was awoken from suspended animation and who died and was brought back to life in one lifetime is a person who adapts effortlessly to circumstances he finds himself in. Steve is a dynamic force of forward momentum and I see him as “in the moment” and very much a man of the times he finds himself in. However, this will make for a very challenging portrayal of his character, because there is a long, significant history trailing behind him. How does this affect a character that integrates and modifies himself so well? How does it manifest? It’s an open question for me at this point. The past is an intriguing factor in Super Soldier so I am looking forward to answering it.
Nrama: Knowing already that you're looking forward to working with Ed, any thoughts on getting to collaborate with him on a project?
Eaglesham: Working with Ed is one of the main reasons I am doing Super Soldier. I followed his work at DC and enjoyed everything he wrote there. Some of my favorites were Gotham Central, Dead Boy Detectives and especially Catwoman. The depth of his characters alone sells me on his stories. He has the instincts of the consummate storyteller and works his tales from an emotional, human, level. That human component is gold to me and I am constantly trying to find that kind of material. Ed is giving me characters with lots of depth to explore, and he is constructing a story here that has an atmosphere of apprehension and paranoia to it. In other words, he’s giving me the best of materials to work with, and I am looking forward to testing myself with it.
Nrama: Anything you can tell us about what kind of look you're hoping to create for this title?
Eaglesham: By the end of the first drawn page, I knew that this story was going to push me to adapt like Cap does. The approach I used on FF doesn’t quite work here, and once again, it’s time to tinker and experiment. The material is dynamic but complex. It’s an action/thriller but it also has a strong human current running through it. It’s with material like this that I crawl further and further out on that creative branch, expecting that loud cracking noise any second.I’m not just referring to the graphic stylings but the framing of the shots and the storytelling techniques. This is a “trust no one” environment so I’ll include more shadowy background in my panels, more hidden corners for characters to cast a wary eye on. I want that sense of exposure and insecurity in the setting, a setting we will watch Cap stride into. It’s not Cap who will be checking out those dark corners. We the readers are the ones who will be wondering about them. Enemies are potentially everywhere in this story and I want to mess with the reader’s mind on every page.
To that end, the “look” will be content-based. As for style, I am seeing darker art, with stronger line work than I have done before. It’s possible that a real “film noir” look will emerge on the pages.
Nrama: Then to finish up, Dale, is there anything else you want to tell fans about your upcoming work on Steve Rogers: Super Soldier?
Eaglesham: The art is going to be much darker than usual. I haven’t worked with this much shadow since the Batman days back in '97. My skills have improved since then so this is going to be an interesting experiment for me. Every new project is an opportunity to explore some new aspect of the art and “film noir” has long been a treatment I wanted to try my hand at. Now that the opportunity has come up, I am going to really push the envelope on this. Issue #1 was more of an exercise in discovery about where I wanted to go with the art. Now that I’ve caught the proper vibe for the series, Issue #2 will see the approach in full bloom.