Exclusive: SHADOWLAND Tie-In Art, New THUNDERBOLTS Artist


Irish artist Declan Shalvey, best known for the BOOM! Studios comic book version of 28 Days Later and an Eagle Award winner for Hero Killers, is making his Marvel Comics debut, and we’ve got an exclusive look at his first character sketches.

Writer Jeff Parker and artist Kev Walker started their “Heroic Age” run on Thunderbolts with last month’s #144, and were scheduled to bring the team into the Shadowland with issues #148 and #149, beginning in September. Now, Walker will take a couple issues off before returning with #150, and Shalvey will be stepping in as artist for those two issues, working with Parker to depict the team’s involvement in the impending “street level” crossover, buoyed by Daredevil’s creation of an underground prison dubbed “Shadowland.” Here’s an exclusive peak at some of his takes on the current cast of T-Bolts —along with Shadowland players Iron Fist and the Hand.

We spoke to Shalvey via e-mail to discuss what it’s like to be working on his first Marvel comic, his favorite Thunderbolt to draw, and the limitless pun potential of “the Hand.”

Newsarama: After steadily building up your reputation the last few years — most recently with 28 Days Later from BOOM! — this is your first Marvel Comics work. Can you shed any insight into how you came aboard on the title? Did you grow up a Marvel fan?

Declan Shalvey: Oh, I've been a Marvel fan for a looooong time, but growing up in a small town in Ireland, it was extremely difficult to get American comics. Through a friendly newsagent, I was able to get issues of X-Men and Amazing Spider-Man. That was all I could get my hands on for a quite a while so I treasured every page. Eventually I was able to get to one of the bigger Irish cities and found all the titles I had heard of but never had been able to read, like Daredevil, Hulk, Punisher and all the varying X-teams of the time.

As for how I came aboard, I think I have the least insight! As far as I know, Jeff Parker had seen my work online or maybe on 28 Days Later and seemed to like it. I believe he suggested me to T-Bolts editor Bill Rosemann as a fill-in for the two Thunderbolts Shadowland issues. Thankfully, he liked my work too.

Nrama: Kev Walker was originally solicited for these issues, and you came along later. Creatively, was it a challenge to come into a new project somewhat late into the game, especially in a team book with a large cast, and, even more especially, as part of a major company crossover? I’m sure it was pretty exhilarating, too.

Shalvey: Yes, it's certainly a challenge (I’ve never worked on a book with such a large cast before), but I at least had the benefit of not having to worry too much about what had come before. Thunderbolts have been around for years, but still, it's a new era for the T-Bolts; Luke Cage is now heading the team and that team is made up of mainly a new cast. I think the most intimidating was Juggernaut as I was a huge X-Men fan as a kid. The thought that I get to actually draw Juggernaut blows my mind. Mainly though; I'm drawing more from Kev's work, which is new and fresh, so less encumbered by the previous 140-something issues. Also, considering I'm a huge Daredevil fan, it's extremely exciting to be drawing the issues that are part of the “Shadowland” crossover. If I were a teenaged girl I would totally be “squee-ing” right now.

Nrama: Had you been following Thunderbolts lately before getting the assignment?

Shalvey: I had been out of the loop with Thunderbolts to be honest (I actually have issue 1 back home) but I kinda lost track after Warren Ellis' run. I really like Andy Diggle's writing, so I had been meaning to read his run on the book. Again though, I don't think that really matters considering the new direction that Jeff and Kev are taking the book in. Issue 144 very much read like an “issue 1” to me.

Nrama: What inspired your takes on the various characters?

Shalvey: All the T-Bolts have an interesting visual hook. Ghost is like a Johann Krauss/Abe Sapien hybrid. Crossbones is like the Punisher, but with the skull on his face, Man-Thing is a great excuse to experiment with various mark-making. There is something interesting to draw about all of them, I'm happy to say.

Nrama: Who was your favorite character to draw for these issues?

Shalvey: So far I think Crossbones is my favourite character to draw. I'm really enjoying them all, but I quite like how visual Crossbones is, with the guns, armor, logo and mask. I think Ghost and Man-Thing are close seconds though. Hell, Juggernaut is a blast too. I'm digging them all, but it's probably Crossbones by a nose.

Nrama: Since it is part of a crossover, which characters did you get to work with that aren’t part of the normal Thunderbolts cast?

Shalvey: I'm actually only getting started right now, so I'm not entirely sure. I know there's a couple of street-level characters that have appeared in Daredevil (ahem!) that I'd love to draw, but I'm not sure if I'll get to yet. I do know I get to draw The Hand, which I'm delighted about. I really like those recent DD-inspired costumes. Can't wait to Hand those pages in … “Hand” … geddit … ? Ah nevermind …

Nrama: What are you working on next? At this point, are you planned for any further Thunderbolts (or Marvel Comics in general) work in the future?

Shalvey: Thunderbolts is taking up all my time and effort for the next couple of months. Nothing certain after that. I guess it all depends on how happy Marvel is with the work I do on these two issues. Here's hoping …


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