For about a decade now, DC Comics fans have thrilled to artist Dale Eaglesham’s depictions of characters like the members of the Justice Society of America and Green Lantern. Now Marvel fans will get a chance to see how the acclaimed artist depicts some of the House of Ideas biggest creations, because Eaglesham has signed an exclusive contract with DC’s erstwhile competitor. CBR News spoke with the artist about the deal and some of his upcoming projects, which include a Spider-Man story and an upcoming stint on “Fantastic Four”
One reason why Eaglesham decided to sign an exclusive with Marvel is because after so many years playing with the characters of the DCU he just felt like it was time for a change. “The DCU is great and I have felt at home working with its characters, but Marvel is where my career started back in 1985 and its characters are still very much in my blood. This is a big part of why I am returning there,” Eaglesham told CBR News. “As an artist, the move to Marvel is a homecoming, a return to my roots and something I felt I needed after 23 years in the biz: a shot in the arm, so to speak.
“Marvel was the first company I ever worked for and I spent a good decade there before moving on to various other companies, and then finally ending up at DC,” Eaglesham continued. “I started reading 12-cent Marvel comics at the age of six and drew their characters for many, many years before actually working for them. From that perspective, my association with Marvel and its characters feels deeper than just the ten years I worked there. Marvel was at the epicenter of my artistic and creative energy as a kid and as a young adult, and it was intricately connected to the sense of wonder I felt as I began to discover the amazing possibilities art offered to my rapidly growing imagination. For this reason, Marvel has always seemed like the ‘Camelot’ of comics for me. To be back at Marvel is to recapture all of that.”
Eaglesham is especially excited that one of his first projects back at Marvel is as the regular penciler of “Fantastic Four.” “Those twelve cent comics I mentioned were, for the most part, Lee/Kirby ‘Fantastic Four’ comics that my mother bought for me. To be working on this book almost forty years later boggles my mind. To be given the opportunity to add my own chapter to the history of the Fantastic Four is just an unbelievable honor for me,” Eaglesham remarked. “When I think ‘comics,’ I think of those early FF reading experiences and the sense of amazement they evoked in me. The wonder of seeing really imaginative art like that was really raw and pure, and it was etched in my mind for all time. What incredible luck, or fate, that the FF would become available when I needed it most!”
While readers will see Eaglesham’s take on the Fantastic Four in the summer of 2009, before then, they’ll get a chance to see the artist bring to life a story from the world of Marvel Comics’ flagship character, Spider-Man. “I’m working on an eight-page story by Joe Kelly that does not feature Spider-man. It’s an innocent-seeming father and son story that contains some real home movie-like moments. I urge you not to be fooled by it, though, because, and I feel comfortable telling you this, we are setting you up,” Eaglesham stated. “That moment when you are getting all warm and fuzzy is when your blood will freeze and you may hate us. We have to do this, though, because we want you to see that villains aren’t just struck by circumstance, they are ever-so-twisted in a practical kind of way.”
Spider-Man and the FF are in Eaglesham’s immediate future, and the artist has an eye on several Marvel characters that he’d like a crack at in beyond that. “The Hulk is a limited-scope character, and a monthly would run out of steam for me, but an arc would be something I would prize for sure. I love drawing masses of veins and muscle, and I never really get the chance to do that. Let’s say it’s on my shopping list,” Eaglesham said. “I spent some time in the Punisher department from 93 to 95 and I really enjoyed working with Frank Castle. However, there’s another Punisher-related character that I feel I have unfinished business with: Sal Carbone, the man they call Thorn. He went toe-to-toe with Castle and survived because he thinks he’s already dead. He’s insane, and he would actually make a great Punisher! Maybe I can talk Ed Brubaker into that one; I think he would love it. Captain America and the Avengers (the original ones) would also both be great series to work on.”