Artist Angel Medina has to be one of the hardest working guys in comics. In addition to tackling the artistic chores on Todd McFarlane's monthly "Spawn" comic for the past five years, he also works the convention circuit like a man possessed, crisscrossing across the United States almost every month, exhibiting at shows and talking with fans. This weekend is no different as Medina finds himself in the city of Boston for their first ever Wizard World show. Friday afternoon Medina hosted a panel at the show in which he announced he's signed a three-year exclusive contract with Marvel Comics. The contract includes an option for a fourth year. His first regular Marvel work will be on "Marvel Knights Spider-Man."
CBR News spoke with Medina in early August, prior to the Wizard World Chicago convention, where the announcement was expected to be made. As is now readily apparent, that didn't happen and the announcement was held for the Wizard World Boston show. Below you'll find a transcript of that early August chat. Look for a full report from Medina's panel a bit later today here on CBR.
For more on where "Spawn" is going following Medina's exit, click here.
OK, let's start at the most obvious point, how'd this Marvel exclusive come about? What's the story there?
You know, I don't know how much of a story there really is, but I was going to a convention in Texas about two years ago and I got a call from Marvel out of the blue. It was Andy Schmidt and he was asking to have a meeting with me while in Texas. What's funny is I was just thinking about trying to set-up a deal with them of some kind. So I guess it's a bit of kismet.
So it came together during the Wizard World Texas show?
Yeah, we got together. I met with the President of Marvel and Andy Schmidt. We talked over dinner and had a great time. They saw what I was working on and I told them about some of the ideas I had art wise and they were really open to my ideas. I was really surprised by how much the attitude at Marvel has changed since I last worked there.
When was that?
It might have been 1995. I was doing some work on the Hulk.
You mentioned your first meeting with Marvel was about two years ago. Why did it take so long for this to come together?
I really don't know. To be honest, on my end I think it was partly because I was so comfortable working with Todd McFarlane. He set up such a comfortable working atmosphere and time was just going by as I was having such a good time with him. I'm a huge Marvel nerd, though. My intention was always to come back to Marvel.
Now that I think about it, I recall seeing Joe Quesada at shows-- I've known Joe for a long time, since way back before anyone knew who either of us were-- and he mentioned that we should do something together sometime, but since I know him as just "Joe," it never stuck in my mind. I never thought of him as Joe the big guy at Marvel!
Well, not only is he the big guy at Marvel, he's definitely the big guy who's your boss now!
That's right! I want to say something about Joe-- throughout this whole process he's been really awesome with me on this thing. I was afraid it would turn into typical business negotiations, but I tell you Joe's been freaking awesome throughout this whole time.
Very friendly? Very upfront?
Oh yeah. I'm surprised he spent that much time calling me!
I thought he'd have underlings to handle this stuff for him, you know?
So, I understand you'll be working on a Spider-Man title? [Editor's Note: As a reminder, this interview was conducted in early August before a final decision was made about Medina taking over the art chores on "Marvel Knight's Spider-Man."]
That seems likely. We've been back and forth a lot because I think the way Marvel is used to doing things is when they hire someone they usually have them start working with them right away, but I kept telling them I couldn't start working until I was finished with my last issue of "Spawn." I know a lot of artists who commit themselves to more work than they're capable of doing. Having been in the business as long as I have I know full well how much more that hurts you than it helps you. So, I was up front with them about my availability. In the mean time, every time they'd have an idea they'd call and I'd say it's cool, but then I'd get an e-mail like a week or so later saying in order to get it approved they'd need me to start away. But I'd have to respond with, "I really can't start this yet." So, we've had a couple of projects thrown my way, but they got taken away because they needed to get started up. That being said, it looks like it's 99.99% sure it'll be a Spider-Man project.
When would we likely see your first Marvel work?
I haven't even thought about that yet! We just finished working out the business and page rate stuff.
So, after five years on the title, you've decided to leave "Spawn" and Todd McFarlane. Why's that? Was this just a thing you needed to do to move your career forward?
Well, that reminds me of another conversation. I think this was a year before the meeting with Marvel, at that same Texas show. I was just BS'ing with Joe at a bar after the show. A bunch of us were talking about some of our ideal projects we had as little kids. I remember when I mentioned mine, Joe said something to the effect, "Angel, you're 40 years old. Your dream project is very doable. Why don't you just come on over?" I think that's how it all happened.
See, I really like working with Todd. I can't tell you how much I like working with him. When Joe said that, I realized that as much as I like working with Todd, I got into this business to work on certain types of characters and felt I should get back to that.
You started on issue #101, right?
Yeah, I started on issue #101 and will finish with #150. There are two issues I didn't do along the way, but all told there were 48 issues I worked on.
With some notable exceptions-- like Mark Bagley on "Ultimate Spider-Man"-- that's somewhat unusual for artists in today's comic industry, to commit to one book for that long a period of time.
You know, I was talking with Skottie Young at the airport in San Diego after the convention this year, waiting for my plane, and he said to me, "Angel, you're probably the only artist in the country right now that will commit to a book for that long." I was like, "My God, you're not kidding!" You really don't see that much these days.
OK, excuse the final fan boy question, but the Marvel Universe has a wealth of amazing icons to work on-- and you'll be working on one of the biggest in Spider-Man-- but are there any others you'd like to tackle?
Yeah! I'd really like to do the Avengers, but not the ones they've got now. The old school Avengers. I would love to get my hands on them. That's my baby dream project! I've already started an idea I'm going to pitch to them. That's my main goal!
I should say when I started with Todd my main goal was to work on "Spawn." So, I had to work my way through that. And I'm taking that same approach with Marvel. I'm going to do the projects they want me to do right now, then when I earn their trust and I have a project I'd like to do myself, maybe we can work something out.
CBR Staff Writer George Tramountanas contributed to this story.