GREEK WEEK Part III: Artist Rafa Sandoval

In Part I of our extended look at Marvel Comics' "Incredible Hercules," series writers Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente joined CBR News to probe Herc's history as both a superhero and mythological figure. Yesterday, in Part II, we chatted with Pak, Van Lente and their assistant editor Nate Cosby about the one-shot "Hulk vs. Hercules," which presents an untold tale from Hercules's past. Now in Part III, we look towards the future as we chat with new "Incredible Hercules" artist Rafa Sandoval, who takes over the book with issue #116, on sale in April.

It was Sandoval's work on the "World War Hulk Aftersmash" one-shot, which featured Hercules, that brought him to the attention of "Incredible Hercules" editor Mark Paniccia. When Paniccia offered Sandoval the chance to draw the series, the artist, whose love of Hercules dates back to his childhood, eagerly said yes.

Sandoval is looking to adapt his art style on "Incredible Hercules" so as to make it somewhat similar to that of outgoing artist Khoi Pham, but at the same time he wants to do something new. "'Incredible Hercules' is quite successful, so I hope this change won't be too drastic," Sandoval told CBR News. "I'd like to gradually give it a touch of cartoon, something quite subtle but that could help to stress funny moments."

The humorous moments of "Incredible Hercules" are some of Sandoval's favorite scenes to draw. His other favorite things to depict are the series' explosive action sequences. "I, and a lot of people in general, like it when Herc kicks asses," Sandoval remarked. "I think a comic book should be like a roller coaster; one moment you're up, one moment you're down. If it was always the same, it would be boring. So drawing Herc is like riding a roller coaster. There's action, there's humor, and there's drama."

That mixture of action, humor and drama -- along with the blend of elements from both the ancient and modern world -- has made "Incredible Hercules" a highly enjoyable title for Sandoval to work on. "I find it really entertaining. That way it's not very tedious to draw," Sandoval explained. "The changes in the timeline, flashbacks and the diversity of elements make me anxious to draw the following issue."

Hercules may be a god, but Sandoval wants his art to capture and convey the Greek Goliath's humanity rather than his divinity. "For me Hercules is a god locked in the body of a man forced to live in the human world," Sandoval said.

Sandoval hopes his depictions of Hercules's teenage traveling companion convey a growing sense of being comfortable in one's own skin. "Cho is a teenager getting to know himself and his powers," the artist remarked. "Despite his youth, Cho is a brave and determined kid, and funny, too. Besides his striking powers, he is an important support for Herc and someone who is always caring about other people."

Readers catch a fleeting glimpse of the third major cast member of "Incredible Hercules," the goddess Athena, in this week's issue #115. In upcoming issues, fans will see more of her and she'll be sporting a new look designed by Sandoval. "I'm quite proud of her," he stated. "I wanted her to look like the Greek goddess but somehow more provocative. So I made her skirt really short and I gave her tight armor."

Sandoval feels very lucky to be depicting Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente's "Incredible Hercules" scripts. "Working with such great writers is wonderful," he stated. "Their stories and characters are full of life and originality, so I really enjoy my work when I draw them. I just want to say that I'm very happy with my entire team and I want to thank them. They make 'Incredible Hercules' so incredible: Roger Bonet (inks), Martegod (colors), and my editors Mark Paniccia and Nate Cosby.

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