Spider-Man’s life has always been n action-packed, but these days it’s more exciting than ever. Peter Parker is running his own corporation, allowing his alter ego to practice super heroics on a global scale. This set up allows the series’ artists to illustrate some particularly big scenes, and come March, those moments will be depicted by Stuart Immonen, a man with a knack for bringing to life kinetic action and drama.
Immonen is coming aboard “Amazing Spider-Man” at an interesting time, too. When he begins his run with writer Dan Slott, Peter will be dealing with the aftermath of the recent “Dead No More: The Clone Conspiracy” event, while being forced to confront the reemergence of one of his oldest and deadliest enemies, Norman Osborn. We spoke with Immonen about returning to Spidey, working Marvel Style with Dan Slott, and what people can expect from his work on the series’ next arc, “The Osborn Identity.”
CBR: If my research is correct it’s been about eight years since your work on “Ultimate Spider-Man.” How does it feel to return to the character with “Amazing Spider-Man” and get a chance to do a run on the Marvel Universe version of Peter Parker? Which elements of Spider-Man and his world do you find especially enjoyable as an artist?
Stuart Immonen: I’ve drawn the Marvel Universe Spider-Man before; he was in “New Avengers” and “Fear Itself” for example, and Kathryn and I did an issue of “Avenging Spider-Man.” There was also a story I drew tied into the “Spider-Man 3” movie and a few other things which a lot of people may have missed. The projects are so diverse that apart from a very basic skeletal framework of setting and abilities, I have to say it doesn’t feel like “returning” so much as “beginning.”
The Peter Parker in “Amazing” is obviously a very different one than the ones you’ve worked on in the past. What’s your sense of this Peter Parker, who’s both a superhero and CEO? Which elements of his character do you want to especially capture and convey in your depictions of him?
The specifics of what a character says and does are already established in the plot by the time I see it, so my role is to portray Peter’s — or anyone’s — motivations in pictures as already writ. Dan’s been doing this for a while, obviously, so he knows the intricacies of the character relationships in a contemporary context better than I do; I’m happy to navigate the route from a shotgun position. As you say, the “USM” Peter and the “ASM” Peter are quite different, basically only sharing a costume (sort of) and a set of powers (sort of). Powers don’t drive a story, character does, and Dan is firmly at the helm in that department.
A hallmark of Dan Slott’s run on “Amazing” has been Spidey using his intellect to come up with all sorts of different costumes and technology.
Is that something you enjoy doing? And have you had a chance yet to design any new tech or costumes for your title character?
No, Dan must be easing me into the gig. Costume and prop design is definitely part of the basic job description; I’m always game, but I’m not sure how well I pull it off. There are way, way more talented people in the industry, especially in the last decade, who put my meagre efforts to shame. I’m perfectly happy to play in the sandbox that’s already been built.
For this initial story, you and Dan are pitting Spidey against a foe that’s both classic and new in a Norman Osborn who is no longer plagued by the madness of the Green Goblin. What’s it like working on this incarnation of Norman? What can you tell us about your approach to the character and the stories you’re telling?
Again, I’m just following the description and dialogue as laid out by Dan. I’m not applying fifty years of baggage to Norman; someone picking up “ASM” #25 as their first issue, or even a modern audience in general, doesn’t need to know what Norman Osborn was like in the ’60s or ’70s. I try to read — and then translate visually– the scripts as if I’m seeing the characters and situations for the first time, and to make their expressions and body language match what I think the writer envisions.
It’s a Marvel superhero comic, so the artistic approach is very much like what I’ve been doing for the last decade or so at Marvel. There are a few textural things we’re trying, but it’s very subtle.
Finally, who’s coloring and inking your work on “Amazing Spider-Man?”
It’s a murder’s row of talent; Wade Von Grawbadger is on inks, as he has been for the last twenty-two-odd years. Wade’s talent is widely recognized and admired and he has garnered at least one example of every industry award to prove it. While we’ve played the field a bit over the course of our careers, we always end up back together, and the work is the better for it; I simply couldn’t function to as high a standard without him.
And coloring is Marte Gracia who I first worked with on the Marvel Infinite launch project, and thereafter on “All-New X-Men” and “All-New Captain America.” Marte’s palette and enthusiasm are unmatched in comics, and he adds mood and texture and focus in an effortless and opulent way. Marte makes a jewel out of every panel and we’re lucky to have him on board.
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