It's About the Art, Bub: Bianchi Talks "Wolverine"

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When "Wolverine" #50 hit stores a few weeks back, legions of fans eagerly snapped up the milestone issue. The sold-out issue was the opening round in the latest battle between Wolverine and Sabretooth, which just might turn out to be the most vicious fight the Marvel Universe has ever seen. Issue #50 marked the beginning of "Evolution," a six issue story by new series writer Jeph Loeb. As "Evolution" unfolds, the violence between Wolverine and Sabretooth will escalate and secrets about their adversarial relationship will be revealed. Bringing to life Loeb's story of savagery and secret history is artist Simone Bianchi. CBR News spoke with Bianchi about his work on "Wolverine."

When Bianchi was drawing "Wolverine" #50, his mind was on the task at hand, not how many copies of the issue would be sold. "I was just doing my job and trying to do it the best that I could," Bianchi told CBR News from his home in Lucca, Italy. "At the drawing board I tend to focus on my job as much as possible. I knew the book was going to be big in terms of promotions and expectations and I was kind of hoping the book was going to sell this good, but I was putting all my energy and strength into what I was doing without thinking about sales. I think of sales and money after drawing."

Bianchi and Loeb were both very happy with how well "Wolverine" #50 sold. "I talked to Jeph about this and we're both really excited about people's reactions to the first issue," Bianchi said. "Especially because right now I'm finishing the storyline and it keeps getting better and better. It's uplifting somehow because I think issue #50 just hints at things and the real action and real story is still to come. The best is yet to come both in terms of script and pages."

Loeb's scripts have helped Bianchi put his best into the pages he's rendering for "Wolverine." "I think Jeph is one of those writers who really writes to the strengths of his artists, no matter who they may be. Whether it's John Romita Jr., Michael Turner, Rob Liefeld, or me, Jeff has this unbelievable capability to understand what an artist can handle best. Without talking too much, he understood from the first moment that we met that I was one of those artists who was crazy for drawing double splash page action packed spreads and full page spreads. I didn't tell him. He just realized that.

"Another thing that works out perfectly for me in Jeph's scripts is that he tends to use very few panels on each page," Bianchi continued. "That's something that I really love because in Europe it's a different story. We have hardcover books so we can definitely dial up a page on a bigger number of panels, but in the States, where you have your twenty two page books, the size is smaller than the books we have in Europe. So I think three to four and at the very most five panels per page is the perfect kind of balance and it seems like Jeph understands this best. Marvel couldn't have given me a better writer to exploit my drawing skills because Jeph is very interested in the way his artists are going to draw his stories."

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When it came to characters to illustrate, everybody's favorite Canucklehead was also a perfect fit for Bianchi. "When I came to Marvel, everybody already knew that I loved all of the Marvel characters for so many different reasons, but the one character that I was the craziest for was Wolverine," Bianchi said. "One of the reasons why I love the character so much is 'Weapon X' by Barry Windsor Smith. I think it's one of the best comic book stories that I've ever read. The Wolverine in those pages with his uncontrollable animal rage was the Wolverine I loved to depict. Of course, at least in these first few stories, Wolverine is wearing his usual costume so it's kind of different, but if I had to answer who Wolverine is for me, he's the guy who ran around completely naked with wires and strange high tech stuff all over his body slashing doctors and guards."

Over the course of the next few issues, there will be plenty of slashing action as Bianchi works to illustrate what perhaps could be Wolverine and Sabretooth's most spectacular fight ever. "The fight between Wolvie and Creed will run for the whole six issues. It's going to be action packed. There's a lot of fighting and funny things like unexpected environments and settings where these two guys are beating on each other as hard as possible. Some of the settings where these guys fight will be different than the usual X-Men style settings."

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The "Evolution" storyline in Wolverine won't be just one long fight, though. It's also an epic history spanning story that takes a look at the origins of both Wolverine and Sabretooth. "Jeph is going to give some real strong reasons why these guys hate each other so much," Bianchi said. "These were the reasons at the very beginning of their relationship that produced such anger and animosity between the two of them."

Once "Wolverine" wraps, Bianchi will be hard at work on his next Marvel project. "When I first went to Marvel, if I had been asked what would have been the perfect project for me to do after Wolverine, I would have said this one," Bianchi stated. "It's still a secret. I can't reveal who the writer and character or characters involved are, but we already know and we know which book it's going to be. I think we're going to announce the project this summer. It's going to be really great for me. It will establish my name in the business and there will be an even larger audience for this project.

Bianchi is immensely grateful that his work on "Wolverine" has found such a wide audience. "I just want to thank every single reader and retailer so much," he said. "Thank you for your support. Everybody who picked up this book, you made us proud of the work and all the energy we put it into it. We're really so grateful that I can't really find the right words to describe the way I feel about every single one of you. The only thing I can say is keep reading."

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