In the short time they've been together, the newest incarnation of the New Warriors have made quite an impression on the Marvel Universe. Artist Jon Malin hopes to make as big an impact with fans when he takes over the title for a two-issue stint starting with December's "New Warriors" #7. CBR News spoke with Malin about his work on the book.
Jon Malin's "New Warriors" assignment came about after a weekend of job-hunting at this year's Wizard World Chicago convention. "I got home on Monday and, funny enough, I had an e-mail from the previous week that I missed because I went to the convention looking for a job," Malin told CBR News. "[Editor] Daniel Ketchum needed a fill-in for 'New Warriors.' He was referred to me from Chris Allo, who is Marvel's Talent Coordinator. So coming right out of a great convention, I got hit by a job offer out of left field.
"What drew me to the project first was the opportunity to show Marvel that I can handle the books; as new talent I'm hungry to prove myself and move up the pack as best I can," Malin said. "I did 12 fill-in pages in my first book ('Cable & Deadpool' #42) a few months back, so doing two full fill-in issues here was the next positive step in my career. But with it being 'New Warriors,' I was excited to do something with them. I had about the first 20 issues when I was a kid. I actually pitched a 'NW' project a few years back but it was shot down as they planned to relaunch them as a reality TV show concept. My version was much darker and had all the original NW's so it was not what they wanted to do at the time, clearly."
Penciling a team book like "New Warriors" presented Malin with certain artistic hurdles to jump. "It challenges me in drawing and rendering so many different figures per panel and per page," Malin said. "I draw very tight so it can be time consuming at times but I'm becoming a better artist for it. I'm also doing widescreen panels with almost no panel breaks, so it fits in more with the basic layout tone [series artist] Paco [Medina] has already set. This has probably been my greatest challenge as I like to have very designy pages and panel breaks."
Malin hopes his depictions of the cast of "New Warriors" emphasize the characters' capabilities and their humanity. "I want my art to show this team and any super characters I do as living, breathing weapons; tuned and fit machines" Malin said. "My sensibilities are that if the X-Men walk into a bar, people leave not because the 'X-Men' walked in but because they know the baddest of the bad just walked in. The visual alone made you stand up and leave. You want to be them, you want to fear them.
"The fun in the challenge of that is that when they are just goofing around you have to turn it off, you can't have them frowning at each other all day, they need to become more human and smile," Malin continued. "So the qualities I want to emphasize for any character are always the emotional. Expressing their love, happiness, agony and hate. The 'New Warriors' are diverse. If I can't help readers get a sense of how these characters feel then I fail. Manga has great techniques to enhance the lighter mood and turn it right back up, I try to lighten my artwork for the chipper scenes, less shadow, less hatching but without a departure in style to where I draw a big cartoon head to get the point across that someone is blushing....though I wouldn't say I'd never do it."
Malin was also able to do a bit of character design during his brief stint on "New Warriors." "I actually got to design the physical source of Jono's sonic power, it'll be in issue #7," Malin stated. "I hope they show it a lot in future books, Jono is a great character, probably becoming my favorite and I'd love to see a reflection of my handy work down the line as the character grows."
Another highlight of the "New Warriors" assignment for Malin was the chance to work with series writer Kevin Grevioux. "When I got the job Kevin gave me a call welcoming me aboard and said he liked my work," Mailin said. "We talked briefly about comics and I was very nervous, I loved 'Underworld' very much and was sure not to bring it up as I'm sure he hears it all the time. I came away thinking he was very kind and generous with his time. His scripts leave me enough room to maneuver, as an artist I like to make choices and he provides the freedom to set the stage pretty much as I'd like."
Illustrating two full issues of a Marvel series like "New Warriors" has been an enjoyable and fulfilling assignment for Malin, thanks in no small part to the efforts of his editor Daniel Ketchum. "He is an involved and guiding hand to my work that is making me a better artist and 'New Warriors' a better product."
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