In 2008, a "Brand New Day" began for Marvel Comics' "Amazing Spider-Man." As part of the "BND" publishing plan, "Amazing" took the place of the two other Spider-Man titles and now hits stores three times monthly. Also, instead of just being guided by the visions of a single writer and artist, the series now features a rotating line-up of creators. In May that line-up grows by one, as artist Barry Kitson joins the roster of "Amazing Spider-Man." CBR news spoke with Kitson about his work on the title.
This won't be the first time Kitson has brought to a life a Spider-Man story. In fact, Kitson's very first professional work was drawing Spider-Man. "It was a part weekly story that appeared in a Marvel UK comic," Kitson told CBR News. "The plot was basically Spider-Man/Peter Parker comes to Britain.
"It's doesn't feel like a long time ago, but it's got to be getting on 20 years now since I did that story," Kitson continued. "I was very lucky to have that first job inked by Mark Farmer who was incredibly talented even back then. He certainly made me look a lot better than I had any right to hope for."
Kitson's latest Spider-Man assignment came when his former "Legion of Superheroes" editor Steve Wacker offered him the chance to join the artistic crew of "Amazing Spider-Man." "Ever since I signed the exclusive with Marvel I lost count of how many people told me I should really be doing a Spider-Man book," Kitson said. "I never honestly believed it was going to happen."
Kitson wasn't about to pass up his second chance to draw Marvel Comics' flagship character. "Ironically when I moved from DC to Marvel one of the things I said I wanted to do was draw some of the iconic Marvel characters and then the first Marvel job I decided to take was 'The Order,' which basically had none of the iconic characters," Kitson remarked. "I've always loved Spider-Man. I think most artists find it's a huge vote of confidence to be asked to draw him."
A one-shot issue will mark Kitson's "Amazing Spider-Man" debut instead of the usual multi-part arc. "My first big arc will follow after that because I'm also doing a mini-series for Marvel, which will probably interrupt my Spidey issues," Kitson explained.
Writer Bob Gale is Kitson's collaborator for his debut issue of "Amazing Spider-Man." "Bob's scripts are really perfect for me," Kitson stated. "He's very open to collaboration and has a great visual sense of what you can tell in a panel or a page. There's a real kind of drive to reinvigorate Spider-Man at the moment and get back to the kind of freewheeling excitement it used to have. I think that's in these scripts. Plus there's also lots of nice character stuff, which are really my favorite bits."
In order to do Spider-Man justice, Kitson feels his depictions of the wall-crawler need to capture what he feels are the character's essential qualities. "For me he's the youthful everyman," the artist said. "He's the little guy who takes everything on and maintains his optimism in the face of it all. And there definitely needs to be a sense of fun when he's in costume."
Being part of the "Amazing Spider-Man" creative team has been both a challenging and rewarding experience for Kitson. "The most challenging thing is knowing you're sandwiched in between artists like Chris Bachalo and John Romita Jr.," Kitson stated. "The most rewarding aspect is getting to swap e-mails with people like Bob Gale. And, obviously, it's great to be working with Steve Wacker again.
"It's such a great honor to be given the chance to draw Spider-Man in his own title," Kitson said. "When you're given that job as your first ever work, you don't realize how special it is. I'm immensely grateful for the chance to do it again. I think Steve Wacker has gotten fed up with me ringing him and asking, 'Are you really giving me this assignment? You're not just kidding?'"