The NZA Posted December 23, 2004 Share Posted December 23, 2004 Finally finished reading volume 1 recently, holy shit that was cool. Vol 2 is already up & going....those that didnt read issue #1 need to check it out beofre it gets spoiled for em. Mile High Comics is showing an even more massive preview than what I had in the previews thread, along with an intereivew with arist extraordinaire, Bryan Hitch...here's the link if the pics dont work. Who leaked the most terrible secret the Ultimates keep, and what does it have to do with Banner? Captain America takes matters into his own hands and confronts ex-Ultimates member Mighty Thor! Plus - a bizarre session between Bruce Banner and the most powerful telepath on Earth - Charles Xavier! Along with those pretty pictures is an interview we ran with Bryan Hitch about this project. BY JENNIFER M. CONTINO "I love what I'm doing and can't wait to get in and start drawing," said Ultimates' artist Bryan Hitch. The first issue of volume two hits shelves in November and he and writer Mark Millar are already several issues ahead. They want the run on this volume to be smooth - hopefully without delays. Hitch hopes to be on issue seven when issue one hits the stands. He took a little time out of his schedule to answer some THE PULSE: Ultimates Vol. 2 has the first story arc listed as five parts. How much of the five parts will be done when the first issue hits the stores? BRYAN HITCH: On issue five right now so I would guess that I'll be lost somewhere in issue seven by the time it ships in December. Anyway the full run isn't really split into such well defined arcs, it's one long story with smaller sections and the first section would be more like three issues followed by two and one. It's a big story overall. THE PULSE: What are some of the toughest parts to working on a series like The Ultimates where you've basically recreated - at least art wise - iconic characters that almost everyone has an idea of what they should or shouldn't be like? HITCH: The toughest part of any series is always to make believable the story at hand and the characters in it. You invest a lot of time in what you're doing and hope that conviction comes through to the people reading it. Mark and I are always hard on ourselves and each other, always pushing to get the best we can do. Even though Mark is writing issue six and I'm on issue five we are still tweaking issues one and two. I'm doing some patches, adding further backgrounds making some adjustments. We've even trimmed a scene from issue two we thought ended up being superfluous and are putting in some new material in its place. It's great to be far enough ahead that we can actually edit ourselves in 'post-production' to get the best we can in the time available. Design-wise, I was never too concerned about the apparent iconic status of these characters because we have the luxury of being outside their past. We effectively started again with a clean slate but with the bonus of the original material still continuing over in Avengers and the MU so that anybody who might prefer it could continue there and leave our book alone without missing anything. It's the best all round solution really. Like having your cake and eating it with a glass of diet and[/i] classic Coke. THE PULSE: Whose new costume design or update was the hardest for you to create? What about this costume was a challenge? HITCH: Definitely Iron-Man. Trying to make that seem functionally real and capture the solidity of his original sixties armour but being utterly modern was problematic. I've had discussions about this with Kevin Feige and the animation folks doing the Ultimate Avengers DVD's and getting the bloody legs to work was a bitch. The armour continues to evolve and only yesterday (as I write this) I worked out something I'm pleased with for the next big stage in his evolution. THE PULSE: Why do you think it was important to have so much of the story done before it was solicited and released? HITCH: To counteract any possible delays. We should have had a big lead time on Ultimates 1, too but that didn't happen. This way if Mark or I need a holiday or get sick, have children, experience a metal or emotional breakdown we have the issues in the can to get it done. Right now we are in the sort of shape where we could produce an issue every two months and still ship the entire run on a monthly schedule. THE PULSE: That's fantastic. Speaking of a schedule, why did you and Mark want to start this story a year later? HITCH: Because it's more like a movie sequel or season two. Things have moved on, it will have been six months since the last issue of Ultimates 1 shipped and this way in Ultimates 2 there's a new status quo to upset rather than just a continuation. THE PULSE: In terms of your artwork how have the heroes and others featured in this story changed since last we saw them? Who's been updated? HITCH: Everyone's been tweaked to some degree or other. More and evolutionary thing than an overall redesign. You find after you draw your designs day after day that some things work better than others and I've adapted accordingly. It's not that you'll see a major redesign of all the characters on the opening pages as the basic ideas were okay. I've just remodeled where I felt it wasn't quite working and will continue to do so throughout the remainder of this volume. The one who gets the most substantial makeover is Iron-man who gets a modified suit debuted in issue two and a major re-model around the midway mark for story reasons that become obvious in the later issue. THE PULSE: Your art is always so detailed and so well defined. How long has it been taking you to draw each page? HITCH: Oh, the art isn't that detailed, I just draw backgrounds. Dense might be a better word, it's certainly one Paul and Laura use a lot. Right now I'm comfortably doing a page a day without much trouble. Some pages take longer to draw than others, of course. I like to work in large batches of related scenes but the weekly average is good and increasing. THE PULSE: How tough is it for you to just get up every day and start working - especially when its sunny outside or your friends want to go do something. How tough is it to keep on task? HITCH: Not tough at all. I love what I'm doing and can't wait to get in and start drawing. Neither Mark or I have any friends so our distractions are minimal anyway. THE PULSE: What are some of the intimidation factors you're faced with when looking at that blank page? HITCH: The biggest is the need to get it done. THE PULSE: Why did you pick the particular style and technique you're using to illustrate this series? HITCH: I didn't pick any style, it's my approach to visual storytelling that's been evolving since my time was ending on Stormwatch six years ago. My knowledge continues to grow with my experience as every page is a learning curve of some kind in a project this challenging and as my knowledge grows then my drawing style continues to evolve. I can see very noticeable differences across Ultimates 1 and the new Ultimates 2; you always adapt whatever your approach may be to the material at hand, however. Mark and I wanted this to feel very real world so it involved more reference than I would normally use as we had such specific location challenges. We were determined that New York would feel as much like New York as we could manage as would all the other places the Ultimates uses. The best analogy would still be that it is sometimes more like making a movie than a comic. I daresay our next project would be as different to this as Ultimates was to JLA and JLA was to Authority. THE PULSE: What time of the day are you feeling the most creative? HITCH: When I'm trying to get to sleep. THE PULSE: [laughs] I have that same problem. Who are some of the guest stars in the first issue? HITCH: Rom: Space Knight plays a major part. THE PULSE: Which did you enjoy Ultimatizing the most? Why? HITCH: That's an odd question as I don't really look upon any of this as an"Ultimatization". When we were asked to create this book what seems like centuries ago we just went about it the best would could in a very natural process. "Ultimatizing" suggests a formula to the group of books which doesn't seem right and we weren't really paying any attention to any of the others in the line as we did it. I'm rambling. Captain America is the coolest. How's that? THE PULSE: Why do you think so many people were vocal about the sketch variant? HITCH: People are vocal about everything, especially the fans. Remember the word "Fan" is a shortened version of Fanatic and they are the greater population of the boards. What was more important in this case was that an initial misjudgement about how a marketing ideas would have an impact on the sales (from the retailers perspectives) was brought to Marvel's attention by the retailers and the situation was adjusted to everybody's advantage. THE PULSE: How many parts is Volume 2? HITCH: Ultimates 2 is twelve or thirteen issues as Ultimates 1 was. Then that's it for us. THE PULSE: How is the collaboration process with Millar and Martin going? HITCH: Oh, working with Mighty Mark is as energetic and interesting as it always was. We have so much planned together beyond Ultimates and we are usually on the same wavelength it's like we were separated at birth. Not physically, of course; that would be awful as I'm a tall strapping and good looking chap, whereas Mark is less fortunate in those areas and in possession of bright ginger hair. Still, he is very talented and our collaboration is the best of my career. What can add about Laura? She's one of the best colourists in the business and it's great to have the old Authority art team back together again. I would use the hoary old cliché of comfortable shoes but Laura is nobody's footwear. The colours on the first issues are just fabulous. THE PULSE: What other projects are you working on? HITCH: I keep my toes in the waters of the advertising world now and again. I designed the characters for Universal's new Hulk game which was a hoot, knocked out a few trading cards for the new Upper Deck Marvel Knights set and continue to act as a design consultant on the BBC's new Doctor Who show. All of which has kept me fresh and excited and done wonders for my productivity. Some very interesting stuff coming up soon as Mark and I plan our simply huge Marvel Universe follow up to Ultimates. We've had early chats about some creator owned material we'd like to find a home for; I've also had some very early talks with the just sickeningly talented Joss Whedon about Something Wonderful and if I'm able to maintain this schedule on Ultimates then I would like next year to do a contained run on Hulk. I would love to give that book the sort of visceral and big scale visuals a character like that needs. Stay Tuned! Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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