Rising Marvel superstar Rafa Sandoval joins Brian Michael Bendis as artist for this month’s Ultimate Enemy. The series penciler was kind enough to sit down with us and answer a few questions about his work, the Steranko influence, and drawing for the Ultimate Universe.
Charles Webb: How’ve you been since we last talked? It seems like you’ve been working steadily.
Rafa Sandoval: I’ve been well, working on some very interesting series. Last we spoke I was working on Avengers Initiative, with Christos Gage. I have to say it was a real pleasure to work with him. It was really fun getting to work on Initiative, and getting to draw so many different superheroes and some not so famous villains.
CW: What have you been up to in the last couple of months?
RS: I’ve really been immersed in Ultimate Enemy. I’ve been working with the series since November and I’m still working through the pages even today. Actually, today I’m working on Ultimate Enemy #3.
RS: After my work on Young X-Men and Avengers Initiative, I think the guys really thought this project was something that I would really fit well with, giving the characters and tones of action a younger touch. In the last two series I’ve drawn, a lot of the characters have been younger characters, and the most of Ultimate Enemy’s characters are young too. So, I keep moving forward within this young “dynamic,” and I feel good working within it.
CW: Were you into the Ultimates line before working on this project? If so, what stood out to you?
RS: Well, I did Ultimate Captain America, and that gave me new perspective. Within the Ultimate Universe you can develop the story with less restriction than within other titles. This brings a new level of freedom to the artist and invites him to give that little extra point you wouldn’t be able to put into other series.
RS: It really includes everything: humor, action, thrill… It has all the components of a large scale series. Humor may not necessarily be the most prevalent characteristic of Ultimate Enemy…but it definitely has its funny moments.
CW: You mentioned in our last conversation that you were into the works of Steranko. Given the espionage flavor of Ultimate Enemy did you get a chance to engage in some Steranko-style visuals?
RS: I would love to do the things Steranko did, but if I want to do those kind of things I have to give it some time. Deadlines are really hard, but I’m sure I’ll do mine once I truly have the opportunity 😉
CW: There’s a big difference between tackling the “regular” Marvel U and the more “realistic” Ultimate Universe. How did you approach it in terms of costumes, characters, and design?
RS: I really like the Ultimate Universe, and I use to buy a lot of comics within it. In fact, I really have no problems adapting my work to the Ultimate Universe. Even when I had no idea about some detail, my editors just sent me all the information I needed. It’s a real pleasure to be working in the Ultimate Universe with some of my favorite characters. 😉
CW: Did you get the chance to make any drastic changes while working on this project? How much leeway did Bendis provide when working with him?
RS: I didn’t make any drastic change in Ultimate Enemy, but I have to thank Brian for giving me total freedom to do the changes I did want to do. It’s really good for an artist to have this kind of freedom to do a good job and enjoy drawing the story.
CW: What’s the process like — working from home and communicating with New York-based writers and editors?
RS: I work from my studio and I’m in touch with editors, writers and my representative by e-mail. I’m pretty use to working this way, so I don’t really have any issues. When I finish the pages, I send them to the editors who give the OK. If there are changes, I make the changes. If I get the OK, then I go on with the next page.
CW: Any tricks or tips you’ve picked up during your stints on these high-profile projects?
RS: An example would be, on one of the Young X-men issues I misunderstand the deadline, so I had to do 14 pages in one week. Since than, I really take care with deadlines and I’m always sure I don’t delay the delivering. Another example happened in Ultimate Enemy. I didn’t remember Spider-Woman shots her webs by her fingers. When I was reviewing my work, I notice the mistake and I correct it, but I’m not sure if the corrections arrived on time. If not, I hope readers understand… 😉
CW: Will you be doing anything else in the Ultimate Line in the coming months?
RS: As of today, I’m not really sure what’s to come after Ultimate Enemy. I suppose I’ll have an update once I hit Ultimate Enemy #4.
CW: What other projects do you have coming up?
RS: Like I said, I’m not really sure yet. I’d love to keep working with Brian and/or within the Ultimate Universe. Either way, whatever it may be, I’ll always try and do my best.