Coming in October, you’ll be able to see Ryan Stegman join Jonathan Hickman on Fantastic Four #609. Marvel was good enough to send us these pages before anyone else had a chance to see them, and they’re clearly gorgeous. Check out the rougher style Stegman is employing when inking himself.
We also asked the self-proclaimed sexy bad boy of comics some questions about the upcoming run. Yes, he required that we call him that. It’s in the contract.
iFanboy: The first thing I noticed was the really rough and inky style, right up to where I see full on brush strokes. Was there a reason to go more towards this style for Fantastic Four?
Ryan Stegman: I actually used this style on issue 6 of Scarlet Spider. It’s just how I ink myself. The style is more about me having fun drawing than anything. Early in my career I tried to ink stuff and it was absolutely boring. I would just trace my pencil lines and really dig into the page with the pen and obsess over every line. But inking this way, I get to play around a lot and it’s a very creative process.
So I guess the short answer is… I’m a lot lazier now about inking, but I think it looks cooler this way.
iF: Everyone who draws comics wants to do the Thing. Did you want to draw the Thing, and how much fun is it to draw the Thing?
RS: The Thing has always been one of my favorite con sketch requests to get. He’s so much fun because if you’re drawing him right you’re not even thinking about human anatomy. You just think of him as these big crazy shapes and masses. It’s so freeing because sometimes you can get so caught up in reality with drawing normal humans that you forget that these are comic books and not real life.
So yes, it’s been a lifelong dream to get to draw him in a comic book. And as my style has gotten cartoonier it has become infinitely more fun to draw this guy.
iF: More tedious: the Thing’s rocks or Spider-Man’s suit webbing?
RS: Probably Spidey’s webs. I don’t really have a problem with either, but Spidey’s webs are more technical. You can have a lot of fun drawing the Thing’s rocks because they are all unique and you can really add texture. But don’t get me wrong, there’s something so satisfying to me about drawing Spidey’s suit webbing. Because it’s SPIDEY’S EFFING SUIT WEBBING. IN A REAL COMIC!!!!!
iF: Jonathan Hickman is very conscious of the graphic styles of his book. Did that sensibility come across in the script? Was working with him very different than other writers?
RS: Jonathan has been very conscious of what I do and offered me a lot of opportunity to stretch my legs. I’m not sure, but I suspect that he put Spidey in this book just for me. And if he didn’t, then he just got lucky because I love drawing that dude. I mean, in the first issue of my run I get to draw Spidey, Thing, and a version of the Hulk. Those are probably my three favorite characters to draw.
In the second issue, Jonathan’s got a section of the script that he wrote Marvel style. It’s a big crazy action sequence and I get to do what I want with it. I think that’s because Jonathan realizes that my bread and butter in comics is the action stuff. So that’s a lot of fun.
But yeah, the best part about Jonathan’s scripts have been when he just flat-out tells me to go crazy. He doesn’t over-describe scenes. He gives me just enough to get me going and then he lets me run wild.
iF: I’m seeing a lot of sound effects hand drawn, right on the boards, and I’m loving it. Why are you doing it that way?
RS: Because I want to Josh. And also because it’s FUN. And also, because I have a personal vendetta against fonts. I think that technology is awesome and everything, and I think the letterers do a great job, but to me every time you use a font, it looks like a font. There is nothing cooler to me than the way that Will Eisner uses sound effects and even his hand lettering. I love that stuff. So this is just my way of getting to do that, if only a little bit.