As the first volume of Ultimate Spider-Man winded down, one of the latest in the line of artist to team up with Brian Michael Bendis on the seminal Ultimate book that dazzled us was Sara Pichelli. Not much was known about this Italian artist other than every line on the page dazzled. I can’t say I was surprised when I saw that Marvel had tapped Pichelli to be the ongoing artist on the new volume of Ultimate Spider-Man, a decision that would thrust her into the international spotlight once the news of the new Ultimate Spider-Man’s identity was revealed. Now, Pichelli is known as the artist who helped to create Miles Morales, the new Ultimate Spider-Man, as well as designed the new costume. We got the chance to speak with Sara Pichelli and hear what she thinks of Spider-Man and all the attention this news has gotten.
Be sure to read the complete interview and scroll to the bottom to see an EXCLUSIVE video of Pichelli in action, as she draws Miles Morales in an upcoming issue of Ultimate Spider-Man!
iFanboy: Ultimate Spider-Man has a long legacy of artists, from Bagley to Immonen to LaFuente and now Pichelli, how does it feel to be main artist on one of Marvel’s top titles?
Sara Pichelli: Drawing Ultimate Spider-Man? Damn, it feels good! The great artists who’ve come before me did an amazing job, so I know I’ve got to give more than my best to not disappoint the fans. Honestly, that makes me a bit nervous…but, you know, “with a great book, comes great responsibility!”
iF: How long have you been working with Brian Michael Bendis on the new Ultimate Spider-Man? What was your reaction when he and Marvel laid out the plan to introduce a new Ultimate Spider-Man with Miles Morales?
SP: Before knowing about the new Spider-Man, I worked on 4 issues of Ultimate Spider-Man, before the Death of Spider-Man story arc. When Marvel offered me the chance to join the team AND work on the creation of the new Ultimate Spider-Man, I was totally excited. I couldn’t believe it! The idea sounded great to me, even if I already knew in my bones this big of change was going to shock the whole comic book community.
iF: Did you have any idea what kind of public reaction the change in Ultimate Spider-Man would elicit?
SP: Back then, I tried to guess what would happen, but what I pictured in my mind was nothing compared to what really happened! It hit hard all over! Can you believe that even the Italian news talked about Miles? Friends I lost contact with many years ago, after the news, started calling me on the phone. Again, insane! (laughs)
iF: Are there any stylistic changes you’ll be bringing to how you depict this new Spider-Man?
SP: I’m not good at analyzing my art. Stylistic changes naturally come without a specific intention of mine. All I can say, for the new series I decided to add some screentones to give a more ‘pop’ feeling to the book, because I think it would fit perfectly with the new series.
iF: We know a lot of familiar faces will be popping up in Miles’ life, from the Ultimates to May Parker. But with an all new character front and center, we’re looking forward to meeting a lot of new friends, family and foes. Are you churning out a lot of character designs in addition to story pages? What’s it like putting the first artistic spin on these characters?
SP: So far I’ve designed the Morales family, a friend of his and a classic villain which will see for the first time in Ultimate Universe. But I know many other designs are about to come and I can’t wait to do them! I worked as character designer for animation and I’m accustomed to creating new characters. It’s an amazing job, so when I can apply it to my comic book career, it’s the perfect mix! Giving the first impression to characters who will be protagonists of an important book like Ultimate Spider-Man is exciting! And even more exciting is seeing those characters come to life in the stories!
iF: What’s the biggest challenge in drawing Spider-Man?
SP: The biggest challenge is to handle Spider-Man’s body language. It’s hard to sell well the body flexibility and dynamism without running the risk of making the hero look like a rubber puppet! You have to be good at controlling human anatomy, and be able to exaggerate it to have a perfect Spider-Man in action.
iF: Who is your definitive Spider-Man artist?
SP: I DO love Stuart Immonen’s art!
iF: We think of Spider-Man as a bit of an American institution. Is he well known in Italy?
SP: Among all the super heroes out there, I can definitely say that in Italy, he’s the most beloved. Unfortunately in Italy, comic books don’t have the same value they have in the U.S.A. Consequently Spider-Man is known primarily as a comic book hero.
Marvel Comics and Sara Pichelli provided us this exclusive behind the scenes look as Sara draws Miles Morales in an upcoming issue of Ultimate Spider-Man: