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AICN COMICS Q&@: Ambush Bug talks with artist Shawn Martinbrough about BLACK PANTHER: THE MOST DANGEROUS MAN ALIVE!!!

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Q’s by Ambush Bug!

@’s by Artist Shawn Martinbrough

Ambush Bug here with another Q&@; this time with artist Shawn Martinbrough. The artist is about to start his run on BLACK PANTHER: THE MOST DANGEROUS MAN ALIVE, but he took the time to chat with me about all of his exciting upcoming projects. Martinbrough’s first issue on the series hits the stands this week.

Enjoy the interview!

AMBUSH BUG (BUG): So you're about to start a new arc on BLACK PANTHER called THE MOST DANGEROUS MAN ALIVE. That's a pretty ominous title. What's it all about?

SHAWN MARTINBROUGH (SM): Following the DAREDEVIL storyline known as "Shadowland”, Daredevil relinquished control of the ninja cult known as The Hand and fled New York. In the aftermath, Black Panther became the new protector of Hell’s Kitchen. Wilson Fisk, the Kingpin of Crime, stepped in and took over control of The Hand while secretly rebuilding his criminal empire. Now Black Panther will battle the Kingpin in a multipart arc that begins in "Black Panther: The Most Dangerous Man Alive" #525 written by award-winning novelist David Liss, who also wrote the acclaimed MYSTERY MEN mini.

BUG: Do you have any specific influences that you used as reference for your Black Panther?

SM: After Marvel editor Bill Rosemann approached me about the project, I read the Daredevil “Lady Bullseye” and “Return of the King” trade paperbacks by Ed Brubaker and Michael Lark to familiarize myself with what has been going on with Daredevil. I hadn’t read Daredevil in years and I was instantly hooked by what Brubaker and Lark were doing with the character. I’m also a longtime fan of artist John Romita, Jr. and his work on Black Panther was brilliant.

BUG: Your art style has always been on the darker side. How is that going to be utilized in BLACK PANTHER?

SM: My style is very high contrast in terms of using shadow and light so I’m playing a lot more with putting Black Panther in shadow. Another approach is making Black Panther move more like a cat and emphasizing the imposing visual of his costume. I’m using the darker aspect of my work to visualize the more cinematic elements of David’s scripts and really heighten the drama and tension. The coloring by Felix Serrano takes my black and white art to another level.

BUG: I always find it interesting to find out what an artist's workspace looks like; are you messy, a neat freak, a hoarder?

SM: I am an equal blend of neat and ridiculously messy. Before I start work on a new project, I organize and clean everything in my art studio. As I work on the project, the room gradually deteriorates into chaos. I’ll leave papers on the floor, pencil shavings and empty water bottles everywhere. It gets pretty silly. When I actually have to start stepping over things to get to my art table, it’s time to shift gears and begin to clean things up. Usually I’ll straighten while waiting for the ink to dry on a panel. Once I wrap the deadline, I reset and start the whole process again.

BUG: What's the most important detail or item in your workspace that you can't do work without?

SM: My books. My bookcases are filled with reference material.

BUG: While making art, do you listen to music? If so, what kind do you listen to get you in the mood to draw Black Panther?

SM: I mostly listen to music when I write. When I draw, I typically have the television on. I tend watch a lot of news shows and documentaries while drawing. Visually interesting material like The MATRIX or AVATAR will cause me to look up from the art table too much. I do burn through a lot of amazing television in marathon sessions while drawing. Shows like BREAKING BAD, MAD MEN, TREME, SONS of ANARCHY are great and inspiring when watched in succession. After crunching on a deadline I actually find it weird to just sit, watch a show and not be doing something else.

If I absolutely have to focus, I’ll turn off the television and listen to the Howard Stern Show on my IPOD.

BUG: Will you be changing the Panther's look for the book?

SM: Not physically. The costume is along the lines of what the previous artists have created. In fact, I’m following the Black Panther design that artist Francesco Francavilla established which is the classic costume with additional body armor and padding.

BUG: What aspects of the Black Panther character do you like the best?

SM: I’m enjoying the creative process of illustrating the Black Panther moving through and functioning in Hell’s Kitchen. As a native New Yorker, I spent a lot of time in that neighborhood during my high school years. The various rooftops, buildings and water towers create an amazing landscape to illustrate. In regards to Black Panther himself, I really enjoy alternating between having our hero use brute strength and sailing through the air gracefully.

BUG: Will T'Challa be changing locations or will it continue to be set in Hell's Kitchen, New York?

SM: So far all the action is split between New York City (in Hell’s Kitchen and Shadowland) and Wakanda. This is a brutal battle for the heart and soul of those two key locations, so the action is focused there.

BUG: What other characters and guest stars will we be seeing in upcoming issues?

SM: On the Kingpin’s side you have Lady Bullseye and Typhoid Mary. Meanwhile, Panther calls in his allies, the Falcon and Luke Cage.

It will be a very climactic battle.

BUG: How is this Black Panther going to be different from previous incarnations?

SM: It will be more cinematic.

BUG: Do you have a character you're just itching to draw and are you pestering writer David Liss to write him/her into the BP storyline?

SM: Not really. This story arc has some heavy hitters. Aside from the Black Panther, Lady Bullseye and Typhoid Mary, you have the Kingpin and The Hand. Reading the classic DAREDEVIL stories written and drawn by Frank Miller as a kid, I loved the large and iconic character of Wilson Fisk. Being able to illustrate him standing, let alone fighting, was a blast. I’m channeling my inner Frank.

BUG: This being Ain't It Cool News, what Cool News can you share with us that you haven't shared with other sites?

SM: I’m really excited about my upcoming graphic novel project, THIEF OF THIEVES with Robert Kirkman, creator of THE WALKING DEAD. The new ongoing series kicks off in February 2012 and the first arc is written by Nick Spencer. These are two really talented writers and it’s been great working with the folks at Skybound Entertainment. I’m also developing an animated series based on a website I co-created called with actor/producer Boris Kodjoe of J.J. Abrams’s UNDERCOVERS and Showtime’s SOUL FOOD.

BUG: Last chance, why should folks be sure to check out BLACK PANTHER: THE MOST DANGEROUS MAN ALIVE, and when is it coming out?

SM: Writer David Liss has crafted a really tense and gripping story arc for BLACK PANTHER: THE MOST DANGEROUS MAN ALIVE. It’s fast paced and really challenges the Black Panther.

The first issue drops on November 9th and then the 2nd chapter hits on Dec. 7th.

BUG: Thanks. Shawn’s recent graphic novel projects for Marvel Comics include LUKE CAGE NOIR, PUNISHER MAX: HOT RODS OF DEATH and BULLSEYE: THE PERFECT GAME. Shawn Martinbrough is the author of How to Draw Noir Comics: The Art and Technique of Visual Storytelling, published by Random House. He is currently illustrating THIEF OF THIEVES a new ongoing graphic novel series with Robert Kirkman, the creator of THE WALKING. More of Shawn's credits and artwork can be viewed at:

Ambush Bug is Mark L. Miller, original @$$Hole / wordslinger / reviewer / co-editor of AICN Comics for over nine years. Mark is also a regular writer for FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND and will be releasing FAMOUS MONSTERS first ever comic book miniseries LUNA in October (co-written by Martin Fisher with art by Tim Rees) You can pre-order it here! Support a Bug by checking out his comics (click on the covers to purchase)!

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Editing, compiling, imaging, coding, logos & cat-wrangling by Ambush Bug
Proofs, co-edits & common sense provided by Sleazy G

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