With Fearless Defenders #1 out today, artist Will Sliney has returned to The Beat to talk about the first recruit to Valkyrie’s cause: Misty Knight! Yes, she of the afro-wearing sass, street-fighting fighting, and Jean Grey… college roommate-ing.
Well, that was certainly a strange way for me to introduce the character – so how about we let Will do that instead? I’m going to be quizzing him whenever a new female joins the series, to see how he approaches drawing them, and how they differ. There has been a history in comics of having female characters with identical faces but changeable hairstyles, so how does Will manage to keep such different and fun characters… different and fun?
Will is also going to be sharing his art and designs of the characters as we move along, slowly building up a group shot of the team as we go along. Head back over here to see his profile of Valkyrie, and then head on to read about Misty!
Steve: Aside from the obvious differences, how do you distinguish Misty apart from Valkyrie? As an artist, do you prefer to exaggerate the differences between the two, or do you prefer a more realistic approach?
Will Sliney: Yes I think I do exaggerate the differences. People go on in comics about the fault of characters having the same faces. I want to take this a step further and rarely have Val and Misty in the same pose. I want the reader to be able to pick them apart from their body language alone.
It’s funny, I don’t think that there is a single Irish person here that could carry themselves in the way I draw Misty, it’s just not in our culture. I spent a year on New York basically studying everybody. I used to bring a sketchbook onto the Subway, and spent each hour long journey constantly studying everybody. It was such a diverse mixture of cultures and hopefully now it is paying off.
Steve: Where are you taking the basics of the character design from? I imagine David Aja’s recent work on her in Immortal Iron Fist is the modern-day touchstone, perhaps. Was there anything you made a conscious decision to change for this series?
Will: No changes yet, but our characters are going to grow in this series so that will affect a lot of things.
Steve: Misty is a street-level fighter, with a different style of fighting to Valkyrie. How do you research for a character like this, in terms of fight sequencing and body language?
Will: I think of the difference more like a modern character and one from the days of the Vikings. Val’s movements are calculated, almost cold. She was born into a world of warriors and has had centuries to perfect it. Misty’s is a little different, it’s more fluid and when using her fists I picture her constantly moving. She comes from a world where someone with a knife could appear behind her at any point in a fight.
Will’s group shot of Misty and Valkyrie. You can see the differences he describes in their postures and demeanour
Steve: The character strikes me as one you could have a lot of fun with, as even when she isn’t speaking, you know she’ll be having over-the-top facial reactions to characters and dialogue. Have you played with this at all?
Will: That’s my favourite thing about Misty. Already after a few issues in there are a lot of things for her to roll her eyes at.
Steve: Finally – and most importantly – can Misty’s afro ever be TOO big?
Will: Haha! I try to keep a watchful eye over it, but it has a life of its own.