Fearless Defenders, the Marvel series from Cullen Bunn and Will Sliney, is drawing to a close. After twelve issues with the characters, next month’s issue will be the last. Which is sad – but it also gives us just enough time for Will to offer another character profile! We ran five of these back at the start of the run, where each month Will would talk about each character in turn – how he distinguishes each, his design process, and more.
With the arrival of new creation Ren Kimura to the series, it seemed like a perfect chance to get to know more about the character!
Steve: When Ren Kimura was first brought to you as a character, what was the brief for her?
Will: Cullen had talked for a while about the “dance” issue. He gave me a description of a character that had what I figured to be a really strong visual. Basically he told me to go study Olympic ribbon dancing, which is an amazing sport.
Of course all of Ren’s back story was included in the description as well as where the character was headed.
Steve: Were there any specific elements that you knew you wanted to include in her design?
Will: I just wanted to make sure I nailed the motion that those ribbons can bring. I also wanted to make sure she had a slight, dancer’s figure.
Steve: Ren has a very strange powerset – her fingers turn into steel ribbons, which are deadly-sharp. How did you approach drawing that power? Did you try several different versions before settling on the one seen in the series?
Will: Yeah I went through loads of versions. There were quite a lot of visual problems to solve. If you are not careful drawing those ribbons, the image can become really cluttered, so we worked out ways to streamline to look of the ribbons when needed. It had to look both deadly, and beautiful. Some thing that should come across in both Ren’s look and personality in the future too.
Steve: She’s introduced as a rebellious figure, hiding herself in various ways – most notably by secretly training as a dancer. How difficult is it to convey dance movement in a comic? Did you have to do much research?
Will: I did tons of research, and normally it would be very hard, but man those ribbons, they really are a comic book artist’s dream. They add so much motion to the page. More than any other power I have ever seen in comics. I even bought one and posted up a crappy vine video months ago to see how the ribbon flows through the air. It really was a fantastic idea from Cullen. I think artists will want to draw her, because of her power. It really can transform any page, you can direct the readers eye by swooping it around, following the line of the ribbon.
Steve: Does her dance training affect the way you draw her posture and body language?
Will: Yes definitely, there almost has to be a hint of that movement even when she is standing still. I watched (was made watch by Cullen) Step it up, Stomp the yard, all of those wonderful (crappy) dance movies. The one thing you notice is that the best dancers always hold themselves as if they are performing. So that they can burst into dance at any moment.
Steve: How do you think she sits within the team? How do they view her?
Will: I think Ren would never have been brought into the team if it wasn’t for Annabelle. All of the rest of the Defenders have been heroes for so long that they maybe have forgot what it is like to gain such power, whereas Annabelle completely understands.
Steve: What other projects do you having coming up now Fearless Defenders is coming to a close?
Will: Well Superior Spider-Man Team-Up is the first book.
In fact it will be issue 8 – so it’s straight after the last issue of Defenders hits.
Steve: How was the experience of getting to draw Spider-Man?
Will: As a child of those 90′s Spider-Man cartoons, it was a dream come true. Everybody who knows me know that I love drawing Spider-Man, so it was great to get the call. This issue has him teaming up with Namor….. or “Abs” as my editor likes to refer to him as.
Thank you very much, one last time, to Will for his time! Fearless Defenders #11, the penultimate issue, came out yesterday – and you can find Will on Twitter here.