THE BIG INTERVIEW: Marvel NOW! Artist Will Sliney Talks New Title Fearless Defenders

With details on Will Sliney’s new Marvel project thin on the ground until yesterday, ICN got together with the Cork artist to talk about how a DICE portfolio review led to a gig at The House of Ideas and Will gives us the lowdown on the new book written by Cullen Bunn.
David O’Leary:  Hey Will, firstly we are here to discuss the news that broke last week which was you will be joining the House of Ideas in February with Cullen Bunn on new title Fearless Defenders. Where does joining one of the biggest companies in the world rank in your career so far?
Will Sliney: Oh it’s huge for me. Right up there at the top. I’ve been lucky, I’ve had such a great year. It all started with getting to work on Star Wars, which was a huge dream come true for me, followed up by getting a great backing by O’Brien press for Celtic Warrior, of course MacGyver, and now this.
DO’L: How did the gig come about in the first place?

WS: Simple, DICE + CB = Marvel. That’s the short of it. Marvel commented on how it was the fastest, portfolio to paid gig scenario they ever had, but the seeds of it actually started with The Big Bang’s previous convention five years ago where CB first looked at my portfolio.
He’s been kind enough to keep an eye on my work ever since and it was that face to face portfolio review at DICE where I got the okay. Before I knew it I was completing a test page a couple of days later which led straight into me being brought into Marvel at New York to sign the contract.
Its been a whirlwind, is the only way to describe it, and since I have come back from New York I have put my head down and worked my ass off to produce what are definitely my best pages so I can’t wait to show them to you guys
DO’L:  We now know after some speculation that the book is going to be called ‘Fearless Defenders’. The Defenders is one of the long standing teams in the Marvel Universe and it appears this incarnation will be mainly female rostered. What can you tell us about the story?

WS: It’s a great idea, Valkyrie is assembling a new team of Valkior compromising on heroes from Earth. It’s being led by both her and Misty Knight, too completely different types of characters, whose tempestuous relationship links it into the core of what a Defenders book is. Dani Moonstar will join up with the group and the team will build to eight members.
DO’L: Writer Cullen Bunn has said that the first arc will herald the arrival of a new villain in the Marvel U. In creating a new Marvel character from scratch, how much was mandated by the script and how much was you letting loose with designs?

WS: There is a certain look, that fits with the character, but apart from that I was given free reign. I just can’t wait to see the action figure now haha!
DO’L: It’s not lost on Cullen that writing an all female team is a significant event in modern comics. How do you approach the book knowing that there is a certain aura around the treatment of females in mainstream comics?

WS: Well the idea makes perfect sense. Obviously these Valkior have to be female which immediately gives an organic reason for an all girl team book. After that the main focus is to write a good book. Not a good girl team book but simply a good book. I’ll never look at a project and think about it any other way. We simply are going to do the best book that we can. We want all the characters, be they male or female in our case, to be done in the best possible way they can. Both our leads are incredibly strong characters and they will be presented as such.
DO’L: You are obviously the launch artist on the book. Is there a set length that you are set to be on for the book?

WS: For the long haul it seems, which I am very happy about, so go pre-order the book 🙂
DO’L: Are you also doing any cover work?

WS: The covers are being handled by Mark Brooks, and I’ve already been on to them about how I can get a poster version of the first cover. I absolutely love it. I got to chat with Mark, along with the whole team at NYCC and he told me about the cover. I love the concept and I love the execution of it.
DO’L: You are paired with fan favourite writer Cullen Bunn on the title, what are your thoughts on working with him after getting to meet in New   York recently?

WS: I couldn’t be happier. It’s hilarious that he’s paired with both myself and Declan. We are going to have to bring the guy over to Ireland, it makes perfect sense. The Sixth Gun is fantastic and from what I hear online it’s real close to being made into a feature film/show which it definitely deserves. Cullen Bunn is going to be huge, there is no two ways about it, so I am lucky to have been paired with him.
DO’L: 2013 looks to be a huge year for you with Pigs, MacGyver, Cu Chulainn and now Fearless. It’s obvious you are putting in a ton of work, what are you feeling now seeing all these titles come to fruition?

WS: Tired, haha. Nah its great, I really really have been working very hard. I’m finished up on Pigs for the time being, Cú Chulainn is wrapped and I’m finishing off MacGyver which has been a blast and is getting really great reviews. Come February we are going to be having the launch of Fearless Defenders, MacGyver will be reaching its trade release and Celtic Warrior will finally be out. It’s going to be great
DO’L: Will, cheers for talking with us once more.

WS: A pleasure as always Dave.