Comics

Come Together – An Avengers: No Surrender Sketchbook

Artist Pepe Larraz sets the stage for the 16-part weekly saga!

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On January 10, the Avengers assemble like never before.

No, not to ring in the New Year together, but to figure out who kidnapped Earth and then try to get it back in one piece! The story—a weekly, 16-part crossover event that calls together the casts of AVENGERS, UNCANNY AVENGERS, U.S.AVENGERS, and OCCUPY AVENGERS—kicks off in the pages of AVENGERS #675, written by Mark Waid, Al Ewing, and Jim Zub with art by Pepe Larraz.

We spoke with Larraz about bringing all these team members together, working on a new character, and jumping into the cosmic action!

Marvel.com: What unique challenges do you come up against when working on a huge, weekly story such as this?

Pepe Larraz: Well, it is probably the biggest thing I’ve ever done at Marvel so far, in terms of characters involved, team size, and work done in advance. The main challenge for me ended up being how to handle all these characters on stage, trying to get the hang of all their personalities—the way they act, talk, and interact with each other. Also, having three or four scenes of epic action happening in different parts of the globe at the same time, and making that easy and clear for the reader. It can be difficult when you have to make two or three big, eye-catching panels on the same page and you have to avoid the panels competing between themselves to win the reader’s attention.

Marvel.com: How much did you have to familiarize yourself with all of the books’ characters? Did you find any surprises as you prepared?

Pepe Larraz: I came from working on UNCANNY AVENGERS, so some of them felt pretty familiar to me. I had worked with some of the others during my career in comics, but most of the characters proved to be new to me as an artist. So I did some research on the backgrounds of the ones that have predominant roles in the series, such as the U.S.Avengers or the Occupy Avengers, to understand what motivates them.

I had a blast drawing the Black Order because Jerome Opeña‘s designs look really fantastic. I also had the privilege of redesigning the existing members of the Lethal Legion and to also create a few new ones. Yes, as you can expect, this series is cramped with characters!

Marvel.com: In addition to the characters, you also begin the event with these cosmic objects falling to Earth. How did you go about designing those?

Pepe Larraz: It was quite simple, to be honest. The script calls them “piramoids,” so the shape their shape seemed quite obvious. Then I tried not to add anything superfluous—the main idea was to keep the alien technology as simple as possible. You’ll see the signs Jim Zub designed on them later on. We all provided ideas for the designs, so all of them ended up being more or less the result of teamwork.

Marvel.com: This also features the return of a mysterious forgotten Avenger by the name of Voyager. What can you tell us about bringing her to life on the page?

Pepe Larraz: The Voyager design is a joy, with that classic Jack Kirby-ish look to it. I wanted to transmit the feeling of a mystery being unfolded with every new issue of the script. Okay, you don’t remember her, but all of the Avengers trust her, so what could possibly go wrong? She feels so self-assured—she has such authority—that you get convinced immediately.

Marvel.com: Did you notice a difference between how each different writer approached the material?

Pepe Larraz: Not really, because they’re so well coordinated. I didn’t even notice that different hands wrote it because all their styles and approaches to the scene seem melted together on this collective script. I think this will be one of the better things of this series: the script has three different writers, three heads full of ideas, but one unique voice. I’m glad to be part of this project and have the privilege of working with Mark Waid, Al Ewing, and Jim Zub, all together. It’s an absolutely new experience. Sometimes it can be exhausting, sure, for the amount of characters on every page, but the story is awesome, and the artist group—Paco Medina, Kim Jacinto, and I—want to transfer that “awesomeness” into the pages the best we can. Hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Witness the beginning of the end of an era with AVENGERS #675, by writers Mark Waid, Al Ewing, Jim Zub, and artist Pepe Larraz on January 10!