All Hands on Deck for ‘Spider-Man & The League of Realms’ #2
Spider-Man is out of his element in the latest issue by Sean Ryan and Nico Leon!
The War of the Realms continues to ravage Earth and in order to win, we need the League of Realms! The League, formerly led by Thunder God Thor, has a new leader and the most Midgardian Man Thor knows: Spider-Man! Despite the Wall-Crawler’s uncertainty about his newfound role, he drove the battle-ready, ragtag crew of warriors into the heart of an Angel stronghold – and let’s just say they hit some bumps along the road in SPIDER-MAN & THE LEAGUE OF REALMS #1.
We chatted with writer Sean Ryan and artist Nico Leon about Spidey’s leadership role, his new teammates, Screwbeard the Dwarf, Ud the Troll, Ro Bloodroot the Wizard, Sir Ivory Honeyshot the Light Elf, and Titanya the Mountain Giant, and what we can expect in SPIDER-MAN & THE LEAGUE OF REALMS #2, on sale now!
Marvel.com: How does the League of Realms fit into the War of the Realms? What’s the League’s goal?
Sean Ryan: They’ve been brought in because it’s all hands on deck. The Earth needs all the help it can get. Their goal, in general, is just to help turn the tide. Spider-Man believes the best way to do that is by winning hearts and minds of people that are currently on Malekith’s side. If they can turn people, than that’s less folks fighting for Malekith and more folks for the good guys. Other members of the League, though, aren’t used to having to win people over. They’re used to just killing.
Marvel.com: Why did you want to work on this particular team-up? Which characters are you most excited to bring to life in this story?
Sean Ryan: I love writing Spider-Man, so I was in with just that. But it was also exciting to write Spidey in a situation where he is really out of his element. He’s in Africa, teaming up with trolls and dwarves, and he’s fighting angels. I’m most excited about bringing all the League characters to life. They’re so great. They are such a good mix of personalities that they just bounce off each other so well.
Nico Leon: I always dreamed of drawing the Peter Parker Spider-Man, so I was super excited to draw him. I enjoyed each line of the process. Also, Sean introduced two original characters in this tie-in with a beautiful and dramatic story between them. I loved having the chance to design them and to tell their story.
Marvel.com: As we saw in issue #1, Spider-Man is not so great at leading these warriors that hail from across the other nine realms. Now that we know that, what can readers expect from the Webslinger and his League in the next issue?
Sean Ryan: For things to get worse. The team is faced with a big decision as to whether or not to trust the Angels that Spider-Man says have joined their side. The team is really split over it, and sort of falls apart because of it.
Marvel.com: Tell us a little bit about Fernande, the Angel that the League is searching for in issue #1, and her design. Why doesn’t she wear a helmet like the other Angels?
Sean Ryan: My big thing was that I just wanted to make sure we created a new Angel character that was distinct from Angela, and then Nico worked his magic. I really like Fernande. She’s conflicted about fighting in this war. We find out the specific heartbreaking reason as to why in the beginning of issue #2. Her character is the emotional center of the miniseries.
Nico Leon: I fell in love with the character as soon as I read about her. To have a character with a strong inner conflict like Fernande is very exciting from the art point of view as we get to use all sort of forbidden trickery to be able to transmit their unease. Drawing her was a very exciting ride.
About her design, as she is the leader of a group of Angels, I wanted to convey her military rank using a different uniform. The thing about the helmet… It would be cool if the answer was “Oh, she is so fast and strong that she doesn’t need one,” but the truth is more selfish – removing it was based on personal taste. I like to avoid anything that could interrupt a facial expression. Helmets can hide eyebrows, and I was going to need them to tell her complicated emotions, so I took the helmet off of the design. The opposite happened with Screwbeard. I wanted to add stoicism to his face, and I thought a big, stiff helmet was going to help show his personality.
Marvel.com: Who is Spider-Man going up against in Ken Lashley and Brian Reber’s cover and what can you tell us about them?
Sean Ryan: That’s Kurse! Kurse is a longtime Thor villain with a complicated past. Right now, Waziria, a Dark Elf and former member of the League, is trapped inside the armor and is being forced to do Malekith’s bidding from inside it. Unfortunately for her, she can’t tell her former teammates, and they have no idea she’s inside the armor.
Marvel.com: You both have brought Spidey to life before between the staples, so what do you love about writing and drawing him?
Sean Ryan: He’s the best. I love how relatable he is and how funny he can be, and how emotional you can make stories with him. He has it all. It’s never a boring moment writing Spider-Man.
Nico Leon: Spider-Man’s body language is something unique in the world. You can always tell it’s him just by the silhouette of the pose, and that is something really special about him from an art point of view. I have had the chance to draw Miles Morales before, and while he moves like a spider-character, he still doesn’t control his body as cool as Peter does. So that is the thing I most love about Spider-Man – second thing is his mask. I just love to draw expressions through those big eyes.
Marvel.com: Did you conduct research to prepare for this three-part miniseries and if so, what or who were some of your influences?
Sean Ryan: I certainly had to do a lot of research on the League of Realms and the Angels. I was familiar with them all, but not as much as I needed to be for this book. Other than that, for issue #1, I did a lot of research on Lagos, where the issue takes place. I have a real problem with wanting things to be as accurate as possible, so the church in issue #1 is a real church in Lagos, and there’s a stadium in #2 that’s a real stadium in Lagos too.
Nico Leon: My Nordic mythology was in really bad shape so I did some research on it. I also had an irrefutable good reason to play “God of War 4.” I listened to a lot of Nordic-style music while drawing also.
Marvel.com: Sean, what were your favorite panels from Nico in issue #1 and why?
Sean Ryan: Ah jeez, that’s tough one. There’s a lot of good ones. His action is so good, but there’s something about the character work he does too. Like on the page with Thor, in panel 2. I love the body language of Thor and Spider-Man, and the blocking. Having Thor looming over Spider-Man to show how much bigger and grander than Spider-Man he is, while having Spider-Man scratching at the back of his head. I think it says everything about their dynamic in one panel. That’s good stuff.
Marvel.com: Nico, what were your favorite panels do draw in issue #1 and what are your favorite pages that readers could look out for in issue #2?
Nico Leon: I really enjoyed the introduction scene of Fernande. It is all about power, submission and conflict. It was super fun to think about how to tell that part of the story. I also kind of like page 11 panel 3, where Spider-Man is moving the weapon that Screwbeard has aimed at him.
Marvel.com: Nico, I noticed in your artwork when there’s movement, whether it’s characters flying across the page or raising a sword, your panel illustrations include background lines to indicate that movement—are there guiding principles that you stick to when illustrating movement or it is instinctual?
Nico Leon: I think “speed-lines” are one of the emblems of comic books and Manga. You don’t find them in any other media and they don’t specifically correspond to anything in real life. We can only show a still drawing on the panel, and having that beautiful graphic tool at hand to express velocity makes me unable to conceive speed without “speed lines.” I am far away from mastering them, but true masters of “speed lines” can make you feel the character is moving faster inside the panel than in an actual animation. (On that matter, please refer to Akira Toriyama.) So, it is kind of a principle, but at the same time they don’t follow any rule. Each artist uses their own instinct on how and where to use them. They are one of those unique elements that make this medium so beautiful.
Marvel.com: What would you like readers to know about SPIDER-MAN & THE LEAGUE OF REALMS #2?
Nico Leon: It has one of the most beautiful character interaction scenes, albeit small, that I was able to draw so far, and on the other hand they can also expect some super big-scale combat.
Sean Ryan: The team is divided, Kurse wreaks havoc, and we hear all about Fernande’s tragic past.
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