Published May 10, 2017

Defenders: The Best Offense

Artist David Marquez cracks open his sketchbook to show off Daredevil and company!

Image for Defenders: The Best Offense

It’s a great time to be Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist. Not only do they all have individual comic book series’ coming out on a monthly basis, but their television exploits have been enjoyed by millions of people on Netflix! They will join forces on the small screen in “Marvel’s Defenders” on August 18, but even before that, you can see them in comic form on June 14 with a new DEFENDERS ongoing series!

CIVIL WAR II collaborators Brian Michael Bendis and David Marquez launch the new title with a line-up that starts with those characters, but will also feature plenty of street level characters from across the Marvel Universe showing up. We talked with Marquez about his evolving relationship with Bendis, bringing these characters together, and adding special guests to the fold. You and Brian have worked together a lot over the past few years. What do you think makes you such good collaborators?

David Marquez: I think first and foremost we both have a lot or respect for each other, both in terms of craft, but also over the years we’ve become fast friends, and that warmth and respect comes through in the final product, I think.

We also have a lot of the same instincts in terms of storytelling. We both place the characters front and center in the story; their emotions, their struggles, their joys. We both want our readers to really fall in love with the people in these books. Brian’s got a lot of experience with the main line-up of this book: Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, Daredevil, and Iron Fist—would you say that comes through in the scripts and onto the finished page?

David Marquez: Oh absolutely. Brian’s been writing these characters for so long you can really feel the history between them on the page. But the interesting new thing is how that feeling of long familiarity is paired with these folks being in a pretty different situation than in the books Brian wrote in the past. It provides a lot of opportunity for fresh interactions and I love getting to be a part of these new relationships. Even though the Defenders don’t have matching costumes, would you say there’s a unifying factor to their looks or even how they carry themselves?

David Marquez: These characters aren’t a team in the traditional sense like the Avengers or the X-Men. There’s no member ID card, no leader. What unifies them is a common purpose: to protect their friends, their families, and the city they love. They’re all no-nonsense, kick-butt-and-take-names kinda folks. Each of the main characters has their own book going on. How is it for you putting your own spin on them?

David Marquez: It’s always a challenge to be consistent with how the characters are portrayed in other books they may appear in, but also have my own take. I certainly reference how other artists have drawn them, but I give myself a lot of room to play around on the page. I let some details shift and change, as long as the character is still recognizable. For any artist, I feel pretty strongly that the reader wants to see our take on the character. Brian’s said that a lot of street level characters will show up in the book; has it been fun working some of them into the series?

David Marquez: It might be my favorite part of working on the book: every issue has at least one cameo by a Marvel character I haven’t had a chance to draw before. We have Blade, The Punisher and bunch of other folks who haven’t been announced yet. When I was drawing CIVIL WAR II, I would often comment on how fun it was to just open the Marvel toy chest and pull out all the toys to play with, the whole catalog of Marvel heroes and villains. Surprisingly, even after drawing [that] event, there are a ton of characters I still haven’t gotten to draw, and this book is scratching that itch.

Band together with Brian Michael Bendis and David Marquez for DEFENDERS #1, coming June 14!