Published January 30, 2018

Four Questions With Marvel’s 2018 Young Guns Artists

The six early-career artists on their backgrounds and Marvel influences.

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The group of talented artists chosen for this year’s Young Guns program was recently announced by Marvel, spotlighting the best and brightest early-career artists in the comic book industry – with several exciting new projects and series from Young Guns 2018 to be announced in the coming months.

This year’s Young Guns crop are: spoke to all of the 2018 Young Guns, to find out more about their backgrounds and Marvel influences. Read on for what they had to say as we hit them up with four questions each!

JAVIER GARRÓN What Marvel character encapsulates Marvel the best for you–and why?

Javier Garrón: If I had to pick just one, and it’s no easy task, I think I would go with Spider-Man. He’s someone you can relate to. He’s struggling to balance every aspect of his life: work, family, friends, relationships… And on top of that he has great tragedies in his life, great losses that have marked him forever. He has enormous responsibilities and huge problems and dangers to face. He makes mistakes; he’s not perfect by any means. But he tries to be better every day, to overcome every adversity and help everybody around him–always with a punchline ready. His stories have everything: drama, comedy, intrigue and epic-ness. He’s the full package. When did you realize you wanted to be an artist at Marvel?

Javier Garrón: As soon as I read my first Marvel comic! I started, though, with Duck Tales comics–I devoured those! I never had enough. As a reader you experience the wonder of getting lost within a story. But when you start drawing, then another kind of enchantment kicks in: the magic of creating those worlds. So as soon as I could grab a pencil I started drawing Donalds and Scrooges, but when I got my hands on my first Marvel comic something changed. Those people were recognizable and relatable. You could channel your energy through them, and the thrill of drawing grew exponentially. Once you taste it, there’s no going back. What do you enjoy most about drawing for Marvel?

Javier Garrón: It’s pretty wild when I stop to think about it–I’m drawing the comics I’ve loved my whole life. I always wanted it but not even in my wildest dreams was it possible, coming from a small town in the very south of Spain. And here I am, and it’s incredible. But the best part is, without any kind of doubt, the people working at Marvel. The editors, the staff and the other artists working there. You read their names in the credits of your favorite stories every month, but there’s a person behind it, and they’re the true heroes. Every comic has a lot of challenges, and every single month all those people give their 200% to sort out everything and make sure the Marvel Universe keeps happening every week. Working with them is a delight and a privilege, I look forward to the sound of the email inbox notifying me there’s new mail. What was your first Marvel comic?

Javier Garrón:The first one was…. I feel old now… a Spanish edition that had both a Fantastic Four and Spider-Man story. The FF faced… the Puppet Master! That smile on his face was so scary! And the poor Thing and Alicia Masters! I think I didn’t quite understand back then everything that was going on, but I was mesmerized by the imagery. And Spider-Man battled… Sandman! It was wild and crazy and I couldn’t take my eyes away! I got lost between all those panels, and luckily I’m still wandering there.

AARON KUDER When did you realize you wanted to be an artist at Marvel?

Aaron Kuder: Shoot… I can recall a half-dozen moments really early on in my childhood where I thought, “This is what I want to do.” Though I think I wanted to BE the characters more than just doodle them… Drawing was just the closest I could come. What do you enjoy most about drawing for Marvel?

Aaron Kuder: I enjoyed all the wack-a-do craziness that is the Guardians of the Galaxy. Crazy sci-fi stuff really pushes one as an artist… Not only do you have to draw everything you can think of, but you have to come up with a lot of things that you wouldn’t think of. I found listening to a lot of Bowie and Daft Punk helped. Currently I am drawing INFINITY COUNTDOWN which is still mostly sci-fi but with much bigger stakes. What was your first Marvel comic?

Aaron Kuder: I’m sure it wasn’t my first Marvel comic, but the first one that pops to mind is a collection of Marvel Team-Ups. This wasn’t a reprinting of the Marvel book titled MARVEL TEAM-UP, but a collection of some of the first times various characters had met… TALES OF SUSPENSE #58 that had Captain America vs. Iron Man (who turned out to be the Chameleon in disguise), SILVER SURFER #4 with a gorgeous battle between Surfer and Thor (with Loki playing his tricks), etc., etc., etc.  I still have it, even though the binding is completely nonexistent now.

What Marvel character encapsulates Marvel the best for you– and why?

Aaron Kuder: That’s a tough question for me… I’ve always loved the wide spectrum of characters at Marvel. I mean, they’ve got everything – talking ducks, giant floating character creatures that want to rule the world, living planets, planet eaters, and on and on. If I had to choose I guess I said Spider-Man, because under the mask he could be anybody.

MIKE DEL MUNDO When did you realize you wanted to be an artist at Marvel?

Mike Del Mundo: Well, as a child in the ’90s I would always blurt out, “I’m going to be a comic artist and draw the X-Men.” But I would say I made a solidified decision yeeeeeears later when I was in college for graphic design. Seeing my peers drawing my favorite Marvel characters brought me back to childhood and it gave me that good feeling; I quickly realized that design was great but drawing comics was my passion. What do you enjoy most about drawing for Marvel?

Mike Del Mundo: Well first of all, drawing your favorite childhood super heroes is pretty awesome! Secondly, I love the creative freedom comics gives you. My first passion was B-boying (break dancing) and that was all about originality, creating your own moves and expressing your personality. I feel like comics is very similar in that you’re recognized based on your own distinct style and how you tell your stories, and Marvel nourishes that aspect and allows you to explore and grow as an artist. What was your first Marvel comic?

Mike Del Mundo: My first Marvel comic was TOXIC AVENGER. I was hooked after that but the comic that really grabbed me was my first X-Men comic which was UNCANNY X-MEN #275. To this day, I still look to that book for inspiration. What Marvel character encapsulates Marvel the best for you – and why?

Mike Del Mundo: For me it’s an obvious answer: Spider-Man. His personality, the color of his costume, his powers and what he stands by is the blueprint to Marvel’s vision. He put a stamp on Marvel’s birthplace of New York as well.

PEPE LARRAZ What Marvel character encapsulates Marvel the best for you–and why?

Pepe Larraz: When you think about Marvel comics, you obviously think about super hero stories– the cosmic threats, the epic fights, the Earth in danger. But for me, it’s the drama that sustains the characters, the thing that gives them depth: the everyday situations, the feeling of being part of a big family combined with the awesome action. I think the characters that show it better are the X-Men and -Women. Fighters, teachers, pupils, weapons of mass destruction watching TV in pajamas in a school which has a stealth plane on the playground. In my opinion, Lobdell and Bachalo’s GENERATION X was one of the best titles ever done in Marvel’s history. When did you realize you wanted to be an artist at Marvel?

Pepe Larraz: I started drawing when I was a little child, as most of us do. I loved to draw everything, but most of all I liked to tell stories with those drawings, so I’ve been making comics since I was very young. I began copying the comics I used to read and my favorite artist. It was an impossible dream for me to get to draw those comics someday. But I was stubborn enough to never quit. I’ve been working for Marvel for almost eight years and even now, some days I can’t believe I’m doing it. I’m a comic-book fan working on comics. What do you enjoy most about drawing for Marvel?

Pepe Larraz: I love to give my own vision of the characters of the books that I read when I was a kid. To do some research to understand them, what they have done, what they want, and then I try to give a  look that reflects my point of view. I also love working with writers whom I really admire, and I have the privilege of  reading their stories before anyone else, which allows me to see what they do with the characters and adapt my way of drawing to the mood they want for the book.  One of the greatest parts of the job is to explore new ways to tell stories discovering new graphic solutions. What was your first Marvel comic?

Pepe Larraz: The very first ones were the SPIDER-MAN pages that came with the weekend newspaper. It had a small comic supplement, a few pages, and among those there were a couple pages of SPIDER-MAN. So we read two pages of the issue and had to wait a whole week to read the next ones. It was a bit excruciating, but it was better than nothing. I remember it was McFarlane’s run on SPIDER-MAN, those mind-blowing pages. I think the first comic book series I bought was SPIDER-MAN 2099, and Rick Leonardi has been my hero ever since. Those figures and backgrounds were a wonder to behold.

RUSSELL DAUTERMAN What Marvel character encapsulates Marvel the best for you–and why?

Russell Dauterman: I’m going to cheat and say two: Spider-Man and the new Ms. Marvel. They’re a classic and modern example of what Marvel is all about for me: real people with extraordinary circumstances, who balance great power and great responsibility. What do you enjoy most about drawing Thor?

Russell Dauterman: THOR has been a dream project for me. I love fantasy and mythology, plus working with the whole team has been a joy. Probably the most moving thing about working on the book is the response we’ve had from people who are struggling with illness or who’ve lost someone to cancer.  Hearing that the book has resonated with them has been really meaningful. When did you realize you wanted to be an artist at Marvel?

Russell Dauterman: My memory of this is super hazy, but when I was a kid, I entered a drawing contest that Marvel had.  I drew the Invisible Woman and Mr. Fantastic, and won a piece of art by a Marvel artist, of those same characters — it was in a frame alongside my rudimentary drawing and hung in my bedroom.  That gave little me a lot of hope, and was the first time I seriously thought I could be a Marvel artist. What was your first Marvel comic?

I was first introduced to Marvel through “X-Men,” the animated series — I was obsessed! — and jumped into X-Men comics because of that. UNCANNY X-MEN #302 is the first comic I vividly remember owning.  I opened it up to an amazing two-page, vertical spread of Storm–I’ve been hooked ever since!

MARCO CHECCHETTO What was your first Marvel comic?

Marco Checchetto: A story of Spider-Man from MARVEL SUPER-HEROES issue #14: “The Reprehensible Riddle of… The Sorcerer!” by Stan Lee, Ross Andru, and John Romita Sr. When did you realize you wanted to be an artist at Marvel?

Marco Checchetto: I was 7 years old. My grandmother gave me a big reprint book with a lot of different comics from different publishers. One of these stories shocked me so much that it made me decide to become an artist at Marvel. What do you enjoy most about drawing OLD MAN HAWKEYE?

Marco Checchetto: I really love the script by Ethan Sacks – love the characters and the environments. It’s exactly the type of story I like to draw. What Marvel character encapsulates Marvel the best for you–and why?

Marco Checchetto: Marvel has so many wonderful characters and I love them all, but the real heart of the House of Ideas remains the historical characters created in the ’60s. The one who absolutely encapsulates the true spirit of Marvel, for me, is Spider-Man. The true symbol of the “super hero with super-problems.” We are all Peter Parker.