Published April 27, 2017

Sorcerers Supreme Sketchbook

Future X-Men and mystic mayhem fill artist Nathan Stockman’s plate!

Image for Sorcerers Supreme Sketchbook

In the future only one thing stands in the way of the invading Brood: Wiccan and a band of X-Men! That’s the story presented in the pages of DOCTOR STRANGE AND THE SORCERERS SUPREME #10 on July 12 by Robbie Thompson and guest artist Nathan Stockman.

Stockman, who also drew the first meeting between Doctor Strange and Isaac Newton in the pages of issue #5, hops on board to tell a tomorrow-set story featuring the adult Wiccan and his group of X-Men fighting an evolved version of the Brood.

We talked with Stockman and Thompson about conjuring up fantastical futures, re-designing X-Men, and collaborating with one another. Nathan, how is it for you as an artist jumping in on a book like this that has so much going on from issue to issue?

Nathan Stockman: It’s exciting. You never know what you’re going to get to draw next. With the magic corner of the Marvel Universe there’s literally nothing that’s off the table. I just do my best to try and keep up with all the crazy shenanigans that have gone on before and add to the madness. It’s nerve-wracking following on from the work [regular artists] Javier [Rodriguez], Alvaro [Lopez], and Jordie [Bellaire] have done previously but that really lights a fire under me to try my best to not make a mess of things!

The editorial team on the book is superb too. Darren [Shan] and Allison [Stock] help me keep track of things story-wise and point me in the right directions artistically. Editors are the unsung heroes of comics. They do so much work behind the scenes that rarely gets the praise it deserves so I want to make sure that readers know that they have as big a part to play in putting the books together as any artists or writers. Robbie, along similar lines, do you tailor your scripts a bit differently for Javier and Nathan?

Robbie Thompson: For sure! Collaboration is my favorite part of working in comics. I hash out the story with our amazing editors, and once we’re all on the same page, I do the same thing with Javier and Nathan. They’re both dynamic storytellers, so I format the scripts to give them as much room as possible to play with, and that way they can really make the stories we’re telling their own. Getting pages from them is pure joy—it’s what we’ve all talked about, but there’s always so many moments that have been added or expanded upon. I’m really lucky. On this particular issue, it was fun trading e-mails with Nate about the future X-Team and what we could do with each character. It was very clear from the layouts that Nate was having the time of his life designing these characters and bringing this story to life. This future-set story revolves around Wiccan fighting the Brood. In what ways have the nasty alien race changed both in motive and appearance?

Nathan Stockman: Appearance-wise I have to say I was selfish in wanting to keep the Brood classic looking. So they look the same as they ever did! I think they’re really cool looking, scary wee yokes so I didn’t want to mess with perfection! They do pack more of a bite than previously though. The future Wiccan also leads a different team, this one a group of X-Men. What can you tell us about this crew and how was it figuring out who would appear and what they’d look like?

Nathan Stockman: Robbie knows the way to my heart. When I read the lineup, it’s like he reached directly into my soul and crafted the perfect team for me.

I finally get to draw Banshee! Ireland’s own! As an Irishman this is such a big deal for me. We don’t have anyone! There [are] five billion super heroes in New York and like three from Ireland! I grew up reading GENERATION X so to have Sean, Jono, and Paige on the team is just a dream come true. Old man wizard Iceman is in the mix too and he’s a lot of fun! Colossus has long been one of my favorite X-Men too so getting to draw him as well is just super cool. I loved this old man Piotr version from the moment I set eyes on his glistening metallic lip liner a few years ago. I think most super heroes should have mustaches.

I have to say I completely fell in love with drawing Laura though. She’s such a cool character and a total badass. And you know what you get when you mix Colossus and Wolverine? Fastball Special! Another bucket list image scratched off the list! Seriously, the only thing that could make Laura any cooler would be a mustache—hmm, emailing my editors now.

With Iceman and Colossus there were pre-established looks, but I got to design some new costumes for the rest of the team which was really cool. I tried to make sure they were all recognizable so I stuck to familiar color schemes and design elements. Hopefully I didn’t shame their legacies! When it comes to actually getting big, supernatural effects on the page, how much of it is in the script and how much comes from the artist?

Nathan Stockman: It’s a mix of both, I think. It’s never just one or the other. Not just in term of effects but in pretty much all aspects of the process. Robbie’s scripts are fantastic and everything is there in them but what I love is that he’ll let me know that if I can think of something to add or a better way of getting something across to go for it. I really appreciate that as it gets me so invested and it’s a true collaboration rather than an assembly line production. We have had some great back-and-forth working together that I think has produced some really fun moments.

Robbie is my personal Sorcerer Supreme. He understands how to get the best out of me as an artist. By giving me exactly what I want all the time. He knows I’ll sulk and huff if I don’t get my way. That’s why I think we work well together: he just gives in and panders to me.

Basically what I’m saying is: everyone stay the hell away from my Robbie. He’s mine and you can’t have him!

See what the future holds for mutants and magic in DOCTOR STRANGE AND THE SORCERERS SUPREME #10 by Robbie Thompson and Nathan Stockman on July 12!