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When you make your formal American comics debut drawing a Top 5 book, you’ve really set the bar high for the rest of your career. But Filipino artist Leinil Yu doesn’t think about it too much.
Yu’s introduction to the U.S. comics market was in 1997 with Wolverine #113, but he wasn’ t a complete newcomer: He had worked for a time as an assistant at Whilce Portacio’s studio, and even gained some recognition by winning a Wizard magazine contest. Yu went on from Wolverine to draw everything from Uncanny X-Men to Buffy the Vampire Slayer and even had a hand in reinventing Superman’s origins in Superman: Birthright before returning to Marvel and becoming one of the publisher’s top-tier artists with New Avengers and Secret Invasion. After that, he moved into creator-owned comics with Mark Millar, first on Superior and then on Supercrooks. Yu continues to excel with Marvel’s superheroes, joining Mark Waid to relaunch the Hulk in the Marvel NOW! title Indestructible Hulk — a return of sorts for Yu, who drew the Hulk in the well-received (albeit much-delayed) Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk.
I’ve always been an admirer of Yu’s work, from his brief stint on Chris Claremont’s X-Men return to his lesser-known creator-owned book at DC, Silent Dragon (with Andy Diggle) and High Roads (with Scott Lobdell). When he returned to Marvel, I noticed him experimenting with his style in both composition and rendering. Upon doing research for this interview, I learned about Yu’s varied attempts to explore different mediums — branching out from his pencils and pens and to painting, digital modelling, and even digital speed-painting. I conducted this interview with Leinil Yu earlier this month, on the eve of Indestructible Hulk‘s announcement.