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Stuart Immonen on being a top Marvel artist while nurturing his own pursuits

Stuart Immonen

Stuart Immonen is a comic artist’s comic artist.

Although he might argue with me there, his name has cropped up numerous times in years of conversations with comic creators as a highwater mark for artists working on superheroes, with his yeoman-like work ethic and ability to get to the top of the charts without compromising himself or his work. Immonen’s art blazes a trail between realism and exaggeration, and the cartoonist really hit his stride in the public eye with the 2006 series Nextwave. Immonen had been on some top-sellers before, including the Red/Blue Superman, the alt-realty Superman: Secret Identity and earlier stints on both Avengers and Fantastic Four, but it was his work on Nextwave and the genre-bending style that allowed him to show a more diverse skillset. Marvel and its star writer Brian Michael Bendis took notice, bringing him on-board for Ultimate Spider-Man, New Avengers and, well, New Avengers again with the series’ recent relaunch.

But one of the things that gets me is Immonen’s devotion to his own creations with wife and fellow comicker Kathryn. They got their start in the world of cartooning with their own self-published series, and jumped back into it a few years back with several webcomics and printed books. Last year, Top Shelf released their webcomic strip Moving Pictures, and the duo has plans for a new creator-owned original graphic novel for next year.

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Talking Comics with Tim: Colleen Coover

Colleen Coover's Hercules the Olympian Babysitter

Coover's Hercules the Olympian Babysitter

In 2004 I was fortunate enough to interview Colleen Coover–during her Small Favors days/on the eve of the creation of her and husband Paul Tobin’s all-ages Banana Sunday. I enjoyed her art then, but never hoped for how effectively Marvel would tap her fantastic style for many of its books and characters.  Much to my delight, it seems like Coover’s reputation and fanbase is growing larger every day. Last week saw the release of Girl Comics No. 2, which featured a two-page opening piece by Coover as well as a Shamrock eight-page adventure drawn by her (and written by Kathryn Immonen). We briefly discussed it, as well as her other current Marvel work (such as the Hercules back-up tale in Thor and the Warriors Four)  for this brief email interview. I look forward to down the road when Coover flexes her “writer muscles” (as she calls them).

Tim O’Shea: Marvel’s keeping you busy at present. How did the Hercules the Olympian Babysitter story land on your table?

Colleen Coover: The book’s editor Jordan White asked me to come up with a Power Pack backup story for a four-issue mini series. I was flipping through Bullfinch’s Mythology one evening, and I came up with the Hercules story when I woke up the next morning. At the time I didn’t know that the Alex Zalben’s main story was a team-up with Thor, titled Thor & The Warriors Four, so it was a happy coincidence that I used one of Marvel’s other mythological characters!

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Take a look inside Top Shelf’s Moving Pictures collection, due in May 2010

Moving Pictures by Kathryn & Stewart Immonen

Moving Pictures by Kathryn & Stewart Immonen

You might have read somewhere that Moving Pictures, a webcomic created by Stuart and Kathryn Immonen, is slated to for collection by Top Shelf. The book is due next May, and Top Shelf was kind enough to pass on a preview for our big anniversary. You can check out the solicitation text and several pages from the collection after the jump.

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