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When you stop and think who are Marvel’s top creators working today, your mind is invariably drawn to Brian Michael Bendis, as he’s become the chief writer for the company’s top titles over the past decade. But there’s someone else who’s played a big role, working side-by-side with Bendis and others to help create what Marvel is in the 21st century: artist Mike Deodato Jr.
The Brazilian-born artist came into modern memory as one of the primary artists on J. Michael Straczynski’s Amazing Spider-Man run, then jumped to revitalize Thunderbolts before teaming with Bendis on New Avengers. Over the years Deodato has worked with Bendis on some of the biggest books Marvel’s had to offer, be it New Avengers or Dark Avengers. And while writers seem to get the lion’s share of attention in the press, the story of Deodato’s career is something most people don’t know about.
Deodato first onto the comics scene in the mid-’90s with an Image-inspired style on DC’s Wonder Woman, and quickly became one of the workhorse artists of the era. But after being stretched to his limits both personally and professionally, Deodato withdrew from comics for a time to refocus himself and find a style better suited to how he saw comics. Drawing on inspirations from icons like Neal Adams and his own father, an accomplished cartoonist in Brazil, Deodato re-emerged in 2001 at Marvel and steadily rose up the ranks to become one of the company’s most trusted artists with a style far removed from everyone else working today.
I talked with Deodato from his home in Brazil about his career, his personal life, and his real real name.