Three Sentinels of Liberty join forces as one artist brings them together!
Sometimes you need more than one Captain America to get the job done.
That’s the case with Avengers: Standoff! tie-in CAPTAIN AMERICA: SAM WILSON #8 written by Nick Spencer and drawn by guest artist Paul Renaud. The title star not only teams with Steve Rogers, but also Bucky Barnes to help bring the event to its penultimate chapter.
No stranger to the book, Renaud drew issues #4 and #5 of the series previously. However this marks the first time he penciled all three Captain Americas in one place. Thanks to a strong personal connection to the character, Renaud treated the creation of this issue like an honor.
The artist talks to us about his love of the Star Spangled Avenger, the joys of working on a crossover and the differences between how each Cap carries himself.
Marvel.com: This issue features not one, but three men who have gone by the name Captain America. Costumes and physical characteristics aside, how do they differ from a composition and physicality standpoint?
Paul Renaud: Steve has to be more imposing and muscular because of the Super Soldier Serum, and in many ways it also defines his body language, his stance. He has to be a little above us, just a bit better than any of us. To impact that notion on the reader, you want to show how things like fights and acrobatics come just a little easier for him. He should be more comfortable, somewhat detached. He doesn’t have to give 100% in everything like Sam and Bucky do. He’ll be always standing tall, and rested.
Bucky is an amazing, skilled fighter, so his fighting should show a little more technique to it and take advantage of his prosthetic arm to even the fight against powerful opponents. Other than that, he’s more a shadowy character, still the undercover agent in many ways. So his body language—and how you compose your panels—should show he’s not comfortable being in the center.
Sam is the most interesting in my opinion, because he’s not a meta-human, and not a skilled fighting machine. He’s just giving 110%, all the time and it takes its toll. So I portrayed him just a tiny bit tired in the way he stands. [On] a subconscious level, the reader will pick up those details. They see a man pushed to his limits, and overcoming them when danger occurs. That makes him even more a hero.
Marvel.com: As part of Avengers: Standoff, this issue must have had a lot of moving parts from new characters to story elements carried over from other books. Did your process vary much given those added details?
Paul Renaud: It wasn’t really a problem because everyone was working as a team. It must have been harder for editorial to organize all this than it was for me. [Editors] Tom Brevoort and Alanna Smith made it easy for me by providing all I needed in time so I could just focus on doing the best job possible. It’s not their first rodeo!
I started with the pages other creative teams on other books needed, and got to design the stuff that would be used beforehand so that everybody was on the same page. I also became friends with Daniel Acuna, the main artist on [CAPTAIN AMERICA: SAM WILSON], and it was a great help to be able to exchange pages at any stage to keep in sync. We’re both very aware it’s a team effort. The book is what matters.
Marvel.com: This issue looks to be packed with characters. Were there any particular ones you geeked out over being able to draw?
Paul Renaud: I won’t be original, but Steve has to be my favorite. I grew up looking up to him as a big brother figure of a hero, a positive force. At the risk of sounding corny, it always fills my heart with so much joy when I have to draw him. I’m very thankful for what the character brought to me when I needed it as a kid. It’s that shield. I think every bullied kid will understand what I’m talking about. It’s a powerful symbol. So I take it very seriously to honor that feeling in each and every panel. I will always geek out drawing Steve.
Marvel.com: You’ve worked with Nick Spencer a handful of times before this, including earlier issues of this series. How has your collaborative relationship evolved in that time?
Paul Renaud: We’ve done a couple of Sam/Cap issues together prior to this, yeah. I went from “Capwolf, really?” to “Spencer is a genius!” in a matter of days. I wasn’t thrilled at first when I got the job because I didn’t get the concept behind the book. Then came the first issue by Nick and Daniel, and I had to mentally apologize because I had not liked a book like this in a long while.
He really sold me on the idea of Sam/Cap, and the way he used real world reactions to Sam being Cap inside the book is hysterical. It was a very clever move. It made the book compelling and funny as hell. I liked those first issues so much; it really made it a joyride. Working with Nick is very gratifying because he will take advantage of the artists’ strengths and maximize them, improving the jokes or emotions afterwards based on the body-language and little storytelling devices. He doesn’t have to do it. He just want to because he cares for the book, and he’s respectful for what the artist brings, and I think it got very mutual.
Marvel.com: When you go into a Nick Spencer script, are there certain things you now know to look for from a storytelling or design standpoint?
Paul Renaud: Well, after I’m finished laughing at the silly jokes, there’s always the fight sequences for which Nick now gives me as much freedom as I want. He knows I care for the story, and will always try to bring as much storytelling required to fights. As I told before, the way a character moves and fights is a great help defining who he/she is.
I also take very seriously those long monologues Nick can have characters deliver. You have to make sure your actors deliver lines right, because he’s writing meaningful, defining bits each time. It’s a bit demanding to deal with—and I guess to read sometimes if the artist just goes with talking heads—but worth every bit, like good writers do. So my job is to make sure the storytelling stays alive, and those dialogues hit their mark. We also share the same sense of ridicule, so I’m always welcoming those silly things we try, like the Kraven scene in issue #8.
To see what else Nick Spencer and Paul Renaud have in store for Sam, Steve and Bucky check out the Avengers: Standoff! tie-in CAPTAIN AMERICA: SAM WILSON #8 on May 4.