The latest artist for the original Sentinel of Liberty contemplates costume design, the hordes of Hydra, and more!
Steve Rogers celebrates his 75th anniversary like no other! The original Super Soldier not only launches a new ongoing this year, but also finds his name continued by his friend and one-time partner in CAPTAIN AMERICA: SAM WILSON; both series feature scripts by Nick Spencer with Jesus Saiz drawing the new entry and Daniel Acuña working on the latter.
When the call went out for heroes during Avengers: Standoff!, Steve answered and found his powers and youth restored by Kobik. Now, even though his successor Sam Wilson continues to wield the shield, Steve returns with an all-new costume, shield, and ongoing series.
CAPTAIN AMERICA: STEVE ROGERS #1—due out May 25—not only gives the hero a brand new look and a split-apart shield, but also a fresh mission as he hunts down Hydra. We spoke with Saiz about working on the new look designed by Acuña, collaborating with Spencer, and his first major Marvel work!
Marvel.com: Drawing a Captain America series in the year of his 75th anniversary is a pretty big deal. Do you remember how you felt when you got the gig?
Jesus Saiz: Well, to be honest, I wasn’t really conscious of that at the beginning. During my whole professional career I hadn’t worked for Marvel yet, so I wasn’t really sure of how relevant it was on the current Marvel Universe. I knew he was an important character, of course, and he is one of the main icons in American comics, but I wasn’t really aware it was his 75th Anniversary and that the focus would be on his book.
I have to be candid about this saying that, when I realized it all, it was really intimidating, and I even thought for a few moments, “Maybe my first gig for Marvel should be a bit smaller not having so many eyes focused on me!” But I felt, and I still feel, really flattered, but also overwhelmed by this chance, and I’m really anxious to know the readers’ reactions to our work!
Marvel.com: This of course isn’t just another Cap series; it involves a whole new costume and shield. Can you talk about the process of figuring all that out?
Jesus Saiz: This is a better question for Daniel Acuña, artist on CAPTAIN AMERICA: SAM WILSON, because he’s the creator of the new design. I only know that I love it, although I keep feeling it works better when [Daniel] draws it than when I do it myself—because I’m still trying to know how those damned gloves work!
Marvel.com: What are the key components from a physicality perspective that come with drawing Steve as Cap regardless of the costume?
Jesus Saiz: My vision of it is that Cap must be physically perfect, like [Leonardo da Vinci’s] Vitruvian Man. His body proportions must be perfect, the perfect metaphor of his heroism. Just his presence must be inspiring and bring hope to everybody who sees him, and that’s how I try to portray him.
But Nick has asked me that, when Cap springs into action, I show him being aggressive, fiercer, more worried with attack than he is of defense, something less elegant than what we’re used to see, and we usually expect from Steve. And the story behind that detail is a delight!
Marvel.com: Hydra also plays heavily into this story. That’s a group that has been around for quite a while. How did you set out to put a new spin on it?
Jesus Saiz: Hydra is reorganizing itself. They’re practically starting from scratch, so what we see are mainly new recruits, a weird mix of people from marginal sectors of society, small-time criminals, Neo Nazis. In the first issue, there’s a fantastic chapter where we follow the biography of one of their soldiers. We see where he comes from and how he enlists in Hydra. It’s a very interesting story.
Visually, I’m trying to make it very “every day stuff.” They don’t use uniforms. They’re simply a diverse band of goons.
Marvel.com: Are there other classic Captain America villains in the offing that you’re excited to show off to people? In those cases, how do you balance building your own rendition and respecting the classics?
Jesus Saiz: Unless the editors ask me to do it, I try not to change the “official” or “classic” design at all, because I want to be absolutely respectful with the continuity of the books created by my predecessors. Nonetheless, I don’t think an artist can avoid making things his own, to interpret in his own personal way the design he’s working with — whether he likes it or not — because each one of us has a particular sense of proportion, a style that many times we’re not even conscious of, but that it soaks everything we draw in a bigger or smaller way.
Marvel.com: How is it working with Nick on this series as he continues to tell Captain America stories in both this book and CAPTAIN AMERICA: SAM WILSON?
Jesus Saiz: It’s an amazing experience! In a way, as an artist, it’s quite difficult, because his scripts are very dense. Every scene is full of characters, and frequently, what happens in the background is as important as what happens in the foreground.
It’s complicated to compose that many elements and get the page to be aesthetically attractive. But the effort is worth it, because he’s the kind of writer I wouldn’t dare to change a comma of, because his scripts are so rich and they feel so right that any change would only worsen them.
What I like the most of Nick’s work is how he defines the characters with the dialogue. That makes my work easier when it comes to give each and every one of them their own body-language and how to define their behavior, because I’m not that familiar with many of them, but Nick portrays them so well he makes it really easy for me to feel like I know them and that they’re real people. I think people [are] going to be enthusiastic with his work. I know he does have me completely hooked!
CAPTAIN AMERICA: STEVE ROGERS #1 enlists Nick Spencer and Jesus Saiz to celebrate the title character’s 75 years of existence on May 25!