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Inside Look: Wolverine #50

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Simone Bianchi took some time away from the drawing table to take you behind the scenes of today’s Wolverine #50, pitting Logan against his archenemy Sabretooth.

Replacing outgoing creative team Marc Guggenheim and Humberto Ramos, Bianchi and Jeph Loeb present the first part of their storyarc, Evolution. The solicitation for the issue reads:

Superstar Jeph Loeb (Batman: Hush) is joined by future superstar Simone Bianchi for the biggest, best and, quite possibly, last battle between Wolverine and Sabretooth! These sworn foes have been locked in an endless grudge match that goes back longer than either can remember -- or even imagine.  The key to victory is eons old, and it’s certain to rock their world. Think you’ve seen Marvel’s fiercest go toe-to-toe before? Those were just warm-ups. Also featuring a 12-page backup story “PUNY LITTLE MAN,” by Loeb and superstar Ed McGuinness (Superman/Batman): He’s big, he’s green, he’s mean, and he just got his mitts on Logan.  Now THIS is gonna hurt.

COVER

This was my first wrap-around cover and the guys at Marvel left me total freedom of expression, as usual. At first, the two characters were in the exact opposite position: you could see Wolverine's back, while Sabretooth was in front of the observer. It was Joe Quesada who pointed out this needed to be changed, because we had to give the main character the maximum exposure. Wolverine's characteristics had to be evident in full to make both his face and body to be very recognizable... and he was right.

As a reference, I used a cover that was done by Adam Kubert in the early Nineties. Morry Holliwell's coloring work then was just perfect: I don't know if you’ve seen it yet, but Marvel has done a 24'' x 36'' poster of the color version that in my view looks absolutely great!

PAGES 2 & 3

Click to enlargeLet me say I always like doing double splash pages—Jeph put some more than usual in the story on purpose, knowing how much I enjoy them. I liked doing this one in particular because of the muscles involved in the fight, and the background framing the two animals. As a reference I used Frazzetta's work. What I like about this scene is that in this pre-historical fight there is a spoiler that the readers will understand later in the story.

Just for curiosity, you notice a saber-toothed tiger, right? Ok, consider I was not aware that this animal was extinct and only discovered it while working on this page, looking for references on the internet… there was something strange in the results I got and then I found out why.

I wanted this scene to give the idea of a pre-historical sense and at the same time I wanted it to recall 2001 Odissey in Space, combining the two together.

PAGE 6

This was basically the first time in my life that I drew Wolverine wearing his mask and costume. It was pretty cool! I had no reference of the X- Men mansion though, so my editor gave some images but I was not completely convinced. So, I ended up taking the X-Men 2 DVD, with the scene where the soldiers get in and you see the mansion from below, and the left. That was the idea I had of it and it seemed perfect, so I pushed the pause button to nail it properly.

Click to enlargeClick to enlargeMy scene in the book, though, had to be seen from another point of view... in any case, I did not know how to print an image from a DVD and I wanted to go ahead with my work, without losing time with technical experiments, so I drew the pencils while the image was on pause on the TV screen and then "moved" it myself on the page afterwards.

PAGE 9

This is one of my favorite pages, from the composition’s point of view: there is a lot of blank space, where the eye loses itself… all of the other panels are all so full of movements, backgrounds, etc. and this blank space lets the eye relax a bit, creating a nice, harmonic balance.

At Sabretooth's back you can see the first inked vegetation, not completely painted, in the story. I can say that in the end I am pretty satisfied with the final balance of the painted part and the graphical one—which is more "constructed"—in the story.

PAGE 12

The last panel of this page, at the right-hand bottom, is my favorite close-up of Sabretooth in the issue, because I find it particularly expressive. I used my Assistant Andrea Silvestri as a model and it was pretty easy for him to pose, as after 12 hours of work in my studio that is more or less his natural expression. [Laughs]

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PAGE 15

The last panel here is one of the few where Wolverine shows a smile, one of the few moments when he’s ever been happy: I must admit I really enjoyed to portray him in a serene expression for once, as opposed to the angry, crying or grinding his teeth Logan we so often see.

PAGE 16

I like this page because I have very nice memories of the preparation work. In the first panel you may see my beloved girlfriend Greta, who kindly posed for Wolverine’s fiancé, Silver Fox. Taking the photo reference in this case has been one of the most pleasant moments in the job—especially when we took pictures for the third panel! [Laughs]

As an added bonus, Bianchi has sent us his originals for the pages discussed above. Enjoy! For more on Simone Bianchi, visit his website at www.simonebianchi.com .

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