FORGING IRON: ADI GRANOV TALKS IRON MAN - NEWSARAMA





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Old 09-11-2007, 10:51 AM   #1
MattBrady
 
FORGING IRON: ADI GRANOV TALKS IRON MAN

by Benjamin Ong Pang Kean

In 2003, his work on NecroWar with veteran writer Simon Furman and Dreamwave�s Pat Lee created waves throughout the comic book industry and Marvel Comics executives took notice.

�Adi Granov will be the next Adi Granov. Let�s see what happens, and let�s see where it goes form there,� Marvel Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada said when announcing the Young Guns, a group of artists who have the qualities to make �a future superstar penciler,� in 2004.

In 2005, the Bosnian-born artist and conceptual designer teamed with acclaimed writer Warren Ellis for a six-issue, post-�Avengers Disassembled� relaunch of the Iron Man series.

If that�s not the icing on the cake, he was the one of the three key designers and illustrators for director Jon Favreau�s 2008 Iron Man film. He worked on the suits and scene illustrations, and he also art directed the 3D builds of the movie characters, which will star Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stak/Iron Man, Terrence Howard as James Rhodes, Gwyneth Paltrow as Virginia �Pepper� Potts, Jeff Bridges as Obadiah Stane/Iron Monger, and more. Granov is currently doing a lot of marketing illustration in preparation for the film.

So, what�s left after you�ve reached this kind of peak?

Well, as announced at this past summer�s Comic-Con International in San Diego, Granov is now working on a four-issue Iron Man: Viva Las Vegas mini-series coming out under Marvel's Marvel Knight imprint.

And he�s doing it with Favreau.

We sat down with Adi Granov to chat about all things Iron Man, from the comics (�The Extremis� and Viva Las Vegas) to next year�s Iron Man, the first film produced by Marvel Studios.

Newsarama: Adi, let�s start with some movie talk - how did you land the gig as one of the illustrators and concept designers of the Iron Man suit in the upcoming movie anyway? Was it really your Iron Man covers that did the trick for you?

AG: It was for a variety of characters and suits as well as general visualization of the film and it�s many action scenes. Jon Favreau and the producers seem to really like the visual feel of the �Extremis� book and the designs and overall art direction in it and they asked me to help them translate that into the movie. It started out in limited capacity, but as things moved forward it became a full time job which culminated in actually art directing the building of 3D models at Stan Winston Studios.

NRAMA: As you said, you're one of the three main designers and right now, you're doing marketing stuff in preparation for the film. Just how many powered armor suits did you come up with? Was it a team effort all the way or was each of you given the task to come up with your own ideas for possible suits?

AG: Well, we worked on four or five various armors, and dozens of variations of each, but not all of them end up in the final product. Working on a big budget movie such as this is always a team effort. We discussed things as a team and pushed and pulled in various directions until everyone was happy. My comic work was the stepping stone from which we started to build something that would make more sense in a film environment. I did a series of paintings to determine a visual style for the characters and from there we would attempt to refine and make them as practical as possible.

NRAMA: Who're the other two key designers? Are they comic book people?

AG: Phil Saunders and Ryan Meinerding. As far as I know they haven�t worked in comics. Both are amazing artists and it�s been a great privilege getting to know and work with them.

NRAMA: And what kind of marketing stuff are you working on now? Promotional posters? Merchandising stuff? What else?

AG: All of the above. I am only concerned with creating cool images and then Marvel�s licensing department determines their use. I�ve already seen some surprising uses of my illustrations and I imagine by the time the movie rolls around this stuff will be everywhere. I fear you won�t be able to escape it.

NRAMA: Who came up with the ideas on what to do and how to market? Did you have any input on the plans?

AG: Marvel has entire departments dedicated to that stuff, like I said, I only illustrate. I come up with ideas for the illustrations and designs, and that�s the only part that interests me, everything else is out of my hands. I�ve been lucky that my work has become synonymous with Iron Man so they always come to me first to get stuff done.

NRAMA: In the comics, Iron Man's had numerous suit and armor designs over the years. Which are your favorites?

AG: I�ve always liked the Classic armor, the red and gold. It has a real purity to it, a very retro, almost art-deco look to it. And I�ve always liked the idea of War Machine. It�s such a fitting Cold War statement, an over the top weapons platform that will scare your opponents more than actually make sense.

NRAMA: With regards to next year's Iron Man: Viva Las Vegas four-issue mini-series, you'd actually come up with the idea and had suggested that you and Jon Favreau do it as a comic book project?

AG: Well, not exactly. I asked Jon if he wanted to do a comic book, but he came up with the story. We talked about what kind of book we�d like to do and set out some guidelines, but he came up with the core plot which we keep refining and altering as we go along.

NRAMA: While it's a no-brainer to ask why Iron Man, do you think of this story as your and Jon's sequel to the Iron Man film? Or was this idea hatched, developed and subsequently approved to appeal to the masses, especially since it's from the director and chief designer of 2008's much anticipated Iron Man film?

AG: The book exists on its own, independent of the movie or the Marvel continuity. It uses the Iron Man design we designed for the film, and it�s being done by us, so it�s obviously going to have similar overtones. But we wanted to tell a story that will stand on its own and will not need to be read along with the film, or vice versa, although they will definitely compliment each other. As Jon puts it, we�re doing the kind of stuff in the comic which would be extremely cost prohibitive to do on film...

NRAMA: So, no Robert Downey Jr. in the miniseries then?

AG: Right. I feel that using the likenesses from the film would damage the book as it would permanently lock it with the movie and you�d never be able to see it as an independent piece of art that it should be. I really want this story to be something that anyone could pick up and enjoy for what it is without having to worry about continuity, tie-ins, etc. be it with the movie or the Marvel U. continuity. I think I must go against the grain as I am more interested in the long term appeal of a project rather than short term sales... It would�ve been easy to do this as some kind of a tie in with the film and milk it. I am sure it would�ve made a lot of money, but it would never feel as anything else but a marketing opportunity. I am not trying to be all self righteous about the �art form� or whatever, but I do try to do the best work possible in the hopes that it might become something that someone will enjoy even a few decades from today.

NRAMA: Who's the "actor" who plays Tony Stark then?

AG: This guy named Roy who works for beer and hot-dogs... No, there is no likeness of this Tony to anyone I can think of. I�m not using any existing people as reference.

NRAMA: Does Nick Fury play any role in Viva Las Vegas?

AG: So far there is no Nick Fury in Viva Las Vegas. But if we decide to write him in I doubt he�ll look like an actor... except for David Hasselhoff. Come to think of it, I might just make the Hoff be Tony Stark as well.

NRAMA: So, those preview images that were shown at San Diego�

AG: It was just a couple of pages that Marvel thought would be interesting to show. One of them was a teaser shot of Fin Fang Foom as he is the villain of our story.

NRAMA: Okay, enough with the film references and all that. What're some of your favorite Iron Man stories of all time?

AG: To be honest I don�t remember ever reading an Iron Man story before I started working on the book. I was always attracted to the character, ever since I was a kid, but I never read any of the stories.

NRAMA: What do you find the most appealing about the whole Iron Man concept then?

AG: It�s a great science fiction concept. He�s not a superhero, he�s a guy inside a really powerful, really cool weapon. And Tony Stark is such a great, flawed character. It adds a lot of texture, depth and dynamics to what can be done with it. Plus one of Iron Man�s inherent strengths is that it logically updates with time and the changing technologies. A lot of the comic superheroes struggle to stay relevant in the modern age, but Iron Man makes even more sense now than he did decades ago because, while he used to be a farfetched concept before, he actually makes quite a bit of sense today.

NRAMA: Iron Man: Viva Las Vegas is a tight collaborative effort. As you'd said in some interviews, it's a lot of back and forth between you and Jon. Has it been smooth sailing so far?

AG: Oh yeah, it�s been fantastic. Jon and I seem to like very similar types of things and compliment each other quite well. We do go back and forth all the time as the way we�re doing the book is very fluid. Jon comes up with the outline, I break it down into pages, he then adds or refines elements to fit my ideas for layouts, I then draw the layouts based on which he writes the dialogue. Once the script and the layouts are complete I go onto painting the pages and then Jon decides if anything needs tweaking on his end. It�s a lot of fun and I think we both end up with a much stronger product because we�re really pushing each other�s strengths.

NRAMA: Was it any different when you were doing "The Extremis" with Warren Ellis?

AG: Heh, quite. I think in the entire time I was doing �Extremis� I spoke to Warren maybe twice. He�s a fantastic writer and I think the story couldn�t have been any better than it already is. I didn�t mind working like that because the script was so good I really enjoyed seeing it coming together and just focusing on art. But having experienced full on collaboration, I have to say that I enjoy it even more.

NRAMA: And how are you keeping up, schedule-wise?

AG: So far so good. We�re a little over a quarter into it and I�m doing as much on it as possible. I still have this whole other job with the movie marketing etc. but I just did five pages in two weeks, which is quite a feat for me as I draw, ink and paint everything myself.

NRAMA: Do you sketch out the panels and layouts as if you're doing storyboards for a film?

AG: Similar. But I like high impact images, which isn�t possible in the same way in film where things keep moving, and that is one of the strengths of comics over any other medium. So I try to design pages to look good as standalone pieces of art as much as serve the storytelling. And I don�t mean I draw giant splash-pages all the time, but if there are 5-6 panels on a page I try to compose it as nice as I can so that even the gutters between the panels are well placed.

NRAMA: Do you liken your process to a film director directing a movie? In this case, your very own Iron Man movie, the way it would appear if you were sitting on the director's chair with Jon?

AG: Hmm, I guess so. I see myself as a choreographer. I like to consider thing and come up with the best way to present it visually. But I am also a craftsman and I purely enjoy the process of drawing after all of the thinking has been done.

NRAMA: In a Young Guns interview from 2004, you'd cited the legendary Moebius as one of your chief influences. Others include Sorayama, Drew Struzan, and Shirow. Basically, guys who's done comics/manga and movie designs and illustrations. Back then, you were only three years into your career as a comic book artist. Now that you'd done Iron Man comics and provided designs for the Iron Man film, how much are you influenced by your comic book peers?

AG: I am still as much of a fan of Moebius, Drew and Shirow as I�ve ever been. I must say I haven�t seen any of Sorayama�s work in years. I am more inspired rather than influenced by a lot of what I see, but I seem to be striving for some different things as I am trying to do combine all of my various interests from comics, concept design, sci-fi, poster illustration, film, etc. As I get older I notice that I am less influenced, but more just impressed by the beautiful art I see. While something great used to make me want to copy it, now it just makes me want to equal its impact with my own style. For instance, Jae Lee is one of my favorite comic book artists, but aside from realistic anatomy, there are very few similarities between our work. But I feel very inspired by what he does because, with his unique style, he really creates a great impact that I try to achieve with my work, even if it looks nothing like it.

NRAMA: Back when you were turning heads with Dreamwave's NecroWar and you were just starting at Marvel, we talked about what your dream Marvel projects were and you said that you'd always been fascinated with Galactus and Dr. Doom. Do you still have an idea for a Fantastic Four project at the back of your head?

AG: Well, I am more interested in Galactus and Dr. Doom than I am in the Fantastic Four. I think they are just fantastic science fiction characters, which is obviously a huge draw for me, and they have a huge visual presence. Maybe I should come up with some kinda Galactus/Dr. Doom project...

NRAMA: Since you're under exclusive with Marvel until 2010, what other Marvel projects do you look forward to doing?

AG: I have no idea! Right now I am so focused on this Iron Man book that I have a hard time seeing past it. Whatever it is I know it will be interesting, at least to me, as I only consider projects which I know I will enjoy working on. My art is so labor intensive that I have to seriously consider something before committing to it.

NRAMA: Finally, what's this creator-owned thing that you have?

AG: Oh, that is so far in the future that it might not even happen. As with most people in creative fields I have all kinds of ideas which would be cool to do if there was time. But I do want to do something along the lines of French graphic novels, non-superhero, sci-fi type of stuff to really take advantage of my love for military history, aircrafts etc. We�ll see...
 
Old 09-11-2007, 12:44 PM   #2
Sesshomaru
 
Thanks for the great interview . Adi granov , ever since he started illustrated the book and covers , has been my definitive iron man artist .
 
Old 09-11-2007, 12:45 PM   #3
BanMan
 
Maybe they should just toss Granov a Doom/Galactus story without the FF attached.
 
Old 09-11-2007, 12:46 PM   #4
Vintage
 
I'm real happy for Adi. His work on Iron Man has been phenomenal, no matter what may be said about the writing. It's great that one of Marvel's finest young talents is getting this opportunity to collaborate on a character for a live action film. Look forward to the mini with Favreau, who also appears to have a great love for the Iron Man character.
 
Old 09-11-2007, 12:49 PM   #5
80Pork
 
Doom/Galactus would be very cool!

I bought Necrowar when it came out. I liked the series, but Adi's art really made that comic, I think.
 
Old 09-11-2007, 12:49 PM   #6
Sesshomaru
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BanMan
Maybe they should just toss Granov a Doom/Galactus story without the FF attached.

i'd vote for a doom/iron man by granov . And not something arthurian related as usual , but maybe an event , or at the very least a modern story arc
 
Old 09-11-2007, 01:00 PM   #7
TheJerkle
 
please don't be late, please don't be late, please don't be late...
 
Old 09-11-2007, 01:16 PM   #8
Makievelio
 
ADI GRANOV ON SILVER SURFER ONGONING WOULD BE AWSOMENESSS!!!!!
 
Old 09-11-2007, 01:34 PM   #9
artiepants
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheJerkle
please don't be late, please don't be late, please don't be late...
since it's only 4 issues and they obviously KNOW he doesn't do a book monthly AND it's not due until next summer, i'd bet they get it (or at least the first 3 issues...) in the can before soliciting it...
 
Old 09-11-2007, 01:39 PM   #10
DarkNomis
 
Adi Granov artwork on Extremis story arc is waht made me pick up the trade paperback. Fortunately Eliis story was up to par with his wonderful art.
 
Old 09-11-2007, 02:15 PM   #11
izzatrix
 
Let's hope Marvel learend its lesson

The Extremis storyline was constantly delayed to the point that anyone with any sense realized it was best just to wait for the trade. That is the approach I'll take with this series as well. There is no reason not to just wait for the complete story when odds are it will be months between issues.
 
Old 09-11-2007, 02:29 PM   #12
JSS
 
change the title to


Iron-Man: Vegas baby!
 
Old 09-11-2007, 02:37 PM   #13
HartyPotter
 
man, that image with the jets is phenomenal
 
Old 09-11-2007, 02:38 PM   #14
sniperboy65
 
Me? I'm just happy that David Michelenie, Bob Layton, and Ron Lim are working on a new Iron Man/Dr. Doom mini series. I wish Marvel would give this creative a monthly book of their own...
 
Old 09-11-2007, 03:06 PM   #15
Predabot1
 
Take away Lim from that equation Sniperboy, and I'd hit that idea. But as it is now... Lim is simply too boring, and somehow feels... basic.

Put somebody like JrJr ( the net would be EXSTATIC!) or a hot young guy like Jimmy Cheung in his position, and I think that would work a lot better. Or Bagley of course. But someone like Cheung would be nice because he would also be able to hit on that modern way of design and fashion, not just for the super-characters but for the regular people too.
 
Old 09-11-2007, 03:10 PM   #16
ZampDiSata
 
Love the image with the helicopter and the tank.
Here's a short rough pitch:
Iron Man is director or employee of SHIELD or whatever. Point is, it has to be government related. Something like SHIELD gets information that Doctor Doom has put into motion a plan that will enable him to acquire the power cosmic. This in order to scare off the USA trying to sabotage his regime (kinda like Ahmadinejad wanting to build the bomb in order to stave off US encroachment) But this is comics, so Doom wants to harness the power cosmic to make sure USA doesn't stick its nose in Latveria.
SHIELD is sent to deal with that because the FF don't agree or whatever. Iron Man effectively being an employee of SHIELD obviously takes point and confronts Doom and his droids with his SHIELD army. Big fight scene! and Doom escapes taking with him essential technology to get the power cosmic. He goes off into outer space to hunt down the nearest wielder of the power-cosmic.
Lo and behold! It is the Silver Surfer. Doom lands close by to set up his equipment, but Iron Man is hot on his trail and is coming.
Now if you pay me $ 1200 i'll flesh it out and make it into a nice 6 issue mini.



-----------------
http://www.12051.blogspot.com/
 
Old 09-11-2007, 03:17 PM   #17
WildcardZ
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by izzatrix
The Extremis storyline was constantly delayed to the point that anyone with any sense realized it was best just to wait for the trade. That is the approach I'll take with this series as well. There is no reason not to just wait for the complete story when odds are it will be months between issues.
Unless you are waiting to see if the trade will be less expensive than the issues, then I see no point in waiting for a trade. You are still waiting no matter what, and you wait even longer for the story in trade because the issues will be out first.
 
Old 09-11-2007, 04:33 PM   #18
foxhound421
 
i remember running across Necrowar in my LCS and i've been a raving Granov fan ever since. absolutely beautiful artwork.
 
Old 09-11-2007, 04:39 PM   #19
kalorama
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by WildcardZ
Unless you are waiting to see if the trade will be less expensive than the issues, then I see no point in waiting for a trade. You are still waiting no matter what, and you wait even longer for the story in trade because the issues will be out first.

The obvious reason to wait for the trade (when dealing with creators who have a track record of missing deadlines) is to avoid the long gaps between being able to read each part of the the story. When you can read the whole thing in one sitting (or however many sittings you want to read it in) you don't have to worry about trying to remember what happened in part 1 after waiting 6 months for part 2 to hit the stands.

It's a matter of convenience (and, as always, personal preference).
 
Old 09-11-2007, 04:40 PM   #20
TheNoirPI
 
I like the part where he says he's a quarter of the way through... which means he's finished one issue. Since he claims to do 5 pages in 2 weeks (which he'll never keep up on) theoritically it'll be done in like 8 months. Of course Marvel will solicit it to start long before then.
 
Old 09-11-2007, 04:40 PM   #21
G Dog
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MattBrady
And he�s doing it with Favreau.

Look, I want to break into the movie business too, but...not like that..
 
Old 09-11-2007, 04:48 PM   #22
RedRonin
 
Granov is simply brillaint. His art is beautiful. And he's completely taken over as the signature Iron Man artist in my book. I just can't picture Iron Man without picturing Granov's art.

I second a Doom/Iron Man story done by Granov.
 
Old 09-11-2007, 05:43 PM   #23
VocalMan81
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheNoirPI
I like the part where he says he's a quarter of the way through... which means he's finished one issue. Since he claims to do 5 pages in 2 weeks (which he'll never keep up on) theoritically it'll be done in like 8 months. Of course Marvel will solicit it to start long before then.
If the book is late it's no one's fault but Marvel's. Like another poster said, let him get 3+ issues in the can THEN solicit. His art is definitely worth the wait.
 
Old 09-11-2007, 06:00 PM   #24
WildcardZ
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kalorama
The obvious reason to wait for the trade (when dealing with creators who have a track record of missing deadlines) is to avoid the long gaps between being able to read each part of the the story. When you can read the whole thing in one sitting (or however many sittings you want to read it in) you don't have to worry about trying to remember what happened in part 1 after waiting 6 months for part 2 to hit the stands.

It's a matter of convenience (and, as always, personal preference).
Couldn't you buy all the issues and then not read them until the last issue came out? It is still faster than a trade, unless of course that is the preferred way that you read your stories. Just wondering. I have a lot of trades too, but I only pick them up in trade for the extras or if I think it might be cheaper than the issues and I don't have a burning desire to read the story.
 
Old 09-11-2007, 06:19 PM   #25
Chris Noeth
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by G Dog
Look, I want to break into the movie business too, but...not like that..

Be realistic... it is the only way to break into the movie business

Just kidding.

Adis Art was always a favourite of mine even before he was working in comics and movies.
Good to see he rocks this fields now.

Best,

Chris
 
 
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