Marvel's current Venom-centric King in Black crossover is about to get even bigger by introducing a new version of a classic Marvel team, the Thunderbolts. Written by Matthew Rosenberg with art from Juan Ferreyra, January 13's King in Black: Thunderbolts #1 brings a new group of villains together under the command of the Kingpin to resist Knull's invasion into New York.
Newsarama spoke with Ferreyra about the new team – which the artist isn't shy about calling the "best version" of the Thunderbolts yet – including his unique process which goes all the way from pencils to colors, connecting to the new version of the team, and why it's way more fun to draw bad guys.
Newsarama: Juan, you and Matthew Rosenberg are launching a brand new version of the Thunderbolts tying into King in Black. What can you tell us about this new version of the team?
Juan Ferreyra: This is the best version.
I think this might be the worst Thunderbolts team that ever was and ever will be, which translates in the most fun you, the reader, will ever have with them.
Nrama: Without being too spoiler-y, what's the last thing you were drawing for King in Black: Thunderbolts?
Ferreyra: Right now I'm coloring a double splash page with the Thunderbolts fighting in all their glory some ex-supervillains turned Symbiotes.
So yeah, the usual superhero fun.
I'm putting all my efforts into drawing each panel the best possible way, I'm trying to use all my artistic knowledge I acquired in all my 42 years of drawing comics (I'm including the experience I gathered since I was a one-year-old into this).
I'm using grey paper, adding inks, white pen, gouache, watercolors, markers, digital colors, full artistic machine into this, which is like using ILM to do the effects on a Will Ferrell Movie. It doesn't make much sense but I'm happy to do it anyway.
Nrama: As with previous versions of the Thunderbolts, this team is made up of mostly villains. How does drawing a team of bad guys inform your approach to the story?
Ferreyra: The good thing is I don't have to mind that much if they end up looking Heroic, with a untouchable pose, or great looks. I can draw the characters more relaxed, that means that maybe they will be in a way more relatable to our readers, but kids please don't mimic our characters behavior in real life, try to be better than them, pretty please.
Nrama: Which characters have you connected with most while drawing King in Black: Thunderbolts?
Ferreyra: I Think I connected with Batroc the most, I'm pretty good at leaping at any ideas they give me.
Nrama: For that matter, what are the Thunderbolts up against here? Which parts of Knull's army have you been drawing?
Ferreyra: They are fighting those black and red Dragons, regular Symbiotes and so far supervillains turned symbiotes, and most of all they keep fighting between themselves!
Nrama: How has it been working with Matthew Rosenberg?
Ferreyra: So far it sucks! He's not talented at all. [laughs]
In reality I draw the whole book by myself, then he comes in and adds the text which gladly gets corrected and made better by our editors Jake and Shannon. They end up doing a pretty good job, especially because thanks to them I get to pay my bills and some liquids.
I think this is a better answer than the classic "he's really talented and easy to work with, his scripts are really fun and they balance perfectly the action and the talk scenes, he lets me try weird things and that makes me feel like part of the team," and all that blahblahblah which is actually what really happens.
Nrama: A team of villains fighting dark symbiotes seems like a brutal proposition. How do you go about channeling the horror of King in Black while also maintaining Marvel superhero sensibilities?
Ferreyra: That is easy, when I draw the symbiotes I draw them scary and horror like and when I draw the Thunderbolts I draw them like superheroes.
Next question please! Yeah you, from Newsarama! [laughs]
Nrama: What has been the biggest challenge in drawing King in Black: Thunderbolts? On the other hand, what's your favorite thing you've drawn so far?
Ferreyra: The dragons and the symbiotes are really fun to draw, the city with all that goo is great and since I color my own doodles using greys and red made the coloring part fun and easy.
Nrama: Bottom line, what do readers need to know going into this limited series?
Ferreyra: They don't need to know anything, as I did when I started drawing it.
I like to think that you can just read out story alone and you will have lot of fun, and that will spark your interest and you would want to see what happens on the main book, which will end in giving Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman 50% of the readership and that makes me furious.
Also, they should know that they should buy like three copies each to understand our deep and intricate story. It's hard to grasp the idea on the first read, so in order to get it you should read it at least three times, hence the three copies.
King in Black: Thunderbolts #1 goes on sale on January 13 in print and digitally. Check out Newsarama's list of the best digital comic readers for Android and iOS devices.