An Interview with artist Andrew Wildman


How did you first become involved with 2099?

Andrew: My memories of SM2099 are strangely vague. At that time I had worked on a 4 issue Black Cat mini series and a 6 issue Spider-Man mini series. Joey Cavalieri was one of the writers on the Black Cat series and when, in his role as a Marvel editor, he needed someone to pencil Spider-Man 2099 he must have felt that I was the one to do it.

Did you draw anything for 2099 that was not published (stories, alternate covers for Spider-Man 2099)?

Andrew: Not that I recall. Time was of such a premium back then that we had to make sure that everything drawn was used. But as I said, my memory is a little vague around that time so it is entirely possible. I know there was an unused cover for the Spider-Man Arachnis Project so strange things do happen.

When taking over art chores on a book which had already been running for a certain length of time (in this case about 2 years) how do you prepare for it? Do you look at back issues or were you provided with style guides for the characters?

Andrew: I had most of the back issues of the book. As an artist for Marvel they tend to send you bundles of comics through the post. SM2099 was one of the books that I liked so I kept them. I am sure they would have sent me any copies that I was missing. From there it is a question of reading back issues, familiarizing yourself with the characters and then trying to get a handle on that bizarre costume.

Do any of your issues or covers stand out in your memory? Favorite / Least Favorite?

Andrew: The covers to issue 38 stand out as it was a double image split over two separate runs. One had Spider-Man on and the other, Venom. Issues 41 and 42 are also favorites. 42 because it resonates with an old Spiderman cover from when I was a kid reading the book and and 41 because I like that extreme angle and the distance of the characters from the camera. Playing with that kind of framing is always fun and is the thing that gives the atmosphere and mood regardless of the content.



What recollections do you have about working with Peter David?

Andrew: I don't think I can say that I worked closely with Peter. The way the industry works is that sometimes you know your fellow comic creators and sometimes not. Some writers I have worked with are people that I have met and got to know well and some are people who I have never met. Peter was one of the ones I never met (as far as I recall). That said his scripts were great. Very clear and with an incredible mood that had them feel like a piece for the screen rather than the page. That suited me fine and it was a pleasure to have worked with his material.

What recollections do you have about working with editor Joey Cavelieri?

Andrew: Although Joey had been the writer on Black Cat I had not met him. I think I had already done a few issues of SM2099 by the time I went to the Marvel offices and met Joey. I found him interesting in that he was very hospitable - took me out for a meal, talked about the book and many other things - but he was also very straight about what he wanted and needed for the book. No messing about. If he didn't like it, he would say so. That can sometimes be confronting but his judgment was always good, clear and worked best for the project. That is what makes an effective editor.

Did you work closely with your inker, Stephen Baskerville? How about Bill Sienkiewicz who did 2 issues?

Andrew: Stephen and I have been long time collaborators and know each other well. He has inked more of my comics output than any other inker. Joey was happy to have Stephen on the book as it was Stephen that had inked Black Cat and Arachnis. That said, his style was very different to the previous inker, Al Williamson. I always liked Stephen's inks and he has saved by bacon many times. I think Joey was less keen. I can't remember why Bill inked two issues. Maybe he just became available and thought it would be fun; but there is no doubt that it was a very different result to what Stephen had been doing and it was amazing for me to have been inked by such an industry legend. But again, he is one of those people that I think I have only briefly met once.

Your issues introduced two new villains, Venom 2099 and Goblin 2099, what do you recall about the creation of the characters? Did you have any input into their design/look?

Andrew: I loved the 2099 take on those characters, especially Venom. I think they were designed by Rick Leonardi (the original artist on the book). I can only presume that they had already been designed or that Joey got in touch with Rick and asked him to design them. I would have liked to have had some input but it wasn't to be.

Given that all the characters are spun off from pre-existing characters (Spider-Man, Green Goblin, Venom), what is your opinion on their designs? Do they succeed in capturing the spirit of the originals and at the same time be unique?

Andrew: I think they do capture the essence of the originals, especially Venom. There are differences but the overall feel of the character is the same. The Goblin is more different. In many ways less 'Gobliny' and probably more like the vulture but still works well as a villain.

Why did you leave the book?

Andrew: That's the big one eh? There were many reasons why I left. More accurately I was asked to stand down. This was one of those times where my memory is very clear but also why some of my memories are very vague. All was going well for me and my career with Marvel at that point but for myself and many other creators it all took a bad turn. Marvel got itself into difficulty and many books were being cancelled. Scripts were coming in a bit late from Peter and sometimes in bits. I always like to have the complete script to work with so that I know whats coming up in later pages. At that time I would maybe get the first 6 pages and the rest would follow. This was back in the day of faxes (pre email) so it was all a bit hokey anyway. Getting scripts in parts isn't wrong as such and sometimes deadlines mean that writers have to work that way. I vividly remember getting a phone call from Joey. He said "There's good news and bad news. The good news is that the next script is on its way. The bad news is it's your last" I was shocked. Another example of Joey's straight talking but at least the situation was clear. As soon as I could I got on a plane to New York to try and solve the situation and also to see what other work might be available. those times were hard. My take on what happened was that the SM2099, regardless of its consistently good sales, was becoming a casualty of the Marvel cuts. Joey, as the 2099 editor, had the awkward task of letting artists go or maybe reassigning them to other books. SM2099 was due to be cancelled and he had decided that he wanted Ron Lim to see the book out. In fact Joey himself was being let go by Marvel so everything was up in the air. In the end I think there were only about three issues more before it was cancelled altogether. They were very difficult times for people working in comics and has become a period of my life that I have blanks about. I did very little more work for Marvel until I moved on to other things but one shining light at that time was FORCE WORKS. The editor, Nel Yomtov, was an old collaborator from the Transformers days and was and is a really lovely guy. FORCE WORKS was being cancelled and he asked me if I would do the final issue. One of the regrets of my time while at Marvel was that I never got to do an Avengers book. The first Marvel comic I ever bought as a child was an Avengers book and this was a small opportunity to have a go with some of those characters. I still feel that to date that that issue of FORCE WORKS was possibly the best work I ever did for Marvel and, in amongst those difficult times for all concerned, I have Nel to thank for that.





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