When writer Dan Slott had Doctor Octopus hijack Peter Parker’s brain, mixed opinions from the comic book fan community were inevitable. While some readers were losing their minds over the new status quo in The Superior Spider-Man, others were losing their minds over artist Ryan Stegman’s dynamic pencils – because they were amazing!
After launching Doc Ock-Spidey on a strong note, Stegman went on to pencil some of Wolverine’s final adventures, help establish the Inhumans’ expanding universe and currently pencils the retro series Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows, which follows the superhero adventures of Peter, his wife Mary Jane and their daughter Annie. Also, as of July’s Renew Your Vows #9, Stegman is now co-writing the series with classic Spider-Man writer Gerry Conway.
With so much going on with Stegman’s career, I just had to talk to this rising comics star. Fortunately, he had a table at Boston Comic Con!
AiPT!: So, what’s more fun – drawing Doc Ock-Spider-Man or family man Spidey?
Ryan Stegman: They’re both fun in their own way. Doc Ock-Spider-Man was so much fun because he was so fun to draw with his outrageous poses and all that stuff. But regular Spider-Man, thats my Spider-Man. I actually had more fun than I thought I would doing Doc Ock-Spider-Man. When I started that job I was a little concerned, but I love that version too.AiPT!: Were you reading comics in the era Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows is supposed to take place in?
Stegman: I started reading comics a lot when I was about 14 or 15, so that would have been 1996 or 1995.
AiPT!: So is it a treat to draw these characters in their ’90s looks?
Stegman: Oh yeah! I feel like that’s what I was made to do. I just feel like when you give me something like that, I just know what to do. A lot of stuff – it takes you a minute to get acquainted with the characters – but anything from that era… I just absorbed so much of it at the time, I just know what to do with it.AiPT!: You’re very active on social media, and I noticed you recently asked your Twitter followers for feedback on Renew Your Vows #9, which you co-wrote with Gerry Conway. I know some creators try to avoid reviews. Do you embrace them and interaction with readers online?
Stegman: I generally think that even if somebody’s wrong – like, if they have some sort of critique you don’t agree with, theres still a nugget of truth to be found in there. Usually, for a minute, I get concerned and I’m angry… and then the next day I go, “OK, this is good.” So I like to read that stuff, especially because I’m writing now. Writing feels a lot more subjective than art does – to me. So when I asked that, I just wanted to see if people liked it, because I don’t know if I’m doing a good job. It’s a lot harder to know. I know when I do a good drawing, I know when I do a bad drawing. With writing, it’s like, “I think this is good, do you guys agree or disagree”?
AiPT!: Who’s your favorite character to draw right now?
Stegman: Spider-Man, come on!AiPT!: You’ve had a chance to draw Spider-Man, Wolverine, Avengers – are there any characters or series you want to draw you haven’t yet?
Stegman: Yeah, I’d like to take another crack at Wolverine. I’d like to do some Thor stuff. Walt Simonson’s run on Thor is one of my favorite things ever – that would be really great. The X-Men are cool. But to be perfectly honest, Spider-Man is my favorite. That’s what I like to do. So those are things that I’d like to do, but at the same time, I’d be happy to do Spider-Man forever.
AiPT!: Finally, what do you love about coming to conventions like Boston Comic Con?
Stegman: I like to interact with the fans and I like to see my friends that work in the business. Essentially, you end up with this network of friends that I see more than some people who live close to me because I see them at different conventions throughout the year. I like to go to new cities. So, it’s kind of fun to go out… and get out of my house.