Marvel Comics on Monday announced the debut of Marvel's Stormbreakers, the comics publisher's latest preeminent talent distinction program. Marvel intends to use Stormbreakers to spotlight the next generation of elite artists in the comic book industry. The program launches today with the inaugural class selected for their groundbreaking portfolio of work and achievements including Josh Cassara (X-Force), Pat Gleason (Amazing Spider-Man), Peach Momoko (known for her best-selling variant covers), Natacha Bustos (Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur), Iban Coello (Venom), Carmen Carnero (X-Men Red, Hellions), Juann Cabal (All-New Wolverine, Guardians of the Galaxy), and R.B. Silva (Fantastic Four, Powers of X).
Marvel's Editor-in-Chief C.B. Cebulski and EVP, Creative Director Joe Quesada announced the 2020 Class of Marvel's Stormbreakers, which they feel represents talent from around the world that are pushing artistic limits in every story they tell. As a group, they are already responsible for leading some of Marvel's most popular titles, including Spider-Man, X-Men, Fantastic Four, Venom, and others, shaping Marvel's shared storytelling universe. Over the next two years, Marvel expects fans will see the prominence of these eight artists grow even higher in the world of Marvel Comics. They will continue to apply their talents to the pages of Marvel's most notable titles and storylines, along with new opportunities across Marvel's publishing line.
"There's a special skill set you need to have in order to draw comics at the highest level," said Quesada in a press release. "Like the finest illustrators, you must be able to draw anything and everything at any given moment, have the keen storytelling eye of a master film director, the ability to convey emotion in characters like the world's greatest performers, and the imagination of the greatest storytellers in history. But to be a Marvel comic artist, you need all of that as well as the ability to make your characters and stories jump off the page. They need to be larger than life, yet grounded enough that we all see ourselves within them. We're thrilled to bring together Marvel's Stormbreakers, a team of super up-and-coming talents who will continue that legacy."
The program takes its name from the mythical Stormbreaker, the hammer of Beta Ray Bill of the Marvel universe. The weapon debuted during one the Marvel Universe's most beloved artistic runs, Walter Simonson's character-defining tenure as the creative force behind Thor. According to the publisher, Marvel grew to embrace bold new initiatives during that era, as well as more in-depth, character-driven stories, and unique new art styles. Comics began to unlock the potential of artists in new ways through new prestige formats, new printing technology, and new methods for artists to tell their stories.
"This year's Stormbreakers embody pure talent and creativity that, time and time again, have shown us all there are no limits to what visual storytelling can do. We are continuously blown away by their innovative styles and by the power in how they capture the heart, humor, and humanity of our characters," said Cebulski. "These eight artists have proven their unrivaled talent and passion for storytelling, and much like Beta Ray Bill, they are truly worthy of taking up the mantle as one of Marvel's Stormbreakers, the next generation of elite artists. We can't wait to show you all what's next. And to all our Stormbreakers – take up your hammer!"
Marvel's Stormbreakers is an evolution of Marvel's Young Guns program. Over the past 15 years, Marvel selected and recognized 36 up-and-coming artists as Young Guns who went on to draw some of Marvel's most significant events and series. Those artists include Steve McNiven, Jim Cheung, Sara Pichelli, Ryan Stegman, and others. Marvel's Stormbreakers hopes to continue that tradition by recognizing its alumni today as honorary Stormbreakers in addition to their work as Young Guns.