Even before the announcement of the Fresh Start initiative from Marvel Comics, the question on every superhero comics fans mind has been: Who is taking over Amazing Spider-Man? Dan Slott's presence on the title has been as much a constant as anything can be in the ever-changing world of caped crusaders. His departure left a major gap in Marvel's consistently best-selling title and a difficult one to fill. Slott has regularly delivered new characters, big events, and great stories, leaving a giant legacy behind. That made it all the more surprising when an artist led the buzz behind the Amazing Spider-Man shakeup in July.
After more than a decade of work on the Image Comics series Invincible, Ryan Ottley is joining Marvel Comics to draw the adventures of Spider-Man with scribe Nick Spencer. While Ottley has only done a handful of work outside of his collaborations with Robert Kirkman recently, the skill of his work on Invincible has garnered him a big reputation. Going to work on Marvel's most popular superhero ensures that his reputation will only grow bigger and more fans will see what made so many of us fall in love with Invincible.
If you're not already familiar with Ottley as an artist, then here are seven big reasons why we are psyched to see him work on Amazing Spider-Man and why you should be too.
A Change From 'Invincible'
As much as we've loved Ottley's work on Invincible, he has been the series regular artist for more than a decade. That's a lot of time to remain focused on one story and it's very exciting to see what Ottley will do when removed from this familiar world. His first issue of The Amazing Spider-Man presents a fresh slate for new ideas and takes on comics storytelling. It will also mean a dramatic change in tone, if not style. In Invincible, it was a common occurrence to see characters ripped in half and pummeled until their eyes popped out. Spider-Man stories contain some gore, but nothing approaching the levels found in Invincible. He will also be working with new editors and writers on the series, providing opportunities for new ideas and forms of collaboration to occur. We don't know exactly what his work on Amazing Spider-Man will be like, but it will certainly be unlike anything that has come before it.prevnext
Ottley Can Carry a Series
For as much as we enjoyed Invincible, every 144-issue run is bound to have some weak issues, even the Kirby and Lee Fantastic Four did. What longtime readers of both series know is that even the weakest issues were worth showing up for due to how they were presented on the page. When Invincible went down a less than satisfactory rabbit hole, Ottley's art still delivered thrills, laughs, and plenty of excitement. If there are any concerns over the new Amazing Spider-Man team, it's hard to doubt that Ottley will single-handedly make the series worth checking out. His delivery of action and spot on character reactions are simply too good to miss.prevnext
New Villain Designs
Perhaps the single most underrated element of Ottley's work on Invincible is that he created almost all of it from scratch. While many of the villains, like Angstrom Levy or Dinosaurus, would reappear over years, Ottley also created batches of c-list bad guys who only appeared in a handful of panels. The real shocker is that almost all of these barely existing foes were fully conceived and could easily join a more consistent rogues gallery. That reveals a level of dedication and craftsmanship almost unheard of in superhero comics today. There is no better artist to tackle Spider-Man's incredible set of villains and add new ones worth repeating in the many decades of Spidey stories to come.prevnext
Ottley Has the Energy for Spider-Man
Spider-Man is a study in contradictions. When swinging between New York City skyscrapers he has to be lithe and graceful. When pummelling The Rhino or lifting steel girders he has to be consumed with muscles. He is a multipurpose tool of a superhero and that can be difficult to capture within the skill set of one artist. Ottley has those skills with some to spare. His early drafts of Spider-Man reveal the necessary grace with muscles sleekly outlined beneath the spandex. The figure captures everything that Spider-Man can be as well as any artist's rendition since Todd McFarlane. It's clear Ottley isn't just a great superhero artist, but a great Spider-Man artist.prevnext
Allowing Space for Character Beats
Spider-Man isn't all about webslinging and punching bad guys though. His title contains one of the best supporting casts in superhero comics history. If you can't make conversations at the Daily Bugle or a visit to Aunt May in the hospital click, then you're not a good fit for The Amazing Spider-Man. That's not a worry with Ottley though. Over the years Invincible has balanced its ultraviolence with lots of chats and household predicaments. Ottley delivers these just as well as a punch. His characters are expressive making the drama and comedy of everyday life work as well as supervillain beatdowns. It's a necessary skill for tackling Spidey's world.prevnext
Cliff Rathburn on Inks
Cliff Rathburn has become the premiere inker of Skybound Entertainment, working on Invincible, The Walking Dead, and Green Valley. He is now joining Ottley on their expedition to Marvel Comics. Rathburn is one of the most underrated inkers in the business today and he has brought depth and polish to Ottley's work for years. Rathburn is also an accomplished penciler and artist in his own right, a necessary element in any great inker. Their continued partnership is a guarantee that Ottley's work will remain every bit as good, if not better, than it was on Invincible.prevnext
One of the Best in the Business
The bottom line of this announcement is that Ryan Ottley is the biggest talent obtained by Marvel Comics in the past year. No matter what series he was joining to work on would be cause for excitement. However, his placement on The Amazing Spider-Man could not be more perfect. He's perfect for the small things (e.g. everyday conversations) and big things (e.g. big supervillain battles). He can blend the grace and strength of Spider-Man's form just as well as the comedy and tragedy of his best stories. Ryan Ottley is a dream come true for Spider-Man fans nervous about the change on the title. We can't wait to see what he does with it.prev