Dustin Weaver here, and I'm trying something new. I'm going to try to do a weekly S.H.I.E.L.D. update, where I tell you exactly where we are on finishing issues 5 and 6 of SHIELD volume 2 and also give you a behind-the-scenes look at how I make comics, which will be totally boring, but I'll act like it's really exciting. Okay? So let's not waste too much time. You ready?
First off, I feel I should explain what's been going on with S.H.I.E.L.D, where is it, and what's taking it so long.
Well, when I finished issue #4 there was no script for #5. Jonathan just hadn't had a chance to get it done. Marvel has been keeping him real busy, and some of the comics he's been writing are tied in with big Marvel events and need to be on time. S.H.I.E.L.D. is kind of its own thing. It's not a big Marvel title and it's not connected with any major Marvel Universe events. Getting the next issue of S.H.I.E.L.D. done just wasn't as big a priority. It's understandable. So the good editor folk at Marvel gave me some other work to do while Jonathan was able to catch up. They gave me a great Kieron Gillen Uncanny X-Men issue and the gig doing the covers for Astonishing X-Men. Not bad work. I couldn't complain.
So then, Jonathan and I were off doing seporate things. S.H.I.E.L.D. was officially on a hiatus. Then I had to have my gallbladder removed, which killed my productivity for about a month. Meanwhile Jonathan was keeping super busy. So busy that when I did finally wrap up my Uncanny X-Men issue there was still not a full script for S.H.I.E.L.D. #5. Jonathan had only found the time to write the outline for the issue, so we decided to do it in the "Marvel Method ."
If you're not familiar with what the "Marvel Method" is, I got this from Wikipedia: "The Marvel Method is a form of comic book writer-artist collaboration in which the artist works from a story synopsis, rather than a full script, creating page-by-page plot details on his or her own. The technique takes its name from its widespread use at Marvel Comics beginning in the 1960s, primarily under writer-editor Stan Lee and artists Jack Kirby, and Steve Ditko." This method doesn't seem to be used much anymore, but I gotta say that I'm loving it. I do try to inject as much of myself into the storytelling of EVERY comic that I do, but actually getting to create the pacing and find the beats is so much more rewarding. I'm not sure how many comics I'll be doing this way in the future but I'm having a lot a fun on this one.
So where am I on this issue as of right now? Well, I've got 2 pages (18 and 19) left to layout, and I'm 11 pages into the finishing stage. Typically in comics you have the pencilling stage then the inking stage, but since I'm inking myself, I don't really do tight finished pencils. So the two stages are layout then finishes.
This is, without a doubt, the most dense-with-story comic I've ever drawn. So it's a lot of hard work. I'm also juggling this issue with working on another Marvel project. (I'll just say it. I'm working on The AVENGERS) So, yeah, these last two S.H.I.E.L.D. issues are not going to happen fast. But they ARE happening and instead of keeping you in the dark about that process, I thought I'd pull back the curtain and let you in on the whole journey.