Sep 26, 2018

declan shalvey venom newsletter

Declan Shalvey: VENOM

In his latest newsletter to his fans, former VENOM artist Declan Shalvey gave us a look into his cover creation process:
Since all that work is being republished (and there's this big motion picture out next week) I thought I'd raid my files and see if there was any unseen prep work available. VENOM was the first series I worked on where I got to do the covers to my own series. I had 'broken in' as a cover artist on a Winter Soldier miniseries. That job seemed to go well so I was able to push to do the covers on my own book. I met Steve Wacker (at Thought Bubble actually) where I made my case and he was open to it, and that was that! It took me a while to get on the book for covers, funnily enough I only ended up doing the covers for three issues that I drew. The first piece I did was this: a cover that never actually saw the light of day. For the life of me, I can't quite recall why.

By the time I had some covers under my belt, I ended up being moved over to Deadpool. I started out being the guy who couldn't do the covers to his own books, then ended up being the guy doing covers for books I didn't draw. Heh, I became what I hated! Anyway, for you process junkies, here's a random collection of cover sketches that would end up as the above final pieces.

I don't think I've shown this before, but the final VENOM cover was significantly changed. Originally, it was supposed to have the Monster Of Evil and more, who I did actually draw in (see below). It was Jordie Belliare who suggested taking them back out, as the cover looked cleaner/better without the background element. She was right, I just wish I hasn't spent to much time drawing them all.

As part of my time on the book Cullen and I co-created Mania, a sidekick for Flash, which to this day is the only character I've co-created at Marvel. Everything else design-wise has been a revamp of some kind. Mania was if I recall, in her early/mid-teens, so I wanted to make sure her body-type was more slim. It also worked with the punkier vibe I was going for, I thought the spikes from Flash/Agent Venom's suit carried over nicely to that adolescent/overly cumbersome punk look.

I have to say I really enjoyed working on Venom. So much so I originally turned down the opportunity to work on Deadpool. Venom was the first Marvel book that felt more 'mine' as I had graduated from being a 'back up' artist to Kev Walker on Thunderbolts to pretty much being the co-artist. While I was also sharing duties on Venom (it was a double-shipping book), I had a longer arc to make the book more mine. While on the title, I got to work on a crossover (Minimum Carnage) and start to develop my cover work more. I know the current Venom is all the rage now, but I'll always have a soft spot for good auld Flash Thompson.

Do you miss the Agent Venom days?