Daken Comes Knockin’: An Iceman Sketchbook

Daken’s coming to town and that might not be such a good thing for Bobby Drake. Wolverine’s psycho son will pay a visit to his fellow mutant starting with ICEMAN #9 by writer Sina Grace and artist Robert Gill on January 3.

Gill joined the book with issue #6 and has been going strong since. In that time he’s developed his take on the frosty hero, but now he gets to give Daken a whole new look thanks to the presence of an Apocalypse Death Seed! We talked with the artist about transitioning to the title, figuring out Bobby’s looks, and powering Daken up!

Marvel.com: How has it been hopping on ICEMAN and working with Sina so far?

Robert Gill: It’s been great, and working with Sina has been a blast. It felt like a very smooth transition for me coming off TOTALLY AWESOME HULK and into ICEMAN, and I think issue #6 was a great starting point since it basically kicked off a new arc. Sina’s been super supportive of my work and he’s always available to go back and forth over any aspect of the book, which I feel has helped shape it into something even better than we hoped.

Marvel.com: What are the main elements to Bobby’s visuals both when he’s iced-up and defrosted?

Robert Gill: As Iceman, I try to capture the varied look and feel that ice can have, from a smooth reflective quality to the jagged, tough edges. The sled and how it’s created and moves is very iconic and I’ve tried to treat it as a character all its own.

As for Bobby Drake, I like to think of him as a very approachable, nice, every day kind of guy. He’s not a massive dude, nor does he have any real distinctive physical traits like a scar or missing body part or something wacky, so he’s actually been a little more challenging to nail aesthetically than pretty much any other character in the book! Sina gets pretty specific with the fashion elements of Bobby and the supporting characters, and that helps a lot in defining them visually.

Marvel.com: You alluded to this a bit in mentioning the sled, but Iceman’s powers offer a lot of potential. Do you enjoy figuring out how all that plays out on the page?

Robert Gill: I think that might be my favorite aspect of the book. At times it can be tough to come up with cool-looking manifestations of his powers that maybe haven’t been seen before due to deadlines and things, since I’d love to spend way more time designing the specific visuals. But it’s very fun to have basically no limits to the imagination here and I very much enjoy incorporating any of these visuals into the design and layout of a page.

Marvel.com: How would you describe Bobby and Daken’s relationship going into this story and how it changes as the tale progresses?

Robert Gill: My impression was that they seemed to have a sort of standoffish relationship coming into this. They weren’t bloodthirsty enemies that brawled the second they saw one another, and I don’t think Iceman/Bobby saw Daken as too big of a threat overall. But, before this series is through, all that will change!

Marvel.com: In this book you’ve got Daken powering up with the Apocalypse Death Seed. What was the process like for figuring out how that would look?

Robert Gill: Sina was fairly specific on how Daken should look and he’s always great with painting a pretty clear picture of things in his scripts. I love to play off that and run with things, to try and evolve and beef things up even more than perhaps he intended.

I’d love to spend a whole week working on a design for any character, even two weeks, but that’s just not possible with a monthly book. So, I try to get a clear idea in my head from the descriptions in the script and any outside inspirations I can think of, and just build a look as I go, through the layout process and while working on the final page.

ICEMAN #9, by Sina Grace and Robert Gill, slides your way on January 3!