Realizing a Vision with Gabriel Hernandez Walta

Nearly two years ago, writer Tom King and artist Gabriel Hernandez Walta blew readers away with a series called VISION. Lead by the synthezoid Avenger, the book introduced his wife, Virgina, and two children, Viv and Vin. Over the next 12 issues, they created a heart wrenching story about family, secrets, loyalty, and how all of that plays against the mixed backdrop of suburbia and super heroics.

To celebrate the book, Marvel will publish VISION: DIRECTOR’S CUT #1 on June 14. The six-issue limited series will not only reproduce the original installments in pairs, but also offer all kinds of amazing behind-the-scenes material from the creative process.

We talked with Walta about working with King, building the Vision family, and appealing to such a devoted fan following.

Marvel.com: When you and Tom first started talking about this book, what were some of the key visual elements you wanted to work with?

Gabriel Hernandez Walta: The truth is that it all was in Tom’s first pitch! He wrote: “Imagine the first cover. Imagine a family at dinner. Talking, laughing. A Norman Rockwell painting. The American Dream. But instead of the bland, white people of the 40s and 50s, we have green, red, and yellow robots each smiling happily, their powers almost jumping out of them. And under the table, the body lies still.” From there it was really easy to imagine the feeling for the book, with typical [suburban] houses and a “perfect” family with many hidden secrets.

Marvel.com: Were there specific ways in which you felt you played with your style on the series?

Gabriel Hernandez Walta: From the start I knew that I wanted to develop the kind of “invisible style” that film directors like Billy Wilder or comic book artists like Dave Gibbons used in their works. Rather than using flashy visuals I felt that it was better to let the characters act before the reader and use all the storytelling devices I could to capture all the subtlety and poetry of Tom’s writing.

Marvel.com: What was the process like for developing the actual looks of the Vision family members?

Gabriel Hernandez Walta: When Tom and our editor Wil Moss told me that they all should have “red skin and the diamond in the forehead,” I imagined them like three variations of Vision, so I used the hair to make real differences between them. Also, I gave the kids those big eyes so they looked surprised and even confused when trying to adapt to the “human” life.

I guess that the most difficult part of designing the family was to use the limited body language and facial expression that they all had to let the readers know that they did have feelings.

Marvel.com: You did such a great job in this series of keeping the Vision family humanoid, but still somewhat synthetic. Was that a difficult balance to keep?

Gabriel Hernandez Walta: It was difficult to keep that balance but it was also challenging. In a way, I think that the contrast between the terrible things that happen to the family and their “cold” reactions is one of the strong points of the book.

Marvel.com: Do you have a favorite moment from the series?

Gabriel Hernandez Walta: All [of] issue #10 is my favorite “moment” of the series because all the scenes are, at the same time, powerful and quiet. Above all, the part with Vision and Viv praying and the one with Vin’s hologram are, I think, the most beautiful moments of the book.

Marvel.com: What do you think it was about this book that resonated so much with so many people?

Gabriel Hernandez Walta: I can only guess but I think that the fact that, despite being synthezoids, the Vision family deals with everyday problems, like being different and [trying] to be accepted or to make sacrifices for your children, is the main reason why so many readers got engaged with the story.

VISION: DIRECTOR’S CUT #1 from the minds of writer Tom King and artist Gabriel Hernandez Walta debuts on June 14!