There’s a new issue of Fearless Defenders out today, in which another character steps forwards into the spotlight. This time around it’s not Valkyrie, Misty Knight, or Dani Moonstar, but Hippolyta (now known as Warrior Woman). Now, this is an existing character who hasn’t been seen for a while, and so Marvel turned to Phil Jimenez to redesign the character and give her a new look – which, as you can see below, was a pretty good move.
But artist Will Sliney is the one who has to draw and define the character for readers, and provide a reason why people shouldn’t see her as a slight variation on Valkyrie – or, indeed, Marvel’s version of Wonder Woman. So what makes Warrior Woman stand out as her own character? How do you live up to the almighty figure of Phil Jimenez? I spoke to Will about the fourth member of the Fearless Defenders team to see how he views the character. He’s also been developing a group shot for us, introducing each character to the team to emphasise the differences in posture, attitude and expression each character has.
Steve: Warrior Woman is the first character we’ve profiled who has had a complete redesign for the book, courtesy of Phil Jimenez. How did you first approach the character?
Will: There are no two ways of putting it – Hippolyta, with her metal sculpted armour and her tattoos, is a tough character to draw! So I spent as much time as I could practicing her. Luckily I had great Jimenez reference to work from and despite the extra time it takes to draw her, I think her design is fantastic. Very unlike anything in our team line up. Her huge hair can portray tons of movement, and is my favorite part of the design.
I think a testament to her design is how I have already received emails from people who are in the process of making a cosplay outfit for her. Phil did a great job!
Steve: Perhaps the most notable change is that she now wears a mask, covering much of her face apart from the mouth. A bit like Judge Dredd! How does that change the way you draw the character?
Will: I don’t think it does too much. So much is told with the eyes and, unlike Dredd, they are in full view at all times. In fact, her costume shines so brightly, I have never drawn her eyes in shadow as the temptation might be with a mask like that.
Steve: Both Valkyrie and Hippolyta could seem very similar – they’re both very powerful blonde characters, with a similar classical mythology in their backgrounds. How do you view the two, and what differentiates them?
Will: To me, despite being from thousands of years ago, they are like chalk and cheese. Hippolyta is brashly arrogant, so confident of her power that she is almost showing off at times, acting like she’s playing to an audience. She is the kind of person who would welcome the end of the world if it meant a great battle for her to take part in.
Valkyrie, especially in her current situation is becoming quite serious. She needs to fix the problems she has created. So far I have only seen Annabelle raise a smile from her.
Steve: As an Amazonian, there’s obviously going to be comparisons between Hippolyta and Wonder Woman. Do you see any resemblance between the two characters, in image, body language, fighting style?
Will: I think there are certain preconceptions of historical characters, no matter who they are.
Steve: Warrior Woman is the least known character of the group. Readers know Misty, Dani and Valkyrie – but Hippolyta isn’t so well known. What do you like about the character? What do you think makes her stand out in Fearless Defenders?
Will: It’s that fun nature to her. She will go down smiling in a fight because she thirsts for a battle. Even now, as the numbers of our team are growing, she is again such a unique character to the group, unlike any other.
Steve: It should also be mentioned that Will ALSO has an original creator-owned graphic novel coming out very soon, which he both writes and draws – so while he’s still here–
Will Sliney! You’ve only gone and created an original graphic novel, writing and art! Can you tell us a little about Celtic Warrior: The Legend of Cú Chulainn?
Will: Yeah of course. I completed Celtic Warrior just before I started Fearless Defenders. It’s based on an age old Irish Myth which is easily one of the worlds first stories of a superhero.
I had put it behind me for a little while as I worked on Fearless Defenders, but it’s launched in Ireland to a huge acclaim. This book has kind of lit a fire under the whole Irish industry, and it’s selling so well here that it would easily break the top ten American graphic novel list. We have had full page articles in the top selling newspapers, national TV and Radio coverage and even WWE wrestler Sheamus trying to get a part in any upcoming movie – all of this before is has even officially launched here yet.
It’s a book that I am very proud of, as I did everything in it, and it’s based on a wonderful Irish story that needed to be told in this form.
Many thanks to Will for once more offering us a look at the character, and for his lovely artistic skills! You can find him on the twitters at @willsliney. Fearless Defenders #3 is out today, and Celtic Warrior is available in the UK and Ireland right now!