At C2E2 ’19, The Beat had a brief chat with artist Ryan Ottley of Invincible and the current Amazing Spider-Man run with Nick Spencer. Ottley talked about the start of his love affair with comics and how he transitioned from Image to Marvel.
Hussein Wasiti: What comic inspired you to make a living in comics?
Ryan Ottley: I’m from Utah, and my cousin was visiting me from California. He was a comic reader. I didn’t know anyone who had read comics and I didn’t know anything about them. I read Mad Magazine because it was in the 7-Elevens. I was always an artist and I knew I wanted to be an artist when I grew up, but I wasn’t sure what kind of artist. So my cousin brought some comics over from California and I thought they were pretty cool. We went to the comic shop and the first comic I bought was Todd MacFarlane’s Amazing Spider-Man, and it seriously blew my mind. The motion they he got into those pages was so frigging cool, and I immediately knew that’s what I wanted to be when I grew up. And it’s my dream job now.
Wasiti: How about your origins as an artist? Were you always practicing?
Ottley: I was always drawing. It’s one of those things where I just had this drive to get better and draw all the time and create. It was something that I did for fun, especially when I was bored in class, just doodling everywhere.
Wasiti: You were on Invincible for a long time…
Ottley: Fourteen years, yeah.
Wasiti: Fourteen years. What was it like transitioning to Spider-Man? Did it take much convincing, or were you looking for something else to do?
Ottley: Marvel’s been asking me for a few years to come over to them if I wanted to. Invincible was always just a fun gig and Robert [Kirkman] is a really good friend. He’s definitely one of my favourite writers. When Invincible ended I wasn’t sure what I was going to do. I thought, maybe I’ll work with a different writer, or something else Robert had. So Marvel finally emailed me and asked if I wanted to come do Spider-Man and I thought that was be a good fit and a lot of fun. It was a pretty easy transition, superheroes to superheroes. I do miss the fights we did in Invincible, with Conquest coming in and destroying everything. It’s still fun. Spidey’s got some awesome villains.
Wasiti: When moving to Marvel, did your storytelling or process change in any way or did you try and retain your style as much as possible?
Ottley: That’s part of the easy transition. It felt pretty similar; I was drawing the same way I always drew. I kept it Ottley. Same storytelling and same compositions. Mark and Eve [from Invincible] look like Peter and Mary Jane. It’s not an accident! I think it’s kind of cool that they look similar.
Wasiti: Are you sticking with Spidey for the foreseeable future or are you looking to move onto other projects?
Ottley: I’ve been re-signing [my contract] every year because I’m not sure how long I want to stay on the book. I re-signed last year, re-signed for this year, and by the end of this year I might re-sign [again]. I’m just playing it by year for now. If people are digging it and I’m digging it, then I’ll stay on for a little longer.
Wasiti: I’m digging it, personally.
Ottley: Then I’ll stay on, Hussein. For you!