Home Cartoon characters How successful has the nice boy Will Sliney been in the comic book world

How successful has the nice boy Will Sliney been in the comic book world



The first thing my editor told me, when she gave me the assignment to interview Will Sliney, was that he is a very nice man, and that in interviews he is never less than kind and generous. I had never met him, and even after this interview I still haven’t met him, but now I have made up my own mind about his reputation for kindness.

The 38-year-old Ballycotton native and Marvel Comics artist is sympathetic and enthusiastic during our phone conversation – not always the most satisfying way to conduct an interview – and he apologizes for not being able to meet us in person. because he’s busy putting the finishing touches on his new RTÉ2 series, Will Sliney’s Storytellers.

“It’s basically a new kind of drawing show where we teach kids how to draw and also how to tell stories, and the characters we create will come to life throughout the episodes, and they all come together to tell a story. big and long story as we go through the whole series, ”he says.

“We have a pretty starred cast. We have Aisling Bea playing a character called Ogham. We have WWE Superstar Stephen Farley playing Erik the Brave. We have Laura Whitmore playing Freya. We have Dawn O’Porter playing Lilly. We have Dermot Whelan playing the Chronicle. And a few other little surprises will also be waiting for you.

Aisling Bea in Storytellers

“And we have Demi Isaac Oviawe from The Young Offenders as Shay.” The series, which consists of twenty ten-minute episodes, will launch on RTÉ2 next Monday and features Sliney giving an artist masterclass as her characters interact with him.

“Every character that we create comes to life and begins to join the story and move forward in the story. We start with Freya, and Aisling’s character, Ogham, will be in the story throughout, and she’s got me. help with the drawings. ”He gives a delighted laugh at the thought.

“It’s a mystical, living stone that comes in and starts playing with me, and changes my designs and ends up teaming up with me and finishing a lot of designs and also delving into the story.

“So the story itself is basically a team of time traveling artists who travel the world through all periods of art, to sort of recruit different artists to stop the Evil Chronicle.”

He says the show’s target audience is eight to twelve years old, but he believes older kids will get a lot out of it too, and he thinks that regardless of their age, it could help spur creativity.

“I hope the most important thing is that if the kids see this, not only will they try to draw our characters, but it will inspire them to go on and create their own characters.”

I ask him if he always drew when he was a child, and if so, if he created his own characters or drew established ones? He replied that he was always drawing, and for him it was always a combination of the two.

“If I was playing a game or watching a cartoon, I would draw their characters, but I would create my own to play in these worlds where they would become their own heroes.”

American comics have been an obvious influence, but he says there wasn’t a steady supply of them when he was young, and most of the time he got his superheroes through British reprints. He fondly remembers the opening of the Other Realms comic book store in Cork when he was in college, and he always visits it in the Paul Street shopping center.

“Spider-Man has always been my favorite character, but I guess everything about superheroes, like Star Wars, stuff, I loved it all, and it’s not like I knew you could do it as a job.

“It’s amazing to me now that they’re so common and everyone knows all the characters in the movies, you know. It sure wasn’t like that when I was younger. But yeah, it is. great to see. ”

I remind him that he previously commented that everyone’s grandmother now knows Tony Stark is Iron Man. It wasn’t even 15 years ago that this was really secret and obscure knowledge, but now the geeks have inherited the Earth. This Iron Man debut film debuted in 2008, the same year Sliney, then 25, did his first job as a professional comic artist.

“Ah listen, when I started my job,” he says, “no one knew what it was, and they sure wouldn’t have known what Marvel was. It’s amazing now.

He says he’s mostly working on Star Wars comics these days, and he mentions that he has a big new Marvel project coming out soon, but when I ask about it he suddenly becomes suspicious and gives a slightly nervous laugh.

“I can’t say,” he said apologetically. “It’s top secret.” (A week later, Marvel’s infamous rigid security will have relaxed. More on that in a moment.) I ask him if he’s working on a literal drawing board, and he says he’s using a digital tool called Cintiq, which is basically the digital equivalent of using a pencil to draw on a sheet of paper.

“I work digital, and it’s really important to me that the kids know that it’s not like a tool that helps you, I just use it because it’s easier to save the pages and send, but it has nothing to do with your drawing.

“One thing I always try to convey is that drawing is a skill and not a talent, and what that means, I think, is that anyone can do it, and the people who most successful are the people who practice the most. ”

He says what he loves most about his job is that the harder he finds something, the more he knows he can overcome that difficulty through hard work. “Drawing is the best example of something about the practice and the skills you learn.

“Everyone has the capacity to be a really great artist,” he argues, “they just need to practice. For Marvel Comics star Will Sliney, he says he has to pinch himself for his chance to be a professional comic book artist, and now to have his own TV show that teaches kids how to tell stories and how to draw.

Demi Isaac Oviawe in Storytellers
Demi Isaac Oviawe in Storytellers

“There had been nothing like it on television before, like the way the story connects with the drawing. Storytellers is probably the most difficult project I have ever had to work on in my career, but it’s nice to see it all fall into place in its final state.

He says everything has changed in his life over the past year and a half, and although Spider-Man and Star Wars would always have been the most important things to him, now that he’s starting to create his own characters for the RTÉ show, he has the impression of seeing the world again.

“The dream now is to hopefully tell stories that inspire children to create their own characters,” he says. “That’s all this show is about. It’s to help inspire kids to draw and create stories, and create their own characters, and give them all the skills and techniques to be able to do it, not only in terms of drawing but also in terms of storytelling.

Warming up to his theme, he talks about the creative impulse to create new characters, and how one would go about telling the stories of those characters. “It’s about how you can use your imagination to go where you want the story to go, to draw the things you love to draw and really jump around.” […] in terms of the places we draw and the types of characters we create.

“So, you know, the dream now is to help more kids keep drawing and be able to tell their own stories.

I tell him that he looks like someone who has discovered a passion for teaching.

“Yes,” he nods, “that’s it. I remember hearing years and years ago that this is what artists tend to do. You draw the things that you want to draw, and that’s your life and your job, and then all of a sudden you kind of want to impart that knowledge.

As we wrap up our phone conversation, I can’t resist the urge to ask a nerdy Marvel question, so I ask if the movies influenced the Marvel Comics universe that inspired them. He ponders the question and says it’s obviously more often the other way around.

“Marvel movies are so good because they have so many comic book stories that you can find the characters and stories they love and turn them into movies.

Will Sliney's storytellers
Will Sliney’s storytellers

“It doesn’t mean that if the movies do something that looks good or feels good it doesn’t influence us, the writers and the artists, but it’s definitely more the other way around.” I ask if Tony Stark in the comics has started to look like Robert Downey Jr, and he replies that artists “aren’t allowed to do that”. I mention the case of Nick Fury, originally a grizzled white veteran of World War II, who was “revamped” as Samuel L Jackson in the Marvel’s Ultimates comic, years before the actor was released. in real life in this role.

“Yeah, it was a little weird, and it probably shouldn’t have happened, I think, but that’s why Sam got the job, so it went well, but we didn’t. not really been allowed to do anything like this since.

On the subject of comic book-inspired films, he adds with some pride that just last week a character he created appeared on a new Star Wars show. “Ren is his name, and he’s the original leader of the Knights of Ren, and he’s in the all-new Star Wars animated film Terrifying Tales, voiced by Christian Slater, which is so cool to watch.”

A week after our interview, when I post a few follow-up questions, Sliney reveals that the top-secret Marvel Project he mentioned has just been unveiled as a new five-issue comic book series, Star Wars: Halcyon Legacy. As a longtime fan, he expresses his joy at being back in a galaxy far, far away.

He says if he has a to-do list, he’d love to run to Superman, and the Masters of the Universe would be at the top of that list as well. He says he’s written more books in the style of his superb graphic novel Cú Chulainn, although he thinks he might now have the chance to do them on TV rather than in comics.

While we chat, I mention that I need to speak with six-year-old Eoghan Freeman from Kiltimagh, Co.Mayo. Eoghan is profoundly deaf and his parents are campaigning for the government to provide in-class Irish Sign Language interpreters and teachers for Irish children as deaf as Eoghan. Eoghan is a huge Spider-Man fan and he loves to draw Spidey with his brother, Darragh, so I ask if it’s okay to tell Eoghan that the man who draws the adventures of Peter Parker in the comics is saying hello to him. .

Sliney immediately replies that it is of course, and, without a prompt, he promises to draw a sketch of Spidey for Eoghan.

Not that I ever doubted her, but my editor was clearly right. Will Sliney is a really nice man.

  • Will Sliney’s Storytellers arrives at RTÉ2 and RTÉ Player at 12:05 p.m. on Monday, October 25. Star Wars: Halcyon Legacy will be released by Marvel Comics in 2022.



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