Legendary Thor Artist Reveals The Character Most Artists Draw Wrong
In a tell-all interview with a legendary Marvel Comics artist and creator, the character that he created is revealed to be one most artists draw wrong
Legendary artist, Walter Simonson, just revealed the number one character most current artists draw incorrectly. Simonson, best known for the incredible work he did for Marvel Comics in the 1970s and ‘80s, recently stated that Beta Ray Bill, who he created in his The Mighty Thor arc, has been drawn in a different way than he intended by some artists since he debuted.
In Beta Ray Bill #1 written and drawn by Daniel Warren Johnson, fans are first given a glimpse of Beta Ray’s tragic life before he became the cosmic hero he is today. The issue then skips ahead to the present day where Beta Ray Bill is fighting a Knullified Fin Fang Foom, feeling the extent of the King in Black’s reign of terror on Earth all the way to Asgard. In the middle of the fight, Thor swoops in to save the day, leaving Beta Ray sour and disgruntled. Bill leaves Asgard at the end of the issue, saying he needed to find his own way and get out of Thor’s shadow. Once the final panel was through and the “To Be Continued” sign flashed, fans were given an exclusive inside look into the mind of the man who created this new comic’s titular character.
During the print interview conducted by Johnson, Simonson speaks on his experiences in the comics industry before discussing the issue with Beta Ray Bill artwork over the years. The artist says the problem lies with the way Bill’s jaw is depicted as opposed to the way he first drew it. “It’s not a conventional jaw but a kind of rounded gap behind his teeth inspired by a horse's skull,” explained Simonson, “But his jaw is not hinged conventionally like a horse's jaw. No idea how that would work in real life, but that’s comics”.
A visual representation of Simonson’s sentiment can be seen in the image above. On the left is Walter Simonson’s first printed drawing of Beta Ray Bill, with the unconventionally hinged horse jaw in plain view. On the right is a more recent drawing of Bill from 2017’s Unworthy Thor from artist Olivier Coipel, depicted in a more realistic fashion with flesh covering the gaping holes in his face which Simonson intentionally left. His inspiration for Beta Ray Bill is seemingly random on the surface, but a quick look into Simonson’s past and the horse face design suddenly becomes clear.
Simonson studied vertebrate paleontology, which could explain Beta Ray Bill’s skull-like design as well as suggesting that the artist's unique understanding of skeletal structure is what makes it harder for other artists to draw the character the way he originally envisioned. Though he commented on the different looks in which his character has been portrayed, the Thor artist shows no indication of bitterness when speaking on the diverse styles associated with Beta Ray Bill, in fact, quite the opposite. Simonson noted that he used to teach a comics class at the School of Visual Arts in New York City, revealing his desire to pass on his talents to future generations and thereby supporting the ever-growing, ever-changing landscape of the comics industry, which includes his own character. The final words from the legendary artist, Walter Simonson, to any aspiring comic creators were, “Comics is hard work. Get used to it”.
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