Marvel Animation Age recently talked to fan-favorite artist Kaare Andrews, best known for his cover artwork for a host of different comic titles, about his work on the upcoming Hulk Versus, the animated direct-to-video feature hitting shelves on January 27th, 2009, and much more.

Kaare, for those who may not be familiar with your work, care to provide us with some of your background?

Sure. Well, I'm a writer and artist in the comic book world who has mostly worked with Marvel Comics for about 9 years now. I'm most known for my work on two years of crazy Hulk covers and a Spider-Man mini-series that I wrote and drew called Spider-Man: REIGN. I'm also known for drawing in a wide variety of styles. Basically, I approach each project as a chance to try something new and while it's not really the norm in this industry, it's a way to keep it fresh and challenging.

Before we look at the Hulk Versus cover, I have to ask about your stint as The Incredible Hulk cover artist. You managed to make each cover to that series unique and different, showing an incredible amount of flexibility when it comes to style. They ranged from original works to brilliant homages While this may be an impossible question to answer, but how did you come up with those amazing covers? Is there a cover that stands
out as your favorite.


There really was no plan to create such an eclectic run on the Hulk covers. It happened very organically and the first few covers were very 'normal' and included an homage to a classic Jim Steranko cover, who is one of my favorite artists of all time. Then one day when I handed in some layout ideas to my editor Axel Alonso I included a riff off of a Norman Rockwell cover that I had been staring at that day. I thought it would be fun to try to emulate the way he paints and it was a fairly humorous cover. I didn't expect Axel to approve it but he did and that started the whole ball in motion. Soon enough I was homaging or stealing my favorite posters, children's book covers and cereal boxes. I was experimenting with crazy techniques too.

One cover I made by sculpting a life size head of the Hulk in clay, casting it in resin and painting it and photographing it. I was basically living out a childhood dream of becoming a make-up artist. The problem was that I was using crazy toxic materials in my one bedroom apartment and almost killed myself. And all the materials cost so much money that I'm not even sure I turned a profit. But it was great fun. I love experimenting. I would say that my favorite Hulk covers from the past were my Where The Wild Things are homage and my cereal box cover. Those are the ones I enjoy signing the most anyways. I think it's very telling when you draw from the things you love. It shows in the work. And when I was a kid I loved that book and I loved cereal.

When approaching a canvas, whether itıs for a comic cover, interiors, etc., what is your thought process before putting brush to paper (or the computer equivalent)? Based on your work for such titles as Wolverine (in
reference to issue #32) and Spider-Man: Reign, you seen to have a specific idea of what youıre aiming for when you approach each new project.


I ask myself two questions. What will make me want to draw this story? And is it appropriate to the story itself? There are so many different ways to do things. It's much more marketable to create 'one look' and then spend the rest of your life refining or building on that one look. But as you can see from my toxic Hulk mask story I seldom worry about turning a profit and I seldom worry about my health. I just try to find a reason to love what I do. And that reason has to continually change and evolve. My one rule is this: I must keep the same style for the life of the project. This rule of course doesn't apply to covers but for the interior art it needs to live in the same world.

I constantly meet people who love my really cartoony look that I created for Spider-Man Manga or X-Men Unlimited and could care less for my hyper-realistic painted style. And I constantly meet people who hate that cartoony stuff and prefer my painted style or my more traditional pen and ink style. But if you look at every great artist they are constantly evolving. I'm talking about Madonna or Darren Aronofsky or the like... It's a bit of a trap to try to become great at something but I want to at least travel on the same road as artists I admire. Keep each chapter in my work fresh and surprising. It doesn't always work out in the end but it is the journey that is important to me.

On that note, providing the artwork for the Hulk Versus packaging seems like a natural fit. Were you approached for this task or did you seek it out? If you were approached, why do you think Marvel wanted you for this task?

I believe the very exuberant Craig Kyle at Marvel Animation (and now Marvel Studios) is to blame. It was a great fit for me because of my history with both the Hulk and Wolverine and my Norwegian heritage, which is to blame for my crazy first name. I'm not sure why they wanted me but I was happy for the job. I'm a bit of a DVD collector and I'm very excited to see the work on the racks of shelving.

What were your expectations and what were you hoping to achieve when coming up with the artwork for this release?

Well, I had been away from my cartoony styles for a little too long and knew immediately what I wanted to do. There was some back and forth on this project as there literally is a committee of people approving the cover from Lion's Gate and Marvel but in the end we came back to the look I first envisioned. I mean, I always feel I could have drawn things better or what not, the curse of all artistic endeavors, but that is simply your brain trying to make you better for the next time round but I really am quite happy with how things worked out.

You drew a host of different images for this title, including very different approaches for the Two-Disc DVD/Blu-ray and Single-Disc releases with one having a more painted feel and the other more of a linework feel. Did you have difficulty having to come up with these different images that also had to stay true to the content within?

Craig Kyle had assured me early in the process that I was to not worry about following the style of the cartoon inside and to showcase my own look. He was very faithful to his word and I have to give him a lot of credit for that. The only concession I really had to make was giving Hulk pupils. Normally I don't do it as he looks much more INCREDIBLE and SCARY without them but I think that was a note from Lion's Gate that we had to address. And really, I draw it such weirdly different ways that the final covers don't actually look that different from one another to me. Very similar shapes anyways, just different rendering techniques.

How do you feel about the final look to the packaging and your artwork for Hulk Versus.

Amy Texture at Lion's Gate did a crazy job with the foil, embossing and ventiuclating (I may have just made that verb up). I have never had a project printed with so many different processes. I love it!

Do you have any unused designs or concepts for the Hulk Versus packaging that youıd like to share?

Oh goodness. Yes. Hah! Take a look at some of the layouts I created for

Did Marvel give you a chance to see Hulk Versus and, if so, any thoughts on the animated feature?

Both Lion's Gate and Marvel were really amazing at setting up a screening for me. I saw it projected in the theatre at Lion's Gate in L.A. It was so helpful and thoughtful. They really made me feel like I could contribute to the project.

As we start to slowly wrap this up, are there any upcoming projects youıd like to let us in on, both comics-related and non-comics-related? Will you be perhaps getting behind the camera again for any Canadian or international
projects?


Oh goodness, yes! I am SO BUSY. It's crazy. But I am forbidden from talking about anything right now. Needless to say I will continue to work with Axel at Marvel on some great projects and I am returning to some film work as well. I wish I could say more...

In closing, do you have any final thoughts to share on this project, especially as momentum continues to build up to the January 27th, 2009 premiere of the animated feature?

This is a great DVD. I am very proud to be a part of it all and when I saw it advertised on Spike during the UFC Countdown I flipped. I'm such a huge UFC fan! I love when the comic book world and the normal world collide. I think everyone is going to be surprised by how much effort has been put into the the actual films. I know I was!

Marvel Animation Age would like to thank Kaare Andrews for his participation in this interview.

Click here to view a gallery of Hulk VS artwork!