Marvel Comics has announced its slate of 2018 young artists to watch. The announcement is part of the company’s Young Guns program, which began back in 2004 as a way to spotlight emerging talent in the comic book industry. The program has been dormant since 2014, but has seemingly been rekindled this year.
Marvel has selected six emerging artists to recognize this year. Those artists are:
Pepe Larraz, artist on Avengers: No Surrender
Javier Garron, artist on a secret upcoming project
Marco Checchetto, artist on Old Man Hawkeye
Aaron Kuder, artist on Infinity Countdown
Mike Del Mundo, artist on a secret upcoming project
Russell Dauterman, artist on Mighty Thor
Past Young Guns have included the likes of Steve McNiven, Adi Granov, David Finch, Trevor Hairsine, Jim Cheung and Olivier Coipel in 2004. In 2006, Marvel dubbed Billy Tan, Clayton Crain, Pasqual Ferry, Ariel Olivetti, Simone Bianchi and Leinil Yu its emerging artists to watch for the year. Daniel Acuna, Stefano Casselli, Mike Choi, Marko Djurdjevic, Khoi Pham, Francesco Mattina and Rafa Sandoval received the honor in 2009. In 2014, it was Ryan Stegman, Nick Bradshaw, Mahmud Asrar, Valerio Schiti, David Marquez and Sara Pichelli.
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“I still clearly remember the launch of Marvel’s original Young Guns campaign over a decade ago, crafted as an innovative way to recognize and promote the upcoming artists we believed in — and knew would one day be superstars!” Said C.B. Cebulski, Editor-in-Chief of Marvel Comics, in a press release. “From its inception, Young Guns has always been about living up to Marvel’s long legacy of identifying and hiring unique and groundbreaking talent to give our fans the best-looking comics on the stands. And here we go again! Introducing the class of 2018, six artists poised for greatness, whose art will grace the pages of some of the coolest comics of the year!”
While it’s certainly an honor to be acknowledged by one of the largest comic book publishers in the world, it’s also worth noting that this year’s slate is entirely male and has been active in the industry for quite some time – perhaps not exactly in the spirit of a program devoted to highlighting emerging artists.
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Aside from working on their respectively, ongoing series, the Young Guns award recipients will create a special, limited-exclusive variant cover for six new books. Those books are Avengers #678, X-Men Red #1, Marvel Two-in-One #3, Doctor Strange: Damnation #1, Black Panther #170, and Amazing Spider-Man #797 (check out the gallery containing each below). The Young Guns variants will be available at certain retailers throughout the world starting on Jan. 31.