Welcome true believers. KennedyHawk, Amerikano, and special guest Guzmanco here with a new article that highlights some of the Panel Art behind the cards in Marvel Champions. Each article we will focus on a character or topic and some of their in-game art that comes right from the panels of a Marvel Comic book. We will discuss the card – and the comic it comes from. Guzmanco is a very special guest because they work as a freelancer with FFG and helped select some of the art for the game! I’m sure we’ll get lots of incredible insights about – Ms. Marvel aka Kamala Khan!
KennedyHawk: Guzmanco, thanks for joining us! I’m really excited to hear about the art you selected and how the whole process works! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your relationship with FFG / Marvel Champions?
Guzmanco: Absolutely! I’m an artist and freelance graphic designer who does all kinds of projects. I was fortunate enough to get an internship at FFG a while back and worked with the LCG team. I mostly worked on Marvel Champions and Keyforge but also did work for Arkham, Destiny, and L5R. It was an awesome experience. After my internship ended, they liked my work so much that they offered a contract to keep working on Marvel Champions. It’s been a lot of fun to work on it.
Amerikano: That’s such a cool story! See, kids. Get an internship. It just may be worth it! Guzmanco, can you give us an overview of how the developers (and you) choose art for the game?
Guzmanco: I can give a quick overview of how the art process. It starts off with developer Michael Boggs sending me a list of cards they need art for. Sometimes they ask for a really specific action or item, like Captain America’s Shield. Other times, I’m just asked to find a variety of cool images of a certain hero. From there I use a number of online resources to track down the comics where that person or thing appears. Then it’s just a lot of flipping through a couple hundred issues on my Marvel Unlimited account. When I find a good image, I take a screenshot, note the issue and page number, and send it Boggs. He then works with FFG’s art department and the Marvel licensing team to see which of my images get approved. If I can’t find a good image in the comics, FFG commissions one of their awesome freelance illustrators to make a custom art piece.
KennedyHawk: Well this article’s topic is all about Ms. Marvel. Amerikano and Guzmanco, what is your favorite thing about the character Ms. Marvel, in either lore or in the card game?
Amerikano: Her hero kit seems the most “puzzly” to me. There are some fun combinations to pull off. You rely so much on the events that you choose to add. Because, let’s be honest, a 1-1-1 statline isn’t great. But, it doesn’t need to be. Ms. Marvel has proven that you don’t need to be the strongest or smartest to be a great hero.
Guzmanco: Unfortunately, I have not had the chance to play my Ms. Marvel deck (I’ve been really loving Cap and Iron Man) so I don’t know how she plays. I really like the fun, light-hearted side of Kamala. There are a lot of gritty, renegade-like characters in the Marvel world, and I like that Ms. Marvel is a bit different. I like how she comes from a Pakistani American family. I also come from an immigrant family so it’s cool to see that being represented in a superhero comic!
KennedyHawk: Right on! I really like how she has the potential to grow each time a new event comes out. It makes me constantly look back at her hero kit. Likewise, her character has shown tremendous growth and potential in the comics – so the feeling of growth is very fitting! Let’s get to the cards!
Sneak By / Shrink: Ms. Marvel #1 (2015)
Artist: Takeshi Miyazawa
KennedyHawk: Our first two cards come from the same page of the first issue of Ms. Marvel from 2015. Sneak By and Shrink. These two cards obviously work well together so it’s fitting they come from the same comic page! I find Sneak By to be a really potent card and it’s one of the cards that really helps Ms. Marvel feel like a swiss-army knife. She can thwart, attack, and defend with the best of them:
Amerikano: I agree. Sneak By’s 3 thwart for 2 is OK. Using it in tandem with Shrink just makes it sooo good. Also, the fact that she can bring Sneak By right back and thwart with the same copy and not rely on drawing another copy later is a big plus. It’s one of the first things you realize when you play with Ms. Marvel for the first time. As for the panel, Ms. Marvel is trying to avoid a mob of angry locals that think she’s a sell-out. The funny thing is that she mentions to Bruno that she hates shrinking. I love it when I can play Shrink.
KennedyHawk: So for the comic issue, this is the first issue of the 2nd Volume of Ms. Marvel. So readers may have already been familiar with the character – it doesn’t cover an origin story. I believe all of the cards from this article are from this Ms. Marvel run so we’ll be discussing this volume quite a bit. Guzmanco, did you work on the art selection for either of these cards?
Guzmanco: Yes, I found both of these images when I worked on this Hero Pack last year. Before this assignment, I had never heard of Kamala Khan. Like a lot of people, Marvel Champions was my first introduction to the character. I had a blast discovering her and reading these issues. It’s pretty usual that two cards will have art taken from the same page, but this series has some great artwork. I really like the light, airy atmosphere of the water-color gradients. It’s a nice contrast from the sharp, bold colors in most comics.
KennedyHawk: One thing Kamala may have to sneak by… is her parents – just like every teenager. That brings us to our next card art selection!
Home By Dawn: Ms. Marvel #2 (2015)
Artist: Takeshi Miyazawa
Guzmanco: It’s very rare that I stumble upon the “perfect” artwork for a card. Home By Dawn was one of those times. The card was originally titled “Home By Curfew”, and I was concerned it would be difficult to find such a specific image when Kamala only appears in a couple hundred issues. Turns out there’s a perfect image in the second issue. When I submitted this artwork, I felt pretty confident it would make the final cut.
KennedyHawk: Nuff’ said. This card is just perfect. I could not imagine a better expression on her face. Hands down the art selection on this obligation is my favorite of all the heroes we’ve seen!
Amerikano: The art works so nicely here. It perfectly captures the types of things a teenage hero would have to go through. On the other side of things. A teenage superhero needs to be able to change into their hero suit fast. So, hiding it underneath their civilian clothing will do the trick…
Biokinetic Polymer Suit: Ms. Marvel #13 (2014)
Artist: Takeshi Miyazawa
KennedyHawk: This card is amazing! It’s useful in every aspect and is such a classic hero gesture calling back to some classic comic book imagery. This comes from the first run of Ms. Marvel that began in 2014. Most of the other art is from her second run, when selecting art do you try to find art for a hero kit all from one run typically?
Guzmanco: The process for finding Ms. Marvel’s art was really different, mainly because she is a newer hero with fewer issues available. It’s really unusual for a hero’s art to come from one or two series; Ms. Marvel is pretty unique in that regard. Since I wasn’t familiar with the character, reading her eponymous series seemed like the best place to start. I got lucky that there is a lot of great art in the Ms. Marvel comics.
Amerikano: The art is great and this card is sooo good. Because of Ms. Marvel’s ability, you’re probably going to run more events in her deck than is typical. That makes Biokinetic Polymer Suit a must have card to get on the table fast. Mulligan hard for this one.
Big Hands / Wiggle Room: Ms. Marvel #19 (2015)
Artist: Marco Failla
KennedyHawk: Another pair of cards from the same page. It’s amazing how visual Ms. Marvel’s comics are. They really stretch classic comic book action into something you can really see. I love this series and at this point I’m probably going to read all of her runs!
Amerikano: I think it’s cool that the developers got such a new hero into the game so quickly. Also, can we just talk about how amazing of a card Wiggle Room is? It pays for itself. And you can exhaust Ms. Marvel, bring it back just in case your encounter card is Gang-Up or Assault (this has happened to me more times than I’d like to admit).
Embiggen / Ms. Marvel #10: Ms. Marvel #21 (2015)
Guzmanco: Sometimes art gets moved around depending on how the needs for the set change. This piece was actually submitted as a backup option for “Big Hands”. When I worked on “Embiggen!”, I had hoped to find an image of Kamala growing or stretching, but that was surprisingly difficult to find. There are lots of images of her shrinking or going from tiny to normal, but not many that show her going from normal size to giant. In the end, this piece did the best job at representing giant Kamala, given all other production restraints.
KennedyHawk: Fascinating. Does that happen often, art is selected for one card that you really like so it winds up on a different one?
Guzmanco: It happens from time to time, but it’s not super common. The core set had a lot of art that got moved around during development. The art for “The Power of Leadership” was originally submitted for “Indomitable”. It’s usually because card abilities or titles change, and they no longer fit the art. We also have what’s called slush art, which is a collection of cool art I’ve found that hasn’t been matched to a card yet. If I’m ever stuck on a particular card, I’ll browse the slush art to see if I can find something of use.
Amerikano: That’s interesting. I’m assuming that the slush collection continues to grow. I imagine that it will need to grow because there are a lot of cards that need art that aren’t tied to a specific character. That brings us to our last card.
Tackle: Ms. Marvel #8 (2014)
Artist: Adrian Alphona
Guzmanco: Selecting art for the Aspect cards is a lot trickier than for the Hero Kits. There are two main reasons for this. First, it’s important to have a wide variety of characters featured in Aspect cards, since they can be used with any hero. There are plenty of awesome heroes in the Marvel Universe, and Aspect cards are the best way to show them off. I like to imagine a future where you can build decks only using cards that feature your favorite hero in the art. The second reason Aspect cards are difficult is because they often represent abstract concepts—such as “Tenacity”, “Indomitable”, “Moral Boost” or “Heroic Intuition”—which are harder to represent than specific objects or locations. I wish all Aspect cards were as straightforward as “Tackle”
KennedyHawk: Aspect art sure sounds tricky but it’s all been well-selected! When selecting art for Ms. Marvel’s aspet cards was the focus on Ms. Marvel as much as possible, or did you try to find a varied selection of heroes?
Guzmanco: Great question! When I received the assignment brief, I wasn’t explicitly told which are Aspect cards and which are for the hero kit. So in this situation, I thought “Tackle” was meant to be a hero card and found this piece for it. I think it’s a situation where it would be ideal to include aspect cards in the Hero Pack that focus on the featured character but nothing gets forced, if that makes any sense.
Amerikano: Cool. I wonder if they did that on purpose. Thor’s pack, for example, seems to have a lot of art on the aggression cards that are from Thor comics. I digress. A brief comment on the issue that the art from Tackle was from: I found it hilarious how Ms. Marvel defeated the giant robot that she is tackling. You’ll have to go read the issue to find out how!
KennedyHawk: Well that’s a wrap for this article of Panel Art! Thanks to Guzmanco for helping us Tackle this issue. It really gave us some awesome insight! Watch for more articles focusing on the panel art behind Marvel Champions on the MCM blog – and join the champions subreddit where Guzmanco frequently provides cart art references in the Card of the Day thread!