Beneath The Pages focuses on people of the comic industry who bring the page to life. They are the writers, artists and colourists who make comics worth reading. Today, I’m focusing on Spanish artist Gabriel Hernandez Walta, who’s become known for his work at Marvel. He’s illustrated comics like Magneto, The Vision and New Mutants.
Walta’s early work revolved around children’s illustration and painting. After winning the Spanish Injuve award in 2002, he moved over to comics and worked for publisher IDW. He produced art for titles like The Thief of Always, based on the book of author Clive Barker. Walta also worked with writer El Torres to create The Veil and The Suicide Forest.
I first came across his art when reading the Magneto solo series in 2014. His art had a gritty quality to it that caught my attention right away. It matched with the dark themes of the series, mixing grey and red to create memorable panels. Walta’s art could be described as noir-like because he uses a lot of shadow, to the point it looks like you’re watching an old black and white film.
In a sequence from Magneto’s past, Walta draws him trying to avoid the Nazis with a boy named Avner. Walta has used lines in the background to show that it’s raining, creating a sense of bleakness. The first two panels are grey, while the third is red to show that blood has been spilled.
His attention to facial expression is impressive. For example, in this page, Magneto is confronting a ghost from his past called Hitzig. You can clearly see the anger on Magneto’s face and the sick pleasure in Hitzig’s eyes. The gothic and horror inspired elements of Walta’s style are on full display.