Comic book creation: Irish man breathes life into Spider-Man

Ballycotton-based artist Will Sliney responsible for art work on Amazing web crawler

Spider-Man 2099, the superhero as he has recently been portrayed by Marvel in a futuristic costume. Art work by Will Sliney

Spider-Man 2099, the superhero as he has recently been portrayed by Marvel in a futuristic costume. Art work by Will Sliney


Fans of the comic book character Spider-Man may be surprised to discover that the superhero has a close connection with Ireland.

The art work for “Spidey” published each month by New York City-based Marvel Comics is actually drawn by an Irish artist based in Ballycotton, Co Cork.

“You can do it all from home, nowadays it is all remote,” said Will Sliney, who makes the Amazing Spider-Man come to life in comic books and graphic novels.

Information technology is central to his work and is also Wednesday’s theme during Science Week 2015 which continues until the weekend.

He relies on a range of technologies to produce his drawings, edit them and then send them back to Times Square, where colour artists and letterers add their skills. It is a team effort which includes the writer and an editor.

Marvel Comics produce about 60 titles and Sliney is the artist specifically responsible for Spider-Man.

Each edition starts with delivery of a storyline that Sliney will use to inspire his portrayal of Spider-Man.

“I get a full script from the writer.” He receives about 20 pages, and this dictates how many drawings are involved. “It depends on the amount of detail and number of panels. It is almost like getting a movie script,” he says.

He uses Cintiq graphics technology from Wacom Technology Corporation, including an A3-sized tablet and a pen-like stylus that allows him to draw his characters.

Even though the system is driven by digital technology, this is very much an analog creation.

“At the end of the day you are still producing the same image. It is just a different way of going about it,” he says. “You don’t want to take the creative aspect away from the artist.”

Even so the graphics technology can make things a lot easier. “The undo button is a lifesaver now,” he says. “You were much more careful when working on paper but this frees things up.”

The A3 size is used rather than the much smaller panel size that goes into a comic or graphic novel.

“You draw on a larger size so when it is reduced for print you don’t see any errors,” he says.

For information on IT-related events during the week see

Daily Puzzle

A man in a restaurant asked a waiter for a juice glass, a dinner plate, water, a match and a lemon wedge. The man poured enough water on to the plate to cover it.

“If you can get the water on the plate into this glass without touching or moving this plate, I will give you €100,” said the man. “You can use the match and lemon to do this.”

A few minutes later, the waiter walked away with €100 in his pocket. How did the waiter get the water into the glass?


First, the waiter stuck the match into the lemon wedge, so that it would stand straight. Then he lit the match and put it in the middle of the plate with the lemon. Then, he placed the glass upside-down over the match. As the flame used up the oxygen in the glass, it created a small vacuum, which sucked in the water through the space between the glass and the plate. Thus, the waiter got the water into the glass without touching or moving the plate.

‘It’s All Done With Mirrors’ – Dr Ken Farquhar

Quirky stunts and magic effects performed with Dr Ken Farquhar as part of Science Week. Both science and engineering will be explored in this fascinating show. Trim Library, High Street, Trim, Co Meath, 10am.

W5 – Sound’s Interesting!

Open your ears and discover the science behind sound. Investigate pitch, how sounds are made and how they travel. Then close your eyes and be transported to Australia by the weird sound of the didgeridoo. In this show we‘ll also use technology to transform your voice into a chipmunk or even a monster.

Roscommon County Library, Abbey Street, Roscommon, 11.30am.

Smart Futures Stem Careers Roadshow

The roadshow will consist of short talks from people working in areas of science, technology, engineering and maths (Stem) in Ireland, all talking about what they studied, what they do now and why they love their job, with emphasis on the local community and enterprise. Thurles Library, The Source, Cathedral St, Thurles, Co Tipperary, 11am.