I had the chance to shoot some questions over to Valiant Editor in Chief Warren Simon about Bloodshot Reborn along with whatever else I could get out of him about the Valiant Universe. The interview follows and stay until the end for a special treat.
COMIC BASTARDS: Since the Valiant relaunch, Bloodshot has been one of those characters that’s been consistently used. How important is Bloodshot to the Valiant Universe?
WARREN SIMON: Bloodshot’s an integral part of the Valiant Universe. He’s got an extraordinarly iconic design and a great backstory, and these two components have made him one of the more recognizable characters in comics. Due to his role in the universe – as a nearly invulnerable soldier who’s been brainwashed into doing unspeakable things for a military contractor – his stories frequently have massive repercussions that affect the entire universe. See Harbinger Wars for a little taste of what I mean.
WARREN SIMON: Jeff Lemire, who’s writing Bloodshot Reborn, is an extraordinarily talented writer, talented hockey player, and all-around good guy. He’s a helluva an artist as well – he’s done a number of amazing covers for us – and I couldn’t be happier to have him at Valiant, launching the series for us. Jeff joins Mico Suayan, who will be a star after these issues, which are among the strongest sequential pages he’s ever done. Mico is well-known for his incredible covers, and having him on board for interiors is something special. And David Baron is one of the best colorists working in the industry today, and he’s really done an amazing job over Mico. Topping it all off, Dave Lanphear’s a master letterer – another great talent in the medium – so as an editor, I feel really lucky to have this team in place.
Jeff’s telling a very unique, compelling story, the likes of which we’ve never seen with Bloodshot before. I mean, how do you go through what this character’s gone through – how do you absorb that much pain and violence and warfare – and deal with it physically and psychologically?
COMIC BASTARDS: Speaking of Lemire, he’s one of the newest talents to work for Valiant. What attracted him to the company and what is it that brings other there
WARREN SIMON: Blackmail. It is the gift that keeps on giving.
WARREN SIMON: I think we’ve got a great editorial team here with Alejandro Arbona, Tom Brennan, and Kyle Andrukiewicz, and the guys are constantly targeting and pursuing a wide range of talent. But no hints… not yet.
COMIC BASTARDS: What’s the goal with the Valiant Next line and who do you think it’ll reach new readers?
WARREN SIMON: I think that Valiant has some of the more compelling characters ever created in the medium, and our goal is to continue to tell amazing stories that are accessible to both new readers and longtime fans alike. Valiant Next features new launches from some of our bigger, long-beloved characters – like Ninjak and Bloodshot – as well as the launch of some new books and characters – like Imperium and Divinity. In many ways, it’s an evolution of the Valiant relaunch.
COMIC BASTARDS: Out of the Valiant Next line up, if you had the impossible task of picking one book that people should absolutely not miss, what would it be
WARREN SIMON: I love all of my children equally. Don’t make me choose. As lovely as Matt Kindt is, I can’t do it.
COMIC BASTARDS: Since the relaunch of Valiant the event books for the company have been on point. How do you approach the events and keep them from failing like so many other companies?
WARREN SIMON: Well, I appreciate the kind words. Both Marvel and DC have put out some great events, so that’s definitely a subjective question, but what I will say is that we’ve been very lucky with Robert Venditti and Doug Braithwaite at the helm of Armor Hunters, Joshua Dysart and Clayton Henry on Harbinger Wars, as well as what Jeff Lemire, Matt Kindt, and Paolo Rivera have put together with The Valiant.
One of our goals with the events is to focus on great story and accessibility above all else. If we can make a great story that anyone can pick up and jump into, then we’re headed in the right direction.
COMIC BASTARDS: A follow-up to that, what’s the big event or events of 2015?
WARREN SIMON: I would tell you, but Hunter Gorinson would kill me. He would. I’m not even making that up.
COMIC BASTARDS: One thing I’ve admired about Valiant is the willingness to end a series, but branch it off in a different direction. Is there a philosophy of sorts behind this or is it just the best approach to constantly reaching new readers?
WARREN SIMON: We’ve tried to let story dictate where the universe heads, and in some cases that’s organically created a nice opportunity to both tell new stories and target new readers, as well as reward long-time readers who’ve been paying attention to the broader tapestry of the Valiant U. And thank you for noticing!
COMIC BASTARDS: Last question: You’re cosplaying as Michael Keaton from the 1983 classic Mr. Mom, but people don’t really get the costume. Do you explain it to everyone or just let everyone think that the 80’s are back?
WARREN SIMON: I cosplay as Mr. Mom frequently. I highly recommend it. Also, Michael Keaton is an American treasure, and the best Batman ever.
A big thank you to Warren Simon for taking the time to answer our questions. Be sure to check out Bloodshot Reborn and ... oh wait you can check out preview below! Pick up your copy on April 15th.