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DF Interview: Guess what? New BLUE! From Fathom writer Vince Hernandez
By Byron Brewer
An unlikely team of BLUE rise from beneath the surface in this first new Fathom series in over a decade!
From writer Vince Hernandez and artists Claudio Avella and Mark Roslan comes a new kind of team, each having a different purpose and yet united in their exile from their homelands below the waves. Looking to blend in – out of sight – among humans unaware of their true potential.
Who is hunting them? Why are they turning against their own kind? What is BLUE anyway? For the answers to these and other questions, Dynamic Forces turned to writer Vince Hernandez.
Dynamic Forces: For those fans not used to anything outside the House of Ideas or its Distinguished Competition (do they still use that? lol), Vince, tell us a little about the Fathom franchise and its illustrious history.
Vince Hernandez: Fathom debuted in 1998 from creator Michael Turner following his classic run on Top Cow’s Witchblade series. It launched during what was Image’s superstar days when their books were selling by the hundreds of thousands, and went on to become the top selling comic by any publisher that year. After that initial first volume, Turner founded Aspen Comics and Fathom has produced here for the past seventeen years. It’s really taken on such a larger depth (no pun intended) of storytelling from those initial first issues, as we’ve tried to create a massive universe with many moving parts taking place concurrently. It’s been quite the journey.
DF: Fathom Blue is the first all-new Fathom series to make its debut since Michael Turner introduced readers to this underwater adventure series over 15 years ago? True? That seems incredible!
Vince Hernandez: Yes, and I agree, readers are wondering what that actually means? And in that regard, this is an all new cast of characters that exist in the Fathom universe but have no relation to the existing Fathom series—or do they? Well, that’s really where the fun of this series takes place, in seeing how new characters interact with the old guard. One comparison I think that’s apt is the X-Force to the X-Men, and what they brought to the property. In many ways, we see this as an organic progression of the story. As the world expands, we’ll be meeting many new faces!
DF: So tell us how this series came into being at Aspen Comics. Was it through your initiatives?
Vince Hernandez: Like most projects, this stemmed from a production meeting and a brainstorming session with myself, our owner Frank Mastromauro and our Vice President/Director of Design and Production Mark Roslan. At the time I was writing the fourth volume of Fathom: Kiani and they asked if I had a story in mind for a new cast of characters. Of course, I did! The rest turned into the development process and the fun part of bringing the art team together, and luckily I already had Claudio Avella and Erick Arciniega in mind for this. Their wonderful combo punch of fun lines and exciting colors complimented our letterer Josh Reed’s crisp letters to perfection. It was fun seeing it all come together on the finished page.
DF: What is the story line for this initial arc?
Vince Hernandez: Yes, our gang of would-be heroes all in one way or another encounter a man named Admiral Maylander, whom Fathom fans will recognize as the antagonist from the very first volume. He’s our only true connection to the worlds of Fathom’s past and an extremely powerful member of the U.S. Military in charge of dealing with the underwater race known as the BLUE. He’s also incredibly dangerous and has discovered a new method of causing pain to those from below. Readers will come to discover his past failings and the real danger involved with introducing a new species of people to the human race. From there, it’s very much a team book in that these rogue Blue characters are brought together to face an even greater danger. I think it’s really fun stuff and I hope the readers will agree!
DF: Can you tell us about your protagonists and their individual uniquenesses?
Vince Hernandez: Each of “The Team” is unique in their own way, but always in service to their own character’s arc. For instance, there’s a woman whose cover above the surface is as a lawyer, another is a deep sea fisherman, and one is a computer hacker. But these are only covers for who they truly are, and as we’ll come to discover—none of them are as they seem on the surface. And one of them is not only powerful, but capable of literally tearing apart the planet, so there’s plenty of intrigue involved with each character and their respective secrets.
DF: Vince, can you hint at your main big-bad? Is it Maylander?
Vince Hernandez: I’ve mentioned Admiral Maylander as the team’s legitimate boss and immediate danger, but as readers of my past work have discovered—I really enjoy writing characters that are flawed and perhaps live in the grey area. I think it’s fun to leave it up to the readers to decide for themselves whether they think a particular character is good or evil, or maybe a little of both.
DF: As an experienced editor, do you find yourself approaching stories as a writer different than you may otherwise?
Vince Hernandez: That’s a great question. Absolutely. I’ve been blessed to be able to see behind the curtain and see what works and doesn’t for a variety of different writers. At Aspen we’ve had the honor of working with brilliant writers like Geoff Johns, Jeph Loeb, Scott Lobdell, Greg Pak and others that have helped shape how I would approach my stories. It’s been a real treat and I’m so thankful to be afforded the opportunity to collaborate with this level of talent while continuing to grow as a writer myself.
DF: Finally, Vince, tell us what artists Claudio Avella and Mark Roslan bring to the table.
Vince Hernandez: Claudio, Mark, Erick and Josh create the entire table. Without their respective contributions, there would be no book only my words. Claudio, Mark and Erick have brought along a fun and dynamic sense of artistry to this series that I think will give fans a new taste of something that’s already been around for some time. People may think they know what Fathom is, but they’ve presented an all new version of that to jump into!
Dynamic Forces would like to thank Vince Hernandez for taking time out of his busy schedule to answer our questions. Fathom Blue #1 is in stores now!
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