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DF Interview: Jeff Lemire reveals the valiant among The Valiant
By Byron Brewer
In December, New York Times best-selling writers Jeff Lemire (Green Arrow, Animal Man) and Matt Kindt (Rai, Unity) team with Eisner Award-winning artist Paolo Rivera (Daredevil) to bring to life a very unique four-issue limited series.
In prestige format, a self-contained event featuring Bloodshot, Eternal Warrior, Geomancer and a cast of heroes and villains from across the Valiant Universe come together.
Why? That is what Dynamic Forces tracked down Lemire to an Inuit village in coldest Canada to ask. Between shivers and chattering teeth, this is what the scribe told us.
Dynamic Forces: Jeff, how did this limited series happen to come about for you?
Jeff Lemire: Matt Kindt is one of my best friends and he had already been writing Rai and Unity for Valiant. We have always wanted to collaborate. This started as a fun one-shot that he and I were going to write and draw together. It was just going to be an over-the-top Bloodshot story. Then the more we started to talk, the bigger and more serious the story became.
My exclusive with DC was also coming to an end, and Matt had raved about working with Valiant, so I decided to jump in and make The Valiant into a much bigger project.
DF: You worked a little bit with Matt on Sweet Tooth, but how will you and he be divvying up the writing responsibilities for this four-issue limited series?
Jeff Lemire: We plot and break the story down together then just split up scenes based on whichever ones we are most excited to write. It's a very easy and natural collaboration between two friends having a blast.
DF: Were Matt and you able to decide which heroes and villains to use in this book or was that determined by Valiant editorial?
Jeff Lemire: It was all up to us. Warren Simons has been AMAZING to work with. An incredible editor and a great guy. They made me so welcome at Valiant and basically turned the keys over to us. We could use whoever we wanted. So we decided to use EVERYONE. lol.
DF: You certainly have an all-star cast here. Was there any particular hero or villain you were anxious to work with?
Jeff Lemire: I was most excited to get my hands on Bloodshot. Can't really say why. I just saw a lot of potential in that character. I love those archetypical "bad ass action" characters. Like The Punisher. Always wanted to get my hands on one. And I realize now that Bloodshot is totally unique from Frank Castle. There is so much stuff to mine with him. I'm loving it.
DF: Jeff, some of your most critically-acclaimed work has been with individual stars like Green Arrow and Animal Man. What is it like to work with all these luminaries at once?
Jeff Lemire: This isn't a "team book" like Justice League. It's very much the story of a bunch of individuals coming together. The book itself is really centered on Kay McHenry the Geomancer and everything kind of evolves around her.
DF: Following up on the previous question, is it difficult to give individuals their rightful time in the spotlight when doing a book like this?
Jeff Lemire: No. I think Matt and I came up with a story that allows for everyone to have their time to shine. Like I said it's not a team book. So we can spend time with each character alone too.
DF: Are you excited to be working with Paolo Rivera? Are you a fan?
Jeff Lemire: MASSIVE fan. In my opinion, Paolo is one of the absolute BEST artists working in comics today. He is an impeccable storyteller. He brings so much humanity to the characters yet never sacrifices the energy or scope of the bigger story. Simply amazing. I am honored to be working with him.
DF: What as a writer do you hope the readers of this limited series take away from the work?
Jeff Lemire: I want it to be the ultimate "jumping on point" for new readers to Valiant. I want to wow them with all the great characters and concepts that guys like Warren, Matt, Josh Dysart, John Asmus, Rob Venditti have been building over the last two years. I want readers to fall in love with the Valiant U the way I have. I also want to tell one hell of a story, one that will surprise new and long-time Valiant fans.
DF: Would you like to see other comics companies do standalone prestige formats like this limited series?
Jeff Lemire: Sure. I used to love these things when I was a kid. All the DC Elseworlds stuff. But then the market kind of got flooded with them and the overall quality of many of the "prestige" projects became a bit questionable. But I do like the format.
Dynamic Forces would like to thank Jeff Lemire for taking time out of his busy schedule to answer our questions. The Valiant (from Valiant, lol) hits stores in December!
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