|FRED VAN LENTE
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DF Interview: Fred Van Lente keeps ticking with Ivar, Timewalker
By Byron Brewer
At this moment in Geneva, history is being made. A thousand meters underground inside the Large Hadron Collider, researcher Neela Sethi is about to discover time travel – and jeopardize her life in the process. But she doesn’t know that yet. Ten minutes from now, every deadbeat chrononaut, wannabe conqueror and misguided protector of the timestream will be banging down her door. Good thing that the legendary Ivar, Timewalker, got there first … right?
From Valiant comes Ivar, Timewalker #1 by New York Times best-selling creators Fred Van Lente and Clayton Henry. From the creative team that brought you Archer & Armstrong, start a new adventure in January as the mysterious Ivar Anni-Padda launches into a centuries-spanning race against the clock.
More details? Dynamic Forces wanted them too, so we stepped into the office Wayback Machine, found FVL and quizzed him on the new mag.
Dynamic Forces: Fred, how did this spinoff from Archer and Armstrong come about? And what exactly is “Valiant Next”?
Fred Van Lente: “Valiant Next” is the next wave of titles from one of the best indy publishers out there, headlined, appropriately enough, by The Valiant from Jeff Lemire, Matt Kindt and Paolo Rivera in December, followed in January by Timewalker, which is by Clayton Henry and I.
I’ve loved working on Archer & Armstrong since the beginning, and fairly early on I had talked with Warren Simons about doing something with Armstrong’s brother Ivar, but it wasn’t until it became clear that Archer & Armstrong would have a definite conclusion that we were able to bring it about.
DF: For the uninitiated – even though he has been around since 1993 – tell us about Ivar: who he is and what he does/can do.
Fred Van Lente: I like to think of Ivar as a combination of Reed Richards and John Constantine -- enough of a genius to save the world but enough of a bastard to piss everyone off while doing it. He’s known in the time travel community as the “Forever Walker,” cursed to never stay in one time period for very long, always questing, always searching for a place -- and a time -- to call home. He’s helped a lot of people and made a lot of enemies in his wanderings, and as Ivar, Timewalker opens his latest adventure has got the fate of the whole damn universe hanging in the balance.
DF: You have had some practice with A&A and Hercules, but is it difficult to come up with gripping stories and challenges for an immortal time traveler?
Fred Van Lente: No, I’m a huge history nut. I’d say it’s the primary thing I read for pleasure -- even more so than comics -- and so the time travel genre is something that comes very natural to me.
DF: So which of any number of challenges is first up for Ivar? What is the storyline?
Fred Van Lente: One day, a young scientist named Neela Sethi at CERN in Switzerland gets a knock on her laboratory door and opens to find Ivar standing there, telling her she is about to invent time travel and her life is in grave danger. The action starts there and pretty much doesn’t stop. I have no interest in letting the reader catch their breath!
DF: Can you tell us about what eras we may be traveling with the Timewalker? How much research do you put into these locale scenarios?
Fred Van Lente: In this series we can expect to go from the Big Bang to the Big Crunch and every point in between. I do quite a bit of research. There’s an elaborate action sequence on the HMS Victory during the Battle of Trafalgar in the first issue, I couldn’t even count the number of various browser windows I had open while writing it, everything from photos to layouts to scale models of the actual ship!
DF: Who are the mysterious enemies that pursue Ivar simultaneously across every moment of his time-lost life?
Fred Van Lente: The actual identity of the big-bad is kind of the huge reveal of the first issue, and I won’t ruin it here. But he (or she) is affiliated with villains familiar to readers of Eternal Warrior and Archer & Armstrong, the titles of Ivar’s other brothers. I found a way to have the brothers have -- not the same arch-nemesis, but a very similar arch-nemesis -- which is, like them, essential immortal and can pursue them in every time period they are.
DF: Is it nice to be teamed with artist Clayton Henry?
Fred Van Lente: It’s amazing. Clayton’s skills with acting and characters are some of the best in the business, and he is really outdoing himself in Timewalker. He’s about halfway through the first issue and it’s always Christmas whenever a new page shows up in my inbox.
DF: Fred, what else can we expect to see from your talented keyboard in the coming weeks?
Fred Van Lente: If you are excited for Ivar, definitely check out my creator-owned series from Dark Horse, Resurrectionists, that debuts on November 12. This series about people who can summon and become their own lives hits many of the same buttons as Timewalker and the artwork by Maurizio Rosenzweig is absolutely incredible.
Dynamic Forces would like to thank Fred Van Lente for taking time from his busy schedule to answer our questions. Ivar, Timewalker #1 hits stores in January 2015!
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