For years Loki used his silver tongue, mastery of magic, and formidable cunning to direct minions in plans to seize the throne of Asgard or grab some other form of power. These days Marvel’s Asgardian trickster god and master manipulator uses his abilities in more morally complex ways, often working as a spy master for Asgard’s All-Mother. But has Loki truly given up his thirst for power?
2016 is an election year in the United States, resulting in one of the more bizarre and entertaining political circuses in memory. Never afraid to make their books topical, Marvel Comics is getting in the political spirit with a new series that examines what it would be like if Loki threw his hat in the ring for one of the most important roles on all of Midgard — President of the United States.
Originally announced without a creative team earlier this month, Marvel today revealed writer Christopher Hastings and artist Langdon Foss will bring the political satire series “Vote Loki” to life this June during its “All-New, All-Different Marvel” panel at the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo. CBR News has the exclusive first interview with Hastings about the origins of the story, his take on Loki, and the characters working for and against the God of Stories on the campaign trail.
CBR News: In addition to the topical nature of the book, part of the appeal of “Vote Loki” is the chance to write Loki himself. Loki’s classic incarnation is as a villain, but in recent years he’s become much more complex, often falling into the anti-hero category. What’s your sense of the character?
Christopher Hastings: I love that Loki has become a deeply conflicted character in recent years. Villain to hero, to something in between — in some ways it doesn’t really change how trustworthy he actually is. When he was just a sneering Avengers villain, at least you knew for sure he was going to cause some damage. His motivations and machinations can be a bit more subtle now.
I certainly haven’t written anyone quite like, Loki. It’s tough, writing a character who’s smarter than you are. [Laughs] But obviously, he’s quite appealing. Everyone loves a charming character who’s good at what he does, even if it’s lying straight to your face. I just have to plan out his schemes very carefully so he continues to look good.
This isn’t exactly the most obvious take for a new Marvel book or a new Loki series. How did “Vote Loki” come together?
The original basic premise was Tom King’s, but as we know, he’s no longer available to write the story. So editor Wil Moss reached out to see if I had any ideas on what to do with a title like this. I’ve been following our current presidential race like a bad habit, and this suddenly justified all of my “research.”
So much of a presidential campaign is about perception and narrative. Truth can get muddy depending on context or lost details, and sometimes the truth even gets flat out ignored by the media and the people because there’s an easier narrative that’s slightly less true but easier or more attractive to follow. Loki isn’t just the god of lies, he’s the god of stories. Manipulating narrative will be what this is all about.
From whose perspective is “Vote Loki” told? And what kind of tone are you aiming for? Is this essentially a big, crazy Marvel Universe-style political satire?
We want Loki to remain mysterious and keep some tricks up his sleeve throughout this story, so we’re framing it from the point of view of a political journalist who reports on Loki throughout the campaign. She has a voice the reader can trust.
And Marvel Universe political satire is exactly what we’re going for! The bright world of superheroes allows for blowing out certain things we want to say about the political process that should be a lot of fun.
A presidential campaign isn’t something even an Asgardian god and sorcerer can mount on their own. Who comprises Loki’s campaign staff? Will we see some new and familiar faces working with him?
New faces for sure. There’s a Loki political action committee that’s a bit overzealous, or I might say cultish to the point of even scaring Loki. We’ve got his sister, Angela working security for reasons yet to be revealed.
What about Loki’s political rivals? Will some of the real world candidates running for president right now be part of “Vote Loki?” What teases can you offer up about the faces and forces opposing your title character?
I’m afraid we’re not going to be having any of the real world candidates involved in “Vote Loki.” There are a few reasons not to do that, but on the most practical level, the book’s schedule simply doesn’t allow it. We’ll already be shipping issues before the Democrat and Republican conventions.
I will tell you that Loki’s campaign will inspire one hyper-patriotic, shield bearing superhero to take a sudden interest in politics.
Hitting the campaign trail with you on “Vote Loki” is artist Langdon Foss, who has demonstrated a flair for character acting and humor on a number of books including the recent “Gwenpool Special.” It seems like he’d be a great fit for this series, but what are you enjoying most about the collaboration?
Well, I think you said it right there! Langdon really makes every character in his comics an individual, and that’s so important on a book about politics. I also really love his more surreal, fantastical stuff, so I hope to give him some freaky magic to work with there.
“Vote Loki” ushers in Super Wednesday this June from Marvel Comics.