Michel Fiffe’s series Copra is one of the best superhero series in recent years. The book has been described as “Suicide Squad on acid,” and is a comic beloved by both indie comics fans and superhero die-hards.
Fiffe’s new project is something different. He’s writing, drawing, coloring and lettering the three-issue miniseries Bloodstrike: Brutalists, based on the super-powered assassin characters created by Rob Liefeld and first introduced in 1993 as part of Image Comics’ Extreme Studios. This news series will debut from Image Comics this summer.
With Bloodstrike: Brutalists #0 scheduled for release on June 6, Fiffe answered CBR’s questions about the project, which he designed to stand alone for new readers, but also fit into the continuity of the original Bloodstrike series.
CBR: For people who have forgotten, or never read it, what was Bloodstrike?
Michel Fiffe: Bloodstrike is one of the earliest titles from Rob Liefeld’s corner of Image Comics, Extreme Studios. It’s a team book featuring five government agents who, when killed in action, are resurrected for further service. They’re crude and ruthless, and there’s a spark to that specific lineup that’s very attractive.
How did this project happen?
I came up with the concept myself, actually. I kept thinking about how I would hypothetically tie up a few loose ends that were left in the original Bloodstrike title. The deeper I got into that hypothetical, the more excited I got. It got to the point where it was impossible for me to let it go, so I made a proposal and submitted it to Extreme Studios headquarters.
To be clear, this project doubles as a continuity-specific map for the die-hard fans and as a primer for a totally new audience. I should point out that this is the first time in my professional career where I’ve contributed to a comic’s main canonical continuity, and that’s pretty damn exciting.
You’re clearly a big fan of the original team. What did you like about the book back then?
The violence had a slick polish that I wasn’t used to seeing in comics at that point, but it was also the characters. The more I read the title, the more I wanted to know about them.
Was the deal with this book that you could do anything at all you wanted?
Well, I wanted to do specific things with specifically Bloodstrike, no other title. So in the context of what I had already pitched, you mean? Yeah, absolutely.
You’ve worked on other projects for different companies before, most notably writing All-New Ultimates. What made you interested in writing, drawing, coloring and lettering this miniseries?
That’s how I generally work, doing it all myself. The results are far richer that way. Handling it all wasn’t even a question. I wanted to develop and edit the complete package, too, which includes letter pages, fan art, faux-house ads, and exclusive new back-up comics… all made by some of my favorite contemporaries. If I wanted to produce a line of comics books, it would look precisely like this.
Are these three issues pretty much what you had originally laid out and pitched initially? Not just making the comic, but also curating and designing it all?
Yes, all the way. From beginning to end.
Who is on this team?
Cabbot is the team leader, the embodiment of the Bloodstrike concept. Fourplay is the four-armed muscle of the group. Shogun is the man-in-the-Gundam-type armor. Deadlock is the hunter/bruiser whose contradictory past was a mystery until I got my hands on him. Tag has the power to freeze her opponents, but it’s her disturbing history that readers should watch out for.
Working with continuity and tying up plot threads is something new for you. A lot of creators and fans dislike continuity — does it require you to work differently? How did you find that challenge?
It’s new for me only because there’s never been this type of situation for anybody, to retroactively occupy a publishing vacancy. This isn’t an “Untold Tale of” issue or a continuation of a final issue, this is me plugging up the actual Bloodstrike run. And yeah, strict continuity isn’t de rigueur, but fuck it. I’m bringing it back.
If these three issues are a huge success, would you be interested in making more?
I can play in the Extreme-verse all day. So many great characters who I barely got to work with.
OK, but for people worried that all this big Netflix money Extreme has might get to you leave comics, when is the next issue of Copra coming out?
I have a batch of Copra Versus issues that will come out soon, but I dunno, man, that Netflix check is tempting me…
I have to ask, why is it called Bloodstrike: Brutalists?
You could say that I took my cue from the mid-20th century architecture movement which is largely defined by its raw, unadorned aesthetic because it reflects my artistic approach to this project, but really it just sounds fucking cool.
So when is the book out?
The first issue of Brutalists drops June 6, and the rest will be released soon after in rapid fire succession. It will be the Summer of Bloodstrike.
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