The first issue of Valiant Entertainment's "Bloodshot Reborn" from Jeff Lemire and Mico Suayan came with a bit of a surprise for readers, as the former mercenary found himself confronted by a pintsize version of himself called "Bloodsquirt." Fixed with a big, happy smile and a positive attitude on life (also a pair of pistols), it seems as though the creepy li'l feller is going to be a huge part of Bloodshot's life going forward. Not just of Bloodshot's life, though -- of the Valiant Universe as a whole.
Because, as revealed today in Chicago at C2E2 2015, the mercenary formerly known as Ray Garrison is going to tumble further into the world of Bloodsquirt in "Bloodshot Reborn" #5, as artist Raul Allen joins the book for a special issue set within "The Squirtverse." This whole thing is probably the weirdest thing Valiant has done so far (and this is in a universe where Quantum's dad is a pregnant goat, remember) so CBR News spoke to Lemire in the exclusive first interview on the issue, to learn exactly what's going on here.
CBR News: The first question is fairly simple... Bloodsquirt? Where'd that idea come from?
Jeff Lemire: It came from... Hell, I don't know. Squirt just popped into my head when [Valiant Editor-in-Chief] Warren [Simons] and I were discussing the book over dinner with Matt Kindt about a year ago. At first as a joke to make Matt laugh, and then I started to think about actually including this warped, twisted little Bat-Mite-like character into the book and it just all clicked together.
What purpose does he bring to the story? Do you want readers to see him as a sinister presence, or as a goof -- or both, or...?
You'll have to keep reading. It will become very clear what his role is very soon. There is certainly an element of black humor to Bloodsquirt, but there's also a very disturbing element to him as well. Let's just say... nothing good can come from this.
Why choose this moment for Bloodshot to start seeing Bloodsquirt? What about this moment in particular struck you as the perfect time for this to happen?
Bloodsquirt's presence is in the book pretty much from the beginning of issue #1 and builds throughout. There is a definite plan to why Ray is seeing Squirt now -- but again, part of the bigger mystery.
Did you try several different designs before picking the one we see in the issue?
The very first drawing I did, I stuck to. I looked at a lot of old Harvey Comics --Â "Richie Rich," etc. I knew that was the style I wanted.
How did the idea come that you'd draw the character in over Mico Suayan's pencils? Were many people aware of your idea before it happened?
That was always the plan. I knew that my style combined with Mico's would be so jarring. Mico draws in a very, very realistic style, a perfect contrast to the "cartoon world" of Squirt.
Squirt was in all the scripts in detail, and Mico knew what we were doing, so it was a full collaboration from the start. And, whenever I can, I like to contribute visually to the books I work on too. Warren was all for it.
How has the collaborative process worked out with Mico? At what point did you go in to include Bloodsquirt?
He did all his pages and left "room" for Squirt. Then I'd get his pages digitally and in Photoshop do a rough version/placement of Squirt. I'd print this off and trace my roughs onto board where I'd do a hand-drawn final drawing, scan these back in and place them into Mico's final art. Dave Baron then colors the pages and uses the lighting to make sure Squirt blend into the overall panel more.
Valiant's C2E2 announcement is that issue #5 is going to be an All-Squirt issue, which I'm sure I could've phrased better. What awaits readers in that issue?
Can it be phrased better? I'm not sure.
So far we have seen Bloodsquirt appearing in Bloodshot/Ray's world -- and now Ray will be pulled into the Squirtverse --Â a full on, hallucinogenic trip through an insane, violent cartoon version of the Valiant U. Squirt versions of other Valiant Universe characters will appear as well.
How did you plan the issue with Raul Allen? What about his work made him the artist you wanted to handle issue #5?
Raul has a brilliant graphic style that could capture the hyper-stylized world of Bloodsquirt. The work he's done on the issue is amazing. I never want to draw Bloodsquirt again because Raul does it so much better.
Where do you see this all heading, ultimately? How does Bloodsquirt and the Squirtverse affect the Valiant Universe moving forward?
You really think I'm going to tell you that? I have a 25-issue plan for "Bloodshot" -- I've written the first 14 scripts already.
Squirt is one part of a much bigger story...
Bloodsquirt's debut in "Bloodshot Reborn" #1 is on sale now, and issue #5 of the series -- set in the "Squirtverse" -- is scheduled for release in August.