On Set with Milo Ventimiglia, Part II

"Heroes" star Milo Ventimiglia, who plays fan-favorite Peter Petrelli on the hit NBC show, is a huge fan of comic books. Not only is the actor currently filming episodes for the third season of the comics-inspired show dubbed "Heroes Volume Three: Villains," but he's also teamed with Devil's Due Publishing to launch his own comic book, "Rest," the first issue of which is in stores now.

CBR News recently visited the "Heroes" set in Los Angeles to speak with the actor about "Heroes," and in this second of a three-part interview with Milo Ventimigilia, he discusses with us his new book, his love for the comics medium, and what it's like to see his image in the work of some of comics' greatest artists.

"Rest" is about a white-collar New Yorker whose life changes when he becomes addicted to a drug that prevents him from falling asleep. "It actually came out of the writer's strike," explained Ventimiglia. "I had a great script from this writer named Michael Sullivan that needed a little work, but when the strike happened we couldn't sit down and work on it so we pitched it out to a couple of comic book companies."

The story of "Rest" was developed by Ventimiglia and his Divided Pictures partner Russ Cundiff, with a script by Mark Powers ("Drafted," "G.I. Joe: America's Elite") and artwork by Shawn McManus. "We've got tons of great cover artists," Ventimiglia said, adding, "What we're doing is guiding the overall story. What Mark Powers' is doing is taking the source material, which is the story by Michael Sullivan, and cutting loose; creating this huge world with its individual struggle and the weight of the world on this one guy's shoulders."

When asked if he could see himself eventually adapting "Rest" into a film project, the actor said, "I can see it in a number of different ways. I mean it could be a movie, it could be a digital series, it could be a TV show or it could just be a great comic. That's the thing that I think myself and my partner are very much wanting to do, just make a good book. He knows how passionate I am about comics and graphic novels. That's all we want to do, just make a really good book."

Ventimiglia and his company have another book they're producing with Top Cow called "Berserker," which will be coming out in the first quarter of next year. "It's funny, it's like you have one entrance in and now you get a couple of opportunities," the actor said. "I was a huge comic book fan when I was a kid. I went to a place called Fidonia Funnies in Orange County once a week with my Dad. It's nice to be able to give back. I feel like I'm contributing to a bit of the world that raised me, in a sense."

It's widely known that comic book artist Tim Sale's work is used on "Heroes," often in the form of character Isaac Mendez's prophetic paintings. However, several other fan-favorite artists have worked on the webcomics and graphic novels inspired by the series, including Alex Ross, Jim Lee and the late Michael Turner. Ventimiglia talked about what it is like as a comic book fan to see his image in the work of these great artists. "It's bizarre. I was a fan first and now I'm working with these guys in a sense or playing their subject matter. But it's absolutely exciting."

Where a lot of young actors are careful to not be pigeonholed into one type of role, Ventimiglia is just the opposite. "If they called me and said, do you want to play Spider-Man? Of course, I would," said the actor. "I was actually having a conversation last night, with [Marvel Studios Chairman] David Maisel and he was talking about 'Iron Man.' He was basically saying that it's a character piece where the guy just happens to be a superhero.

"I think as long as we, here on 'Heroes,' or anybody who is making movies about comics and superheroes, stay with the struggle of the character, then all the extraordinary events that surround them are just going to add to the reason why people are drawn into these stories. So they can watch these characters go through things."

Ventimiglia continued, "Being invited into [the world of comic books], I often feel like the Hollywood industry is looked at sometimes with squinted eyes when we're trying to walk into a place that we haven't been before. So going into comic properties, you know people are going to say, what are you going to do? I would hold that world very sacred. But I think walking in, doing it justice and almost legitimizing it to the masses, I think it's kind of a cool, cool thing.

"So I have no fear of jumping into it. Going from ['Heroes'] to playing a superhero in anything else that I do. You know, it's kind of cool. You want to be a superhero when you grow up."

"Heroes Volume Three: Villains" will break into viewers' homes September 22 on NBC.

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