How much does Woody's biological father play into the story as an active presence?
We’re definitely going to see him. It’s a great way to play with the nature versus nurture argument. Woody is such a great and complex personality -- this con artist with a heart of gold. He’s genuinely good at what he does, but he’s overconfident to the point of living on the edge of his life ending at any moment. Just always overplays his hand.
We’re going to meet a guy who did abandon his family, and hopefully in getting to know him and seeing their reunion, learn how much of Woody the hero is the influence of Derek Henderson, his adopted father -- this good man that Eric wants to keep as the shining example in their life of what it means to be a man.
How has it been working with Kano on the series?
It’s mind-melting. I’ve been a fan of his for a really long time, I think I probably first saw his work on The Delinquents. He does pages that are just these next-level compositions, which really reward a lot of investment on the part of the reader. He takes you on these incredibly compositional journeys, where it’s like, "This page is like a board game," "This pages has emojis on it that signals how people are feeling." "This page is conveying the passage of time." I’m just trying to give him enough to work with and stay out of his way, so I can just keep being surprised.
On the marketing side, it's clear that Valiant is having a lot of fun with some of the stunts around this -- we covered the "Most Variant Cover of All Time" here.
Oh yeah. Buckle up.
There's a lot going with this book! I know it's not your department, but as the writer of the series, how much fun has that aspect been -- reveling in inherently silly ‘90s-ness with this book?
I have a very minor input into it, so I get to be blown away just like everybody else. The way I’ve been describing it is, I think we spent a long time recovering from the ‘90s. Part of that was falling out of love of the things that genuinely had a lot of spark and energy to them, when those kinds of comics were being made to begin with. I don’t think you can deny the very real excitement that I certainly felt about that stuff at the time. I think by coming back to it with a genuine appreciation for it, and a healthy dose of self-awareness, you can come to this perfect "everything old is new again" -- let yourself be excited, let comics be over the top, since this is a very over-the-top comic.
Outside of events, at Valiant the ongoing series tend to stand pretty much on their own -- Quantum and Woody traditionally even more so. How do you approach the shared universe aspect of the series? How much connective tissue is there?
I want this to be just as accessible as Quantum and Woody in 2013 was to me, as my first Valiant book, so they can get a feel for this new superhero universe and start getting curious about the other characters. But that being said, I love books like The Valiant, where you see Quantum and Woody -- they show up for the big crises. They’re there. They know about it. They’re a part of it. I don’t know how helpful they are, but when you need Quantum and Woody, they turn up.
I would love it if there were opportunities in the near future to start bringing in the other Valiant U characters. When I did the alternate universe story, Valiant High, I got to write a version of everybody. Even though they were all in this high school alternate universe, it was important to me that their personalities ring really true. If Valiant High was your inroads to the Valiant Universe, you could pick up one of the other books, and you would feel like you were getting a version of the same person. Not a wildly different character. That experience has made me very itchy to get some of my favorites back into the title that I’m doing ongoing.
You’ve got a good handful of comics under your belt at this point.
It’s getting there.
Yet this is something different for you in that it’s an ongoing series, imcontinuity, all of that. Gow have you enjoyed that type of challenge? It's got to be a little different in terms of long-term planning, and being more open-ended.
It’s really, really great. When I’m doing a couple pages in an anthology, or a four-issue mini or something, you’ll have an idea that’s like, “That’s a Season 2 idea. That’s a third arc idea.” You put it in a shelf, and you don’t know what’s going to happen to it. It’s something that you have to earn or build to, or have the characters be really familiar at that point to get away with a subversion that you might be excited about, but you could never do in issue #1 or issue #2. That’s been really energizing, because it means that I’m throwing less away. I get to renew my excitement about the project every time I get an idea.
Quantum and Woody! #1 is scheduled for release on Dec. 20 from Valiant Entertainment.