It’s been a big year for Jack Kirby fans. Since the release of “Kirby: Genesis” in June, fans of The King have been introduced to a veritable cornucopia of characters as part of a greater Kirbyverse at Dynamite Entertainment. These characters are already being further explored in companion series that began with “Captain Victory” and “Silver Star.” This January, the Kirbyverse extends its reach even futher with an all-new “Kirby: Genesis” tie-in series, “Dragonsbane.” Written by Robert Rodi (“Astonishing Thor”) with art by “Queen Sonja’s” Fritz Casas, “Dragonsbane” follows the exploits of Jack Kirby’s Mythics — human heroes granted their eternal rest in Valhalla — including Balduur, Honir, Heimdall and the eponymous Sigurd Dragonsbane. While Sigurd is the headlining character, “Dragonsbane” will focus not only on his adventure throughout Valhalla and the mythic realms beyond, but also on fleshing out the other mythological characters of the Kirbyverse, drawing from a myriad of legends and folklore.
Rodi spoke with CBR News about the upcoming series, how it ties back to the core “Kirby: Genesis” story, the Mythics and their adventure into the realms beyond Valhalla, how his previous experience in Asgardian heroes helped inform “Dragonsbane” and a few details on his exciting creator-owned Kickstarter project.
CBR News: Robert, tell us about “Dragonsbane.” What’s the core concept of the book and how will it tie back in to “Kirby: Genesis?”
Robert Rodi: “Kirby: Genesis” sets up a complete comics universe, covering all the various genres — because Jack Kirby’s imagination was just that expansive. “Dragonsbane” provides some backstory on the mythological characters of that universe; not only from Norse legend and folklore, but Graeco-Roman, Eastern European, and other traditions.
Who are the characters involved? From the solicitation, it looks like Balduur, Honir and Heimdall all play a part, but how might these incarnations of the characters differ from what readers are used to in books such as Marvel’s “Thor?”
The single greatest difference is that in this incarnation, they’re not gods, they’re human. Or rather, they’re the great human heroes of legend who have been granted eternal life in Valhalla. But Valhalla ain’t what it used to be, which is where we’ll be starting from.
â€¨This particular Kirby character has Asgardian roots and travels with the likes of Heimdall and Balduur. This isn’t the first time you’ve worked in that realm. How did your work on various “Thor” books for Marvel help inform your work on “Dragonsbane?”
Obviously I feel comfortable in this milieu — I love big, epic stories, gods and heroes, worlds-colliding stuff. I get a chance to do a lot of that here, but coming at it from a different angle; as I said earlier, I’m writing about human-scale heroes, not sky-spanning gods.
â€¨What about the “Dragonsbane” universe? We already know there are other realms beyond Valhalla, but what other worlds can we expect to see out in the Mythlands?
We explore the Mythlands in the first arc, and travel through quite a few of them; Egyptian, Persian, and so on. And we pick up a few cast members along the way, “Wizard of Oz”-style. So our core crew going forward will be a real cross-section of legendary and folkloric characters.
â€¨Not much is known about Dragonsbane as a character. What can you tell us about the Kirby materials you’ve gotten your hands on and the research you’ve done to bring this character to life?
There are already a number of legends about Sigurd, who’s also known as Siegfried in some traditions. I sort of cherry-picked what I liked from all those stories, and tried to mold them together in a way that, in my opinion, Jack himself might have done. As a result, Sigurd Dragonsbane is young, bold, brash, and cheerful — a real go-getter, but possibly not the most reflective of heroes. He’s a man of action.
â€¨Is there anybody else from the “Kirby: Genesis” core cast that makes an appearance in “Dragonsbane,” or is this only going to be about Sigurd and his companions?
If you’ve read “Kirby: Genesis,” you’ve already seen Ulysses, Soothsayer, She-Demon, Genie and Dragon Boy; they’ll all be in our first arc. And some of them will be sticking around.
â€¨That said, what has it been like for you to play with these toys? How have you been taking original Kirby designs and finding suitable characters for them?
It’s been a blast channeling Kirby this way. So much of his particular genius has become part of our creative DNA. For instance, when I was putting together Sigurd and his colleagues, I gave them each a distinctive character trait: Sigurd’s is youthful exuberance, Honir is a silver-tongued ladies’ man, Heimdall is caustic but loyal, and Balduur is an elder statesman. Then I realized, that’s exactly what Kirby did whenever he put a team together — the FF, the Challengers, etc.
â€¨The name Dragonsbane evokes a pretty high expectation from some dragon-slaying action. Are these just your run-of-the-mill firebreathers or is there something more to them?
There’s much more to them. There are a lot of them, and they’re from different mythic traditions, and they work together. They’re organized. We’ll only get a glimpse of them in the first arc, but we’ll learn about some of the things they’ve done, and by the end of the arc Sigurd will have a very, very powerful reason to go after them. It becomes his defining quest.
â€¨Take us through your collaborative process with series artist Fritz Casas — how closely have you been working together to bring this book to life?
Fritz always brings more to the table then I asked for; he thinks on an epic scale, and makes everything look and feel more widescreen than I’d ever hoped. It’s been very exciting working with him.
â€¨With the myriad characters popping up in “Kirby: Genesis,” what do you think makes Dragonsbane and his compatriots worthy of a dedicated series?
As I said earlier, this book is where you can read about all the mythic characters of the Kirbyverse. “Kirby: Genesis” will always be the flagship title, but these spin-offs will help flesh out the universe and the characters who inhabit it. I’m looking forward to reading all of them.
â€¨Beyond “Dragonsbane,” what’s coming up in the pipeline for you?
I’m working on a web comic, “Sea Monster,” which is an adaptation of a science-fiction film that doesn’t exist — though there is a soundtrack. Yeah, it’s a pretty wild concept. My artist is an amazing young talent, Dan Dougherty, and we’re trying to finance it through Kickstarter. If you want to see more (including our pitch video and some of Dan’s gorgeous pages), go to the official Kickstarter page.
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