In 2004, Robert Rodi and Esad Ribic's four issue "Loki" miniseries showed a different side of Marvel Comics' Thor/Loki dynamic, focusing on the villain's side of the story. Filled with the trickster god's perspective on Asgard, his half brother and how it all related to his future career as a grade-A supervillain, the book acts as source material for the motion comic "Thor & Loki: Blood Brothers." Split into four episodes, the weekly motion comic kicked off on March 28 on iTunes, Playstation Network and Xbox Live for $2.99 in high definition or $1.99 in standard.
The brainchild of Marvel Knights Animation Senior Vice President, Development & Planning, Print, Animation and Digital Media Ruwan Jayatilleke and Magnetic Dreams Animation Studio President Mike Halsey, "Blood Brothers" zeroes in on Loki as he gains power over Asgard and realizes it might not be all he ever wanted. CBR News spoke with Jayatilleke and Halsey about the process of turning a comic book into an animated movie, focusing on Loki instead of Thor and what this story says about two of the stars of the "Thor" motion picture, scheduled to premiere on May 6.
CBR News: Typically, Marvel's projects, be they comics, animation, etc., have focused on the good guy in the storytelling equation. Was there ever any worry that the Loki-centric story might scare some viewers off?
Ruwan Jayatilleke: To be perfectly honest -- I didn't. Maybe other folks are still gnawing at their nails. I have felt so strongly about this project for so long, the animation, sound, and music teams have been so inspiring, that it's been impossible for me to feel anything but thrilled. I'm sure I will be punched karmically in the stomach for being confident -- or cocky. So it goes.
The story is well written and the art is phenomenal from the source materials aka the comic books, so we were already ahead of the game. Magnetic Dreams Studio is an expert at storytelling, James Snyder is super-powered as an audio producer and Amotz Plessner rules music like Thor wields Mjolnir. It's a stacked deck!
More people root for bad guys than we realize, especially when they're empathetic and still wicked. People can see themselves in the villains as much as they see themselves in the do-gooders. At least, that's what I think, or I need to make new friends.
Whether people like to admit or not, not all bad guys are necessarily "nefarious," especially when they have their own agendas and beliefs and they can't see right from wrong because to them there is no right or wrong -- there's just existence and survival. It makes Loki intriguing and more complex, creating a chance for the viewer to vest in his POV, even if Thor is glorified as a hero.
What do you think this story says about Loki and Thor as characters?
Jayatilleke: It says a lot -- too much for my meandering words and the blunt force trauma of my thoughts. But I'll take my best shot at this: I do think that it speaks to the relationship being about diametric opposites, like light versus dark and the colors in-between which shade this entire story, from Thor's subjugation to Loki's date with destiny. It demonstrates that everything truly is not as it seems, whether it be the audience's perception of who we thought Loki was in the context of Thor and Asgard or even Loki's perception of himself and whether the trickster's last trick is one to fool himself and fate. Finally, on a more obvious level, once Loki takes power -- something he has fought an eternity for -- he learns, as many of us have through life experience, that what one wants is not what one needs.
How does the story in "Blood Brothers" reflect the relationship between the two characters?
Jayatilleke: In terms of Loki, it demonstrates that he is as much defined by his actions and his fate as he is by Thor, as repulsive as that is to his being. In terms of Thor, it reveals that while his character is always noble and ultimately the hero, his actions and associations with others are a different matter. This story also raises many questions about Odin that are answered below the surface -- and begs a meaty follow-up from Rodi and Ribic.
As in any familial scenario, the relationship can be complex and heated. And it can be simple and cold -- and all the patterns and temperatures between the extremes. Loki and Thor have their ups and downs, camaraderie in battle and seeds of sedition and persecution every other moment.