Silverwolf’s Den Special: Interview with Robert Venditti

Recently, I had the pleasure to interview Robert Venditti, writer of both Demon Knights for DC and X-O Manowar for Valiant. I’ve layered praise on Demon Knights for quite awhile, and I’m eagerly anticipating Issue #16 (released tomorrow), Venditti’s first entry in what promises to be an exciting run. Read on to find out more about Venditti’s ideas and plans for his upcoming work!

Note: The following images are all courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Silverwolf: Demon Knights has been a solid series since its premier. What are your plans for tone of the series moving forward? How do you see it fitting into the overall DC Universe?

ROBERT VENDITTI: The plan is to maintain the book’s tone, which I’d describe as action heavy, but not without its definite moments of levity.  One of the great things Paul Cornell was able to do was infuse the stories with a sense of humor and wit, and I definitely want to keep that going.

In terms of how Demon Knights fits into the rest of the DCU, it’s really the best of both worlds.  The series is set so far back in the DCU’s history, it almost operates outside that continuity.  It influences that continuity, though, so it’s at the same time part of a larger universe, while also being very much its own thing.

Silverwolf: What’s it like writing such a large cast of characters for Demon Knights? If you had to choose, who’s your favorite character? Who is the most fun to write?

VENDITTI: Twenty pages isn’t much space for a story, so getting all the characters moving forward is definitely a challenge.  That’s one of the reasons I decided to take on the book, though.  I’ve never written a team book before, and I with each new project I try to do something that will take me outside my comfort zone.  It keeps me engaged with the story, and I hope it makes me a better writer in the process.

Aside from obvious favorites like Etrigan and Vandal Savage, I also really enjoy Horsewoman and Exoristos.  All the characters are fun to write, though.  There really isn’t another team like them on the stands.

Silverwolf: What kinds of enemies and challenges do you plan to have the team face in the future?

VENDITTI: The primary antagonist for the first four issues will be a familiar villain to DC readers.  When I was reading up on the series, I encountered a single panel in issue 4 that really leapt out at me, and the entire arc grew from there.  Afterwards, the team will be butting heads with a villain who’s both familiar and entirely new. Was that answer cryptic enough?

Silverwolf: Paul Cornell established a core team of eight characters (counting Etrigan and Jason separately). Do you plan to add new members to the team at any point? If so, can you tease who they might be?

VENDITTI: Issue 17 will introduce readers to Brickwedge, Horsewoman’s new horse.  He’s a secondary character, but I enjoy writing his scenes.  Other than that, the team will be the same as it has been from the beginning, though the members will be interacting with each other in ways the reader hopefully won’t expect.

Silverwolf: You’ve done some great work as well over at Valiant on X-O Manowar. What do you like best about writing that series?

VENDITTI: I love Aric of Dacia.  There’s such a compelling core concept driving him, and it’s fun to take a guy with the mentality of a 5th Century Visigoth and put him into modern-day battles.  He’s a hero, but his version of heroism is quite different from what you’d see in most other comics.  He grew up in an era of remarkable violence, and he’s brought that violence with him to the present.  He’s the kind of guy who’ll punch a grenade into your chest, and let it blow you up from the inside.

Silverwolf: “Planet Death” is the next major storyline for X-O. I’m sure you can’t say too much, but have you planned for what happens to Aric after the conclusion of that arc?

VENDITTI: Absolutely.  Planet Death represents the culmination of several plots and subplots that were set in motion over a year ago in the first issue of the series.  What happens afterwards will set in motion the series’ next long-form story arc.  There are going to be major status quo changes for Aric and everyone else in X-O Manowar.

Silverwolf: Where do you take most of your inspiration from when you write? Who are some previous authors, whether comic writers or not, who have influenced you?

VENDITTI: All writing, even fiction, is autobiographical in the sense it’s born from a writer’s experiences and influences.  It’s difficult to pin down where any one particular idea comes from, though.  Suddenly I’ll have an idea for a story, where there wasn’t one a moment before.

As far as other creators I enjoy, Eddie Campbell would be at the top of the list.  But I wouldn’t say he influences me or I’m trying to emulate what he does.  How could I?  That guy is a genius.

Silverwolf: What has been your favorite comic series to work on?

VENDITTI: That’s like asking me to pick a favorite between my kids.  Actually, it’s different because I really do have a favorite kid. I’m kidding!

I would have to say The Surrogates is my favorite, since it’s the series that started everything off for me.  The first time I ever saw a page of my script turned into art, it was for The Surrogates.  The first time I ever held one of my own books in my hand, it was The Surrogates.  It’s hard to beat that.

Silverwolf: Thank you very much for taking the time to chat with me today! I’m looking forward to all of your upcoming work!

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