In a matter of months, Vin Diesel will be screeching onto the silver screen as Ray Garrison — the superpowered mercenary you all know as Bloodshot. One of the tentpoles of Valiant's stable of characters, Bloodshot is known to many, but with him about to enter the mainstream — Valiant wanted to make sure fans would have a book to read when they leave the movie theater.
Enter Tim Seeley and Brett Booth. Later this month, the pair of creators will be launching a new Bloodshot ongoing that will be around just in time for the movie's launch. In fact, the story's first main arc will be wrapped up right around the time appears in theaters and will be collected in trade form at the point. Recently we had the chance to speak with Seeley, who teased a blood-pumping story. Here's what Seeley all had to say:
ComicBook.com: This isn't your rodeo in the comic world, now you're on Bloodshot, one of the biggest — if not biggest — characters from Valiant I guess. How'd this whole thing come about? Did editorial start this or was Bloodshot a character you've kinda always been chomping at the bit to write?
Tim Seeley: It's so hard to always remember how you think something had existed. Everybody knows everybody and everybody's always talking and trying to figure stuff out like when they can work together. Basically, I've worked with multiple editors at Valiant at different companies, but I was reading the books for fun because I kind of have a problem where you work for Marvel and DC, it's hard to read their books for enjoyment because you're on-the-line for knowing a bunch of stuff, so for fun I was reading the Valiant stuff.
At some point, I had talked to various people about maybe doing something with them and I finally get the email one day that was just “Hey, we want you to pitch for somebody, we'll be in touch.” I thought it was going to be Archer or Quantum and Woody or somebody, cause I think people tend to think of me as that guy sometimes, which I would have been totally fine with. In the email it said “No, we want you to do Bloodshot.” I was like, “Oh god. Okay.” I like that character, I've been reading Jeff's issues at the time when we talked about it. Then I had read Greg's stuff previous to that, so I was familiar with the current storyline. I had read the nineties stuff and I had been a particular fan of the weird Acclaim nineties reboot where he was like a big Frankenstein guy with little round sunglasses. So yeah, I was a fan of that stuff, and I knew the character well enough that when I approached it, I kind of knew what was expected and we just worked back and forth together to make something unique and new.
What's the main thing that draws you to a character like Bloodshot?
For me, the most interesting thing is the guilt about having done something terrible in the past, having to move on from feeling responsible for something. I think that's something we all relate to, something I relate to, I've made a mistake. So that part, that really human aspect is really interesting to me. Then, like a more surface level, he's basically a high-tech Frankenstein Punisher, like that's a really awesome combination of ideas. You can do horror elements with him, you can do action/adventure, but there's a lot of heart there because you're talking about a guy who's trying to find out who he is and what he can add to the world instead of take away.
When it comes to the series itself, do you have elevator pitch of sorts?
I just want it to be basic fun and also have some real hearty character stuff too. I want you to see things that you've never seen before. I want it to be a tight action comic that people don't actually do anymore. I think there's almost this sort of fear of making something "comic book"-y, and I want to be all the thing that you couldn't do in movies because it's just too out of the budget range. You can get away with everything in comics, you don't have to worry about a budget. We have to make it really entertaining and cool.
I know you mentioned Jeff Lemire's run not too long ago. Bloodshot has a cult following, right? He's so beloved by many. How do you approach a character like this? Are you looking to come in and make your mark on the character, or are you not wanting to upset the status quo so much?
The status quo is not something I feel I have to worry about too much, but I have to worry about boiling down the character to the heart, the most essential element, because that's I think the reason that these characters stick around for long is because there is some inherent heart story that has really universal values. My job is to find that and to distill a story about that into each issue of the character.
When you said about the status quo, it has to be about keeping this accessible, right? People are going to come watch a movie or people are going to be interested in the character, and they don't want to know “what is the comic about?” and I have to be the one who has that, I can deliver that to them. This is what it's about: he's a man who's done some terrible things and he's trying to make up for it because he's always been used as a weapon.
Right. So you mentioned the movie, did you receive any instructions that they didn't want you to stray too far from the path, for brand confusion or anything like that?
No. Nobody said the word “brand” at all. I don't think the word “brand” was used in any way. I think Valiant is a company that cares about characters and story, they want to deliver great comic books. Though there is a sense of “Let's not make this unrecognizable for when the movie drops,” there's always this thing that you see sometimes, that a movie comes out and the comic is in the middle of some crossover or re-imagining or, the character that people like aren't even the lead anymore. We don't want that. This is about him, this is about the Ray Garrison Bloodshot, all those things have to be there, but it just has to be accessible. Accessible is more important than any kind of brand or any sort of other thing like that.
So this series is being marketed as an ongoing last I saw. How much of the story do you have plotted out? Do you have scripts through six done or where are youat in that development of the script?
Oh yeah. We're through seven, or even almost eight I think, so we're way ahead, which is great because that means that we'll have our artist...we're not going to have like three issues on and then the artist is gone. We're going to be able to do this with a team that you came here for and it's going to be consistent, so I think it'll be pretty exciting.
Awesome. Say no one's never picked up a Bloodshot comic before, why should they pick up yours first to read it?
I mean I think first and foremost, this is going to be a super entertaining comic book, that's what it's about it's about you interacting with this world and the characters and this interesting universe that you're going to have a very clear pathway to access. It's going to involve characters and creators who care about the characters they work on, so I think the passion is going to come through. The Valiant team is super cool about that sort of thing, they really care about this stuff. I really want to make sure that the creators are working with people who love this stuff and know stuff and don't just give notes to do it. It's going to be a really good book.0comments
Bloodshot #1 is set to hit shelves September 25th while Sony's live-action feature starring Vin Diesel bows February 21, 2020.