Exclusive: The Fifth Beatle's Vivek Tiwary Talks His Harbinger #25 Story and Shares The First Art

New York Times-bestselling author Vivek J. Tiwary is best known as the creator of the [...]

New York Times

-bestselling author Vivek J. Tiwary is best known as the creator of the Eisner-nominated The Fifth Beatle and the writer of the upcoming film by the same name from Ant-Man director Peyton Reed, but he's also both a fan of, and an investor in, Valiant Entertainment.

That made him an obvious choice to board next month's Harbinger #25, the oversized anniversary issue that will end this era of the title as Armor Hunters creates a new status quo for many of Valiant's characters.

Tiwary wrote a story about Joe, the best friend of Peter Stanchek who was murdered by the Harbinger Foundation, leading to Pete's distrust and hatred for Toyo Harada and his organization. The short, emotional tale deals with who Joe is and, by extention, what we can gather about Pete.

Tiwary joined ComicBook.com for a chat about the story, and shared with us some exclusive pages of pencils from artist Lewis Larosa.

What would you say makes Joe such an interesting character that you wanted to go back and revisit him in this issue?

I wanted to examine what had really brought them together as friends and as brothers.

As you can tell from the writing that I've done, I love human stories -- and that relationship felt like such a human story.

I don't want to go off on too much of a tangent about myself but I lost my mom and my dad when I was very young and losing them made me who I am. It changed my life and as much as I would give anything to have them back I think I'm a pretty good guy, that I'm a good husband and a good father.

In a lot of ways their death focused me and gave me a mission. The idea of losing a loved one and how it changes you is something that was really in my DNA and so I was excited about exploring that.

Did you have any concerns going in about the fact that you were somebody who hadn't written these kinds of continuity-obsessed superhero stories before, and here you are inserting something into the character's origin story, basically?

I was worried they'd say no because Josh [Dysart] was already doing it.

Knowing Joe was best friends with him and knowing their relationship, this is a Joe story by it's also [implicitly] a Peter story.

These are all the things that went into that story and it is 8 pages. We got a lot in there. I'm incredibly proud of it and Lewis has done incredibly gorgeous art.

Besides giving some depth to the relationship between Joe and Peter, what does your story set about to do?

It also deals with Joe and his mom -- and I already mentioned to you that I lost my mother to cancer, so you'll see a lot of my experiences dealing with the loss of my mom within the first few pages of the story. It's a very personal story; a large part of my heart is poured onto the page.

You moved from being the highfalutin', Eisner-nominated creator of his own original graphic novel to somebody doing an eight-page backup in an anniversary issue of a work-for-hire project. There are those who would ask what went wrong, but I'm guessing you're not one of them.

It never occurred to me to think of it the way you just said it.

I guess that is what it is but to me, it's a self-contained story about the loss of my mom, for a title that I adore, for a company that I love. And a backup story to a writer in Josh Dysart that I'm a huge admirer of.

So to me it felt like the total, perfect, natural progression. The Fifth Beatle literally took a decade to get off the ground so the fact that I can get [Harbinger] out in July...I've got fans now for the first time, and the fans aren't going to have to wait another decade before they can see something from me!

I suspect that when you read it,you'll be like, "Oh yeah, I get it." It is very me. I think it feels like a totally normal and awesome progression for me. I was at Phoenix Comic Con and on the Valiant panel sitting next to Joe Harris and Robert Venditti and it was like, "How did I get here? This is awesome."

To be up there on stage, to me it feels like an amazing step forward in my career. I admired all these creators and by moving in Valiant circles, some of them I would call friend and now that I'm writing a story, even call them colleagues. To me, what better progression could I ask for?

Obviously you've got anniversary specials coming up for Archer & Armstrong and probably for Bloodshot and whatever else -- would you want to come back and do more of these?

I would love to do more work for Valiant – and Archer & Armstrong is a great series but I don't know that I would work on that one. I don't know that I'm very funny; my work is pretty serious. I want to tell a story about the friend that Peter lost and the story i'm going to tell is about Joe losing his mom. Let me tell a story about the gay, Jewish, outcast manager of the Beatles that never got the recognition he deserves!

If they offered it I would spend some serious time brainstorming it. But for Archer & Armstrong, I would fear that my piece would not be very good.

I do actually have an idea that I wanted to get this done first and make sure everybody likes it but I do have an idea that I'd like to pitch as a Faith story.

I would love to write for any of the other Valiant characters. I love the entire roster and I'm not saying that because I'm involved, I think the books are amazing. My only fear is that for Archer and Armstrong or Quantum and Woody, characters like that, I'm not funny enough.

Okay, so what would your ideal follow-up be?

The [Harbinger] short story is called "Into Memory," and I do have sort of in the back of my head a very vague thought that it would be cool to tell a few different "Into Memory" stories that deal with memories and backstory for a variety of different Valiant characters.

If they asked me to do something else, I would love to do an "Into Memory" for Bloodshot, for X-O Manowar -- that sort of idea of delving into memory.

And it's actually the literal translation of In Memoriam -- that when somebody dies you don't lose them but they go into your memory. And so I would love to do even more "Into Memory" stories.