Robert Venditti On X-O Manowar And Working For Valiant

wed6Peter G talked to Robert Venditti at C2E2 under the watchful eye of a Valiant PR person.

Did you choose to do XO, or were you chosen for it.

I had to pitch for it, just like anything else.  They approached me about working for Valiant – not XO specifically, just any character I had an interest in, and would I be interested in pitching for anything, and XO is the one that jumped out at me.  So that was the one I submitted my pitch for and I ended up getting it.  But it’s not like I knew from the beginning that it was my book, I had to earn it.

Do you notice any difference between the fans of the new Valiant and the old Valiant?  Are many of the old fans returning?

There are a lot of returning fans, but a lot of new ones as well, which is nice.  From the get-go, I wanted to get new readers, but I also wanted to do the relaunch in a way that would retain all the things that the original readers still enjoyed about the book.  So that’s kind of what we were trying to do.

Do you have much to live up to as far as the series’ old reputation goes?

Absolutely, yes.  It was an enormously popular series.  Some of the best guys in the history of the medium worked on the book.  But I can’t really focus on trying to compete with those guys.  I can just tell the stories I like to tell the way I like to tell them and hope the people like them.

Are you retelling the old stories, or are you taking them in a new direction?

New stories.  Same core concept, but new stories.

How much creative say do you have in what happens with the stories?

I work with the editors and they spend a lot of time making sure that my vision gets on the page.  I’m taking input from them and making sure things work within the larger architecture of the universe.  Creatively, I have a lot of input.

Given your history with Top Shelf and creator-owned comics like Surrogates, do you have any qualms about Valiant and how some people are saying that they are not getting payment for reprints?

…I really don’t know anything about that.

What do you see in the future for the series?  I know it was planned from the beginning of the relaunch that Valiant was going to be multimedia and start doing movies and such.  Are you trying to make sure the comics dovetail into a movie, or how are you approaching it?

I just write the story the way I want to write the story, and if it becomes a movie, it does.  That’s the way it’s been with all the stuff I’ve done, really.  My experience with The Surrogates is the odds of something being made into a movie are so astronomical, that to try to do that intentionally?  You just got to tell your story and whatever happens, happens.

If they do make XO into a movie, who would you hope to see in the lead roles?

One guy that I think would be very interesting is Taylor Kitsch.  I liked Friday Night Lights a lot.  I think he would be a good Aric.  He’s got that sort of young handsomeness, but he’s also very brash.  He’s a very good actor, as well, so I like him.  I think he’d be a good Aric.

Are you going to be working on any other Valiant titles, or are you sticking with XO?  Because I know you’re also working on a lot of other stuff for publishers as well.

I’ve worked on Ninjak and the next arc of XO.  I started issue 15 of Eternal Warrior, so I am working on other characters as well as XO.  There’s a lot of characters in the stable that I find really really compelling.

The Valiant Universe has always been very tightly knit.  I cannot imagine the editorial headache of trying to keep everything straight.  Do you find it difficult to keep everything straight so that readers don’t go, “Hey, you missed this detail here?”

Not really.  It’s not a heavy-handed approach.  It’s like all things – if they work within the context of the story, we do them, and if they don’t, we don’t.  We’re not trying to force links between books or anything like that.

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