The man behind the relaunch of the Gold Key comics for Dynamite, Nate Cosby, is going to be writing the new take on Prince Valiant as part of the King Features launch next year. Byron Brewer chatted with Cosby about the project and the character.
BYRON BREWER: First of all, Nate, I would like to congratulate you on the success of the Gold Key comics, which you edit and package. How does it feel to be part of the rebirth of an iconic comic book universe like Gold Key?
NATE COSBY: Thanks! It’s been a blast. I got to bring in my buddies Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente, got to meet and work with the talented Frank Barbiere, and it’s always an honor anytime y’get to work with Mark Waid. And Mirko Colak, Cory Smith, Roberto Castro, Joe Bennett and Jonathan Lau and several other artists, the colorists and letterer Marshall Dillon, everybody’s been doing great work. I had no real previous knowledge or experience with the Gold Key characters, but I think sometimes it’s good to have fresh eyes on pre-existing characters, and try to recognize what makes characters and worlds tick, what still works, what can be trimmed from history to make the stories seem modern but timeless. Always a fun challenge, especially when you get to work with talented collaborators. I’m very lucky that Dynamite entrusted us with Gold Key.
BB: And now you are participating in this celebration of the 100th anniversary of King Feature Syndicate with Dynamite. Can you tell me how you became involved?
NC: I’m also the packager/editor of the Kings Watch miniseries and the current Flash Gordon series, and when Dynamite told me that more characters in the line might be available, I was foaming at the mouth with excitement. I LOVE all these King characters, and have since I was a kid. We’ve got an excellent opportunity to build and expand the new King line, with the same sense of fun and whimsy established by Jeff Parker, Marc Laming, Jordan Boyd, Evan Shaner, Jordie Bellaire and Simon Bowland in Kings Watch and Flash.
BB: You will be writing the 4-issue mini-series saluting Prince Valiant. Was this your selection, and if so why this character?
NC: Yeah, I was going through the casting process, first by reading some old King comics …like 1930s old. I kept looking through the old Prince Valiant strips, and all these memories of reading them as a kid in the Sunday paper came rushing back, and I looked at this one particular shot of Valiant and just thought, “Val.” I felt shorthand with the guy, and I understood what his goals and weaknesses and strengths were. And then I figured out how he’s gonna ultimately meet up with the rest of the King characters, and from there I felt I could handle the story.
Of all the characters, The Phantom is probably my favorite…but Val’s the one I can relate to the most.
BB: Tell us your interpretation of this iconic newspaper comic strip and comic book hero.
NC: Val’s an orphan. A son. A spy. A liar. A hero. A bragger. A prince. A peasant. Brash. Insecure. Resolute. And he will dare ANY adventure.
BB: What type of swashbuckling derring-do will be going on in this storyline?
NC: By Page 2 of Issue #1, Val will already be hip-deep in trouble. He can’t stop fighting for some reason. There’ll be Vikings and savage Britons and lizards and witches and knights and thieves and wizards and demons and pretty much everybody Val meets wants to take a swing at him. And he’s happy to reply in kind.
BB: Tell us a little about the “big-bad” in the mini.
NC: No way! That’d be cheating. I will say that Val’s gonna have his Singing Sword out a LOT. He’s from the times of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. Plenty of quests and villains for Val to lay low with a grin on his face.
BB: Are you looking forward to working with artist Ron Salas?
NC: No. I am VIBRATING with EXCITEMENT and FEAR to be working with Ron Salas. I’ve worked with him a little in the past, and always been a fan. He’s unbelievably great at picture-drawing. But I really think this is his best work ever. I’m sweating bullets every time I send script to him, worried he’s not gonna like it. But he’s been turning in some gorgeous, gorgeous pages.
BB: I cannot even imagine how Prince Valiant’s book will dovetail with the rest of the King crew in a crossover at the end. Can you enlighten?
NC: I can say…if you pick up the Flash Gordon Annual, you’ll get a glimpse of how Val might be meeting up with the rest of the King’s heroes…and who he might be picking up as a sidekick along the way.