Bloodshot Rising Spirit will mark the first time the origin of Valiant’s fan-favorite character has ever been revealed, and ComicBook.com had a chance to talk to the whole team all about it, including the newly revealed addition of Kevin Grevioux.
Grevioux, whose work includes helping to create the Underworld franchise as well as numerous series for Marvel and DC, will be scripting the story created by Lonnie Nadler and Zac Thompson. It also marks a reunion of sorts for Grevioux, as he’ll also be working alongside editor Karl Bollers and artist Ken Lashley, who have all worked together on previous projects. We had the chance to sit down with Grevioux, Bollers, and Lashley, to talk all about what the series is setting out to do.
“You know, for me, I hope they get a sense of the fun and the excitement of the Valiant universe,” Grevioux said. “This is one of Valiant’s quintessential characters, flagship-type characters that really carries the essence of the franchise. We hope to bring truly what fans are used to. A lot of bold, exciting action with a twist of fun. That’s always a great combination.”
“For me, I’d say that this is our opportunity to tell the definitive Bloodshot origin, which we’ve hinted at,” Bollers said. “I think that that’s really going to excite people who may not be that familiar with the character. It’s going to be a good jumping on access point for people who don’t know Bloodshot. It’s a good entry point.”
The team definitely described the book as new reader friendly, so this is really the perfect place to jump on. That doesn’t mean though that longtime Bloodshot fans won’t have plenty to look forward to, and this is not a reboot in any way.
“No, we’re not rebooting it at all. We want this to operate in the way that if you’re a long-time Valiant fan, there will be things in there for you that you will see and you will recognize,” Bollers said. “At the same time, if you’re unfamiliar with Valiant, that stuff won’t stand out as distracting. It will just go right over your head but still be entertaining. It’s going to operate on the level for fans who were already initiated to the character, as well as the more casual reader.”
Kevin, Karl, and Ken have known each other for 10 years, and Kevin couldn’t be more thrilled to be working with them again.
Kevin: You know, I mean, this dude puts the P in power with every stroke of his pencil. That’s why they call him lead killer. He kills with every stroke,” Grevioux said. “Yeah, 10 years. We met when I was doing New Warriors and the Blue Marvel. He was still working at Marvel. We collaborated, had written a few things together at Marvel. It’s like … It’s good to have an editor who is also a writer, and a good one. This is a cat who is Eisner nominated. When you’re working with someone like that, who knows the craft of writing, he knows how to craft a story. Unlike most editors he works with you to enhance you, not to further his own ends. It’s about the project, and the writing, and making it cool. That’s what he’s about. He’s a team player. All of them are team players.”
Lashley concurred, saying, “100%”, while Bollers added “You should write my acceptance speech, Kevin. For anything. For anything.”
As for Bloodshot, the character comes with numerous opportunities that the team is excited to explore.
“As an artist, there is a lot to it. I mean, even listening to you guys talk about it, it’s … I’ve been around a long time,” Lashley said. “I’ve done a lot of things. There’s a lot of people, we’re coming from a lot of different projects, but very few times in your career do you get a chance to work with a creative team that gets what your strengths are. That’s what this is about. I know that my strength is energy and power and this kind of stuff. Not a lot of talking heads and people talking around, sitting around bars. That’s not my thing. This is energy and full of … It’s just a fun book to draw. This is really … Every artist, what we really want to do is we want to draw exciting things. That’s what this is about. It’s an old-school throwback, old-school comic book where you turn the page and you’re like, “Wow, that’s wicked.” That’s all it’s really about. I’m excited about it.”
“For me, for my perspective, I’d say that I know these guys are two industry talents. Ken has been in the business … Remember he was working on Excalibur back in the 90s, and now he’s working on … He’s worked for Marvel, DC, and now we’re really excited to have him here at Valiant working on one of our flagship characters. He’s going to bring a lot of energy and excitement,” Bollers said. “The pages look great. I get excited every time he turns in new material. We’re just like, “Wow.”
“Kevin is my buddy. I’ve known Kevin for years. We love talking story and writing. It’s almost as if everything that we’ve discussed has been leading up to this moment, where we can actually execute something using all of those ideas and writing concepts that we spoke about that we wanted to see in good comics. We always said, “What do we want to see in a great comic?” Now we have the opportunity to put our money where our mouths are,” Bollers said.
Bloodshot presents some equally exciting prospects for Lashley, with the character really working to his strengths.
“I mean it’s … Coming off of some of the books that I’ve done in the last few years, I did X-Men for a while and there’s a lot of cooks in the kitchen. Right? There’s always something that they’re trying to get torward, and they’re trying to do this and that,” Lashley said. “This is not like that. This is one of those things where play to your strengths. Very few times in your career do you get to play to your strengths. It’s always to, “This is our agenda. This is what we want to do. Go ahead and draw it. Sometimes you get a script and it’s really not … It’s not something that you really want to draw. I’ve had many jobs where I’ve had to bow out early because it wasn’t what I thought it was going to be. This is not one of those instances. This is a job where I just get a chance to cut loose, and do some fun stuff, and push myself a little bit.”
“I’m getting chances to do some interesting things and I think people are going to be surprised,” Lashley said. “I haven’t drawn so many characters with guns. Working on my gun game. There’s a lot of blood, a lot of splatter. It’s a lot of fun. You don’t get a chance to … You just don’t get a chance to draw crazy … It’s kind of a horror book. It’s horror and … I’m not known for that. I’m known for superheroes in tights and capes and that kind of stuff. To get a chance to draw an earth-grounded kind of character that’s gotta drive places, shoot people, and get shot. It’s going to be … It’s a wild ride. I’ve had a lot of fun doing it.”
Bloodshot’s been around for some time, but in that time his origin’s never really been explored in this sort of way.
“Well, from an editorial standpoint, we have never revealed to fans of Bloodshot who Bloodshot it, who he really is. He’s sort of been a cipher. We know he’s got all these false memories, and he adopted the Ray Garrison identity after a while, but that was more of a choice on his part,” Bollers said. “He made the choice to adopt Ray Garrison’s identity, even though he is not Ray Garrison.
I think in this series, what we’re going to give the fans is we’re going to reveal who Bloodshot really is for the very first time. It’s cool.”
“It’s really kind of exciting because essentially what you’re talking about is what is quest for an identity, or a soul, so to speak,” Grevioux said. “The ultimate who am I and based on who I am, what does that make me? You know? What does that mean in terms of the way I live my life? I think those are things that we all can identify with.”
“That’s where the rising spirit part plays into the title,” Bollers said. “This is Bloodshot: Rising Spirit. Even though he was created by Project Rising Spirit, ironically enough, the Rising Spirit in the title actually refers to Bloodshot this time around. We are definitely going to see the series with elements that can be or possibly will be continued on into the present Valiant universe because this story sets his past.”
Bloodshot is a popular character, but there is no shortage of amazing characters and books out on the market at the moment. Valiant knows you might not have had the money, time, or opportunity to give the character a shot in the past, but it has a pretty convincing pitch as to why that should change now.
“I’ll answer that because I’m exactly that guy,” Lashley said. “I have to be straight with you. I didn’t know much about the Valiant universe. When you work in comics, you see the covers, you don’t have time to read other stuff. You just don’t. This is the first time … I did not realize what I was getting into when I signed on to this book.”
“Let me tell you something,” Lashley continued. “I signed on because I have a good relationship with the people who work at Valiant. Then I realized the fan base is insane. They have contacted me. I thought X-Men was crazy. You Valiant people … They are out of control and I absolutely love it. They’ve contacted me constantly and say, “When’s it coming out? Give me the street date. Hook me up with a drawing.” It’s absolutely insane. I was like, “Okay, let me take a step back and enjoy this’. So I know I have to really bring the goods. This is not one of those jobs where you have a lot of history for myself. ‘Oh you draw an X-Men book? Anybody can draw and X-Men book’, you know what I mean? This is a very … this fan base is thirsty. You have to really give them what they’re asking for.”
“I am exactly that guy,” Lashley said. “I’m the guy who’s learning on the fly. I’m finding out about this character as I’m drawing it. I have some knowledge of it. I’ve read some things. Every day I have to … I’m asking questions. “What’s this? Oh, okay, that happened here. Okay, that’s cool.” It’s great to be part of a universe … creating new things for a universe that is so beloved.”
“I think that’s the beauty of working for Valiant,” Grevioux said. “They’re a company that really shows a lot of care and loyalty to its fan base, and also to creators. That’s important.”
“On a different note, but the same note, let me tell you something,” Lashley said. “I have been asked out to dinner more times since I joined the Valiant universe. I’ve worked at some big companies for a long time and I could count on dinner two or three times a year. I’ve been asked at least six or seven times. Every show I see one of them and they’re like, “Hey, man. Let’s do this.” That tells me something. They’re invested in my perspectives as well as their own. These are the small things that see insignificant and small, but they mean a lot of creators. Creators want to find a place that they’re home. That’s all we’re striving for. Just a place that we call home. If it’s not home, I’m always going to be looking.”
You can find more images from Bloodshot Rising Spirit #1 above, and the series debuts on November 14th.