A Steady Hand
Tripwire’s contributing writer Scott Braden talks to Valiant’s newly promoted senior editor Lysa Hawkins about the return of characters like Ninjak, Bloodshot and Rai…
Jim Shooter. Bob Layton. Mike Marts. These names bring to mind four-color masters who transformed mere comic books into must-read events and best-selling titles. Now, we present one more name to add to that esteemed pantheon of Valiant editors.
Hawkins made her start in comics as Virginia Romita’s production assistant in the famous Marvel Bullpen. According to Hawkins, she was doing everything by hand at that point – and was working at the House of Ideas when its staff ushered in the digital age in the Bullpen.
Today, she has graduated to the position of senior editor for Valiant Entertainment. It’s there she manages the editorial department and trains the staff. She also makes publishing plans, schedules, and numerous amounts of “other” things. In her own words: “We oversee talent relations and of course, we edit great books!”
Now, as Valiant returns to comics stands worldwide, Hawkins is the steady hand behind new comics and projects from the popular comic book publisher. Besides the much-anticipated Ninjak and its superstar creative team, there is also the return of Bloodshot and Rai. And that means there is a return to greatness!
What do you find so fascinating about the character of Ninjak?
“At a quick glance, the average comic book reader would see traces of Batman and James Bond in the character of Ninjak. So immediately going into the book you “know” this hero. Or at least you think you do. Colin King lulls you in. He’s seductive, deadly and altogether his own man. I love Ninjak because he’s got endless possibilities.”
Originally created by Mark Moretti and comics superstar Joe Quesada within the pages of the 1993-released Bloodshot #6, Ninjak grew to become one of Valiant’s standout characters, with those who chronicle his adventures continuing to add all-out action to the publisher’s grand four-color mythos.
What is different from this iteration of Ninjak than from the character’s previous versions? What makes your action-packed, forthcoming comic stand out in today’s market?
“In this take, I said to myself: What if Ninjak was the love child of James Bond and Modesty Blaise? In this ’60-esque mod thriller, Ninjak goes on a globe-hopping, pulse-pounding adventure with eye-popping art. You know cliffhangers lurk around every corner (and certainly the last page! ).”
How did you successfully enlist comic book superstars Jeff Parker (Future Quest) and Javier Pulido (Amazing Spider-Man) to bring your vision to life?
“Timing is everything in life and getting these two together was kismet! Jeff writes the scripts with Javier in mind. There is a lot of collaboration going on. Real old-school Marvel Method. Team Ninjak really enjoys working together and it shows with the art. The storytelling is amazing. Action jumps clear off the page.”
You have edited Valiant’s other fan-favourite series, Bloodshot and Rai. What elements will readers find in your new Ninjak series that is similar to these top-selling series?
“Hopefully they will find a great read! I’m super excited for this series because it’s unlike any Ninjak that came before, but it’s completely 100 percent Ninjak. Big, bold and in your face. Jeff really gets Ninjak. His banter is perfect! I suspect any person who picks up issue #1 will be back for issue #2. You would just need to know what was going to happen next.”
Talking about Bloodshot and Rai, they return to comics stands in August. What can fans expect from these acclaimed comics’ forthcoming storylines?
“Yes! Very happy to have them return. I miss my boys. Bloodshot starts a new arc with issue #7 where we will learn just who The Burned really are. Rai begins a new arc with issue #6, where Rai and Raijin will find themselves facing a new and very dangerous foe.”
In your opinion, why should comics fans spend their hard-earned dollar on Valiant titles? What makes Valiant one of today’s most exciting comic book lines on the market?
“Valiant doesn’t flood the market with many titles, but the books we do put out are done with care and a whole lot of love. I’m proud of my books. I create comics I’d want to read. I hope you do too!”
Visit Valiant’s website to find out more