by Vince Brusio
Russian hacking has been in the news lately. Here’s a question: what if it’s a reverberation of some future fiasco? What if it’s somehow connected in some interdimensional way to the storyline that plays out in Divinity III: Shadowman and the Battle of New Stalingrad #1 (DEC162034)? Ok. Calm down. We’re just pulling your leg. But…what if? In any event, playing with contemporary culture and tying it to fiction can be a lot of fun when you let your brain run wild. So imagine the fun Scott Bryan Wilson had in creating chaos for the Kremlin with Valiant Entertainment’s Divinity III: Shadowman and the Battle of New Stalingrad #1 (DEC162034)? Want a clue? Check out what Scott had to say to us about the book in this PREVIEWSworld Exclusive interview.
Vince Brusio: How did you formulate the idea behind Divinity III: Shadowman and the Battle of New Stalingrad #1 (DEC162034)? What sort of magical mystery tour through your mind came up with the foundation for this story? What did you use to strike sparks?
Scott Bryan Wilson: Matt Kindt came up with the Stalinverse concept, which grew out of his Divinity series (of which I was already a huge fan). Valiant told me about it and asked me what I would do with Shadowman in that world. I was immediately intrigued at the possibilities for stories that could be told in this universe — it really opens up so many possibilities! And as a New Yorker, I tried to imagine what it would be like if an army just came in and took over. I realized it would not be pretty for the army, or fun for anyone.
Vince Brusio: As they’re now both agents of the USSR in the Stalinverse universe, what sets apart Shadowman from X-O Manowar in this story? Meaning, in regards to their morals? Are they on the same page? Is it best if they keep their distance from each other?
Scott Bryan Wilson: They are definitely not on the same page! Jack's living in a bombed-out building, and things basically go downhill from there, while Aric, Son of the Revolution, has the full might of the Soviets behind him!
Vince Brusio: Shadowman is portrayed as a "freedom fighter." What burden does that carry? And how well does he carry that burden?
Scott Bryan Wilson: Well, one of the interesting things about Shadowman is that he always carries some baggage and everything isn't always rosy for him. Things aren't any better for him in the Stalinverse, where he finds himself without any roots and reluctantly thrust into the role of a freedom fighter. He's not even comfortable with his powers, much less his role as a leader of a bunch of New Yorkers (or should I say, "New Stalingraders") who are fed up with the Soviets.
Vince Brusio: What kind of words were exchanged between you and Robert Gill during production? How did you weigh in on his initial pencils?
Scott Bryan Wilson: Before I wrote a word, I imagined three consecutive double-page spreads that I instantly knew would have to be in the book, so everything was written backward from those three spreads. Robert got exactly what I wanted to do in those spreads. He's been receptive to the layout demands of the script, while also showing me when a scene or page could be much more dynamic than I had envisioned, or even moving the action across the page in a different way than I had imagined. In that way, it's really a solid, collaborative relationship, and, most important, the book is stronger for it. Plus he's a great artist! I can't wait for people to see this book.
Vince Brusio: If you could offer a snapshot of a scene that you think encapsulates the heart and soul of this book, what would we see? What's the sound bite?
Scott Bryan Wilson: Oh man, there are so many good, crucial scenes in this issue. Robert is really knocking it out of the park, but I want to keep them a surprise. Someone on Twitter asked me what the issue was going to be like, and I'll tell you what I told them: Twenty-two pages of complete mayhem!
Vince Brusio writes about comics, and writes comics. He is the long-serving Editor of PREVIEWSworld.com, the creator of PUSSYCATS, and encourages everyone to keep the faith...and keep reading comics.