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Indie Comics Spotlight: How Tim Seeley is rebooting Bloodshot before the big movie
Valiant Comics' nanite-driven supersoldier Bloodshot can be seen everywhere lately, and so can comic book writer and artist Tim Seeley. In addition to the new ongoing Bloodshot series he's writing, he's also working on Money Shot (Vault) and Dark Red (Aftershock) and has a new Hack/Slash crossover with The Crow. And did we mention that he's also the new managing editor of Heavy Metal magazine?
Seeley's current Bloodshot run alongside visionary artist Brett Booth (Justice League of America, Backlash, Teen Titans) follows Bloodshot: Rising Spirit (2018) by writer Kevin Grevioux and Ken Lashley. In Seeley's run, which started in September 2019, Bloodshot has a new deadly foe, the government-sanctioned Black Bar. (Think of them as cyborg Mission: Impossible baddies that the government can disavow at any moment.) And as we see in Issue 2, his new nemesis, a woman named Eidolon, is Bloodshot's new worst nightmare.
With fans primed for Vin Diesel's performance in next year's feature film, Seely has the daunting task of writing a rather well-known character and making it fresh for new audiences. However, Seeley has a knack for reintroducing us to characters we are already familiar with and taking them in new directions, as evidenced by his Grayson and Nightwing runs.
SYFY WIRE spoke to Seeley about why he took on the project, whether any of this run is tied to the upcoming movie, and how he gets it all done.
How did you get involved with this project?
I know a number of the current and former editors at Valiant from working with them at Marvel and DC. Joe Illidge, Karl Bollers, Kyle Andrukiewiz, Heather Antos, Warren Simons ... and I think, at some point, we talked about me doing one of the buddy comedy books. But then, one day, I got a call asking if I had any thoughts on Bloodshot, to which I answered, "Yes. Indeed."
Bloodshot is one of Valiant's oldest and most popular titles. Was it daunting taking on this series with such a loyal fanbase?
It's one of my favorite things to do, to reverse-engineer something that fits into an existing universe but feels like it's always been there. I felt like Bloodshot had fought plenty of evil corporations, but I wanted to give him some enemies who felt justified in opposing him for something other than greed. And Black Bar definitely thinks they're the good guys here, as do the villains we introduce in Issue 3!
Even though you're new to the Bloodshot universe, you are not new to the concept of soldiers who wrestle with their own moral code. What attracts you to that theme?
I guess it's because I really respect soldiers, but feel pretty conflicted about needing them.
Ideally, the military might wouldn't be the best way to get things done, but we don't live in an ideal world. So I'm fascinated by the pragmatism of soldiers ... they understand that we need boots on the ground, and bigger guns in the world as it is. The conflict between ideals and necessity is really interesting, and they epitomize that.
Bloodshot has always been one part Tin Man, one part Frankenstein's monster. Which side of the storyline do you feel your run focuses on?
Oh, I'm all in on the Frankenstein aspects of the character. I'm a horror writer by nature, I think, and I definitely feel like I'm doing a high-tech action version of the Universal Monsters universe here. Which is right up my alley.
There's an elegance to the "monster who didn't ask to be born" story, and Bloodshot is such an interesting take on it.
What's your process like with Brett Booth? Has he drawn anything for you that's made you rewrite to fit his style?
Not yet, but I certainly keep the option open. The guy's an absolute pro ... I just hand the script to him and get out of the way, usually. I think Brett and I are pretty copacetic on what the book should be, and the rest of the team as well. Although, Brett did point out recently I don't write many, if any, double-page spreads for him, so I have to do my penance!
You are also currently working on Money Shot and Dark Red and your new Crow/Hack/Slash crossover. How do you juggle that production schedule?
Don't forget I'm also managing editor of Heavy Metal and I have a five-week-old baby! The answer is I barely make all of this work at all times, but I feel like if I stop moving, I'll die.
How many issues are we getting, and is your storyline going to tie into the movie?
It doesn't tie into the movie directly, though it's definitely intended to tie into it spiritually. The movie, as you've seen by the trailer, is a big action story, with lots of twists and heart. So that's what the comic is, though it's its own thing.
What are you working on next?
I've got another Valiant project in the oven and more creator-owned stuff! And lots of Bloodshot to keep your eyes full.