Exclusive: Simon Furman on classic British superheroes reborn in The Vigilant #1

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Aug 14, 2018, 4:51 PM EDT

Sit down Avengers, Fantastic Four, Guardians of the Galaxy, Teen Titans, and the Suicide Squad and pay some deserved respect to a cadre of classic British superheroes being resurrected by Rebellion and 2000 AD in a bold new commando crimefighter series, The Vigilant.

This sensational force of reborn heroes is sharply written by Simon Furman (Transformers) and paired with gorgeous main art by Simon Coleby (Dreaming EaglesJaegir, Judge Dredd), The Vigilant #1 is a kickass summer one-shot being unleashed on August 15.

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Its old-fashioned storyline finds the nefarious forces of Von Hoffman and Dr. Mesmer teaming up to snare the immortal Adam Eterno from the winds of time. With the threads of reality at risk, a brash band of home-grown English heroes composed of charismatic super-beings, warlocks, warriors, and monsters make a defiant stand between civilization and endless chaos.

Crusaders like The Leopard from Lime Street, Steel Commando, Dr. Sin, Pete’s Pocket Army, Blake Edmonds, Yāo, and Thunderbolt the Avenger are all resurrected and primed for a new generation in this rousing ‘Rebellion-verse’ adventure.

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SYFY WIRE scored an exclusive eight-page peek at the premiere issue and spoke with Furman on bringing these beloved IPC characters into the 21st century, his love of forgotten superheroes, redesigning the British-flavored comic stars for 'Rebellion-verse,' and his hopes that fans will embrace their ongoing exploits and endeavors.

What associations did you have with the original source material growing up?

I can only hope that people picking up The Vigilant in 2018 experience even half the excitement I did as a kid reading the adventures of these iconic British comic characters in their source comics – Lion, Valiant, Tiger and many others. The creators who came before me fed my youthful imagination, and The Vigilant is our 21st century tribute to their incredible work. I’ve worked hard to stay true to the core of those characters while making them relevant for a new audience.

Was there a particular trick employed in making these British-bred heroes relevant again?

Everything we’ve done with The Vigilant is very much keyed into the heritage of the British comics we’re mining here, but in the last forty years comics – and comics readers – have changed immeasurably, and we wanted to make The Vigilant fit for purpose in the modern era. That meant a change of visual look or ageing up, and in some cases changes to the characters too – rethinking some, right down to gender or ethnicity, and throwing brand new characters into the mix. But even where we’ve shaken things up, there’s a strong connective filament to the source material.

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What can readers look forward to in The Vigilant #1 and what was the best part of your collaboration with artist Simon Coleby?

This really has been a dream job for me – a chance to breathe new life into characters dormant for decades – and I’ve given it my all. This the launch pad for the entire Rebellion-verse of superheroes, and I wanted to make it truly explosive - and wholly entry level, even for readers who’ve never heard of Adam Eterno, The Leopard From Lime Street, etc. With the inestimable help of artist Simon Coleby we’ve (re-)introduced a swath of characters in a story that’s full to the brim with action, drama, flawed and conflicted heroes, diabolical villains, head–spinning concepts and outright spectacle. I’m hugely proud of what we’ve achieved and hope people will now grow to love these characters all over again/for the first time… and come back for more!