Jody Houser talks new villains, new costume, and the Valiant future of Faith

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Apr 28, 2016, 6:40 PM EDT

You heard it from the headlines: Faith is here to stay. After winning the hearts of so many during her explosive comic miniseries and stealing page after page of Harbinger, Faith Herbert (also known as the superhero Zephyr) has been rightfully granted an ongoing comic book series from Valiant, releasing this summer. The first issue of this high-flying fangirl’s miniseries just went into its fifth printing, and plans for the character continue to expand as an overwhelming amount of support pours in from fans of all walks of life. All of this excitement is being guided by the mind of Jody Houser, the author of Dark Horse’s Orphan Black comic series among several other projects for other studios, including Marvel and Valiant. Houser is prepping for an extremely busy coming year, also dedicating her pen to guiding titles such as Mother Panic, under Gerard Way’s new DC imprint, Animals.

Houser’s take on Faith Herbert is so often a candid look at what it means to be a fan that her superheroism sometimes comes second, though it is definitely a core part of her story, (and Zephyr’s high-octane fight scenes are truly a sight to behold). Faith has proven that not only can a story about a plus-sized superhero fly off the shelves just like Faith herself, but that a story about a fangirl -- so often perceived in our daily lives as someone less just because of their love for something -- can sell this way, too. Whether she’s navigating her way through a perilous social situation or out-flying baddies like an acrobatic jet plane, Faith is as real as any superhero comic character can be, and serves as reassurance that being a fangirl is something to be proud of.


With just months until release, I spoke with Jody Houser about where Faith is going, and how (thanks to the launch of Faith’s miniseries) the character managed to become a mainstay in comics practically overnight.

I feel like Faith is relatable in the same manner that Spider-Man was for so long -- no matter who you are, the character is facing a problem or displays an element that you can relate to. For Faith, what is yours?

Faith's love of pop culture and how it's influenced her is definitely something I can relate to. Her love of fandom references comes straight from me.

Faith is a bonafide fangirl, and that’s one of the reasons we love her so much. How will we see Faith’s fandom portrayed in the upcoming series? Are there any easter eggs for fans to look out for?

Faith's fandom will continue to play a big part in her life, in both her day job at Zipline and the new friendships she makes in her personal life.

Let’s talk crossovers. Faith is about to go on her first date with Archer, but are there any other Valiant heroes or villains that will be popping by her title to say hi?

We'll have to see! First up, Faith will be getting a villain that's all her own, though.

Faith does an incredible job at celebrating body diversity -- with the new series, will we see more diverse characters on the roster? Is there anyone in particular that you’re excited to write again, or for fans to meet?

I definitely want to keep Faith's world looking like real-life LA, which is very diverse like most big cities. Her coworker Jay's girlfriend is a fun character and someone who will become important in Faith's life.

No superhero is complete without adversaries. When pulling villains or creating villains for Faith, what are some of the major elements that you keep in mind regarding what will give her a challenge?

Being a superhero is a hard life, and Faith made the choice to live that life with that full knowledge in mind. I want to make sure I don't make things too easy along the way, so the challenges that come along will test all aspects of who she is.

Do you think a costume change is in Faith’s future? What’s the one thing you’d like to add to her ensemble if you could (examples: new belt, accessory, gear, etc.)?

That actually comes into play in the first story arc! I don't want to say much more beyond that.

With Faith in mind, what would your Valiant superhero dream team be?

Faith and Ninjak team up to make the rest of the Valiant universe watch the classic British sci-fi comedy Red Dwarf.

What do you hope fans will take away (emotionally) from the upcoming series?

I hope it will continue to be a fun and optimistic take on what a superhero can accomplish.

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