Last week at this time, we were getting snowed under here in Kentucky. Today, the snow is gone and it is going to be over 60 degrees. That’s like a heat wave after all the cold temperatures this winter. And speaking of hot (see what I did there?), last week’s article with Kevin VanHook was a huge success with the fans of Valiant. Thanks for all the great feedback. If you haven’t yet, be sure to join the Facebook group!
And now let’s revisit last weeks (I’ve said “last week” 3 times now. Next thing you know I’ll be going back in time, like Ivar or something) hint: “He’s pretty funny…for a delinquent.” With these super tough hints (guessed by Brett Simon in a matter of minutes), it may have been hard to figure out (yeah, right!), that this weeks guest is, James Asmus. You know of Mr. Asmus by reading his hilarious stories of Quantum and Woody and also The Delinquents. If you haven’t yet: GO NOW, BUY, READ! Here is his Top 5 Valiant moments:
“I’m mostly drawn to talking about the things that made me most thrilled to be working for Valiant on Quantum & Woody. If you’re looking for my favorite moments I wrote? That might be harder for me put together an index of patting myself on the back. Off the top of my head, though, favorite experiences definitely include:
- The cavalcade of great cover artists and fun variants – including (but not limited to) Chip Zdarsky’s Goat #0, the 8-Bit Zelda parody on #4, Tom Fowler’s connect-the-dots cover, the East Coast/West Coast retailer Ass Map variants for Delinquents #1, getting a Tony millionaire CBLD variant (which, incidentally, he GAVE me the original art for!), and many, many more. Including…
- The Delinquents board game. Editorial put together an incredibly cool concept incredibly well by making connecting variant covers for Delinquents #1-4 that create a playable board game. Each issue included game pieces and action cards in the back (as well as bonus pieces scattered throughout other titles and outlets). The game is both really fun and totally true to the spirit and story of the book. They did such a fantastic job that I keep hoping they’ll release a more accessible version of it on its own, too.
- Their amazing balance between genuine camaraderie and dedication to quality. I’ve worked for a LOT of different companies – in comics, TV/film, theater, and video games. And I’ve been very, very lucky in having mostly positive (even wonderful) experiences throughout. But Valiant has been the most personally supportive team – with genuine human connections and friendships offered from every single person there. AND, on top of that, they are the most truly tireless in their dedication to quality. Sure, sometimes, you just wish a draft was “good enough” for you to move on. But in the end, not settling for anything less than the best you can do is an incredible virtue. Comics are always a little hampered by the relentless monthly schedule. But their drive and thoughtfulness always pushes me to deliver more, and it’s resulted in books I’m as proud of as anything I’ve done.
- The freedom & trust. I’m not sure many other companies would let me play so fast and loose with their IP. From brotherly penis-touching in issue #2, to reinventing the identity of the beloved Goat, to digging on Thomas Edison’s worse qualities, to any number of jokes that I genuinely thought wouldn’t be allowed to see print when I first wrote them – Valiant has let me experiment and chase the weirder impulses these characters suggest to my (equally weird?) brain. And it makes me really, really trust them when they think something might be “too much.”
- The collaborators. My editors (Jody LeHoup, Alejandro Arbona, Josh Johns) have always been true collaborators – and they’ve done a pitch-perfect job of recruiting artists who tap into the spirit of what we’re doing. Tom Fowler, Ming Doyle, Kano, Wilfredo Torres, Erica Henderson, Pere Perez, and Steve Lieber each bring their own skills and styles to their chapters of Quantum & Woody. But every one of them nailed the delightfully flawed and complicated characters I try to portray throughout the book – making me feel for them and laugh at them all at the same time. We haven’t had a “house style” for this book – and I know that bugs some comic fans who prefer uniformity. But personally, I have been thrilled and inspired to work with artists who genuinely bring so much personality and investment to the stories. It takes an artist who really puts care into their work to make you really care about the characters. And we’ve been lucky enough to have that kind of dedication from all of our artists – including colorists and letters who work to innovate and elevate the material. (Jordie Belaire and Dave Lanphear set a high bar and Dave McCaig is just as meticulous and clever.) It’s been a blessing and a curse in that almost across the board, our artists do such a fantastic job on the book that they get stolen away by other companies before we can get them back in rotation. But I’m forever lucky to have had these incredibly people collaborate with me to make something truly unique in the land of funny books.”
And there you have it, straight from Mr. Asmus himself. His stories are so funny, he really gets my “goat” (Hey, stop booing! I’m trying here. I mean, c’mon, I can’t be funnier than Mr. Asmus right now. That wouldn’t be fair). If you get the chance, please leave some comments down below, I’m sure Mr. Asmus would love to read them.
Ready for this weeks super duper tough hint? Of course you are. Here it is: “I don’t have time to watch CNN, I’m too busy checking out CN.”
Don’t forget to check out past articles on these Valiant greats: Bob Hall, Fred Van Lente, Clayton Crain, Brent Peeples, and Kevin VanHook. And remember, if you’re going to read something, read Something Valiant. (Ooooh, so that’s were the term “goatee” comes from. That makes sense, because a goat has a…never mind).