Interview: Senior Editor Lysa Hawkins Talks BLOODSHOT, NINJAK, and RAI

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Sci-fi in the future with RAI. Non-stop action with BLOODSHOT. The supernatural world with PUNK MAMBO. And in 2021, a spy thriller with NINJAK. You’ve been quite busy in the Valiant universe, Lysa! What’s it like getting to play around in the Valiant sandbox with so many different characters?

LYSA HAWKINS: Amazing! I have the best job ever! Hands down!

BLOODSHOT has a great history of comic runs. What makes the modern one different from the rest but still a worthy addition to any Bloodshot fan’s collection? And why is it easy for new fans to hop right in?

LYSA: While I loved all the books that came before, I wanted this run to show Bloodshot in a different light. He is still the same Bloodshot, but we put some of the brooding aside so he could focus on being the hero he wants to be. Tim Seeley’s writing a book that any “newbie” to Bloodshot would have no problem jumping on board. If you don’t know who he is before you pick up the book you will by that last page.

There has been a killer lineup of artists on BLOODSHOT. What’s it like seeing each of them bring Bloodshot’s action-packed world to life?

LYSA: I always say it’s like Christmas getting to be able to open up jpegs and see the scripts I’ve edited come to life on the page. It’s been great, really. Brett Booth brought an energy that jumped off the page. Marc Laming’s style is so different from Brett’s in almost every way, but just as beautiful, and wait until you see Pedro Andreo! Each artist brings something dynamic and special to the book.

BLOODSHOT #9 art by Marc Laming, colors by Andrew Dalhouse

If someone liked the BLOODSHOT movie, why should they check out the comic series?

LYSA: Well…we’ve introduced some of the characters from the movie into the book in this year’s Free Comic Book Day issue, and they’ll be returning in BLOODSHOT #10…

How would you describe this BLOODSHOT run in five words or less?

LYSA: ACTION. ADRENALINE. ADVENTURE. ATTITUDE. HUMOR (there’s always something in the script that makes me chuckle).

What’s it like crafting the future of the Valiant universe in RAI?

LYSA: It’s the best! Working with Dan Abnett and Juanjo is such a joy. When I approached Dan to do some world-building in RAI, I knew right away that I turned to the right guy. We wanted the series to be self-contained stories wherein each issue the reader would explore different sectors of the Fallen World. Juanjo’s art takes it all to the next level. I practically cried when I saw the first pages come in. I knew right then what we had on our hands.

What makes RAI unlike other sci-fi comics and a must-read?

LYSA: I like to say a sign of a good comic is do you think about the comic 24 hours after you read it? If you do, the book did its job and you’ll be back the next month to get the next issue. I have yet to read a script for RAI that hasn’t stayed with me. Truth be told, the ending of RAI #2 STILL haunts me. RAI is epic and because it’s set in such a dystopian future it’s sci-fi gold. Who doesn’t want to read about a cyborg’s quest to channel his humanity? But as much as I love Rai, it’s Raijin that owns my heart.

RAI #6 art by Juan José Ryp, colors by Andrew Dalhouse

Is there anything you can tease about what’s coming up in RAI?

LYSA: The return of someone (or something) from the Valiant universe. It’s going to be BIG.

Jeff Parker and Javier Pulido’s new NINJAK series was just announced! Can you elaborate on this new direction for Valiant’s superspy and why fans should have it on their pull list?

LYSA: What if James Bond and Modesty Blaise had a love child? That would be Ninjak. A globe-trotting thriller with a ’60-esque mod vibe, Ninjak proves he still is the man for the mission, even as the world works against him. With eye-popping artwork and a pulse-pounding storyline that will leave the reader gasping for more, who wouldn’t want to pick this up?

NINJAK promo art by Javier Pulido

Last but not least, what sets the Valiant Universe apart from other comic universes?

LYSA: I think you started off the conversation with it. The many different genres that I get to play with! From Sci-fi to horror, action-adventure to comedy, Valiant has them all. And most importantly our characters and their actions have consequences. There is something “grounded” about the Valiant Universe. I feel like I could run into the characters on the street. I could certainly see myself having a beer with Armstrong (just one–he’d drink me under the table!).

BLOODSHOT #7 is on sale now, RAI #6 goes on sale August 19th. Find these issues and more Valiant comics at a comic shop near you!

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