We’re back with the second installment of our Walt Simonson interview, with just a reminder that the first issue of Ragnarök is still on sale with issue two following directly on it’s heels in two weeks. Without further delay, here’s the 21-year headmaster of TRIPWIRE magazine (soon to be a digital magazine), Joel Meadows!
Joel Meadows: Why do you think Vikings still fascinate people? There was the big Vikings exhibition at the British Museum
Walt Simonson: I can claim genetics because of my ancestors but I think that part of it is that it’s very romantic, the idea that you have these raiders coming out of nowhere and of course when you find out more about them, you discover that they were huge traders as well and they went all over Europe and off into what’s now Russia. They went down to Byzantium. But they were the for the Emperor of Constantinople. So you have these sagas and epics that were handed down. I don’t think there were as well-known as others. So I think they just have a neat, violent, romantic history full of anger, passion and they remain mysterious although I think we all have visions of those huge horned helmets that many of them never actually wore. There’s not a whole lot of written records about that. Most of it comes hundreds of years after the Vikings and written by other people with other agendas mostly. There’s a lot of room to maneuver and a lot of room to imagine the way things were. There’s a lot of really beautiful artefacts. The actual things that we have from their culture, the pins and brooches and even the swords. There’s just such a beautiful quality about them. And of course now thanks to Thor and Marvel and the History Channel and their series. So they’re certainly a larger part of the popular culture than they ever were in the old days. I probably should have done this comic thirty years ago!
JM: You’ve also gone back to Manhunter for the Artist’s Edition for IDW and also to do the Star Slammers reprints. How does it feel going back to old material?
WS: The Slammers is interesting but it’s very cool. It’s neat to see it. I haven’t dug out that stuff and looked at it in a long time so it’s kind of exciting. It’s odd because I’ve had to go back and draw some new covers and in some ways it’s strange to go back and draw guys I haven’t drawn in anywhere from 20 to 30 years. I haven’t forgotten these guys obviously but I have to look at that stuff a lot to figure out ‘what the heck was I thinking when I was drawing this?’ It’s been fun. I had to go back and reread the miniseries and we also did a couple of summary pages for the floppies that are coming out. I read it and thought ‘it’s kind of complicated but it kind of makes sense.’ I was rather pleased actually with the way it came out. It’s nice to have that coming back out again and also it’s a few bucks of free money. I don’t have to draw that stuff again!
JM: With Manhunter would you ever reconsider returning to the character? Has preparing material for the Artist Edition made you think about this at all?
WS: No for two reasons. One, I don’t own Manhunter but two, it was always Archie and me on that character together. And consequently I would never do another Manhunter story because I can’t do it with Archie. There are other really great writers out there but that character specifically for me was the two of us and without Archie’s availability, and he’s not available these days, I would not do another Manhunter story. I did do the silent story, the postscript story, because he and I plotted it out together and thanks to Weezie, because it sat around for a few months after Archie died. Initially after he died I thought that I cannot do this because Archie hadn’t written a script for this. We were going to do it Marvel style, so he had written the script and I was going to do the drawings and he would write it from that. Weezie was the one who suggested that I could do this as a silent story but I wouldn’t actually have to write anything. And I thought that was doable and I talked to DC and they were game and so I cheated slightly where I’ve got a city limits sign and I did the sound effects but I didn’t feel that violated things. I didn’t think that Archie would mind.
Star Slammers is TM & © 2014 Walt Simonson. All rights reserved. Ragnarök is TM & © 2014 Walt Simonson. All rights reserved.
Manhunter is TM & © 2014 DC Entertainment. All rights reserved.
Fantastic Four, and Thor are TM & © 2014 Marvel Entertainment. All rights reserved.
Elric of Melnibone is TM & © 2014 Michael Moorcock. All rights reserved.