Talking ‘Killers’ With Valiant’s Karl Bollers
For those that read Ninja-K from Valiant Entertainment, the series did a lot to expand the readers knowledge that for many years, MI-6 has had numerous ninja operatives employed in its ranks. B. Clay Moore and Fernando Dagnino take those ideas a bit further with KILLERS. I had the chance to speak with KILLERS editor Karl Bollers about the title.
Outright Geekery – What’s the story with KILLERS?
Karl Bollers – KILLERS is a 5-issue miniseries, debuting this July, that takes the focus off Ninjak and places it squarely on other interesting characters in his corner of the Valiant Universe, mainly some of the former ninja operatives who served in MI6’s Ninja Programme: Ninjas E, F, G, I and J.
OG – We’ve seen a good deal of promos involving characters hinted at with NINJA-K but not much of Colin King. How much of role will Ninjak have with KILLERS?
KB – Ninjak’s role in KILLERS will be peripheral at best. The reason for that is twofold: First, we wanted to expand Valiant’s “Ninjakverse” by introducing some “new” old players and seeing what their goals and motivations are. The goal is to introduce readers to these characters, get them excited for them, and then make them wonder how they might eventually interact with Ninjak down the line. Will they be allies? Or enemies? We want to really build them up as their own characters whom readers are invested in outside of Ninjak. Secondly, we wanted to create something for those readers who might have never read a Ninjak comic, but might want to be introduced to his world without requiring a full briefing on Colin King.
OG – With a story involving MI-6’s past ninjas and the trainer-turned-villain, the Jonin, why go the route of miniseries vs using a story like this to help launch an ongoing?
KB – The concept needed a bit of breathing room. We really wanted to approach these characters a bit differently, shining the spotlight on them with hopes of making readers care about them. It was an opportunity to allow the characters to come into their own and establish themselves without Ninjak. A Ninjak story is essentially about Ninjak, from his point of view, with a narrator who’s sympathetic to his cause. Killers is an origin story of sorts focusing on a new set of characters. The origin of whom? These characters and the context in which they’re being introduced into the Valiant Universe.
OG – Killers sees writer B. Clay Moore return to Valiant. What made him the one for Killers?
KB – Clay turned in a really fun pitch that essentially captured the spirit of what we were going for. That, and his approach felt really fresh. And, even though this series is extremely new reader-friendly, we like the fact that Clay knows the Valiant Universe and its vast cast of characters based on work he’s done for us in the past (SAVAGE). Who better to introduce new ones into it?
OG – Fernando Dagnino’s looks absolutely fantastic in the first issue. I know you guys get excited over getting pages sent in. What’s something great fans can expect with his art?
KB – Fernando is the perfect artist for this series. He really captures the whole globe-hopping nature of it with the environments he constructs for every scene. We really feel as if he was sitting at that outdoor Italian market when he drew that scene in issue #1. As it turns out, he had vacationed there a few years ago, never suspecting he’d have to draw it into an actual comic book!
OG – Any last thoughts on Killers?
KB – We’re really excited to further explore the Ninjakverse, expanding on this new supporting cast of players. These are former ninjas, but we’ve taken the typical ninja tropes and thrown them out the window in favor of something a bit more out of the box and fun. We went for wild and colorful over more grounded elements. I, for one, can’t wait until issue #1 hits the stands. I think Valiant fans and new readers are in for a real treat!