Original Sinis letting loose some of Marvel’s darkest secrets into the minds of heroes and those surrounding them, and no one is immune: not even the Black Knight. In June 25’s Original Sins #2, Dane Whitman gets a shocker when its revealed that the long lineage of Black Knights before him were corrupted and driven evil by their trademark weapon, the Ebony Blade. And now Whitman, as the holder of this fabled blade made by Merlin from the remnants of a meteor, is next.
The writer of this story, Frank Tieri, has a long history with the Black Knight. Although he might be best known for his dark crime stories such as Wolverine and Deadpool, Tieri created a big mark on Black Knight during his run on New Excalibur nearly a decade ago. The Brooklyn-born writer heard about Original Sin and saw it as his perfect chance to revisit Whitman’s curse and continue that story ahead.
Newsarama: Frank, how did your Black Knight story in Original Sins come about?
Frank Tieri: The fact that I happened to be in the office when Tom Brevoort was putting the series together probably didn’t hurt, to be honest. [laughs] And after I heard the concept—an anthology series where various Marvel characters are confronted with their dirty little secrets—I definitely wanted in.
I mean, I’m a flaws guy. I like flaws in my characters. We all have flaws so I expect my comic book heroes to have them too. So the opportunity to take one of those characters and focus on one of those hidden flaws? Hey, sign me up.
Nrama: You’re no stranger to Black Knight – you did great with him in New Excalibur. What’s it like returning to the helmeted hero?
Tieri: People complain about these company crossovers but I’m not one of them… if for no other reason than because of stories like this. Let’s face it, in today’s market there are probably not too many chances to tell a story that focuses on the Black Knight. But here you can and for me it was a perfect opportunity to pick up with Dane and explore some of the things I had set up in New Excalibur. And we very much do.
Nrama: So what’s your story about?
Tieri: Probably the main thing I had set up in New Excalibur was that the ebony blade is a much more dangerous object than anyone really knew. We revealed that there were even Black Knights before Sir Percy—who was always considered the original Black Knight—but they were all corrupted and eventually driven mad by the blade. The question in our story is has that started to happen to Dane? There’s a Black Knight historian who thinks she has the answer and their confrontation is really what makes up our story.
Nrama: Working with you on this is Raff Ienco, who just made his Marvel debut. How’s he doing in your estimation?
Tieri: I have to say, he’s really done a nice job here. This is not an easy story to tell—it’s a lot of talking heads stuff with the historian confronting Dane at his apartment—but Raff manages to keep things interesting and gives everything a nice flow.
Nrama: What do you see Black Knight’s place in Marvel U currently, and could you see him growing into a larger role with Original Sins?
Tieri: Let’s be honest… like another historical character I love, Hercules, he’s a secondary character right now. (Hercules and Black Knight— there’s a great time-spanning buddy book in there somewhere if you ask me. Prepare for a pitch, Marvel!) But that’s part of the reason I like to use him because comic companies tend to give you more room to play with secondary characters rather than their franchise makers like Iron Man, Captain America, etc.
That said, with events like Original Sins and especially with the movies and television that doesn’t always have to remain the case. Look at characters like Hawkeye, Black Widow, Iron Fist… all those guys have their own books now. So you never know.
Nrama: Do you think there’s an avenue for you to do more Black Knight stories in the future?
Tieri: That’s always the hope, isn’t it? Look, if you read my New Excalibur run, you can see we had plans for something bigger with Dane. I would love to finally get to do some of that, to do something else with the Black Knights and their legacy. But like it always is with this stuff, that’s up to the fans. If enough of you get behind this story in Original Sins #2, if enough of you demand to see more Black Knight… then we will.
Nrama: Since I have you, let me pick your brain – Black Knight in movies. Do you think he could be a player, either as part of a team or ensemble or on his own? If so, how could you see it playing out?
Tieri: He could definitely be a player—but personally, I think he’s a character that might work better on television than the movies. I think Marvel’s Netflix deal is a game-changer when it comes to this stuff. That they’ll realize that some characters are just better suited to TV and will play around with that.
And I think Dane is definitely one of those characters. The history of the previous Black Knights, the curse of the mantle, the struggle of a man who must become a hero by using an ebony blade that takes a piece of his soul every time he uses it—all great stuff a weekly series lets you fully explore far better than a two hour movie. Plus, I already have the name:
You’re welcome, Marvel. I expect my check any day now.