Arthur C. Clarke once said that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic — but when it comes to writer Warren Ellis and artist Declan Shalvey’s Injection, that line might be more blurry than ever. Mixing together wizards, hackers and government agents, Injection has been as heady and esoteric as it’s been ambitious.
With the first volume in stores and the sixth issue due out January 13, Newsarama caught up with Shalvey to discuss how he felt with the series, what was his dynamic working with fellow Moon Knight alum Ellis, and teased what we might see from this series when it returns in January.
Newsarama: Declan, how do you feel with where Injection is going so far?
Declan Shalvey: I think now that the first volume is out I feel better — i was a little insecure at the very beginning because it’s the anti-Moon Knight. It’s not single issue, it’s not self-contained… it’s slower, it takes longer to build. So I was slightly worried that people wouldn’t go for that. But that’s what I wanted to do, that’s what I asked for. Some comics try to grab your attention all the time, the whole idea behind Injection was something like an HBO series, just took its time. Now that we’ve actually told a chunk in episodic issues, I feel very good about these issues.
Nrama: What have been your favorite parts about the series so far?
Shalvey: Whenever the weird stuff kicks in, I love that. When the hotel room turns into a forest. and the caves and all the weird vegetable stuff. I think because so much of the series is from real life and a real tangible world, I just cut loose.
Nrama: What’s been the difference between your creator-owned work here, and licensed properties like your work over at Marvel?
Shalvey: No difference — with Moon Knight, Marvel was very hands off. They just let me and Warren just do the story, it’s not like we were shackled — it was a great experience. In fact, it was such a great experience, we wanted to do more — something that we owned. The working relationship is pretty much the same, just moved to a creator-owned.
The only difference is there’s far more story twists — storywise, Moon Knight was paper-thin. It was basically just, plot-wise there’s not a lot to it, it’s just the execution. Injection is very different — it’s more of the story. I was talking about Warren about it, he said that I’m his first audience. Each issue, every single time I start a new issue it’s a whole new challenge. It’s a little frustrating — i just want to do a great story. He lets me draw it the way I want, and to try different things. which is purely from us.
Nrama: What’s the dynamic between you and Warren like, as you two work together?
Shalvey: It’s very, very smooth. Every writer I’ve worked with is a writer and a human person. To work with Warren was such an abstract idea. i read his work when I was young — everybody has an idea of the Warren Ellis persona. In many ways, he was a fictitious character, and I had to get my mind around that to work with him. Process-wise, he was the first writer I was worried about — everybody else has been great, and I wasn’t as intimidated. but the process itself is very hands-off. He doesn’t ask me to change things, he doesn’t ask me to change something I’m uncomfortable with. In a way, Moon Knight was the best advertisement for doing a creator-owned book because we got the chance to learn to work together. We were paid to figure out how to do it. Thanks, Marvel!
Nrama: Do you have anything else coming up with Marvel down the pike?
Shalvey: Not much, really — I like doing Marvel covers because sometimes it’s just fun to switch off your brain and draw Deadpool. From a career point of view, there’s lots of people who follow my Marvel stuff but don’t follow Injection. It reminds them that I’m still around. I’ve talked with them about a few things, and they’ve made some nice offers, but with Injection, I just can’t do it. I have to commit. I did nothing but work for hire for four years, and now I just want to concentrate on telling a great story. To do half and half, it’s messy. I’ve talked with them about some short stories here and there, and if the schedule allows, okay.
Nrama: Any covers or anything like that?
Shalvey: Deadpool miniseries covers. I did a round of three covers, did some variants — it’s just fun doing a few Marvel projects.
Nrama: Wrapping up, what else can you tell us about Injection?
Shalvey: I’m working on Injection #6 at the moment. It actually takes a bit of a shift. We cut to Manhattan, and Vivek Headland is on the hunt a murderous sandwich. The second volume is going to focus on Vivek — the first arc focused on Maria, and the second arc will focus on Vivek. Every issue is a story with every character. Warren just enjoyed writing Vivek so much he took up an entire issue.