With his work on miniseries including Loki — released in collected form as Thor & Loki: Blood Brothers — Thor: For Asgard and Astonishing Thor, Rob Rodi has distinguished himself as one of the more prolific Thor writers of the current era.
His latest, Thor: The Deviants Saga is a five-issue miniseries illustrated by Stephen Segovia (Silver Surfer, Dark Wolverine) and featuring The Deviants, a race created by Jack Kirby back in 1976's The Eternals #1.
With Thor: The Deviants Saga #1 in stores this week, Newsarama caught up with Rodi to talk about the series, his love for Kirby creations, collaborating with Segovia and a couple of his non-Marvel projects currently in the works, one of which is the graphic novel adaptation to a film that doesn't exist. (But does have a soundtrack.)
Newsarama: Rob, at this point you've written a fair stack of Thor comics, with each story focusing on something different either in terms of perspective or genre. What makes The Deviants Saga distinct from your past Thor work?
Rob Rodi: With this series I'm using some characters who haven't been seen in quite a while—some of them not in a dozen years, some for even longer. So I'm having to re-introduce them at the same time I'm using them—explain who they are and what makes them special while simultaneously putting them through their narrative paces. That's been an interesting challenge.Also, I'm laying the groundwork for a new role for The Deviants — and by extension The Eternals—in the Marvel U. My first few Thor series were Marvel Knights jobs that were a step-and-a-half outside regular Marvel continuity, and I loved the freedom that gave me; but I also love jumping into the bigger pool and making a few waves.
Nrama: Obviously a major element is right there in the title — the Deviants. What inspired you to use the Jack Kirby-created characters, whom a lot of fans might not be familiar with?
Rodi: The simple answer is, I love them. They're wonderful characters, a
wonderful concept—and they mesh beautifully with Thor; they have a history with him that's still vital and humming. The possibilities for their encounters haven't been remotely tapped out yet.
Nrama: With the Deviants at the center of the story, what makes them good opponents for Thor? What do they bring out in him that other enemies don't?
Rodi: They're an autonomous society; they've been around for millennia. So you can't just throw them all in prison. You can't really even judge them, because their frame of reference is different than ours. But in this particular story it's not so much a matter of Thor vs. Deviants, as something big threatening both, and The Deviants getting in the way of Thor fixing it. We'll see a few Eternals pitching in to help, too.
Nrama: Given the status of The Eternals going into The Deviants Saga, it's presumably set in contemporary times. But given the status of Thor as of Fear Itself #7, it doesn't appear to be exactly up to date with current Marvel Universe happenings. So given that, was there much consideration given to where it "fits" into the timeline? Or is it more of a matter of, hey, don't worry about it, this is a modern-day Thor story, it'll all makes sense once everything shakes out?
Rodi: The story opens in the rubble of Asgard where it fell to Earth, so this is pretty much pre-Fear Itself. But really, it's a standalone story; I wouldn't worry too much about connecting it to concurrent events.
Nrama: The artist on the series is Stephen Segovia — how has working with him on the story been? After working on books like Silver Surfer, he seems to be one of Marvel's go-to guys for large-scale stories like this one.
Rodi: He's slam-dunking it; the pages are just full of this wild, kinetic energy. You have to grip the edge of your desk while you're looking at them, or they might rattle you right out of your chair.
Nrama: On the topic of Thor — your Thor & Loki: Blood Brothers series was recently adapted into as a Marvel Knights Animation motion comic. What was it like watching your work translated into that format?
Rodi: It was a jaw-dropper; after the first five minutes, you forget it's a motion comic, you're watching movie. And a powerful one; the way Esad Ribic's art is given depth and weight and movement beyond what he actually drew, is phenomenal. The acting is feature-film caliber and beautifully directed; the score is powerful and evocative... What can I say? I'm a fan. Ruwan Jayatilleke, the producer, is my new favorite superhero.
Nrama: Moving a bit away from Thor stuff, you're currently funding a graphic novel titled Sea Monster through Kickstarter. It's based on a concept album by your band 7th Kind — what motivated you to give that level of transmedia a try?
Rodi: There are a lot of bands around and we're all competing for the same stages. So I figure, anything we can do to set ourselves apart is the key to standing out. I write comics, so what the hell? Let's do a graphic novel.
Our Sea Monster CD is a concept album anyway — we joked about it being the soundtrack to a film that doesn't exist — so now we're doing the comics adaptation of that film — a big apocalyptic science-fiction epic with a Philip K. Dick vibe. I'm working with an amazing artist, Dan Dougherty, who's going to be very big very soon. I encourage everyone to go to kickstarter.com and check us out.
Nrama: To wrap things up for now, is there anything else you're working on you'd like to let folks know about? Last time we talked, you mentioned wrapping up your non-fiction book Seven Seasons in Siena and wanting to focus on projects that didn't require quite so much traveling — or as you put it, "I just want to sit in my office in my underwear and make up stuff for a couple of years." Have you been able to meet that goal?
Rodi: So far, yeah, I've been doing just fine on the making-stuff-up front. I do have another idea for a nonfiction book that will involve a lot of intensive traveling and research, but I'm giving myself a year or so before I take that on. For right now, I'm happy working at Marvel and gearing up Sea Monster… plus I have a couple of additional projects coming up for different publishers, not to mention the possibility of some interesting TV news. So we'll probably be talking again before too long.Got a comment? There's lots of conversation on Newsarama's FACEBOOK and TWITTER!