Alan Davis on Thor: Truth of History

Preview: Thor: Truth of History #1

In October, the heavens will collide in a epically mythological manner when Marvel Comics’ releases Thor: Truth of History. Written and drawn by industry legend Alan Davis—Truth of History is a story set in the distant past when the God of Thunder and several Asgardians visit ancient Egypt. During their visit something occurs that sets in motion a chain of events that has effects on the Marvel Universe of the present!

Newsarama contacted Davis to talk about Thor: Truth of History as well as some of his thoughts on the nature of writer/artist projects and the visually iconic nature of characters in comic books.

Newsarama: First off, Alan, what's the premise of Thor: Truth of History?

Alan Davis: The story originated from the basic principle that all history is a selective interpretation of facts.

NRAMA: Crossing two different types of mythology--Norse and Egyptian--did you find a lot of similarities? Are they strikingly different?

AD: I've never really thought of Asgardians as being truly Norse. All of the Marvel pantheons make superficial acknowledgement to one Mythological tradition or another but they are all underpinned by the same other-dimensional super-science.

NRAMA: Using the Marvel archetypes of Asgard must've been fun to say the least, who is your favorite character from Asgard? Why?

AD: I was always a fan of Thor and the Warriors Three. The 'Tales of Asgard' were a particular favorite when I was a kid. I don't know that there is any one character I'd call a favorite because it’s the chemistry between the characters in the framework of their mystical and mythical culture that hold the appeal.

NRAMA: Will there be any familiar villains showing up in this story?

AD: Yes.

NRAMA: Can you give readers any clues as to who the Asgardians might encounter in ancient Egypt?

AD: A lot of Ancient Egyptians... And something familiar that doesn't belong.

NRAMA: When you're writing and drawing a project of this nature, can there be any disadvantages to working solo?

AD: Insecurity-- Having no-one else to blame if it doesn't work out.

NRAMA: What about the opposite side of that coin--is there are great deal of advantage to working as writer and artist? Does it increase the speed at which you work?

AD: It isn't a case of better or worse. The advantages and disadvantages balance out pretty much. It’s a plus not having to argue about the direction of a story but its always nice to be able to bounce ideas off another creator who is invested in the work. It certainly isn't faster because being able to tweak the art to fit the text or the text to fit the art can lead to a lot of circular thinking. The discipline has to be ‘write the full script’ then ‘pencil that script’ BUT...

NRAMA: What led you to pitch this project? Were there any inspirations or have you always wanted to work with Thor and the Asgardians?

AD: Warren Simons asked me would I like to do a Thor project and I have always wanted to work on Thor so I said yes.

NRAMA: Will the Asgardians find themselves battling Egyptian gods?

AD: That's a qualified yes.

NRAMA: Stylistically, do you prefer the iconic look of Thor that is present in this piece to the current look of Thor in his ongoing series?

AD: I prefer the iconic/classic look of most characters because they are usually the result of generations of the best creators honing a character and design. Redesigns are often about creating a stir, to give the impression of change.

NRAMA: Playing devil's advocate here--you tend to prefer the iconic look of characters--but are there any characters that you find yourself saying, "I'd sure like to get my hands on _______ to update their look..." to make them more iconic?

AD: No. I just don't think it is possible to design a character to be iconic. The readers decide what is iconic. Some redesigns are novelty for novelties sake or chasing a trend or fashion. A creator can only do what they think is right and hope the readers relate to it. There are some characters that I might change to accommodate my drawing style but that's more of a comfort thing than an update or redesign.

NRAMA: Who are some other characters that you would like to utilize for one-shots like Thor: Truth of History?

AD: I never really think that way or that far ahead. If Warren hadn't asked me to do the book I'd never have considered the possibility myself.

NRAMA: What else are you currently working on in the near future?

AD: It’s a big job due out in 2009 but I'm not at liberty to go into detail at the moment.

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