Starting this week, the DC fantasy character Stalker gets a new life in the back-up stories for Sword of Sorcery, the title that launched in September.Written by Marc Andreyko with art by Andrei Bressan, the stories feature Stalker the Soulless, a DC fantasy character who achieved immortality, but at the cost of his soul. Created by Paul Levitz and Steve Ditko, Stalker had a short-lived title in the '70s.
Before the New 52 reboot, Stalker was usually more of an anti-hero — or even a villain — but Andreyko told Newsarama the character has a "new twist" for the rebooted DCU.
Andreyko is also currently revamping two other fan-favorite characters: Blue Devil and Black Lightning. In a DC Universe Presents story uniting the "Black and Blue" team, Andreyko has the duo working together on the streets of L.A.
With "Stalker," Andreyko will be backing up the main feature story of Sword of Sorcery, which focuses on Amethyst of Gemworld. Writer Christy Marx just told Newsarama this week that she hopes Amethyst will get her own title separate from Sword of Sorcery, perhaps opening up book's feature spot for other DC fantasy heroes. The title had already included a Beowulf story in its back-up features since its launch, which will now be replaced by "Stalker."
Newsarama talked with Andreyko to find out more about his plans for Stalker, as well as his hopes for the Black and Blue team in DC Universe Presents.
Newsarama: Marc, what interested you about the opportunity to write this
Marc Andreyko: The most exciting part was the core central concept of Stalker. It's so simple and direct, and yet it inspires so many different types of stories. Literally, there are thousands of years worth of tales to explore.
Nrama: Were you familiar with Stalker before you got this gig?
Andreyko: I remember reading the originals as a wee lad and loving the Ditko/Wally Wood art, but truthfully, my familiarity ended there. I did a little online research about him, but since DC wanted a "new" twist, I opted not to go back and read the original series until after I wrote my first script.Nrama: As you came up with this "new twist," what did you feel were the best parts of Stalker that you wanted to not only keep, but highlight?
Andreyko: Well, as I mentioned, the core concept of him: a man without a soul who wanders the earth for eternity. That's pure gold. Once you have that, the stories start writing themselves!
Nrama: I know your stories are pretty short, so I won't ask you to spoil too much on the "twist" you've got in store for Stalker. But can you give fans just a few, quick words to describe your version of Stalker?
Andreyko: Conflicted, lonely, lost, and he doesn't suffer fools lightly.
Nrama: What's the style of these stories? Do they lean toward fantasy, since they're part of Sword of Sorcery?
Andreyko: The stories are definitely fantasy, but with a horror edge. After seeing the great art by Andrei Bressan, the arc feels a little like the great old stories from the Warren magazines of the '70s.
Nrama: Yeah, DC gave me some of Andrei's art to run with this interview. How would you describe the dynamic he's bringing to the comic?
Andreyko: He brings exquisitely detailed and expressive work to the stories. His storytelling, his character designs — they leave me speechless. He is an incredibly gifted artist who definitely has a bright future ahead of him in American comics! I would work with him again in an instant.Nrama: In this art, we get a glimpse of a couple pages. Who are the other characters besides Stalker that play a part in the story? Can you tell us anything about them?
Andreyko: I would love to, but so much of that is revealed in part one that you'll have to read it first!
Nrama: Yeah, it's tough to describe a story that's only a few pages long without spoiling the whole thing. Were you challenged by the size of these stories?
Andreyko: After doing "Manhunter" back-ups in Streets of Gotham, I was more than familiar with stories this size. It may seem counter-intuitive, but there is something incredibly freeing about having to tell a complete story in 10 page increments. It's the equivalent of writing old movie serials. The challenge is balancing character development with action, but, like I said, it was a fun one.
Nrama: These "Stalker" stories are part of one of the more unique offerings from DC. What do you think of the Sword of Sorcery book as addition to the DC Comics line-up?Andreyko: I'm all for anything that diversifies the marketplace. I love superheroes dearly, but one cannot survive on a diet of one thing alone. Well, you can I guess, but like the old cliché says, "Variety is the spice of life."
Nrama: Does this back-up story tie into the main Sword of Sorcery story at all?
Andreyko: Stalker doesn't go on a date with Amethyst or anything like that. This arc is self-contained and more of a tonal complement to the main story. Although, now that you mention it, I would love to see Stalker and Amethyst face off!
Nrama: I don't know if you noticed, but Newsarama suggested that DC should launch a Blue Devil comic in the wake of their latest cancellations. Since you're finishing up a story featuring the character in DC Universe Presents, anything you want to tell fans about the next installment of your "Black and Blue" story featuring Blue Devil and Black Lightning?
Andreyko: Just that the final part of the arc is on sale the same day as the first chapter of "Stalker." It's a double-Andreyko Wednesday!
And if you enjoyed seeing Blue Devil and Black Lightning together, flood DC with emails, letters, carrier pigeons, smoke signals, etcetera. Because I definitely want to tell more stories about them.
Who knows? Maybe a Stalker / Black and Blue team-up?Got a comment? There's lots of conversation on Newsarama's FACEBOOK and TWITTER!