Last Thursday, Valiant released a teaser image proclaiming the arrival of the "World's Worst Superhero Team," and fans of late '90s knew exactly what that meant: The return of Quantum and Woody.
The new series starts in July, and like every Valiant revival thus far, it keeps recognizable elements of the original while looking to do something new, and bringing in a fresh creative team: Writer James Asmus, currently writing Gambit for Marvel; and another Marvel veteran, artist Tom Fowler, who recently illustrated Venom and Hulk: Season One.The original Quantum and Woody, by the creative team of writer Christopher Priest and artist M.D. "Doc" Bright, ran from 1997 to 1999 during the Acclaim era of Valiant and was a uniquely beloved, critically acclaimed series noted for its deft blend of comedy and drama. A lab accident left childhood friends — serious-minded Eric "Quantum" Henderson and fun-loving Woody Van Chelton — bonded together, and also provided an excuse to give superheroing a try.
Series editor Jody LeHeup says fans of the previous volume will find a lot to like about the new take, even though it's not a direct continuation of what's come before."There's a lot of similarities in the beginning, and there will be a lot of similarities as we keep moving," LeHeup told Newsarama. "But there will be some areas in which we deviate. The goal was to capture the spirit of what came before, but then do our own thing with it." While there will be "important differences," LeHeup stated, "the trick is to not throw the baby out with the bathwater. You don't want to change things so much that it's not recognizable with what came before."
In the new version, Eric and Woody are not only best friends, but adopted brothers. Once again, a scientific mishap leads to them fighting crime — and they're even bringing back the goat, somewhere down the line.
Staying true to the original while moving into the present was at the top of Fowler's mind, as well.
"It was put to me that people are very, very passionate about these characters," the artist said. "While we were doing character designs for them, I did a number of passes on Woody, and ultimately we basically went back to the drawing that David Aja did for him."For Quantum," Fowler continued, "It was like, 'We need this, we need this, but it's still got to look a little like the original, but we need to bring it forward to what superheroes look like now…' There were a lot of notes. We really need to be as respectful to the original book as possible, but at the same time take a step forward." Though Fowler, who will be joined on Q&W by colorist Jordie Bellaire, has been working recently in the world of relatively straight superheroics, his background includes cartooning for Mad Magazine, so he says he feels at home with this current project.
"If you go out and have people running around looking goofy, then that's all that people will take away from it. They won't look past it to any depth that might be underneath," Fowler said. "It's always going to be funny, but it's not going to be necessarily just jokey-jokey-jokey-joke. There'll be some depth to it."
Both Fowler and Asmus have a flair for character work, LeHeup said, that made them ideal for a book like Quantum and Woody."For a book like Quantum and Woody, we need somebody that can sell their personalities, and sell the tone, and sell the comedy in places, but then also have enough range to dig into the very real dramatic narrative that we have as a throughline for the book," LeHeup said. "[Asmus and Fowler] were the top of my list."
LeHeup said that ever since the Valiant revival started last year with X-O Manowar, fans have requested a Quantum and Woody return both online and at conventions.
"It's always sort of been a question of 'when are we going to do this,' as opposed to if," he said. "We've been very pleased to discover that there are a lot of Quantum and Woody fans still."Valiant has an "enormous affection" for the first incarnation of the book, according to LeHeup, and the editor isn't ruling out the possibility of the publisher working with Q&W creators Priest and Bright in the future.
"We've spoken to Chris and Doc several times over the years and chatted extensively about a number of different projects," LeHeup said. "Once the characters are established in the new Valiant Universe, we'd love to work with them on something when the time is right. They're both tremendous talents."
Quantum and Woody #1, with a main cover by Ryan Sook and variants by Marcos Martin, Andrew Robinson and Fowler, is scheduled for release on July 10. The first lettered print preview of the issue will appear in Harbinger Wars #1, and the book will also be featured in Valiant's Free Comic Book Day release this May.More from Newsarama:
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