As DC relaunches several of its titles for a new audience in September, a lot of them have a whole new flavor.
Demon Knights, the new title by Action Comics writer Paul Cornell and penciler Diogenes Neves, is not only different in its approach, but also in its setting. The comic takes place in the Middle Ages, telling an epic tale of sword and sorcery that is rarely seen in mainstream superhero comics.
It's not the first time Cornell's work will be a little outside the norm. Earlier this year, the writer finished up a run on Knight and Squire, and prior to that the Marvel comics Captain Britain and the MI-13, which both had a uniquely British tone, with a mixture of adventure and tongue-in-cheek humor that seems to run as a thread through much of the writer's comic work.
This time around, Cornell is inventing a whole historical world within the DCU as it relaunches most of its universe after the end of Flashpoint. Newsarama talked with the writer to find out more about Demon Knights.
Newsarama: Paul, let's just start by talking about what the thought is behind this comic. What are we going to see in Demon Knights?
Paul Cornell: For a start, we lead with the Demon Etrigan. This is Jack Kirby's creation, which I'm amazed and pleased to get my hands on. And he'll be leading others, including some classic DC characters, and including some new characters. It will be a setting I describe as "sword and sorcery superheroes in Medieval times."
That's really the heart of the concept. It's kind of like the Magnificent Seven. And I think we're looking to appeal to people who liked Dragon Age, who enjoy Game of Thrones — that really hardcore, gritty, bloodthirsty but also very passionate and very character-ful sword and sorcery fantasy.
Nrama: I'm sure you're creating some new characters for this, but you mentioned DC characters we'd recognize?
Cornell: The team the Demon leads will be made up of both classic DC heroes and familiar faces.
Nrama: So a little sci-fi and history mixed together? But with superheroes?
Cornell: Yeah, and it's amazing how easily the superhero thing just fits into the sword and sorcery thing. My problem with a lot of sword and sorcery books from the far distant past is they're all brown-colored. You know? There's mud and there's brown fur loincloths. And everything's either gray or brown.
This is going to be a lot more colorful than that. I think if there's one thing Dragon Age has shown us is that sword and sorcery fantasy can be brightly colored. Wait until you see some of the things Dio is getting to draw for this. Great stuff.
Nrama: What's the style of the art going to be like?
Cornell: It's going to be wide screen; it's going to be enormous; it's going to be beautiful. I'm amazed at what Dio is doing. Brilliant, widescreen, action-packed stuff.
Nrama: Is this an idea you came up with?
Cornell: Well, I was asked to do it, and I'm very pleased to have been so. DC came to me with a basic idea and I developed it from there.
Nrama: Are you approaching it with a larger, overarching story in mind?
Cornell: Yes. It's an epic that anybody can join at the ground floor. New readers can start here. You need no knowledge of these characters, of the DC Universe, of Medieval anything or anything else to enjoy #1, and that's going to be our policy for the start of every arc as well.
It's really a jumping-in comic. If you like this sort of thing, then you will like this.
Nrama: Do you think this is a bit of a risk, to do a comic so far out of the norm for DC? Do you think it's the time to do it, with the relaunch?
Cornell: I think it's beautiful. It's lovely. It suits me down to the ground. If there are any characters in this who are in the DC Universe now, then obviously what happens to them in the past may have an impact on what happens to them in the present. But apart from that, and a couple of other lovely, lovely links which I cannot go into, it's sort of a lovely playground. It's tabula rasa. It gives me a chance to develop a whole world.
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