Valiant Entertainment has launched the Kickstarter for their FIRST original graphic novel: ETERNAL WARRIOR: SCORCHED EARTH! Is their first original graphic novel worth it? Ask all the backers, and I'm sure they will tell you "absolutely!"- because it was fully funded in ONE DAY! Wow! So, how did they do it?? I had the pleasure to ask writer Tres Dean this and SO much more! Check out our interview below, then check out the Kickstarter itself here! There's still time to back it and get this amazing hardcover and some amazing rewards!
1. Congrats on a successful campaign, and so soon! What’s it like to be the writer of Valiant’s FIRST original graphic novel and even get it in glorious hardcover form?
TRES DEAN: Man, it’s an incredibly cool feeling. This is my first time working in a superhero universe and getting to play around with some of the toys in the Valiant box has been a delight. I’ve also got a bit of a sentimental tie to the character - the first time I flew out to California after graduating college I read The Valiant on the flight over, which Gilad obviously factors pretty heavily into. The work on that book still feels like something special to this day, a super accessible and exciting event book that feels like it’s structured like a summer blockbuster movie. I’ve kept up with Gilad and Tama’s adventures ever since and it feels pretty special that they’re a part of my first foray into the Valiant universe.
2. What drew you into this project?
TRES DEAN: Any character in any medium whose whole deal is “weary/lives forever” is up my alley, so that hooked me from the jump. One of the elements of the character Valiant wanted to hone in on seemed to be something from Gilad’s past coming back to bite him and I really clung to that. I love that idea and how it plays into the character’s existential weariness, this idea that living forever might make it impossible to outrun your failures.
3. Is Eternal Warrior: Scorched Earth a good starting point for those that want to get into the Valiant Universe?
TRES DEAN: I’d like to think so! Accessibility is something I feel pretty strongly about across superhero comics at large so we’ve definitely gone out of our way to make sure anybody who’s picking up their first Valiant book in Eternal Warrior: Scorched Earth will feel right at home.
4. You say on the campaign page, “The Eternal Warrior is a buff dude who fights monsters and lives forever. It doesn’t take much more than that to hook me on a character”. What makes Gilad different from other buff dudes who fight monsters and live forever, if anything?
TRES DEAN: The environmentalist angle! Buff dudes who live forever are, again, kinda my bread and butter but Gilad’s mission to protect Mother Nature and her proxy, the Geomancer, is what makes him stand out to me. I’m also really fascinated by the sorta Sisyphean element of his calling - he’s always ultimately failed the Geomancer until Tama came along. Even then, nothing is certain - he can always screw things up with her (and maybe he will in Eternal Warrior: Scorched Earth, who knows?). Still, he remains. There will always be an Eternal Warrior and there will always be a new Geomancer. His meaning isn’t in success but in the pursuit of it.
5. According to the campaign, this story focuses on Gilad and Tama the Geomancer and how “Together, the two will uncover secrets long buried and learn just how important their relationship is”. Is this going to be a very character-driven story?
TRES DEAN: Absolutely. I’ve never been a plot-first writer and everything in Eternal Warrior: Scorched Earth stems from Gilad’s existential weariness and Tama’s growth. She’s a teenager now and, well...we all know how teenagers can be, for better or worse.
6. What was it like collaborating with Alberto Taracido, Rain Beredo, and Tom Napolitano? Had you worked with any of these creators before this project?
TRES DEAN: Nope, this is a first-time collaboration across the board but man, what a team! Alberto was my number-one choice for the book from the second our editor Rob Levin showed me his work. He and Rain together? Man, get outta here, what a killer combination. Tom’s work is looking top-notch as well. Those guys definitely make me feel like my script is in good hands when I send it off - and apply plenty of pressure on me to make sure I’m doing their skills justice!
7. For those that might be intimidated by the big world of the story and the Valiant Universe itself, let’s clear the air: Is Eternal Warrior only for lovers of high-fantasy?
TRES DEAN: Absolutely not! There are fantasy elements to Eternal Warrior: Scorched Earth for sure and plenty of other books featuring Gilad that delve more into a fantasy framework but we’ve gone way more slice-of-life here. The heart of the story is very much grounded in the real world and specifically in a suburb in the Pacific Northwest. It’s tactile and familiar, except for the big dude with the axe who lives forever and his surrogate daughter who can talk to Mother Nature and control the elements.
You don't want to miss out on all the great rewards!
Huge thanks to Tres Dean for taking the time to answer my questions!
"ETERNAL WARRIOR: SCORCHED EARTH is Valiant Entertainment's first original graphic novel and debut Kickstarter campaign featuring the return of fan-favorite character Gilad Anni-Padda, the ETERNAL WARRIOR, and Tama, this generation's GEOMANCER of Earth. ETERNAL WARRIOR: SCORCHED EARTH is an epic, heartfelt story exploring the unique relationship between the ETERNAL WARRIOR and the GEOMANCER, as well as introducing an all-new threat into the Valiant Universe."