In the 2015 superhero comics landscape, Valiant’s Faith stands alone. As someone who doesn’t fit traditional standards of beauty when it comes to BMI, she’s a hero I can relate to on more than one level. Thankfully, Valiant is offering readers the chance to catch up with Faith in a brand new mini-series written by Jody Houser (Orphan Black) and illustrated by Francis Portela (Frankenstein Agent of S.H.A.D.E.) and Marguerite Sauvage (DC Bombshells).
Over the past few years, Faith has watched the Renegades collapse in Harbinger, worked alongside team Unity for a brief stint, and recently ended a relationship with Torque. She’s ready for a change, and frankly, could use a win. Recently, The Beat sat down with Houser to talk about Faith’s new life as a professional journalist and hero.
Alex Jones: After her departure from both the Renegades and Unity, where is Faith right now, from a mental standpoint?
Jody Houser: Faith is very much in a “fresh start” state of mind. She’s out on her own as both a superhero and an adult for the first time, getting settled in a big city and seeing how she can help make a difference. She’s already hit a few snags, but she’s still optimistic about the direction her life is taking.
Jones: Where does the relationship between Faith and Torque stand at the beginning of the story?
Houser: Faith and Torque haven’t spoken since she ended their relationship. They have very different ideas of how they want to use their powers and public image, and have gone in very different directions since the split. They are still in the same city, though, so it’s not like running into each other is impossible.
Jones: Can you hint at any prospective romances that may occur post-Torque?
Houser: Faith is definitely open to idea! I think that’s all I’m allowed to say…
Jones: How is Faith adapting to all these changes in her life? Is she able to retain her charming optimism?
Houser: She wouldn’t be Faith if she didn’t have that positive outlook and determination underneath it all. When you have as strong a sense of self as Faith does, it makes it hard to back down. She knows what she wants out of life and is determined to get it.
Jones: Historically, outside of Joshua Dysart’s Faith #0, Faith has been presented as a background player. What is it like to have the opportunity to cast the limelight on her?
Houser: Joshua did a fantastic job establishing Faith as a character in Harbinger and her solo issue. I felt like I already knew her well when I sat down at the computer, which has made it a lot of fun to give her a new direction and new challenges to face.
Jones: Could you talk a little bit about the supporting players in Fait?
Houser: Faith has set up an alter ego and all that it entails: neighbors, co-workers, the works. The day job in particular plays a big role in this identity, so we’ll see quite a bit of the Zipline staff. Maybe some familiar faces too.
Jones: What exactly can readers expect for the tone — how are you balancing humor and drama?
Houser: This is definitely a lighter book than Harbinger was. With a character like Faith, anything other than a fun story full of geek references wouldn’t feel right. But at the same time, you don’t want to hold back from giving her a genuine threat to deal with. She’s a superhero by choice, after all, and that’s a life that entails a lot of struggle and tough decisions.
Jones: What was your first exposure to the Valiant Universe?
Houser: I was aware of Valiant in the 90s and may have read an odd issue or two back then (when I was a kid, my grandmother used to get me those huge random “comic collection” packs from the Sears Wishbook), but don’t have a solid memory of it. The first book I read of the new Valiant was X-O Manowar, which I found delightful. Harbinger was next, and that was definitely up my alley in terms of the type of stories I love to read and write.
Jones: What is it like writing a non-DC, non-Marvel character that has such a rabid built-in fanbase on social media sites?
Houser: I’ve really already had the experience of writing for a huge existing fanbase with Orphan Black. Clone Club is fantastic, and they really made working on that book a special experience. After that was Melinda May and the kids from Maximum Ride… It’s really lovely to work on characters that already mean so much to fans and to get to tell a piece of their story.
Jones: What do Marguerite Sauvage and Francis Portela bring to the solo adventures of Faith?
Houser: Marguerite does an amazing job with Faith’s inner life. I wish my daydreams looked that gorgeous! Her use of color especially works so well for those moments. Francis is fantastic at both expressive characters and action, so he brings a lot of balance to both sides of her life. I think having an artist who excels at drawing both the superhero and the mundane alter ego is essential for a book like this.
Jones: Did you struggle to craft a book that appeals to new readers but simultaneously retains the readership that Valiant currently has access to?
Houser: Making the book accessible to new readers always takes a good bit of effort, but that’s true of any new series. The nice thing about Valiant is that it’s a smaller shared universe, which I think makes it a bit easier to jump into. The fact that the books differ in tone and genre quite a bit helps them stand on their own as well.
Jones: Why do you think the fanbase has responded to Faith?
Houser: There’s actually been more excitement for this book than anything else I’ve worked one, with perhaps the exception of Womanthology back in the day. Valiant fans already love Faith and there are tons of new readers who are excited to see a hero they can identify with.
Jones: Do you have any last words on Faith before the first issue reaches store shelves?
Houser: I have to give a shout-out to all of the amazing artists who have done or asked about doing covers for Faith. I’ve loved seeing all of the different takes on her and I know I’m not the only one.
FAITH #1 (of 4)
Written by JODY HOUSER
Art by FRANCIS PORTELA and MARGUERITE SAUVAGE
Cover A by JELENA KEVIC-DJURDJEVIC
Cover B by MARGUERITE SAUVAGE
Cover C by CLAYTON HENRY
Variant Cover by KANO
Variant Cover by COLLEEN COOVER
Blank Cover also available
Orphaned at a young age, Faith Herbert – a psionically gifted “psiot” discovered by the Harbinger Foundation – has always aspired to greatness. But now this once ordinary teenager is taking control of her destiny and becoming the hard-hitting hero she’s always known she can be – complete with a mild-mannered secret identity, unsuspecting colleagues, and a day job as a reporter that routinely throws into her harms way! Well, at least she thought it would… When she’s not typing up listicals about cat videos, Faith makes a secret transformation to patrol the night as the City of Angels’ own leading superhero – the sky-soaring Zephyr!
But flying solo is going to be tougher than Zephyr ever thought when she uncovers a deep-rooted alien conspiracy. Two-bit burglars and car thieves are one thing, but when the world needs a hero to stave off a full-blown extraterrestrial invasion, will Faith find herself in over her head…or ready for her biggest challenge yet?
$3.99 | 32 pgs. | T+ | LIMITED SERIES | COMING IN JANUARY!
Fruit snack aficionado. @AlexandComics