This summer acclaimed writer Gail Simone (Birds of Prey, Wonder Woman, Domino) and artist Walter Geovani (Red Sonja, Clean Room) take on an 80-year old legend, The Death-Defying ‘Devil! Published by Dynamite Comics, the superhero’s comeback will be featured in a new miniseries colored by Adriano Augusto (Red Sonja/Tarzan, KISS: Blood & Stardust) and lettered by Simon Bowland (Red Sonja, The Boys). Covers include art by Riccardo Federici (Aquaman, Dark Nights Metal: Dark Knights Rising), Tyler Kirkham (Deathstroke, Green Lantern, Teen Titans), Ben Oliver (American Carnage), Lucio Parrillo (Vampirella, Red Sonja), and In-Hyuk Lee (Black Order, Spider-Geddon). There will also be a Project Superpowers throwback with a special incentive “Carve Out” cover featuring Alex Ross’ rendering.
With issue #1 coming up in August, Simone and Geovani chatted with The Beat about taking on the ‘Devil in their own style.
Deanna Destito: Walter, how has your first go at a superhero book been?
Walter Geovani: I’m having a lot of fun! I grew up reading superhero books and before I became a professional that was what I drew all the time. It’s great to finally be doing it as a professional.
Gail Simone: I just want to add, Walter is an artist who I hope to be partnering with forever. He’s a brilliant craftsman and collaborator, and always seems to be trying something new. We did Red Sonja together, we did Clean Room together. But I know he wanted to do a superhero book, and that’s one of the main reasons I agreed to Death Defying ‘Devil. It’s one small way to pay him back for all the awful things I’ve made him draw!
Destito: What about this particular character do you find so appealing?
Simone: For me, it’s always the pulp thing, I love the history of comics and pulps and I love to tap into that excitement and try to recreate it. I’d love people to be as excited about the Shadow and the Avenger as Groot and Wolverine. With the ‘Devil, he was a prototype of a LOT of current heroes, he was way ahead of his time. And his costume and gimmick really are striking…I’d be more afraid of this guy in a dark alley than a flying rodent-themed dude. Additionally, it’s fun for me. A lot of my heroes are quippy, NOT THIS GUY.
Geovani: He doesn’t talk, maybe only a couple of words on rare moments, and that makes him a hero of all attitude. That is pretty cool! His design, his costume is what I think is the best because it’s scary. The interesting thing is that one side is dark blue and the other is red. This way it’s like he’d have two sides, two personalities, but none of the personalities look friendly. I don´t know if that makes sense at all to other people, but to me that’s how I see him. But he´s a good guy, and I like this contrast of what you see outside is not what it is inside.
Destito: How did you turn this Golden Age character into a more modern hero in your own style?
Simone: I wanted a brawler. I wanted a guy who sees something wrong and punches it. I wanted that guy who says to bullies, whether they are Hitler or drug dealers, “Back the hell up or I will kick the living CRAP out of you.” He’s kind of concentrated MAN in the best possible way.
Geovani: Well, basically I’m following what was published by Dynamite before. He’s just my interpretation of what I see and read on the references I have. If it does look modern, it’s just a natural consequence because I’m influenced by modern comics, but it’s not something I planned to be.
Destito: What are your favorite pages: big action, more intimate panels, or big splash pages?
Geovani: I do like to draw splash pages, but they’re not my favorite. If I have the chance to insert panels or even turn it into a two or three panel grid, to let the storytelling be more interesting, I do it. The fun I have in drawing comics is making this panel-to-panel action that is connected to each other. Sure you can tell a story with one single image, but is not that fun to me, you know? When it comes to big action versus intimate panels, I really like more when I have to draw both things in the same issue. To me, that’s what makes a perfect comic book. If I had to choose one, I’d go with intimate panels because of the challenge. They’re harder to draw, in my case. But, I repeat, to have those two elements is the best thing in a comic book story.
Simone: I love writing splashes because they are impactful, but one of the funniest things about this book is having Walter because I know with 100% certainty that he will take the weird ideas in it and make them work, no matter what.
Deanna: You have worked together before. What makes you a good team?
Geovani: That’s a good question and I don´t think I have a good answer to give. What I can say is that since the first issue we worked together, I felt very comfortable translating her words into images. It is not like I had to adapt my style to her writing or something like that. I just read the script and the images start to appear in my mind easily. She gives me a lot of freedom on how to lay out the pages and design the characters and everything I do on the art is thinking about the story, trying to guess what’s best for the story.
Simone: It’s easy. Walter’s too good for me, but I’m too selfish to let him go. Seriously, few artists just immediately GET what I’m up to like Walter. This story is basically a superhero in the Twilight Zone. It’s PERFECT for our brand of madness. It’s unlike anything I’ve done before, and Walter is the ONLY guy I would want to draw it.
The Death-Defying ‘Devil #1 is slated for release on August 7. The issue can also be found digitally on ComiXology, Kindle, iBooks, Google Play, Dynamite Digital, ComicsPlus, and more.