An Interview With Nova's Jeff Loveness and Ramon Perez!|
A Nova Prime Page Exclusive
With the newest Nova series (and the return of Richard Rider) blasting its way onto the shelves in December, the Nova Prime Page was able to ask series writer Jeff Loveness and writer/artist Ramon Perez a few questions about Nova.
They were very generous and took time away for getting Nova #1 out the door to answer some questions about their upcoming Nova series! I'd like to thank them for their time and answers!
How were the two of you selected for the new Nova series?
Jeff Loveness: I worked with Devin Lewis on Groot and Inhuman Error. We've been looking for a chance to work together again, and luckily everything lined up. I believe Ramon was attached first, because he's a Marvel rock star. I think we both bring different strengths to the book. You'll have to let us know what you guys think.
Ramon Perez: Obviously I can only speak for myself on this, but I had begun circulating the fact that I wanted to be involved in a series from the ground up, especially from a plot and writing standpoint, after Jeff Lemire and I had wrapped up Hawkeye. A few leads came in from different editors, but something rang true when Devin (Lewis), editor of Nova, called me up and pitched me on tackling Sam Alexander as Nova, alongside the return of the deceased Richard Rider.
We chatted back and forth about our take on the character, and he then introduced me to Jeff Loveness (and his work), whereupon Jeff and I proceeded to have a long discussion regarding our take on the characters and their potential story. Our outlooks lined up rather nicely and the team energy was right on the money, so we dove right in.
How would you contrast the differences and compare the similarities between Rich Rider and Sam Alexander?
Ramon Perez: Here you have youth versus experience. Sam is new to being Nova, he's excited, he's trying his best to be a hero, but at 15 no matter how hard you try sometimes you're just not going to get it right. Rich on the other hand is an experienced war hero, he's been through it all, in so much as sacrificing his life to save the universe.
How does one return from that, and pick up the helm of being a hero once again? So the contrast between these two is significant, but on the same level they're both heroes, and we'll see how each approaches that aspect of their character.
Also, one is short, the other is tall.
Jeff Loveness: Sam's one of my favorite characters in Marvel right now. He fully embodies the optimism, eagerness and uncertainty I loved in early Spider-Man stories. He's brand new to all this - and failing every step along the way - but his heart is in the right place. I always love writing those types of characters.
Rich has been doing this for years. He is the gold standard of cosmic super heroes... and Sam knows it. Sadly though, Rich has been gone for a while. The world has moved on without him... and now he's starting to wonder if any of his sacrifice meant anything. There's always another crisis... and maybe it's not worth the trauma.
I love the old school confidence of Rich Rider, and it's been fun to really dive in and deconstruct it, while also celebrating it at the same time. Sam and Rich are going to challenge and rely on each for this run. So far, it's been a refreshing mix of idealism and cynicism- naivety and wisdom. I'm just gonna toss in words until I sound smart.
Continuity in comics tends to be pretty fluid. However based on events in the previous Nova series, Rich appears to have been trapped in the Cancerverse with Sam being a Nova for roughly over a year.
How will Rich adjust back to the world around him? By the same measure, given Sam's lack of discipline in school, how will he handle being trained by someone who has had to lead soldiers in cosmic wars?
Jeff Loveness: "Buddy Cop Movie in Space" is the mantra I keep telling myself. We'll have moments of big, space-opera wonder, but the relationship between these two guy in very different, drastic phases of their lives, will always be the core of the books. You've got the superhero of superheroes alongside a 15-year-old kid who still hasn't figured out how to talk to girls like human beings.
On the flip side of that, Sam has been in the HEART of the Marvel Universe for a while now. Rich Rider was always out on the fringes of space- dealing with Annihilation Waves and Silver Surfer-stuff. He was never a huge power-player on Earth... and now he's talking to at 15-year-old kid who was a main-roster Avenger... a kid who beat down a Phoenix-powered Cyclops. Sam can hold his own. It'll be fun to play with the growing level of respect between these two. You've got the old pro clashing with the next generation. That's always a fun dynamic.
Ramon Perez: Those are aspects we're exploring in our storylines, so really it'd be all spoilers if I said anything, in turn just pick up the book and find out!
There are some unresolved plotlines from previous Nova series (for example; the return of SuperNova in the Abnett/Lanning series and Sam's missing father in the latest Nova series). Are you interested in eventually visiting those or other past storylines that are still out there?
Jeff Loveness: We'll play with some past Nova lore - with a ton of great cameos from old friends and enemies - but I think the priority is taking Nova into the future, rekindling what makes these characters so beloved by their fans, and bringing in as many new readers as we can. Continuity is always a tricky moving-target with comics, but I look forward to diving in. You have my word that Jean Grey will die and resurrect at least 6 times over the course of our run.
Ramon Perez: We're really focusing on this being a new Nova series from the get go, and won't be delving too much into past material. We want to keep it accessible for new readers. Once we get the ball rolling, we'll explore and revisit more of the history. The past always tends to catch up, so, all in due time.
What role will the WorldMind play in the new series?
Jeff Loveness: The WorldMind lives in a studio apartment in Burbank with it's wonderful wife, Linda and their 3 children. The WorldMind is very happy. Anything else I'd say would be a spoiler.
Ramon Perez: Riffing off my previous answer, it's an aspect we're not re-visiting right away. We don't want to bog down the new series right off the bat in a lot of previous continuity. We're not ignoring it, we're just letting Sam and Rich familiarize themselves first... then we'll sucker punch them.
Rich's Nova Prime uniform has some slight modifications to its original Annihilation design by Scott Kolins (the additional chest elements, the six pointed star on the helmet vs the original eight, etc.).
I'm curious if those changes are due to artistic design decisions on Ramon's part or are they driven by story elements created by both of you as writers?
Jeff Loveness: I'll let Ramon handle this one. He's brought really great design touches to this. I have horrible aesthetics, so I'm lucky to be on same team as him.
Ramon Perez: The costume changes are reflective of story elements. So all will be explained...
What sort of threats, villains and friends can Nova fans (and the two Novas) look forward to seeing in the series?
Ramon Perez: We've got some fun villains lined up in the series, some comic creatures and characters that haven't been seen in quite some time. We're having a lot of fun over here, and have some fun surprises in store. The first issue has the Sidri and Ego alone, we've got a fave canine in issue two, and issue three, well, that's just going to be ridiculous fun.
Jeff Loveness: We're currently pooling through the old Marvel Universe handbooks for fun cosmic characters to bring in. Nova's got some weird ones in his past. I always liked the Broccoli-aliens that Jean Grey eviscerated in the Dark Phoenix Saga... maybe a few of them survived. I've got a soft spot for Ego and Cosmo as well.
More importantly, we'd love to start creating some original characters. The best Marvel heroes have deep villain benches. I think it's high time we start leveling up the threats and give Nova their own rogue's gallery on par with Spider-Man/X-Men/Fantastic Four-esque. Nova needs his own Unus The Untouchable and Sauron the Dinosaur Man. And we will give it to them.