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Dennis Hopeless on building the world of 'X-O Manowar'

Comic Books

Dennis Hopeless on building the world of ‘X-O Manowar’

Get the scope ahead of issue #3 debuting later this month.

X-O Manowar (by Dennis Hopeless and Emilio Laiso) is an exciting new series from Valiant featuring a hero who is still figuring out the modern world. The series, though, had something of a rough start, launching just before the big delay in comics distribution in April. (Talk about life imitating art, right?) But the creative team nonetheless soldiered on, and X-O Manowar #2 is out now, with X-O Manowar #3 launching December 23, 2020.

Hopeless was recently a guest on the AIPT Comics podcast, where we discussed the series return. Now, with the book back in full swing, we had the opportunity to ask a few more questions, focusing specifically on the upcoming issue.

Listen to the latest episode of our weekly comics podcast!

AIPT: Thanks for taking the time, Dennis. First off, I really like the recap pages in X-O; do you write those, and if so, how do you keep them feeling fresh?

Dennis Hopeless: Thank you! Aren’t they great? Here’s my trick… I turn a script into editor Heather Antos and wander away to look at shiny things while she does the much more difficult job of crafting an engaging summary. Works every time.

AIPT: When you were on the AIPT Comics podcast we talked a bit about X-O being overpowered, but dare you power him up even more in issue #3?

DH: Ha. Well, I also said the threats Aric faces will be growing as the series progresses. X-O’s world is beginning to react to him. The power gap is closing much faster than anyone expected and… If you don’t adapt you die.

AIPT: What I love about your angle of X-O Manowar having to worry about PR is how Aric would never care about such a thing, so it pushes him. At the end of the day, what are other things Aric wouldn’t care about but should?

DH: Dental hygiene maybe? It’s an interesting thing to consider. What elements of a future culture would remain silly to a time traveler, even several years in. How much does your upbringing cement you in a way of thinking? Aric is a smart, thoughtful, and empathetic guy who is capable of growing and changing. He definitely thinks certain elements of modern society are ridiculous, but he’s definitely not a cartoon caveman. I do think Shanhara has to fight with him about brushing his teeth before bed. On the daily.

X-O Manowar #3

A page from X-O Manowar #3. Courtesy of Valiant.

AIPT: Gaming has come up in the series — are you a gamer, and if so, what are you playing right now? Follow up, what would Aric play if he did play a video game?

DH: I’m a video game fan, but have always been fairly mediocre at playing them. I definitely don’t put enough time in to call myself a gamer. That said, my kids have just aged up into some of my PS4 games. They’ve been playing Spider-Man and dying repeatedly in Mass Effect and Horizon: Zero Dawn. Those games are amazing but sadly, I’m not much better at them than my 6-year-olds.

As for Aric, I’m not sure he’d have the patience for modern video games. I envision a lot of broken controllers and cracked screens… But wouldn’t it be fun to watch a Visigoth play Animal Crossing?

AIPT: Avoiding spoilers entirely, but having a chance to look at X-O Manowar #3 early, there is some really fun stuff going on with word balloons interacting with the fight scenes. Is that something you’re a part of?

DH: That would be our brilliant letterer Hassan playing around with storytelling and making us all look good. My contribution there was typing all those words on top of a gorgeous action sequence that likely didn’t need them.

X-O Manowar #3

A preview page from X-O Manowar #3. Courtesy of Valiant

AIPT: You have the X-O Manowar suit for a day, what do you do and why? Follow up, how is your PR looking at the end of the day?

DH: In the middle of Covid?! I’d be flying around the world, the alternating time between deserted beaches and desolate mountain tops until Aric showed up to take his armor back. My public relations profile would be pretty non-existent but Shanhara would likely have gotten very sick of answering my inane questions.

X-O Manowar #3 can be found in comic book shops on December 23, or preordered digitally today.

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