This just in: Valiant Entertainment is making great comics. From X-O Manowar to Bloodshot, not to mention their upcoming Shadowman, their series/titles are hugely exciting superhero comics. The sheer level of talent is obvious from writers to artists, but their editorial staff is just as sharp and dedicated.
I spoke to Heather Antos about this summer’s The Harbinger and it’s quite a clear Valiant’s editorial is some of the best in the business. Hell, Max Bemis even name-dropped Valiant editors as to why his upcoming series Savage is so strong.
As a follow-up of sorts, I had the opportunity to speak to senior editor Lysa Hawkins. With experiences across publishers like DC Comics and Marvel, Hawkins is currently editing Bloodshot and Ninjak, and previously worked on Punk Mambo, Rai, and Doctor Mirage. Hawkins shares some profound insights into her role and what it takes to be a senior editor.
And don’t miss an exclusive look at Bloodshot #11, due out February 24.
AIPT: Lysa, thank you for taking the time to answer a few questions. You’re currently working on Ninjak and Bloodshot — what’s it like working on these projects that have so much history?
Lysa Hawkins: Thank you for taking the time to ask the questions, Dave! Honestly, I find myself very lucky to be able to work with such richly established properties as Ninjak and Bloodshot. I have their expansive history to pour over to see what I can pull from to add something even better to the present-day books. They are such fun and diverse characters, and with scribes like Tim Seeley and Jeff Parker, they are in good hands.
AIPT: You’ve been working in comics for some time, starting as Virginia Romita’s production assistant in the Marvel Bullpen, and now Senior Editor at Valiant. Can you tell us from your perspective how have comics changed for the better over this time?
LH: Where to start? So much has changed. When I started in the Bullpen, we were still doing paste ups, Stan Lee was still coming by the office. I watched Marvel go from mechanical to digital, which changed everything. No longer do you get art with balloons pasted on the page. No longer do artists send in actual pages. I do miss opening FedEx boxes and holding artwork. There was magic in that. What’s important is comics are now everywhere and more inclusive than ever. It’s cool to read comics and there are comics on the shelves for everyone. It’s not just caped heroes anymore.
AIPT: Looking over your work via ComicVine, you’ve done it all from X-Men to Superman. Are there any dream projects you’d like to edit someday?
LH: Anything written by Neil Gaiman, or Alan Moore, for that matter…I’m not picky. 🙂
AIPT: Walk us through the day and the life of a senior editor.
LH: Every day is different, depending on what is needed of me that day. Some days I’m reading scripts and going over the lettering. Some days it’s meetings, meetings, meetings. Other days it’s all about production, interviews, and calling artists. Most days it’s all of the above. I used to say being a comic book editor you have to be good at spinning plates. There are always a lot of books in motion, the goal is to keep them spinning.
AIPT: How has the pandemic affected your work at Valiant, if at all?
LH: While google meets is efficient, it’s not the same as going into someone’s office to shoot ideas around. I miss my co-workers and my freelancers! Other than that it’s business as usual. I do look forward to conventions again!
AIPT: When you’re working on titles like Ninjak, is there any insider access to film production?
LH: I would love to tell you yes, I see everything, but the truth is, no! But OMG, I would love to see a Ninjak film.
AIPT: For someone who wants to be a senior editor, what is one skill they must have? What are the skills they could build on to find themselves in this role?
LH: One skill I think is needed to be a good editor, let alone a senior editor, is to be able to keep up with the current zeitgeist. Tapping into what the audience is looking for is half the battle. Also, and this for me is the most important, always be an advocate to both your freelancers and your characters.
AIPT: Top three comics of all time — go!
LH: Oh, this is tough! I’m going to pick the first three that come to mind, but if I think harder, I’m sure this could change.
1) Origin of Doctor Doom (Stan Lee/Jack Kirby) I read this in Bring on the Bad Guys when I was six and fell in love with comics.
2) Batman: The Demon of Gothos Mansion (Denny O’Neill/Dick Giordano) I read Batman from the ’30s to the ’70s (also at six) and I loved it, but it was Denny’s story that stuck with me through the years. Later, when I knew Denny, he signed the comic for me.
3) All of Sandman (sorry for the cheat).
AIPT: What are you most excited about for Valiant in 2021, GO!
LH: Other than Ninjak? Shadowman ALL THE WAY! Can’t wait!
AIPT: Favorite thing to do right now that’s not comics-related, GO!
LH: Yoga…I’m a lapsed Yogani. Very sad really since I’m a certified yoga teacher, but with (because of?) the pandemic, I’m getting my mojo back.
AIPT: What are you most excited about for comics going into 2021?
LH: Everything…Okay, I’ll make it simple. Next Wednesday.
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