We’ve been loving Generation Zero from Valiant. So we spoke to the writer Fred Van Lente about giving the team their own solo series, his influences and what you can expect to see in future issues!
To start off, would you introduce yourself to the reader and tell them how you got into writing comic books?
I had always been a comics fan, but it wasn’t until I went to Syracuse University and I met a bunch of people in the art department studying to be pencillers and illustrators that I think I processed this was something I could do as a career. I became buddies with them and we began creating comics together, and after school I moved to New York City with them. It took a while, but here I am!
What was it like crafting a solo adventure for ‘Generation Zero’ as they help teenagers around the world?
Valiant came to me and said they wanted a teenagers’ book and I thought the team itself, which was created by my pals Joshua Dysart and Clayton Henry in the pages of HARBINGER WARS, was tailor-made for their own series. We came up with the A-Team type hook of them traveling from town to town. I didn’t want them fighting drug dealers or evil ranchers (a typical A-Team foe), they need an adversary worthy of them. So that’s when the town of Rook and Keisha Sherman began to form in my mind.
What influenced you when it came to bringing the team to the town of Rook? It certainly has a Twin Peaks/X-Files vibe to it!
Definitely! I was inspired a lot by a great French video game called Life Is Strange that I really enjoyed. This maybe isn’t as direct, but I wanted a manga feel, to a certain degree. I love the insular worlds of Junji Ito’s Uzumaki and Twentieth Century Boys by Urasawa. Both those worlds are unique and expansive at the same time.
The third issue took place inside Adele’s head, and it was genuinely quite brilliant, how did that idea come about?
Thanks! Basically we needed to work a break for Francis Portela into the schedule, so I thought rather than just try to paper it over with another artist we actually make it a plot point. I had long been describing this series tongue in cheek as “ARCHIE meets THE AUTHORITY” and since I had worked with JUGHEAD artist Derek Charm before it seemed like a good opportunity for him to come in and create an actual pseudo Archie-world.
How did you come up with the Cornermen? and will their origin be revealed?
I wanted a “Slenderman” type bogeyman or bogeymen as the primary (visible) antagonists. Francis Portela designed them inspired by an old Edward Gorey illustration I found in a magazine. The fact they talk in anagrams is an homage to the Scissormen in Grant Morrison and Richard Case’s Doom Patrol. And yes, their origin will definitely be revealed!
What can we expect to see in the future for Generation Zero?
A battle with the Rrriot Gears, the introduction of a new big bad (whom you’ve already met) and another trip into Heroscape!