BYRON BREWER: Rik, how have you enjoyed adding to the canon of Pierce Brown’s Red Rising universe? Were you a fan of his work before working together on the comic?
RIK HOSKIN: It’s always an honor working with another creator within their universe. I’ve had that opportunity several times, with great authors like Brandon Sanderson and Patricia Briggs, among others. It can be daunting because you’re adding something to this pre-formed masterpiece, but it can also be very rewarding.
Pierce is very generous, he’s made sure it’s been fun. He has a clear vision of his universe but he’s also been very open to how I’ve tried to interpret it. I’d read his books before coming to this project so I was already familiar with Pierce’s work, and loved what he’d created with the Red Rising world.
BB: If a Red Rising novel fan has read this comics series from Dynamite, what kind of texture/enjoyment would it bring them to re-read the original? New perceptions?
RH: I think the biggest influence would be from Eli Powell’s visuals, which have brought this world to life, as well as the astonishing color palette our colorists have used.
BB: Has this comic built or diminished Fitchner as a character for you? Was it better to have had the mystery of his life, or has this “fleshing out” made him all the better?
RH: Oh, I love Fitchner, and the more of his angry youth I see the better! He’s a samurai without honor, a terrorist without mercy, but the more readers learn about him the more I hope they’ll sympathize with him, despite how gorydamn wrongheaded he can be!
BB: Aside from Fitchner, what other member(s) of the Sons of Ares cast would you say has/have been affected by the series … for good or ill?
RH: That’s a tricky question to answer without getting into spoilers. This is definitely Fitchner’s story, and it’s set roughly a generation before the Red Rising books, but how he’s motivated and how he motivates everyone around him becomes a basis for the whole “Sons of Ares” movement. At this stage, everyone enters the (as-yet-unnamed) movement wide-eyed and hopeful, but what happens during their first action affects them in terrible ways. I especially like the Doran/Ryanna relationship, how his crushing on her affects her when a big, big spoiler happens.
BB: What has been the biggest surprise/challenge for you in working on this book with Pierce?
RH: I’ve enjoyed finding ways to tell this story, the way we transition between past and present, how we show the split lives of the Golds and the Reds. Seeing Eli’s early pages made me bolder in how I approached that, because his work was so confident from the very first page. My script asked a lot, and he delivered more!
I’ve praised Pierce’s input before now, he’s worked closely with me throughout. He’s very open to new ideas and new approaches, then adds all these flourishes no one saw coming that raise everything to new heights.
BB: What do we have to look forward to from you, Mr. Hoskin?
RH: I have a number of projects in progress, although I can’t talk about most of them.
For Dynamite, we’ll see Volume 2 of Brandon Sanderson’s White Sand this year, the penciled pages for which are looking spectacular.
I have a graphic novel coming from Indian publisher Campfire called Karna, Victory in Death, which has some of the most beautiful artwork I’ve seen.
There’s also some more book work – prose novels, without all those pictures making me look good – and other stuff that I’m waiting on announcements for.