Robert Rodi about the recent adaptation of his graphic novel Lokiinto the four part viral miniseries Thor & Loki: Blood Brothers. While more widely known as a prolific novelist, Rodi certainly is no slouch when it comes to producing poignant and engaging comics. Here is what he had to say about comics, the characters and what it felt like to have one of his favorite works translated into a different medium. " />

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On the Web Fri Apr 01 2011

Thor & Loki: Blood Brothers Coda with Robert Rodi

I recently spoke with Chicago writer Robert Rodi about the recent adaptation of his graphic novel Lokiinto the four part viral miniseries Thor & Loki: Blood Brothers. While more widely known as a prolific novelist, Rodi certainly is no slouch when it comes to producing poignant and engaging comics. Here is what he had to say about comics, the characters and what it felt like to have one of his favorite works translated into a different medium.

What drew you into comics in the first place? Have you always been a fan since childhood or were you introduced to them later?

I've been attracted to comics since before I could read. I love the sensual beauty of ink on paper, and I love serial fiction too, so comic books drew me in on both counts. It's been a love affair ever since--with, as in most love affairs, occasional breakups and emotional reconciliations.

Are you a fan of Thor?

Yes, big fan. Given all the pages I've written featuring him, it would be kind of perverse if I weren't.

What past or present Thor stories have affected you or at least piqued your interest in the character?

I loved the Stan & Jack era, especially when they brought in Hercules; and Walt Simonson's run, with Beta Ray Bill and the frog of thunder.

Thorloki.jpg

Explain the genesis behind your graphic novel with Esad Ribic. How did the two of you meet? Were you approached by Marvel or did you pitch it?

Axel Alonso approached me. I'd worked with him at Vertigo on Codename: Knockout, and when he moved to Marvel I was eager to follow him--he's a great editor. So I kept pestering him for work. Eventually Loki came along and he gave me a shot at it, which was a leap of faith because I hadn't done anything like it before--I mean, Codename: Knockout was a sex-and-spy farce; Loki was epic super-hero fantasy. No one else would've let me near it. But Axel's an excellent judge of talent.

When writing the comic, what influenced you? What did you put into this comic to make it stand apart from other tales?

I was influenced by the Shakespeare plays, mainly, because the villains are always more interesting than the heroes--more complex, more conflicted, more multi-layered. Think of Mabeth, Iago, Edmund. I thought Loki could easily be made to fit in that mold; I mean, what if he's not evil incarnate? What if he's got motivation, a point of view--what if he's essentially human, like you or me?

I was actually the second writer Axel offered the series to; the first had come up with a standard Loki-tries-to-topple-Asgard story, and Axel wanted something different--something new. So I decided to take Loki-topples-Asgard as my starting point; we've never seen Loki win before, so that would have to show him in a new and revelatory light. Also, the phrase "Be careful what you wish for, because you just might get it" came to mind. Loki wins, Loki rules Asgard--is Loki finally happy? Very, very far from it. And that forces him to look deep inside and ask himself, why not?

loki1 esad ribic.jpg

What do you find provocative about Loki as a character?

He's the trickster god, who graduated to god of evil. He's ambitious that way, he's driven. Gods usually aren't; they're static--that's the whole point of them. They represent universal constants, unalterable states of being. But Loki is always shifting, warping, changing. These days he's a pre-pubescent boy. You see what I mean.

Did you have any input when it came time for your comic to be adapted into a serialized animated film?

No, it all happened very quietly and secretly; I wasn't told till most of the first two episodes were in the can. One of the more pleasant shocks of my life, let me tell you. When I heard the book was being turned into a "motion comic," I expected something like the pan-and-scan method used by the old Marvel cartoons in the Sixties. When I went to the Marvel offices and Ruwan Jayatilleke showed me the footage, my jaw hit the floor. Esad's artwork doesn't just move, it lives; it has weight and texture and breath and...integrity, is the word I'm looking for. This isn't a motion comic, it's a motion picture. God knows how they did it. But there's nothing I could have contributed, beyond the source material. Everything's flawless...the voice actors, the score, every last thing is just a slam dunk.

 
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Rebecca Hyland / April 1, 2011 11:10 AM

I know someone who named his kid Loki. Great interview!

James Orbesen / April 1, 2011 11:15 AM

My cousin is naming his son Thor!

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