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  • ALEŠ KOT talks JAMES BOND: THE BODY #1, on sale in JANUARY!

    ALEŠ KOT talks JAMES BOND: THE BODY #1, on sale in JANUARY from Dynamite!

    BYRON BREWER: I have always felt many of your other books have had a "Bond feel" about them. What is it like to work on this iconic character for Dynamite?

    ALEŠ KOT: It's fascinating. I was interested in Bond as a kid, of course -- as boys especially tend to be, or tend to be conditioned to be. Then came the realization that Bond is essentially a colonialist capitalist tool of the white supremacy, all the while also looking super cool and thriving by exploiting the insecurities put into young men by the patriarchy. At the same time -- he's a person, and a complex one at that, and a fascinating way to explore all the things I named as well as the human ability to push ourselves to the limit in order to achieve something. Bond is one of the ultimate fictional work-hard play-hard characters, he's a relentless perfectionist, knows how to move, travels a lot, and he's got the best suits. There's a lot to like and a lot to dislike about Bond, and I suspect that's the way Bond feels about himself, too. So working on him, and with him, is a joy, because to have a character that is layered and an archetype at the same time is a gift and an honor.

    BB: So, right out of the gate (as we say in Kentucky horse country): Are you a spy adventure fan in general and/or a Bond fan in particular?

    AK: I don't really use the word "fan," but I'm an avid consumer of so much media that we can safely include spy, adventure and Bond fiction (as well as plenty of non-fiction) in the box of "what AleŠ explores." I watched Bond movies on Sundays as a kid, I read non-fictional accounts of real world spies early on, and I'm decently versed in how some of the lesser-known aspects of our world work, but I also have plenty of a personal connection -- if you go a few generations back in my family, a lot of shady and interesting stuff happened, including various secret police situations and such. A lot of my family grew up under the Soviet dictatorship and before that under the Nazi dictatorship. So my consumption is to a certain extent driven by a desire for self-exploration, and by a desire to understand my family, the history of the world and all its peoples. Somewhere in there, for the purpose of the story, I meet Bond. He is not a healthy person.

    BB: We've had some great Bond sagas from some talented writers and artists since Dynamite started publishing the character's adventures. What is your particular take on Bond as a character? What can you, in a non-spoilery way, tell us about your storyline for "The Body"?

    AK: There is no take. He's Mr. Fleming's character, and all I want to do is let that character out into the world today and see how he interacts with it. So, rooting my writing in what I described here and above, I simply asked myself: how does all he does impact him, and what if he meets a conspiracy so fractured he can't even fully comprehend it, much less fully end it? Because -- isn't that what we're largely dealing with today, these large conspiracies that don't even feel like conspiracies because we got so used to either being told we can't change them or to being told they don't exist?

    And from there sprung The Body. Every issue is an exploration of a particular aspect of Bond's body -- sometimes very direct, sometimes much more poetic. I wanted to see what happens when Bond has to repeatedly face diverse problems -- some ethically more complex than initially presented, others already beyond his reach -- in a short span of time. What is the scene at the end of that equation? All I can say is that it's an entire issue set inside a London pub, and it features Felix Leiter as well.

    BB: In my experience, Ales Kot books usually have one or more subtexts ripped from current events. Does Bond have any real-world/big picture messages in that manner, aside from the fantastic Bond story itself?

    AK: If it does, I'd prefer mostly leaving it a mystery, something to be discovered. I don't want to be preachy -- I'm much more interested in art that asks questions. But okay, fine, I'll give you one bit: Bond definitely does not like Neo-Nazis, and I don't suppose he's much of a fan of the "let's take them to the local debate club" approach. He's much more of the "let's take them to the local debate club, give them cement shoes, and ship them off to the Marianas Trench" kinda type. Though, how it really plays'll have to see for yourself.

    BB: Tell us what artist Luca Casalanguida brings to this spy table.

    AK: Luca reminds me of Goran Parlov at the beginning of his career. What else is there to say? That is, to me, one of the greatest things one can say about a comic artist at the beginning of what looks like a long and fruitful career. Luca gives readers clear, concise storytelling with holistic attention to character as action and action as character, and I can see him getting better and better. I'd be very happy if we would work together again.

    BB: What other projects might readers look for from you?

    AK: Generations Gone Vol. 1 drops January 3 and it's a story of three millennials who get superpowers and then their lives fall apart. It's really raw and takes big mood cues from Unbreakable, Akira, Skins and more, but it also goes all the way to space, has a breakup fight in a nuclear factory, and is all beautifully drawn by André Lima Araújo...and Days of Hate #1, which drops January 17, is the first chapter of a 12-chapter story of two women on the opposing sides of the barricades in near-future United States, where things further fell apart, the U.S. government effectively runs its own gestapo named SNPU, and an armed resistance conducts sabotage aimed at ending the reign of terror. The two women were together until a tragedy separated them, and now one decides to rat out the other to the chief of the SNPU -- because her ex is a resistance fighter. Danijel Žeželj is drawing all twelve issues of that one, and I believe it's one of the best things I have ever written. It's also, in a way, a spiritual sequel to Zero, a comic I have published a few years ago, and quite probably the reason I ended up writing James Bond.