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    RIK HOSKIN talks PIERCE BROWN’S RED RISING: SONS OF ARES #2, on sale in JUNE from Dynamite!

    BYRON BREWER: Rik, it must be a great thrill to help Pierce Brown bring his adventures to comic books. What has been the most difficult (or most enjoyable) aspect of this adaptation for you?

    RIK HOSKIN: It’s always enjoyable working with talented people like Pierce -- and everyone else on this book. Working with talented people drives everyone involved to do better.

    The most difficult aspect has been trying to stay as faithful to Pierce’s Red Rising world as I can while introducing it to a new audience, because it’s a rich world with its own language, quirks and culture. Pierce has made that easy by being intrinsically involved right from the start -- this is very much a collaboration.

    The most enjoyable aspect has been working with editor Kevin Ketner, who’s driving everyone to do their best ... and then better it! Seeing the artwork coming through is always a thrill and we have such a talented team of artist, colorist and an amazing letterer.

    BB: Speaking of … How have Pierce and you worked with artist Eli Powell and colorist Jordan Boyd to bring basically a prose world to a visual medium?

    RH: We tried to get the details and atmosphere of the books into the panel descriptions -- I started my first script with a three page abstract of what this world was, just to set things up for the artist.

    Eli Powell is a master of atmosphere, and he’s really weighting this world with shadow and implication -- making it both buoyant and sinister.

    Color is a huge part of the books -- the characters are defined by their skin colors -- and Jordan Boyd has had to make that look believable, which I don’t imagine is easy. He’s brought some amazing effects to the artwork, enhancing Eli’s already incredible pages. It’s some of the best coloring I’ve seen.

    Our letterer Tom Napolitano has also been doing exceptional work. I had this idea of using colors in the lettering to better bring life to the world of the books, and Tom just ran with it, making the pages really sing.

    Thankfully, our editor is super supportive so all these crazy ideas get tried out and he somehow brings it all together.

    BB: What can you tell us about Fitchner Au Barca? The Institute?

    RH: Fitchner is a character whom readers of the Red Rising book series will already know -- he’s a Gold, born to the highest echelon of the Society, but he’s an outcast because of his imperfect skin color. For our story, we join him in his formative years. Fitchner is angry and cruel, but he’s living in a world that’s just as cruel -- it’s survive or die, and Fitchner is pragmatic and a survivor.

    The Institute is an academy where the Golds -- the highest tier of Society -- learn to be the awful people they’ll become. It’s a truly terrible place, its lessons are basically a series of survival exercises where one’s classmates are probably going to be killed.

    BB: Who are the Peerless Scarred?

    RH: The Peerless Scarred are the best of the Golds, exceptional graduates from the Institute. They receive a permanent razor scar across their face which they wear as a badge of honor. I gave the razor strike a distinct sound, to make it that bit more visceral.

    BB: Speaking of Eli & Jordan, I would say they are rockin’ the few pages I have seen thus far! Your thoughts?

    RH: I’ve been blown away. Eli’s inked pages are like he’s painting with darkness, it’s very moody work. Then Jordan’s done some magic to them so they’re just as moody but they pop. It’s been a pleasure seeing this stuff come through.

    BB: Rik, why should readers be excited about the coming of the Red Rising franchise to comics, and about this Son of Ares series?

    RH: The Sons of Ares comics are new stories and can be read alone, you don’t need to read the books to “get” them. They’re the story of a terrible future society, where mankind has almost lost touch with what it is to be human. Our heroes aren’t good guys, they’re not selfless, they’re not nice -- this is really the story of terrorists in a dreadful society.

    Of course, we’re getting to do this using the world and history of Pierce Brown’s books. The Red Rising books have a huge following, because their world is so well-realized. The characters struggle with survival in a narrative about persistence and manipulation, and the heroes are defined by the sheer awfulness of their world and circumstances.

    The comics are all about that world, and just how terrible the decisions people have to make in them to get even fleeting happiness.