RIK HOSKIN talks RED RISING: SONS OF ARES #4, on sale in AUGUST from Dynamite!

BYRON BREWER: Rik, I am fascinated – as I am sure any fan of the Red Rising novel franchise would be – with the depth we are seeing characters and background history unfolding in these comic book pages. I have never asked Mr. Brown this, but will these be considered canon going forward in the novel series or can you speak to that?

RIK HOSKIN: Glad you’re enjoying the series so far, Byron! This series has been plotted and is written with Mr. Pierce Brown himself, and as such is very much the official canonical story of Fitchner au Barca. Astute readers will notice some subtle contradictions between his story here and how it was related in the books--we’re learning that the Fitchner of the books was an unreliable narrator, especially when it comes to his wife Bryn. Readers shouldn’t take anything for granted, this may not be the story they expect.

BB: Pierce and you have done a fantastic job with Fitchner au Barca! Can you tell us about the decision to give this character a great share of the spotlight, if not the series entire? What does Fitchner represent to the Red Rising franchise, in the authors’ eyes?

RH: Our series is Fitchner’s story. He’s at the heart of the “Sons of Ares” movement, not just as its founder and leader but also emotionally--his drive and anger creates the Sons of Ares group who rebel against the established order. I think Pierce wanted to use this series to explore Fitchner’s motivations during his formative years--he’s one of those great characters that authors yearn to tell the back story of.

As for how the authors see him, I can’t speak for Pierce but I see him as a terrorist, first and foremost. He may be the star of the comic, but he’s not a nice guy ... and our story explores why.

BB: I know this is as bloody and action-packed as you can get, and yet there is the definitive subtext (if it is “sub”) of the great weight of Fitchner’s mission and how he bears that weight as a character, and the challenges that arise from this. Can you address that in a very general, non-spoilery way?

RH: Fitchner is an outsider and he’s single-minded. As such, he takes on a lot of responsibility because he doesn’t have a support network, he has no one he feels he can turn to. But has Fitchner created his own outsider status? That’s really the question I’m hoping we raise in the reader’s mind.

BB: Any hints of what we may learn of Fitchner’s past as it comes to bear on issue #4, publishing in August from Dynamite?

RH: Issue 4 was my favorite script for the series. The compromises Fitchner has made up to now, out of both love and anger, conspire against him. Fitchner’s life begins to unravel thanks to his hot temper, and he’s oblivious to the role he’s playing in his own misery.

BB: We have not had the conversation, but how has Pierce responded to seeing his concepts and characters in comic book form?

RH: Pierce has been extremely generous throughout this project. He has a vision for his world, and he’s been very enthusiastic about everything we’ve done to interpret that. He’s steering the ship as we navigate new territory.

BB: Fanboy time: The work of artist Eli Powell has been awesome in the book, from the little I have seen. Thoughts?

RH: What can I say? Eli continues to amaze, his bag of tricks seems bottomless. He has a couple of double page spreads in issues 3 and 4 that are incredible ... I wish I could let him do the whole comic in double page shots!