Kevin VanHook is the co-creator of Valiant’s BLOODSHOT, which became a Sony Movie starring Vin Diesel. He wrote Superman, Batman, Oracle Lobo, and Red Tornado for DC. He is also a filmmaker most known for his horror films. His latest project is Visi8 comics and he was nice enough to stop by First Comics News to let our readers know all about it.
First Comics News: You’re from Indianapolis, Visi8 is in Indonesia, how did you get together with Raiyan Laksamana and Mas Farid Siddik?
Kevin VanHook: I was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, but I’ve lived in a bunch of different places, many times following my career. I was working in Wheeling, West Virginia when I helped start Innovation Publishing. I went to Michigan when I was the Art Director in the early Caliber Press days and in NYC when I was at Valiant Comics, where I ended up writing around 115 comics and worked as the Production Manager and Executive Editor. After working at Valiant and co-creating Bloodshot and Ninjak, I moved to California with a goal of making films and that’s what I did. I’ve worked in film and television for 25 years.
I met Raiyan on Facebook. He had posted a picture of some unfamiliar food he was eating and had commented in a language I didn’t recognize. I asked him about both and we ended up chatting in general. We were both Visual Effects Supervisors, so we talked about that. I learned that he was also involved in animation and I had been a Senior Vice President at Film Roman (The Simpsons, X-Men Evolution) and we shared our experiences in the field. At a certain point, I told him that I had written lots of stories about mythology in Egypt, Greece and Rome. I’d even told stories dealing with ancient Japan. But I knew very little about South East Asia and I felt that the region and Indonesia itself was really underutilized in fiction seen in the West. Along the way, Farid Siddik joined in these conversations and I did a presentation to a group of young creators in Indonesia. Not long later, we started trying to figure out how to work together. Many Zoom calls and even a few in person meetings later— all led to what we’re doing now.
1st: Raiyan Laksamana and Mas Farid Siddik work in animation, how did you end up pivoting to comics?
Kevin: After the three of us became friends, we talked about a variety of things and because of my background in comics as well as film and animation, we thought it made sense to develop the stories in comics. It would allow us to explore long form storytelling, create rich backgrounds and serve as a sort of sandbox to create all these different characters and their stories.
1st: Will Visi8 Studio be adapting their animated features into comics, or will they be developed into comics and then translated into animated movies?
Kevin: Kara is being simultaneously developed as both a comic book and an animated feature, but in general, the plan is to create and develop comic books and then adapt those stories into live action and animated films and TV series.
1st: What can you tell us about Kara Guardian of the Realms?
Kevin: Kara, the young Guardian of the Unseen Realm, goes on her duty to care for the creatures in the land, when she accidentally meets a lonely fennec cat called Luna whose life is being threatened by a giant beast. Kara saves Luna with her magic flute, not knowing that two time travelers from the future have just arrived in her realm. Until these two show up, Kara is the only human left in all the Realm.
1st: Who is the creators on Kara?
Kevin: Triandhika Anjani is both the writer and the artist and she works with her assistant Fairuz Athoriq.
1st: Is this an all-ages comic?
Kevin: Yes. It’s aimed at kids, but the story works on multiple levels and I think will have a lot of appeal to adults as well.
1st: What can you tell us about Changelings?
Kevin: Changelings tells the story of a demon named ARGA who must match wits and strength against DURJANA- a human raised by spirits in a dark and desolate world.
In this first issue, Durjana sends a giant Kaiju to attack the city of Jakarta, Indonesia and Arga must travel there to stop its swath of destruction. Lots of monsters, from Kaiju to Dragons, and a fascinating twist on the idea of Changeling children.
1st: Who are the creators work on Changelings?
Kevin: Rahmat Handoko is doing the line art and Sakti Yuwono is the color artist.
1st: When will they be coming out?
Kevin: The comics begging shipping to stores in February 2023.
1st: How can fans get them?
Kevin: Visi8 has signed a distribution deal with Diamond Comics Distributors, so they’ll be available in comic book stores everywhere.
1st: Will they be one-shots or ongoing titles?
Kevin: These are ongoing titles.
Thanks for taking the time to talk about what we’re doing. I’m excited for the projects and where we are going.
1st: Good luck and I can’t wait to see these comics.