Demon Knights will get a new writer in January, and a bit of a new direction for the comic, which takes place in the DCU past.
Robert Venditti, best known as creator of the comic book-turned-movie Surrogates, will take over Demon Knights with issue #16, working with current artist Bernard Chang.
Current writer Paul Cornell encouraged readers to continue reading the series after he leaves, and apparently is putting an ending to issue #15 that gives the next writer a clean slate.
Demon Knights launched last year, set in the Medieval era and hinting at links with the rebooted present of the DCU. It starred rebooted versions of DC characters like Etrigan, Madame Xanadu, Vandal Savage, Shining Knight, and several new characters created for the time period.
According to the just-released solicitation for Demon Knights #16, Venditti's run will begin with the comic shifting 30 years into the future, although still in the past of the DCU. "What has happened during this time? Who lives? Who's dead? Who's going to stop the massive vampire invasion that threatens all life?" the solicitation teases.
Newsarama talked to Venditti to find out more about his plans for Demon Knights.
Newsarama: Robert, what attracted you to working with DC — and on this comic in particular?
Robert Venditti: There are so many reasons I wanted to write Demon Knights, not the least of which is the incredibly rich world Paul Cornell created and the compelling characters he populated it with. There really isn’t any other book like it on the stands. And that’s a big part of it for me. I always try to take on projects that are different from what I’ve done before. I like the challenge, and ultimately it keeps me engaged with the story.
Nrama: Are you continuing the current cast of characters? Are you adding to them?Venditti: A lot of the story’s details are still being kept under wraps, but I can say that all of the current cast will be present in the series, though some of them in ways that I hope the readers won’t see coming. Issue #16 will open a few decades removed from when Issue #15 leaves off, and it will have been a while since the team last rode together. Once they do come back together, we’ll see that the years have affected each of them differently.
Nrama: What elements of DC's past do you hope to highlight during your run?
Venditti: The driving force behind the arc will center on a particular character from far back in the DC timeline, but to say who that is now would be premature. I will say that the threat will be something that Medieval society has never seen before, and there really isn’t any rulebook for fighting it. Not that the Demon Knights would ever follow a rulebook anyway.
Nrama: We've seen a lot of references in Demon Knights to things in the current-day DCU. Are you continuing that? Will it be a bigger part of the comic, or are you going in a different direction?
Venditti: One of the high concepts driving the series is the idea that Demon Knights sheds light on events that are still reverberating throughout the modern DC Universe. That’s one of things that appeals to me about the series, and we’ll definitely be continuing it. The future has no bearing on the past, but the past . . . well, the past influences everything.
Nrama: Can you tell us anything about your first story arc?
Venditti: The whole idea grew out of a single panel that appeared in one of the series’ earlier issues. This is a thread that Paul wove into the series, and we’re going to pull it for all it’s worth. It’s just such a great image, and when I saw it, this big, sweeping storyline sort of hit me in a rush. I couldn’t get the story out of my head, and I just knew I had to tell it.
Nrama: Any heroic character in particular getting the spotlight?Venditti: All of the characters will have their own subplots, and all of them will emerge from the first storyline different from how they were when they went in. If I had to pick favorites from the first arc, though, I think they’d be Horsewoman and Jason Blood/Etrigan. Horsewoman is so unlike anything we’ve seen in comics before. Paul really created a character with tremendous narrative potential. As for Jason Blood/Etrigan . . . I don’t really have to explain what’s so good about them, do I? Everything is!
Nrama: Then is there anything else you want to tell us about Demon Knights?
Venditti: If you haven’t already, go buy issue #13, which is on the stands now. It’s my favorite issue yet — just crammed with great moments and outstanding characterization. Paul is definitely leaving some big shoes to fill. The good news is Bernard Chang will be there with me. He’s a huge talent, and great guy to boot. I’m really looking forward to working with him.