Recently, Charles Webb got the chance to sit down with Arvid Nelson, writer on Dark Horse’s Deadlocke. Joining Arvid is writer Christopher Krovatin, author of Venomous, the book which Deadlocke has been adapted from.
Charles Webb: Could you provide our readers with a brief synopsis of the book?
Arvid Nelson: Actually, Dark Horse nailed it in the solicitation text! Ahem:
“In New York City, a ragtag group of rebellious teens throws its annual Weimar bash filled with debauchery, booze, and bloody knuckles. Going for the first time is Locke Vinetti, a loner who usually prefers to escape into the world of his alter ego comic book creation, Deadlocke. Under the tutelage of Casey, the group’s charming but unpredictable ringleader, Locke has learned to express his angst in ways he never thought possible. Locke must learn to control his newfound strength at the risk of losing Renee, the darkly beautiful girl of his dreams. Determined to prove Deadlocke’s rage will overpower Locke’s love, Casey provokes Locke in a brutal rooftop battle where their lives, and their souls, hang in the balance.”
CW: What is Deadlocke to Locke and vice versa? Is Deadlocke what Locke wants to be or more of a safety valve?
AN: Deadlocke is more what Locke is afraid of than what he wants to become. He is the personification of Locke’s shadow; like The Incredible Hulk, actually. When Locke gets pushed too far, Deadlocke doesn’t just come out, he takes over.
CW: Without spoiling anything, where does Locke’s rage come from? How dangerous is his Deadlocke persona?
AN: Locke has a lot of anger directed towards his father, that’s a big part of Deadlocke, but it doesn’t explain everything. There isn’t really an answer for darkness, I think. It just is. That’s why it’s so terrifying. It comes out of the primitive, reptilian corners of the human mind. Deadlocke is Locke’s way of trying to deal with that.
CW: The character Casey seems bent on helping Locke express himself — is there any kind of ulterior motive for him? In fact, what draws the rich kids Casey runs with to Locke?
AN: I think everyone’s known a Casey in their lives. He’s one of those people that seems like a friend but isn’t. Casey is an empty, howling void. He wants to drag other people down with him. Locke is unique — talented, strange and unique. That’s what attracts Casey and his friends to him. But he’s awkward around people, too. Coming out of your shell is always a dangerous thing to do, because it leaves you vulnerable.
AN: I mean, who can explain what makes people attracted to each other any more than darkness? But both Renee and Locke have darkness in their lives — different kinds of darkness, but darkness nonetheless. Saying anything more would ruin some surprises in the comic, so I’d better shut up!
CW: The story is adapted from the novel Venomous by Christopher Krovatin. What drew you to the book? Why did you feel it needed the comic treatment?
AN: Deadlocke is one of those rare, magical projects that just dropped in my lap, like a handful of magic beans. Dark Horse approached me with a screenplay based on Venomous — the screenplay was the basis for the comic. I felt inspired, so I took the job!
CW: What drew you to Locke/Deadlocke as a character?
AN: Locke is a modern-day portrait of an artist as a young man. He feels very real to me. I relate to him. Chris and I also I have a lot in common. We had similar experiences growing up, we like the same kind of music. So there’s a real bond between us, too!
AN: Many things! Working on some stuff for Dynamite Comics I’m really excited about, but can’t divulge details just yet. I’m also writing a fantasy novel inspired by my love of heavy metal music and Scandinavian mythology. It’s called Therial’s Song. Otherwise, when I’m not slacking off, I’m busy getting my web site, arvidland.com, up to speed!
CW: How does it feel to see your characters come to life in a comic book format?
Christopher Krovatin: Truly amazing. As a lifelong comic book fan, it’s really cool to see something I created come alive in a badass illustrated form. Twelve-year-old Chris is pretty pleased with me right now.
CW: How closely did you work with Arvid on Deadlocke?
CK: Besides a round of notes I sent him on the rough draft of the comic’s script, I didn’t work all that closely with Arvid, which is cool, given how well the comic relates back to my screenplay. Arvid really grasped the visceral atmosphere of what I wanted to portray with this story; he has a knack for vital emotion, which a lot of people often stumble over.
CK: Well, I had already adapted the novel into the screenplay, which is what most of the comic was based off of, and yes, that was difficult. A book is all ideas and feelings, but for a movie, and subsequently a comic book, you have to see the scene that all your words are creating. It’s a different animal altogether.
CW: When you wrote Venomous did you ever think that one day it would become a comic? Or was it your every intention to seek out a way to bring it to life as a comic book?
CK: Maybe it was subconsciously! The book has awesome comic book-esque illustrations in it by Kelly Yates, and I am a complete and utter geek when it comes to superheroes and dark, weird things. But nah, I had no idea that would ever happen.
CW: What can readers expect from you in 2010?
CK: I’m working on two new projects, one a more adult novel about a family surviving a bloody scandal, and the other a novel about Death Metal in Argentina. Keep your eyes out and your hackles raised.