Berserker #0


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Jump on board the new comic series produced by "Heroes" star Milo Ventimiglia and his DiVide Pictures partner, Russ Cundiff. Created by screenwriter Rick Loverd, Berserker combines elements of superheroes with Norse mythology and weaves in the very human themes of self-worth, courage and determination. Throw in some bone-crushing violence and punch-in-the-mouth action and you've got a recipe for a great Top Cow book!

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Berserker #0

  1. 1. ™ #0 Cover A $ 2.99US/CAN Loverd haun BZPRE_COVS.indd 1 1/23/09 7:01:35 PM Howard lee (order #4836189) 207.181
  2. 2. Berserker. ISSUE 0, February 2009. FIRST PRINTING. Published by Image Comics, Inc. Office of Publication: 2134 Allston Way, Second Floor Berkeley, CA 94704. $2.99 US, $2.99 CAN. © 2009 Top Cow Productions, Inc. and DiVide Pictures. BERSERKER. “Berserker,” the Berserker logos, and the likeness of all featured characters are trademarks of Top Cow Productions, Inc. and DiVide Pictures. All rights reserved. Any resemblance to actual persons (living or dead), events, institutions, or locales, without satiric intent, is coincidental. No portion of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the express written permission of Top Cow Productions, Inc. PRINTED IN CANADA. Marc Silvestri - CEO Matt Hawkins - President and COO Filip Sablik - Publisher Rob Levin - VP - Editorial Mel Caylo - VP - Marketing & Sales Chaz Riggs - Graphic Design Phil Smith - Managing Editor Alyssa Phung - Controller Adrian Nicita - Webmaster Scott Newman - Production Lead Jennifer Chow - Production Assistant For Top Cow Productions, Inc.: Address correspondence to: Written by Rick Loverd Art by Jeremy Haun Colors by Dave McCaig Letters by Troy Peteri Design by Scott Newman Edited by Rob Levin Produced by Top Cow Productions and DiVide Pictures Cover A by Dale Keown New York Comic-Con “Rage” Variant by Dale Keown TM ® Milo Ventimiglia & Russ Cundiff For DiVide Pictures: Milo Ventimiglia Presents: Rick Loverd would like to thank: Sarah (my toughest and best critic), my wonderful family, Milo Ventimiglia, Russ Cundiff, Everyone at Top Cow, Steven Selikoff, Cori Wellins, Clint Trucks, Kevin Burke, Danny Roman, Oliver Tatom, Dr.William Crowley Jr., Braden Aftergood, Kath Lingenfelter, Colin Crowley, and Jason Sorvari–Thanks. BZ000 IFC.indd 1 1/23/09 6:04:11 PM Howard lee (order #4836189) 207.181
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  12. 12. Mel Caylo, VP of Marketing & Sales at Top Cow, sat down one morning to have a candid and entertaining roundtable conversation with Milo Ventimiglia and Russ Cundiff of DiVide Pictures, creator and writer Rick Loverd, and artist Jeremy Haun. Mel: Rick, walk us through the conceit of Berserker. How did you come up with this premise? Rick: Basically it all started when I got really obsessed one afternoon with shape-shifters. And, you know, every culture across the world has his or her own little take on a shape-shifter, whether it’s a skin-walker or a werewolf, or even a vampire. I stumbled upon these Norse shape-shifters, the Berserkers, which translates to “he who wears the skin of the bear.” I hadn’t really read anything, certainly not recently, that had any kind of conceit around that idea and I thought that would be really cool if we could update it to present day and tell a story around it. Mel: Now, Jeremy, when you first heard this premise, what kind of images flashed through your head, visually? Did you have any design sensibilities already that you wanted to try? Jeremy: Well, it’s interesting, when I heard that it was going to be a book called Berserker, I was like: “Oh, that’s kinda cool, you know, an old school Norse book,” and saw all these images of the guy on the battlefield. Then when I found out it was going to be a modern story, I still had that kind of blood-covered, crazed, on the battlefield sensibility in the back of my head and I think that that’s one thing that I’ve really tried to bring over into the images; trying to make sure that it still has that madness and while the characters aren’t necessarily Norse looking or anything like that, I still wanted it to feel that just pitiless craziness. Mel: Now, Rick, you had your property, you had your conceit, what brought you to DiVide, Milo and Russ? Rick: I really have got to give all the credit to my agent, Steven Selikoff at William Morris, who tracked these guys down and met up with them. And I got to say that if you are a young writer; the very, very best thing that could happen is Milo Ventimiglia likes something you wrote. (laughter) Rick: DiVide was a game changer, and Russ and Milo took it to Top Cow and the next thing I knew we were going. Mel: Milo, Russ, walk us through your first meeting with Rick. You obviously had read the pitch by this time, but what did you guys talk about during your first meeting? Milo: Breakfast. (laughter) Milo: It was really early in the morning, remember? You didn’t eat, did you? You showed up because you were coming from something else. Russ: It was the day of the writer’s strike. Milo: Russ and I had read a TV pilot version of Berserker. Before we even went to the meeting, Russ said to me, “There is no way anybody is ever going to make this, let’s grab it.” (laughter) Milo: Let’s do something with it. So that was just where it all started. With Rick, we’re just excited. I mean, anytime we pick up anything, whether it’s Russ or me, or someone else introduces us to material that has good writing, story, dialogue, everything across the board, you want to know those people and you want to be in business with those people. Russ: Yeah, what he said. (laughs) Mel: Well, Russ, tell us when you read it and you realized that no one was ever going to make this, what was it about it? Russ: Well, there really was no beginning and there was no ending. (laughter) Russ: And it’s just like, wow, this is crazy. All the action and the violence—It was very real and something that we had not read before. We were immediately drawn to it. It was also a fascination with Norse mythology and the underlyingmythologyoftheseries. WhenItalkedtoMilo about it—Milo’s enthusiasm behind the project is really TM BZ000 Interview.indd 1 1/23/09 4:47:17 PM Howard lee (order #4836189) 207.181
  13. 13. contagious. And he was just like: “This is awesome!” I think I remember him running around the office: “Yeah, dude! You could be throwing people through walls and shit!” That’s kind of the excitement that I got, so I said, “Alright, let’s meet Rick.” And Rick sort of the nicest guy you could ever meet, he plays guitar and has a lovely wife, and a dog, that’s like a labra-poodle. Rick: Golden Doodle. Russ: Yeah, Golden Doodle. Milo: And he goes on hikes. Russ: He goes on hikes and stuff like that, but he honestly writes the most disgusting and disturbing things I have ever read in my life. (laughter) Mel: Now what made you guys think that comics were the best way to first introduce Berserker? Milo: I think it’s the acceptance of the comic fan to that kind of super-heightened reality. They not only want to see a good story, compelling characters, but they also want to see something that’s dynamic and reaches beyond what the human capacity is. Let’s just say that with an hour in the screen with film and television, the difficulties we would run into at first would just be saying, “Hey here’s a script about these people who ‘serk out and rip people in half.” In comics, we can just say, “Let’s just make a kickass story and a great book.” Visually tell the story well and then from there show people: “Oh, yeah. This is how it is really going to look.” Russ: Yeah. I agree with everything that Milo says. We had met Matt Hawkins and he just sat down and laid it out what Top Cow is about. We were familiar with the company and we thought it would be great to write a book for Top Cow. Maybe we could do that in a year or two, and it needed to fit into the Top Cow brand. We had Berserker at the time and it was just like, “Wow, this fits the Top Cow brand.” We just don’t want to peddle shit. And it just seemed to make so much sense just being able to give it to Top Cow. Milo:BasicallyeverythingwehadknownaboutTopCow, the titles that the company had released and then beyond that, talking to Matt Hawkins and him just saying, “Hey look, this is what our company is into, this is who we are.” It was just a natural fit, perfect. Mel: What about you, Rick? Rick: You know, I honestly hope that one day there will be room in television to rip a man’s face off and throw it at the camera. (laughter) Rick: I think that Milo and Russ really had it pegged from the beginning. This was a comic book story and the more I get to work with Rob and Filip and Top Cow and develop it, the more I am realizing how well this fits into this medium. I am really looking forward to getting to explore all of the stories that I think are in this world in way you could never do in television or even films without an X rating. Mel: OK. So let’s talk about the property itself. I guess we will start with you Rick and then anybody else can chime in. What is the basic premise of Berserker—what is it about? Rick: The basic premise is a group of people who are discovering that they have this ancient Norse power. They know absolutely nothing about it and unlike most origin stories, which are sort of magical discoveries of “I can fly” or whatever; this is you waking up and people around you are dead and it is your fault, and you’re living with that and the choice as to whether or not you are going to try to control it or let it run wild. It is going to happen one way or the other. That is the jumping on point. I think in the future (of the series) there is a rich mythology that the whole thing is anchored to and there are a lot of more updated, but older stories that we will be able to tell through the eyes of a modern day character. And that’s what I think is fun about the series. Mel: Who are your main characters? Rick: The first character is Farris—the preview book is actually a peek into his back-story. At the start of issue one, he is dealing with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or that’s what his therapist tells him. In reality is that he is dealing with this much darker thing inside of him and he knows that the treatment he is going through is not actually helping. The whole thing comes to a head in a really ugly way and he is forced to question everything and whether or not he deserves to live after he’s done something so terrible. It is this really dark story that will eventually branch out to where Farris will find himself, but for right now he will have to go through some real darkness. The other main character is Aaron, who is a high school student and an athlete. He grew up without a dad and he has this terrible existence with only one good thing in his life—his girlfriend. His power is going to deeply affect that. That is what the first six books are about: these two guys who have this experience and find themselves completely lost as a result. ToreadtherestofMel’sinterviewwithMilo,Russ,Rick and Jeremy check out BZ000 Interview.indd 2 1/23/09 6:25:30 PM Howard lee (order #4836189) 207.181