Top Shelf Goes Graphicly + Robert Venditti on The Homeland Directive & The Surrogates

We’re still celebrating the release of Top Shelf Productions comics on Graphicly, and today we’re talking to Robert Venditti, writer of several comics, including the recent Homeland Directive, with artist Mike Huddleston (Butcher Baker) and The Surrogates, which was made into a feature film starring Bruce Willis. We caught up with Robert to ask him a few questions about his work and digital comics.

As head of the National Center for Infectious Diseases, Dr. Laura Regan is one of the world’s foremost authorities on viral and bacteriological study. Having dedicated her career to halting the spread of infectious disease, she has always considered herself one of the good guys. But when her research partner is murdered and Laura is blamed for the crime, she finds herself at the heart of a vast and deadly conspiracy. Aided by three rogue federal agents who believe the government is behind the frame-up, Laura must evade law enforcement, mercenaries, and a team of cyber-detectives who know more about her life than she does – all while trying to expose a sinister plot that will impact the lives of every American. Set in the Orwellian present, The Homeland Directive is a modern-day political/medical thriller from Robert Venditti (creator & writer of the New York Times bestselling graphic novel The Surrogates).


iFanboy: Since your work in The Surrogates put you strongly in the futurist category, how important do you think digital comics are to the future of the medium?

Robert Venditti:  I wasn’t a huge believer in digital comics, until I saw them on the iPad.  Reading the pages at those dimensions and in full color, it’s hard to not see the digital format being an important part of comics’ evolution.

Things are progressing so quickly.  It was only a few years ago that people were saying comics would never go digital because the Kindle was only in black and white.  How things change.

iF: At the same time, both The Surrogates and The Homeland Directive show a strong wariness of the dangers of technology. How do you feel about how comics are becoming more and more of a technological feat, in both digital production and distribution?

RV: I’m a bit old school in that I still prefer to hold a graphic novel in my hands, but I know that’s a generational thing.  Tablets and smartphones are what my kids will grow up with, and I can easily see print going the way of the phonograph.  If the digital format gets stories in front of more readers, then I’m all for it.

Digital also allows publishers to be more versatile.  Next year, Top Shelf will release The Surrogates: Case Files, self-contained stories focusing on surrogate-related crimes.  They’ll be digital only, which will allow us to serialize them.  If we were dealing strictly with print, serialization wouldn’t be a possibility because that isn’t Top Shelf’s business model.

iF: Are there any comics being made in a fictional, dystopian future in the first place? If you’ve got a surrogate body as a possibility, who’s reading comics anyway?

RV: Everyone!  You can download them directly into your brain!

iF: Thanks Robert!