Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
After the 2020 release of Breakdown, author David A. Robertson is set to release the second instalment of The Reckoner Rises superhero graphic novel trilogy Version Control this spring.
“This one's been in the works for quite a while now. I wrote the script for it, probably at least two years ago…. It's a long development process. It feels like you worked so hard for so long,” Robertson said in an interview with Windspeaker.com.
“It's just nice to find that I have it out there and done.”
Centred around characters Cole and Eva in their struggle against Mikho Laboratories, Version Control is set to hit shelves on April 26.
“I think above all else it offers a really strong, non-sexualized, authentic female and Indigenous superhero character,” Robertson said.
Robertson, who is a member of Norway House Cree Nation, described Eva as “really the main character” with Cole left incapacitated throughout much of the book.
“I'm really excited to continue the story,” Robertson said. “I'm excited to introduce it to the world and to see how people receive it… There's never really a lot of time to breathe [as an author], but you do try to pause every once in a while to kind of appreciate when you finish one project before you move onto the next one.”
The Reckoner Rises trilogy is a spin-off of Robertson’s original Reckoner novel trilogy, which was published from 2017 to 2019.
Robertson said the plot development for Version Control came by way of navigating the personal relationships between the characters and how to best interweave those connections into the story.
“You have your characters, and you have to figure out a really intriguing cool plot to put them in. And for me, it was just like building up to a big superhero showdown,” he said.
Robertson described a strong working relationship with illustrator Scott B. Henderson, who has collaborated with him on nearly 15 graphic novels in the past.
“He was just a natural choice to want to illustrate the story,” Robertson said.
“We work very closely together,” Robertson added. “We developed a really good relationship. We found out that we had similar storytelling styles. similar visions, images, layout sequences, all those things.”
Robertson and Henderson were also joined by colorist Donovan Yaciuk to complete the book, with all three working together in the third instalment of The Reckoner Rises series.
“I was lucky enough that they had time to schedule and they were able to commit to what's really a three-book art,” Robertson said. “They're doing it for the long haul like me, and so we developed a really good kind of team environment as a result.”
Robertson also lauded Yaciuk’s experience with comic book behemoths Marvel and DC.
“He's a super talented colorist,” Robertson said. “He's done some big time work. And so he just was someone who I was really excited to work with again, because he just does a phenomenal job in bringing that kind of aspect of the story to life.”
Robertson also drew some of the inspiration from Stanley Kubrick’s 1971 horror film classic A Clockwork Orange, particularly when it came to the book’s visuals.
“It's more of a really unsettling… kind of horror story in a way,” he said. “So the colours have to realize that as well as the art does.”
Robertson said that Henderson and Yaciuk found a strong blend in how they represented his words and the message he was looking to convey to readers.
“It’s a darker book. It has elements of horror in it,” Robertson said. “You don't want something that is going to do something bright and happy and all those things. It's going to misrepresent the tone and theme of the story.”
With Version Control about one month out from release, Robertson said he’s satisfied with the final product.
“What I've tried to do in my writing is, I've tried to avoid what's expected. I think it came out pretty good. It's a unique story,” Robertson said. “It has pretty crazy stuff in it. But at the heart of it is always the characters. And I think that's what really worked in the end.”
Robertson has received numerous honours throughout his writing career, including a Governor General's Literary Award and the 2021 edition of the Writers’ Union of Canada's Freedom to Read Award.
Local Journalism Initiative Reporters are supported by a financial contribution made by the Government of Canada.