Happy Holidays and Sword of Justice Interview

Happy Holidays From DiabloFans
Everyone here at Dfans wishes you the best of times during the holidays. Enjoy your time with your friends, family, or your Diablo 3 beta!

Blizzard's Holiday Wishes and Vacation.

Official Blizzard Quote:

The Community team will have a reduced presence on the forums, Twitter and Facebook over the holidays while we unwrap Winterveil presents and ring in a new year with friends and loved ones. We resolve to be back the first week of January. In the meantime, whether in Sanctuary, Azeroth, Mar Sara or beyond, we hope that you and yours share in the warmth of the season… and may all your loot be epic.

Remember that Greatfather Winter and the Mod Squad are still watching, so be sure to stay on your best behavior. See you next year!(Blue Tracker/ Official Forums)

The Sword of Justice
If you haven't heard, DC Comics has released the first issue of a 5 issue Diablo mini series titled: The Sword of Justice.

From the world and legends of Sanctuary, the setting for the award-winning Diablo video game, comes the tale of a hero's birth. Jacob has fled from his homeland in the north, hunted by his kinsmen for the crime of murder. Led by the visions of an ancient prophet, pursued by his childhood friend, Jacob finds his destiny in a desert cave at the foot of a mountain carved in two by the sword of an archangel – Tyrael. But will Jacob be able to claim the sword that could save his people, if not the world, before he's brought to "justice"?

Aaron Williams - Writer Interview

DiabloFans: Very little is known about the first installment in the Diablo series. Jacob, the protagonist, sets out after the Tyrael's sword to save his people. Can you tell us a little more about who his people are?

Aaron: They’re a decent-sized community living in the Dreadlands in a city called Staalbreak. Outsiders would see them as hard-working people who have a curiously uncommon view that barbarians are bloodthirsty raiders, and not the noble protectors of Arreat that most people see them as. Their history is entwined with the barbarians, and there was even some intermingling of bloodlines, trade, etc., but recent history has wiped any goodwill from ages past away. The primary keeper and dispenser of law in Staalbreak is the Constable, which is often a hereditary position, with the approval of the city’s nobility. Jacob’s father was first and foremost a man of the law, and he tried to instill a sense of both the law and the nuances of justice in his son, which made (to the average Staalbreaker, anyway) the death of Jacob’s father all the more surprising.

DiabloFans: Can you tell us something about the antagonists that Jacob will be facing throughout his journey?

Aaron: Readers have probably already met Ivan, his chief pursuer, childhood friend, and city executioner. Ivan is a fun bad guy to write dialog for, he’s cunning, he’s ruthless, and his arc is one that almost could have carried a novel on its own. Another is Varik, who has taken over as Staalbreak’s Constable after the death of Jacob’s dad. Varik isn’t quite himself, though I have to think he was a bit of a scheming weasel before he became “corrupted.” He’s another guy that’s going to be a major source of pain for Jacob and company, and he’s delightfully evil about it. Of course, there’s the MAIN baddie, but that’s firmly in spoiler territory, I fear.

DiabloFans: How familiar were you with the Diablo franchise and lore before working on this project? How much lore was needed to be known in order to write this series?

Aaron: Other than the basic lore, I didn’t have to know too much else, it turns out. I think the goal was to not only help fill in the time between Diablo II and III, but to also introduce new players/readers to the idea of the lore the game has built around it. Thus, they didn’t want it to get too “in school,” I think. For example, the Horadrim were considered for some early drafts as either part of the adventuring cast and perhaps having an arc where his following Jacob restores interest in the order, which had been waning. I did have to be aware of newer lore and game mechanics (like the new wizard class) to make sure they were applied properly.

DiabloFans: How did your work with Blizzard and this project differ from the other comics you have written?

Aaron: The biggest one had to have been when I heard over a conference call that the developers were going to have fun with some of the concepts we were kicking around. I’ve written things here and there for some characters people have probably heard of, but none were going to see their story elements put into a major-release game! I could also fire up previous game titles on my computer and claim I was “working” or “doing research.” J The script approval process had a few more people in it than on other projects, but Blizzard has their teams pretty tightly knit; If I ignored any initials on the script notes, I would have thought I was reading a single editor’s instructions.

DiabloFans: How was working with Joseph LaCroix? Did you ever find your writing influencing his art or vice versa?

Aaron: Joseph’s been given free reign on the scripts, and I couldn’t be happier with the result. As when I worked with Fiona Staples on “North 40,” I found letting the artist do their thing worked the best. Joseph’s work has blown me away so far, and I love that I’m seeing it for the first time when it’s printed along with everyone else. I don’t think I would have given any advice to him had I seen his work as it progressed. Thus far, it’s all turned out even better-looking than I’d imagined.

DiabloFans: What did you enjoy about this project that was different from other projects you have worked on?

Aaron: Having the established world is something that some might find hindering, but I liked playing with the nooks and crannies left in places “between the stories.” It’s kind of like a writing version of Tetris, where you’ve got these story elements and you’re trying to find where they might fit perfectly where they meet with the established stuff. It’s almost like seeing a longish news story and coming up with “what REALLY happened.” Without giving away too much, the barbarians were united under Bul-Kathos, but that’s a pretty broad way of putting it. Generally, to keep a bunch of formerly rowdy tribes in line, someone has to do “necessary things,” and we find out who that was and what became of them to the present day…

…but perhaps I’ve said too much.

Joseph Lacroix - Artist Interview

DiabloFans: How much art did you look at from Blizzard to help inspire you with your own unique take on the art and characters?

Joseph: I had access to many pictures and graphic works of Diablo III and I was quite impressed. I refer to them every day. The game is truly magnificent and breathtaking, from the details of the characters and monsters to the sets and backgrounds – they are like a painting. So the art from the game or the Blizzard artists is very inspiring, and I try to stay close but of course I draw everything my way.

DiabloFans: How much freedom were you given in designing the looks of the characters? Particularly those who Blizzard already art for like Tyrael?

Joseph: Certain characters are directly and a 100 % inspired by the characters of Diablo III: a sorcerer, monsters and many others... I am forced to remain vague because these characters will appear in the issues to follow. They are a direct emanation of the universe of Diablo, so I must be faithful to the anatomical details, the attitudes, the clothes, etc. So I had not much freedom for the characters already existing in the game, but a lot on the new characters for the comics.

DiabloFans: How did you give each character personality while keeping the same pre-existing style?

Joseph: There is not a lot of pre-existing characters in the comics, most of the characters are new from what I know. Tyrael though, is appearing in the comics, but he is more of an iconic figure, I don’t have to make him talk or walk. I take from the game what I need, more or less details of outfits etc… and I make it mine.

DiabloFans: The second comic takes us to Dreadlands. How did you choose to represent the bleak darkness of this area?

Joseph: For the Dreadlands, I have looked at a lot of pictures from Iceland: ice, snow, geysers and volcanoes. It is a very hostile, desolated and frozen land.

DiabloFans: How much does color play into setting the mood and atmosphere of Sanctuary? Did you try to represent each region differently?

Joseph: Of course the color is the best source of information for the mood and atmosphere. And I am so lucky to have the great Dave Stewart working on the comics. For Lut Gholein, he worked some very warm colors. The sun does not shine often in Sanctuary and when it does, it burns. At the opposite, the colors he used for Staalbreak, Jacob’s village in the Dreadlands, are pretty cold: all grey and blue. I use a lot of black: on faces, foreground and background. Sanctuary is a universe made of dust, ruins, darkness and shadows so I really want the reader to experience a long descent into hell.

DiabloFans: What was your favorite character, area, or monster to draw and why?

Joseph: I like Jacob – he is a young man that I would like to be: direct, passionate and violent! I also like monsters, and the beastmen are my favorites and I think that it is because there is something very grotesque in a human body with an animal face, I like that.

DiabloFans: What did you enjoy about this project that was different from other projects you have worked on?.

Joseph: Before Diablo, I was working for French comics (bande dessinée) which is a very different way of storytelling. I have always dreamed to try American comics, and I love dark fantasy. I was in the middle of a big illustration before working on Diablo, where I was piling tiny skulls on a huge paper sheet. My inspirations are very morbid, but I still hold back a little in Diablo; but I think that I’ll let loose my inspiration more and more in the issues to come. It was really a dream opportunity for me to work on a comic in a genre I adore.


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