Ram V. has had an amazing year due to the success of his series These Savage Shores from Vault Comics and writing a short story called “The Nature of Fear” in Batman Secret Files #1 with Jorge Fornes. I chatted with Mr. V on both comics and what the future holds for him.
AiPT!: First off, congratulations on the success of These Savage Shores! What has the success of the comic meant for you?
RV: Thank you! It means a lot to me that people are reading and engaging with my work. I think that to me is most important: That the work engenders a response beyond being entertained by it. So far the reaction to the book as been great! That’s as far as I allow myself to mull over the successes in my work. I find far more joy in the act of creating it. Oddly, once I’m done with an issue, it concerns me far less. So while the praise and kind words about the book are great, in my head, I’m always going, “Wait till you see my next thing!”
AiPT!: For me, having you writing a Batman story is a dream come true because I didn’t grow up with superhero comics written by people of my background (Indian). How did the Batman short story opportunity come about? What was your approach for the Caped Crusader and why in that fashion?
RV: In 2016, I Kickstarted a book called Black Mumba. I sent it around to a few editors that I’d met at conventions and such. That’s how it found its way into the hands of my editor at DC. He enjoyed the book and we talked about working together on a few projects. Not long after, he asked if I wanted to work on a Batman book and needless to say, I jumped at the opportunity.
I know what it’s like to grow up reading things that have no representation of your own background or cultures. It is incredibly important for readers, especially younger readers, to have access to fiction and art that includes and involves them. I’ve struggled with that in my personal work. It becomes difficult to learn to write about your own background and culture when you’ve never quite had that in your literary canon to navigate by.
My approach for Batman was simply that I wanted to do something different with the way I approached the character. And I knew I wanted to tell a story that reflected on an innately human concern. Hence, The Nature of Fear. Beyond that of course there are the homages to Gotham Central, which was formative in my Bat books experience.
AiPT!: Could you talk a bit about working with Jorge Fornes? What does Mr. Fornes add to the story that you both want to tell?
RV: Working with Jorge was an absolute highlight. I’d seen Jorge’s art before and he wears his influences on his sleeve, much like I do, throughout the story. While I brought in my aesthetic via a Gotham Central vibe to the story, Jorge, you could see was channelling Mazzuchelli and Year One. Not only did he take on the challenge of framing a rather dense story on the grid, he went further — using and breaking the grid to reflect the protagonist’s state of mind. That kind of brilliance is rare and admirable. It’s safe to say, I’m a fan of Jorge’s work.
AiPT!: Is there any future project(s) readers should look out for? If so, could you give any teases?
RV: Nothing I can talk about right now, unfortunately. I can say that 2019 is looking like a full and exciting year, for me!