Science, Love, & Loss In LaValle's Destroyer
Mar 31, 2017
Victor LaValle is an award-winning horror novelist making his debut into the medium of comics with the BOOM! Studio title, Destroyer (MAR171400). When the last descendant of the Frankenstein family loses her only son to a police shooting, she turns to science for her own justice...putting her on a crash course with her family's original monster and his quest to eliminate humanity. An intense, unflinching story exploring the legacies of love, loss, and vengeance placed firmly in the tense atmosphere and current events of the modern-day United States. Read our inteview with Victor LaValle below!
PREVIEWSworld: Victor, tell us a little bit about yourself?
Victor LaValle: I grew up in Queens, New York at the break of dawn. Somehow, I was both a metal head and a hip-hop head at the same time. I credit that to growing up in the ethnic cosmic slop of Queens. As a result, I lived and died by Iron Maiden and Ice Cube, Metallica and Mantronix, and Anthrax and Public Enemy (before they made that duet).
PREVIEWSworld: You’re an accomplished, award-winning horror writer. What first interested you in the genre?
Victor LaValle: The cover of Iron Maiden's Killers might've been my first introduction to horror. A corpse-like Eddie holding a bloody hatchet while some poor slob is dying at his feet? Hell, yeah. That's the first horror image I remember clearly, anyway. From there I took a fast track through the greats of horror fiction: Clive Barker and Stephen King, Shirley Jackson and H.P. Lovecraft. There's something about the way horror lets you access all the big emotions that always works on me.
PREVIEWSworld: What inspired you to combine a classic horror story from 1818—Mary Shelley's Frankenstein—with the more modern horror of police shootings?
Victor LaValle: Well, Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein, in part, in the wake of her first child's death. She was only seventeen when her daughter was born premature and died a few weeks later. She quickly had a second child, a son. Months after that she begins Frankenstein. If you read the novel with this understanding, you can see how much Mary is grappling with questions of mortality and loss and the desire to bring the dead back to life. For me, it was a clear straight line from those concerns then to more current concerns. Both her story then and mine now are about how far a person might go to get back what was lost.
PREVIEWSworld: Dr. Baker is dealing with some heavy moral struggles. Can you tell us a bit about what's going through her head as the series progresses, and how the influences of Akai and the Monster affect her choices?
Victor LaValle: Dr. Baker is teetering with grief. She's an accomplished scientist, on par with the greatest whoever did it, and yet all that talent and success still couldn't save her son's life. The fact of the loss, and her impotence, are driving her mad. If she gives in to grief then she will fall into league with the Monster, who loathes humanity and only sees it as a poison that must be wiped out. But on the other side there is her son, Akai, who died when he was still young enough to believe the world contained goodness and deserved to exist. He is the better angel hoping he might convince her to give humanity another chance.
PREVIEWSworld: How does Dr. Baker resurrect her son? Are we talking patchwork body parts and lightning, or something more modern?
Victor LaValle: Dr. Baker is driven mad so she reanimates his actual body, the one that was returned to her after the police inquiry. Rather than taking the body to a morgue to be processed she brought it to her lab. She has used the most advanced technology available to her—technology she invented—melding artificial intelligence with nanobot technology and, finally, a little old-school sorcery.
PREVIEWSworld: If you could resurrect someone, who would it be?
Victor LaValle: I'd bring back Cliff Burton, the original bassist from Metallica. I believe he'd smack the **** out of the other three original members for what they let the band become.