Questions For Jody Houser, Creator Of High-Flying 'Faith'Faith "Zephyr" Herbert is one of Valiant Comics breakout stars. The plus-sized superheroine fights crime in the streets of Los Angeles — and now, she's up against an AI trying to damage time itself.
Faith "Zephyr" Herbert was the breakout star of Valiant Comics' Harbinger super-team. Now headlining her own Eisner Award-nominated series, she's an ebulliently nerdy — and yes, plus-size — superheroine who fights crime and marauding aliens in the streets of Los Angeles while holding down a day job at a Buzzfeed-esque website. (And making lots of Buffy and Doctor Who references. Faith is my kind of gal.)
Her latest adventure launched just this week; the four-issue limited series Faith & The Future Force sees her recruited to lead an all-star super team trying to stop an artificial intelligence from damaging time itself — which seems like a great fight for a Doctor Who fan. "Faith finally gets to have her time travel adventure!" says writer Jody Houser.
Houser tells me that Faith has taken a lot of lessons from the comics and TV shows she loves. "Actually having the power to make a difference means a lot to her and is something she takes very seriously. Having chosen to embrace that responsibility, it's important to her to do her best to remain on target and to often take stock that she's making the right decisions and staying true to herself."
Before Faith & The Future Force, you seemed like you were very deliberately sticking with small-time adventures for Faith — she occasionally dreamed about saving the world, but her heroism was on a very human scale. Why did you make that choice?
A lot of this run of the ongoing [series] has been about establishing her solo career and her life in L.A. I wanted to focus very much on Faith herself and her mindset as she faces these new challenges, exploring how she grows and gains confidence (or experiences setbacks). It's also a helpful way to build a rogues gallery with very concrete identities that are specifically tied to Faith.
Faith references Buffy so much, it made me think about the distinction between episodes and a season arc — are we starting to see a larger arc with the excellently named villains "the Faithless?"
The stories so far have mostly been two-parters, but I'd love to see some longer ongoing arcs in the future as well. Building up towards "The Faithless" was a great through-line for the first year of the book, which does correspond to a season of TV in a way. Who knows what the next season could bring for our hero.
I found so many little fan easter eggs as I read — like the moment where she references the "Crowning Moment of Awesome" — does Faith read TV Tropes? And why was it important to you that she be a fangirl?
Faith does read TV Tropes! Faith has always been a fangirl since her creation in the early 1990s, and it's always been a major part of her motivation of becoming a hero. It was important to me to remain true to that.
And I have to ask just for my own fandom ... who's Faith's favorite Doctor?
While my personal favorite is Ten, Eleven would be Faith's favorite. He is in many ways the Doctor of the new series who has the most fun being the Doctor, and who has left behind some of the rage of the previous two regenerations. He has a sweetness and an optimism that Faith can relate to. And of course, he's the Doctor that got to speak to the TARDIS in a much more real way for the first time.