Interview: Alejandro Arbona on Valiant’s Doctor Tomorrow

Doctor Tomorrow #1 Kenneth Rocafort cover

Doctor Tomorrow #1 Kenneth Rocafort cover


Alejandro Arbona began his career in comics as a writer and editor at Wizard. He has worked at an editor at Marvel, Valiant, and Image, as well as writing for the anthologies Love Is Love and Fearless Future. His book Awesome Minds: Comic Book Creators will be published early next year. But right now, we’re talking about Doctor Tomorrow, his upcoming series from Valiant with artist Jim Towe. Arbona gives Westfield’s Roger Ash the lowdown on this mind-blowing adventure.

Doctor Tomorrow #1 preview page 1

Doctor Tomorrow #1 preview page 1


Westfield: How did you become involved with Doctor Tomorrow?

Alejandro Arbona: A version of me came back in time from 20 years in the future and told me the world needed to read this comic book or everyone would die. Can you take that chance? No but actually, I had talked a few times with Valiant’s publisher Fred Pierce and senior editorial director Robert Meyers about writing something for them, and I’d already pitched them a couple of ideas here and there. Valiant had been wanting to relaunch Doctor Tomorrow even back when I was an editor there several years ago, it was a character that kept coming back again and again to the top of their wish list. Robert told me one day that the time had come and they were actively trying to develop something. I blurted out a very basic seed of an idea, he liked it, and we kicked off a process of growing it and nurturing it until we finally had a comic you can hold in your hands.

Doctor Tomorrow #1 preview page 2

Doctor Tomorrow #1 preview page 2


Westfield: What can readers look forward to in the book?

Arbona: What readers can look forward to, in one word, is surprises. As the legendary cooler Dalton, portrayed by Patrick Swayze in Road House, said, “Expect the unexpected.” Every issue of Doctor Tomorrow takes wild twists and turns, and the story never idles in one place. It’s a story that winds around through parallel universes and huge superhero battles, but even so, the main character’s emotional journey always takes center stage, and it’s a particular story that I wanted to tell because I don’t see a lot of it anywhere else in superhero comics. I really think Doctor Tomorrow will spur a lot of talk as it unfolds, so don’t let anyone spoil it for you.

Doctor Tomorrow #1 preview page 3

Doctor Tomorrow #1 preview page 3


Westfield: Who are some of the characters readers will meet?

Arbona: Our story follows two protagonists: a superhero named Doctor Tomorrow who comes to Earth from a parallel universe, and a 15-year-old kid, an unlikely hero who Doctor Tomorrow recruits to help save our universe. The first twist is that they’re both Bart Simms…Doctor Tomorrow enlists his younger counterpart from our world in an exciting, terrifying, life-or-death mission with global stakes. Doctor Tomorrow has tried time and time again to stop Hadrian, an implacable supervillain who has destroyed countless universes in his attempts to build an inter-dimensional empire, and Doctor Tomorrow has sworn that our world will be his last stand. In addition to them, we feature a supporting cast of many of Valiant’s star characters, including Timewalker, X-O Manowar, and one of my favorites, GIN-GR, the giant alien robot. It was really fun to write for her. We also introduce a couple of supporting characters whose role will grow surprisingly important as the story unfolds.

Doctor Tomorrow #1 preview page 4

Doctor Tomorrow #1 preview page 4


Westfield: You throw readers right into the story with no set up. What appeals to you about that style of storytelling?

Arbona: “If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.” Carl Sagan said that, and as our teen protagonist Bart is about to discover, the story he’s suddenly hauled into has already been unfolding for a long, long time. Our first issue opens with Doctor Tomorrow and an all-star roster of Valiant’s greatest heroes trying and failing to stop Hadrian. Now when we meet our kid Bart, and Doctor Tomorrow comes and tells him what’s at stake, the reader knows because they’ve already witnessed it happen. And as the story unfolds, Bart and the reader will discover together that the roots of this story go way deeper than they ever imagined.

Doctor Tomorrow #1 preview page 5

Doctor Tomorrow #1 preview page 5


Westfield: There’s a lot going on here. I don’t want to give anything away, but was it difficult keeping track of all the elements?

Arbona: Surprisingly, it wasn’t hard to keep all of our wildly divergent elements straight in my mind at all. Even though this story plays really wild and loose with multiple universes and time travel, it follows a very clear chronology of causes and effects, of actions and reactions, and about emotion and drama. As long as we were faithful to those guideposts, the whole story just clicked smoothly into place. Now, if this miniseries does well and we get to do the 12-issue maxi-series follow-up I’ve outlined? Building that one will definitely warp my brain permanently.

Doctor Tomorrow #1 preview page 6

Doctor Tomorrow #1 preview page 6


Westfield: What can you say about your collaboration with artist Jim Towe?

Arbona: What a rewarding collaboration it’s been to work with Jim! We’re not just each working on our piece, writer and artist working separately, we’re partners. Jim brought a lot to this world and these characters that I never could have, and once he came aboard, my own writing mutated to serve him better and to capitalize on his ideas and contributions. And his style just really happens to nail what this comic is all about, from the close-up dramatic moments between characters to the huge, bombastic action, all energy blasts and force fields and flaming space-time.

Doctor Tomorrow #1 Stacey Lee cover

Doctor Tomorrow #1 Stacey Lee cover


Westfield: Any closing comments?

Arbona: It’s so difficult to talk about a comic book when the most appealing things about it are the spoilers. There’s so much more to Doctor Tomorrow than we’re able to preview and tease. But I have every confidence that readers who take a chance on it will feel richly rewarded.

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