BLOG #1 - Why Not?
So why at this point in my life am I self-publishing a comic book? Why not?
I have been fascinated by comic books my whole life. I remember going into a general store in a small town in Northern BC in Canada, seeing a "spinner rack" full of comic books and wanting all of them. I settled on an issue of World's Finest, the Superman/Batman monthly team up book. They were fighting Dr. Double-X. A Google search tells me it was #276. Also in that book, Green Arrow was involved in a prison riot, another story starred Zatanna, another starred Hawkman and yet another starred the Captain Marvel (Shazam) family. All this for $1; for "Non-stop action Cover to Cover!" That's the first comic I remember owning. And soon after, I had many more comics, boxes of them! I remember getting ready for a sleepover at a friends' house, he had told me to bring some comics, and I couldn't decide which one to bring, so I brought them all! Somehow they managed to all fit into my backpack! Can't do that today!
My favourite was always Justice League of America, the George Perez era! To this day, when I think of the Justice League (or The New Teen Titans for that matter) I think of Perez's designs. They filled my dreams with adventures starring the greatest superheroes in the world! I vividly remember reading #212 over and over again, as it was basically one long fight scene, very little dialogue (ironic for me, as you'll get to know my work) and no context...from page #1 the entire JLA must team up, in groups of two or three, of course, all over the world to fight off an alien invasion. I'm sure there was a reason the aliens were invading (it had to do with THAT MAN in the middle of the cover!) but I didn't care!
After school I remember getting on my bike and as a "latch-key kid" (a kid with two parents who worked, no one waiting for me at home) I could go to my favorite used book store/comic store and look at the comics. I would stand there going through all the comics, the covers at first, make a stack and look at them all. The store manager, Roz, says now that she never minded, as I would always take care of the books and when I was done, I would put them back neatly where I found them.
One book I also loved was DC Comics Presents, a monthly book where Superman took turns teaming with every DC superhero/heroine and sometimes even villain in the universe! Superman was always my favorite (I never really got why people liked Batman, still to this day really...) and I would always love his adventures teaming up with He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, The Phantom Stranger AND The Joker (all in one issue!), THE GLOBAL GUARDIANS (more on them later) and O.M.A.C. Even the Legion of Substitute Heroes got a chance to team up with the Man of Steel! The covers, of course always got my attention. Whether it was Superman and Wonder Woman making out in front of the Washington Monument or Supes and Shazam punching each other at just the right moment, the covers were what initially got my attention.
The more I look back at the covers that caught my attention the most, they had something in common...usually they featured Superman throwing a punch, or about to throw a punch. Something that simple fascinated me.
Another comic book I loved was the New Teen Titans, also by George Perez but by Marv Wolfman and, unlike the action heavy JLA, who left the character development to their characters to their name sake's titles, TT was about action but also emotion! We got to know them as people, and part of that reason was they lived together, dated each other, were like family...they were still discovering their powers! The Judas Contract storyline hit me like a ton of bricks! Robin became Nightwing, finally his own man! Now comics weren't just about action but also I cared about the characters! Their villains were badass! Deathstroke, Slade Wilson, HIVE and The Fearsome Five were all badass!
But when it came to INFLUENCE, nothing comes close to the BWAHAHAHA era of the Justice League International. After the 1st DCU reboot, Crisis on Infinite Earths (long story, you probably know it) all the titles were relaunched and alot of the DC big names were off limits, so the creative team of Keith Giffin, J.M. DeMatteis and Kevin Macguire had to take a rag-tag group of superheroes and do something DIFFERENT with them. Batman was allowed, along with Jonn Jonzz and Black Canary from the old JLA, add Blue Beetle, Mr. Miracle and Oberon, Green Lantern Guy Gardner, Booster Gold, Rocket Red, Captain Atom and newcomer Maxwell Lord and have them not only have some great adventures (largely forgotten now) but the biggest ingredient was HUMOUR! It was genuinely LAUGH OUT LOUD funny!
I remember in particular reading issue #8, an issue where the JLI don't fight villains but MOVE INTO THEIR NEW HQ! That's the entire issue! It was only about them moving and all the humor and misadventures that came along with that! SUPERHEROES ON MOVING DAY! It was amazing! I laugh just thinking about it now...when Mr. Miracle crashes the new JLI jet into the roof...great stuff!
Later the League expanded to two teams, another one called Justice League Europe, who would tangle with another former super hero team, The Global Guardians! The Guardians included superheroes from countries all over the world! Godiva from England! The Wild Huntsman from Germany! Green Flame from Brazil! Jack O'Lantern from Ireland! Rising Sun from Japan! Icemaiden from Iceland! The Olympian from Greece! These heroes didn't get their own series, so they appeared here and there, and when they did, I would grab that comic immediately! I remember as a kid collecting The Super Friends comic and in particular loving the two-part story where the Super Friends have to team up with the Global Guardians to SAVE VILLAINS! Craziness, of course, ensued!
The Global Guardians caught my attention and I've been fascinated with the idea of other superheroes ever since. I mean, why were all the superheroes American? And white, for that matter? What's up with that? And then later, I fell in love with another book, The Birds of Prey and one character in particular, ORACLE!
Oracle, the paralysed former-Batgirl Barbara Gordon, still wanting to fight crime but unable to physically, becomes a computer hacker and field leader for The Birds of Prey, a team that at first consisted of Black Canary but later included Huntress and several other great female characters. I loved the early adventures, with Oracle sending Canary on covert missions all over the world, their banter together, the trust that forms between them despite Canary not knowing who Oracle really is, and that moment they finally meet in issue #21 is historical!
I loved Oracle as a character, but later I would find out that she was more than just a comic book character. Oracle was one of the few characters in wheelchairs (without powers, I might add) and she meant something to ALOT of people. Especially after DC Comics did their 2nd (3rd?) reboot with The New 52 and took Oracle away from us and put Barbara back in the Batgirl suit. Alot of issues came to the front in those days...it was the first time I really felt the power of the Internet and Social media. Why couldn't there be an Oracle? Why aren't there more Black Superheroes? Latino superheroes? Gay or LGBT superheroes? Canadian superheroes? Coincidentally around that same time I started a podcast, Trilogy Comes in 3, later Trilogy Spoilers!, and got to vent my frustrations. But somewhere along the way, I decided to not just complain about it, but to do something about it.
I had wanted to write a comic book for years. I always loved ensemble casts, even when I wrote screenplays or plays, I just got bored writing one character. I loved having three, four, five characters in scenes for them to play off of. I know that came from my love of the Justice League but also The Teen Titans, The Outsiders and many other team books. So a team book was what I wanted to do. Being Canadian meant that there HAD to be a Canadian on the team! And I loved the idea of this team not being THAT TEAM, being a few notches below the top guys, the type of superheroes who might be watching an alien invasion on TV rather than stopping it themselves...there was humor there, I thought. And there had to be HUMOR! Everything in 2011 in comics was DEAD SERIOUS! Even when they rebooted the Justice League International, it was serious. No jokes, no lighter tone...nothing. Comics should never take itself too seriously. If anyone was going to be doing a "Brokeback" pose, it was the guys! If anyone was going to be "fridged", it was going to be a dude!
And if a character wore a skimpy costume, it was for a good reason! Characters will die and come back! The team will have more women than men, have black people, LGBT heroes, a hero in a wheelchair, a hero with alopecia, a hero who is balding and has a beer gut, a hero who texts during fights, a hero who has a normal body compared to "normal people" but in a typical super-outfit, feels self-conscious...like normal people! Cause everyone deserves to have a hero of their own!
So The New 52 happened in summer of 2011. Here I am, on Canada Day of 2016, launching the website for The Supers: 3rd Best Superhero Team in the World! It's been a long five years, working with the amazing Ricky Gunawan, the artist who draws what my brain writes. And I am very proud of what The Supers have become! I hope you enjoy it!