Just about every publisher has their own superhero universe, and now AHOY Comics can boast the same. This week (November 3), the publisher launches My Bad #1, the start of “The Important New Superhero Universe” from writers Mark Russell and Bryce Ingman and artist Peter Krause. (Russell was the writer of another big AHOY title, Second Coming.) Taking place in Gravel City, this free-wheeling superhero satire involves a plan by the villainous Emperor King to foul his two arch-rivals, The Chandelier and The Accelerator. Prepare for things to get real weird, folks.
Ahead of the release, we caught up with both Russell and Ingman, where we discussed the story’s development, breaking new creative ground, and the power of satire, among other tidbits.
AIPT: The “Important New Superhero Universe” is great so far. How does it work cowriting an entire universe with Bryce Ingman?
Mark Russell: Thank you. I like co-writing a universe because I’m not completely dependent on my own creativity. If Bryce creates a character, say, Acid Chimp, that I want to show up in the half of the story I’m writing, I can do that. And seeing what he’s doing on his side of the fence gives me ideas of what to do on my side. It’s like two friendly but slightly competitive neighbors. If one gets a kiddie pool, it’s just a matter of time before the other gets a trampoline. So I think it makes the whole comic book universe better. More expansive.
AIPT: We see The Chandelier and Manchild in the first issue, do you have any favorite characters from the Important New Superhero Universe?
MR: I already mentioned Acid Chimp, right? Bryce created that one, so in terms of my own characters, I really like Man-Child, who’s a Hulk-like character who turns into a giant muscle-bound monster whenever someone contradicts his opinions on pop culture. I also wish I could have done more with Tone Def, a villain with a hip-hop sensibility who always manages to say precisely the wrong thing. He has a regrettably brief appearance in this series, but maybe if we do a second series, his off-putting ways can be put to further use.
AiPT: The ‘Toy Ad’ is particularly scathing in its satire, were you ever ripped off as a kid?
MR: No. Weirdly. My parents wouldn’t let me send away for anything in the back of a comic book, no matter how much I begged. They did, I suppose, save me from getting ripped off, but in doing so, transferred all my resentment onto themselves. So it was a pyrrhic victory.
AIPT: You’re no stranger to reprehensible superheroes, what was it that drew you to the “Important New Superhero Universe?”
Bryce Ingman: Well, who doesn’t enjoy an a-hole superhero or two? They’re great fun. As for the INSU, I enjoy creating and writing eccentric fantasy characters and MY BAD is the perfect stage for them to prance and slip around on. Plus, MY BAD means I get to collaborate with Mark Russell and Peter Krause on the creation of a new, hopefully hilarious superhero universe! I’d stand in line overnight for the opportunity to do that. And they only made me stand in line for a couple of hours.
AIPT: Structurally this is unlike anything AHOY have done before, with its two writers and primary artist, how did the series (and universe) come about?
BI: The Emperor King torture trap story was originally scheduled to be a back-up feature in Mark’s wonderful SECOND COMING book here at AHOY. It seemed like a nice fit next to Mark’s offbeat tales of Jesus and his superhero roommate. But somewhere along the line our wise editor-in-chief Tom Peyer suggested Mark join the project and MY BAD go from a back-up to its own title. Building out this universe with Mark has been an exceptionally good time. I couldn’t be happier that Tom had that little brainstorm. Did I mention he’s wise?
AIPT: Throughout each story we see a little of Emperor King, what can you tell us about him?
BI: When we meet him, Emperor King’s defining characteristic is the seething hatred he feels for meddling INSU superheroes like the Chandelier, Leg Room, and the Accelerator. Especially the Accelerator. Emperor King hates the INSU’s alien speedster so intensely that he builds a sixteen stage torture trap specifically designed to give the Accelerator the most painful, humiliating death possible. But is Drew ‘Emperor’ King more than a one-note hero-hater? Is there anything else there? And, really, what kind of person builds torture traps? Emperor King’s arc aims to answer those questions in entertaining and surprising ways.
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