Comic Wire

Thu, October 26th, 2000 at 12:00am PST

Comic Books
Beau Yarbrough, Columnist

THE ORDINARY LIFE OF THE 'ELECTRIC GIRL'

[Electric Girl #6]If Marvel Comics' Spider-Man has told us -- again and again and again -- that "with great power comes great responsibility," Mike Brennan's Electric Girl tells readers that with marginal power comes … well, a pretty ordinary life, as long as you ignore the invisible gremlin who shows up to annoy her on a regular basis.

So while Virginia, the Electric Girl who stars in Mighty Gremlin's "Electric Girl" series, can produce bursts of static electricity, don't look for her to be pulling on the Spandex and shocking evil-doers. At least, not on a regular basis: In the series' latest issue, all sides of the superhero question are examined in three stories.

"The dichotomy displayed in issue #6 will probably not repeat itself, at least on a regular basis," Brennan told the Comic Wire on Monday. "It was fun to play off the superhero sounding name of the book with 'mock' superhero stories, but I designed the stories so as not to lead anyone to think I was seriously pursuing the superhero angle."

In a medium dominated by superhero books, the idea that a comic features invisible beings and a girl who can zap her friends and neighbors with electricity but isn't a superhero comic might take some getting used to for many fans.

"I tell people that 'Electric Girl' is a humor based comic book. The stories are more about the characters and how they interact than about the Electric Girl's 'powers.'

"I'd have to admit that I added the 'Electric Girl' aspect to my original concept of the Virginia and Oogleeoog relationship for two reasons: First, to ensure that the Oogleeoog character didn't overwhelm the Virginia character in the stories and second, that it gave me something else to play with.

"I realized that some mainstream comic book readers might be disappointed to find out that it isn't a super-hero book once they looked at it, but my hope is that they'll try the book if they're looking for something different. Beyond that, I don't think the dichotomy plays a big factor. "

The book, which is being collected in trade paperback form next year, has found an audience.

"The reaction by the fans has been great. My audience is largely indy comic fans, and I hear that kids are enjoying the book as well. I'd be willing to guess that some may read more of the esoteric superhero books that don't take the current conventional approach to superhero storytelling."

Originally, Brennan hoped to sell a syndicated comic strip about invisible gremlin Oogleeoog, with Virginia as a supporting character.

"One of my biggest concerns regarding the characters is that Virginia never become a secondary character to Oogleeoog. The potential is clearly there, since Oogleeoog can easily steal the show if I'm not careful. But, he needs the regular presence of Virginia in order to draw his character out fully. And, Virginia's life would not be nearly as interesting without Oogleeoog in it. So, in a sense, they balance each other out.

"While I have several ideas of stories based primarily around Oogleeoog, I plan to keep them within the 'Electric Girl' book.

"I hope to keep all of the characters in the book as fully developed as possible. Ultimately, I'd like to be able to run with any of the characters at any point in a story. It keeps things interesting for me.

"I like each of the three main characters for different reasons. Oogleeoog plays well in a visual storytelling format. Virginia is fertile ground for stories as I'm constantly coming up with snippets of the life of an 'electric girl' in the real world and how people would react. Finally, Blammo is just plain fun to draw."

Virginia's dog, Blammo, has been a big hit with fans, and has been the merchandising find of the "Electric Girl" franchise.

"If there's one thing that I've discovered by going to the comic conventions, it's that everybody loves Blammo. As a matter of fact, that's become a mantra of sorts in our booths at the shows. I had the original Blammo dolls made as an extra attraction for the Mighty Gremlin/Electric Girl booth and people would come up just to see the doll.

"Because of the limited amount of dolls that we had, we raffled them off and a great deal of people were disappointed that they didn't win one. So, we decided that we should produce a large run of the dolls. At this point, we're still in initial stages of reviewing materials, but we're hoping to have them available early next year.

"The Blammo t-shirts sell very well also. As a matter of fact, we're planning to print a new Blammo t-shirt as well as a greater range of sizes for the old ones. A lot of comic book convention going parents wanted to buy a Blammo shirt for their kids, but we didn't have sizes small enough."

And, of course, there's issues on the way next year as well.

"As a self-publisher, I need to keep expectations realistic. Having said that, I plan to publish issues 7 and 8 of 'Electric Girl' next year, and hopefully do several stories for other books as well. Believe me when I say that that is a lot of work for one cartoonist! If I'm lucky, I'll be able to get issue 9 out by the end of 2001."

FOX WEARS LOBDELL'S 'BALL AND CHAIN'

Some relationships, like bad chili, keep coming back.

Scott Lobdell's DC/Wildstorm miniseries "Ball and Chain" was about just such a relationship, with the addition of superpowers: A couple in the process of breaking up are imbued with superpowers that only work when they're together. So to save the world, they have to work on their marriage.

It's the kind of romantic wrinkle familiar to television viewers and, perhaps not surprisingly, that's where "Ball and Chain" is heading.

The Hollywood Reporter is reporting that Fox Broadcasting has ordered a pilot based on Lobdell's miniseries, which it describes as a "'Moonlighting'-meets-'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' vehicle."

Fox Entertainment president Gail Berman has reportedly put the project on the production schedule for January, and the show will be a co-production of 20th Century Fox Television and Regency Television.

CHRISTMAS (TREES) WITH THE DC SUPERHEROES

[Ornaments]Comic fans who enjoy mixing their hobby in with their Christmas spirit will have a chance to add a few more superheroes to their Christmas tree this holiday season.

As CBR Executive Producer Jonah Weiland's Christmas trees illustrate, comic book ornaments have been around for a number of years. This year, Warner Brothers stores have three animation-style ornaments -- Superman, Catwoman and Wonder Woman -- and two Silver Age Batman ornaments: Batman on the Batcycle and the Batmobile.

Earlier this year, several DC ornaments were also released through Hallmark.

THE COMIC BRIEF IN BRIEF

There's big news in CBR's Comic Brief since the last edition of the Comic Wire:

  • The Monarchy party-crashes The Carrier in 'The Authority' #21

  • Image Central 2001: Ellis, Casey, Dorman and DeFalco Head Top Creator List!

  • Roman Dirge Announces New Color Lenore Story in 2nd Lenore Collection

  • Moore and Campbell's 'From Hell' barred from Australia

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