Saving the World is Easy, Comedy is Hard: Hogan talks "Hero@Large"

Thu, July 7th, 2005 at 12:00am PDT

Comic Books
Dave Richards, Staff Writer

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The front & back covers to "Hero@Large" #1
According to a certain bat eared hero, "Criminals are a cowardly and superstitious lot." That may be the case, but superheroes can often be an egotistical and neurotic bunch. In "Hero@Large" a bi-monthly ongoing series from Speakeasy Comics beginning in August, writer Erick Hogan and artist Jeremy Treece take a humorous and sometimes poignant look at the pitfalls and perks of being a costumed hero. CBR News spoke to Hogan about the super hero comedy series.

"Hero@Large" sprang from Hogan's desire to give readers something substantial for their hard-earned bucks. "The best part of a good story is feeling like you got somewhere when you turn the last page," Hogan told CBR News. "A lot of times I read comics and get to the end and I'm like, 'That's it?' There's a lot of build up and no payoff. I want the reader to be satisfied when they're done so I tried to write the best damn comic book I could; something accessible to die hard comic fans and new readers alike."

The protagonist of the first story in "Hero@Large" is the ultra popular and narcissistic Alpha Major. "Alpha's an unstoppable force of righteousness powered by ego," Hogan stated. "He represents what it's like to be on top of the world. He feels unstoppable, like he can't lose. That translates into super strength and nigh indestructibility."

Issue #1, Page 1 Issue #1, Page 2
Alpha Major incorrectly believes he's a member in good standing of a premier super team. "The first issue we meet Hot Stuff, Stretch Johnson, and Ole Ironside, of the Justice Five then we're introduced to Alpha's replacement Diesel," Hogan explained. "Diesel is a newer, flashier hero who trumps Alpha's super ego with his super duper ego."

Being replaced by Diesel and having the younger and flashier hero steal the spotlight is a devastating blow to Alpha Major's ego. "Early on he's very self-involved and caught up in the trappings of being a superhero," Hogan said. "When his popularity wanes he's forced to reassess what's important and what being a hero is all about."

A mother and young son help the crestfallen Alpha Major rediscover the meaning of heroism.

Issue #1, Page 3 Issue #1, Page 4
Alpha Major is just one member of "Hero@Large's" huge and diverse cast. "I like to think of it as 'Astro City' on heavy medication. Alpha is the headliner of the first issue, but we will highlight many of the other characters that make Megalotroplis their home throughout the series," Hogan explained. "But along the way we'll check back in on Alpha and company."

Megalaotropolis is a city where all sorts of bizarre, wonderful, and incredibly mundane things can happen. "Megalotroplis is the haven for all these amazing characters. Here we break all the rules of super heroic universes in other series. It's a fantasy land like Oz or Wonderland or Willy Wonka's factory; where we try to surprise the readers by going against expectations," Hogan said. "For example, 'What would cops do in a city overrun with superheroes?' I try to analyze questions like that and present them in the most humorous way possible."

Issue two of "Hero@Large" takes a comical look at the world of aging in super heroics. "We pay a visit to the Department of Superhuman Registration to see the inner workings of the system and we learn that not all Golden Age superheroes go softly into the night, some have to be dragged out kicking and screaming," Hogan stated.

Issue #1, Page 11 "Hero@Large" #2
Superheroes won't be generating all the laughs in "Hero@Large." "The villains are perhaps my favorite part of the book," Hogan said. "Playing with what makes a super villain ticks makes for great comedy. I try to show there's a thin line between hero and villain and sometimes people forget what side they're on. The first few issues are hero focused but later the villains will be making a big splash. It'll be worth the wait."

Hogan wants readers of "Hero@Large" primarily to laugh, but also hopes to occasionally open their eyes and move them. "I wanted to do something funny, without being slapstick; something with bite, without being sarcastic; something with heart, without being melodrama," he explained. "I hate to call 'Hero@Large' a parody. I love superhero comics. I didn't want to make fun of them or ridicule the fans. I am as big a fanboy as they come. I just wanted to add more variety to the marketplace today, to create something that is as accessible to die hard comic fans and new readers alike. To me combining superheroes and comedy seems like a natural fit. It's more of a super-comedy with dramatic undertones. I would just saying in closing that if you want to read a comic that will make you laugh, make you cry, and make you think then 'Hero@Large' is the book for you."

 
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