Game Time: Sal Cipriano talks "Bio Boy"

Thu, October 27th, 2005 at 12:00am PDT

Comic Books
Arune Singh, Staff Writer

"Bio Boy" #3 "Bio Boy" #4
Frequenting the CBR Forums, you'll find that many fans are clamoring for something "new" and "different" from the basic superhero mold. With the breadth of books from Marvel, Image, DC Comics' various imprints and a plethora of smaller publishers, many fans are getting their wish, and some are getting it in the form of "The Adventures of Bio-Boy." The book recently debuted from Speakeasy Comics, garnering some positive reviews, and writer Sal Cipriano is aiming to raise the bar with issue #2. CBR News spoke with Cipriano about the series and he explained the basic premise for those who might have missed the first issue.

"Bio Boy is the universe's #1 game show," Cipriano told CBR News. "It's also the name of the hero of the book. He's a teen trying to survive the crazy situation of his life, which basically means escaping the clutches of giant monsters, hip hopping demon chicks, rock guys with chips on their shoulders, and much more! Bio Boy is like following a reality TV show of a kid growing up in the spotlight while watching both the show and the behind the scenes stuff. 'Like The Running Man meets The Truman Show meets Saturday Morning Cartoons.'

"Bio Boy has a pretty rich supporting cast, from costar and his transforming robotic left arm N-16 to Simone the intern girl who loves him and Wanda the monstrous ex-girlfriend who he wants back. I tried to make them all very unique unto themselves, each filling a big role in both the story and BB's life. The 'bad guys' consist of first and foremost the three contestants on the show who plan BB's challenges to weird cross-pollinated characters like the aforementioned hip hopping she demon pirates.

"Bio Boy" #5 "Bio Boy" Trade Cover
"Each issue is setup like a DVD, or in our world BDV, where you first see an episode of Bio Boy and then it's followed by extra material that further expands both the story and characters. There's a lot of growth in the backups with a focus on character expansion."

Like many contemporary creators, the impetus for "Bio-Boy" came from Cipriano's love of the comic book medium and his desire to create the kind of books that he'd like to read. "Bio Boy, without a doubt, is everything I want to read in a comic. Silly and adventurous, not self absorbed, but with meaning and some genuine heart. I wanted to give the readers a good feeling after a hard day of work, and their money spent. It's all I ask from comics, just give me my money's worth. I think I do that with 'The Adventures of Bio Boy.' Just that alone makes BB a story worth telling for me.

"Creatively feeding the need to allow my imagination to run wild makes it a story I have to tell as well. It's about a hero trying to overcome impossible odds while finding himself and his place in the grand scheme of things. That could really involve anything I can dream up, and I can dream up a lot!"

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A big part of that "anything" is Cipriano's unique sense of humor, which strongly permeates the book, and even the scribe himself admits that his humor is a bit different, coming from, "Spontaneity. Absurdity. Chicken. I find humor in unexpected things basically. If you can guess a gag or joke before it happens, then it really isn't worth telling. I grew up on shows like Three's Company where Jack Tripper's actions always had that off-the-cuff feeling, and there's not enough throwing everything against the wall and seeing what happens in comics. I think a lot of books are too caught up in themselves, and too little risks are being taken. I just go with how I feel and write, and then worry later or not at all. Not everything will be perfect, but it'll have the feeling of improvisation that I want to be in there."

Readers have astutely noticed that Bio Boy often wisecracks in a fashion similar to a little known hero who was bitten by a radioactive spider. "I wear my badges proudly, my friend!" laughed Cipriano. "Spidey was indeed an influence. Old school Spidey and X-Men were just great comics in general that helped shape me as a comic creator. The influences though really range far out from just those comics, and later books like Tank Girl and Scud the Disposable Assassin were huge inspirations for me right around the time I created Bio Boy in the mid nineties. I probably owe them more of a direct nod than anything else. Godzilla and most other Kaiju movies set me on my path long before comics even did. The cartoons and video games of 80's were thrown into the mix as well as current inspirations coming from movies, music, and even sports. So there's a wide range of ingredients that make BB a well-shaped and tasty dish of a book! "

Cipriano also admits that he created "Bio Boy" to appeal to a broad audience, just as comics in his youth appealed to him, and to that end, he'll be varying story structure. "A little of both. The done-in-one format works well with my vision for the series. Everything in an issue is it's own story, but a few of the stories do have sequels and there is an overall arching character progression. I just want to make picking up an issue a feel good investment, knowing they don't need much else to be entertained."

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The art in "The Adventures of Bio-Boy" has been well-received by fans, who enjoy the energy and passion evident in the pencils of Andy MacDonald. "Thanks! I've been lucky to be working with some great artists for this book. Between Andy MacDonald, who start things off, and Ben Dale, who takes over at issue 4 (along with Chris Brimacombe, Jok, and Wesley Gunn on backups), everyone involved has produced their finest work. I think Andy and the gang feel and channel this Saturday Morning Cartoon/Adult Swim energy into the stories and just go from there. I swear this book writes and draws itself, and mostly I think it's because the guys feel like I do about this comic. It's such an obvious extension of what we love, and that bleeds into every page."

Even with all this time and effort invested in "Bio-Boy," Cipriano is facing an uphill battle in a market place that seems resilient to new series. "The marketplace is obviously a tough place to find a foothold in, man. So many people are just set in their ways, and not a lot will give a small guy a chance, which is sad because it shouldn't be about which company or creator is doing a book. It's about the book. If a book's good than it's good regardless of who is putting it out or doing it, and you should give it a shot. I'm totally blind when it comes to comic shopping. I just look for what's appealing on any given day and go for it. I think Bio Boy has a chance to stand out as a fun and innovative series that captures exactly what comics are about: escapism."

With that in mind, Cipriano urges readers to check out "Bio Boy" and says, "If you want to read a comic that only cares to entertain you, and takes you away from the here and normal, then read 'The Adventures of Bio Boy.' If you like big time adventures that doesn't take itself seriously, then read 'The Adventures of Bio Boy.' If you want to see giant monsters trying to crush and destroy a robotically enhanced boy with a transforming arm, then this is for you. If you love comics…"

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