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Kickstart Comics: The Adam Freeman / Marc Bernardin Interview

Kickstart Comics: The Adam Freeman / Marc Bernardin Interview

Pulled from

by EJ Feddes November 19, 2010



We’re continuing our coverage of the Kickstart launch with another interview.  This time, Hero Complex writers Adam Freeman and Marc Bernardin took the time to answer our questions and talk about their great new superhero comedy.

EJ:  What brought the two of you to Kickstart?

ADAM:  We asked the agency to be reunited with our birthparents…

MARC: You can only look at your own face on a milk carton for so long. Seriously, Kickstart is the production company that’s shepherding our Monster Attack Network graphic novel through the Disney gauntlet — we trust the way they’ve handled things on that end, so when they said they wanted to make comics, we raised our hands.

EJ:  How did the two of you become a writing team?  How does that work – do you divide plot and dialogue, or is there a kind of hive mind in effect?

ADAM:  We have known each other since 5th grade, so as both friends and professional partners we have all the same references. If I make a puke sound he knows I’m referring to that kid Maurice in grade school that threw up Cheese Doodles every day, so yeah it kind of is a hive mind.

MARC: Which makes Cheese Doodles something of a touchy subject. We plot together — over the phone, email, IM — but we write separately. I’ll do a chunk, send it to Adam, he’ll do a chunk, send it back to me, and so on.

EJ:  Can you tell me about your influences?  I got a strong Giffen/DeMatteis JLI vibe from Hero Complex (which is about the best compliment I can give), without it being imitative of their exact approach.  Is that a book that you have some love for, or am I just subconsciously writing Captain Supreme / Booster Gold fanfic?

ADAM: I can’t think of a specific comic that I would cite as an influence on “Hero Complex.” In fact, for me personally, I find it very hard to name specific influences. If you’re doing original work from the heart I think your influences are a complete amalgamation of everything you take in. Comics, novels, film, TV, music and so on. I mean I am a huge fan of certain creators’ work — from Brian K. Vaughn to Robert Kirkman, but I can’t say I see any of their work in ours.

MARC: Ben Edlund’s Tick books — and animated series — have always been favorites of mine. They’re just filled with comic gold, while still maintaining the integrity of both the hero and his adventures. And, for that matter, Ghostbusters, which manages to be hilarious while also functioning as a perfectly valid supernatural mystery. It was very important to us that Hero Complex operate on both of those levels.

EJ:  Artist Javi Fernandez has some really nice “acting” moments.  The nine-panel grid where Captain Supreme applies for a loan is a good example.  Was that something you asked for specifically?

ADAM:  We just wrote it as a funny scene — a goofy combination of verbal and visual jokes — and Javi ran with it.

MARC: Javi consistently surprised us. For a guy we’ve never met, who lives in another country, he absolutely nailed the character moments. And those are everything in a humor book.

EJ:  How hard is it for you to transition between comedy and drama?  Hero Complex and Monster Attack Network are really, really funny, while a lot of your other work is just intense.  How do you go from something like The Highwaymen to Hero Complex with the 24/6 and “Nat King Mole”?

ADAM:  Marc and I have very wide and eclectic tastes — in everything we like.  I love Kubrick, I love Woody Allen, I love Zack Snyder and Judd Apatow. Same with music:  everything from classical to big band to hip-hop to rock. I just have always been very open to all different things. Hell, I love all kinds of food from Indian to Italian to Thai. Marc is the same (except for the food). Why limit yourself when there as so many people out there doing amazing work in every field? I am proud of the fact that the same guys who wrote a (hopefully) funny book like Hero Complex also wrote a gritty LA gang story like Genius and a monster story, a western, a buddy action-comedy. They represent all of our interests.

MARC: He’s right. I won’t eat mushrooms or curry. It is what it is.

EJ:  The scenes with Dorian at his high school reunion feel very emotionally genuine.  Did you have any traumatic reunion experiences of your own to draw from?

ADAM: Marc is the guy everyone loves. I am the guy who you either like or hate. I refused to go to our reunion because the handful of people I want to catch up with I already have, either in person or through Facebook. And the rest were pretty much assholes to me. Do I sound bitter?

MARC: I went to our reunion; we graduated from the same high school, in the same year. And it wasn’t so much traumatic as it was completely disappointing. You get this image in your head — put there by pop culture — about what a reunion is supposed to feel like. And reality fell amazingly short. It was like going to a wedding without a bride and groom, and where you sorta recognize all the people — except that they’ve all gotten wider and balder.

EJ:  Are there any plans to revisit the Hero Complex universe?  (Please say yes.)

ADAM: If readers, and Kickstart, want it, sure. I like these characters. It’ll be a challenge, though, because the hero has made his journey. I hate when a comic or film with a great premise that the hero rises above tries to recreate that magic. “You mean Rocky is stupid and poor again? Oh my gosh, how did that happen…”

MARC: We very consciously tried to deliver a complete story here. But I’m sure we could find new ways to ruin Captain Supreme’s life…

EJ:  Awesome – well, I’ll be looking for your next projects, whether or not they involve Captain Supreme.  Thanks for stopping by!

Hero Complex, like the rest of Kickstart’s great lineup is on the shelves now.