From Friendly Ghosts To Gamma Rays, No. 154
Hello readers and welcome back to another edition of our all-ages comics column, From Friendly Ghosts To Gamma-Rays! Comic-Con is in full swing, and yesterday Monkeybrain Comics announced another addition to their line, which already includes great all-ages titles like Bandette and Aesop’s Ark, with Captain Ultimate, a new superhero story, co-written by Joey Esposito and Benjamin Bailey, with art by Dutch artist Boykoesh. Joey and Ben took the time to sit down with us and answer a few questions on this awesome title!
Joey: Captain Ultimate is about fun. But deeper than that, I would say it’s about a belief in heroes. About what it means to inspire and be inspired. Narratively, it’s about a world where the greatest hero that’s ever been known — Captain Ultimate — has long since disappeared and in his absence, the world was handed over to the grim-n-gritty street vigilantes, the memory of the good Captain long since faded. But when our main character, a kid named Milo, stands up against an evil that even the vigilantes of the world run away from, he prompts Captain Ultimate’s return.
Ben: Yeah, fun is the key word. A big, all-ages, superhero adventure that has – we hope – a lot of heart.
CA: The comic is co-written by you and Ben; how was this creation born between the two of you?
Joey: I was running my mouth on Twitter like usual about how I wanted to reboot a public domain superhero and do my own spin. That led to a conversation with Ben, who suggested we just create our own hero but come up with a sort of history for him, as though he was this real long-lost Golden Age character.
Ben: I’d had this idea for while about a Golden Age type hero who returns to the world after being inspired by the actions of a little boy. It was just a couple of sentences, really. But, while we were searching for a public domain character – and quickly discovering that most of them aren’t so great – I had the idea of using this old idea and just making it our own Golden Age character. Joey and I then retooled the whole thing and turned it into Captain Ultimate.
CA: Is the process of working with a co-writer difficult for you guys at times or is it a good flow?
Joey: It’s been ridiculously awesome. Before Ben, I only worked with a co-writer on one short 12-page comic, which worked out fine, but I was expecting a project with a scope like Captain Ultimate to be a little more difficult. But it’s really not. We typically Skype a few times a week to talk ideas and beat out issues, and every time the story grows and new characters are born. It’s been great.
Ben: It sounds silly, but we have so much fun writing this thing. We are constantly laughing and coming up with these insane ideas and then trying to make them work in the story.
CA: Art on Captain Ultimate is by Dutch artist Boykoesh. How did it come about that you guys teamed up with him?
Joey: Boy is fantastic. His cartooning skills are just so emotive and fun, I think he really makes these characters shine. I met him through some art he was submitting to a podcast that Ben and I do, and eventually we became friendly and he contributed the art to a story in an anti-bullying anthology I’m helping to put together. After seeing his work, he was the first person we went to and he was totally on board.
Ben: Joey showed me some of Boy’s work and I think we both knew he was perfect for this. Any doubts we might have had were gone the second we started seeing his character designs. It was like instantly “That’s it! That’s Captain Ultimate!” His style is so expressive and animated, perfect for an all-ages book.
CA: What are the long term plans for Captain Ultimate? Is it going to be ongoing or a mini? It seems Monkeybrain gives their teams lots of freedom to tell the stories they need to.
Joey: The book is ongoing. We’ve got long term plans for all of the characters, but we really want to take our time and have some leeway, so nothing is set in stone in terms of “by issue #14 this will have happened!” We’re also being careful to structure the series in a way that every issue can be read on its own while contributing to the larger ongoing narrative so you can jump in at any time and only go back to catch up if you’re really compelled to. Hopefully you will be.
CA: If you could team up Captain Ultimate with any hero from any universe, who would you love to do a crossover with?
Joey: Going on my own definition of a hero, I’d love to see Captain Ultimate hang out with Ron Swanson. I feel as though they could enjoy a nice man-date over some rare steaks.
Ben: I think Captain Ultimate would be a perfect fit for a Rocketeer team up. The Captain is totally the kind of dude that Betty would swoon over and Cliff could get crazy jealous. Then they’d have to put their differences aside and fight some time-traveling, dinosaur, Nazi commandos or something.
CA: Any final thoughts for our readers?
Joey: Just that I hope you’ll give it a shot. Each issue is only going to be .99 cents, and issue #1 is on sale right this second. If you’ve had your fill of blood and guts and tragedy and maybe have kids or younger siblings that you feel you can’t share mainstream superhero comics with, Captain Ultimate is your solution. I promise the whole Captain Ultimate team is doing our best to make this book the best it can be.
Ben: There are worse ways to spend a dollar. I mean, if you laugh or smile once, it’s pretty much paid for itself, right?
CA: Thanks for joining us today guys!
Readers, I already checked out Captain Ultimate and it’s some great stuff! Check it out now, it’s available digitally! That’s it for this week, see you next!