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What Did I Learn?: Heroes Inc.

2009 07 23 Page16 BW 200x300 Heroes Inc.

Heroes Inc. by Scott Austin comes complete with superheroes, history and mecha. I mention this since I grew up enjoying wargaming and comics – and once out of high school I discovered I like history. It occurs to me that you, gentle reader, might not care for one or more of these things and that’s okay. You can enjoy the strong characters, focused story and the science fiction aspects of it all…

From the About page: “In a world where the Allies of WWII lost the war and superheroes are believed to be nothing more than pulp fiction, the world is shocked by alarming reports of super villains emerging around the globe to terrorize and wreak havoc.

Archibald Masters, The American Crusader, now an old man, sets out on a mission to find the remaining Golden Age heroes and take DNA samples from them in order to create a new generation of heroes to serve and protect the country that is so dear to his heart.

Some of these are true Golden Age super heroes that have come into the public domain. You could use them for your own projects but these versions of the characters and stories are owned by their creator. You can see the difference between Austin’s American Crusader and the original.

You know how in some science fiction there is the tendency to belabor on the technobabble? It can be a fine line, because you want some detail but the story shouldn’t hang on a eureka moment. That’s fine if that’s the resolution of a story, but you want the audience to be clued in early on that strontium 20 is not prone to explosion while strontium 19 is. THEN you can have the eureka moment where the hero calls it to mind that he needs 20 not 19. No, there is no moment where that comes up in this story but you only see snapshots of science which lends itself to the slow paced reality of actual science and a much more believable story. There’s some alternate history, too.

Thankfully, Heroes Inc. doesn’t use a lot of talking head shots. If there is a lot of dialog on a given page, there is normally an establishing shot sort of panel and winding, connected word balloons. (I’m sure you’re impressed with my technical terms. Yikes.) While sometimes that makes for some momentary confusion about exactly who is talking, it often lends itself to some interesting eye movement through the page – like this figure eight action path in this comic.

The style itself is sketchy and every once in a while there are uncolored pages which seem to be due to not having the page colored before post time. That’s interesting to me since, in my experience, most would choose to post late rather than post anything unfinished. As I think about it, as a reader/artist I’d rather see an unfinished update than a late one. I can always check back and see the finished piece. Don’t miss the groovy special effects, the great opening scene and flashbacks that are among the best I’ve ever seen.

What Did I Learn?

In this case, the sketchy look goes against the grain of crisply lined and heavily saturated colors of typical superheroes. In some ways, the choice to go with or against the expected grain makes a strong statement about the kind of comic one wants to create. Heroes Inc. has a number of fun things in it that play with your expectations.

ArtPatient