Hello everyone, I’m Walter. For a while now, you’ve known me as Black Superman, but for reasons I shall explain in a bit, today, I’m just plain Walter- or Walt, you choose. So, why did I go with my real name instead my incredibly awesome codename? Simple, Walter has some incredibly awesome news. A year ago, as Codenamed: Epic, my partner, Kerbykidd announced a new comic we would be producing called Day of Fire. We now, as Off Shoot Comics, would like to announce that the story which incorporates Day of Fire is now a new indie comic called, Heretic.
Now, over the course of the last few months, I’ve detailed many of the things we’ve learned coming up to this point, and frankly, I hope you’ve enjoyed my candor as much as I’ve enjoyed sharing, but those pieces were about getting into the business. Believe, I have many more anecdotes to share on that front, so stay tuned; however, today, I’m going to tell you about Off Shoot Comics and how Heretic came to be our first full-fledged comic book.
My partner, David- that’s Kerbykidd’s real name, and I have a love for high adventure fiction. Now, I’m almost 40 yrs old, and, truthfully, have loved comic books since I was old enough to recognize the “S”, but I’m kind of new to the manga/anime part of nerd culture. David, on the other hand, is in his early 20’s and has read manga his whole life and has, only in the last few years, come to appreciate the western comic book style. We met at church through a Bible study group that was held weekly in my home. For reasons that I won’t get too deeply into, David and I had time to discuss things that interested us, and we discovered that we both had a love for comics and a desire to break into the industry, so we formed Off Shoot Comics to fulfill those dreams.
David is/was an honor student in college with a wild imagination that has no upper limits. I, too, excelled in school and have an expansive imagination. However, where David’s M.O. is to seek the highest degree of awesomeness a character’s power and destructive capability can reach, I have always loved the development of character and the adaptation of the character’s story to his situation. The resulting partnership was incredible. Imagine, a tightly wound story with a main character who could have, almost, no upper limit because one of his creators had no cap on how ridiculously powerful he could become, and the other could reason through how these things developed. Now, understand, we both have these traits in our ability to create characters; it’s the part of the creative process that we each enjoy more that makes this symbiosis work. And the fact that, as an artist, I can conceptualize the things we create didn’t hurt either.
So we set about making an indie comic that would send us on our way to literary infamy. And, brilliant as we are, we had no doubt that we someday rule the world; then, came last year’s Long Beach Comic Con, where we received the rudest of awakenings. We were so sure that we were ready that we brought a little portfolio that we were going to show around, and “bang!”, we’d be in. Still, we weren’t sure who to talk to, Marvel or DC, so we decided to talk to some comics creators and get some input, so we attended the seminars on comics creating and they changed our lives. You see, these seminars told us something no one we knew would have ever been able to tell us: “We knew nothing about the industry and no one in it, so we pretty much had no shot.” Fortunately, as I said before… honor students! We learn quickly and take the lessons to heart. So, when, in one seminar, a Marvel writer said, “hey, if you have a killer idea, don’t give it to the big 2 for a few dollars, write it yourself as your own character and make the money for yourself, we took it to heart and started developing properties for ourselves instead Marvel and DC. The result? Well, we now have a universe that explains metas and mutants and magic and ties it all neatly in a little bow.
So, now we knew, indie was the way to go, but we needed to know someone to get our collective foot in the door. Enter Dale, owner of this site where you are, currently, reading this story, and the man who set us on the right path. You see, Dale, unlike many publishers out there, was interested in some new ideas. He wanted to be able to debut the next Superman, or Ironman, or Batman, or Hulk to the world through his other site, Magnificent Creatures, so he wanted to work with new, inexperienced enthusiasts who were just dumb enough to not get discouraged and, therefore, would produce a comic which he could show the world. And hey, often you’ll hear that there is a fine line between genius and insanity. David and I dip on both sides. It was perfect. So, Dale told us he wanted a new character from us, one we’d never thought of before, who would debut on his site. So I created… Inspector Specter. I go too deeply into his story because we intend to make his series eventually, anyway, but the first Inspector was a trench coat wearing, sword-wielding, Indiana Jones type ninja. David saw him, and started telling me about his idea for a magic world we could create.
As we talked, Inspector Specter’s weapons became magical, his training became more extensive, the world had been obliterated by dragons, and our guy was the last bastion of hope left to a world that was embracing its slave masters and its saviors. The name Inspector Specter no longer fit this new hero, fighting his way through a planet full of world-benders trying to free a planet that does not even know it’s enslaved. We decided that a world like this would have a savior that everyone would think was wrong. He would be an outcast- a Heretic. We developed him and scripted him and submitted him to Dale… and Dale shot us down. You see, he wanted something from us that we didn’t quite get. He wanted a concise, 13 panel story, that was a beginning middle and end. Honestly, a year later, and I think we’ve, really, only recently, learned how to tell a story tightly enough to do what Dale asked, but I digress.
Dale gave us some pointers and developed Heretic and his world more and more, but real life was getting in the way. We needed equipment, which we bought and practice which we were getting, but we also needed something else, another dedicated person. That’s when we met Izy.
Izy is a dedicated and talented artist, not to mention a very quick one. Where I agonize over minutia, she moves quickly and fluidly. With her on-board, as a new partner, David was able to script Heretic and she drew it. We were able to work out the little kinks in his story we had not noticed before, and eventually, just this past week, we were finally able to print Heretic #’s 1and 2! So, now, at Long Beach Comic Con, this year, we have accomplished what we thought we were ready for last time we were there- we are a full-fledged comic book company with our first book in production. We’re excited, and why shouldn’t we be. How often do you get to make lifelong dreams come true? So, the moral of the story is… well, there isn’t one. But there is a Heretic among us. Come to Long Beach and meet him… and us.
For Off Shoot Comics, I’m
Walter a.k.a. Black Superman