BY JENNIFER M. CONTINO
We hear a lot about the Justice League
heroes and the Avengers
saving the world, but what about the men and women who make sure things run smoothly for the world's greatest superheroes? What about those in their humdrum human resources department? In a series that's kind of like "The Office
meets the JLA
," Ken Marcus
and Justin Bleep
are comically illustrating how those in a Superhuman Resource Department
keep things running smoothly for our heroes. Marcus told THE PULSE
, "I just think there are a lot of things that happen behind the panels of our favorite comic books that we kind of take for granted. Who fills out the purchase orders? Who installs the computer software? Who signs for the anti-matter nullifier shipments?"THE PULSE: When I hear the term "Super Human Resources," I think of this building where good and bad guys can go and buy ray guns, costumes, accessories ....
Hmm. That may be a better idea for a comic. Actually, Super Human Resources
is about the HR department of a super hero team. Think Justice League
with people from billing, IT, payroll, reception, shipping and so on.THE PULSE: Why would a superhero team have a payroll department? I mean, I remember the Avengers being a paid super team but it just seemed to have Jarvis as the extra employee ....
I just think there are a lot of things that happen behind the panels of our favorite comic books that we kind of take for granted. Who fills out the purchase orders? Who installs the computer software? Who signs for the anti-matter nullifier shipments? That stuff kind of fascinates me. Super heroes may have the coolest jobs on the planet, but day in and day out, it's still a job. Gotta pay the bills.THE PULSE: What inspired this? I mean, I can see where you're going with it, but what was that initial spark that made you wonder about all of this?
I guess you could say the crushing banality of corporate life. I wondered if the same effed-up crap that happens in our day jobs must still happen at Avengers Tower or in the Hall of Justice. It must. But we never see it. THE PULSE: So how'd you come up with your working stiffs?
Tim is our every-guy, thrust into the weirdest accounts payable temp job he's ever had. Along the way, he meets: Zombor, reformed undead villain and Super Crises International receptionist. Manboto 3.4, the resident android and inept womanizer. Plasmarella, our single-but-looking alien fire princess. Zeus, the porn-addicted Lord of All Greek Gods. And Wombat, who you may recognize from his unannounced guest appearance on "To Catch a Predator 7." Just to name a few in this freak show we call a comic. THE PULSE: Wow it does sound like a motley crew. How do you think you'd react if you were a normal Joe and ran into so many crazies in your day job? I mean we all have insane in the membrane folks in our lives, but these ones could destroy you with a glance, at least a few of them ....
That's kind of the idea behind SHR. What would it be like to work in an office next to the world's mightiest beings? People that are even more dysfunctional and weirder than the typical freaks you work with.THE PULSE: Why does Tim keep working there? I mean, I can understand needing the money in tough times like this, but why put your life on the line or get involved in this kind of world ...?
That actually becomes the point of the story at the end. He has the option to leave at the end of his temp gig. But he makes a decision, probably against his self-interest and better judgment, to stay and help the people that help just about everyone else. There is a core of heroism in what he does. Even if it is just tracking down purchase orders and signed billing receipts. Oh, and it's kinda funny keeping him around.THE PULSE: So we've got a look at superhero life from behind the scenes, kind of?
Yep. But it's a lot more fun. Super Human Resources is kind of like Dilbert with super heroes. We don't take ourselves too seriously. It's a pretty dysfunctional place, like most offices. THE PULSE: Like NBC's The Office?
Yep. I guess the logline would be "The Office meets JLA." But I like to think tonally, we're more in line with Adult Swim
shows like Venture Bros.
and Frisky Dingo
.THE PULSE: Cool. I know you've gotten a lot of positive response from the comic ... how does it feel to have the work well received?
I'm thrilled to death. This is my first effort, so my ego is fragile. I need all the affirmation I can get. I think there is an opportunity in comic stores to have more humor. I love titles like PvP, Oni's Maintenance, Paul Jenkin's Sidekicks and so on. I feel like many of the same folks that love super hero titles also like Venture Bros and The SImpsons. So our title is a nice cross-pollination of the two worlds hopefully.THE PULSE: Had you done a lot of comics before this?
This is my first. I mean, writing comics. How hard can that be to break into? (You beautiful, beautiful fool, Ken.)THE PULSE: How did you learn to write comics? I mean, did you follow some kind of script guide or did you just write a story, send it to Justin Bleep and let him fill in the art blanks?
Pretty much. Wrote it as if it was a television script, but with panel descriptions. Pretty much, figured out what worked and what didn't when I saw pencils come in. Make no mistake, I'm under no illusion I could write a "straight" super hero title tomorrow. There is a craft there those guys have that takes years to learn. But honestly, this is one of those ideas that kind of wrote itself. Juxtaposing super hero culture with office culture. My job was to just be kinda funny. THE PULSE: Speaking of Justin, how'd you come to collaborate with him on this project?
Found him on Digital Webbing. I like to say, that he was everything I wasn't looking for. In terms of style. But his art really stood out from the pack. Which is pretty important this day in age. With the sea of sameness we often see on comic shelves. His complete disregard for anatomy and form mirrored my complete disregard for grammar and writing fundamentals.THE PULSE: How'd you come to have this published by Ape?
Justin approached Ape at a con and handed them our first issue. They were into it and that was that. They have been super cool and supportive. In this day in age, where indie publishers are dropping off like flies, we're lucky to be on Ape. A very creator-friendly home. Super Human Resources is a four issue mini, available for pre-order in this December's Previews. THE PULSE: What's next for Super Human Resources after these four issues?
Hopefully, if Super Human Resources does well, we'll do another mini. Or at lease a one shot or something. It's a pretty big sandbox to play in. That's my hope.THE PULSE: Are you working on any other comic projects? What's next on your plate?
I have a few ideas. But nothing really in motion. In my other life, I'm an advertising writer with two toddlers. So not a lot of free time. My main focus right now is spreading the word on Super Human Resources. Stop by http://www.superhumanresourcescomic.com
to see more preview pages, watch our trailer and learn more. And remember to pre-order Super Human Resources in the Dec Previews with your favorite comic book store. With this economy, it's going to be a hard time for indies. Retailers are going to be cutting back, understandably so. So it's really important to tell your retailer what you want to read so they'll know to order it. This would be huge for us and much appreciated.