Diary of an Angry Hero

I’ve been working a bit on a new character. This is something I tried writing in his voice. It needs a lot of work. A LOT of work. But I haven’t posted in a while, so, I figured “what the hell?”

I understand villains because we all want the same thing: to watch the world burn. Actually, I want to personally light the fuse.

Seriously, fuck the world. Fuck it’s existential angst. Fuck it’s hedonistic yearnings. It took 13 billion years for life to evolve on Earth. In 5 billion years the whole planet will burn in our sun’s supernova. Technically speaking, it will be uninhabitable only half a billion years from now. Why wait? That just gives assholes more time to be assholes.

I don’t have rage issues. People with rage want to stand over their enemy and gloat. When people fuck with me, with someone I love, or with something I believe in, I don’t just want to destroy them. I want to destroy everything. And, yes, I’m fully aware that “everything” includes me. That’s the definition of “everything.” Nothing is too small a price to pay to destroy people who suck.

But doing so would mean believing nothing was worth saving. I would have to give up all hope that anything could ever be better. And I want to have that hope. It’s the only thing I want more than to destroy everything. In the context of the whole world and any objective truth, that may not really make me a hero. In my own personal struggles, though, it’s good enough for now.

Oh, and because this Mojo comic strip fit the theme so well, I just had to include it:

Haiku & Cool Shit

Comics are cool ’cause:
epic shit happens often.
Wish fulfillment, duh.

Droppin’ a little poetry on you. If you haven’t been to revengercomic.com lately, you’ve missed some cool shit in our new story, “Giant Future Robot” starring Sovereign (written by me, drawn by Michael Powell). Cool shit, like this:

And this:

And this, too:

Oh, and we’re also working on Revenger #3, featuring epic shit like this:

So, you know, keep an eye out.

If It’s All Right, Then You’re All Wrong

One of my new favorite shows is Psych. Sure, it’s mostly because of the immature, silly humor and my deep down desires to have wacky, heroic adventures while making pop culture references from my childhood and teenage years. But there’s a reality underpinning the fantasy that reveals a truth about humanity.

In case you don’t know the premise, here goes: Shawn Spencer is an expert  but amateur profiler who uses lateral thinking and basic truths about human nature to solve crimes. However, since he has no other socially acceptable way to validate his skill, he tells the cops he’s a psychic.

The first truth: people are not that unique. If you’ve paid enough attention and let your instincts take charge, you can figure them and their situations out pretty quickly. Yes, YOU. Any of us can. That doesn’t excuse a lack of due diligence.I’m just saying the amount of time needed to “get to know someone” isn’t really that much. It takes a lot less time than most people think it does, which is why most don’t let themselves do it.

Which leads to the second truth: when faced with a person who can sum up a situation quickly, people really would rather be skeptical or believe in a fantasy like psychic abilities. Probably because it shatters the aforementioned deception that it takes time to get to know people. The easiest way to explain someone who does it successfully without shattering that illusion – unless you’re a skeptic and just say “phooey” at things like gut instinct – is to describe them as somehow gift or outside the norm.

A topic like this deserves a deeper breakdown. My English teachers would tell me this is a good start but I need more than declarative statements to make my point. Luckily it’s my website. But I do hope that throwing these ideas out there get some of you thinking. Or, at least, I hope it convinces you to watch Psych so you get my references.

You know that’s right.

Still Making Comics

Here are some previews of a few comics I’m writing and are being drawn by some pretty fucking dope artists.

First up, one of three stories I’m writing for Joe Cook’s Shattered Myth. This one features Samson versus Mammon and is being drawn by Micah Weltsch. This story will initially only be available in print – yes! print! – in Volume 3 of the Shattered Myth collection. Here’s a fun excerpt from the first page:

Next up is another Shattered Myth story I’m writing. This one is part of the Spotlight series and will be featured on the website in the coming months. Eric White and I will be telling a story about Hermes that has been heavily inspired by the classic Superman vs. Flash race stories of the past. I’m really excited for this one. Here’s a look at his pencils from the first strip:

Finally, and most dear to my heart, is my latest collaboration with my partner on Revenger, Michael Powell. We’re taking a breather from Revenger but staying in the same universe, albeit 7 years in the future. This the second most important character in our world, Sovereign. Here’s a look at the first full page, completely inked. This will also be our first colored story, thanks to Eric White!





Why Doesn’t Superman Kill Lex Luthor?

Batman always has been and always will be my favorite superhero. The other night I had a dream that I saw an early screening of The Dark Knight Rises. In my dream it was a meta-existentialist film that included a Robin who also dressed like Batman and Jack Nicholson playing an older version of Heath Ledger’s Joker.

That doesn’t seem like a bad way to bring back Nicholson, by the way.

Another sign of superior mental health: not wearing red trunks outside of his pants anymore.

However — and I know this will sound “controversial” as far as comic book fandom goes but whatever — I think Superman’s psychology is far more interesting. Batman is not complicated: a kid sees his parents killed and goes off on a vendetta, complete with a rigid moral code. It’s interesting, sure, but only because it’s relatable and, by extension, uncomplicated (that is to say, if it were complicated it wouldn’t be so relatable).

I can’t actually wrap my head around Superman’s psychology, though. A lot of it stems from his relationship with Lex Luthor. One of the first things I wrote about on this blog is why Batman must not kill the Joker. Yet I can’t understand why Superman hasn’t flicked Lex Luthor’s head right off.

Seriously. That dude’s a giant dick. All Superman has to do is look at Lex Luthor and made that bald head blow up. Do it!

Over and over, Lex Luthor finds other people to take the fall for his crimes. Superman knows this. But he chooses to do nothing until he can capture Lex fair and square. Maybe this is why it’s better that only fictional characters be gifted with powers beyond those of mortal men. I’d be hard pressed to not overreact at least once, after deciding I knew better than everyone else, and take matters into my own hands. Lex would be the first guy who’s head I’d take off with a superdropkick.

Honestly, there’s a very good chance l would decide most people are too stupid to be trusted and crown myself ruler of the world.

That’s where the psychology becomes even more interesting to me. It’s not that Superman resists temptation to be selfish (i.e., take shit because he wants it and he can) but how does he resist the temptation to take care of humans by simply treating them like children? That’s probably what I would do with his powers. I’d force everyone to obey my rules for their own good. I’d be like the scary kindergarten teacher that no one wants to fuck with. Only my students would be everyone on the planet. And I’d teach lessons like “don’t be stupid assholes.”

Maybe Superman just realizes all-powerful does not mean all-knowing and his rules are just as likely as anyone else’s to be flawed. He seems to understand the need for democracy over dictatorship, if only to try and compensate for the inherent mistakes of any one person. Which implies an incredible amount of healthy self awareness on Superman’s part.

I think we can say that Superman’s greatest super power may be super mental health. Is that a by product of his other super powers? Is it a product of his upbringing? What’s it like to be some mentally stable?

We all deal with mentally unstable people in our lives. We all have our own psychological issues. These are important things to explore. But Superman’s healthy mental state will always be more fascinating to me. If only because people like that are so rare both in real life and in fiction.

Afternoon Delight

Her boss sat on the posh seat facing the bed. His face had gone paler than Michael Jackson’s as he tried drinking from the glass of scotch in his trembling hand.

Linda lay comfortably on the bed wearing nothing but underwear and her stiletto heels. She slowly sipped her red wine and licked her lips, seductively. Usually she flaunted her sex for tips, not intimidation; turns out she liked how both made her feel.

“This is the first time I’ve ever done this,” he said, his voice cracking as he spoke. “I am faithful to my wife and my morals.”

Linda laughed, deeply. “Spare me.”

“What do you want to do?” he asked, fear crossing his already downtrodden face.

Linda took a moment, pretending to think. She already knew what she was going to ask for. The pause was purely to increase the tension in the room. After a few years of prostituting, she knew how to keep men emotionally unbalance (it’s not that hard).

“I’m not too greedy. You keep paying me my full salary with full benefits, only I never actually have to go to work.”

“How am I supposed to that?” he asked incredulously. “We have all sorts of audits, lawyers and government paperwork to deal with?”

“I’m sure you can figure something out. Or you can figure out what to tell your wife and the gossip columnist when they hear you take delight in afternoon rendezvous with hookers.” Linda broke her controlled demeanor for just a moment as she dropped that last zinger, flashing a self-satisfied, shit-eating grin.

What happened next, Linda only remembered as a blur. Her madam always warned her that this line of work could get violent. Linda assumed that was an exaggeration. After all, high-end clientele like hers had too much at stake to get into violent altercations with hookers, right?

Not really.

Linda found herself unable to breath, as her boss pinned her to the bed and wrapped his hands around her throat. She pounded her fists again his chest, to no avail. In desperation or a moment of quick thinking — take your pick — she managed to dig her heels deep into his crotch. He howled in pain and momentarily released his grip. Linda used all her strength to heave him off of her.

As he flew off of Linda and crash to the floor, his neck slammed into the corner of the nightstand with the full force of his momentum.

Linda rolled off the bed and prepared herself for another attack. Only then did she realize there wasn’t going to be one. As she leaned over to look at his still body, the horribly twisted angle of his head killed any illusions she had of him being merely unconscious.

“Well, shit,” she thought to herself.

To be concluded.
Read Part 1: Like a Woman Who is Only a Prostitute During Her Lunch Hour
Part 3: Hooray for Hollywood

Like a Woman Who is Only a Prostitute During Her Lunch Hour

Dedicated to Mayday & Amber, who came up with the title/concept in the first place.

Linda spent most of her lunch hours having sex for money. She liked to have sex and she liked extra income, so it was a win-win scenario. Even better: she was beautiful, really good in bed and already had a nice paying corporate job, so she was in a position to pick and choose her clients.

Certainly, she understood it was insulting that she happily did something other women would only do out of desperation. But whatever.

That particular morning her phone buzzed with a message from her “madam” (pimp). A new client (trick) was looking for a quicky in a local hotel – one of the good ones, too, with the kind of high thread count sheets Linda loved wrapping her naked body in. Linda checked her calendar and emailed her pimp back, saying she was available but, as usual, wanted to see a picture of the potential trick first.

The picture came through shortly thereafter. She recognized the trick. It was her boss. That is to say the very rich, very married corporate executive who made a name for himself in social circles by supporting extremely conservative candidates via very large donations.

“Holy shit, I just hit the jackpot,” Linda realized. Barely containing her excitement, she wrote back to her pimp, accepting the trick. Once you’ve gone down the road of prostituting for fun and profit during your lunch hour, blackmailing your boss doesn’t seem like such a bad idea.

To be continued.
Part 2: Afternoon Delight
Part 3: Hooray for Hollywood

Revenger Artwork on CNN!

This Friday, CNN ran a piece on the company I work for, ScrollMotion. The best part? They panned across my desk and caught my framed Revenger artwork! Check it out:

The whole video is embedded below, for those of you interested in what I do. Funny enough, the other company highlighted is comiXology. It’s two things Rolando loves in one. And don’t forget, you can download the Revenger iPad app for free!