I've said it many times before, and I think if anything it's only gotten even more true as my career has gone on: I only know how to write for one audience and that's myself.
I think that's all any writer can ever aspire to: to tell stories that they themselves want to read, that resonate in some way with them personally. And then you fling it out into the world and if it turns out that other people respond to it in some similar fashion, then congratulations, you just might get to tell stories for a living. But having an audience, building a career, none of that changes how the donuts get made. Or shouldn't, as far as I'm concerned. As Nighthawk said last week...
"These things I do in the dark... I do them for me."
I've been a full-time professional comic book writer for 16 years now, and I still try to approach each new day at my desk, each new project, like something I would've sat down to write when I was 12 or 16 or 23. The driving question is always, "What would I like to read? What sort of story would make me feel happiest in this moment?"
As I've talked about these last few weeks either here or in my newsletter, I wrote HEROES REBORN as a celebration of everything that made me fall in love with comic books as a child standing in front of a drugstore spinner rack resplendent with brightly-colored relics from wondrous other worlds. I wrote it as a return to joy amidst a year that seemed determined to flay every trace of joy and wonder from all of our lives. I wrote it as a way of wrestling with ugliness and still hopefully coming out smiling.
And the results have certainly made me smile, in no small part because of the amazingness of the array of artists who've brought this world to such gorgeous life these last few weeks (and this week is definitely no different, as we'll get to in a moment). And I hope you've found yourself smiling as well. If so, then please know that makes me smile even more. When you sit down to write a book for yourself, that speaks to you in some way personally, and then you see it go into the world and speak to others in some similar way, it's creates an incredibly unique and gratifying connection, between people who've never met, who may never meet. In a time when I imagine many of us have struggled with connections, to our fellow man, our families, to the world itself, to the things that make us who we are, please know that I appreciate that connection and that emotional response to my work even more than usual.
So thanks for reading. I try to say that a lot, and I think my gratitude only grows with each new utterance.
These things I do in the dark, I may do them for me. But I'm sure glad it's not just me in this fucking darkness, smiling all by myself like some fucking crazy person.
HEROES REBORN #6 regular cover by Leinil Yu and Sunny Gho. Variant by Frank Cho. Variant by Jeffrey Veregge. Action Figure Variant by John Tyler Christopher. Trading card variant by Mark Bagley. Stormbreakers variant by R.B. Silva.
"Heroes Reborn might be the most fun you can have with comics right now if you’re a fan of the Big Two."
From AIPT's review of HEROES REBORN #6. Thanks, yeah, that's what we're going for.
And this week it's artist Erica D'Urso who's bringing the fun and the thunder to the story of the hard-drinking, ass-kicking Utopian, Princess Zarda. Along with another killer, world-building back-up tale by the all-world team of Ed McGuinness, Mark Morales and Matthew Wilson.
HEROES REBORN #6 interior art by Erica D'Urso, colors by Jason Keith.
Erica has been doing thoroughly lovely work over on THE MIGHTY VALKYRIES, and here she kicks all kinds of ass, giving us a glimpse of the many rowdy adventures of Power Princess over the years. I love Zarda's bloody smile on that splash page above. We were definitely trying to channel some Becky Lynch energy with that one.
I was actually there ringside the night Becky stood tall, grinning as the blood poured from her busted nose, looking about as badass as a human being can. I was busy marking the fuck out, as they say.
Looking at it now, I think that big bloody smile doesn't just represent Princess Zarda's devil-may-go-fuck-himself attitude toward life. For me, I'd say it best sums up the entirety of HEROES REBORN, of the book's core themes and even more importantly, its actual creation.
Grinning through blood and darkness.
Thanks for sharing a bit of that with me. Cheers.