Ken Marcus discusses his new comic book series about ordinary folks behind the comic panels that keep your favorite heroes up and running. To learn more about the comic book and where to purchase yourself a copy head over to the official Super Human Resources website.
COMIC BOOK BIN (through Christopher Moshier): Let's start off with the basics. Tell us a bit about your background and how that got you into the world of the comic book.
KEN MARCUS: I 'm just like most of us. I’ve been reading comics for around 18 years or so. I had an itch to write something, but I didn't feel like I had an idea that was different enough than what was out there. The name "Super Human Resources" just kind of popped in my head. It's works well because the name is the concept…the HR department of a super hero team.
CBB: Working at an Ad agency - do you take a lot of what you see at your work into the pages of "resources"?
KM: Yeah. I'm quite familiar with the banality of everyday corporate life. There's a scene in SHR of an inane focus group. I've sat through many, many of those.
CBB: I read that in the first issue. I work in an office environment myself so I can relate.
KM: I just think it's a fun world to contrast with the larger-than-life world of super heroes. I try and remember that day in and day out, the Justice League or Avengers or whatever is still a job.
CBB: I'm sure you get this a lot, but it reminds me of the Office. I've only seen the BBC version, but very much...the comic I mean...goes along with that type of structured story telling. Did you get the idea from that show?
KM: Yes and no. I actually had the idea before the US version of the show came out. I love the BBC version. And it informed my love of office workplace humor. But honestly, I think Dilbert is closer in humor style. My biggest influence in terms of tone and timing is probably the Simpsons. That show is like a comedy-writing clinic. I'm sure I've ripped off many jokes without even knowing it.
CBB: No doubt. After 200 seasons of the Simpsons how can you not?
KM: It's like the South Park joke - "The Simpsons did it."
CBB: And I notice a lot of the super-hero type characters are parodies of a lot of DC and Marvel characters as well.
KM: A little bit. I like to call them archetypes. I wanted to be careful that I'm not parodying comic characters. I mean, I know I am. But the idea of super heroes I want to keep sacred. Making fun of comic seems like too easy a target. I hate the whole "Hair-Ball Spitting Guy" or whatever. A cheap shot. I feel like I was really parodying us, everyday white collar workers, using the larger than life world of super heroes. Even though I have a lot of fun with certain genre elements, this is still a love letter to comics for me. I like to juxtapose the real world, day in and day out realities of having a job with the not-so realities of comic books. That's where most of the fun comes from, in my mind.
CBB: What prepared you to finally do up you own comic and how did you assemble your talent?
KM: First, I read a lot about the process. I tried to learn as much as I can. Basics that most people would take for granted. Then I found Justin Bleep on Digital Webbing. I like to say he was everything I wasn't looking for. His art is sooo stylized, that it didn't look like anything else out there. People generally had a strong reaction to it which I thought was important. I feel like things need to stick out, even unconventionally, in a sea of sameness we see on comic book shelves.
CBB: It’s definitely a different style.
KM: I read a Kirkman column way back. And he basically just said this. "Be great." It's that easy and it's that difficult, all at the same time and I just felt like Super Human Resources, as an idea, had the opportunity to be great. So you can blame him for Super Human Resources.
CBB: Is the main character of Tim…is he basically you talking.
KM: He's definitely an every-guy. He is the guy that is filled with wide-eyed wonder of this whole, crazy 4-color world. But, by the end, is far more heroic than I would ever be. I would've taken the nice car and hot girlfriend, instead of agreeing to help everyone.
CBB: How did you eventually hook up with Ape Entertainment?
KM: Justin basically just handed them a pitch copy at a convention. And they emailed us right back. They have been super cool and supportive. Luckily they insist that all issues are finished before they solicit the first one which is smart. Late books have plagued the indie comic book market and have burned many stores. So I'm proud to say, all our books are in the can and ready to go. And with the tough economy, independent books have it hard enough with retailers. That's why demand is so important in the solicitation phase…when the book is in Diamond Previews.
CBB: So you have the four issue mini-series coming out. What next? Is it based on sales? Will you continue with Super Human Resources?
KM: Yeah, hopefully. If it does well, of course…well is a relative term. We'll do a trade and maybe another four. If people are digging it and retailers are ordering enough.
CBB: I know a lot of comic creators frown on making comics for the movie deal or the TV deal. Would you mind seeing SH Resources go that direction? Do you have a long term goal to where you want to see the property go?
KM: Yes and no...if it was a good deal, then sure. But you'd be surprised. Options are not that much money. I won't sign away ownership just to get one. But that's not why we're doing this. I love comics. And it will be a thrill to have people buy our books and to see SHR on the shelves. That's what I'm in it for.
CBB: Anything else you would be working on beyond "Resources"?
KM: I have a few ideas. But just waiting to see how Super Human Resources does. I'm a big believer in the market deciding stuff. If we don't do so hot, I might need a new outlet for my creativity. Like glass blowing or something.
CBB: Anything else you would like to promote or anything I should of and didn't ask you?
KM: No, I just want to make sure that if people are interested in reading Super Human Resources, they know they should ask their comic book store retailer to order it in the December Previews. This is a big point. It could be tough time for comics. Retailers are going to be cutting back, I'm sure. So it's doubly important for fans to pre-order something if they want to read it. Not just wait to see it on a shelf. This would be huge for us. Thanks for having me.