The creators of Marvel's Shame Itself include Daily Show writers and on-air personalities
Are you ready to feel shame??? Marvel hopes you are, as on November 2nd it launches a one-shot humor anthology, Shame Itself, by some of New York’s best up and coming comedy writers, and some of the best comic book artists in the business. The project was put together, and edited by Tom Brennan, the roguish “James Dean of Marvel” who has been championing a number of off-beat projects, like the time traveling Iron Age, and Joe Casey’s universe-trotting non-Event/Event, Vengeance.
“Wait, have I been doing that?” asked Brennan, when we chatted with him over e-mail. “I wouldn't say off-beat. I like to work on what I like to read, so maybe I have an off-beat sensibility. I honestly don't know what to make of this question. But I would say that we're heavily encouraged at Marvel to make the most of every project -- inject as much life, creativity and excitement into every book (really, every panel on every page) and so when I'm given the chance to do a project, I want to make it as unique an experience for the reader as possible. What can I give you that you can't get anywhere else? Shame Itself is certainly a place where you'll get creators and stories you won't find anywhere else.”
"Assassins suck!" and other marvel-ous magazine articles we'd like to see...
Those creators include Daily Show writers (and on air personalities), including Elliott Kalan and Wyatt Cenac, who have previously written stories for Marvel – but also newbies, like Sirius XM host Sara Benincasa, filmmaker Victor Varnado, and ECNY Award winner Kurt Braunohler. “This is the first comic I've ever written,” said Braunohler. “And I'm a relatively new comic book fan. But I'm a huge sci-fi nerd so it was a natural selection process that lead me to Marvel. It's REALLY changing the game. I make Man-Thing TALK. Which I don't think has happened before?”
No, it hasn’t Kurt (unless it has). Kalan – who has written multiple stories for Mavel - has some encouraging words for comic book fans who pick up the book. “Big events will be dead and all of superhero comics will have to turn back to small-scale, character-based storytelling,” said Kalan. “Also, D-Man will finally get his own series and Jack of Hearts will come back to life.”
Benincasa, on the other hand, has a stern warning for anyone who reads her story: “Everyone who reads my comic will have sixteen boners at once,” said Benincasa. “Like, each individual person will sprout sixteen separate, distinct but special boners, and all people will have these boners simultaneously. And they will never go away. It's going to be difficult to focus on superhero comics with sixteen boners, so probably all the male writers and artists will have to quit to spend time with their boners. And then girls will rule the comics world.”
Not to be outdone, Varnado one-upped Benincasa, saying, “I am not only changing the game, I’m insisting that our uniforms are pressed from now on! Once people read my story there will be no more hate or suffering in the world and a tear will come to the eye of every evil man. Also, my story cures all illness and tastes like chicken and chocolate but not in a bad way.”
Skottie Young illustrated this goofy take on the God of Thunder for Shame Itself #1
One other member of the cast? Comic book humorist, Michael Kupperman, who had an alternate technique for writing his story. “I held my breath until I felt so woozy I fell down and banged my head,” said Kupperman, recovering. “When I stood up I had the idea for the Shame Itself piece.” We also asked him if he would be bringing more boners or new tastes to the comic book industry, changing the game like his cohorts, and the creator said, “I am, because mine is a text piece. If more illustrated text pieces appear in Marvel comics then I will indeed have changed the game forever.”
Fingers crossed! So the question from some of you is probably, “Why pick up a humor book that won’t (other than for my boners) be changing comics forever?” The answer is, well, if not simple, at least straightforward, according to Brennan.
“I always hear from fans is how much they want to see something different in comic book stores, but unfortunately, sales are often not there to do projects like this,” said Brennan. “So when we get the opportunity to do them, we really knock them out of the park. You saw it on Strange Tales, you saw it on Girl Comics and you'll see it here with Shame Itself. You want different, compelling, funny stories with a variety of creators? You'll get it here. Plus, for four bucks, you're getting twelve different stories. Pretty good deal for Comedy, and with no drink minimum.”
Lastly, we asked everyone what they were most ashamed of… So we’ll leave you with that:
Brennan: “I pretended to be asleep on the subway to get out of giving up my seat. I still feel like a creep for that. I always give up my seat, but this one time I was SO tired. But man, what a jerk...”
Kalan: “ I am ashamed that my answers to your questions aren't funnier. Also, I'm not good at sports.”
Benincasa: “I stole my camp friend's camp boyfriend in high school, and I still feel guilty about it. Sorry, Rebecca.”
Kupperman: “Right now, answering these questions is making me very, very ashamed, for myself and for humanity in general.”
Varnado: “I am most ashamed of a practical joke I once played on a girl. I told her I was in love with her on April Fools Day.”
Braunohler: “The most shameful thing I ever did was when I was 13, I got my period for the first time while I was wearing WHITE PANTS! AND I DIDN'T EVEN KNOW!!!! No, wait, that's not my story.... um, this is a great question. I think the most shameful thing I ever did was when I was 15 I put a kitten in a bag and smashed it with a hammer.... no, I didn't. Jeez, Shame is a tough one. Something you're ASHAMED of is going to be pretty horrible. But for me maybe the threshold is really high because I don't get embarrassed or shamed very easily. I think that comes with being a stand-up. Shameful stories are our stock in trade a lot of times. Shame is something that should keep you up at night thinking about it. It should be that bad. OK, here's the best I can do: I had a really nice dog when I was 11. But I was awful to her and turned her into a monster. I once peed on her. I feel pretty ashamed of that. That's horrible. I purposefully peed on a dog. My dog! What kind of monster does that? Not even Man-thing would do that.”
SHAME ITSELF hits comic book stands on November 2nd, 2011, from Marvel Comics.