Take an old idea – the Red Circle Comics – and add in a new wrinkle – digital distribution on a weekly basis. That’s Archie Comics’ approach to relaunching their superhero line with New Crusaders #1, by Ian Flynn and Ben Bates. The comic will also take a new/old approach, as it doesn’t jettison the old continuity of the Red Circle comics, instead using it a launch-pad for a new generation of heroes. To find out more, we chatted with Flynn about the book, how it will be using the digital form, and whether he likes blondes or brunettes better:
MTV Geek: The nice thing you’re doing for this newest iteration of the Red Circle books is taking some of the old ideas, and making it easily accessible for new readers. Can you talk about where the new comic kicks off?
Ian Flynn: The first issues starts off well into the "happily ever after" for the old heroes. This quickly goes to hell, necessitating the rise of the new heroes. It's quick, it's dirty, and it's fun that way.
Geek: Give us a rundown of some of the characters? Which ones have particularly popped for you?
IF: I don't want to give away too much, since who these characters are and how they grow into their roles is a big part of the series. But for a quick rundown:
- The Shield - the original hero, still kicking ass since WWII?- Comet - arguably the most powerful, with the personal control to wield those powers (hopefully)?- Fireball - the bad boy who's given control of fire. Who thought that was a good idea??- Steel Sterling - the gentle giant and physical powerhouse?- The Web - the ninety-eight pounds of geek thrown into the big leagues?- Fly-Girl - the craziest power set with the one of the craziest origins (interdimensional aliens - we'll explain, don't worry)?- Jaguar - my personal favorite. She is NOT super hero material, and she takes on the mystic power anyway. She's going to be a lot of fun to explore as a character.
Geek: It’s also part of an interesting experiment, given the digital nature of the relaunch. What’s that experience been like?
IF: For me it really hasn't been that different. We're telling a good, fun super hero story. Whether you read it on a screen or read it on a page, it's still entertaining.
Geek: What, in general, is your thought on digital first? It almost seems like you’re circumventing the nostalgia factor on these characters, and positioning them squarely towards a new, digital savvy audience (sorry, old people).
IF: Nah-nah-nah, we're having the best of both worlds. For the digital savvy (of which I'm kinda behind the curve), you get your weekly installments and get it first. For those of us who like to collect the printed books and have been conditioned to wait a month between installments, we still get that. We've got all the bases covered.
Geek: I’m also curious about releasing chapters weekly… Do you think that – as opposed to monthly books – is part and parcel with a digital first initiative?
IF: You've got to do something to make digital a new market, right? Digital media gives us more sooner, faster. If we were to release it monthly, then what's the difference with a printed book? I think we as an industry are still figuring out what works, and this is a step in the right direction.
Geek: How do you prefer to read your comics? Are you a digital man? Print? Or both?
IF: I'm old fashioned, I like my printed books. Gimme my plastic bags and comic boxes! Who needs personal space? I have comics!
Geek: Okay, back to the book… What can fans expect from the first few issues?
IF: The first few issues are origin stories, essentially. It's the teens getting thrust into their new lives as super heroes. But there isn't the time for inspirational messages or poignant good-byes. Their introduction to their new lives is fast and violent, and their efforts to come to grips with it all is how the readers will be introduced to the world.
Geek: Are we going to see the Red Circle characters spinning off into their own books, or is too early for that?
IF: Too soon to say for sure, but I certainly hope so. Any one of them could carry their own book, easily.
Geek: Betty or Veronica?
IF: Can I pull an Archie and say "both?" (Can we be sure my wife doesn't read this?)
Geek: Sorry, I just e-mailed her. Anyway, to wrap up after that last, important question: what can’t you wait for people to see fro New Crusaders #1?
IF: Everything! No, more focused - the art. Ben Bates and the rest of the art team have done a phenomenal job bringing this world to life. New readers will see our cast of teens and say "Well what the hell are they supposed to do now?" And from there their victories will be the readers' victories. We've got so much cool stuff lined up, I want folks to be on at the ground floor.
New Crusaders hits the Red Circle App at RedCircleComics.com on May 16th, from Archie Comics! Here's a couple of looks at the cover, in the meantime: