A while back I was approached by Evil Moose Comics about submitting a cape & spandex comic to their upcoming shared universe anthology. I took the opportunity to experiment with two aspects of the super genre that I have always been intrigued by which I felt likely to be ignored by other creators.
The first element I brought to the story was supernatural martial arts. Chi-powered, deeply skilled and disciplined characters have always appealed to me. TMNT, Storm Shadow/Snake Eyes,Iron Fist, and The Last Dragon are some of my favorite properties. To me, the pairing of Kung-Fu exploitation with a super powered back-drop opens up a gritty, street level canvas that is hard for “bigger” hero-fantasies to match in dramatic scale.
The second element which I wanted to play with was the “teen hero” dynamic. Yes it’s been done quite a bit. From Spider-Man, to the Runaways, to Kick-Ass, a lot of ground has been covered. What I wanted to do was explore a more realistic teen protagonist though. Someone who isn’t a paragon of virtue like Peter Parker, but not an egoist jerk like Jason Todd. I think most people are in the middle. Sure, we all want to do the right thing, but sometimes life hands you an impossible decision. Sometimes anger, jealousy, or avarice wins out and we make a decision that may have been formerly unthinkable. While it seems nearly impossible for certain four color vigilantes to live in the gray like that, it is pretty common place in the real world. More to the point, most people tend to think very little about it.
Between those two key elements, I was able to craft a gritty, crime-driven super hero comic that managed to hold on to a bit of youthful lightheartedness… at least for the beginning of the story.
Thus Tiny Dragon was born…
I was lucky enough to assemble a great team for this piece. Samir Simao knocked out the line art and did a wonderful job on both the the sequentials and the character designs.Jesse Heagy, who I worked with back in 2008 on the Platinum Studios Comic Book Challenge, tackled the colors. In the past Jesse has done books for DC, and the fanboy within always has a bit of a nerdgasm when working with someone who’s done stuff for the big 2. It is always humbling to work with a team that has this level of talent and experience. My duties were script and lettering.
Aside from coming up with a logo that I really dig, the comic gave me the opportunity to do some other fun lettering stuff. Note the names of each move called out in the lettering. This was a fun exercise in making the lettering more “alive” within the comic, yet keeping it feeling organic and un-forced.
Tiny Dragon will appear in Moose Crossing Volume 2 this March. When more purchase details are available I will get them up on the site.