Hello! This is my first official blog entry--not just for my new comic book, "The Helm," but ever. New to comic books and new to blogging. So, first thing is please check out issue #1 of "The Helm" coming out July 16th, 2008. Here's a link: ttp://www.darkhorse.com/profile/profile.php?sku=15-124
So, here goes the beginnings of some musings about "The Helm." Hopefully I'll have more stuff to post shortly.
What if you had a superpower that hated your guts? That’s the question that gave birth to “The Helm”.
Every superman needs his Kryptonite or his love of Lois Lane in order to keep the possibility of failure open and some suspense alive for the audience. “The Helm” came out of the idea of pushing the flaw to the point where the main character was so unsuited to be a hero that his own superpower was disgusted by him.
While the subject is handled with a sense of humor, “The Helm” plays with some deeper issues as well. What makes someone a hero? Being brave, invincible and superhuman would certainly make it easier to act heroically—but what if you were cowardly, soft and all-too-human? How much more heroic would you need to be to act heroically then?
That’s how Mathew Blurdy was born—as a sort of epitome of the slightly-below-average, average guy. He’s cowardly, out of shape, unemployed, undisciplined and morally “flexible”. What happens when a guy like that finds out that the fate of the world and the lives of those he loves rest in his fairly incapable hands?
When I first pitched “The Helm” concept to my editor, Dave Land at Dark Horse, I told him I was looking for the drawing style to really build the contrast between the superhero genre and the reality of Mathew Blurdy. I referenced Conan as an example and Dave immediately started showing me Bart Sears’ work. As a new-comer to comics, I had no idea who Bart was, but I loved his stuff and knew he’d be perfect for the book. It was only later, as I Googled him, that it started to sink in what a really big name in comics Bart was. I’m glad I didn’t know more at the outset because I never would have imagined that he’d work with a first time comic writer.
It’s been totally cool getting to work with Bart Sears on this project. He’s gone so far with the Brutes and Babes approach that it seemed perfect to have him drawing Mathew in all his chubby glory. It took a little back and forth to push Matt out the classic hero model but once he got comfortable with Matt’s flaws, Bart really nailed it. He’s got such an eye for detail—like the occasional exposed bit of Matt’s butt crack—that I can’t wait to see the new panels as they come in.
Mathew is the hero of “The Helm,” but he’s really only half of the story equation. The helmet after which the book is named is a personality all its own. It’s basically an ancient, magical Norse artifact that’s been secretly handed down from champion to champion for over a thousand years. In all that time, the warriors it has aided have been cut from essentially the typical heroic cloth. They’ve been big, muscle-bound dudes with nobility and morals to match their powerful physiques. Until Mathew. Matt is absolutely not what the Helm was expecting—but the Helm doesn’t really get a choice in the matter. The Gods themselves designate who the next Valhalladrim will be, and there can be only one alive at a time, so the Helm is stuck with Mathew until death do them part.
Of course, there’s a lot of backstory to how and why Matt and the Helm come together—but for now, it’s as big a mystery to the Helm as it is to Mathew. Hopefully, we’ll get a chance to explore that territory over time—but for now, the mismatch is the engine that drives the relationship between the two and hopefully keeps the story engaging and funny.