Comic-Con: Joey Esposito and Ben Bailey Talk New Comic Series Captain Ultimate
Monkeybrain Comics has just revealed a new slate of digital comics at San Diego Comic-Con and among them is a new series from our friends Joey Esposito and Ben Bailey titled Captain Ultimate. Here’s the official synopsis for the series:
A long time ago, the world’s most renowned superhero disappeared and justice was handed over to the grim-n-gritty vigilantes that blurred the line between the righteous and the wicked. Everyone forgot what it truly meant to be a hero… until the day the Giant Robot Octopus Alien Monster attacked!
When one little boy finds the courage to stand up to this alien invader, it just might be enough to inspire the return of the world’s greatest superhero… CAPTAIN ULTIMATE!
The first issue is available for just $0.99 on Comixology and can be purchased by clicking here.
We spoke with the writers and co-creators of Captain Ultimate about the project, read on for our full interview (including some exclusive character designs) along with the first three pages of the comic below! You can also check out their official blog about the series by clicking here.
So Captain Ultimate is clearly a love letter to Golden age comics and a response to the “dark and gritty” modern comics. What was the straw the broke the camels back when you knew you had to tell this story?
Joey: I don’t know that there was one specific moment where we thought, “That’s it! That’s enough!” To be fair, I think we both love the dark superheroes and tortured vigilantes as much as the next person, but we felt like mainstream superhero comics in general had become overwhelmingly similar in tone, a few exceptions aside. There’s this constant effort to unify everything in look and tone across mediums, and to some degree I think that devalues what makes comics unique. There are exceptions, like I said, but I just feel like we’ve gotten away from superheroes being fun and inspirational in favor having to make them “real.” I never wanted to be Superman, though. I wanted to be Jimmy Olsen.
Ben: I love dark and gritty heroes, but I have kids now and it’s harder and harder to find a superhero story I can experience with them. Kids love superheroes, but so much of what’s out there is directed at guys and gals our age. For me, I wanted to write something I could read with my kids and we could both enjoy.
You poke a lot of fun at a lot of comic book tropes, was the idea to create a humor oriented superhero tale or did that just stem from the golden age inspiration?
Joey: A bit of both, I think. We want to keep the series light and funny and take advantage of all the tropes of the medium, from Golden Age storytelling devices to everything we see in modern comics. Everything we poke fun at is out of love, so I hope that comes through. Superhero comics are inherently silly — which doesn’t mean they can’t be epic or dramatic or have strong themes , and I think that should be celebrated.
What ideas did you bring to the table in designing Captain Ultimate? How different did he look at first?
Joey: We suggested the basics that you see — pompadour haircut, Swanson-esque ‘stache, a bright color palette — but Boy’s the one that made it sing. We tried out a lot of different styles, hair colors, color schemes, costume designs, and the like before we settled on what he is. He was instrumental in the creation of the good Captain.
Ben: Boy is amazing. I think we had these basic ideas, like Swanson as a pro wrestler, but we didn’t know exactly what we wanted until he drew it. His style is so vibrant and fun, just bigger than life and that’s exactly what Captain Ultimate is.
What’s the long term on Captain Ultimate? Do you have a few arcs planned?
Joey: Every time we start talking and planning the next issue, the story gets bigger. It’s really organic and I love that our cast just keeps growing. The series is ongoing, so we’re not in a rush to get anywhere, and we’re not really structuring it in terms of arcs. We want every issue to stand on its own, where as long as you know the general idea behind the series, you’re good to go. We do have plans for big reveals and that kind of stuff, but issue to issue we’re less concerned with advancing the plot than we are with just telling fun stories and seeing these characters interact.
Will Nick Offerman play Captain Ultimate in the Captain Ultimate movie?
Ben: We are going the Sam Jackson as Nick Fury route. If we put him in the comic first, he has to say yes, right?