FIVE FOR CREATING WITH BILL WALKO
Welcome to Five for Creating! A new interview series here at ComixCentral where we focus on getting to know Indie Creators and what they are working on through a series of five questions. This week we chat with Bill Walko the creator of The Hero Business a weekly web-comic which is currently available in collected graphic novel form through Bill’s active Kickstarter campaign.
1. Tell us a little about the Hero Business.
Imagine your office bitten by a radioactive spider. That’s the Hero Business, a marketing agency that caters exclusively to superheroes (and their super egos). Because as everyone knows, with great power comes great marketability!
I’m a freelance illustrator and lifelong comic fan. So for my first creator owned project, I combined two things I knew a lot about: comics and marketing agencies! When the name “The Hero Business” hit me, it started writing itself.
2. I have been following you and your work for a while. You seem to have a love and large knowledge of Television shows past and present. Do you draw a lot of inspiration from that knowledge when writing The Hero Business?
Oh yeah, absolutely. I often describe the series as a “superhero sitcom.” I often look at the templates of those sitcom episodes, and how they handle storytelling with humor. My series is very much in the same vein as Futurama, The Tick and The Venture Bros. – in terms of finding funny stuff between the fantastic and the mundane.
But office sitcoms are also a huge influence. The great ones like Cheers, Taxi, Newsradio, Futurama and The Office. There’s a “forced family” aspect in those shows I like. They aren’t hanging out with each other by choice, so conflict (and humor) is easy to get to. And they never get too sentimental.
And if you visit my Kickstarter page, check out the video. It’s essentially an ode to the old sitcom theme songs.
3. Sometimes TV shows get spin-offs, Is there a character from The Hero Business you could potentially see having their own series? If so, who and why.
Great question! I’ve considered a spinoff of sorts about Parker’s early years. The basic premise: teenage daughter of a supervillain who wants to be a “good girl.” I had a one-page gag about it and I think that could be expanded. The idea that her form of teenage rebellion is to sneak out to the library and ignore the advances of the bad boy. I think that’d be fun because everything is reversed
The Femtastic Four also seem ripe for a spinoff. I’ve developed those four female characters more than I imagined I would. I’d like to do more with them as well.
4. You chose to do The Hero Business as a weekly webcomic. What made you chose to go with that format rather than, for example, a traditional comic book?
Since it was my first foray into self publishing, it seemed like the best way to keep me on schedule and get instant feedback. Webcomics are an interesting beast because you see what the audience is responding to. My followers definitely loved the story arcs more than I’d imagined. So that informed the rhythms of the writing moving forward. Intrigue alongside humor.
If I did it again today though, I’d probably opt for graphic novels via crowdfunding. That seems to be a format people are embracing. Plus, I’m better at self-scheduling.
5. Here at ComixCentral we are about promoting all things Indie Comics. So, Besides your own work. What is one Indie property or creator you think people should go check out?
There are so many fantastic indie creators with amazing books. Ben Bishop’s “The Aggregate.” Joseph Schmalke’s “Cherry Blackbird.” Dylan Andrews’ “Archive: The Warhood Odyssey.” Sam Costello’s “Split Lip.” Phillip Sevy’s “The House.” I wish I could list them all. (I implore you to google them!)
But I’ll focus on one guy who I think is really flying under the radar: Brendan Tobin. His art is really appealing and he’s got a wry, sly sense of humor. And most of all his comics are fun! Check out Blast Off! Or order TheProtagonist and you’ll see what I mean. If you’re still not sold, his Hostess ad homage should do that real quick!
Well that does it for this weeks episode of Five for Creating tune in next time for more Indie Comic greatness!
He’s also done a number of public speaking engagements centered around publishing comics in the digital age.