Today is such an exciting day for me because today I am trading blogs with another fellow author, comic lover, and Upstart Crower, Matt Myklusch! And because Matt is made of awesome, he has generously offered to give away a signed copy of his book THE ACCIDENTAL HERO. For details on how to enter, see the end of this post.
And now, without further ado, I'll leave you with Matt. If you want to catch my post on sexism and the evolving female superhero, I'll be over at Matt's blog.
People always ask me where I get my ideas from. The answer is simple really:
Ideas come from the news, songs, historical events, movies, books, and just plain out of the blue. Life is an inspiration, and I’m easily inspired. I’ve been like this ever since I was a kid. Growing up, I would read comic books and watch movies and TV shows like G.I. Joe or the Transformers and immediately want to create my own characters and stories. I would see something I like and say, “I want to do my own version of that.” I wanted to make my own Indiana Jones. My own Star Wars. My own X-Men.
That was a big one. The X-Men.
When I was nine, I read my first X-Men comic book. It was Uncanny X-Men # 211. I remember the exact issue because it was the start of what is now a famous storyline called “The Mutant Massacre.” There was a badass team of villains called The Marauders that got introduced in that issue. They all had awesome powers and code names.
The X-Men team at point in time was one of their better lineups as well (they have good years and bad years… kind of like SNL casts). Wolverine was even still wearing his far superior brown and orange costume back then.
Bottom line, these guys had the edge on The Marauders, but just barely. It made for some great action, and those first few books I read locked me in as a comic fan for life. This is about the time that I started creating my own superhero universe. Some of my early superhero creations include characters like CRUSHER:
I don’t remember much about this guy, but I expect he was supposed to be super strong. The next few characters have more obvious powers. Meet POWER SAW:
I’m not sure how this character would have ever picked his nose or gone to the bathroom... I guess I wasn’t thinking that far ahead. Then, there was FIRESTARTER, who had the worst mask in the history of comics:
It’s funny looking back on these guys now, but when I was a kid, I thought I’d caught lightning in a bottle with these characters. I thought you could get a job selling superhero ideas to Marvel and DC Comics, and planned on making a long career out of doing just that. By the time I got to High School I found out there was no such job, and set my sights on being a comic book penciler instead.
That didn’t happen.
There was actually a stretch in High School where I stopped reading comics and stopped drawing altogether. It lasted at least a year. The reason was because I was “growing up.” I was the only one of my friends who was still into comic books and I figured it was time for me to put childish things aside. Luckily, Jim Lee convinced me otherwise.
Not personally. He did it through his artwork. One day I saw the following X-Men comic book on a shelf in a WaldenBooks (for those of you who remember WaldenBooks):
I was blown away. The detail, action, and pure awesomeness of this image woke me up and got me inspired all over again. It got me reading comics again. It got me drawing again.
It’s a good thing too, because a lot of the characters I created after that found their way into the pages of my book, THE ACCIDENTAL HERO. There are far too many heroes and villains living in the Imagine Nation to list here, but I’ll show you a few of my favorites.
Today, I make my living as a writer, but I still think of myself as an artist first. For me, every story starts out with a pencil and a sketch pad. I draw the characters, locations, and anything else that comes to mind. Somewhere along the line, I figured out that artwork was the first step in my creative process. It’s hard to believe I almost shut that process down before it ever really got going.
Matt Myklusch is the author of the JACK BLANK ADVENTURES, a middle grade fantasy series from Simon & Schuster. Book One, THE ACCIDENTAL HERO, is in stores now. Find out more at JackBlank.com
And now for the chocolate on the sundae! Matt is giving away a signed copy of the first book in his JACK BLANK SERIES; THE ACCIDENTAL HERO. Seriously, revel in the cover. Isn't it awesome!
Here's how to enter:
We're not going to make you follow, tweet, or blog about the giveaway (but we sure would appreciate it if you did!) All you have to do is leave a comment below this post with the name of a character from THE ACCIDENTAL HERO along with your email address so we can contact you if you win. And because Matt is so awesome, he's agreed to make this an open book test. If you're looking for the answers, a great place would be to start at www.JACKBLANK.com. A random winner will be drawn from a list of participants who left correct responses.
Trust me guys, if you're a fan of comics, you won't want to miss out on this book.