Hi friends! Alex here. Hope you're having a great week.
We're plugging away on this end in terms of The Awakened. Michael and I have plotted the first arc and scripted three issues, and artist Dean Kotz is diving into #3, too. But you might know that if you're subscribed to our paid tier, which gets you exclusive The Awakened content a few times a month! Not subscribed? Well you're missing out on pages like this:
In the meantime, our very own The Awakened co-writer/co-creator, Michael Moreci, is here to share some of his thoughts on building the mystery behind the series. Working with Michael is a dream - he's a total pro and talented as heck. I don't think either of us could've done this book without the other. Enjoy his insights and stick around for some news you can use!
Writing a mystery isn’t an easy thing. Well, at least for me it isn’t. It’s probably different for my writing partner Alex Segura, who seemingly crafts great crime and mystery stories in his sleep—he is, after all, a tremendous writer in that genre. But for me, mysteries are hard. Not only because of the whodunnit aspect, but because I’m the kind of writer who goes heavy into the why of it all—I’m big into theme. I guess you can say it’s the whydunnit of it all.
For The Awakened, I knew I wanted to do something more than a superhero murder mystery. That’s been done so many times—once, in fact, in Watchmen, which is arguably the most popular and recognizable mainstream comic ever published. Now, I don’t mind the idea of a superhero mystery on its surface; just because something’s been done once doesn’t mean it can never be done again. We’d have no art or entertainment if that were the case. What I needed, though, was something more to that concept—something that took the story, characters, and the mystery itself into deeper/more profound territory.
What I hit upon—what Alex and I hit upon together—was this idea of identity. It’s something that’s always fascinated me in superhero stories, how these extraordinary people wear masks and costumes to conceal who they are…even though they’re doing nothing wrong or to be ashamed of (sure, Spider-Man touches on the idea of heroes needing to conceal their identities to protect their loved ones, but there’s still something of great interest about this need to cloak who you are). Every superhero story is a story of duality: there’s the person, and there’s the superhero. Two people living in one body.
This led me down a path of considering how these lives intersect and overlap. Maybe the person has enemies the hero doesn’t; and the inverse is certainly true, as we all know. But more than that, how do these lives effect one another? Specifically, how do they cause each other danger and harm; how does one form the other’s existence?
We see a lot of this in The Awakened. Who people are—who they really are—informs so much of the deeper parts of the story. I can’t give too much away, but we’ll see Lana Cortez go on a tremendous journey of self-discovery where she’s forced to learn who she is—who she really is—and what that means not only to herself, but the people around her. The world’s greatest superhero, Ted Riley, leaves multiple lives, many of them cloaked in shadow and secrecy. But why? Why hide what you’re holding in your left hand from your right? Why hide it from everyone else? And then there’s Avatar, a savior of sorts whose entire motivations are a mystery to the world, which again begs the question: Why?
We all wear masks. In our personal lives, our work lives, our romantic lives, we are keeping certain things hidden. We have our reasons. We have our motivations. We have our mysteries. The question is, as it is in The Awakened, why? Why do we keep these things hidden, why wear our masks? Is it to protect others—or to protect ourselves?
That was great, right? Thanks for swinging by, Michael. See you in a few weeks!
Before we let you go, here's a quick recap of some news -
The Mysterious Micro-Face, the one-shot comic book I wrote for ::checks notes:: NPR's Planet Money podcast, is out in the world! You can order it from the NPR Shop. But don't do it just for my story - this book is loaded with talent. Living legend Jerry Ordway (Power of Shazam, All-Star Squadron, Superman) redesigned our new Micro-Face and did the book's main cover. We have the amazing Jamal Igle (BLACK, Molly Danger, Supergirl) on interior art and a stunning embossed variant cover. Ellie Wright, Taylor Esposito, and Ivan Cohen round out the killer creative team. Not sure why NPR is making a comic book? Well, listen to the Micro-Face episodes of the podcast. I guarantee you'll enjoy them!
Speaking of stuff you're sure to enjoy - I shared a few pages from The Dusk, our all-ages/modern take on the superhero vigilante, on Twitter yesterday. We're in the midst of completing the book and once it's done, it'll be in the hands of the backers. After that, we hope to find a traditional home for the book to get it in comic shops and bookstores. But in the meantime, enjoy some of artist David Hahn and colorist Ellie Wright's lovely artwork.
And speaking of David Hahn and Kickstarter, David and frequent collaborator, writer Karl Kesel (Superboy, Section Zero, Daredevil), have launched a new Impossible Jones campaign - and you can help them reach a special stretch goal: one that includes me writing a short Even Steven backup with artist Dan Schkade. Get all the details and back the project here.
I'm writing a short story in Marvel's Edge of Spider-Verse #1! I can't tell you how wild it is to see my name next to legends like Dan Slott, Mark Bagley, and Karla Pacheco, but it's true! So excited to share more as we get closer to the August release - but for now, you can see some of the amazing covers via this story at Polygon.
Also! Our very own Michael Moreci co-wrote a movie, with mutual pal (and great writer), Tim Seeley. You can check out the poster for Revealer above, and the trailer right here. It'll be coming to Shudder pretty soon!
A few quick hits before we go:
I wrote the intro to the first volume of Ahoy Comics' series, My Bad. You can read it - and preview the series - at IGN.
I'm co-writing a new teen superhero mini-series, The Rejects, for InterPop's Emergents Universe.
That's all for now, pals - but do sign up for the paid tier, so you can get pages from The Awakened as we share them!