EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Featuring Lowell Dean, writer of The Atomic Victory Squad – an independent comic book series, with a crowd-funding campaign via IndieGoGo for issues 2 and 3 from creator Dean (Wolfcop, Supergrid), artist Javier Martin Caba, cover artist Joel Hustak and letterer Micah Myers.
The Atomic Victory Squad is a globe-trotting, world smashing superhero comic with characters that could only exist in animated form. They’re a team of unique misfits, forced to defend the earth when all the “real” heroes are violently killed.
After one of the most entertaining debut issues I’ve read in years, and I genuinely mean that, The Atomic Victory Squad is returning for TWO additional issues on IndieGoGo. Creator Lowell Dean has been plotting a full story arc for these characters since the beginning and I’m stoked to see what he has planned after that bonkers conclusion to issue 1.
Keven: The teaser image of Invincibull’s purple costumed udders soaked in blood still haunts me. Joel Hustak’s artwork here is truly magnificent on the cover for issue 2, but I want to know – how much blood and mayhem can we expect in these upcoming comics?
Lowell: There’s certainly “mature” action and themes in this story, but it’s done in a playful tone. Issue 2 picks up where issue 1 left off directly, so you’re going to see a bloody showdown at the prison break. You’re also going to see the team getting to know each other, getting in fights, going out and partying, dealing with the repercussions of their actions both in battle and in their personal lives, you name it. I would say these next two issues are mayhem and weirdness in equal measure.
K: The debut issue did a fantastic job introducing most of our characters while still providing a very healthy dose of action – how difficult was it crafting the first one considering this is your FIRST comic book?
L: Thank you – it was very difficult. I originally wrote the pilot script as an animated series, but I basically had to scrap it when I changed mediums since the comic format is so different. It was a lot of writing then mostly a lot of editing and condensing with a focus on visual storytelling. A lot of moments had to be cut, which wasn’t too upsetting since I knew I could roll them into issue 2… if it ever happened.
K: Gary The Mime has a classified file in issue 1 – how much more will we find out about this mysterious (and terrifying) member of the team?
L: Originally Gary’s origin was explained in issue 1, but the issue was too long. As I was editing, he seemed like the team member best suited to delaying his backstory. By the time issue 5 is done, you will know most of what you need to know about Gary, for better and for worse. He’s actually one of my favorite characters – for both his powers and his personality.
K: Will Triangle Master finally find a triangle so that fans will finally discover what the Hell he can do in the next couple issues?
L: Excellent question, haha. I don’t want to spoil anything, but you’ll see Triangle Master in action in these next two issues and you’ll know by the end of # 5 if he’s really powerful… or just plain crazy.
K: How did you come up with Invincibull’s tragic origin story and what possessed you to come up with the kicker of how on his planet – they milked HUMANS?
L: It was, probably obviously, inspired by Superman. Not the milking part. Instead of a boy landing on a farm, I thought “what else could land on a farm and be natural…but still super weird”. Hence an alien cow baby. As for the milking humans idea, it was a Planet of the Apes-esque approach to irony. Look, I know milking humans is weird, I agree. But it felt “right”. Which is a bizarre thing to say. The number one thing people want to talk about at Fan Expos are Invincibull’s gender and humans being milked. And I respect that.
K: The villainous Cereal Man makes a brief appearance in the first issue, but I want more of this insanity – will we see more of Cereal Man? What other kinds of villains (Ridando’s return?) can you tease for fans for 2 and 3?
L: Lunatic Cereal Man is back in issue 2. He faces off against the Squad at the prison and it does not go well for him. There’s a fun array of other villains in that scene, as well as some other baddies hiding in the shadows, waiting to make their move as the story unfolds. As for Ridando, by the end of issue 3 you will know all about the creature and its purpose.
K: With your background as a movie director, what kind of work habits from that job did you use while constructing the comic? It does feel very cinematic in spite of it being so over-the-top.
L: I think the biggest carry-over is just to keep the storytelling energetic and engaging and vibrant and not boring, which is how I approach filmmaking as well. The best thing about comics is there’s no real time crunch as you design and execute your vision. On film sets, especially indie films like I’ve been directing, you have to think fast and race to get your shots – and they’re hopefully HALF as good as what you see in your head. In comics, you can drink a coffee and toss ideas around with the artist and amp up the scale and not limit yourself by budget or time constraints. That aspect is very rewarding.
K: When you’ve finished creating these next two issues, I’m assuming you’ll be back directing more projects, but do you think you’ll continue AVS into 2020 or do you have plans for OTHER original comic properties?
L: I love making movies, but I must admit comics are also very addictive. I’d like to make more. I have no immediate plans beyond completing the AVS 5 issue origin story, but if the fanbase grows I’d for sure write more. I’ve also got other (less silly) film scripts ready and waiting that I’d consider adapting to this medium due to the scope and budget of the story. Time will tell.
K: Not just blowing smoke up your ass because I’ve been a fan of your films for years, but you are truly great at this comic book thing. If you could take over ANY major comic property and write a story arc for it – what would be your top 3? (Could be Marvel, DC – anything – not even superheroes either).
L: Oh man! That’s a tough one. I love DC. That said, right now I’m in a Marvel state of mind. I’d love to write for X-Men… Spider-Man… I also think it’d be fun to take on something like Alpha Flight, just go hardcore Canadian. Start with Puck in a bar fight in Saskatoon. I feel my tone and sensibilities would mesh well with Alpha Flight.
Check out my review of issue 1 below: