Keith: Why “Fallen Superheroes”? What inspired you to apply superhuman attributes to everyday folk?
Adam: I had met Eric for the first time at a restaurant called “home” in LA. Scott was friends with Eric and thought he would be perfect to shoot our first project “Mime Very own Book” with actor Doug Jones. While we were there Eric shared the idea of doing a book about fallen superheroes and showed me a gorgeously lit photo of a man called Viking Hawk, modeled by Scott, wearing blue tights, red boots, goggles, and a helmet. Although his name evokes a sense of strength and splendor, the image was of him trying to get gum off his shoe: a vulnerable moment made even more awkward and painful by the fact that Viking Hawk was a superhero. Even in heroic garb and stature, he was not immune to the most mundane troubles of the world. A simple piece of gum had stopped the mighty Viking Hawk in his tracks. In this moment of candor, he was fallen.
Eric had wanted to use this poignant allegory of superheroes to show the vulnerability of life, our embarrassing failures, and those colorful people who dare to dream light-years beyond themselves. Scott and I had the task of driving the point home with our writing.
Scott: Eric had taken a photo of his buddy Derek in a skin tight, metallic spandex sex suit at Joshua Tree. He said it was a Fallen Superhero, like an actor who comes to Los Angeles thinking they’re gonna be the next Brad Pitt but instead they end up selling blood to score street crack from their soon to be pimp. Eric and I decided to create one of these heroes with an actual backstory to give the image even more weight. Even though you can’t see backstory it comes through if the actor is feeling in deep inside their “what makes me me” zone. The one thing that made all the characters come to life in the way that everybody can relate to was the phrase “life happens”…. every superhero in the book has something everyone can see in themselves or in a best friend, family member or ex. Most of the crap people deal with is kinda funny, even though it’s also kinda sad at the same time.
Keith: Viewing “Fallen Superheroes” as a satirical work, were there any social norms you emphatically targeted?
Adam: These heroes are amazingly broken, incredibly ordinary, and uncanny in their ability to press on in spite of adversity. They are your family, your friends, your acquaintances, and even that person you pass on the way to work every single day, just in your periphery but never in focus. They are you and I.
Scott: Every superhero in the book has something about them they are struggling with or have given up fighting against that all humans deal with in our society. You have addiction, failed romance, insecurity, slacker affliction, misperception…. the list goes on with ever hero. There’s probably even some penis envy (Yellow Fever anyone?) in there somewhere, along with the regret, inferiority complexes and fear of success that peppers some of the characters.
Keith: For fun, let’s say that due to some nefarious villain’s scheming the world looked like it would end tomorrow. Which of the “Fallen Superheroes” would be our best bet for survival?
Adam: This is a tough one. Vagabond would arrive too late to help. Plutonica would be lost in a haze of “what might have been”. Double Diamonds would be lost in an end of the world make out session. Vane would never see it coming as he’s only looking at himself. Infinity girl wouldn’t get the time off of work. No one would listen to 420BLNT as they would think he’s strung out on drugs. Mighty Maven would wait for a male hero to do something, all the while saying “I told you so”. Shock Mama would watch it happen from the windows of Sunny Day Hospital, too scared to go outside. Fast Food would OD on vodka. Nimrod would probably build an ark and save the animals first. Chain Male cant leave the shipyard. Iron Meng is busy working on his album. Capt. Sensitivity and Jupiter Boy would mostly likely focus on how people are feeling about the coming apocalypse. Spiral is still waiting to be picked up. American Angler would rather be fishing. Butter & Fly wouldn’t be able to decide who was better for the job. 9 Juan Juan has other things to worry about. City Badger would simply mark his territory. Healing Feet would want to help, but would have no success in people allowing him to. Manorexic would most likely help the villain out of spite for his ex-wife. Conehands would most likely help the villian out of spite for her ex-husband. Yellow Fever would be too busy hoarding so he has all he needs for the end of the world.
So, it looks like our only hope is in Stress Bitch. God help us all.
Scott: What Adam said, but specifying that Fast Food would OD on vodka soaked tampons. Not just vodka. The process is much more fun than just chugging the vodka straight from the bottle.
Keith: How many costumes were created for the book, and how long did the costuming process take?
Eric: There were 29 costumes created for the book but 2 of them were not used because they were too Alexander McQueen and not enough Stan Lee. One looked like an ice princess from a Japanimation flick and the other looked like Chiquita Banana on acid.
The actual build of each costume was different and spread out over several months. Costumes like the Double Diamonds were put together in one afternoon, culling from costume shops, earring departments and Japanese sex suit websites. Costumes like Vane were custom made by the infamous Connie Perry, built from scratch based off of sketches from the deranged cranium of Scott Allen Perry that he usually drew on bar napkins. Those costumes involved fittings, sewing, and usually a finishing pass with metallic, colored duct tape. The Iron Meng costume took 2 days, built from odds and and ends we found at Home Depot and a novelty Hannibal Lector mask…. oh, and a crappy old tripod someone left at my place.
Keith: What were your favorite characters and costumes to shoot? How about the most challenging to shoot?
Eric: Honestly, they were all fun to shoot. It’s hard to pick a favorite. That said, I really loved shooting Manorexic. He is wonderfully gangly and elastic, like a Stretch Armstrong version of Doug Jones. Though some might say Doug Jones is already a Stretch Armstrong version of Doug Jones. Manorexic’s costume was super shiny, metallic gold, and created a 3D like effect that made the stylized lighting I use pop even more. Plus Zach, the model, is just as flexible personality wise as he is physically. He should be in movies, totally willing to give himself over to a role and really believable. Look at his face in the basketball court shot and then on the porch. Two minimal expressions that speak volumes. The best thing about shooting all the superheroes was that every one of them was really different from the other. The Locations, backstories, hurdles for each shoot…. and the models were all super fun situations and people to shoot.
Challenging shoots? Definitely the American Angler. We shot in Bayou Benoit, LA from bass boat to bass boat. We had lights in the subject’s boat and lights on our boat and we would constantly drift which meant we were constantly re-lighting as we shot. A very real-time shoot. The soul crusher was the fact that it was also a million degrees that day with 7 million% humidity. I am a pale, freckled, rashy man. I don’t tan, I stroke. At one point I was hallucinating as Scott and the other guys were shouting at me to take off my life vest so I wouldn’t pass out from heat exhaustion. All I kept seeing was me falling into the bayou holding my 5D in the air so it wouldn’t be ruined as the alligators made a lunch buffet out of my crispy, Elmer’s glue colored skin. That was hell, but well worth the torture when you look at the images we got. It was the best day for angelic, Simpson’s clouds ever.
Adam Mock will be at Chicago Comic Con on August 9-12 signing copies of Fallen Superheroes. Doug Jones will be nearby to also sign the book for his role in it…
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