If Superman and Batman make up the World’s Finest, then Mass and Effect would fall in the category of World’s Least Likely… The new comic series from Marco Lopez, Bryan Ginn and Michael Mayne follows the adventures of two “C’-list heroes who come out of retirement when no one wants them too. Massively Effective, published by Drive-Thru Comics, is a bumbling buddy hero story that the Wild Stallions would be proud of. I got to chat with the writers of the series to find out exactly what they were doing… sort of.
BLEEDING COOL: This book has an almost Bill And Ted’s Superhero Adventure feel to it. What was the original concept for the book and how did it come together?
LOPEZ: I’ll leave that question to Bryan as he came up with the initial concept. But I do wanna add that the tone of the book was originally more comedic. Maybe even a little more slapstick like The Tick. But we then decided to dial that back and go for a more Invincible feel. Something more akin to mainstream comics in the 80’s. However as they say things tend to take on a life of their own and it went back to that Bill and Ted feel but with a lot of that heart on its sleeve mentality.
GINN: Ah the original concept. Well it started out as a short film. Originally it would all take place in the Comic book store. It relied heavy on comedy and the premise was that these two super heroes sold their likeness rights and used the money to open their own store. It quickly became the basis for a web series which opened up the lore a little and got me thinking about all these characters I wanted to fill the universe with. Most of which we have not even seen yet. As always life got in the way and for the time being Mass and Effect were shelved but not forgotten. When the chance to make a comic book came around it seemed a perfect fit and Marco and myself decided to take them out of the store and see what would happen. 4 issues later and they travel through multiple timelines. Meet intergalactic bands. Face old nemesis. And the rest you will have to read to find out.
BC: Is it just a coincidence that the two main characters have the same names as the two creators/writers? How much are these guys based on you and where do they divert?
LOPEZ: I would say it depends on the situation we put them in. Their looks are definitely based on us, but with Mass looking like me from my slimmer days (and based on a costume I wore to a Halloween party). How they think and act are based on us as well. Okay, so probably quite a bit, but we do embellish a lot of it. I would say it’s 50/50. Bryan might say different. Some of the other characters are based on our close friends as well (with their permission of course). I guess we took the ‘write what you know’ to heart.
GINN: Well as far as the names and likeness go I based them on us because we were going to play them in the short. The idea behind their personalities is how would we react if we had super powers. The interactions between the main two characters are very accurate.
BC: Their former foe turned savior guides the duo in a triple-sow-cow through the time stream that would drive Doc Brown crazy… or crazier. What is your concept of time and how does Imagine Time work into it?
LOPEZ: Timey wimey? lol Sorry, um, it’s weird because with this comic when we were writing it I thought of how there are all of these different theories on time travel, but how we don’t know what the actual answer is or probably never will. So I thought what if there was a machine that could make every theory possible. One thing I will say, that I probably shouldn’t since it will come up in a future miniseries (if this one becomes a success) is that there was a set rule for time travel, but Ezekiel’s and P.H.D’s interference with the machine Old Man Snake created sort of ended up creating a free for all of time. A time playground in a sense. So in a future mini everyone will find out what that rule was (and it’s a doozy) and what happened given the events of issue 2.
GINN: Time. Flowing like sand through the wait that’s not right. I believe that time travel is up for grabs. It has never happened so as long as we do not go too crazy with it and tell a great story the audience will not try and pick it apart. And if we did miss something along the way, well that could have been on purpose for future story lines.
BC: Scott McCloud uses a phrase in his book Understanding Comics, “Blood in the Gutters”. Basically meaning how much you can skip showing as the reader will automatically fill it in for you. Why did you decide to approach the story with the characters seemingly well established and letting the readers fill in what you didn’t have the space to show?
LOPEZ: We didn’t wanna go for the origin story because we felt it was more fun going with the idea that these guys lived a glamorous or in their case a not so glamorous super hero life and then retired, but still living one of the comic book geek dreams. As a geek there is that dream of making a career of what you love. So in a more fantastic world if you have powers it’s become a superhero and if that fails then have a back up like opening up a comic book shop with all that licensing money you made. And throughout this miniseries you get glimpses of what their lives were like previously in the past. Whether that’s through flashbacks or conversation. Their life story is pretty simple and you can pretty much piece it together without needing all that set up. But and again if this comic becomes successful we would like to explore some fo that past in a series of one shot stories.
GINN: My thought behind this process was simple. These characters existed in a world of Saturday morning cartoons and classic comic books. But now the its noon on saturday. Where do they go from here. If it happened between 7 am and 12 pm on a Saturday than it happened to them and it exists somehow in this universe. And I say universe because I have plans for future stories that use this jumping off point and will be in the same universe.
BC: The two issues seem to be a complete story. Is this all for Mass and Effect? What are your future plans for the comic-shop owning duo?
LOPEZ: This is definitely not the end for out intrepid duo. Those two issues are actually part one and two of a four issue mini. The third issue will be out at the end of August and the fourth will be out around the end of September. Right now the comic is being released digitally first as we could never afford to self publish this via print. Right now it’s available for purchase on Drive Thru Comics and Amazon’s Kindle Store ($1.99 an issue). We have also submitted to Comics Plus and Comixology and are waiting to hear from them. Our hope isn’t to make a living off of this comic. Just that it makes enough to allow us to make the next mini and the one after that and the one after that. We would also like to get to the point where we can release a print trade (hopefully through a publisher) and in the future maybe even print issues along with the digital issues. Our future miniseries are going to cover so much genre ground. Mass and Effect aren’t tied to any one genre. Their stories can be told in a horror setting, fantasy, sci-fi, comedy, dramedy, thriller, action-adventure. This universe was designed and created so that we could never be defined or have to stick to telling stories in just one genre. Our plans for the second mini is to do a lovecraftian tale but with comedy. You can add comedy to any genre and it just makes it that much better. We do have an overall story arc though. Which was started in this mini and will continue on in the future ones and culminate in a big ending, but not a big ending for our duo. We would love to tell Massively Effective tales and other stories in this universe with other characters for years to come.
GINN: There are a million stories that can and need to be told about these lovable underdogs. They exist in any genre. The first mini serves to take the audience from what they are used to and know very well and then we hit the switch and the roller coaster begins. This first series very much allowed us to scratch the time travel itch as well. After this we have many stories planned including horror right out the gate.Without spoiling anything I will tell you that Mass and Effect go on vacation. But cannot escape their crazy lives. And with that let me end with. If villainy you detect. Just call Mass and Effect.
LOPEZ: Like Bryan said we have a million tales and we would love to tell them. So if you like Atomic Robo, Savage Dragon, The Tick, Madman, Nexus, Hellboy, The Goon, TMNT and other countless great comics such as those then you will LOVE Massively Effective. We bet our lives on it.
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