Lowell Dean writes,
Superheroes and comic books are a passion of mine. First it was Superman and Batman, then Spiderman and the X-Men. As a child I was obsessed with all the mainstream heroes in tights, but when I’d try to come up with my own characters they were always… decidedly different.
What if he’s a mime, hell bent on vengeance?
What is he’s an alien cow and, on his planet, cows are males… but strong like Superman?
What if he just really, really likes triangles?
As a child, these were the kinds of characters I’d draw into my home-made comics. So, as you can imagine, I learned at a young age comic weren’t in my future. I even remember taking some doodles to a comic expo (circa 1990s) and having a popular artist tell me “I dunno. It’s pretty weird, kid. But keep it up”. His expression did not match his words.
Storytelling was always my passion, so I decided at that moment to focus on filmmaking instead. After schooling and a few years of hustling, I was able to put my weirdness to work by writing and directing the horror comedy film WolfCop (about a werewolf cop, in case that wasn’t clear). I was nervous at the time. I remember thinking “this movie is really weird. I hope people aren’t turned off by the sex scene or the transformation”.
Of course, some were. But, to my surprise, many people dug it! And that’s when I realized being weird wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. It could be a superpower of its own.
We’re now in a time when “geek media” is mass consumption. Marvel is the definition of mainstream entertainment, not a struggling comic book company. The world loves heroes. The world needs heroes… and hope. Now, more than ever.
But not all heroes need to be normal.
There is so much content nowadays – be it film, tv or comic books – that not all titles need to appeal to the widest audience possible. In the last few years, adult driven animation has risen in a wonderful way. Seeing mature, complicated cartoons like Rick & Morty, BoJack Horseman, Disenchanted and The Venture Brothers… I now realize the world might be ready for The Atomic Victory Squad.
And maybe my weird isn’t so fringe anymore. I created this team of oddball misfits because they’re the kind of superheroes that I want to see. They’re full of weirdness and disfunction, but beneath their issues they’ve each got a story. Sure, they’re made-up comic book characters, but they’re all suffering in their own unique ways. Each of them serves as a metaphor for issues like gender and race identity, mental health and drug addiction. This comic may be silly and colourful on the surface, but it’s not just a joke.
This story is years in the making and I’m really exicted to be taking this first step. I’ve partnered with talented artists to crowdfund issue #1 of the Atomic Victory Squad comic book. Javier Caba is illustrating the first issue. Micah Myers is lettering. Emersen Ziffle is designing all our amazing campaign perks. I hope you’ll check out our Indiegogo page and consider supporting the project. I’ve never done this before, but as my partners and I embark on this new journey, I’m less nervous than usual.
I feel confident there are other weirdos out there, like me.
Thanks for reading.