Tomasi and Champagne Introduce 'The Mighty'
by Vaneta Rogers
Date: 17 November 2008 Time: 05:11 PM ET
Tomasi and Champagne on The Mighty
Based on the idea that our world has one superhero, a soldier who developed powers during World War II, The Mighty follows the friendship Alpha-One develops with the man who leads his "clean-up crew," Section Omega. Newsarama talked to Tomasi and Champagne about what readers can expect from the comic and how they came up with the idea. Newsarama: First, how did you two get together to do this series? Keith Champagne: Peter is going to get mad at me for revealing this to the world but the truth is, he begged me to write something with him. When he left DC editorial to become the company’s hot, up and coming writer, he just missed talking to me every day. I mean, I had no reason to speak with him, he couldn’t give me work anymore. But I took pity on the poor, lonely lug and agreed (because I secretly missed him too, which was a shock to my shallow system) and next thing you know, we had ourselves a comic book. Peter Tomasi: Ah, Keith, my poor delusional pal, I believe it was you who continued to call me every five minutes asking how I was enjoying the freelance life, and when I told you that I would enjoy it quite a bit more if you stopped calling me, you told me that the only way I could get you to stop interruPT: ing me was to agree to write something with you. NRAMA: Where did the idea come from? KC: It’s a little vague because we actually came up with the original idea together back in 2000 or 2001. But I have flashes of memory of spending the night at Pete’s to put the finishing touches on a screenplay we were writing, him doing a Scatman Crother’s imitation at 2:00 am, and something with potential taking root in the creative bullshit we were throwing around. When we decided to pitch a comic together, we both independently brought that same idea up to one another, “Hey, how about…?” And the rest is history in the making. PT: Yeah, as we both paced around my basement spouting lines of dialogue for the screenplay we were writing called The Big Bang, my massive collection of graphic novel hardcovers and trade-paperbacks were staring at us in the face and at one point I said something like: “Hey, we’re in the comic biz, we should write a creator owned superhero book and see what the hell happens.” Then we started spit-balling and losing our way on the screenplay and instead started focusing on the superhero idea. NRAMA: What's the premise of the comic? PT: At its most basic, The Mighty is about the very human friendship that blossoms between the world’s first and only superhero and, for lack of a better description, the top cop assigned to liaison with him. KC: Plus, lots of things blow up real good! NRAMA: Who is Alpha One? How does he interact with the public, and how do they view him? KC: Alpha-One is, like we mentioned, the world’s first and only superhero. Once an ensign in the Navy, he was granted powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men during a testing of an atom bomb after World War II. So he’s been around for a while. PT: Alpha-One doesn’t interact much with the public at all. He’s always there, selflessly helping his fellow man in their times of greatest need, but his powers and abilities have set him apart. He’s one of a kind, unique in the world, and doesn’t form friendships easily. KC: And the public views Alpha-One as, more or less, an angel. People don’t rely on him to save the day but they do appreciate him for all the good that he’s done. He’s the world’s greatest hero although Alpha-One doesn’t see himself that way. He’s just doing what any servant from the greatest generation would do with his abilities: help. NRAMA: Tell us about Section Omega. What does a superhero clean-up crew do? And what's unique about this group? PT: Section Omega was created by Harry Truman to watchdog and assist Alpha-One in his various exploits. They’re a specialized, nationwide police force devoted exclusively to Alpha-One. Alpha One’s there at the beginning to make a save then Section Omega is there at the end to wrap it all up nice and neatly and make sure people and property are none the worse for wear. KC: Section Omega is there to keep Alpha-One honest and he wouldn’t have it any other way. The entire organization is independently funded by profits from the various merchandise Alpha-One licenses in his image. It’s self-funding and autonomous that way, although it works hand-in-hand with local law enforcement around the country. NRAMA: What can you tell us about Gabriel Cole? And how will we see his character evolve as the series continues? PT: Gabriel Cole has a childhood connection to Alpha-One, something fundamental that helped to shape his identity, a connection that becomes more important the deeper we delve into the story. KC: Cole’s a good man, Alpha-One’s biggest fan but also a dedicated, loyal member of Section Omega who finds himself thrust into the top seat of the organization due to a horrible and unforeseen circumstance, and not only working side-by-side with his hero, but also slowly becoming friends. PT: As for how Cole evolves, it’s all about the roller coaster ride, lots of twists and turns. He’s got quite a journey ahead of him as he discovers what it truly means to be a hero. NRAMA: Does the comic fit into DC continuity at all? Where does it take place? What kid of world is it? KC: The Mighty is not set in DC Continuity. The world it takes place in is not part of the DC Multiverse. PT: This project exists completely on its own, unfolding in the world we see when we look out the window -- with one exception. This world has exactly one superhero to call its own. That’s it. What this does in our mind is raise the accessibility factor to readers and fans of comics who want to open a book and come in clean as if they’re reading a new novel or seeing a movie for the first time. There’s no baggage. As we like to say, it’s all new and all different! NRAMA: Is this an ongoing series? KC: Peter and I have written the first 12 issues, which are shipping monthly and tell a complete story. Hopefully, sales will warrant a “Season two” approach for the book after that. I think taking a break and coming back with a second twelve issue story would fit the project much better than just rolling into Issue #13. NRAMA: What's it been like to work with Peter Snejbjerg on developing the look for all these new characters you two invented? PT: It’s been great. I’ve worked with Snejbjerg for quite some time, first as an editor and then as a writer. I was lucky to have him on a project called The Light Brigade, which we did back in 2003. It got great critical reviews and the trade paperback is always a strong seller. He was my first choice for doing this project, and it wasn’t a hard sell since Keith loved his stuff. And Joey Cavalieri, my editor on both books, is a huge fan of Snejbjerg’s too. Snejbjerg’s quite simply one of the most underrated artists in the business. KC: Honestly, it’s 14 kinds of awesome. Not just in seeing how much life he’s injected into the characters but also how effortless he makes it look. Snejbjerg is a real modern master; the guy can draw anything we throw at him and his storytelling is always amazing. And the colors by John Kalisz are really textured and showcase Snejbjerg’s work beautifully, which is amazing considering that it looks stunning black and white. PT: And with some great cover art by the uber-talented Dave Johnson, this book will really pop from the rack! NRAMA: Is there anything else you guys are working on that you want to tell your fans about? PT: Well, I’m working on Green Lantern Corps and we’re heading into Blackest Night soon which will be insane, and also wrapping up Nightwing as we spin into Battle for the Cowl. And last, but not least, I’m now writing The Outsiders monthly and you can catch my first issue special Batman and the Outsiders drawn by the great Adam Kubert in January. KC: In terms of inking, you can catch me every month with the great Jamal Igle on Supergirl. As far as writing goes, I’ve currently got The Ghostbusters shipping from IDW, a Dean Koontz project called Nevermore coming from the Dabel Brothers, a creator-owned title, Death Valley coming up from Desperado, and Joker: Year One at DC. NRAMA: Anything else you want to tell us about The Mighty? PT: I think if people take a chance on the book, they’re going to find themselves pulled in by the characters and a story that takes sudden unexpected turns. What at first glance appears to be your average superhero book, will turn on a dime and it will suddenly take you down some dark roads that you couldn’t imagine it going, all the while keeping you invested in where these characters are gonna find themselves by the end of it. There’s a big over-arching story here, and everything is mapped out by Keith and I with a huge attention to detail. KC: The Mighty may be a harder sell for some because it’s not tied into the DCU and it doesn’t have any implications on the larger universe. But to play devil’s advocate, that may also be a selling point for people who want something that doesn’t tie in, that stands alone with its own simple continuity to follow. The bottom line is it’s a good comic book with great art and everyone on Team Mighty feels it’s well worth your time and money.