It’s every young man’s dream at one point or another: “I want to be a soldier.” But not just any soldier: a super soldier. Jeff Cahn is no different. The writer of Image Comics and Benaroya Publishing’s upcoming Red Spike, sets out to turn the super soldier legacy on its head. No mutations, no strange and magical serums, just a heighten state of humanity. Jeff’s super soldiers delve into the very traits that make us human and show us how, with just a little tweak, anyone can be that super soldier.
Teamed up with Salvador Navarro (GRIMM FAIRY TALES) and legendary artist Mark Texeira (WOLVERINE), Jeff pits two very different cadets with extraordinary strength against one another. What’s to come is madness! And with the first action-packed issue at only $1 and 30-pages of story, you couldn’t ask for more!
Set to release on May 4th, Red Spike promises to be an action-filled ride! And if that wasn’t enough you could win the original Mark Texeira painting that graces the cover of issue #1!
Recently, we caught up with the man behind this covert military operation to learn more about Red Spike, the process, and how to enter the contest.
Newsarama: Good to have you here, Jeff. Tell us a bit about Red Spike.
Jeff Cahn: Red Spike is an action comic based around a covert US Military super soldier program. Basically, the program takes exceptional cadets from the Army Rangers and the Navy SEALS and other elite units, and if they pass Red Spike training, they have the Red Spike system installed in their bodies. The system allows its user to manufacture and distribute adrenaline throughout the users body at will. So basically you have already elite soldiers being equipped with a system that makes them total freaks of nature with super strength, speed, and stamina. And then we send them in to do the work of 50 normal soldiers.
It's basically a program that creates soldiers so dominant that a small group can do the work of a unit of already elite soldiers. Plus the system is internal, so there's no extra equipment or serum or anything like that.
And the government likes it because it gives them the “holy grail” of plausible deniability and the military likes it because it's created an unrivaled strike team that can pretty much kick anyone's ass. But as the story goes on we see there are also downsides to giving a man this sort of power.
Nrama: Tell us a bit about the inception of the project.
Cahn: Well Matt Cutler, who is one of the two cadets who has had the system installed, is a character that we've been playing with and working on for a while. And we'd actually devised a number of stories for him and for the Red Spike program before we began working on the comic. But the one story idea we had that really appealed to me was this one because the Matt/Greg dynamic is such a good one.
So once we settled on this basic story, the rest was just working out the details and doing the writing.
And so I liked having Matt and Greg because they feed off each other, and not necessarily in a good or productive way, but always in an interesting way. But they are unique, only two people in the world have the Red Spike system in their bodies, so there is an instant bond there, and I just thought it was an interesting relationship to develop.
Nrama: When you say that they're able to "manufacture and distribute adrenaline" does that mean they're not in a constant state of "super soldierdom"? They can turn it off?
Cahn: In theory they should be able to turn it off, yes. For instance, we've all heard stories about a mother whose baby gets trapped under a car and she, just for an instant, is able to lift up a car so that her baby can be rescued
But normally she wouldn't have this ability, and the goal of the red spike system is to give Matt and Greg this ability when they need it. So if they are on a mission and they need a boost of strength, or speed, or any other fight-or-flight response, they get it. It enhances what's already there. But it is designed to turn off. …and there are problems when it doesn't.
Nrama: Interesting so even what makes them "super" is just a heightened control of something that makes them human. It's a nice play on the strength of humanity.
Cahn: Yea, exactly. At the end of the day, these are normal guys. They have emotions. They have human needs and desires, so at some point they need to normalize a little, and if the system is running full blast the whole time, they are incapable of that. We see that as early as the first issue when Greg is all juiced up and won't follow orders.
But the body and brain are very complex and problems arise from having such an intrusive system placed into such a finely tuned machine as the human body. I mean, imagine if you were jacked up on adrenaline for most of your day. You might not be very pleasant to be around, and so a lot of ideas flow from notions about duality. We have Matt and Greg, who are a duo. And then they function both with and without the system. And it affects them differently, their attitudes and behavior. For every upside there's a potential downside. And that's a common dilemma for everyone. Risk vs. Reward. …and unintended consequences.
Nrama: The Red Spike Facebook page says you've got the legendary Mark Texeira working covers on the book, as well as sharing interior duties with Salvador Navarro beginning in issue #2. What's it been like getting to work with these talented guys?
Cahn: It's been great! Both of these guys are amazing artists and really have delivered and made the art look better than I could ever have imagined. And to get to have my name on a comic that's been drawn by people who have done some really legendary work in the comic world is an honor! As a young comic writer you really couldn't dream for anything more than having guys who are well known for doing great work drawing your story. Like I said, it's been great.
Nrama: So the big news is you guys have got a contest associated with the Red Spike #1. Rumor is you could win the original cover for Red Spike #1 by Tex [Mark Texeira]?
Cahn: You sure can. Go buy Issue #1 (which is only $1) at your local comic shop and then take a picture of yourself with it in front of the store. Then, go to our Facebook page (facebook.com/projectredspike), ‘Like’ Red Spike, post the picture to the page, and you’re entered into the contest. At the end of the month, we'll randomly pick a winner.
It's also cool because the comic shop where you bought Red Spike is also entered to win an original interior page by Mark and they’ll be forever be grateful to you. [Laughs]
…but a shot at winning a Mark Texeira original cover for a buck is pretty sweet!
Nrama: That's awesome, man!
Cahn: Yea, it's pretty cool. I'd love to win that cover myself, but I don't think the contest rules permit it. [Laughs]
Full Press Release for the contest follows:
WIN THE ORIGINAL COVER OF RED SPIKE #1 BY MARK TEXEIRA
Brought to you by Benaroya Publishing
April 1, 2011 – Los Angeles, CA – You ever wanted to own an original piece of artwork by a legendary comic book artist but found it too expensive? Well, what if I told you that for just $1 you could be entered into a contest to win the original cover art for RED SPIKE #1 by the legendary Mark Texeira?
Well you can! NO JOKE!
All you have to do is pick up a copy of RED SPIKE #1 on May 4th for JUST $1, take a photo of yourself outside your local comic shop with the book and post it to the RED SPIKE Facebook fan page (http://www.facebook.com/ProjectRedSpike) and you’re entered!
But as if that wasn’t enough, the shop where our lucky winner purchased RED SPIKE #1 also wins an interior page by Tex himself!
So head out on May 4th and pick up your copy of RED SPIKE #1! Who knows, that lucky winner could be you!
Diamond Order No.: MAR110530.
Check out the rules below.
Winner will receive the original cover artwork to RED SPIKE #1 by legendary comic book artist Mark Texeira. The comic shop where the comic was purchased will also win an original interior page from RED SPIKE drawn by Mark Texeira.
HOW TO ENTER
When RED SPIKE #1 hits stores on May 4th head over and purchase a copy of the book for just $1.00 USD. Take a photo of yourself and RED SPIKE #1 in front of the comic shop where you purchased it. Then, head over to RED SPIKE on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/ProjectRedSpike), ‘Like’ the RED SPIKE Fan Page and upload your photo to the site to enter. This will enter not only you but also the comic shop. Winner will be chosen at random.
WHEN IT BEGINS
May 4th, 2011
May 27th, 2011 @ 11:59pm PST
The Sweepstakes is open to all residents of the United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 years of age or older at time of entry to be eligible for the Grand Prize. Void where prohibited by law. Employees of B & P Company, LLC, Benaroya Publishing, Benaroya Pictures, Image Comics, Inc. (collectively, “The Sponsor”) or any of their affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising or promotion agencies are not eligible, nor are members of these employees' families (defined as parents, children, siblings, spouse, and life partners).
The odds of winning are dependent on the number or submissions. One (1) submission per person. Multiple submissions will invalidate all entries by participant. Winner will be chosen at random.
The Sweepstakes is governed by the laws of the United States and the State of California, and participants in the Sweepstakes hereby consent to the exclusive jurisdiction and venue of California courts (state and federal) for any causes or controversies arising out of the Sweepstakes. Each participant waives any and all objectives to jurisdiction and venue in these courts. All applicable federal, state and local laws and regulations apply. Void where prohibited. Sweepstakes may only be entered in or from the United States and entries originating from any other jurisdiction are not eligible for entry.
Except where prohibited by law, the Winner grants to Sponsor and its advertising agencies the right to use and publish their photos, proper names, likeness, opinions, and city and state in any media to promote Sponsor and the Sweepstakes without additional compensation.
By entering, participants release and hold harmless Sponsor, its subsidiaries, affiliates, directors, officers, employees and agents from any and all liability for any injuries, loss or damage of any kind arising from or in connection with the Sweepstakes or receipt or use and/or misuse of any prize.
Sponsor reserves the right to cancel or modify the Sweepstakes if fraud or any other factor impairs the integrity of the Sweepstakes as determined by Sponsor in its sole discretion.
Sponsor assumes no responsibility for any error, omission, interruption, deletion, defect, delay in operation or transmission, communications line failure, theft or destruction of unauthorized access to, or alternation of, entries. Sponsor is not responsible for any problems or technical malfunction of any telephone network or lines, computer online systems, servers, or providers, computer equipment, software, failure of any e-mail or entry received by Sponsor on account of technical problems or traffic congestion on the Internet or at any web site, any combination thereof, or otherwise, including any injury or damage to entrant's or any other person's computer related to or resulting from participation or downloading any materials in the Sweepstakes.
ABOUT BENAROYA PUBLISHING
Founded in 2009 by Michael Benaroya, Benaroya Publishing is a company dedicated to the creation and cultivation of intellectual property by focusing on thrilling and compelling storytelling. Based in Los Angeles, California, Benaroya Publishing launches their debut titles this Spring under the Image Comics label. With David Elliott (FALL OUT TOY WORKS and co-founder of RADICAL PUBLISHING) at the helm as in-house Editor-in-Chief, Benaroya Publishing promises to bring fresh new ideas, and uniquely told stories to the comics literary world.
ABOUT IMAGE COMICS
Image Comics is a comic book and graphic novel publisher founded in 1992 by a collective of best-selling artists. Image has since gone on to become one of the largest comics publishers in the United States. Image currently has five partners: Robert Kirkman, Erik Larsen, Todd McFarlane, Marc Silvestri and Jim Valentino. It consists of four major houses: Todd McFarlane Productions, Top Cow Productions, Shadowline and Image Central. Image publishes comics and graphic novels in nearly every genre, sub-genre, and style imaginable. It offers science fiction, romance, horror, crime fiction, historical fiction, humor and more by the finest artists and writers working in the medium today. For more information, visit www.imagecomics.com.