(Above: Detail from Mike's first pass at page 18, the first sequential art done for Hero House. You can get a little glimpse of how the finished art changed here)
Now, I'm not saying that Hero House is the most original idea in the history of ideas. I was going for something with excitement and humor and interesting characters, rather than an experimental work that would announce me as the next Alan Moore. However, back when I first came up with the idea (over five years ago, as I tragically keep reminding you), there really weren't any "superheroes in college" books on the market.
However, as soon as the good people at Arcana agreed to publish the book, they started coming out of the woodwork. Robert Kirkman's Invincible went to college. Marvel launched Gravity. Seth Green (who works with some friends of mine, no less, on Robot Chicken) had The Freshmen at Top Cow. Each time I told myself that the premise was different enough, and that there was still room for Hero House in the market...although I died a little bit each time one got announced.
Strangely, the one that never gave me any pause was the web comic Superfrat. I'd heard of it at some point, but it's basically a gag comic strip, not an action comic book. So even though they're both about super-powered fraternities, I was never worried about them competing for the same audience. Although recently it's come to my attention that a friend of one of our creative crew asked him why he was working on Hero House when it was clearly a rip-off of Superfrat, which has been around for years.
So, with no slight to Superfrat, and just in the interest of setting the record straight:
Here is the first Superfrat strip, dated May 11, 2005.
Here is my first public announcement of Hero House on my old blog (which means it had been picked up by Arcana at that point), dated December 13, 2004.
So, yeah. We're not reinventing the super hero wheel, but we're not a rip-off.
Tell your friends. Tell all your friends. I AM the night.