When my mom read the first chapter of “Hero House,” she said to me, “So, Nate’s supposed to be you?”
Not exactly, although I can see where the confusion lies. First of all, we spend the majority of the book inside Nate Hedges’ head, hearing his internal monologue, so there’s a natural tendency to think that must be the author’s voice. And I do have a bit in common with Nate, even though our differences run far deeper than the fact that he’s a super-speedster and I can’t do much running at any speed.
When we first meet Nate Hedges, he leads a public double life as Turbine the Turbo Teen, teen superhero and idol of his small town of Jeffersonville. He’s also about to head off to college, and when we pick him up a few months later, his life has taken an entirely different turn. He’s no longer anyone’s idol. He’s just another superhero in a city that has plenty of them, and without that self-identification, Nate really doesn’t know who he is.
I was definitely never a superhero, and I never quite lost my identity like Nate does. But I had carved out a very comfortable niche for myself in my small town by my senior year of high school, and I had a very strong self-identity that took a blow when I went to college. I could no longer count on being one of the handful of “smartest” people in the school – not by a long shot. Luckily I never felt as aimless as Nate (I made friends quickly, and I found my Hero House-inspiring comedy group within the first couple of months), but I definitely saw people who struggled to the same degree that Nate does.
I love superhero comics, and I love superhero comics that are about something else, as well. The X-Men have been going for over 40 years with superpowers being a metaphor for alienation, for being different, for being discriminated against, etc. With Hero House, I wanted to create a different metaphor. For some of the characters, superpowers are freedom, in the same way that going to college for the first time represents an almost supernatural amount of freedom for young adults. For Nate, superpowers are what used to make him special, but what no longer make him quite special enough.
This ended up being a long-ass post, which actually leads me to a question – what would you most like to see on AclinCorp about Hero House? Sketches and pre-production art, like the stuff peppered throughout this post? Final art and preview pages? Long-ass philosophical rants about what I like superpowers to represent? All of the above? This is my first time blogging in this fashion, so I’m open to all suggestions. Just leave them in the comments!