For the past several months, comic fans have caught glimpses of Bryan Hitch’s upcoming Image Comics series “Real Heroes.” From cover reveals to early previews to interviews with the artist/writer, we’ve learned about the series in broad strokes, with a focus on the overall concept of actors thrust into the role of being the heroes in real life they’ve portrayed on screen.
“The idea of updating that childhood favorite as a massive scale superhero romp using movie actors seems very much ‘today,'” Hitch told CBR last November. “What if the cast of ‘Avengers’ got asked to save the world for real. Would you trust Downey Jr. in a real Iron Man suit? If Mark Ruffalo really turned into a giant, green rage monster, would you love him as much? The actors know the moves, they know the lines, but that doesn’t make them heroes.”
Below, in his own words, Hitch provides CBR readers with the reason why “Real Heroes” is so important to him as a creator. He also shares an exclusive first look at the individual characters whose stories we’ll follow once the series arrives March 26, including their codenames and hints at their different powers.
I wanted “Real Heroes” to be fun. Big letters, FUN. The world knows so much about super heroes now; the REAL world, not just the bit ofÂ its we all play in. It’s not just theÂ secret of us long time geeks any more and that’s brilliant. The REAL world knows and loves superheroes! It’s almost soÂ familiar toÂ anybody on the street that you don’t have to explain to anybody what a superhero is and how they got their powers. Everybody just gets it.
My story is about how some relatively ordinary folk get the job of saving the world as superheroes. I say ordinary but these people are some of the most famousÂ celebrities in the world. They’re actors and their normal job is to play theÂ greatest superheroes the world has ever seen in the biggest movies the world has ever watched.
That gives me a fantastic shorthand to the big action, doesn’t it? There’s no real need forÂ origins and major explanations about murdered parents andÂ exploding alien planets. We all know that stuff now so in using the ‘movies’ as a concept toÂ introduce some fictional heroic archetypes and then put the actors in aÂ situation where that fiction becomes real, we’ve done away with the need for four issues of set up!
It’s a fast, fun, MASSIVE story, (there I go with the big letters again). And I think it’s going to surprise you. Just because the idea is “The cast of ‘Avengers’ does ‘Galaxy Quest,'” don’t think you know the story these people have to live through, SURVIVE through. The stakes areÂ enormous and I’m drawing on my whole childhood’s reading and my entire career’s experience in telling this tale.
That could ALL have been in bigÂ letters, couldn’t it?
“Authority,” “JLA,” “Fantastic Four,” “Ultimates,” “America’s Got Powers.” I’ve done team books; I’m known for them. I love the team dynamic, and “Real Heroes” fits alongside those books very well. A cast of actors and a cast of fictional characters all in one.
Let meÂ introduce them to you: