Owen Craig’s new name might as well be “Mud.” Or rather, Mudman. He’s the star of “Jack Staff” and “Kane” creator Paul Grist’s new comic of the same name from Image Comics. The full-color comic is set to debut in November with the story following high school student Owen as discovers he possesses mud-based super powers. As if that weren’t enough, Owen’s dad also stumbles into some trouble of his own.
Known for his wildly epic superhero fantasy stories as well as down and dirty cop dramas, Grist will be mixing it up a little with “Mudman” utilizing parts of those previous projects. More important to the creator was including elements from his hometown in England. CBR News spoke with Grist about how the book’s location plays into the proceedings, how much of himself he sees in Owen and why the poor sod has mud powers.
“The original idea was not so much to do a school-based story as it was to do a local story which reflected where I’m living, which is a little seaside town on the southwest coast of the UK,” Grist told CBR News. “Originally the character of Mudman was going to be a little older, but my initial ideas would have meant he’d be quite a bit older than I wanted him to be, so instead I went for a younger character, which seemed to be a better fit and opened up a whole new set of story possibilities.”
But why, with all the powers in the world to give his star, did Grist decide on mud slinging? It all goes back to location, location, location.
“This all goes back to the idea of a local comic,” Grist said. “Where I live, when the tide goes out there’s large areas of mud flats between the beach and the sea. It’s very deceptive as it can just look like it’s all beach and during the summer seldom does a week go by without some holiday makers driving onto the beach only to find their car sinking in the mud, or someone getting stuck and having to be rescued by a hovercraft. So a Mudman seemed like a natural ‘superhero’ for the area. Obviously, it’s not the most glamorous of super powers, but sometimes you just have to go with what you get.”
Speaking of powers, Grist got a bit cagey when asked what kind of world “Mudman” was set in. Admittedly evasive, he still gave us a few details on the world’s superhero past.
“There have been people with super powers, though for reasons that I will be exploring in the series, they aren’t around anymore, leaving Owen out on his own when he discovers he has superpowers,” Grist said. “His only reference point is superhero comics and cartoons. So naturally, if you develop superpowers, then you put on a costume and fight crime. Wouldn’t you?”
Owen’s Mudman powers will be put to the test when his dad winds up making fast enemies with a group of bank robbers.
“Owen’s dad is a police detective in the seaside town of Burnbridge on Sea,” Grist said. “He’s investigating some minor vandalism that’s been going off in the town when he stumbles across a couple of guys who have holed up in an abandoned house on the sea front after being involved in a major bullion raid. It’s fair to say this spurs Owen into making certain decisions, but I don’t want to give away the entire plot of the first issue!”
Grist said previously the book will be partially based on his own experiences, but he clarified that statement with a more broad explanation.
“I know I mentioned that this was a kind of ‘autobiographical’ comic, but that’s not in the traditional sense — all the characters have different elements of ‘me’ in them from different points in my life,” Grist explained. “But that doesn’t mean that what happens to them is something that happened to me, or that Owen is a thinly veiled Paul Grist character. The biggest thing we have in common is that we actually live in the same house.”