EXCLUSIVE: Max Bemis' Black Terror Studies the Hero as a Victim of PTSD

What happens to a hero after the battle has ended and there's no one left to fight? That's where we find Golden Age hero Black Terror when his new series arrives in October from Dynamite Entertainment. Written by Say Anything frontman Max Bemis, with art by the team of Matt Gaudio, Ruairi Coleman and Brittany Pezzillo, the story will take Black Terror out of World War II and shift the focus forward several decades.

As Bemis tells CBR, Bob Benton will be dealing with drugs and PTSD in the 1970s, as he struggles to cope with what he's been through. Ahead of the series' debut, Bemis spoke with CBR about Black Terror, and how it differs from Dynamite's previous Project Superpowers universe stories.

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CBR: The Black Terror has managed to survive for a long time, but what is it about the character that people find so fascinating? What were you most attracted to?

Max Bemis: I think people never get sick of a bad-ass dude in black beating up criminals. If you're going to invent a superhero that you want to have "legs," I'd hedge for the black outfit and probably involve a skull and/or crossbones.

In all seriousness, he's just a great example of awesome design, he's spooky, and he looks like he could almost be a supervillain; he just happens to be on the side of right.

Most previous stories have focused on Black Terror's career as a hero, but who is Bob Benton as a man, and how much of this series will delve into that question?

Bob may have been over-confident at one point in his career, but the war and his days brutally dismembering bad guys have taken their toll and when we first meet him in our book, he's a victim of PTSD. He's just trying to get by in light of everything he's seen. Worry not, however -- we throw him right back into the fray and he'll be kicking just as much ass as he will be finding himself as a person.

Given the nature of the series, how much of Black Terror would you say is drawn from your own personal experience?

A bundle of it. I've seen some serious crap in my life. Nothing on par with that of a veteran or some kind of super-vigilante, but for the average dude, indeed. Writing Black Terror helped me get through a really tough time coming out of a really horrid year of my own.

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How has it been working with the art team of Matt Gaudio, Ruairi Coleman, and Brittany Pezzillo? What kind of style and atmosphere can fans expect them to bring to this book?

I love the art for this book because it's stylish, but we have so much going on, from psychedelia to serial killing, that it's not over indulgent. [It's] just beautiful and perfectly executed, and it really makes my weird ideas shine.

Who can we expect to see turn up in these books? Black Terror has a sidekick, but what about the other Project Superpowers characters?

This book is mainly focused on Terror, his sidekick Tim, and a few characters we introduce during our run. However, we still have a few issues unwritten and I'm nothing if not unpredictable (not always an advantage).

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Your past work has included Foolkiller and Moon Knight for Marvel, and now with this take on Black Terror, what attracts you to these troubled and unstable characters?

A brief Google search on the part of the reader or a perusal of my former band's lyrics will make the answer to this quite apparent. [Laughs]

Black Terror #1, by Max Bemis, Matt Gaudio, Ruairi Coleman and Brittany Pezzillo, arrives in comic stores and digitally October 30.

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