A super team is only as good as its HR department, and in Ape Entertainment's four-issue "Super Human Resources," creators Ken Marcus and Justin Bleep chronicle the misadventures of the pencil pushers behind the world's greatest superheroes, the Mighty Super Crises Squad. CBR News caught up with Marcus and Bleep to get the skinny on "Super Human Resources."
"Super Human Resources" is centered around Tim, a new-hire accounts receivable temp at the corporate headquarters for the Might Super Crises Squad. "I've always been fascinated with all the 'behind the panels' aspect of comics," Ken Marcus told CBR. "Real world necessities must still be required in this fun, surreal world of superheroes. Someone has to sign the purchase orders, change the coffee filters, answer the phone calls, sign the FedEx orders; stuff like that. We also explore what it must be like for ordinary folks to work every day next to the world's mightiest yet most dysfunctional beings."
And "dysfunctional" is definitely the word for Tim's co-workers. "Along the way, he meets: Zombor, reformed undead villain and receptionist; Manboto 3.4, the resident android and inept womanizer; Plasmarella, our single-and-looking alien fire princess; Zeus, the porn-addicted Greek God; and Wombat, who you may recognize him from his unannounced guest appearance on 'To Catch A Predator 7,' just to name a few in this freak-show we call a comic," Marcus explained.
Over the course of the series, Tim and his colleagues learn that working for the world's greatest super team does not necessarily promise them job security. "Our heroes ultimately learn that crime-fighting responsibilities are going to be outsourced using overseas labor," Marcus said. "Seems it's more cost efficient. So our heroes must get their resumes together, interview for new jobs and clean out their cubes. But Tim can save the day with all the power of an associates finance degree! Um, it's more exciting than it sounds."
Marcus had always wanted to write a comic book, but it wasn't until he conjured up the high-concept for "Super Human Resources" that he felt ready to throw his hat into the ring. "The name Super Human Resources just sort of popped in my head," Marcus said. "It was one of those cool things that the name is the high concept. And I figured I hadn't seen anything like it." Marcus' day job is in the advertising business, and while he considers it a fun and creative environment overall, he is no stranger to the "mind-numbing, banal existence that is corporate office life."
Justin Bleep was one of many artists who responded to an ad Marcus posted on Digital Webbing. "I loved his style," Marcus said. "It is very different than I was originally looking for, but I couldn't get it out of my head. Which is a pretty good sign in the world of sameness we see a lot. I love that his total disregard for anatomy and form mirrors my total disregard for grammar and writing fundamentals."
Bleep knows from experience that online ad replies rarely lead to anything. "A lot of Digital Webbing collaborations end in either the artist or writer dropping off, 'Super Human Resources' was the right project for both of us," Bleep said. "Ken had what I was looking for and I had what Ken was looking for. My style is unique and likewise, so very particular: to find a good match it takes just the right project."
While Marcus came to the project with a handful of hero archetypes he wanted to explore, he also encouraged the Bleep to populate the background with colorful personalities of his own design. "Little did I know that he would ultimately flesh out those single-frame personalities and write them in as foreground characters explored through subplot," Bleep said. "It was quite an interesting cast that developed from page to page."
"Super Human Resources" #1 hits stands in February, but its creators urge interested readers to pre-order. "You can pre-order with your local comic books store in the December Previews from Ape Entertainment," Marcus said. "Which is really important. It's a tough time for indie books. There's a glut and retailers are understandably cutting back. Many times, titles you want to read won't 'hit stands' unless you ask specifically for them."
If "Super Human Resources" is well received, both creators hope to get the opportunity to tell the continuing adventures of Tim and company. "We'd love to do another mini-series," Marcus said. "It's a blast to work on. And I always love seeing new art from Justin in my e-mail inbox."
"I've always encouraged Ken to not exhaust all his best jokes on the initial four-issue series-save some for the future-plan big," Bleep added. "I think, needless to say, I'd like to expand the 'Super Human Resources' project-it has so much potential!"