At this year’s New York Comic Con, Vertigo announced its first superhero team book since Grant Morrison’s seminal “The Invisibles” ended in 2000. The six-issue miniseries “Greatest Hits” -- written by David Tischman (“American Century,” “Bite Club”) with art by Glenn Fabry (“Hellblazer,” “Preacher”) -- features The Mates, a British-bred league of justice who may bring to mind a certain other Fab Four.
“They are not The Beatles. But they hold a place in the zeitgeist that The Beatles had for us. There is no one else like The Beatles - and that’s who The Mates are,” Tischman told CBR News back in April.
With “Greatest Hits” #1 now in stores, CBR News is profiling one Mate a week through to the release of “Greatest Hits” #2, on sale October 15. Why do we need five parts to profile a team of four? Check out the series.
Series writer David Tischman first spoke with us about Solicitor, the self-taught crime fighter and ass-kicking Olympic-level gymnast and boxer, who most closely resembles a John Lennon archetype; then about Crusader, the super-strong, non-flying boy scout who most closely resembles a Paul McCartney archetype; and again last week to talk about Vizier, the spiritual Mate, who if he were a Beatle (which he isn’t) might most closely be cosmically aligned with sitar-plucking George Harrison.
Tischman joins us again this week, this time to discuss The Mate known as Zipper.
CBR: What is Zipper’s superpower?
David Tischman: Zipper is our speedster. His reflexes are super quick and he runs really fast. I saw somebody [online] gave me grief on his name. Well, it’s a hell of a lot better name for a 1960s-inspired super hero than “Quicksilver.” Or Whizzer,” for that matter. Seriously, Whizzer?
What is Zipper’s secret origin or how did he acquire said superpower?
Zipper is the only “mutant” member of the Mates. At 11, he hit puberty early, he popped that first zit, and took off, at near-sonic speed and never looked back. Technically, Crusader is a mutant, as well, but that’s as a direct result of the experiments his father endured during WWII. Zipper’s all-natural. When Golem quits the team, Zipper comes on board as his replacement. He’s the youngest member of the team, and the only member of the Mates who never worked solo; before he joined Crusader, Solicitor and Vizier, he was on another super team of young British mutants, called The Nasty Boys.
What Beatle does Zipper most resemble? And why?
As we’ve always said, the Mates are not the Beatles, and no one on the team is more non-Beatlish than Zipper. Yes, he’s got the goofiness of Ringo, but his craziness and lack of personal control (and problems with the law) is so much more reminiscent of Keith Moon. What is it about drummers? Back to the goofiness, because Zipper’s powers emerged naturally, and at such a young age, he’s always been comfortable with his abilities, and really has fun with them. There’s no mask to hide behind like Solicitor, or discomfort with his abilities like Vizier.
What is Zipper’s super-vice?
Zipper’s never going to be as fast as The Flash, but that’s kind of the point. Because when Zipper takes drugs, speed and cocaine are his drugs of choice, it amps up his powers, and he’s able to go faster, for longer periods of time. And he likes the way that feels. It’s also a great way to tie together the creative analogy of “Greatest Hits.” The rock stars and the superheroes. So many creative people -- musicians, writers, even physicists -- have enjoyed their drug experiences as a way of looking at the world in a different way. I’m not condoning drug use, but it’s a good -- if cautionary -- part of the story. Being a hero feeds into Zipper’s natural addictive personality. Zipper gets “turned on” to drugs the first night the Mates are in New York City, in much the same way Bob Dylan gave the Beatles their first joint, when the band arrived in New York City.
What do you love most about writing Zipper?
He’s the fuck-up. A great guy, and really funny -- he doesn’t take life too seriously. That’s a great, flawed super-hero to write.
What do you love most about how Glenn Fabry draws him?
Glenn so gets the fun of the character. The waving at the camera and the tongue sticking out — that’s all Glenn. It makes the sad part of his character more powerful.
And finally, what’s one thing you can tell us about Zipper that will give us some insight into who we are dealing with?
When people talk about the Mates, it’s always understood that we’re talking about Crusader, Solicitor, Vizier and Zipper -- but Golem was the original fourth member of the quartet. Although Zipper proves himself to his teammates time and again, he himself always feels like “the replacement.” He’s also the youngest, so there’s some insecurity about that, too. The drugs make him more powerful, both with his powers and with his insecurities. It takes him a long time to figure that out. Watching that happen, that growth, that’s what Zipper’s all about -- sure, he’s a superhero, but can he be an adult?
“Greatest Hits” #1 is in stores now. “Greatest Hits” #2 is due in stores October 15 from Vertigo.