"WildGuard" is "American Idol" for superheroes in which hundreds of super powered hopefuls audition for five spots on a very different super team and a reality TV show unlike anything else out there. Everyone from "TV Guide" to "Inside HQ" has covered the show, the first issue of the comic book adaptation ("WildGuard: Casting Call") is sold out, and the various heroes trying out for the made-for-TV super team are doing the media rounds, holding press conferences, making public appearances, and giving interviews like this one.
"Open Your Mouth" sat down with five of the heroes hoping to make the team to find out more about them, what's going on behind the scenes, and what to except of from the TV show and its truly super stars…
OYM: First of all, thanks for taking the time to do this interview with me. I know you're all not only busy fighting crime, saving the world, and all that, but also going through the demanding audition process of the show. Let's start with some introductions. Please introduce yourselves, tell us what your powers are, where you hail from, that sort of thing.
Freezerburn: I'm Freezerburn. Pittsburgh, PA. The powers are simple. One arm: fire. The other arm: ice. The HC combo, bay-BEE!
Freezerburn: Hot and cold!
OYM: Ah. And you, young lady?
Little Miss Sunshine: Hi! I go by the name Little Miss Sunshine! I'm originally from Florida. A lot people think I'm from California, because they think it's the Sunshine State. But Florida's the Sunshine State and California's the Golden State. I can see how people can get those mixed-up. Both states being real sunny and all-
OYM: Um… Miss Sunshine?
Little Miss Sunshine: Oh! Yeah. My powers are light control. I can generate it. I can shoot beams or bursts of light, also. It's the best!
OYM: I'm sure. Next, we have someone whose accent tells me she comes from further away than Florida or California…
Lily Hammer: Mm, yes. Mah nahme es Lily Hahmer. Ah hail from Lillehammer, Norway. Ah am quite strahng und mah hahmer is quite undestrahctable. Thenk you.
OYM: No, thank you. For coming all this way for us. And over here, we have a gentleman some of you may recognize not only from the six o'clock news but certain covers of certain kinds of books…
The Romancer: Heh-lo! I am…The Romancer. I have the super strength! I have the passion for the romance. It is very good. Yes… verrry good.
OYM: Right. Very good. Rounding off our panel today is a man who really needs no introduction…
American Icon: My turn. Right. I am the American Icon, U.S.A. I am super strong and near invulnerable with flight capabilities. It's an honor to be here amongst so many great heroes.
OYM: So, how did you guys hear about the casting call?
The Romancer: I see it on the TeeVee. "Come to Servo City. Try out for new super team." Many of my fans, with their e-mails, begged me to go. It was hard to resist. Like me, verrry hard to resist. The Romancer cannot disappoint. No!
Little Miss Sunshine: Yeah! I saw the news spot on it, too. And then everyone I knew started calling me telling me I had to go. So I thought, "Why not?" And here I am!
Freezerburn: I think we all saw it either on TV, in the paper, in that TV Guide article, or online. I know I saw it on the "Inside HQ" website. "Inside HQ" always has the most up-to-date news on superheroes and celebrities.
OYM: What compelled you to audition for the show? Why try out for this particular team?
American Icon: Well, for me it's a chance to strike out in a new direction. I'm the sixth person to wear the mantle of the American Icon. I couldn't just continue to do what my predecessors had done before me. The superhero game is a whole new animal. The media coverage is far more than news reporters covering you thwarting a bank heist or fending off a monster attack. Heroes can be hounded like celebrities. The biggest names get the most airtime resulting in the funds needed to continue their work. Mostly through licensing. I see this team as an opportunity to make that transition.
Freezerburn: That's true, man. Ya gotta keep up. I'm lookin' to give the people what they want. High adventure with cool, hot powers! And, uh, hot cool powers.
Lily Hammer: Buht it's stihl about the heroics, correhct? Fame und glory must come second, Freezerburn.
Freezerburn: No doubt, Lily! But no one can deny that fame and glory are gonna come with what we do. Our culture is really into that. People wanna connect themselves to somethin' great. Either a sports team, movie franchise, or superhero/team. T-shirt businesses count on that. I'm here to bring that AND be a hero.
The Romancer: Ah, yes. "Something great." Very good. WildGuard looks to be verrry good. That is why I am here.
Little Miss Sunshine: I'm here because this just sounded like so much fun. A chance to be a part of a team AND a TV show. I'm here to have fun and do what I can to help people. I think that's what WildGuard is all about!
OYM: Icon, you mentioned media coverage going beyond the reporting of your rescues and foiling of villainous plots. You say heroes are hounded like celebrities by paparazzi and the like. Yet you sign up for a show that will not only follow you a la "Cops" as you fight crime but also presumably film you at home as you eat, sleep, and go to john like on "Big Brother." Is anyone feeling the least bit... uneasy about this? Cameras following you 24/7, exposing your private lives, revealing your secret identities, what you look like when you first get up in the morning?
American Icon: You mean that hasn't been happening already? Ha! Seriously, I'm fine with the 24/7 coverage. I want to show the viewers what real heroes are like day-in-day-out.
Freezerburn: Yeah. And I don't think we have to reveal our identities if we don't want. Right?
Little Miss Sunshine: I think that's right. But I don't mind sharing my identity. It's not like I'm trying to hide it!
OYM: Why should you be chosen to be part of WildGuard? What do you bring to the table that no one else does?
American Icon: Super strength, first off. Every team needs a powerhouse--
OYM: But you and the Romancer virtually have the same powers...
The Romancer: True. We are both very strong. Verrry strong. He can fly, yes. But I… I have the pheromones. How many super-duper strongmen do you know that can control the pheromones? Only one! The Romancer.
OYM: Oh-kay. What about you, uh, Sunshine? Freezerburn? Lily?
Little Miss Sunshine: Besides my light powers, I think I'd get along well with my teammates.
Freezerburn: I bring it! No-holds-barred, full on bringing it! Evil beware and America tune in cuz it's gonna be brought! Whether you like your justice severed hot or cold, make no mistake, it's gonna be brought!
Lily Hammer: What does that mean? "Bring iht"? You are a strehnge mahn. You should naht be here.
Freezerburn: Please, Hammer don't hurt me.
Lily Hammer: I bring skihll und discipline. Unlahk some pipples.
Freezerburn: Who? Me?! Is she talkin' about me?!?
OYM: Let's move on to my next question then, shall we? So, uh, other than yourself, who would you like to see on this team?
Freezerburn: Cool dudes and hot chicks, bay-BEE!
Lily Hammer: Pihg.
American Icon: I've only gotten to meet a few of the competitors, so it's too soon for me to make a call like that.
OYM: Any predictions as to who'll make the cut? Who do the judges like at this point?
Freezerburn: They seem to be taking a shining to the Shrubling, Blaction Figure and Motherboard from what I've seen.
Little Miss Sunshine: Snapback seems to have some previous super team leadership experience back in Texas. That piqued their interest. His girlfriend, Shonda, certainly made that point clear to the rest of us.
American Icon: Fire Chick. I guess she's called Ignacia, now? She seems popular with the viewers. I think she's still kind of green. Maybe in a few years.
Lily Hammer: As far as spehdsters go, I think they are leaning towards Scahtermehn.
OYM: Whether or not you make the team, what do you think viewers can expect when they tune into the WildGuard show? How do you think it will fare against all the other reality shows out there?
American Icon: I'd say they can expect a look into what it takes to make a super team and what heroes do when they are not saving the day.
The Romancer: Like working out and grooming to maintain smooth and solid pectorals. And… oh, yes! Having the passion for the romance!
Freezerburn: The what--?! Naw, man… The other shows either have people looking to marry a stranger, eating parts of an animal not meant for human consumption while dangling over a pit of rabid raccoons just to win several grand, or people belting out top 40 tunes to get a record contract. We're heroes looking to join a team to take down some villains and let America join us for the ride, bay-bee! That's why people are gonna tune in.
Lily Hammer: Ja. I agree vith this. Pipples are ready for the first reality TV show vith superheroes. Und this is a show America has naht stolen frum Europe…
American Icon: Hey, now… That's not fair-
Lily Hammer: It's true! Million dollar trivia games, a haus of pipples cut off from society to vin mahney, und singing tahlent searches - all European shows!
The Romancer: Yes… I do seem to remember seeing something on-
Freezerburn: Shut it, cover boy! Who cares where the ideas come from! WildGuard is here and that's all that matters!
Little Miss Sunshine: Uh, Mr. OYM… I think aside from heroics, viewers will be in for a lot of this.
OYM: Well, what's a reality TV show without some bickering!
The Romancer: Or some romance! That would be very nice. Verrry nice, indeed.
OYM: With that I thank you all for your time. Good luck with the making the cut. I look forward to watching the show.
OYM readers are invited to visit www.wildguard.com where they can view mini-profiles on forty-six different heroes. Fans can vote for the character they want on the team and try to guess who the final five will be. You can vote as often as once every 24 hours and also participate in some discussions in the forum.
The second issue of WildGuard the comic is in stores next week!
Special thanks to Todd Nauck for arranging this interview.
Next week: So, you want to be a comic book editor, eh?
Meanwhile, drop by the Open Your Mouth message boards to discuss other TV shows.
Thank you for your attention.