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Page by page: Ryan Cody on creating Icarus

by  in Comic News Comment
Page by page: Ryan Cody on creating <i>Icarus</i>

Editor’s note: Today we welcome Ryan Cody, creator of the self-published comic Icarus, who provides his thoughts on the process he used for creating the comic.

by Ryan Cody

I grew up reading superhero comics, mostly Marvel, but I loved Batman as well. As I grew older, I started developing and creating my own superheroes. The first comic I ever worked on was a self-published little gem called The Hurricane Kids. The writer and I had no idea what we were doing, but we put out an issue or two and went back and forth with several companies about publishing it. After almost a year’s worth of back and forth with a big name publisher, they decided against it — saying that they couldn’t sell it, “Independent superhero books do not sell,” they said. Later that year, I worked on Villains for Viper comics, a small book which featured super-powered characters. It got a lot of attention but just as I was warned, it did not sell very well. I have since pitched a comic with an artist who is far superior than myself, only to get it turned down because the characters had super powers. That artist has since gone on to work at one of the top publishers. Well, I never learn my lesson and have decided to do my own book, complete with everything I love about comics. Action, intrigue, violence, and superheroes, because sometimes I just want to draw a guy getting punched through a building.

Icarus is a story about Major Robert Riley and his mission to assassinate every known superhuman on the planet. A young girl named Delphi sees into the future and predicts the invasion of our planet by a conquering force. This announcement causes worldwide panic and discourse, which is something that the governments of the world can no longer allow. Backed by shadowy figures both political and religious, Riley is ordered to end the superhuman problem for good. He has never failed an assignment and never missed a target, but things are never what they seem when you are dealing with men who can juggle tanks, women who can influence your every thought and Roman war gods.

The title Icarus comes from the Icarus asteroid that is expected to pass Earth on June 16, 2015.

There’s nothing like being thrown straight into the action. Our narrator is Major Riley. While he is the focus of the first issue, the book will also look at Delphi and how the other characters react to the fact that they are being hunted by the same people they have saved and worked for in the past. Superheroes and super villains have the same goal in Icarus — survive and fight. Throughout the first arc, specific dates will show up from time to time as we get closer to the date of the Icarus asteroid passing Earth.

Riley continues to narrate the action, explaining a little bit about his target’s past. Oftentimes super powers can come with unintentional consequences. In this case, our target crippled another player during a college football game, bringing attention to himself, which ultimately led to him having to pass on his professional career and fade away from the public eye. The sports anchor in the first panel is based off of ESPN’s Linda Cohn.

I love this first panel, exploding brain matter and bone, but not too graphic, just enough to get the point across. This shows that even though Riley is an expert assassin, his methods are still brutally violent. Some of the best characters in fiction are those who are educated and technical, but still can be brutal and devious when needed. Every character we will meet in Icarus has multiple motives and that makes it fun to write. None of them are as cut and dry as they seem.

Now we see Major Riley back in his hotel room after his kill. He cleans up and gets right back to work, checking in with the shadowy figures who have given him his mission. Riley is all business at first, but he will begin to show his human side as we delve more into the story.

Here is where we meet Reggie Loomis, The Diabolist. The world of Icarus will feature costumed superheroes but in a very limited role. When word gets out that there is a killer of supers on the loose, these guys and gals will tend to keep their colors in the closet. As a matter of fact, these photos of The Diabolist are the only images of any costumed characters in the entire issue. While I have always loved the idea of superhuman characters inhabiting our world, I am not always a fan of ridiculous costumes.

On this page we learn a little more about Riley’s process. With his previous victim he explains using a unique type of ammunition to take down a specific target. Here he muses about using brute force to get the job done. One of Riley’s greatest attributes is his ability to break down his victims’ weaknesses. I love the idea of Riley looking down on The Diabolist. He’s going to go up against a guy that can emit magical energy from his hands, and Riley seems relieved.

Riley is in a race against the clock, going up against the most powerful people on the planet. He’ll need help from the most unlikeliest sources. Icarus #1 will be available in January from Super75Comics. Order information can be found online at Feedback is always welcome at

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