My name is Scott Austin and I’m the writer and illustrator of Heroes inc. I ‘m an american living in the backwaters of Finland. I do illustration and CGI freelance work . Lately I’ve been working on gathering many smaller personal projects into one big one. That bigger project is Heroes inc.
So how did this all come about?
Well, waaaay back in the early 2000’s I had a cool idea about a superhero comic with a realistic twist. Or at least as realistic as you can get with superheroes I had made a submission package for Marvel in which an aging Captain America is going over his life from WWII to present. I had Cap dressed in soldier fatigues with a big “A” on his helmet, firing twin .45s and going up against a Nazi mech. This submission was pre-Ultimates so I pat myself on the back for hitting so close to that version of Captain America. Hmmm.
Anyways, Marvel never got back to me and nothing ever came of it so I thought “Heck, I’ll just use these. So Captain America turned into Archibald Masters.
It was called Heroes,inc. But… nothing happened with it yet.
How did the public domain characters come in to play?
I was at the library using the internet (wasn’t very common to have it at home back then) and I fell upon a page about Golden Age heroes. Among others were the Nedor/Standard/Better characters that had fallen into public domain. Cool stuff. So I saved the pages onto a diskette (remember those?) and took them home for further investigation.
I started awakening Heroes inc again. Wouldn’t it be cool if these Golden Age characters came back?
Buuuuuut…. yup, that’s right, didn’t get around to doing it.
Until… years later I saw an article on the web about Project: Superpowers. Holy crap! All this time I was sitting on these characters and now someone else was beating me to it! And no other than Alex Ross!
Holy crap! HOLY CRAP!!
So I whipped out the final details to the script, added some characters and story from an alternate history script I had written and Bob’s your uncle. Here it is.
But why use public domain characters? They’re not yours.
Just the fact that these are true Golden Age superheroes, that had adventures back in the 40’s is awesome. Most people don’t know who they are, but… Golden Age, man! And they are mine in some degree… see next question.
So if these are public domain I can use your characters for my comics, right? Cool!
Sorry. Can’t. Yeah, the characters American Crusader, Black Terror etc. are public domain, but those are the original “1940 something” characters. My version is my version. The look of the characters, their uniforms, my storyline (past and present) are all my original creations and are not public domain. The copyright belongs to me. Same goes for Alex Ross and his version in Project: Superpowers or Alan Moore with Terra Obscura.
So feel free to dig up the original characters and use them, but these character versions belong to us.
Will we ever see Heroes inc in print?
Sure. Each issue will be going though Ka-blam’s Indieplanet. Each issue comes out at around 30 pages. I’ll also collect them into a trade with extra stuff like bonus stories, pinups etc. Oooooo!