Atomic Victory Squad is an upcoming comic book series, with a crowd-funding campaign that is live right now on IndieGoGo, from creator Lowell Dean (Wolf Cop, Supergrid), artist Javier Martin Caba and letterer Micah Myers. Check out my exclusive interview with Lowell Dean on what to expect from the comic as well as how his team pulled off an insane exploding head in his latest film Supergrid.
Director Lowell Dean is writing a comic book about a dysfunctional team of eclectic superheroes and that comic book is called Atomic Victory Squad. If you love animated series like Rick and Morty or you enjoy a fun and twisted Garth Ennis graphic novel from time to time, this comic will be right up your alley. I’ve chatted with Dean about Atomic Victory Squad in the past during press for Another Wolf Cop (read all about the origin of the series and more RIGHT HERE) but as of right now there’s a campaign to help fund the book on IndieGoGo with all kinds of awesome perks like getting a comic book cameo yourself and much more. Take a look: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/atomic-victory-squad-issue-1/
Keven: Atomic Victory Squad is an idea you’ve had for a long time and you’ve mentioned that NOW is the time for the world to see an eclectic and dysfunctional superhero comic the likes of this one – why?
Lowell: The time is now because I’m finally ready. After a few years of making independent films, I was eager to take on a project driven purely by ideas and less limitations. Plus, these characters have been in my head for years and after a while you start thinking “I hope I don’t die before I tell their story”!
K: Your team of heroes is fairly bizarre – let’s talk about Invincibull, who is someone that comes from a planet where cows are male, so he deals with a lot of shit when he’s on Earth due to his udders – what inspired that character?
L: I just love drawing animals. As a kid I would always draw Superman… but as a cow. Eventually the character developed into Invincibull. On Invincibull’s planet, cows are males. That’s just normal there. When the planet explodes, he’s sent to earth and has a really rough upbringing on a farm. He has super strength and can fly, but every time he tries to help humans out they always fixate on his udders or question him on his sexuality. It’s kind of obnoxious.
K: The rest of the group is really fascinating to me as well – with maybe Gary the Mime being the most disturbing since he’s able to conjure reality from his “miming” – to the point where even a finger gun motion could be deadly for a foe – how twisted are you going to get with this character because the possibilities are endless?
L: This comic will get pretty twisted pretty fast. That said, the point isn’t just to be weird. It’s introducing a bunch of dysfunctional characters and forcing them into a room together so that, over their journey, they can confront their issues and help each other become the heroes that the world needs.
K: One of your characters – SHE-GIRL, is a former pleasure-bot who has been reprogrammed to be an assassin – how has the creation of this character changed over time and have you felt any pressure writing a strong female character any differently in the wake of the #METOO movement?
L: I created She-Girl years ago. She was created as a tongue in cheek satire of how women heroes are portrayed in comic books. So often they slap “woman” or “girl” on the end of male characters and call it something new. She-Hulk. Supergirl. And they’re always so scantily clad. If Superman wore what Wonder Woman did, or a mesh top, people would be uncomfortable. So, She-Girl is a look at the objectification of female heroes in comic books. That said, now in 2018 I’m certainly rethinking a lot of my approach to her. More than the other characters. Despite her goofy name, I take her character quite seriously.
K: You’ve mentioned before that this is definitely going to be a MATURE comic – aka not for kids – Does that mean we’ll get any of the following: curse words, nudity, gore, full frontal udders?
L: Good question. As for the first issue, it’s mature but right now that’s mostly just violence and themes. There’s no cursing or nudity yet and I don’t want to lean on things like that but… never say never.
K: I love that Atomic Victory Squad is going to tackle serious issues like depression, race, sexual identity and addiction – how do you manage to pull that kind of story content off while still keeping the comic entertaining and fun – or has it been difficult finding the tone as you create the first arc?
L: Finding the tone is the most crucial part of any project. For AVS, I look to role models like BoJack Horseman. People expect a certain type of tone from animation and colourful characters, but when you can subvert expectation and deliver something unexpected or maybe darker, it can be beautiful and bizarre. The funny thing is, when you create a character they live inside your head. So, you don’t just picture a superhero doing heroic stuff. You picture them sleeping. You picture them drinking too much. You picture them crying alone. And, if those characters happen to be giant man cows or a guy with a triangle fetish, the private moments are often just as interesting as the public ones.
K: Is there a villain in this series and can you tease the antagonist(s) at this time?
L: There are so many villains. Each of the team members has their own antagonist, but the first issue focuses more on the formation of the team. That said, the first three issue arc definitely has a “big bad” that the team will face off against. An evil genius type.
K: Javier Martin Caba is penning the first issue right now with Micah Myers on letters – how has the creative process been working with these two since this is your first comic and you’re kinda learning the ropes as you go?
L: It’s a huge learning curve but my collaborators are being gentle! It took a while to find Javier, but I knew when I saw his work in Fabian Rangel Jr’s Blood Brothers that his style would suit AVS perfectly. Micah hasn’t started yet but he fits in with our gang. We’re all just crazy about making this comic.
K: What’s the one aspect of creating comics that has been the biggest struggle for you personally?
L: Asking for money! I don’t love doing that. I wish we could just put out the final product and “put our money where our mouth is” but since I’ve never done this before and since I have no track record in comics (with the exception of the WolfCop comics), we needed to get support in advance to prove there’s an audience for something like this. Luckily, we’ve got a pretty great groundswell of support from our indie features. I’m nervous but cautiously optimistic.
K: With Atomic Victory Squad, the IndieGoGo campaign is to help fund the first physical issue – can you tease what kind of story fans will get in the debut and maybe how many issues you ideally would love to eventually complete?
L: These characters could go on and on! I’ve written the first issue and outlined 2 and 3. The first issue draws the team together and issue 2 and 3 will show them working (or NOT working) as a unit for the first time. Chaos and drama ensue. Ideally, I’d love to at least do three or four issues to show their “full origin” and give readers a full meal of these characters. Not just an appetiser.
K: You’re a busy guy and comics is not your dayjob – you have two WolfCop films under your belt and SuperGrid is your next major feature which is tentatively coming out later this year – what’s the focus for the next year – is it going to be solely Atomic Victory Squad or do you have any other plans for writing/directing another feature in 2019?
L: I’m not quitting film, just diversifying. I’ve currently got two features in development; one is a genre film that I wrote, the other a thriller that I did not. I’m hoping to make one or both of them next year. I’ve also recently shifted my focus to television. I spent the last few months writing and developing original TV pilots. Genre stuff!
K: I loved Supergrid and it was amazing getting to see the world premiere at the Calgary International Film Festival a couple weeks ago – when do you think fans will be able to get their hands on a Blu-ray or have a chance to check it out on VOD?
L: I’ve been told SuperGrid is coming out in December, but I don’t have the details yet. I believe we have a limited theatrical release in Canada. But it will for sure be on digital by the end of the year in Canada and the US, which is nice.
K: There’s an incredible close-up headshot effect in Supergrid where after the screening I asked you if your partner in crime Emersen Ziffle had done the practical effects on and you actually dropped a bomb on my brain by saying this shot was completed using digital effects and it blew my mind because it looked incredibly realistic. You had said this was the most important scene in the film – can you talk a little bit about that and how difficult it was to pull off?
L: It was a rare occurrence where the on-set practical effects gag just straight up didn’t work. Luckily, we had Trevor Corrigan on board doing our visual effects. I stressed from the second that Trevor started work how important it would be to salvage that shot, since it’s the culmination of one of our main action sequences. Trevor and his team put a lot of work into that head kill and now it’s really impressive! We’ve even got a special feature on the SuperGrid Blu-Ray to show how they did it.
- Official Site: https://www.atomicvictorysquad.com
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/atomicvictorysquad/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/AVS_comic
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/atomicvictorysquad/
FULL PRESS RELEASE FOR THE ATOMIC VICTORY SQUAD
Comic Book coming soon!
INTRO / WHY
Inspired by a deep love of superheroes and the likes of Venture Brothers, Bojack Horseman and Rick & Morty, The Atomic Victory Squad is a globe-trotting, world smashing superhero comic with characters that could only exist in animated form. These characters are destined for an animated series and we are taking the crucial first step in “launching our universe” with a comic book crowdfunding campaign full of amazing perks. The Atomic Victory Squad is a passion project that’s been years in the making. We hope you’ll just us for the ride. Real talk: The world doesn’t need more superheroes, but this is no ordinary team. The Atomic Victory Squad is a satire of the genre while still working within it (capes, costumes, superpowers and all). Below the surface, each team member also serves as a metaphor for issues like addiction, race and gender identity, chronic depression and mental health. This series is as much about their private lives, personal struggles and relationships as it is about crime fighting.
Check out our Indiegogo Page for more info on this unique team, the comic book itself and our sweet perks:
Hi! I’m Lowell Dean. Since childhood I’ve been drawing and daydreaming about superheroes. Most recently, I’ve put that passion into writing and directing films like WolfCop and Another WolfCop but some stories can’t be told on an indie film budget. I’ve partnered with talented collaborators like artist Javier Martin Caba, letterer Micah Myers and perk guru Emersen Ziffle who’s designing all the crazy extras offered in our campaign.
Our Indiegogo Crowdfunding Campaign runs through October 2018 so any promotion or social media awareness would be great appreciated. We are hoping that, with your help, we will reach our goal to not only complete the 1st issue, but roll right into the second one as well… and unleash some cool “secret perks”!
For more information or media requests please email: