By ERIC SCHELKOPF
After introducing C2E2 goers to his "Hero Cats" action comic book series last year, writer/creator Kyle Puttkammer will return to C2E2 this year with a special guest - Sonic the Hedgehog artist Tracy Yardley, who is working with him on a new series called "Galaxy Man."
C2E2 will be held March 18-20 at the South Building At McCormick Place, Chicago. Tickets are available at www.c2e2.com.
I had the chance to talk to Kyle about his upcoming C2E2 appearance.
Q - Great talking to you again. I know that you will be at C2E2 with Sonic the Hedgehog artist Tracy Yardley. Of course, he is working on "Galaxy Man and Cosmic Girl #1," set for release later this year. How did you hook up with him and what do you think he brings to the project?
Tracy Yardley is an incredible talent and we're really looking forward to showcasing his art this year. Not long ago there were very few all ages comics available on the marketplace.
My daughters had a hard time finding suitable comics to read and as a response I decided to create some new characters. I was at Heroes Con promoting a four-issue "Galaxy Man" small press run that was distributed through Diamond in 2012 when I met Tracy.
He really enjoyed the concept of a father & daughter team and their mission to find mom, who is lost in space. Tracy's enthusiasm for the project inspired additional stories.
His art really validated our efforts. Since I was in production of "Hero Cats of Stellar City," it was agreed that "Galaxy Man" would play a wonderful part in the background of the stories (Cassiopeia is Cosmic Girl's Cat).
He's even prominently featured in "Midnight Over Stellar City #3," which ships this week.
Q - I know the character of Galaxy Man has been around for a few years, and stemmed from an art class contest. How do you think the character has evolved over the years and do you see the character evolving even more?
As the story grew, we found new meaning and depth to his character. Since he believes his wife is still out there and that he can find her, he's very driven.
Suzie, his daughter, knows that her father can get deeply depressed sometimes. His only escape is to play the part of the city's superhero.
He finds joy in helping others, even though he works every day to bring the love of his life home again. The biggest growth is shown in the new series title.
"The Adventures of Galaxy Man and Cosmic Girl" reflects Suzie's role in the story, and in many ways, she has become the main narrative.
Q - The comic is aimed at families. "Galaxy Man," after all, is a husband and a father in addition to being a hero. What have you heard from families who have read the comics?
The most interesting feedback was from a divorced father. He related to Stanley's struggles and having to raise a child on his own.
He found encouragement in the stories. But the feedback that we here the most is that the series fills that need for fresh stories that every can enjoy.
Q - The third "Hero Cats" paperback was recently released. For those who are not that familiar with "Hero Cats," but might want to check it out, what should they expect in the new paperback?
"Hero Cats" is an amazing journey for me as a writer. I never expected the characters to take us where we've gone.
I can really put the "Hero Cats" into just about any situation and the characters lead the way. They've saved the world in the third trade paperback and it represents our most ambitious storyline.
If you include the "Midnight Over Stellar City" series, it comes out to a six issue story arc. We're currently working on a storyline where they tour the world.
After that, it gets even more wild! We have big things in store for readers and we can't wait to share them.
Most importantly, the stories are crafted so that new readers can pick up any trade and jump right in. They will recognize the characters right away and fall in love with them.
It's very new reader friendly.
Q - I know the last time we spoke, you talked about the possibility of "Hero Cats" being made into a movie. Anything new on that front?
Fans of the series tell us all the time that it would work very well as an animated show. Early on, we were still discovering what kind of stories could be told with the "Hero Cats," but now we're confident.
We will be going to CatCon LA in June and imagine we'll meet many new contacts. There's nothing in the works yet, but we are hopeful.
Q - Interest in comics seems to be at an all time high, with more and more movies and TV shows being made that are based around comic book characters. Why do you think there is so much interest in comics these days?
Q - Do you have any dream projects or collaborations?
We're building a connected universe featuring all ages stories that are really high quality. We're proud of the talented artists that we get to work with.
As the series grows, we'll need more artists and I'll be at Portland Wizard World this weekend to scout for more talent. The "Hero Cats" team is always looking to grow. Who knows what potential the future holds.