A womanizing superhero hooks up with his greatest foe, only to be thrust into the lifetime commitment of being a parent. Super Knocked Up is the web series and comic book telling the tale. We talk with series creator Jeff Burns to get the inside track on his action-packed take on superhero tropes in the hilarious web series.
Thanks for joining us, Jeff. Care to give us an elevator pitch?
Super Knocked Up is an action comedy about a female super villain who gets knocked up by a superhero and has to raise the baby with her nemesis.
This doesn’t sound like a relationship that is off to a great start.
These are the last people on Earth either wants to be thrown together with. Yet, they are involved in the horribly awkward situation that we have a lot of fun with. Comedy, action and drama all in one. I’m proud of what my cast and crew did. It is a fun series.
Where can we check this out?
At the beginning of June we are re-releasing the five episodes from Season 1 on KoldcastTV.com. On our website, you can see four bonus episodes where you can see more of the world in Super Knocked Up.
To be clear, these are your own characters?
These are totally original creations. Some cool feedback that I’ve gotten is that this is a unique take on the superhero genre. There’s conflict at multiple levels.
There is inner conflict and exterior conflict, I think this is a cool concept to tell a really engaging story.
Did you come up with the story as a comic book first, or did this come out as a video project initially?
A third option, the original incarnation was for a full length feature film.
I love writing but I consider myself first and foremost a filmmaker. I realized that I could do this myself with my cast and crew at a really high level.
The supervillian is Jessica James, aka Darkstar. The hero is Michael Masters, aka Captain Amazing. What makes Jessica and Michael tick?
In the Super Knocked Up world, Captain Amazing is the most popular hero. Everyone loves him and all of the women are in love with him. Unlike Superman, Captain Amazing sleeps with every woman he gets close to. He could be Clark Kent’s long lost brother if Clark banged everyone in Metropolis! That’s his greatest flaw, his superficial relationships with women. What he really needs is a woman that can appreciate him as Michael—the real him.
Being a super hero in our world is like being a best athlete or rock star.
You’ve got it! And Darkstar is our protagonist, but also the villain.
On the outside, she’s the most kick-ass villian, super tough, but her needs on an internal level are more complex. She says, “Get away from me, I’m independent, I don’t need anyone.” But that’s exactly what she needs more than anything. She’s never had a family or people in her life. She can’t stand Captain Amazing or his do-gooder pals, but those are the same people that can fulfill her dependent needs.
Her ‘boss,’ Dr. Destruction, wants to eliminate all of the good guys. We touch on this in Episode 3—Sinister Society. Now she is tasked with getting rid of the father of her child. What is she to do? Can she go through with this?
Did you talk to a lot of women and young moms out there? I liked the way you handled the reveal that Darkstar is pregnant. How much research went into that part of the story?
Natalie Bain, who plays Darkstar, was a huge part of that. My sister has a daughter who is six years old. Some of my story is drawn from her experience as a mother. Mostly I was putting myself in my character’s position. As a writer, I’m constantly observing.
From my perspective, it was very authentic and genuine. I appreciate that in your work.
My art school professor, John Holland told me something I’ll never forget and think about often. “Evolutionarily, there are two events that humans do not have the inherent tools to deal with. One is death, and the other is when new life is created.”
We’ll delve more into that in Season 2 as Jessica’s baby is born, and she tries to be a villain and do crimes, and raise a baby at the same time.
She needs to go out to steal the plutonium for the nuclear bomb and the time machine…and also needs to get baby wipes.
For the column I’m also covering digital comics and the #comicmarket twitter hashtag. We also cover the distribution of independently created comic books and you have one of those. Tell us about the 28-page comic for Super Knocked Up, also available on your website for $1.99. How did you find your artists?
That was a whole new experience for me. I’ve loved comics since I was a kid and I had no idea how you went about doing that. I found my artists from all over the globe from a call for talent on a site called DigitalWebbing.com. Donny Gandakusuma (Artist – Penciler/Inker from Indonesia), Kefas Armando (Colorist from Indonesia) and MaGnUs (Letterer from Uruguay) were among the over 100 responses! All three of those guys were amazing to work with.
The art was great, good storytelling. The comic rounds out the Super Knocked Up world. Very cool companion to the web series, and as a stand alone comic, it was great, too.
I’ve got some short one-shot origin stories in the works as well.
Is the comic available in print or are you sticking with the digital format? A lot of people in the industry are offering books in an app or alternatively in CBR or PDF versions.
I didn’t event know about CBR until a couple of months ago. MaGnUs turned me on to that. The print version absolutely will be available. Print versions of the comic will be available at Philidelphia Comic Con in a few days (May 31, June 1—3). Of course the book will also be available on Super Knocked Up.com. This will be my first convention with actual comics to sell.
It’s pretty sweet that we can tell people about the series at the convention, people can turn around and watch an episode on their iPhone, and give us feedback right there!
Maybe you can get people to buy the digital comic right there at the convention with an iPad or iPhone right on the floor!
That would be great.
What is in store for Season 2?
After the convention, we’ll start filming the episodes in September. The scripts are all written, we are in pre-production right now. Season 2 goal is for winter 2013. I’m really proud of what we did, and I think we can do a lot better next season.
Looking forward to that. Super Knocked Up doesn’t only appeal to superhero fans, but should appeal to more female fans and we always like more female comic book fans!
I always bill this as a series about two people who are thrust into a bad situation who just happen to have super powers. You can totally relate to these people.
OK, so I have to know, who are your favorite superheros? Are you a Wednesday comic book guy?
No, but I do have a subscription. I’m too busy to get to the store all the time! I’m reading steampunk female protagonist comic Lady Mechanika right now. Brian Michael Bendis, Ron Marz and Jeph Loeb are some of my favorite creators. Batman and Spider-Man are my favorite heroes.
Really? Those are mine, too! High Five!
BUT WAIT…THERE’S MORE! CHECK OUT LEAGUEPODCAST.COM — BOSTON’S COMIC BOOK AND POP CULTURE PODCAST — “Thinking about Comics since 2009″!
Oddio Comic 39 — Gold Key Star Trek #7 — “The Voodoo Planet” Part 1
The original crew encounter a planet where the inhabitants practice the ancient art of Voodoo! Voodoo from across space, it makes its deadly mark on Earth! According to the cover, anyway. We think “deadly” is a little much. Still, can Kirk act his way out of this one? Listen and learn!
John Hunt — Capt. James T. Kirk
Matt Dursin — Spock, Sulu & Narrator
Clay N. Ferno — Dr. McCoy / Bones
John Hunt (Freelance Colorist at IDW)