Today begins a two and-a-half day writing weekend — the “and-a-half” is because I’ll spend part of the weekend consuming meat and beer at a friend’s Fourth of July cookout — and it’ll be the last weekend I have for a while, because I’ll be working ConnectiCon next weekend with my wife. So, three fewer writing days, but I get to spend them cosplayer watching instead. Fair trade-off.
As I warm up for today’s writing, I thought I’d share some random nibbly-bits about Action Figures — little insights into my thought process, backstory material, scenes that’ll never make it into the series, stuff like that.
* The Buzzkill Joy character’s look is based on actress Bex Taylor-Klaus, who many people know from her stint on Arrow, and who is currently on MTV’s Scream series. I had just begun rough-plotting Action Figures – Issue Three: Pasts Imperfect when I first saw her on Arrow. I was immediately struck by her look and thought, That’s Buzzkill Joy.
I sent Tricia, my cover artist, a couple of photos of Bex and told her to use them as inspiration. Actually I think I said something to the effect of, “I want Joy to look like Bex Taylor-Klaus, if Bex were a bloodthirsty lunatic.”
I think she nailed it pretty well. I hasten to add that I think Bex herself is not a bloodthirsty maniac, and would be a lot of fun (and completely safe) to hang out with.
* Joy is not the only character whose looks are inspired by an actress. Natalie “Nina Nitro” Guerrero’s hairstyle, in real life and in the story, are inspired by Olivia Wilde’s Quorra character from Tron: Legacy.
PS: Natalie loves Olivia Wilde but didn’t like Tron: Legacy.
* Like Carrie, Matt inherited his musical tastes — as well as his tastes in movies — from his father. Stuart’s love of hard rock and heavy metal comes from Gerry Yannick, back when Gerry, Stuart, and Matt were friends. Stuart passed along his tastes in part to Missy.
* Stuart’s grandmother is a retired police officer. She rose to the rank of sergeant but declined further promotions because she enjoyed working the streets. She impressed upon Stuart the importance of helping people and defending those who can’t defend themselves.
* Missy learned to speak rudimentary Japanese watching anime. Her uncle Seiji helped her fine-tune her fluency during secret Skype sessions (because, at the time, Missy’s dad was still actively denying his Japanese heritage and didn’t speak Japanese in the home). Also: Missy is a hardcore Hayao Miazaki fan.
* Gwendolyn “Doc Quantum” Quentin — back when she was simply Gwendolyn Green — met Tisha “TranzSister” Greene at MIT. The two were roommates who became such good friends, classmates referred to them as the Green(e) Sisters.
* Matt bought his original black trench coat after watching The Matrix for the first time.
* Matt’s love of The Matrix led to Kingsport High School banning students from wearing Halloween costumes — but it wasn’t entirely his fault. The year before Carrie’s arrival in Kingsport, Matt went to school dressed as Neo, which prompted Angus Parr to make a remark about Matt shooting up the school. A teacher overheard this and sent both of them to see vice-principal Dent. Matt was told to take off the costume, and costumes were banned from that point on. Angus was briefly suspended, which only fueled his longstanding hatred toward Matt.
* Before she was Kunoichi, Missy’s superhero name was Ninjette, but I had to scrap that after Adam Warren released Empowered, which features a character named Ninjette. I made a joke about it in Action Figures – Issue One: Secret Origins. I can’t be too mad about it, because I’m a longtime fan of Warren’s work, and of Empowered. Bonus fun fact: both Adam and I are former students of the Kubert School. Obviously, Adam has had more success in the comics industry than I have. Extra bonus fun fact: the late Joe Kubert, the school’s founder, was the man who told me, with kindness but total honesty, I had no future in art and should pursue this writing thing I seem to be interested in.
* Matt and Stuart first bonded during a school talent show. They were paired together and instructed to come up with a skit to perform. They reenacted several scenes from The Blues Brothers, which Matt had watched weeks earlier with his father. A parent-teacher conference followed soon thereafter.
* Edison “Concorde” Bose never went to college. He wanted to attend MIT, but was thrust into the corporate world following the death of his surrogate father. He managed to sneak in business classes here and there, but never received any formal higher education in any scientific field.
* Nina Nitro and Dr. Enigma originally played different roles within the series. Originally, Astrid filled the role of the kids’ friend/contemporary, but as I plotted out the series, I realized Nina would work much better, so I flipped the characters’ relationships with the Hero Squad.
Hope you enjoyed this look inside the rattling, echoing cavern of my brain pan. If you have any questions about the series, please feel free to shoot ’em over!