I think I’ve experienced one of the most humbling feelings as a comic creator. Last week I was reading through Rich Johnston’s Bleeding Cool site and stumbled across this article about “Real Life Superheroes”. It features produced images of the heroes as if they were comic book covers or movie posters of their character. I scroll down to a character named “Crimson Fist” and lo and behold he’s wearing a certain ring…
Why that there is a geniune HERO BY NIGHT vitalogy ring! He would have had to have ordered it direct from me at the home office.
It’s no secret that Hero By Night kinda fell apart after my falling out with the publisher at the time. It haunts me sometimes because I had so many stories yet to tell, (and I still want to tell) It was a very ambitious project on my part and one of the most important things to me was infusing it with a sort of moral message of… choosing to do the right things for the right reasons. A bit ironic to me now seeing as how so many BAD decisions and hard feelings arose all around behind the scenes.
Working on a “hero” book like this, I really felt like just sitting around and drawing wasn’t good enough. I was always feeling inspired like “Wouldn’t this be great if we had a hero like this?” – At one point I wanted to donate a portion of the book’s proceeds to the Wounded Warrior Project. The point being, here I am creating this book about heroes, and here YOU are reading it and just by picking up a copy you were actually doing good! Imagine how much money Todd McFarlane’s Spider-Man could have raised back in the day!?! – Of course, no comics sell that much anymore, but the idea was solid. It didn’t happen though because I was intent on the concept not becoming a press release gimmick. In the end I ended up privately donating some of my HBN money to Wounded Warrior and the Red Cross.
Cut to the present day… here I am staring at this costumed guy from Atlanta wearing the Hero By Night Ring. I had a huge grin on my face the entire day that I couldn’t wipe off. I decided to comment on his character page at RealLifeSuperheroes.com giving him kudos for wearing the ring… he responded:
DJ: Thanks! Your comic is actually one of the first things that inspired me to make the leap from â€œcommunity patrollerâ€ to â€œcommunity patroller dressed as a superheroâ€. I wear the ring to always remind myself of why I do this.
Then a follow up message on Facebook:
I know I already said this over on the RealLifeSuperheroes.com site, but I just wanted to thank you again for the kind words and for putting together one of my favorite and most inspiring comics. Hero By Night not only inspired me to want to be a Superhero, but also inspired me to want to do comics of my own. It truly is one of the best things I’ve ever read.
Hope everything is going good for you, and tell your son a superhero says to get well soon!
-The Crimson Fist
So now I’m just completely humbled as a creator. It’s one thing for fans to say how much they enjoyed Hero By Night, but this guy was actually inspired to become a REAL HERO in his community. Sure, you might get a chuckle about guys running around in outfits… but then ask yourself, what are YOU doing? In a lot of cases these heroes are out there helping others and inspiring people across the country and helping kids battle cancer and other diseases.
The whole experience really energized me with positive energy and makes me want to pick up the pen again and draw some more heroes. There are so many stories yet to tell.