Ad Astra - how did we get here?Ad Astra is here. Finally.
It's been a long time coming and I am happier than I can possibly convey in a family setting to finally be doing something with it. To say that I've been waiting all my life to do Ad Astra would be overstating the facts. I have, in fact, been waiting only about 68% of my life to do Ad Astra.
It all began with Superboy & the Legion of Super-Heroes #217. How can I be that specific? Well, that's the comic that actually started me collecting. It also started me drawing comic book style heroes. I know it doesn't show in my Ad Astra work, but Mike Grell was my earliest artistic influence, followed by Dave Cockrum, when I got his stuff in the back issues of Superboy. I strayed for several years with John Byrne, but I always seem to come back to Cockrum and Grell. Maybe it's because they liked the Legion and Byrne never did, I don't know.
From time to time, I would sketch Legionnaires and ponder ways I could break into comics and score the Legion gig. It never happened.
I never made the big break into comics. I've done a couple of small projects for myself or my friends, and one paid gig for a local publisher I met at a con. (Drew Edwards creator and writer of Halloweenman) A time or two, I have felt the urge to develop one or more of my ideas into a comic series. In the mid-90s, I came close with one of my series ideas, which would have been titled Powers: Golden Days, a golden age series I had thought up. That fizzled as the comics market imploded. Later, I thought to revive it as Gladiators, but I never took it anywhere.
Then, a couple of years ago, I got the idea to do a story in blog form, centered on a young-ish superhero and told from his point of view. This idea soon grew into HeroBlog.com, where I chronicle the adventures of Amp (real name known only to me, BWAHAHAHAHAAHA) and his team mates. In the process, and almost completely by accident, I built a world I could work into something bigger. Through Amp we've seen the super-teams of the world, the villains and some monsters, I've introduced a dozen or so alien cultures and told the "epic" story of a battle across paratime. All the while, the idea for Ad Astra was bubbling in the back of my brain, and one day I figured out how to fit the two together.
Here are a few facts about my HeroBlog and Ad Astra concepts:
1. Super powers are both genetic, and circumstantial. People with no evident super-normality can develop super powers under the right conditions. This is how Amp got his powers.
2. Super-normals are not any more or less virtuous than anyone else. People are as virtuous as they choose to be and supers should be the same.
3. Legacy is more than just a super-team's name, it's a concept that I think works perfectly in super-hero fiction. I love the idea of one hero carrying on the legacy of another.
4. All sentient species are capable of producing super-normals.
My first "arc" in Ad Astra is a history lesson, in order to lay the groundwork for the universe I'm creating. The history lesson is told from the viewpoint of a school teach on Atlas, one of the so-called "Exile Worlds".
History is the prologue of the present, it shapes the present and the people who live in it. The histories of the various Exile Worlds have shaped the people who live on them. Some never made it back to high technology, stagnating at medieval levels or lower.
You might notice that the art styles for HeroBlog and Ad Astra are quite different. There's a reason for that. I was working my way toward doing Ad Astra in my usual style when I started trying out a cartooning style. Yes, I was sketching Legion characters from the cartoon. I had fun doing it, so I tried it with Galaxia, one of my Ad Astrans. It worked. It worked so well, I tried it with others. It worked so well, I decided to develop all the characters along those lines. I'm not aping the animated Legion style 100%. Bruce Timm's Batman, Superman and Justice League designs have also influenced the way I "cartoon". I'm enjoying it and that's something any comic needs. I'm sure I'll settle into a hybrid style I like in a few months and we'll go back and look at the early stuff and it'll look strange. I'm having fun, I'm finally doing a comic and it's the comic I've wanted to do for 68% of my life. I hope you'll read it, and enjoy it, but that's not why I'm doing it. This is for me.
The stars are ours.
Ad Astra and all related characters Copyright © 2007-2010 Joe L. Singleton. All rights reserved. Do not bend, fold, spindle or mutilate. Please place all refuse in trash receptacles provided. Whatever they offer you, don't feed the plants.