"Herotown"

By Allan Angel

(July 27, 2014)

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer he was not. It must have been Christmas in Chris’ compound except it wasn’t. It was hot and humid and it seemed deer runs amok in this placid area of Gilroy. Chris Perguidi lives in an ominous estate in the southern part of Santa Clara County, California. Having amassed a sea of admirers, only but the few are allowed to be in what he refers to as his ‘Fortress of Solitude.’ He has guard dogs just in case you were foolish enough to invade his privacy.

In the years that I’ve known Chris, we have had the best conversations and never the worst, which at times veered towards politics. I, being the liberal, and he, being the moderate Republican or Independent, we would have many interesting topics to talk about. I do not believe in guns, and he does. I so innately have a disdain for guns. I think of guns as an act of desperation. To take solace in guns, to me, is a sign of a ‘quitter.’

The deer freaked me out, but when that coyote ran passed my Jetta, missing it by an inch, I had decided right then and there that I needed a gun. I fear animals, especially those that can kill you. And the little creatures underneath my car…

I think it was Wondercon 2009 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, when I first met Chris Perguidi. I was there hawking my stuff to the masses. My first comic book after a long retirement was called The Invincibles, which would make its long print run incarnation in the anthology series Lost Legends #1. Chris would later tell me that he first saw a copy of my other re-entry title Crimelords at a recent APE(Alternative Press Expo) con and was taken aback by its ‘incredible’ art as he puts it, although I have not seem him prior to Wondercon 2009.

I go to comic book conventions mainly to get autographs of my favorite actors, so I would on occasion leave my table to meet with the stars asking my fellow small pressers to watch my table. I think that year, Sarah Douglas who plays Ursa and Jack O’Halloran from Superman II were in the show and I went to get their autograph. I told Sarah that I had watched Superman II 500 times. For real and she was really cool. And before Iron Man became a hit, I was already on it grabbing myself a free Iron Man poster and watching the promo at one of the halls. Jon Favreau was there to promote it. I kept wondering if this was the same fat guy comedian because he was buff. Weird.

Sarah Douglas and Jack O’Halloran were Great!! Helen Slater, Supergirl, on the other hand, was kind of cold, when she attended the show the following year. I was going to tell her how good she was in Ruthless People, but I don’t think she liked fans or the Con scene that much.

When I had come back from my excursion, I was like WTF?!? Some kid took over my seat! WhoTF is this MF?!? WTFTMFS?!? I thought to myself. That impressed me. The nerve, the courage, etc., He introduced himself as ‘Chris’. Chris ‘The Pimp’ Perguidi. I told him that was great ‘Now, can you please get the hell out of my seat?’
But I noticed that he was selling more than I sold in an hour. I saw girls line up in droves and, I realized that I needed him more than he needed me. So I took the mechanical dinosaur that was occupying the other seat (I was allocated 2) and told him to stay put.

I made more money in that day than any job I’ve ever had. $1,000 to be exact. We started talking comic books and found that we essentially had the same taste. We were both interested in Super Hero type comic books. While he veered towards Marvel, I was more of a DC fan. Our artistic influences were somewhat different. While I looked up to George Perez, he was more of a Rob Liefeld fan. We agreed to collaborate, but I insisted that it would have to do with mainstream Super heroes and not some angst ridden comic books about an assassin, 8 year old kids, aliens and the military, or women into parrots, prostitutes who become super heroes, criminals who become super heroes, pornography disguised as art because I did all those already.

We agreed to do something different from what other artists were doing at the time. Rather than sell puppetry made from socks and underwear, or personalized rocks, we wanted to write and draw comic books. Get back to basics.

With neither DC nor Marvel knocking on our doors, we created our own universe of characters. The story is called H-town. H-town also known as Herotown is an Island where Super heroes are imprisoned. As a pact between world leaders, super heroes have become a pariah in society and thus were sent to prison.

Characters that stood out for me was his idea for Erika Amerika, an Indian native with Amazonian skills, the hilarious Dr. Dino, the very popular Inhuman Glacier, and my contribution The Dart.

There was one problem. The first script was wordy. It lacked action and that put me off immediately.

You see, I was hooked once I saw his sketches. (due to my studio being remodeled, I don’t have those readily on hand but will update as soon as I have access to it.) He made these amazing costumes that were something from the Golden Age of comics intertwined with his Rob Leifeld influence. It was incredible!

… but there was no action! I told him that this was not a pilot for a television show. I needed to see robots. I needed to see superheroes battling it out. I can’t draw people in regular clothes that do nothing but talk. I have enough of that in the real world, I don’t need it in my comic books.

So this is the reason why a lot of Herotown has elements of flashbacks. The telling of an origin issue, as any writer can tell you, is always difficult. The premise is almost always boring due to the backstory involved. Hence, plotlines were switched to accommodate my need for the extraordinary.
       
I have spent over three years drawing ordinary people such as The Invincibles and Winterland, I couldn’t take any more. His amazing sketches held so much promise in terms of fun, that I told him to switch it up. Start from where the heroes escape the Island. And thus…