What happens when the world’s hottest superhero and the world’s baddest supervillain get super hot and heavy? Well, in this case, butt-kicking baddie Jessica James (aka Darkstar) gets super knocked up after a delirious one-night stand with heroic hottie Captain Amazing. And these super star-crossed lovers decide to raise the baby together… even though they’re kind of mortal enemies. Hilarity, hijinks, and a lot of messy diapers ensue in this geeky web series by independent writer/producer Jeff Burns.
Super Knocked Up is a brand new web series that looks at superheroes (and villains) like we’ve never seen them before — pregnant, changing diapers, and utterly terrified by the challenge of raising a baby. The series is currently in Season 2, and has just launched a comic book based on the series. Check out episode 1 after the jump, then mosey on over to the Super Knocked Up Youtube channel for more. But if you need more convincing, we’ll let Jeff Burns take it from here…
Geek Outsider: So, first things first, how’d you come up with the idea for Super Knocked Up
Jeff Burns: I was taking an online screenwriting class through ScreenwritingU and our first assignment was to come up with a concept we would take and write a feature-length script from during the course. I’ve always loved superheroes and comic books so I was playing around with a lot of different superhero concepts. And I was trying to come up with something unique. The lessons we learned in the course really focused on coming up with a unique story. So one day doing the assignment for the course it just hit me: what would happen if a super-villain and superhero had a baby together? I loved the idea as soon as it came to me and knew I had to write it.
GO: In a genre where heroes (and villains) never age and superkids just sort of appear, you’ve given us puke, contractions, and diapers, what inspired you to take on such a “messy” taboo topic in the awe and glamour of the superhero genre?
JB: Seeing all my friends’ gross kids. Just kidding! I think that’s a reflection of the whole series. I really wanted to make this a real-world look at superheroes. So we focus on the characters and their relationships and what it’s like to be a super-villain and commit crimes but also have to raise a baby. I think the comedy comes from all those real situations you don’t normally see superheroes and villains in. And I think it really helps the audience to relate with the characters. They see Jessica and Michael struggling to raise a kid just like they do with their own kids.
GO: Super Knocked Up is, obviously, a hilarious comedy, but it’s also touches on something that the superhero genre tends to back uneasily away from… pregnancy (dun, dun DUN!). How do you find a balance between the obviously hilarious situation and the hard emotional reality of mothering?
JB: Thanks so much for noticing that! That’s something we try very hard to do in the series: balancing comedy, drama, action, and romance. Again, I think it all comes from me making the decision right from the beginning that this was going to be a show about two real people who can’t stand each other forced into a horribly awkward (and funny) situation where they have to raise a baby together. Oh yeah, and they happen to have superpowers. It’s not a show where it’s all about the superpowers and you don’t get to learn about the characters. Super Knocked Up is all about multi-layered characters who you can really get into. And I think if you have real characters who are well-developed and have clear wants and needs, then those real moments organically come from there. Jessica’s need to have a family, something she’s never had. Michael’s need to find a woman who loves him for who he really is, not his Captain Amazing super-persona. Those things I think create the touching and real, dramatic moments. And then you throw in that they’re enemies and can’t stand each other and have to raise a baby and a lot of comedy comes from that of course! I love how putting Jessica, this kick-ass super-villain who isn’t afraid of fighting any hero, as a new mother with a tiny baby scares the crap out of her and totally throws her off. She can beat any hero. But this little baby is kicking her ass. That’s super-funny, but it’s also totally real and relatable.
GO: The series is called “Super Knocked Up,” but hero Jessica James is already dealing with diapers, and time seems to move pretty fast in the series. Will we be seeing Baby grow up? Can you give us a hint as to the longview for the story?
JB: We did move the pregnancy along very quickly as I wanted to get to the birth of the baby. But time won’t move as fast after this. The baby will always be a baby and won’t grow up super-fast like often happens in shows. As the show progresses, the focus becomes even more on Jessica and Michael’s relationship and the choice Jessica has to make between being a super-villain and being with Michael and the heroes.
GO: With a predominantly female cast and a leading lady who’s also a mother, are there any challenges you feel as a writer writing not only mostly women characters but also writing about motherhood?
JB: Well I’ve always wanted to be a hot, female super-villain so I’m just channeling that! Thank you for pointing out all the cool female roles there are in Super Knocked Up. I’m really happy about that. I love writing kick-ass female roles. That’s what I always tend to write. For me as a writer, I don’t see a challenge in being a man writing female roles. And this is why. I’m writing the character. If I have the character really well-developed and fleshed out. If I know what drives the character. What they want. What their inner, hidden needs are. If I know them inside and out, then it doesn’t matter what they are. They could be male, female, an alien or whatever. I don’t think it’s about gender. It’s about understanding people and understanding your characters. That’s how I always approach it.
GO: So, who’s your favorite female superhero of all time? Supervillainess?
JB: My favorite female superhero is Huntress. I think she’s so kick-ass. And she’s definitely the most similar character to Jessica (Darkstar) in Super Knocked Up. They’re both kick-ass, independent, don’t take any shit characters. But both have a more vulnerable side underneath those hard exteriors.
For a super-villain, I’ve always loved Talia al Ghul. Her father Ra’s al Ghul is a great villain too. I love the romantic interplay between Talia and Batman. The fact that they’re enemies but she wants to be with him and there’s obviously feelings between them. That’s cool! And kind of like Super Knocked Up I guess!
GO: Any plans for the (incredibly dope!) comic? Will it be ongoing? Will it be hitting the shelves at local comic book shops anytime soon?
JB: Hey thanks for the kind words about he comic book! First, let me give huge props to my Artist Donny Gandakusuma, Colorist Kefas Armando, and Letterer MaGnUs for doing an amazing job bringing the comic to life. I had such a blast making it with them. I’ve always loved comic books as I mentioned, so getting to make my own was a dream come true! We have Issue #1 out so far. And right now, people can download the digital version for free on our website. They can also get a print copy on there too! I actually have met a couple of artists recently online and at comic cons who want to do some shorter comic stories in the Super Knocked Up world. So most likely what I’ll do next are some comic stories outside of the main narrative of Super Knocked Up but about the SKU characters so fans can learn more about their backstories and what brought them to this point in the main SKU narrative. I’m definitely excited to do more comic books!
GO: Speaking of which, now you’ve got a web series and a comic, are you hoping to get this story into any other medium? Will you be at New York Comicon?
JB: Oh yeah! We’ve been doing to a few comic cons every year for the past couple of years now. We just got back from Boston Comic Con. And we will absolutely be at NYCC! I went two years ago and absolutely loved it. I mean I got to play Quidditch for the first time there. What can beat that? Last year we were in rehearsals and about to shoot Season 2 during NYCC and were super-bummed we had to miss it. But I’ll be there all four days this year and can’t wait! Just recently, I got to go to San Diego Comic-Con for the first time. That was beyond amazing! My lead actress Jourdan Gibson and I were on the “Webseries Creators Assemble!” panel there and had such a good time. And my web series friends Jonathan Robbins from Clutch, Matthew Carvery from Asset, and Mike Donis from Pete Winning and the Pirates are at Fan Expo in Toronto this week and are representing Super Knocked Up for me there along with their great shows.
GO: What’s next for the series? Can you give us any info on fun new characters and entanglements to look forward to?
JB: I’d love to do two more seasons (we’re currently in Season 2) to finish off the full story I have laid out. There are some new villain characters, but mostly it focuses on the super-fun characters who are already established. Things heat up even more between Jessica and Michael. In more ways than one… And you’ll get to learn more about Jessica’s past and there are definitely some big surprises. So keep watching!
GO: Anything else you’d like to say to the geek outsiders out there?
JB: Thanks so much for being fellow awesome geeks! And if you check out Super Knocked Up, I would really, really appreciate it. I think you’ll really enjoy it if you give it a chance. It’s a different, fun spin on the superhero genre. As an independent web series creator, the more people watch the more likely I and my awesome cast and crew can keep making more cool episodes. So please check us out and support other web series too! There are so many amazing web series being made right now. It’s an exciting time to be a creator and a viewer!