“Not So Super Comics” is Actually Pretty Darn Super – A Conversation with Founder/Creator Jacques Nyemb

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Daniel is your average guy. He goes to work; he makes small talk and not-great jokes with his pretty co-worker; he eats bad Chinese food… and sometimes he wakes up in the morning with a brand new (and often terribly inconvenient) super power. But Not So Super isn’t your typical ordinary-dude-gets-powers-and-goes-all-tights-wearing-vigilante story.

No, writer and founder of Not So Super ComicsJacques Nyemb had something else in mind entirely. Through Dan’s more or less ordinary life, Nyemb explores the small adventures of everyday life, the extraordinary in the ordinary…

From the creepy co-worker to inane work calls, it’s clear that Nyemb is no stranger to the 9-to-5, and he captures it all with a  forehead slap at the ridiculousness and a grin at just how interesting everyday life can be.  Not So Super grabs you from the get go and doesn’t need gimmicks and superpowered aliens to do it.  

Joe Hunter‘s deft hand captures the comic’s full range from the dull greys and frays of cubicle life and the warm comforts of home and routine to the bright colors and bold lines of bang-pow! action. A range that is surprising for the comic-strip style art, but it’s the perfect fit for the story.

Issue #1 of Not So Super is out now, and there’s more to come!  Not So Super Comics is also the name of Nyemb’s bigger venture, an indie spirited enterprise with a dedication to elevating artists, and they’ve got some other cool projects on the way, but we’ll let Nyemb tell you all about that…

CoverHow did you come up with the idea for Not So Super?

At the time I wrote the story, I was freelancing.  Many of my friends where constantly telling me how much they disliked their jobs. Those conversations reminded me of the job I left behind. I kept hearing the same theme; People not deriving any fulfilment in their jobs. I heard stories upon stories about lack of realization of potential.

On the contrary, I was freelancing and unlocking so many things about myself. I learned I can take some pretty mean photography, that I could write some decent stuff and that I still had abilities even though my past job didn’t provide me the outlet to show them.

The idea kept growing and I wanted to write a story that was sort of a commentary on that. That we all have powers within us, but it’s up to us to hone them and then decide whether or not we deem them “Super”.

Why the “Normal Guy” narrative?

I wanted to write something that would be accessible to everyone. I personally was tired of the “cape and tights” comics, but was torn because I enjoyed stories about superpowers. My love of “slice of life” as well as action comics, was the only way I could blend the two and get exactly what I wanted.

As a web designer yourself, do you relate personally to Daniel in any way?

I used to be Daniel. But ever since I became a husband and father I derive my passion in other ways. My life isn’t tied to my job. I derive meaning in everything now. Even menial tasks, I always try to find the opportunity to learn and grow.

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What do you have against superpowers?! But seriously, the comic looks at superpowers in a really interesting way, very different than the typical geek-gets-superpowers-and-becomes-a-hero narrative, but that said, what makes Daniel so different from such characters? Why isn’t he interested in heroics?

As I mentioned earlier, it’s not about Daniel being powerful. That narrative has been told a zillion times. It’s about him being like everyone of us. Having abilities that we KNOW about, but not realizing them because we think they’re “not so super”. I’m hoping as we grow with Daniel we all realize it and then make the choice whether or not we want to be the hero or the alter ego.

At first the Not So Super story is a bit quiet and slow (though it definitely grabs you), but that ending makes it look like we’ve got a whole new pace to look forward to in the next issues. Was this first issue mostly set-up and introduction or will the series keep the same sort of pace and tone?

The series will have lots of ups and downs and quiet spaces to reflect in. There will be opportunities to learn more about Daniel’s friends and his family and the weird powers that manifest themselves. As well as end with the cause of his powers. But unlike other comics, I tend to like to get the audience engaged with the mundane and thoroughly WOWed with the spectacular.

The art style is really interesting (that “Dilbert meets Archie” description holds pretty true for the art in particular). Was this originally the kind of art you had in mind for the story? Why this style?

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It was EXACTLY what I envisioned. As a matter of fact I seeked out Joe Hunter to do the work because it’s what I wanted. As I said before I’m aiming for accessibility. I want comic fans and non-comic readers to want to learn more about the story and Joe’s art definitely makes those “mundane” pages worth reading.

What is the mission behind Not So Super Comics? What makes it “Not So Super”?

Our goal is simple, we want to get all kinds of folks into comics. We want to stop it from being this inaccessible niche thing, but rather turn it into an important part of our literacy. We want to create stories people would want to talk about around the water cooler and not need 30 years of continuity to feel included. We want to represent ALL of us in some way in this medium that has so much potential.

What can we look forward to…both for Daniel and from Not So Super Comics?

You can expect plenty of surprises from Dan and his friends. Also it’s possible you’ll also like other characters more than Dan. They all will add some interesting things to the mix.

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With Not So Super Comics, expect A LOT of unique stories. We have a funny story about a Vegan being bit by a Vampire and the ridiculousness that ensues. It’s illustrated by David Degrand, who’s done work with MAD magazine, Nickelodeon, BOOM! Studios.

We have a secret story about a quirky group of food costumed vigilante “heroes” as they prepare to battle their greatest enemy, the H.U.N.G.E.R. Pack. Which is illustrated by super talented artist Justin Wood.

On both comics my good friend Marc Jackson is lettering them giving my comics some unique and often complimented text.

We’re also dipping our feet into Sci fi. I wrote a story for the Earth Dream Project anthology hosted by 7 Robots. It will be a FREE digital anthology that highlights environmental issues on Earth day 2014. It will be illustrated by yet another amazing artist, Aviv Itzcovitz. It will be an interesting challenge because I wrote my first wordless comic.

I have over 10 stories I could tell you about. But I won’t bore you. But everything you see thus far is a product of working with a great team. I hope to work with many other artists, gain new readers and hopefully generate enough revenue to sustain everyone involved.

Thanks so much for the opportunity to interview with you. Hopefully this will be the first of many! 

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Check out all the awesome going on at Not So Super Comics!

Website: http://notsosupercomics.com

Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/NotSoSuperComics

Twitter: https://twitter.com/nsscomics

Throwback Thursday: Blue Eyes Meets Bed Stuy — Sinatra & Biggie Get Mashed

Back in something like 2006  DJ Cappel & Smitty had the genius idea to put the souls of Frank Sinatra and Biggie Smalls, both geniuses of their own genres, in a room together. The result was “Blue Eyes Meets Bed Stuy,” a perfect mix of Biggie’s smooth bass rap with Sinatra’s choral crooning, of Biggie’s usual chill vibe beats with Sinatra’s big brassy bands. Is the kind of sound you want for those days that you can’t really make up or down of, the ones that you just gotta glide through and go with.

Track 2, a mash-up of “Everyday Struggle” and “A Day in the Life of a Fool” is the truth.

So in the midst of the first bitingly cold days where the skies are still mockingly clear, as you zombie through your work day checking Facebook for a melange of international crisis news, hilarious gifs of evil pets, another opinion on Miley Cyrus, and yet another epic engagement story… maybe sign off and nod to this instead

Geeky Week Round-Up: Rue Joins Sleepy Hollow, Luke Cage Gets a TV Show, & Frederick Douglass Gets the Comic Treatment

Last week brought us lots of Geeky Outsidery awesome. So, we decided to consolidate it all into one giant post of awesome to get your geek on and week started off right. Happy Sunday!

amandlasleepyhollow

Gotta headline with this week’s best news!  Amandla Stenberg, that dope actress who played Rue in the Hunger Games, will be joining the cast of Sleepy Hollow!  After a less-than-awesome (read, horribly racist) experience after her Hunger Games debut, it puts a huge smile on the geek gods faces to see this great tiny actress join a diverse cast on a fun show with an awesome dynamic Black female lead. Win.

Speaking of winning, Marvel gave us the gift of a new badass superhero. The teenage shapeshifter from Jersey will be debuting in her own title series as the new Ms. Marvel in February 2014!  Real name Kamala Khan, this young new superhero grew up in Jersey but has Pakistani roots and joins the ranks of the few Muslim superheroes in mainstream comics! Written by G. Willow Wilson, Khan made her first appearance in last week’s Captain Marvel #17 (yep. Go get it!).  (via CBR)

Awesome freelance artists (and video game industry professionals!) Audran Guerard and Daniel Roy had the beautiful idea to put together a graphic novel adaptation of the life of Frederick Douglass. Based on his two biographies The Life of Frederick Douglass: A Graphic Novel will be published as two 50-page volumes featuring some beautiful watercolor art. Support ’em (and dibs a copy!) on Kickstarter.

Marvel is bringing Daredevil, Luke Cage, Iron Fist and Jessica Jones to the small screen! Specifically, they signed a deal with Netflix for four separate new live-action TV series, one for each of the characters. And here’s the dope – these four shows will lead to a team-up in a miniseries for The Defenders! (via IGN)

And for all the literary geeks out there, we’ve got a Jane Austen video game (we’re totally playing)! And an (ironically) daring theater that’s bringing drag back to Shakespeare! (via kickstarter & WBUR)

via WBUR

Keep it Geeky!

A Very Storm-y Halloween! *Best* Storm Halloween Cosplay

Halloween isn’t just for the wicked, it’s basically a holiday for geeks and cosplayers to get their geek on with full approval and even celebration. And this Halloween, some classic Storm is out in full force!  And who can blame ’em, a Storm costume is the perfect way to get geeky and stay classy.

These classy and sassy Storms would make the lightning goddess have a little chat with her designer….

In Singer/model/director Greg Serebuoh‘s hands Storm goes natural diva:

In Singer/model/director Greg Serebuoh's hands Storm goes natural diva
In Singer/model/director Greg Serebuoh‘s hands Storm goes natural diva

Nailed it.

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And Fashion blogger The Seventh Sphinx goes Storm mod:

Peep more shots at The Seventh Sphinx.

Happy Geek-o-ween  y’all!