Hello everyone, Kristian here hoping you’re having a happy Monday so far! Today we’re doing something new at Part-Time Fanboy! A “text” interview! Usually I’ll try and have creators come on the podcast to chat a bit…but not everyone has time to come on the show…so from now on every once in a while we’re going to bring you a good old fashioned readable interview! Our own Paul Edwards sat down with writer John Crowther who is developing an interesting new superheroine concept. So without further ado I’ll turn it over to Paul:
Rochelle: The Teen Cockroach is a forthcoming comic created by John Crowther. The artists will be Don Edwards and Dell Barras. In this story, Rochelle is a teenage human/American cockroach hybrid, created when her single mother donated an egg to a fertility clinic. After the egg was fertilized, it was unknowingly contaminated by an American cockroach. When Rochelle was born, she some characteristics of a cockroach (wings, heightened senses, etc.). She also has the ability to generate an exoskeleton and communicate telepathically with cockroaches.
The stories will deal with her struggles as a teenager and the trials she faces, as well as certain prejudices….the most obvious being the irony of the universally despised cockroach being the hero of the series.
I exchanged a series of e-mails with John on July 15, 2014 which forms the content of this interview.
There’s a long and storied list of comic characters based on animals. What inspired you to use the cockroach?
I chose the cockroach as a means of addressing prejudices through the Rochelle character. There is an inherent bias against things or individuals that we find different or disgusting (in the case of the cockroach). By portraying the cockroach in a positive light (through Rochelle) I am able to address these biases. For example…few people realize that the cockroach is the fastest land insect or acknowledge the cockroach’s amazing immune system.
And how did you decide Rochelle was going to be a teenaged girl?
I have a teenage daughter. Many of the stories are inspired by her and the life trials that she and other teenagers face on a day-to-day basis. I also chose the use of a teenage girl as an oxymoron, to address the bias line to the stories. What could be more opposite from a clean and innocent teenage girl, than a “dirty” and “disgusting” cockroach?
So what’s Rochelle like then? Her family? Her school life?
She is a very confident girl, but does fall victim to your typical teenage issues (dating, self image, etc.). She loves at home with her single mom, who works nights as a corporate maid. In school, she is popular. Captain of the track team, accepted in all social circles, and very involved in school activities. But, due to her peculiarities, she is inclined to favor the underdog.
So, she’s able to pass for fully human?
She appears human in most respects,with the exception of her cockroach wings (which can be hidden under clothing). Her exoskeleton (what appears to be her costume) is generated by her in times of distress or need.
Does she have a “Scooby Gang” of close friends that she plays off of?
She has some close friends at school (Taylor and Carmen) who will have recurring roles and I plan to introduce another schoolmate hero/villain “friend” in the second and third issues, who will have a recurring role (no spoilers!)
When she is younger and experiences biases due to her being different, and as a result of her being created do to a contaminated fertilized human egg in an unsanitary fertility clinic, she makes a personal vow to rid her environment of “filth, contamination, and vermin”.
Looking at some of the preview art, I think that I recognize some of the buildings. Is the series set in Florida?
Tampa. 🙂 But we never say. It’s one of the hidden things only the creator knows. I have little things like that throughout my stories as well. Those are the Wells Fargo and Regions Bank buildings downtown.
Rochelle would be one of the first superheroes from Florida, other than Captain Citrus. How did Don Edwards and Dell Barras come to be involved in the book?
Florida needs some representation. And we have a slew of cockroaches here.
I had the stories, but I have next to no artistic ability. I posted a rough sketch of Rochelle on a Facebook page called Independent Creators Connection, and Don Edwards contacted me and asked if I needed an artist.
Dell Barras is a different story. I have been a long time fan of Dell’s..ever since his days of drawing Death’s Head for Marvel Comics. I wrote Dell, told him the story line, and he loved it. We then decided to collaborate on the project.
Death’s Head was a great book! Are there any other titles or artists that influenced or inspired you?
I agree. Excellent book. I am a huge fan of comics and art from the late-70s and throughout the 80’s. John Byrne and Rich Buckler (who will be doing a Rochelle piece for me). Outside of comics, I am a huge fan of John Carpenter. They Live is a classic!
I’m a John Carpenter guy, too. I think that he and Kurt Russell had the perfect director/actor combo for an amazing stretch of movies. Thanks, John!
Fantastic! I really appreciate it.