Hey Fangirls! The other day I was recommended and sent a pdf for a comic called The Adventures of Aero-Girl. The title and art intrigued me, so I read it, and was happily surprised.
Aero-Girl is the daughter (and side-kick) of Fox Bay’s number one hero, Battle Jack. The story starts with the two of them fighting the Three Ring Gang (the Bearded Lady, Strong Man, and the Ringmaster). Battle Jack & Aero-Girl have a bit of an argument about how much Aero-Girl can handle, and they decide that she can fight Bearded Lady if she’s alone. Strong Man joins Ringmaster inside, and Aero-Girl attacks. She defeats the Bearded Lady and the Ring Master in one fell swoop, then she and her father go home for dinner.
At dinner, the family is discussing Jackie’s (Aero-Girl’s) fighting of villains on her own. It’s obvious that this is a common topic in their house. After dinner, Jack and Jackie train, and he tells her the story of the Battle Spirit. The Battle Spirit is what gives him his powers. He got it from Battalion (the last defender of Fox Bay), who died in front of him. He worries that even though the Battle Spirit is supposed to make you indestructible, it didn’t for Battalion. So will there be an end to Battle Jack?
The next day, Battle Jack goes to an event at the zoo to have a gorilla named after him, but an alert comes to Jackie’s phone. She rushes out of the gymnastics tournament she’s supposed to be competing in, grabs her Aero-Girl gear, and heads to the zoo. her first thought, “It must be Chimera,” is correct. Her father is in his clutches, while Chimera points a weapon that can supposedly pull the Battle Spirit from his body is aimed at Jack. It’s fired, and Battle Jack goes through the wall.
A punch comes through the wall to hit Chimera, and Aero-Girl assumes it’s her father, but she is sadly mistaken. It’s the gorilla, and he’s holding her father’s body as he comes through the hole in the wall. And that’s where it ends.
I liked this, a lot. It was fun and cute, the art is adorable, and it’s creator owned. There is a Kickstarter, that ends on June 18. It has 2 weeks left and still needs help.
Interview with DeWayne Feenstra
I was lucky enough to ask Feenstra some questions, and they were answered!
What made you want to create comics?
I have always liked coming up with stories and even wrote a few epic short stories when I was in high school, but it wasn’t until the Shadowline contest until I had an inkling that I may be able to write an actual comic book. The great thing about comics and traditional books is that anything is possible. Anything that I can imagine can show up in my books. That freedom is very liberating and probably a little frustrating for Axur because I know have probably made some ridiculous requests.
I have toyed with the idea of trying to write a small novel and have started adapting the 4-issue Aero-Girl script to see if it is something that reads well.
What type of education did you go through?
After an extended break from school, I returned 2yrs ago to get my BA in Educational studies (I graduate in Nov). I know people may assume a writer to be an English major or something along those lines but I actually prefer Math to English. I won’t lie; I’ve never even taken a creative writing class! It probably shows in my writing, lol. I’m not saying that you can get into comics without any schooling (I know quite a few writers and artists that have 4 yr. degrees in their specialties), but isn’t a prerequisite. I think learned the most about writing from reading books. I’m an avid reader; I was the kid who got in trouble because they were reading and not paying attention. I suggest writers read from a diverse list of authors and genres as possible, this will give you a wider view on what (in your opinion) works and what doesn’t.
Where did inspiration for Aero-Girl come from?
I wish I could tell you that the first idea for Aero-Girl was from some amazing brainstorming session, but it wasn’t. About 10 years ago, my older brother and I were waiting in line at Hall H in SDCC and started coming up with crazy comic ideas based off of TV shows from the 70’s and 80’s. The one that stuck in my mind was the idea of Hero traveling through space with a monkey wearing a jetpack; it was a Sci-Fi “Any Which Way But Loose”! Over the next few years, I started writing short pitches for comic ideas for fun while I was at work. I never really went beyond the premise and the core of the first arc for any of these ideas. Then Shadowline announced their Create a Superheroine writer contest in 2007 and I decided to see if any of my ideas could be developed with a female lead. At first, the idea was for a “Super Woman” to fight crime with a wacky jetpack-wearing monkey but I felt that it was excessively juvenile. My next idea was to flip the roles and have super powers go to the monkey and the woman to wear the jetpack, sort of like the Rocketeer meets a JLApe. From there I decided on having the woman actually be a young teen girl and for her to be a hero in training, this would be part of the main plot for the first arc.
I think I decided on this journey for Aero-Girl because I have always been a fan of teen fiction or teen based TV shows. Things like Buffy and Harry Potter, where teens have to deal with situations that are generally believed to be beyond their scope, have always fascinated me. As substitute teacher, I work with teens and I feel that they often are portrayed as being less than they are and I think that Aero-Girl is good portrayal of a strong teen.
Is this your first independent comic?
This is actually my second independent comic. I was the writer for the opening arc of the new Midnight Tiger series that was successfully kickstarted last year and is now coming out through Action Lab Entertainment in July. Like Aero-Girl, Midnight Tiger is about a teen hero and his struggles with newfound power & responsibilities. Where Aero-Girl is written as more of an all age story, Midnight Tiger is closer to TV14 rating. It deals with older teen problems, gangs, drugs and gun violence.
How did you pick the creative team?
I was lucky enough to find my creative team through Twitter. Nate Cosby was doing one of his #ArtistHunts where he calls for artist to send him links to their work because he is looking for new talent and Axur Eneas’s work really stuck out to me. I hadn’t considered going with such a younger animated style for Aero-Girl (truth was I was picturing it as a super hero version of Buffy originally), but I absolutely fell in love with fun energy that radiated from Axur’s work. The change in art tweaked the script a little but I think it only has made the story that much more poignant. Luckily, for me, Axur came with his own colorist. The palate that Juan Pablo Riebeling is using really sets the tone in a subtle way that complements Axur’s work beautifully.
Adam Wollet was another Twitter recommendation. I think it was Ryan K Lindsey who was talking about a great letterer he was working with and he passed on Adam’s contact info to me. I don’t know what a typical writer/letterer relationship is like, but Adam is invaluable to Aero-Girl. As a writer himself, he acts as a pseudo editor and sounding board for me when reviews my scripts. I have practically no experience and his input has really helped me shape my dialogue and pacing. On top of editing, he is the one who decides on what SFXs we use and that definitely ups the “fun” factor of our book.
What is your goal with the Kickstarter?
Our goal for this kickstarter is very simple. Adam, Axur & Juan Pablo are all professionals and they deserve to be compensated for their unbelievable work. As I said before, I’m a substitute teacher so I’m not swimming in extra money. Kickstarter and crowdfunding are the only ways creator’s like me can get our books made. Every dollar we raise goes to paying the creative team and to a small print run that Axur and I hope to sell at SDCC this summer. I have no real delusion of making millions right now, I just want to pay my team and get a great book into hands of kids and older comic readers.
Who is your biggest inspiration?
Creatively, my biggest inspiration is Kurt Busiek. He is by far my favorite writer (novels, comics, TV or movies) of all time. His work on Superman: Secret Identity is my favorite Superman story ever. As good as that was, is work on Astro City is the greatest comic book series I have ever read. I recommend everyone read it! The way he writes these personal & character driven stories in a world full of super heroes is huge influence on what I am trying to do with Aero-Girl.
Do you consider yourself a Fanboy/Fangirl? What is your biggest fandom?
I think everyone is a fanboy/fangirl to something. Whether it is sports, comics, novels, knitting, etc… we all have something we are passionate about. For me it is comic books and post-apocalyptic stories starring teens. The comics are obvious, but I cannot get enough of TV shows or books about teens in worlds without adults. There have been two shows I found on Canadian television (Tribes and 2030 CE) that I was hooked on so bad that I had to download episodes because they stopped showing them in States.
And that’s it! Thanks so much to Feenstra and the amazing team behind Aero-Girl. Go check out their Kickstarter, and help if you can!
All images and characters depicted are copyright of their respective owners.