Anthony Ruttgaizer Talks About His New Graphic Novel, HEROES OF HOMEROOM C

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    ComicWow! (CW): Can you tell us a little about Heroes of Homeroom C (what it’s about)?

    Anthony Ruttgaizer (AR): Heroes of Homeroom C tells the tale of Albert and Nicola Hathaway, twin 12-year-old superheroes who lose their powers and get sent back to public school.  But, of course, even in the midst of trying to lead a “normal life” our pair gets caught up in all sorts of action and excitement.

    The story will be told in a 74-page graphic novel written by me with art by Carlos Granda and colors and letters by Fred C. Stresing.  The book will be published by my new company, Aristocrats Comics, and we have just launched a Kickstarter campaign to help fund that effort.  You can find the campaign by visiting www.HeroesOfHomeroomC.com

    CW: How did you come up with the plot for this story?

    AR: I had just delivered the scripts for The F1rst Hero, Volume 1 (Action Lab Comics) to my artist, Phillip Sevy (Tomb Raider), and decided I needed something new to work on.  I put my mind to it while I was walking to work late one afternoon and hit upon the notion of: what would you do if being a superhero was all you’d ever known and now you had to live life without being that superhero?  And at the time, I was also eager to work on something that was maybe more kid-friendly.

    CW: What writers/artists/creators have influenced Heroes of Homeroom C?

    AR: Ty Templeton was a huge influence on how this book was created.  After signing my publishing deal with Action Lab for The F1rst Hero, I took one of Ty’s Comic Book Boot Camp courses here in Toronto.  Ty is a fantastic teacher and gave me solid storytelling techniques that actually prompted me to rewrite and improve sections of that original The F1rst Hero mini-series.  He also gave me some fantastic techniques to aid in the formulation of ideas that I used to come up with the premise for HoHC.  Jamal Igle was another influence at the time as he was working on the first volume of his series, Molly Danger.

    CW: When Nicola and Albert are sent back to public school, they are going to live a “normal” life. What, in your opinion, is “normal?”

    AR: Well, I’ve spent more than 25 years involved in professional wrestling in some capacity or another, so maybe I’m not the guy to speak to about “normal.”  Ha!  I often think of the expression “May you live in interesting times,” which, on its surface, sounds like a blessing, but is actually meant as a curse.  In our story, we’ll see that the Hathaway Twins are, for the first time in their young lives, divided on how they want to live.

    CW: How did you go from standup comedian to professional wrestler to comics writer?

    AR: I’ve always wanted to perform in some way.  Stand-up was something I first tried in senior year of high school.  A classmate, Jean Paul, did it and did it well [so] I decided I would give it a try.  I did it on and off for a decade or so with a small amount of success but nothing like Jean, who has gone on to win awards as a comedian and a writer.

    Wrestling was something I got interested in even a bit earlier than that but it wasn’t until a few years after high school that I had a real opportunity to do something with it.  Over the next 20 years, I was lucky enough to travel Canada and [the] United States and even over to the UK and Spain because of wrestling.  I’m retired now as an actual wrestler but I still appear, on a more limited basis, as a manager and a play-by-play commentator for a couple of really terrific wrestling promotions here in Southern Ontario.

    And comic books… Comic books are the love that precedes both wrestling and comedy.  And in the transverse relationship of me loving something and how long it takes me to achieve it, writing comics is only a recent accomplishment for me.  The first comic book I bought with my own money was Claremont and Miller’s Wolverine #1.  And all these years later, I’m writing stuff that I hope will get some other young kid hooked on comics, too.

    CW: Have your previous careers in any way helped with the writing of this book?

    AR: Yes they have.  Comedy has helped me [with] writing dialogue, both in adding some humor and in what a mentor once called “the economy of words.”  I’m still an incredibly verbose person, but I try to convey the ideas of a story in as compact a manner as possible (Don’t want to cover too much of the art with word balloons, do we?).  Wrestling has helped me with divining characters’ motives for what they are doing and, especially if you read The F1rst Hero, Volume 2, staging a fight sequence.

    CW: What can people expect if they head over to your Kickstarter to donate? What rewards are you offering?

    AR: Beyond the basics like print and digital copies of the complete graphic novel, t-shirts and getting their name added to the book’s thank you list for contributors, they’ll also find chances to appear in the comic as speaking or non-speaking character, an additional comic full of behind-the-scenes material for HoHC, dinner with me and some creator friends during a convention here in Toronto, and (my favorite) a package that nets them a copy of the book AND donates two more copies to local libraries in their name.

    CW: I am a huge supporter of Aristocrats Comics’ goal, to promote diversity. How do you think doing so at a young age (since this book is all ages) will be beneficial to readers (especially nowadays)?

    AR: Hate and racism are learned behaviors.  Let’s just stop teaching them.  If children are taught positive values like equality and compassion today, we might be less likely to wake up to news of shootings and hate crimes and idiotic governments trying to ban entire races of people from stepping foot on their shores tomorrow.

    CW: What can we expect from you in the near future?

    AR: Well, after Heroes of Homeroom C is finished, I have at least three other projects to get to including a “post-monster apocalypse” book with artist Lee Moder, a time travel book with Pipin Tobing, and a riff on a Mark Twain story that I’ll be looking for an artist for later in the year.

    CW: Is there anything you’d like to add?

    AR: Yes.  I’d like to thank everyone in advance for their support, especially of the financial variety, for Heroes of Homeroom C.  It’s an important step forward in my career and I hope it’s a book that a lot of people will get a chance to enjoy.  And if you’d like to find me on social media, please head to @AristocratsCMX on Twitter and @AristocratsComics on Instagram.  Thank you!