Over the years there have been countless conspiracy theories surrounding the deaths of Tupac Shakur, Andy Kaufman, Elvis Presley, Jim Morrison and Bruce Lee. In a new brand new comic book, all of the fallen icons are brought back to life as crime fighters who faked their own deaths.
'Comeback Kings' is the brainchild of writers Matt Sullivan and Gabe Guarente and artist Ethan Young. All three recently spoke with Newsarama.com about what inspired them to make the comic book.
Newsarama: Matt, Gabe, this is definitely a series with a unique concept — what are the origins of the story? And how did you go about selecting which dead celebrities would comprise the team?
Matt Sullivan: The stars we chose are obviously all icons that died too young who could still be alive today — but they also all have an audience that believes (or wants to believe) they faked their own deaths. We thought it’d be interesting to use that folklore as a satirical springboard to comment on both celebrity culture and the superhero genre simultaneously. There’s actually a lot of common ground between the two. Our superstars are all larger than life characters, with both heroic attributes and tragic dimension — just like many comic book heroes. There are similar core issues: Are their talents (and the fame resulting from them) a gift or a curse?
Gabe Guarente: So when we started talking about the names that fit the bill — Bruce, Elvis, Andy Kaufman — we saw how each one could be different personality type in a super team. Andy could be the goofy master of disguise, Jim could be the brooding ladies man, etc. It seemed so natural, we wondered why they never teamed up before. Would have been the best Enter the Dragon sequel ever.
Nrama: Ethan, how did you get on board, and how does it compare to other work you've done in your career?
Ethan Young: Gabe and Matt found my website, youngillustrations.com, where I basically offer illustration services for all different types of projects: comics, storyboards, logos, you name it. They pitched me on the idea of a satirical super-hero comic and I was intrigued from the get-go. It's a lot of fun to work on. I've been able to expand my repertoire and fool around with zip-a-tone; most of my other work is just traditionally inked. I think the final product is going to look neat! People who are more familiar with my previous works will see Comeback Kings as a pleasant surprise.
In the comic book Tupac's character will mirror his real life persona in some ways according to Sullivan and Guarente
Sullivan: Our Tupac is a thug angel, torn between being a socially-conscious man of honor and a ready-to-die gangsta who just doesn’t give a f*ck. Focusing his revolutionary impulses beyond “me against the world” is his mission — and his struggle.
Guarente: Also, as the youngest member of the group, he’s brash and doesn’t like to take orders from guys who he thinks are well past their primes. You’ll also be interested to see where he is in his alter ego “retired” lifestyle, before getting called back into duty. It’s definitely a softer side to the Tupac you might know.
'Comeback Kings' is being distributed through Ardden Entertainment and is available now. To read more about it go to www.Newsarama.com.