New comic revives old heroes

Not Forgotten anthology features re-imagined public domain superheroes, and includes a story by The Dialog’s Malcolm Derikx

While superheros like Batman and Superman have been kicking ass in comic books, on TV and in movies consistently since their first appearances in the 1930s, some heroes have not been so lucky.

But a new comics anthology, featuring the work of George Brown College student and The Dialog staff member, Malcolm Derikx, aims to resurrect and re-imagine superheroes who were once all the rage, but fell off the page after the Second World War.

Not Forgotten features more than 20 stories about superheroes whose usage rights have landed in the public domain. For Derikx, working with once-popular superheroes who have largely disappeared is a way to explore the cultural moment, while making something new.

“When (I) first heard of the project it was this cool chance to write a piece of history and make people remember this little thing that was once so big but has been forgotten over time,” said Derikx, who is in the screenwriting and narrative design program at George Brown.

Derikx, who writes under the pen name Miike, partnered up with illustrator Greg Menzie to create a story about The Black Terror in the anthology. The superhero first appeared in 1941, but has popped up in various forms with a range of superpowers since then, including as a computer program called Terror 2000 in Alan Moore’s 2001 Tom Strong series.

In Derikx and Menzie’s version, The Black Terror is more closely tied to his first rendition, as a chemist who makes a compound which makes him super strong and invulnerable. In the story in the Not Forgotten anthology, The Black Terror and his sidekick go to Ukraine after learning that the Chernobyl nuclear station has been reactivated after its 1986 meltdown. Due to the radiation emitting from the station, only The Black Terror can deal with the situation.

Contributors to Not Forgotten include well regarded names like James Harren, who has illustrated for the Conan and Punisher series, and written volumes of B.P.R.D., which is a spinoff of Hellboy.

Working alongside artists that he respects, Derikx said, creates a risk of “geeking out” over the names he’s sharing the anthology with. But Derikx also sees having a story in the same anthology as Harren and others, as a daunting opportunity to show what he can do.

“It’s a real ego boost and kind of intimidating all at the same time,” Derikx said.

Not Forgotten was funded through Kickstarter, raising $27,005 USD through 753 donations. The fundraising campaign was all or nothing style, meaning that if the anthology failed to meet its target of $25,000 USD, all of the money pledged would be returned to its contributors.

For the anthology’s co-editor, Einar V. Másson ,the all or nothing aspect of the fundraising campaign was about avoiding a situation where Not Forgotten would have to “half ass it,” and choose between either paying its creators or for the cost of printing.

“All or nothing is tougher, but it has it’s assurances. Let’s put it that way,” said Másson, who is also creating a story for the anthology that re-imagines Super Ann, who first appeared in 1941.

In an email after Not Forgotten met its target, Másson called the experience of the campaign “humbling,” noting that the effort to fund the comic “went down to the wire.”

Másson also said that when he and co-creator Matt Harding send the book to the printers, they will make sure Not Forgotten is available to those who want it. The anthology is scheduled to be delivered to its Kickstarter backers in July.


New comic revives old heroes