120 page OGN
JOE GLASS VINCE UNDERWOOD HARRY SAXON HASSAN OTSMANE-ELHAOU KEVIN WADA
The Miracles tells the story of Elliot Morgan, an average teenager coming to the end of his high school career. A massive comic book nerd, he’s obsessed with an old comic that ended on a never-resolved cliffhanger, Major Voltage Adventures. This of course means he’s shocked and delighted when suddenly he discovers that he has superpowers of his own. But the startling revelations aren’t over yet, as he’s confronted by Major Voltage and his wife Ms Phantom straight out of the comics – superheroes who turn out to in fact be his own parents!. As the family’s big secret as refugees from a comic book into the real world comes to light, the family each begins dealing with the secrets they’ve all been keeping from each other too. But is the world ready for them, and will the family survive the truths that threaten to tear them apart?
Sometimes projects come along that just look like they’re coming from a “major” publisher. The hook of the story, design, art, coloring, letters … all of it just raises your eyebrows as you sit back and go ‘damn, this is a crowdfunding project?’ That’s exactly what we’ve got with The Miracles folks. Everything about the production of this book SCREAMS top notch creator input. There’s a damn good reason for that. IT IS. The creator cast behind this book is a who’s who of INDIE comic talent. Joe Glass provides the story (The Pride/Glitter Vipers/Acceptable Losses), Vince Underwood is the artist (Elk Mountain/Page Turn), Harry Saxon provides the colors (Vagrant Queen/Sex Death Revolution), and Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou letters (Quantam & Woody/Undone by Blood/First Knife) … oh, and that cover image up there is from Kevin Wada (Marvel cover artist). This is a literal dream team of talent.
So what are we getting? Described as The Incredibles mashed with The OC, and topped off with a dash of Invincible, this book tackles themes of family secrets, what it means to be a hero, and what it means to make a new home in a foreign place. There’s a high octane soap opera melodrama to it as non-natives have their nature revealed all while secret after secret is uncovered. Sounds to me like we’ve got a good ‘ol family drama as well as one kick ass superhero tale. For my money, it’s an instant back (which I’ve already done). I caught up with writer Joe Glass and shot some questions his way for a little more insight behind the coming together of the team as well as the book itself:
You mention that you’ve worked on this with others but finally found the right team. So, what makes this the right team? How did this creative team fall into place? The main thing was timing, I think. Through the many iterations The Miracles has gone through, and various artists who’ve helped me along the way, I could never quite break the back of it and really get into what it was I was saying until this team came together. Vince Underwood added a tinge of realism to it, and a strong Kirby-ish vibe for the sections of the book that take place in the world of Major Voltage Adventures. Harry Saxon’s colours worked with Vince’s art so well, and added layers of metatextual extras to the book. And Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou is someone I’ve wanted to work with since I met him and found him to be just a generally insightful, down-to-earth nice dude. Don’t get me wrong, every artist who’s been on the book at one time of another left a mark on the story in their own way, and they knocked it out of the park. But with this team it finally just felt…right. It’s hard to describe, really. Sometimes, you just get a feeling for when the time is right for the story, and this can also apply to the people helping you make it.
Where did this story come from? How did it come about? It’s actually been sitting in my head in its earliest gestational stages since way back when I started making The Pride. When I was a teenager reading books, I used to fantasise about being like one of the superheroes or fantasy characters from my favourite books and comics, that all this time it was kept secret for one reason or another. After The Pride started coming together and then gaining popularity, it became clear to me that there was an aspect of both the superhero genre and life that I hadn’t yet touched on: family. Family is an important aspect of life, and also specifically the queer experience. So it’s something I’ve always wanted to touch on. While it’s a case that it being me I’ll obviously be touching on the queer aspect and in one aspect it is an important element, it’s also a case that this is perhaps my most broad work to date in terms of accessibility. Everyone has wondered if they knew everything about their family; everyone has felt there were secrets. Moreover, I think everyone will be familiar with keeping secrets from their family too.
You’ve done a book featuring superheroes before … are they a natural outlet for stories, do you feel, or are some stories just better suited told through their lens? Superheroes are just very important to me. I became enamoured with them at an early age, and genuinely think they’re the myths and legends of the modern age, and our stories with them speak to humanity in the same way those myths, legends and folklore of antiquity did. I think generally you can tell pretty much any story in pretty much any genre, but superheroes are a great playing field as bizarrely they’re a great leveller. Feel like an outcast? So did Spider-Man. Made to feel different or dangerous because of the circumstance of birth and/appearance? So do the X-Men. Just wish people were good and true with each other? So does Superman. These heroes speak to vast unifying aspects of the human experience, told through stories of strength and overcoming, which can contain messages and lessons to those open to hearing them too. This is what I mean when I say they’re like the myths and legends of old. For me, they’re what comes most naturally to me. I may never get to be a superhero like I once fantasised, but the lessons I learned from them live within me. Now I tell stories, it’s only natural that they come out.
Will we find out how the comics in “our” world were written about “their” world? In this story a few theories come up, for sure. Major Voltage/Evan and another character who we haven’t revealed yet have particular perpendicular notions on it, and they definitely don’t always agree on it. But we never nail it down in this book. For now, if this is all that ever gets told in this world, I wanted to make it so it was a complete story, and that left things open to the reader to fill in the blanks in a way that satisfies themselves personally. That being said, I know the reason how their world was written about in the real world. If people love this enough to make us return to this story, that’ll be a lot of fun to explore.
This is a big project. After the Kickstarter do you have plans for it such as Comixology or something else? Yeah, it is a big one, and certainly something I’m nervous about. Being from a working class background and not generally having savings to fall back on, especially right now in the midst of everything going on, I really do need all the help I can get to make these things happen. Thankfully, people seem pretty excited about the story so far and we’ve started strong. There are definitely plans. My books always wind up on ComiXology Submit at least, for sure. The Miracles is no different. I’d be open to seeing if anyone would want to bring the story to a wider, more ‘general release’ audience too. And for me, I have more stories to tell in this world. If people love The Miracles enough, I’d love to share those too.
I for one folks, certainly would LOVE to see not just this OGN on my shelf, but a big broad universe brought to life. Joe has proven to be not just an excellent writer but also an excellent world builder. His works speak for themselves and they speak loudly, proudly and most importantly they’re well spoken. The team that ‘clicked’ to finally tell this story shows that there’s much more to Joe’s comic intelligence than putting pen to paper and slinging a good story. The pieces, parts and process all point to a wonderfully crafted tale that we’ll be lucky to have. So let’s make that happen yeah?