Adam Breen talks about SIDE-KICKED

Adam Breen is a two-time Darby Pop Breaking into Comics Winner and his latest entery “Gauntlet” will be part of the new Side-Kicked trade paperback. Adam was nice enough to stop by First Comics News and let our readers know how he broke into comics and what his story is all about.

First Comics News: You have a Degree in English and Film from the University College Dublin. How does writing for comics compare to writing for a University Professor?


Adam Breen: In some ways, it is similar. You have to get all the technical stuff right. You have to make sure you format everything correctly and spell-check over and over again. Anything that breaks the flow of a script — just as with an essay — is gonna irritate the reader. But, whereas a professor knows a certain amount about you and may often judge your essay based upon intent, an editor may not know anything about you and judge only the content of your script. So, it has to deliver.

1st: Once you have a degree in film, what makes you change course and try to break into comics?

Adam: I had always intended to be a comic writer. But, it was actually a movie that kicked-off my career. After I saw The Dark Knight, I didn’t wanna be a spectator anymore, and I committed to studying the craft. I had nothing but an old word processor and the special edition of Arkham Asylum by Grant Morrison. It had the comic script reprinted in the back, so I just copied the layout and set about learning as much as I could about writing a comic book. But, I didn’t feel like it was enough. So, I went to college to get an English degree, and that was the year Dublin started offering English and Film together. I thought that would be a great way to learn about two different storytelling mediums. And it was.

1st: You won the Darby Pop “Breaking into Comics” Contest in 2016, how did you hear about the contest?

Adam: My fiancée found it actually. She is also very interested in comics and she gives me so much support. She is always combing through the Internet, looking for places to send a script. She found their contest and I put in a script. So it is all thanks to her!

1st: Were you familiar with Darby Pop Publishing before the contest?

Adam: Yeah. A friend of mine who attends Trinity College in Dublin showed me the issue of Dead Squad that takes place in the famous Trinity Library. I gave it a read and thought that it was pretty cool, so I read the whole series.

When I read more about Darby Pop, I realized I was familiar with Jeff Kline’s work as a producer. I thought someone with all that experience putting together loads of amazing animated shows would be a great comic publisher, and I was right.

1st: Your story “Past Due” was published in Women of Darby Pop. So there is a contest, you won, and you have successfully broken into comics. What made you decide to enter again in 2017 and “break in” again?

Adam: Well, you don’t just ‘break in.’ It’s a constant battle. It isn’t a case of getting published once, then putting your feet up and waiting for the offers to pour in. You constantly have to push for opportunities and get your scripts read. Plus, I really love Darby Pop and I would jump at the chance to work with them anytime.

1st: As a prior winner, weren’t you pretty sure you knew what the editors were looking for?

Adam: You can never be sure! You always have to make sure it is as good as possible. But with Darby Pop, it’s more of a particular work ethic. They are very much a team. You have to be open to feedback and working with everyone on the team to make the best book possible.

1st: Had you been reading Side-Kicked before you entered the contest?

Adam: I was indeed. It was funny and had some great action set-pieces. Plus, I like the way it looked at the realistic side of what being a side-kick must be like. And, as a writer, I love the chance to expand a universe and write stories about the events that you don’t normally get to see. So, it was great to be able to write an origin story.

1st: One of the things I liked about your story is you are breaking into the comics industry and Frostbite is breaking into the superhero industry, and you frame his story in that context. Is this semi-autobiographical?

Adam: Ha! You caught me! An underdog trying to make a mark on a business with so many other big names. So, maybe a little bit, yes! I also wanted to explore the other qualities that make up a superhero besides “powers” like intelligence, creativity, etc.

1st: Walter Jefferson/Frostbite doesn’t want to be a side-kick. What is the working relationship between Frostbite and Atlanta?

Adam: There is a huge amount of respect. Frostbite looks at Atalanta like a rock-star. She is one the heavy hitters. And Atalanta would not have even looked at Frostbite if she didn’t think he could fight at her level.

1st: What is the personal relationship between Frostbite and Atlanta?

Adam: They are in love. Atalanta comes from a long line of women who share her powers. The women in her family have the responsibility to pass their mantle on to their daughters. But, this can only happen if the children are created out of love. So, Atalanta wouldn’t waste her time in a relationship with someone she didn’t truly love.

1st: Walter isn’t a kid, he is a full grown man. He and Atlanta consider themselves partners. Why does he hang out with and identify with the side-kicks?

Adam: I think these guys are his friends and he feels connected to them. Walter is the kinda guy who gets promoted to management at work, and still considers himself one of the worker bees.

1st: If Walter isn’t satisfied with his role, why doesn’t he just strike out on his own?

Adam: Well, he was trying to do that. But, Atalanta shows him that despite his power, he still has a lot to learn and being her partner will only make him stronger.

1st: Now that you have broken into comics twice, what do you have planned next?

Adam: Right now I am working on an awesome project with another artist I met while working on Women Of Darby Pop. Can’t say too much about it right now, but hopefully, everyone will get to read it soon!

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