Dærick Gröss Sr. talks about MURCIÉLAGA SHE-BAT #13
Heroic Publications started reprinting Murciélaga/She-Bat from the first story about a year ago with the goal of introducing a new generation of readers to Murciélaga/She-Bat. They began coloring the black and white issues and eventually wanted to print all new stories. Available for download now, and in print, this July will be Dærick Gröss’ Murciélaga She-Bat #13, featuring the first all new Murciélaga story in over a decade. Dærick was nice enough to stop by First Comics News to talk about his return to the character.
First Comics News: It has been a long time since there were any new Murciélaga She-Bat stories, when did the last one come out?
Dærick Gröss: Studio G published the Murciélaga/She-Bat Special in 2002. It was originally intended to be the launch of a new run of her books (the next 3 issues were prepped and under way) when we suffered a studio fire. It destroyed or damaged nearly everything comic related. Despite excellent insurance, there no longer remained the finances to continue… and, emotionally, I did not want to. It has only been in the last two years that I have begun to feel re-invigorated about my art and comics. Heroic Publications has been a big part of my resurgence.
Dærick: Good question. I think that it is probably a mix of three factors. One: She is a solid character. Her skills and abilities are believable. Her character is realistic and is anchored in her ethnicity without ‘overachieving’ its authenticity. And she is female, but not portrayed in an ‘overtly’ sexual way. Two: She is the only BAT-themed character in comics that is not a part of DC’s Batman family, and I work hard to keep her disconnected from anything that is clearly their territory. Three: Frankly, she has been in and out of the public eye just enough to keep her memory alive in many and a new discovery to the others.
1st: When Dennis Mallone contacted you to revive Murciélaga, did you think you would get to the point where you would be publishing new issues?
Dærick: I liked the idea of coloring all those old stories, and making them ‘fresh’ again. There was the hope, that it would lead to ‘new’ books. But, let’s be clear about the word ‘new’. Issue #13 is a new publication and a new book, but it is not a new story. It was created in 2006 and was planned to run in the ZEIN series from AK COMICS. Unfortunately, the company folded the month before solicitations. I recently got permission to publish it. There are also the partially finished stories from 2002 that will now finish up and see print, but not immediately. Funding is still precious. With issue #14, we ill continue the colorized reruns, as I ‘pepper’ in the finalized ‘unprinted’ stories (updated where needed), leading to (hopefully) newly created material in 2012, setting up for her 25 year anniversary in 2013.
1st: Even though it’s technically not a “new” story it is an unpublished story and will be new to the fans.
Dærick: Art techniques will have evolved, of course, and downloadable comics are a focus. Nothing is specifically planned for her, directly, though. I don’t care much for ‘change’ in comic characters. It is a slippery slope toward confusion, depending on what you change, or how you go about it.
Change in the sense of re-inventing the character creates a mess, unless you make it a completely new being, like Hal Jordan after Alan Scott as Green Lantern. I am not even remotely ready to do that. The only ‘adjustments’ I foresee are costume tweaks, updated vehicles, etc. I did refresh the logo and I will expand on her family. MTH Productions is creating a ‘future world’ set of stories and (with my permission) is creating a character that is the niece of Murciélaga, so I need to create the connection. Also, by association, one of her friends, Ethereal Black, is being re-envisioned in David William Daniel Thomas’ The INFINITES, from Heroic, so I will need to incorporate that as needed.
Dærick: She is highly skilled in the Martial Arts, specifically weapons. She has hyper-sensitive hearing and a very low-level telekinesis. She is Latina, in Los Angeles. She is primarily focused on inner-city issues and purposes herself towards protecting her community more than anything else on the ‘larger scale’. She lives with her mother and has a day job as a social worker. She drives a normal car and battles freeway traffic like everyone else, although she does use advanced scientific methods (from Sifu) when the options are available. She studies the Martial Arts with Sifu and is part of a team called The Reiki Warriors based out of Sifu’s school. Her new Facebook PAGE (http://www.facebook.com/?ref=homej#!/pages/Murci%C3%A9laga-She-Bat/207203229319734) will eventually have all the details, and her STUDIO G webpage (http://www.studiogart.net/shebat/index.html) is a wealth of history.
Dærick: Sifu is Mega’s teacher, mentor, and savior. His history is shrouded (which is comic’s code for undeveloped). It is established that he is thousands of years old and it is his mission/purpose to keep cosmic harmony… at least the human level equivalent of it. He works to ‘heal humanity’s wounds’. He has the power to release his consciousness into the ‘mystic plane’ through meditation, keeping him informed on the larger scale as to what is need on the local plane. With regards to Mega, he saved her sanity as a child, by helping her control her unique hearing attributes. Until Sifu’s methods of meditation and focus, she could not shout out ANY sound and could hear things blocks away. It was analogous to being deaf, but painful. Personal evolution, with Sifu guidance brought forth Murciélaga.
Dærick: From my past association with AK COMICS, Zein (Zein-Ra) is one of thirteen surviving siblings from the royal family of an ancient human race that lived about 12,000 years before the Egyptian Era began. When their civilization was destroyed by a series of natural disasters, the thirteen went into hibernation capsules and slept. Upon awakening, they traveled and formed allegiances with various tribes across the planet. With varying degrees of success, each attempted to build and rule new civilizations. Zein’s is one of the few successes which continues to this day.
1st: How frequently can fans look forward to seeing Murciélaga She-Bat going forward?
Dærick: As mentioned earlier, new stories will intermix with the rest of the available material for reprint. Since she currently is a quarterly publication, I suspect 2 new stories in 2012, where I hope to increase publication to bimonthly and have all new material in 2013. That being said, I plan to have new 8-page backup stories for the reprints, after the ‘Rings for a Demon’ storyline plays out in 3 more installments.
Dærick: She is a solid character with consistent writing that always rings true and takes the readers into stories and adventures that other characters don’t have, and seemingly don’t care to have. Her stories are generally more grounded in the realms of possibility/plausibility, and the occasional excursion beyond that always remains ‘acceptably believable’. The characters around her are all fresh and mostly unique in the comics world and I plan to always keep it that way.