RICH INTERVIEWS: Andrew Lorenz Creator/Writer of “Canadian Corps”
First Comics News: Why did you create “Canadian Corps”?
Andrew Lorenz: Canadian Corps was created because I wanted to both create some new Canadian superheroes (since most people can only ever think of Wolverine and Captain Canuck) and because I wanted to explore what it means to be a hero in Canada/what a hero looks like in Canadian culture. It was also created because I wanted an excuse to work on a book with Justin Shauf, Donovan Yaciuk, and Rod Salm who provide the pencils/inks, colours, and lettering for the book; the guys did a great, great job making my script look much better than I could have ever hoped for.
1st: Can you tell us who the members of the Canadian Corps are and their powers or abilities?
Andrew: Happily! Our heroes are scattered across the country and come from a variety of backgrounds but here’s a quick breakdown:
Warrant- team leader, RCMP member with gravity-based superpowers
Shieldmaiden- able to transform into a super-strong warrior woman
Thunderhawk- various abilities including the summoning of lightning, flight, enhanced strength, and durability
Flux- able to bend space and time within a small area, duplicating effects such as teleportation
Kid Mercury- she possesses superhuman speed, able to move several times the speed of sound
Impact- able to absorb kinetic energy and unleash it for a number of different effects
Azure- a high-level martial artist who also has access to a number of magical spell-like abilities
1st: Why is Warrant their leader?
Andrew: Warrant is the leader of the team because not only does he have the most training in regards to dealing with the types of situations that superheroes more often get themselves in, and because he’s the oldest on the team, the others tend to defer to him.
1st: What type of threat do they face?
Andrew: In the first arc (issues 1 and 2) they face off against an alien invasion; the aliens are trying to establish a beachhead in Canada’s north and the team must travel there to stop them before they can get too entrenched.
1st: How is “Canadian Corps” different and the same as other Canadian comics?
Andrew: It’s the same in that it features Canadian characters in Canada… As for how it’s different? Most Canadian superhero books either seem to almost be apologetic of being Canadian. Or they turn into a parody of either superheroes or Canada; we embrace what it means to be Canadian; from multiculturalism to living in America’s shadow and many other ways.
1st: Will there ever be another comic featuring the Canadian Corps?
Andrew: Yes. When, I’m not sure, but I’ve got scripts for the next few arcs in the works. My plan is to work with a different creative team for each 2-issue arc, always being Canadian creators to show off some of the talents that our country has.
1st: How and why was September17 formed?
Andrew: About 11 years ago I began working on some of the ideas I’d had even longer ago (LEGACY’s original ideas date back to the mid/late 90s, for example) at the encouragement of a couple of super supportive and interested co-workers that I had at a part-time job I had picked up. After writing a few scripts I decided to contact an artist (in this case Mike Campeau) and see if they were interested in doing what would be my first comic book, LEGACY #1. He was and we did the book over about a year of time. September17 Productions came out of that; a publishing imprint for the comics I’ve done to date and, one day, some of the other non-comic book projects that I’ve been working on the last few years.
1st: Can you tell us about “Legacy” and “New Guard”?
Andrew: LEGACY is about the city, its history, and the citizens that reside, in the city of Legacy, a fictional city that has roots in the 1800s. The main protagonist is Paragon, a classic superhero in terms of his abilities, and we explore his role in a city that has seen better days and his attempts to clean up the streets, both as a costumed hero and as an assistant district attorney. Not surprisingly, he finds it to be a little more difficult than just punching his problems in the face.
LEGACY is more than costumed heroes, though, it’s about stories, and about people. The series has always been about, well, legacy; what our lives amount to, how they get to where they are, and what we leave behind. Sometimes big events have big impacts but sometimes it’s the small things that someone does that really change lives.
New Guard is a team book set a few years down the road from the debut issues of LEGACY and Canadian Corps (which, by the way, issue #1 of CC happens around issue #6 of LEGACY) where superpowered individuals are seen with a lot more suspicion than with trust. Events have occurred that have shaken the trust that the general population had put into costumed heroes but these kids (they’re for the most part in their early 20s) are going to save the world whether the world wants them to or not.
New Guard is very much a coming of age and figuring out your life kind of story and doing what you think is right even when the world is doing its best to knock you down or tell you that you’ll never make a difference.
1st: What comics will you be working on in the near future?
Andrew: Currently we’ve got the first issue of The Sentries completed and out (think Avengers or Justice League) with the second issue drawn up by Andre Siregar and colours to be done by Donovan Yaciuk when we can make the timing work, Metal Monk (a post-apocalypse kung fu revenge story) is being worked on in 12-pages “chapters” with Colin Work providing the art and Troubleshooters with James Zintel doing the art on that one.
I’ve been extremely fortunate to work with an incredible amount of amazing artists who are all excellent people and I’m hoping to work with them all again, as their schedules allow: Mike Campeau, Andre Siregar, Anang Setyawan, Jessica Jimerson, Kenan Halilocvic, Peter Raymond, Justin Shauf, Donovan Yaciuk, Rod Salm and James Zintel are all stellar collaborators.
1st: When you write a comic what do you try to do to capture the reader’s attention?
Andrew: I’m a big believer in the page flip and using it to force the reader to, at the very least, feel that they HAVE to flip that page to find out what happens past the first page. Pacing is something I’ve been told I do a good job at with my scripts and I tend to try and write my scripts like a tv show- several scenes to break up the main action of the story to keep the reader engaged (and because it’s fun).
1st: Which comics that you have not worked on would you recommend?
Andrew: All of them! Seriously, I just want people to read comic books; they’re the best. Starman by James Robinson and Tony Harris was a HUGE influence on LEGACY. I absolutely love Dan Slott’s run on Spider-Man and the stories that Geoff Johns and Peter Tomasi did on Green Lantern. A newer series I’ve really enjoyed has been Jim Zub and Max Dunbar’s Dungeons & Dragons comics. I would also recommend anything by any of the Canadian Comic Book Alliance members (find them online by looking up the CCBA!), Vito Delsante, and Charlie McElvy (who just finished an awesome Kickstarter for his Spider-Squirrel book!) among others; find me on any social media platform and follow the creators I follow- they’re all great!
1st: How do you spend any noncomic book time you have?
Andrew: Thanks to the success of live streaming Dungeons and Dragons shows like Critical Role, I’ve managed to get more and more friends into roleplaying games and the vast majority of my free time the last three years has been spent running games and developing the world of my D&D fantasy setting. Our current campaign/setting is the Chronicles of Zaman and we’ve been steadily playing that for the last 2 and a half years, having had about a dozen different people that have joined in at one point or another, our main PCs are at level 10 at the moment and we’ve started working on a second campaign that we’ll be running parallel to our main campaign. I’ve dumped thousands of hours into it, I’m sure. And you’d best believe that I’m working on some short stories and comics related to our game.
1st: Which superpower from the Canadian Corps team would you most like to have and why?
Andrew: Oh! That’s a crazy-good question and not one I’ve ever been asked in an interview before. Hmm… I’d say Flux. The idea of being able to bend space and time to teleport or buy yourself a little more time to get something done sounds great; I could save myself the drive to work every day or slow time around me so that I could get ALL the writing done!
1st: What would you like to say to the fans of your work?
Andrew: THANK YOU. Thank you for reading our books, for giving us a try, for following my collaborators through to their other projects and work, for your hard-earned cash, and for spending your time on something that we hoped would be worth it for you. Thank you for coming up to us at cons, for the messages on social media, and for sharing your excitement and your questions about the books or comics in general with us; we LOVE the engagement. Making creative stuff can be a solitary experience even when you work as a team and that social aspect is incredibly rewarding; keep telling us what you think about the books, what excites or interests you! And thank you, so, so much for sharing our books with others; word of mouth from fans is the most powerful sales tool there is. You help us just by telling others. September17 Productions has much more in the works and we look forward to getting the books in your hands when cons start up again; we’ve missed you!