RICH INTERVIEWS: John Jones Creator/Artist Professor Bizarre & Abominus, Co-Creator for Power Company
First Comics News: What is Heroes TCG?
John Jones: HeroesTCG (and its affiliated website http://www.heroestcg.com) was created in the very late 90s during the Pokemon crazy. I always loved to do art but I knew I wasn’t the best artist. I did feel I could do art that could fit in a two inch, by two-inch space and come up with a Trading Card Game (thus the TCG). I then needed characters and fast. I came up with a few hundred in a short time and cranked out the artwork. I worked on the rules and putting the art together and tweaking the rules for a few years. In 2003 I had a product ready to go and a few stores lined up to sell them. I was lacking one thing, a packaging solution. Due to life events, I had to put everything on hold for a full decade, the game, the art, the creativity. But now I’m back at it, and recently I’ve teamed up with another game designer and we’re working under the Legend Forge Games banner working on the Vigilante Deckbuilder game: vigilante.
1st: Who is your character or characters in “Power Company”?
John: I have contributed one hero and one villain to Power Company (or should I say, Damage Inc for the villains). Professor Bizarre is my hero creation and Abominus is my villain.
1st: What part does Professor Bizarre play on the Power Company team?
John: Prof Bizarre is the leader of Power Company, but due to circumstances not yet revealed, he has to bestow the field leadership to Five Star. The Professor gives the team guidance from a distance.
1st: How do you think your characters look in action in battle?
John: Professor Bizarre, again as stated, is a bit limited in the action he’ll see. But I can see Abominus getting his hands dirty and jumping into the fray. He can not only take a punch, but he can definitely dish it out too.
1st: Why will we love or hate Abominus?
John: I’m hoping everyone will hate him. His motivation is primarily greed, he’s in it for the money. Doesn’t care about power or world domination. He’s in it for him and him alone.
1st: What makes Professor Bizarre so bizarre?
John: He is a collector of all things that are supernaturally odd. But I would say the thing that makes him most bizarre, he’s a prisoner of his own domain. He dares not leave his abode. His number one arcane possession is the Emnity Stone which has borne itself into his forehead. It grants him vast powers, but it’s also a devastating curse. The stone constantly tries to corrupt his very being and possess him. Prof. Bizarre is able to keep it in check as long as he is in the sanctuary of his realm. He can venture out into the real world, but his defenses against the stone’s power are vastly diminished.
1st: Of Professor Bizarre or Abominus which one would you like the power of most and why?
John: I would go with Abominus’ powers, who doesn’t want super strength? I would probably abuse all the trinkets and baubles and artifacts that Bizarre has at his disposal, plus, who wants to be cooped up for centuries at a time?
1st: Which two super-heroes from Power Company would you most like to see battle each other and why?
John: That’s easy, Metalmorph and my own Abominus. In fact, I’ve done a couple of pictures with them facing off (I’m kind of the house artist for the group). And as you can imagine, Abominus always seems to come out on top.
1st: What most attracts you to comics?
John: Me being a wannabe artist, it’s the art itself that attracts me. I’ve always been a firm believer “Good art can save poor writing, but good writing can’t save poor art.” The art has to tell the story, where if you don’t read the dialog, you still know what is going on. For years, I’ve been an Alex Ross fan, I just love his visual style and realistic painting. I have other recent favorites, Esad Ribic, Genzoman, Artgerm, to name a few.
1st: What style comic book is “Power Company”?
John: We’re going for a throwback look. Even prior to the 90s. I can see Luis’ style even parallel some 70s style. This was the era I truly grew up on. I used to collect a lot of comics when I would spend the summer in Michigan (from New Jersey) with my grandmother. My parents would send me $5/week and I would go down to the local gas station and buy comics for 20 cents…then 25 cents…then 35 cents as the years passed. I try my hardest to remember some of the more fond stories I read as a kid and see if they are bundled together as graphic novels (I remember the Avengers vs Defenders story arc, looking for the components of the Evil Eye.)
1st: What inspires your artistic work?
John: As stated, Alex Ross, he’s my inspiration. I’ve even posted on his Facebook page about his Kingdom Come work (which is my all-time favorite work of his). If I had to have just one book on a desert island, that would be the book. I have read that book so many times. I have the 4 issues mini-series, and I’ve both the graphic novel twice (I wore out the first one).
1st: What are you currently working on and do you have anything planned for the future?
John: Currently I’m involved with Nelson Pearson in working on our game. We both went to GenCon50 last year and fell in love with a game called Hero Realms. I had never heard of deckbuilding games. We decided we wanted to create a deck-building game with superheroes and supervillains. But actually, the game really focuses around vigilantes. I’m not at liberty to give away too much. But if possible, I would hope your readership could follow us on Facebook: Vigilante Both Nelson and I do our own artwork for the cards involved in the game. We’ve been working on it for months, and we’re getting very close to producing it.
We also want to create a sourcebook for the characters featured in the game. Nelson and I were talking the other day. Marvel, DC, and Image all have established characters and there are games based on them. We have to go about it the other way. We are hoping people look at our cards and go, “Hey, who is this guy? I want to learn more about him!” We’re also teaming up with a writer to help us write the bios on all the characters and perhaps created some short stories based on the characters of our combined universe.
Currently, I’ve put my HeroesTCG game on hold while working on this joint effort. I’ve learned a lot in the past six months while working on the game with Nelson and feel I can apply some of what I’ve learned to my game. It has actually been my desire that when I create my game, I would love to open it up to allow other creators and let them put their characters on a booster pack to sell. I want to share the creativity, and a piece of the pie so to speak.
1st: Do you ever get asked about being the Martian Manhunter and are you really him?
John: All the time. And when I am ask, I can tell who are comic book fans.
1st: What do you have to say to all the fans of your art?
John: Really, two words. “Thank you,” I stated earlier, I put my art, my creativity, my passion on hold for a full decade. It is a huge regret for me. I went through a lot in those 10 years, divorce, lost my job, the death of both parents (and some other things, like having to work three jobs). But now, for the past few years, I’m back at it. I’m enjoying my role as Power Company house artist. Plus I also serve as the lead technical supervisor (which means I have to update the website haha). I love the indie comic book community and their encouragement. It feels so good to be doing my art again and it feels even better to be appreciated.