What happens with super heroes when they are not fighting crime. Do they date? What are their private live like? Who are the people they interact with out of uniform? This are the questions that writer/artist Thom Zahler wanted to explore and decided to make a story about the personal lives of superheroes.
The first volume of Love and Capes was published by IDW in 2008. Three subsequent trade paperback volumes were published culminating in Volume 4 “What to Expect” which was published in 2013. Since then, Zahler has worked on a bunch of excellent different creator owned properties and licensed material. All the while, he has been peppered with questions of when the will be more Love and Capes.
Recently, he has returned to Chronopolis and the world of the Crusader. Volume 5 of Love and Capes, titled “The Family Way”, will be published by IDW in February 2020, just in time for Valentine’s Day. We sat down and talked with Thom about what it was like to come back to the story after so much time and what has changed.
Check out our SquadCast interview on this page and a part of the interview that we transcribed below:
Pop Culture Squad: After five years away, what brought you back to Love and Capes?
Thom Zahler: So, I had a conversation with my friend Greg Weisman, from Young Justice. He said, “Hey. Are you ever coming back to Love and Capes?”
I told him the same thing that I tell everybody, which was that I got it where I wanted, and I didn’t know how to continue it. I wasn’t saying that I would never come back to it, but I just didn’t know how to make it work.
He said to me, “Jump it five years, and now they have two kids”, and that solved all my problems. It helped me get away from telling all the stories of their children linearly. I can now, also, jump between younger baby stuff and older kid stuff, and that made it really interesting. Once I figured out what the end of issue six would be, because it had to be something as big as the ending of volume 4, and that it was something worth coming back for, then I could come back.
PCS: What do you want to share with readers, other than that there is a five-year gap, about what has changed since we last saw the world of the Crusader.
TZ: The nice thing about the five-year gap is that I have roughly been away from it for five years. One of my concerns about coming back to Love and Capes was that there would be a time dilation effect, because the technology that we use has changed in five years and how would I address that. The gap solves that issue.
Past that, Dark Blade and Amazonia have changed in all sorts of ways. They are no longer together. Their costumes have changed. There are reasons for both of those, which may or may not be said in the story.
Especially with Amazonia’s costume, there was some thought put into this. When she was designed in 2008 or whenever, she was designed as riff on those impossible costumes that Image Comics female characters had, or some of the crazier Mike Deodato costumes from when he was at DC. Her costume was very much a joke about those tropes, but that joke is not as funny anymore. I think that it worked for the time, but I had to change her costume because I couldn’t make it work anymore. So, there are changes like that that went into the new book.
Other than that, everyone on is mostly where they were before, and comfortably where they are. There is, also, one huge thing that will be revealed at some point.
TZ: The individual issues of this arc will be self-published through my imprint, Maerkle Press. Right now they will only be available at conventions and online on my website. You can also get digital versions on my website if you don’t want to pay shipping, or don’t read physical comics as much anymore. You can get it digitally.
The collected trade paperback will be coming out from IDW in February. IDW decided for a bunch of reasons decided that they didn’t want to do the individual issues, but they didn’t have any problems with me doing them. I am able to print enough high quality comics at an acceptable cost to get me through until the trade hits.
In my experience, once the trade is available, the individual issues are far less interesting to people, and the trades are what I will sell at conventions afterwards. However, having the individual issues is bridging the gap between what I am working on now and when it becomes a trade. Otherwise, it would be just me doing 144 pages of Love and Capes and not having a response and not having any income flowing in from it, which is not insignificant on either point.
Please check out the SquadCast recording of our interview. Thom and I talk about his writing and drawing process and how they have changed. We also discuss some of the secrets about how he constructs Love and Capes, and his inspirations.
As Thom mentioned above, you can also get the individual issues for the current arc on his website, here.