In the latest episode of the Pop Culture SquadCast we sat down with a pair accomplished comic creators and talked about the book that they are creating together.
The two cartoonists are creating a book called Local Man that focuses on a superhero who is at a low point in his life and has to go back to his hometown and solve crimes without using his super powers.
Local Man is being published by Image Comics and issue one comes out next month.
We spent some time in our conversation talking about the interesting way that Seeley and Fleecs have worked together to create this comic. Since both have been writers and artists and letterers on comics, they are able to divide up the work in creative ways.
We also talked about their take on the state of the comic industry and what being and independent creator means today.
We hope you enjoy the conversation.
Pop Culture Squad: Let’s start off with Local Man. How fun is making this book?
Tony Fleecs: It’s pretty great. Like, I’ve done a lot of collaborating and Tim’s done a lot of collaborating and co-writing and working with people, and it’s always fun working with somebody who’s also
a writer/artist because it’s sort of like both of us. We both do things differently, but we both can sort of do the, the whole thing, which is neat. I can send something to Tim and just be like, “Can you draw on this? Or can you fix this writing or whatever?”
Tim Seeley: Yeah. And it also helps a lot that we kind of on this very specific subject, which is noir stories, horror stories, and 90s Image Comics, we are both at a level of expertise that not many other people are. I can reference stuff with Tony that I know he will understand, down to like the craziest minutiae, like, “You know that one panel in that issue of Union?” We talk about this a lot, like how the book kind is meant to reflect a lot of things about that early Image period where Rob [Liefeld] got in trouble for giving Fighting American a shield and all this kind of stuff. We kind of riff on that and use as inspiration for the characters. Like we know that stuff too. It’s useless, but it helps us make stories.
PCS: Who approached who about this?
TS: Well this was one of those things. So I’ve known Tony for a long time and I’m not even sure for how long. We had a lot of mutual friends, you know, we would always see each other when I would go out to LA or something, but at some point, we were talking at a bar right before Covid and I said, “We should do something together.” And you were like, “Yeah, yeah, yeah, sure man.” <laugh> At some point, I said something to the effect of, “I’ve got a couple things kicking around, but the one thing that you might like was I wanted to combine 90s Image with 90s Vertigo.” And then that was the thing that you were like, “Oh, tell me more.”
TF: Yeah, <laugh> That was it. And from there it was like we started figuring out like what characters would be and sort of like how it would fit together. And I was like, “I’ve been toying with this style where I do sort of like a photo reference Michael Larkey-type thing, and maybe we could do that?” And then Tim was like, “Well, we could do this.” We just sort of started putting all our cards on the table and here’s what we have and, and what can we make out of this stuff.
To the point where like, Tim has had a gang of superhero characters from when he was a kid, and we were like trying to figure out how those turn into Image superheroes. I was just like, “Well that’s not really what Image superheroes are. They are: a knife guy, a big guy and there’s a girl that has like light or laser powers.” You know all these teams have similar things, you know? And so we, and so we sort of took the characters that Tim already had. We retrofit all of them to make them fit into that archetype. You know? Knife Guy, Big Guy, Laser Girl.
PCS: When Tony sent me a preview copy of Local Man #1, this is what I said. “The tone and the style of the story hits in all those feelings of loss and self-doubt that so many people deal with. And there’s an element of hope for redemption that permeates the edges of the story. Sure. It has something for fans of nineties nostalgia, but underneath it’s a real emotional thread that’s just waiting to be pulled.”
TS: That’s awesome. There we go. That’s what we want. That you said it, Bob,
TF: It’s difficult to write a character like this too. It both comes from a real personal place, but as far as like making a compelling story to read, it’s like, “How long is he sad?”
The tone and the style of the story hits in all those feelings of loss and self-doubt that so many people deal with.
The sort of the tricky pull is the stuff that happens around him. You make that fun and without having him be like completely miserable for the reader to read, but you want him to be like identifiably lost. Right? And then the things that happen around him on the outside, you know, can sort of like keep the people engaged and sort of be like hilarious. Or, you know, identifiable or whatever.
It is definitely one of the harder things about this book. We got a main guy. How do we make him represent that place where everything’s gone wrong and you’re figuring it out, but also make him identifiable and make him relatable. It is tricky. But the noir thing is like, you take a person and show them at their bottom and then you show what they’ll do to get out of it or to try and survive.
TS: That’s perfect. That’s definitely the process on it. Giving this guy a story was like a revelation for me. It is probably my greatest fear, besides like the obvious ones like losing somebody or, you know, being attacked by a grizzly bear or something. My greatest fear is probably that I would fail and I would have to go back to my hometown and move in with my parent’s. It’s literally probably my greatest fear. I think about it all the time. For some reason when you come from a small town, and you move somewhere else, and you do that thing where you start a new life and you accomplish something, the fear is “Oh my God. Everybody that I used to talk to, they know this about me.” And if I go back, they’ll be like, “Oh, that fraud. I knew it, I knew he was gonna fail.”
I mean, having it be a comic book character, a superhero who’s having this is kind of really appropriate. Because when I go back to my hometown, I’m that guy, right?
There is plenty more in the audio SquadCast. Listen to find out what they guys think about the state of comics, what the scope of Local Man is, and what they were obsessed with at age 13.
Local Man comes out on February 22, 2023. Make sure you tell your LCS that you want them to order it.
Local Man #1
Previews Order # DEC220084
Created and Produced by Tim Seeley and Tony Fleecs
STRAY DOGS creator TONY FLEECS teams with REVIVAL‘s TIM SEELEY for a series that combines rural crime noir and superhero action.
Once the star recruit of the media sensation super-team THIRD GEN, JACK XAVER had it all. But when controversy sends CROSSJACK crawling back to his mom and dad’s basement in the Midwest, Jack struggles to fit into a world he left far behind. And then the bodies start piling up.
Each issue is a classic Image Comics FLIP BOOK with a lead story drawn by FLEECS and a superhero flashback into the depths of the Image Universe drawn by SEELEY. First issue contains 30 pages of story for only $3.99!
You can follow Tony on Twitter and Instagram and Tim is also on Twitter and Instgagram.