CW Cooke is a man with a mission. He wants to add a twist to the age old Superhero story by doing something that really has never been done. Put a Superhero in prison. Solitary tells the story of Tim Hill, a man who is wrongfully accused of a crime he didn’t commit and faces death row. It’s when he takes his seat on the electric chair, where things really heat up. Pun slightly intended.
I had the chance to talk to Cooke about the project and I thought I’d share out interview below.
I’m a big fan of the mash-up. I love smashing ideas together and seeing if they flow, if they go well together, or if I’m just a maniac and have no idea what I’m talking about. I wanted to do a superhero book, and I wanted to do a prison book, and mashing up the two ideas together just seemed too great to pass up. What if Superman was on the Green Mile? That idea popped into my head after this superhero being a character I’d been using or working on since I was 8 years old, and I knew I had to make his life even worse.
2) What were some of your biggest inspirations growing up and getting into comics?
Too many to count, but I did love Superman, Spider-man, Batman, X-men, all of the big guns growing up. That turned into a love of a little bit of everything once I learned, when I was old enough to start buying my own comics, that there were other things beyond just superheroes. Even crazy ones too! I love Madman, always have, always will. Mike Allred’s superhero and ginchy adventure series has been one of my biggest influences. Bone by Jeff Smith is another one. Outside of that, Larry Hama (his Wolverine run was my first collected series), Kurt Busiek (Astro City and Marvels are two amazing books), Mark Waid (have to give a shout out to Empire among many other things), and so on and so forth. There are a large number of series that hit me and made me want to create. Erik Larsen on Savage Dragon, Bendis on Powers, Mike Mignola on everything, again, the list just continues and expands and grows. My first inspiration though probably came from Superman and X-men comics and from the Batman movies and cartoon.
I spent a lot of time talking about it, a lot of times thinking about it, writing it, trying, and I’ve been creating my stories since I was a little kid. Since I was probably 8 years old, I’ve been doing something similar to this, something where I was creating a story on paper and originally trying to draw it as well. My art didn’t get much better but I like to think my stories got better. I kept with writing all throughout high school and college and had some great professors who pushed me to create and write and tell my stories. And then I met a number of creators in comic books who gave me the passion to do it on my own, some I’m still friends with and chat with. I’ve been lucky in that sense and have been able to keep my passion going over the last 7 years of trying to make things happen, up until the moment that things started to blossom and become real.
4) What’s the Kickstarter journey been like? What do you find are some of the rewards and challenges of getting your name out there by crowd funding?
Getting the word out has been difficult just based on the sites and ability of my own to get the word out. I’ve been VERY lucky to get a lot of help from friends, family, and even new followers that I didn’t think would ever be there. It’s amazing. It’s rewarding in that I really feel like people are responding to the idea and responding to what I’ve spent a lot of time and effort to create. It’s frustrating because doing a Kickstarter is stressful and maddening and a little disastrous but fun. I have a lot of fun trying to push my way through the chaos and trying to keep my head above water, so doing a Kickstarter is a little bit like that. But again, without the help of all of the amazing people who’ve helped me so far, I’d be lost.
5) You’ve been in the indie comic scene for some time, what’s it like working with an independent studio like Devil’s Due?
Different in the best way possible. I’ve had some luck with some of the teams and companies I’ve worked with, so working with someone like Devil’s Due has helped me immensely. They’re helping spread the word, they’re helping in a lot of ways to make sure that I’m constantly on task to make the book as amazing as possible. It’s been my baby and it is a creator-owned book, but having Josh at Devil’s Due available to chat with makes it easier for me to stay sane. I can bounce ideas off him for the Kickstarter or the rewards and have been able to get him to talk the book up on his cross-country trip to comic book shops and conventions. So they’re helping get the word out, helping at every turn. Again, the book lives or dies by what I do and how I accomplish this, but Devil’s Due is helping to make sure that it soars.
I want to write this book to the day I die. I have a vision to make it as long as Spawn or Savage Dragon (I can never beat Savage Dragon because Larsen’s written and drawn every issue). But I’d love to get up to issue 400 at least. I have the first 20 issues heavily plotted and outlined, and the first 100 issues have a skeleton to them and an idea of where they should go and how they should end up. I’d love to be able to create something that people are reading for the next 40 years. I’d love to create a book that eventually gets a toy line and a movie deal (and maybe get a pass at the screenplay, haha). I want to take Solitary to the highest places it can be and I want people to love reading it and following the story as much as I love writing and creating it.
7) Have you ever wanted to work in any other mediums such as an animated series or films for your works?
Oh absolutely, but Solitary was always envisioned as a comic series first and foremost because I love comics and love what comics can accomplish. Movies and cartoons and novels would be fun to be a part of, it’d be amazing to write a movie or animated series based on my creations or even work on someone else’s vision. I’ve had some luck in working on other people’s characters, but yeah, absolutely, haha. I love films and TV and comics and cartoons and would just about jump at any opportunity.
8) Your protagonist is immortal in the comic, if you had to pick a superhero power, what would it be and why?
This is like that big, tough unanswerable question that faces Brody in Mallrats. If I picked immortality, I’d watch all of my friends and family die but I’d be able to see everything from now until the end of time and see societies begin and end. It’d be awesome. Flight would be awesome as would teleportation because you could get somewhere quickly and not have to rely on a car or plane or anything like that. I’d love that.
Super-speed would be fun in the same way because you could run everywhere and always be the first one there. Invisibility would be okay but only if you were a pervert or wanted to rob banks and get away with it. Invincibility would be great, but again, would only really work well if you were immortal as well, otherwise, being invincible would suck after a while because you’d still end up dying.
Again, what a tough question. I think immortality with a touch of invincibility would be the way to go. But if I could only pick one, flight would be the choice.
I appreciate you taking the time to answer the questions and let our readers know about Solitary. I can’t wait to get the article out there for them to learn more about your works and especially send some money you way for the Kickstarter!
Haha, thank you! I loved it and thanks for the help and for the kind words. Just remember that Orange is the New Cape, and: Stay Off Death Row!
Solitary has already exceeded its goal for primary funding, but Cooke is hoping to give the fans even more through some stretch goals. Make sure you check out the Kickstarter page, as well as like his Facebook page!