One of the cool aspects of working in comics is that you very often wind up working with your friends. Of course, your friends are likely scattered around the country, or even the globe. Probably the best part of being at CrossGen in Florida for a few years was working in the same studio with guys who were not only my friends, but some of the best artists in the business. Seeing new pages by Jim Cheung, Steve Epting, Butch Guice, Bart Sears and everyone else was the main attraction of going into the office every day.
I’ve known artist Cully Hamner for about as long as either of us has been in comics. He’s one of my best friends in or out of comics. We’ve worked together a number of times, though always on something of a single-issue nature rather than an ongoing. If you’re not checking out his current “Question” stuff in Detective Comics, your life is not complete. Cully was actually a candidate to draw my year-long run on Thor early in our careers. Maybe if he’d ended up on the book with me, my run wouldn’t have been so dreadful. I still have Cully’s pitch piece for the series, featuring one of the more kick-ass Thor versions you’ll see. I’ll dig that out and show it off soon.
Back early ’90s when Cully and I were eager, young know-it-alls (as opposed to the jaded, older know-it-alls we are now) we got it in our heads to pitch an Hourman revamp. I truthfully can’t remember the specifics, like which editor it was for, or even if it was intended to be a stand-alone mini, or maybe part of an anthology series. Hell, I don’t even remember if we ever officially pitched it or not. But I did save the faxes – yeah, this was before e-mail – of Cully’s character designs, which you can see here. Still pretty damn cool, huh?
So the pitch never went anywhere, but one aspect of it stuck in my head ever since. Our Hourman story was going to take place over the course of one hour, and count down each minute of his Miraclo pill-induced powers (with interspersed flashbacks). Imposing that kind of storytelling structure would have been a real pain in the ass, but worth it.
Flash forward to last autumn, when I was pondering a proper story for the Velocity four-issue mini. I live adjacent to a lake, and the road that loops around it is 2.5 miles. I do a lot of my thinking on daily walks around the lake. And I thought of … Hourman. Or more specifically, using that one-hour framework in which to tell a story. It worked for Hourman for obvious reasons. But I thought it would also work for a speedster character like Velocity, a literal ticking clock she’d be racing against. How much could she accomplish in an hour? I called Cully, made sure he was cool with me resurrecting the idea on something he wouldn’t be drawing. He was.
So the controlling element of the Velocity series is going to be one hour: four issues, told in just a little more than 60 minutes, each page counting down the time she has to save not only her own life , but those of her Cyberforce teammates. One more tidbit: the opening sequence is an homage to a Bond movie, though I’m not saying which one. Velocity #1, by me and Kenneth Rocafort, hits stands in May. Hope you have an hour to spare.