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 Jazma Interviews
 Mike Wellman Creator/Writer "Kids of Widney High"
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Posted - 03/16/2011 :  07:11:35 AM  Show Profile  Visit Richv1's Homepage  Reply with Quote Bookmark and Share

Mike Wellman
Creator/Writer for Kids of Widney High
Published by: Atomic Basement
Interviewed by: Richard Vasseur/Jazma VP
Posted: 16/03/2011

Rich: How did you become associated with The Kids of Widney High?

Mike: I was first introduced to The Kids of Widney High back in 1999 when they opened for one of my favorite bands. I was instantly won over by their energy and enthusiasm and quickly began recording the show. Months later, I was playing my recording at a comic shop I was working in at the time. Tony Whitfield happened in that afternoon and instantly recognized the music. He arranged for the band to play in the parking lot of the store for one of our big events. Years later, when I opened my own comic shop, the Kids played once again! I wrote a thank you email to the band the next day and one of the teachers/band members, Vince, mentioned that it would be cool if we made a comic book together. The rest is history!

Rich: Can you describe the story outline for this comic?

Mike: The most important thing for me was to produce something that represented the Kids and their ideas. That meant that we were dealing with no less than 8 writers and their own individual thoughts and goals. The first meeting was a GROUP meeting where we all agreed on an overall theme and obstacle for our characters to overcome. From there, Vince and I met with the Kids individually to record their parts and scenes in the story. Much of the dialogue the characters in the comics speak are actual quotes we pulled from the interviews! Basically, the story is about a rock band (The Kids of Widney High) that moonlights as super-heroes. In this issue they face off against an emotionally handicapped super-villain, Professor Groofball whose goal is to vanquish the Kids and their feel-good musical vibes.

Rich: How would you describe the group members of the Kids of Widney High?

Mike: Empowered. Enthusiastic. Caring. Excited about life. To be around any one of them for any amount of time is a very rewarding experience.

Rich: What part of the comic stands out the most for you?

Mike: A lot of the ideas and dialogue that the Kids came up with are SO out there. Each Kid brought their own vibe to the book. Daniel Cubas' segment is so very serious. He's blind, but I would say that of all the Kids, his observations are the most truthful and incisive. Tanesa is such a ball of energy and no one is going to tell her "no". She said she wanted to be the President of the United States in the comic book. We lightly interjected that she's supposed to be in a rock band and a superhero too, how could she be President as well? She said "That's okay. I can be President too!" How do you argue with that?

And Cain Fonseca's answer when asked how he would deal with a super-villain that was threatening two beautiful female fans: "Will you please let the girls go and be my friend?" ****! Maybe Batman should have tried that from time to time, right? Cain is physically the largest member of the band but the most gentle soul I've ever met.

Rich: Were the kids enthusiastic about helping to create a comic book?

Mike: These kids are enthusiastic about creating EVERYTHING! From awesome albums to a hip clothing line. Yes, the embraced the idea from the get go.

Rich: How did you get the nick name Wonder Boy?

Mike: Hah! That's a surprise question! Wonder Boy is a character I created to co-host a public access show called Comic Book Geeks. My partner on the show is Captain Greedy (Geoffrey Patterson of Geoffrey's Comics) and we've had the show for about 10 years. Wonder Boy (a VERY generic super-hero name, I might add and intentionally so) is basically a "Robin" (as in Batman and Robin) who is now in his mid-30's and refuses to grow up. A real stretch for me to perform as you might imagine.

Rich: What is Comic Book Geeks?

Mike: Oops! Answered that question above. Kids of Widney High are on an episode and I believe many of them are available on YouTube.

Rich: You own a comic book store, is it hard not to spend all your time reading comics?

Mike: Everyone thinks that is what you get to do when you work at a comic shop! I wish I had that kind of time there. No, my days are spent sorting literally thousands of comics and merchandising them to make them enticing for customers to buy, making sure our store orders are tight (not too much, not too little on upcoming comic releases), talking to customers about books, engineering store events and promotions and a multitude of other tasks. That said, I can't imagine anything else I'd rather be doing (at least that pays me money!)

Rich: Do you have any ideas for future comics you could create?

Mike: Most definitely! Ideas are the easy part for me. I have a back-log of about 15 ideas that I hope to realize into comic books or graphic novels in the near future. Currently, I'm working on two books-Drifters with Rafael Navarro (he's a long time collaborator and one of the artists in The Kids of Widney High comic) and a romantic comedy called ClockBlock. Oddly enough, both stories deal with time travel, but to very different ends. DRIFTERS is about two time travelling cowboys but will incorporate a lot of "rock n' roll poster art" aesthetic with hot babes, muscle cars, dinosaurs, nazis and all sorts of eye candy. We hope to have the first issue out by the end of the year and a preview book out for Comic-Con this year.

Since The Kids of Widney High, I've had a few books published too. I wrote a story for Battlestar Galactica: Echoes of New Caprica from TokyoPop and edited two children's books-Danny Fanny Saves Christmas and The Snake Who Would Not Bend.

Rich: If you could have one super power what would it be and why?

Mike: Who wouldn't want to fly? And seeing through things would be nice. But I love to take in the world around me so how about living forever (with my health intact!) Gotta be careful what you wish for.

Rich: What comic books would you recommend?

Mike: Two perennial favorites are The Goon and Fear Agent (both from Dark Horse Comics) The Goon is about a guy that often gets into scuffles with monsters, zombies, vampires whatever but with a backwoods hillbilly aesthetic. Fear Agent is like an alcoholic Buck Rogers. He usually screws up any situation worse than it would be if he was never involved.

I also REALLY like two graphic novels I'd read by this cat named Matt Kindt-Three Story (Dark Horse) and Revolver (Vertigo/DC). They're beyond explanation-go check 'em out!

Rich: Besides comics how do you spend your time?

Mike: I have a three year old little guy. 'Nuff said, right? Hah! But seriously, much of my 'free time' is spent with him and my wife just enjoying those early years with him. He's recently become quite the Star Wars fan so we finally have something we enjoy together. Every so often, I'll sneak out to a concert if one of my favorite bands is playing in town, but those times are few and far between!

Rich: How can someone contact you?

Mike: This email is the best. Or they can find me at The Comic Bug most days. or call (310) 372-6704

Rich: Any words for the comic book fans out there?

Mike: If you get a chance, check out The Kids of Widney High comic! I promise you that it's unlike anything you've ever seen before and I can't imagine you'll ever see anything like it again. It's an honest piece of work created from the heart, just like their songs.

Richard Vasseur
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