Friday, September 26, 2008

Baby Pictures!

Here's some of the artwork that was generated in the pre-production days of Twilight Guardian. I thought you might like to check it out:

This first piece was quite dynamic. Too dynamic, in fact, for the mundane tone of TG. Might make a neat take on an alternate-Earth Twilight Guardian, though.

This one was closer, but she's too young and care-free looking here. At this point, Reza and the gang were supposedly basing her on a combinating of Amanda Bynes, and Hayley Williams from the band Paramore. This is an exceptionally cute shot. It's just not TG.

And finally here's Twilight Guardian as we know and love (and are puzzled by) her. Not as frollicking, but with more going on upstairs.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Another Interview!

Here's a nice interview from Girl's Entertainment Network:

On September 18th, I was officially pwned—badly. Even though the votes were close, two Top Cow Pilot Season books came out on top: Twilight Guardian and Genius. Troy Hickman, the writer for TG, agreed to take a moment to talk about his comic and the welcomed response to it, what we can expect to see next year, and my … totally being pwned.

WITA: Whoa, so how does it feel to have your book—Twilight Guardian—shine in the spotlight of the Pilot Season ‘08 Top Two? How did you react when you found out? I certainly didn’t expect the results—but the fans sure showed me! (I had to extend similar regards to the Genius writers, as well.) [Laughs] You already know that my review back in May was a little harsh. All of that aside, I can only express my congratulations and warmest wishes on your book’s success.

Troy: Stephanie, first of all let me say how lucky YOU are that I won, since I was going to blame a loss TOTALLY on you. I already had a special dartboard made up with your face on it and a blurb under it that said “Troy’s Entertainment Network” and everything. Thank your lucky stars!

How does it feel? Well, I’ve been walking on air for the last two days (and not just because I’m gellin’ like Magellan). It’s great to know that all the work I put into getting the word out there has paid off, and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate all the folks who helped make it happen.
How did I react when I found out? Well, I’m hardly the most “emo” guy in the world, but I have to admit I got a little teary-eyed. Of course, the fact that I hadn’t slept for about two weeks prior might’ve had something to do with my emotional state. That and the bottle of cough syrup.

WITA: You’re totally right. I really dodged a bullet there, whew! (And wow, I thought I was the only one who got such a kick out of those commercials! Fellow gellin’-like-Magellan fan, high-five!) Anyway, I hope you had a well-deserved celebration! Again, my review might have been lukewarm, but there were certainly aspects I liked about Twilight Guardian when I was reading it that I thought could be very interesting when given the chance to really blossom. And now you’re getting the chance to! So I’m looking forward to see what direction you take TG. What can we expect to see next year in terms of where you’d like the book and the main character to go?

Troy: All I’m willing to say for sure at this point is that we’re going to try to make this book a little of everything. We’re going to have the humor, drama, pathos, and slightly subversive qualities that fans dug in the one-shot, as well as some new elements (maybe even some … gasp … action … though not in the way folks might expect!). We’ll find out more about TG’s life inside and outside of the hoodie, and get a greater glimpse into the entirety of her world (possibly even outside her jurisdiction!).

What I mainly want readers to know is that whether we’re laughing with her, crying with her, or are just totally creeped-out by her, we’re going to have fun, and I want them to come along for the ride.

WITA: Well, I’m looking forward to finding out what happens to this character. She certainly is a mystery at this point. As I said, there were things I enjoyed about TG. For example, the comic book references (which were very fun) and the whole concept of challenging superhero stereotypes with a realistic, everyday heroine. The latter reminded me of the basic concept of Kick-Ass or even the cool video web-series by Christopher Preksta, Captain Blasto. I hope that we get to learn more about the main character in upcoming issues. We don’t even know her name! (Do we?) Do you have ideas about her character and development in mind? Talk a little about your vision of and for the heroine.

Troy: Glad you liked the comic book “insert” pages. There will be more of that sort of thing, only different. And we’ll certainly try to keep pushing the envelope on what a superhero is or has to be.

Yeah, I’ve heard a few comparisons to Kick-Ass, but I don’t really see the similarities (and since I created TG back in the early 90s, KA certainly wasn’t an influence). I think the only commonality they have is that they’re both a bit more realistic than your typical capes-and-tights comic (though I understand Mark might be moving further away from that with more recent issues). For the life of me, I can’t see Twilight Guardian getting worked over by thugs (especially when she activates her secret Twilight powers! Uh … did I say that aloud?).
We definitely will learn more about her. My vision? Twilight Guardian is us. She’s the part of us that’s lonely. She’s the part of us that’s nerdy. She may well be the part of us that’s crazy. But I’ll let the readers decide that one.

It’s an interesting thing. I’ve heard a number of male fans express a real … affection for her, to the point of saying they wish they had a girlfriend like her. I think it’s a combination of her vulnerability and her love for all things geeky. And the hoodie probably doesn’t hurt. There’s something sexy about a hoodie.

WITA: As a pilot issue, I assume there might have been some things you either had to cut or wanted to put in the premiere comic but couldn’t reveal just yet—or did you manage to fit everything in the way you wished?

Troy: Well, there are certainly things I had to leave out. When you’re dealing with a single, 22-page comic story, you’ve really got to be selective about what hits the page. And it was even more so with this project, as I had to try to give the reader a feeling for TG while making them want to find out more about her and her world. That’s a very tricky proposition with a book like Twilight Guardian, where the story is driven much more by characterization than by plot. It can lead some folks to wonder if anything is really happening. But I have to have confidence that the kind of audience I’m shooting for will connect with it.

The series will give me a little more space to work with, though I’ve already got probably twice as much planned as I’ll be able to fit in there!

WITA: I’m certainly looking forward to you changing my mind with future installments of Twilight Guardian, Troy. Is there something you could throw out there to tease us with until next year, when the second issue is released? Maybe something about what you’ve got up your sleeve for the future of the book that could grab new readers or keep fans waiting in anticipation?

Troy: Well, given the nature of the book, I’m not sure what I can say as a tease. It’s not like I can allude to the fact that TG will be taking on Galactus in issue #3 (though if I can get Marvel on board…).

I will say only this: if you read the Twilight Guardian series, I think you’ll see yourself in there somewhere amidst all the shadows and streetlights. Maybe it’ll make you smile. Maybe it’ll make you sigh. Hopefully it’ll make you say “wow, I really enjoyed that.” Give us a chance, gang.

WITA: Thanks so much for your time! I’m definitely willing to give TG another chance.

New Interview

Here's an interview with me from

Comixology: For readers who haven't seen the book, explain what Twilight Guardian is about-- characters, story, any relevant info about the world.

Troy: Twilight Guardian is the story of a woman who patrols the nine-block area around her neighborhood each night. She is the only main character, but her world is populated by myriad "night people" that she runs into or sees during her patrols. We don't know much about her personal life yet, beyond the fact that she's been through some sort of romantic break-up, and she seems to have a kind of OCD. Her existence has raised a number of questions with readers. Is she mentally disturbed? Is she a superhero? What do those terms mean?

The world she lives in is our world. The only conventional "superheroes" you see in the book are from the comic books she reads each night for inspiration. She doesn't get into sense-shattering slugfests, nor does she get her backside handed to her night after night.

And making the book enjoyable and compelling within that context is where it gets fun for me.

Cmxlgy: You previously had some success with Common Grounds, also published by Top Cow. Tell us about your history as a writer-- are there other comics you've created? What are your other works?

Troy: I've actually done very few pro comics so far. I did a one-shot for Acclaim, Turok: Adon's Curse, in the late 90s. Then Top Cow contacted me in 2004 about republishing my mini-comic Holey Crullers, which became the aforementioned Eisner-nominated Common Grounds series. I did two issues of Witchblade where I create the Celestine character (currently appearing in their Broken Trinity series), followed by an arc in the City of Heroes comic #4-6 (which has since been incorporated into the game, and which they were kind enough to ask me to script). I did a Hulk story with Bill Loebs for ACTOR Comics Presents, and now Twilight Guardian.

All my other stuff (Tales of the Pathetic Club, which is where TG first appeared, Made-Up Stuff is Stranger than Fiction, Yoyo the Dieting Clown, etc.) has been for mini-comics or small independents, most of which now fill up boxes in my bedroom!

Cmxlgy: I understand you teach college; what do you teach?

Troy: I teach creative writing and English at a state college here in Indiana. I enjoy the job itself, and folks tell me I'm good at it. I'm going to have to move on sometime soon, though, as I can't really support myself sufficiently this way (thank goodness for the occasional comic gig). I'd like to be writing full-time if I can ever line up sufficient comic work.

Cmxlgy: Winning contests to get your comic published (in print or online) is a little bit of a trend right now, with the Pilot Season and Zuda as two major examples. It takes a lot of promotion to get the votes to come out on top-- how did you manage to win out?

Troy: Y'know, if I weren't a writer, I think my best bet in this industry would be as a PR man. In a short amount of time, I've learned most of what there is to know about getting the word out there. In the month that Pilot Season voting was going on, I think I hit just about every message board, myspace and facebook page, website, doghouse, outhouse, and International House of Pancakes on the internet. I talked up the comic, pointed out where people could read the preview (and eventually the entirety) of it, and I urged them to check it out and vote for it if they were so moved. Moreover, I was able to enlist a lot of wonderful folks to do the same and turn this thing "viral," as the young people say!

And boy, was it exhausting. A lot of fun, though, and I met a bunch of great new people. Er...why does this sound like a promo for

Cmxlgy: Can you tell us a little bit about the process of getting into the contest in the first place?
What did you submit to Top Cow and how did you get selected to be in the Pilot Season?

Troy: Actually, I didn't submit anything to Top Cow. They contacted me about including Twilight Guardian (which they'd had an interest in since they first talked to me about Common Grounds) in the competition. I'm sure glad they did, because I probably wouldn't have attempted it myself. I think I'm a good writer, but I'm not very good yet at selling myself. Truth be told, I've never really submitted a proposal to a comics publisher; I've just been lucky enough that they came to me. I'm learning quickly, though, that I can't just sit on my backside and continue to get lucky. If I want to work consistently, I'm going to have to get out there and do more...ugh..."networking," and letting folks know that I'm not only available, but very ready to work (this would be a good time to mention that I'm both available and very ready to work).

Cmxlgy: Now that you've won, what's the timeframe going to be on seeing the series come out?

Troy: I'm not sure yet. All I know is that the book will begin sometime next year. I've already started preliminary work on the scripts, though, so I'm...uh...available and ready to work!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Monday, September 8, 2008

Inflated Ego!

My pals Ron and Beth went to the Comic GeekSpeak Supershow, and while they were there, they commissioned the uber-talented balloon artist Pascale to create...Twilight Guardian!

Thanks so much, you guys. You are now BOTH official members of Twilight Guardian's Midnight Squad. I'll teach you the secret handshake later (it involves deer jerky).

Here are some pics:

This Is It!

We're down to the last day, gang, so if you can, vote vote vote today! And if you can convince anyone else to do the same, please do!

If they'd like to read the comic, by the way, they can do so here.

Thanks, everyone. Let's make this happen!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

This Pretty Much Says It

Here's another piece I wrote for the Pilot Season blog:

Top Ten Reasons to Vote for Twilight Guardian

10. I'm poor. Terribly, dreadfully poor. I'm so poor, when someone dies I can't even pay my respects. I'm so poor I've still got last Monday's lunch on layaway. If Twilight Guardian can get picked up as a series, it'll make a HUGE difference. Beyond that, though, it will push me that much closer to my eventual goal: to get out of my rather dead-end, low-paying, no-benefits teaching job and start writing comics full-time. Gang, I just can't keep reusing tea bags (as pillows!).

9. Twilight Guardian is an unconventional superheroine. Y'know, we hear all the time that there need to be more comics starring female characters. And we likewise hear that we need more female characters who are NOT wasp-waisted supermodels with breasts the size and heft of sixteen-pound bowling balls. Well, here's a heroine who fits the bill on both counts. Lets put our votes where our mouths are (oh, you know what I mean).

8. We're the underdog in this fight. Look, everyone loves a little-guy-triumphs-over-the-odds story, and I think that's what we've got here. Let's face it: if you walk into the average comic convention and yell, "Hey, it's Troy Hickman," you're going to get one of two responses: (A) "Who?" and (B) "The guy who did Pax Romana??" I don't have a large fanbase, I don't have a bunch of titles on the stands. I don't have projects in the works for any other sort of media. I'm a relatively obscure comic book writer, and what I have going for me are a love for the medium, and hopefully your support. So if you really want to see a David and Goliath story...well, hit that button for Twilight Guardian and start chanting "Ru-dy! Ru-dy!"

7. There is not another book on the stands like Twilight Guardian. I'm pretty sure just about everyone says that when they're promoting their book, but I think it's quite true here. It's not just the concept of a "real-life superhero," but also the execution of that idea. Twilight Guardian is a book that attempts to grab you without the conventions of a typical superhero book, and that will continue to do so (this book may become a lot of things, but you have my word that "standard" will never be one of them). We're not bound by the structures of a pre-existing comic universe or notions of what a superhero comic is required to be. Because of that, ANYTHING can happen.

6. Reza's art is terrific, and he's just going to keep getting better and better. This guy has a huge range (you should see his action shots), and he's going to be very big in this business. You, dear reader, will be able to tell folks you got in on the ground floor. And frankly, I want to keep working with the guy, and you can help me do that.

5. The members of the American Federation of Hoodie Manufacturers will thank you for it.

4. Twilight Guardian is something of an enigma, and readers haven't had a chance to puzzle through all the mysteries that surround her. We need the opportunity to answer those questions, and to piece together this life and this quest she's forged for herself. I don't know about you, but there are few things that upset me more than a comic or a TV show that suddenly disappears before the payoff. Cliffhanging is for Wile E. Coyote.

3. It you vote for it, you're invited to the big Twilight Guardian Victory Party & Barbecue Extravaganza (BYOB).

2. A lot of people have put a ton of work into this project. Besides Reza and the folks at IFS, and Rob, Mel, and the rest of the guys at Top Cow, there are also a TON of fans and friends out there who have supported and voted for this comic. As much as I want this for myself, I want it for them, too. All their efforts have meant so much to me, and part of my way of repaying them would be to pull off one hell of a Twilight Guardian series.

1. I believe it's a pretty darned good comic, and you have my word that it will continue to get better and better. Please give me that chance.

Time to go.

Troy Hickman, September 2008

Friday, September 5, 2008

One of Our Own

My dear pal Mike O'Connell just posted a piece on his blog urging folks to vote for Twilight Guardian. I tell ya, this guy has been plugging TG forever now, and really going out of his way, from sending out emails to printing up t-shirts (and wearing them to conventions), and on and on.

A lot of great stuff has come out of my association with The Clobberin' Times (that's our ol' Champions rpg APA, folks), and you are definitely one of them, buddy. Thanks so much.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Twilight Guardian at #2

Gang, with a week to go, we've slipped into second place.

While the top two books get their own series, I'm really worried that one of the other books will creep up on us between now and the close of voting next week.

PLEASE, if you can, vote every day at And if you can convince other folks to do the same, I'd sure appreciate it.

If I can get a series for TG, it's going to make such a major difference in my life, so this is no small thing.

Anyway, thanks so much for all the effort you've put into this thus far. It's been incredible, as have you.



Here's another piece I wrote for the Pilot Season blog page:

What a Long, Strange Trip It's Been

There are obviously a number of mysteries surrounding Twilight Guardian. How did she become what she is? What prompted her nocturnal patrols? What tragedy drives her? While those questions are crucial, I'm not at liberty to answer them just yet. What I CAN tell you about, however, is how Twilight Guardian came to exist as a comic, and how it became part of this year's Pilot Season line-up.

Back in 1991, I started my own line of black & white, photocopied mini-comics (digest-sized, to be precise). Among them were titles like Yoyo the Dieting Clown, Made-Up Stuff is Stranger than Fiction, Holey Crullers (remember that one; it'll be pertinent later), and Tales of the Pathetic Club.

The latter comic was a quasi-slice-of-life series that had grown out of my love for comics like American Splendor (and I was overjoyed when Harvey Pekar sent me a nice note telling me how much he dug it). Pathetic Club was the story of Edward Stein, a doctor who studied individuals suffering from a variety of obsessive-compulsive disorders (a subject you might say I know from the inside out). Among his "subjects" was a woman who patroled a 9-block area of her neighborhood every night, a woman who called herself the Twilight Guardian.

Though she only appeared in a couple of pages of Pathetic Club #2, there was something about TG that really haunted me, and after the series had finished its trilogy, I knew she had to return. So the original Twilight Guardian #1, a 12 page mini-comic, was born.

And then...well, nothing. Originally I had planned it as another trilogy, but for whatever reason, that never happened.

Flash forward all the way to 2003. Tragedy had struck at La Hacienda Hickman, and my son and I were about a week away from living under a bridge. Luckily for me, though, Jim McLauchlin had taken over the helm at Top Cow, and immediately contacted me about turning my Holey Crullers mini-comic into a new full-sized series (he'd picked up the book some years earlier while he was editor at Wizard, and had them do a four-page article on my obscure little title). We quickly worked out a deal to turn my Crullers stories into Common Grounds, and boy, I'm glad we did. That, however, is a story for another day.

At the same time, though, the Cow seemed interested in doing something with another of my old minis: Twilight Guardian. So we added it to the mix as a possible future title. And then...well, nothing.

Flash forward again to 2008. Top Cow was looking for comics to be part of Pilot Season 2008, and I received a call from editor Rob Levin, inquiring if I'd like to have Twilight Guardian included in the competition. Faster than you can say "homina homina," I was working on a new version of TG, one that combined the one-shot with TG's Pathetic Club appearance, as well as a bunch of additional material.

So...will Twilight Guardian disappear once again after a single appearance? That will be up to you, folks. If you'd like to see our suburban sentinel finally receive a true lease on life, you can make that happen with your votes.

I sure hope that you do, because she's been waiting almost fifteen years to have her story told.

Troy Hickman, September 2008