Aspen Comics for over ten years has been known for artwork portraying strong and beautiful women often drawn in bikini armor. But what has been at the heart of Aspen’s success is strong storytelling, thoughtful characterizations, and the amazing quality of their comics. Creator Vince Hernandez looks to shake up preconceived notions about Aspen with an all-new series “Psycho Bonkers.” It is a series that focuses on a new audience for the publisher, the “all-ages” audience.
The sexy imagery of Aspen comics has given way to a light-hearted animated style that is still full of the rich detail you come to expect from Aspen. The hero of the story is a young girl named Shine who keeps in the theme of Aspen’s past heroes with a strong will and determination to succeed against all odds. What you find in “Psycho Bonkers” #1 is the beginning of a new story set in the fantastic world of Bonk Racing that is best captured in the world of comic books.
To find out more about “Psycho Bonkers” the Hollywood Comic Books Examiner caught up with the series writer and creator Hernandez for a quick conversation about the new book.
Hollywood Comic Books Examiner: First off, what is “Psycho Bonkers”?
Vince Hernandez: “Psycho Bonkers” is equal parts the story of a young girl Shine that is trying to challenge herself not only on the racetrack, but also in her own life outside of the thrill of the course—but also an entire world of possibilities as a thematic universe.
What I mean by that is, there are numerous stories and adventures set within the world of “Psycho Bonkers” that come together to create this tapestry of characters and their various roles in the Super Bonk Rally.
Examiner: Right away from looking at “Psycho Bonkers” you can tell that this comic book is different from anything Aspen Comics has done before. What was the inspiration for this new direction and new series?
Hernandez: Like all things at Aspen, we wanted to come up with something unique and fun, and exciting for our fans. As it turned out, the timing was right to debut this all ages series with our fan-base growing and ushering in a new generation of young readers curious for this type of material. It certainly won’t be the last of the all-ages material we plan to debut, if I can drop a hint.
Examiner: In the first issue Shine seems to be having a lot of fun as a Bonk Racer, but we also see there has been tragedy in her family caused by Bonk Racing. Is she the fun racer we see? How does the racing history of her father and grandfather affect her?
Hernandez: The tragedy of her past is a huge shaping stone for her character, as readers will come to discover. From the start of our story we’re introduced to both the present day and more confident Shine, but soon discover the flip side to her personality as we follow her journey into the Bonk Racing scene. And, without spoiling too much, we’ll come to discover that most of the events of issue one will be turned on their head as the story progresses, similar to a race itself.
Examiner: You are working with artists Adam Archer and Federico Blee on “Psycho Bonkers”. What is it about their style that led you to work with them on this series?
Hernandez: Aspen has a history with Adam Archer, as he illustrated many of our NBC’s Heroes webcomics that we produced during the run of that television series, so we thankfully had a good idea of his potential. Once we began the process of deciding the art style for the project, his name was at the top of a very short list. And, once he began delivering his designs and pages—we knew we selected the perfect artist! Federico Blee is a new talent that I’ve been collaborating with on several projects here at Aspen so when the time came to decide on colors, I felt his sensibilities would match Adam’s and we went from there. Personally, I couldn’t be happier with their work so far. They have an amazing knack for taking a scene the way it’s written and making it so much better visually than I ever could’ve imagined.
Examiner: How has the collaboration with the artists affected the story of “Psycho Bonkers”?
Hernandez: As the writer, I think it’s essential to understand the strengths of the artistic team and do what I can to work to their abilities. As we get further along on future issues, I’ve really been able to discover what Adam, Federico and Josh Reed the letterer can do as a team and cater to that. One big instance of this is the landscapes of Psycho Bonkers that Adam and Federico continually up the ante on in terms of scale and creativity. They keep going above and beyond my wildest dreams!
Examiner: Is “Psycho Bonkers” going to be focused on Shine or will there be room to explore some of the other Bonk Racers we see in the first issue?
Hernandez: As early as issue two, readers will learn much more about the surrounding characters and world, for sure! The world of “Psycho Bonkers” will really come alive from this point on!
Get “Psycho Bonkers” #1 at your favorite comic book store beginning Wednesday May 20. To find a comic shop near you, visit www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook.