Checking into Hero Camp

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This spring comic readers are invited to enroll at Camp Enokchuk - a summer camp where “the super-powered become super-people” - a place where classes such as Heroic Flight Patterns, Super-Strength Training and Mastering Witty Banter are the norm and every camper is training for the day they might be called upon to save the universe. (or, at the very least, their neighborhood)

Welcome to HERO CAMP, a full-color monthly ongoing series debuting in May from Image Comics.  Co-created by writer Greg Thompson and artist Robbi Rodriguez, HERO CAMP takes a lively look at teenage self-discovery and superheroes.
According to Thompson, readers should be able to identify with the book's main character, Eric, a normal teen who just happens to be the offspring of the world's most popular superheroes.

“I think most people have felt like an outsider at some point in their lives.  The choice we’ve all had to make is whether or not to let that define who we are,” says Thompson. “Eric may not have superpowers, but he’s a bright, resourceful kid who always manages to maintain the upper hand.  Everyone loves an underdog, and Eric, the main character in the story, is definitely that.”
HERO CAMP begins as Eric’s parents send him to Camp Enokchuk to discover and hone his so far undiscovered super-powers. Eric’s family and fellow campers refuse to believe he is powerless, so in addition to normal teenage anxieties like girls and grades, he must also worry about surviving daily camp life.  To add to these predicaments, a trio of villains believe that Eric is the key to destroying Camp Enokchuk and wiping out a cadre of future foes.
It should come as no surprise that the villains attempting to terrorize Camp Enokchuk are familiar to any kid who ever sat around a campfire swapping horror stories.

“Originally, there weren't going to be any prototypical baddies in the stories,” explains Thompson. “But a friend of mine convinced me that if you’re going to do a superhero book, you gotta have bad guys.  Well, it’s a book about a summer camp, so the logical bad guys are those that we've all used to scare each other.  I’m speaking of the Goatman, Hookman and Bloody Mary.”
While the non-powered Eric is the star of the book, the spotlight also shines on a variety of heroes in training, including Hottie, a scorching hot flame-thrower, Tex (aka Cowboy), an invincible cowpoke with a magical lasso, Dina Mite, a super strong spitfire and member of the legendary Mite family of super heroes, Hype, a super speedster with an invisible girlfriend and many, many more.

Thompson and Rodriguez are taking a unique approach to storytelling, using shorter story arcs, one shots and backup stories to develop the characters.

“I really prefer shorter story arcs and backup stories,” states Thompson. “I’ve got a short attention span, and grew up reading comics from the Silver and Golden Age, so it just makes sense to me.  I also like the fact that anyone will be able to pick up an issue of Hero Camp and either get a complete story or only have to find the previous issue to complete a story.  While actions will have repercussions and certain themes will run throughout the book, a new reader will never have to worry about not knowing what’s going on.  It’s going to be really accessible for new readers.”

Originally self-published as a minicomic, it wasn't long before the work of Thompson and Rodriguez began to attract the attention of comic fans and creators alike.  Three issues into the minicomic run, Thompson put the book into the hands of Image Comics Publisher Erik Larsen and it wasn't long before the young creators were invited to publish under the Image banner.
"Hero Camp is exactly what we'd like to see more of," says Larsen.  "A fun book with interesting characters by two creators who are just starting to realize their potential. I can't imagine readers not taking to this one in a heartbeat."
Summer camp will never be the same.
HERO CAMP #1 will be solicited in the March 2005 issue of Diamond PREVIEWS and will hit stands in May of 2005.

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