Eric Cockrell is the indie comic creator behind ‘Adhesive Man’. This year Eric and his publishing group, Studio Erbo, are celebrating the 25th anniversary of the ‘Adhesiverse.’ Guest Contributor, Mike Schneider of ThunderClap for Comics had the opportunity to sit down with him and talk about the road so far.
Mike Schneider: For those who may be unfamiliar with Adhesive Man, can you tell us a bit about the character?
Eric Cockrell: Adhesive Man is a parody of your standard wise-cracking, heroic character. His power is that he sticks to things. Sometimes that’s a benefit because he can crawl up walls and such. More often, though, it causes him some trouble.
Mike: You’re celebrating the 25th Anniversary of Adhesive Man this year, but the oldest release on your site is from 2009. What was the 1992 series like? Why haven’t you collected and released it too?
Eric: The Adhesive Man books of the 90’s were pretty crude in terms of art and story. There were inside jokes, as it was written to entertain people that I knew and went to high school and college with. The best parts of those books have been worked into more recent iterations and made better by years of experience and formal storytelling training. I’m not sure that I’d ever release them. I’d be afraid that might be somebody’s first experience with the character and there are much better jumping on points.
Mike: Your 2009 series is getting re-edited for its colorized re-release. Are these any content changes planned or is the edit simply to refine what’s already there?
Eric: Yes, actually. The first issue was released in February and there were certainly tweaks on many pages. I also re-lettered the whole thing and I know, with that issue in particular, I redrew a couple panels and sweetened up most of the jokes… as well as, cutting a few that fell flat.
Mike: The Gnat is another character in Studio Erbo’s ‘Adhesiverse’. How did Darren Fitzpatrick’s character end up in the same universe with Adhesive Man?
Eric: Darren Fitzpatrick and I have been friends going back thirty years now. We drew comic books together on the back of scrap paper in elementary school. So, when I began creating characters for this series in 1992, he was right there creating with me. It was only a matter of time before he had Adhesive Man in his Gnat comic, trying to stop an A-Bomb but getting stuck to it instead. I believe that was their first crossover, and if memory serves, it was a Christmas special.
Mike: Your press release also mentioned the release of Gnat’s previously shelved 2009 series. Why was the series shelved in the first place?
Eric: We made some big plans in 2009. We had scheduled four issues of Adhesive Man, four issues of The Gnat, some issues of Eric F Myers’ Lug ( who just recently surfaced in the current series), and several other projects. Then life got too busy and Darren had another baby on the way. The options for indie comic creators were much more limited than they are today and it was even easier to get discouraged.
Darren had his first issue completed, but saw that he didn’t have time to finish up issue #2, so he held off for a bit. He had actually lost the pages, until his father passed away last year. Inside a case that contained all of the documents that his father deemed important sat The Gnat #1. So, as you can imagine, that release will be a truly special one for us.
Mike: Later this year, you’ll be releasing a new iteration of Adhesive Man in ‘The Unbelievable Adhesive Man #1.’ Beyond being drawn by a different artist, how does this new iteration differ from your current version?
Eric: I’m really looking forward to that one. About four years ago, I got this idea to reinvent Adhesive Man in a more traditional way. I drew up about 20 pages of issue #1 and was beginning to color it but wasn’t really happy with what I had come up with. I think it had some good ideas but I wasn’t pulling off the art. I had a son on the way and had very limited time so I hit pause with the intention of getting back to it.
That next year, our old crew got together to work on Defective Comics and as an introduction to issue #3, I had my friend, Elliot Scott, do a few guest pages of Adhesive Man 2.0. We had a lot of fun redesigning the character and immediately began talking about plans to do more with him. Finally, we are deep into making it happen, with a summer release date.
Mike: If someone’s never read or heard of your comics before, what’s your elevator pitch for why they should check them out?
Eric: The Adhesiverse is a parody book filled with everything that makes superhero comic books fun with a dash of weird.
Mike: If you were just starting out today how would you launch your character and universe?
Eric: If I could start fresh, I would probably do much of what I am doing right now. The majority of the world has never seen our stuff so, in a lot of ways, we’re still launching 25 years later. This past year we have made production of our books much more affordable, begun doing more shows, have done more press, and even hooked up with a distributor. Those are the kinds of things that were impossible in 1992 and unattainable in 2009. We’re hoping it’s those things, along with consistency and constant improvement, that will pay off in the years to come.
Mike: As you celebrate Adhesive Man’s silver jubilee, let’s look forward to his golden. What do you imagine comics will be like 25 years from now?
Eric: Obviously, digital comics will be continue to be a bigger share of the market. It’s only a matter of time before Marvel and DC take digital distribution into their own hands, which would challenge Comixology to really pump up the independent industry or risk fading away… which I think would be cool for creators like myself.
Whatever the future holds for comics, Eric Cockrell and Studio Erbo’s Adhesiverse have a big year ahead of them. Check out their latest releases over at http://studioerbo.com/
Note: This is an article submitted and written by Mike Schneider of ThunderClap for Comics. If you would like to know more about Crowd Speaking and ThunderClap read the earlier article by Mike Support Indie Comics with ThunderClap featured on Advance Comics.