I may not have wanted Tommy to be the relunctant hero, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t want to use that trope somewhere else.
THE EVOLUTION OF THE COLONEL
I need someone to fit in between the generation of Tommy and his grandfather. I decided on using a silver age type. And the patriotic masked man just seemed right. As such, after arising from a near death experience, the future Colonel finds himself stronger, tougher and faster than those around him. Out of a sense of responsibility, his new reality forces him to take the place of others in danger. As such, he feels the weight of his abilities and finds little comfort in them.
I made his origins based in Vietnam, which creates a different kind of patriot than the one we all think of. Vietnam conjures up a much murkier past than the pride of a nation in WWII. So, the Private (at the time) is in a darker space as he exits the service.
I wanted the Colonel to see his masked life as a job. Nothing glamorous about it. He doesn’t hate it. It’s just something he does. And he’s extremely good at it.
Artistically, I wanted a guy I could do a lot of “heavy” art with. I went with what I thought was the archetypical super hero looks with him. His 80s costume and look is definitely influenced by Byrne work of the same time period. While his modern look of him in his 60s is a nod to Mr Miller. Thick and wide.
Undoubtedly, he was the antagonist of the graphic novel. But I softened him a bit from my original concept many years ago. I saw him in a different light when I finished the GN. We don’t see a lot of him in the early parts of the new series but he will pop up in places.
Another advantage of going digital first, I plan on doing short stories of side characters. the Colonel is definitely at the top of the list.
A lifelong comics fan, Mike W. Belcher is the writer/artist of MAN IN THE MASK. A story he's had with him for over 20 years.