Thursday, June 26, 2008

My Geeky Brethren!

Here's a nice review from Jack Bauerstein at

"What do you get when you have a superhero that patrols the night on foot, helping people change flat tires, and eating beef jerky to sustain their energy? Well, you get The Twilight Guardian.

Written by Troy Hickman of Common Ground fame, Twilight Guardian tells the tale of a young woman who goes to work in the morning like everyone else excepts at night, she protects her neighborhood in a hoodie and a mask as The Twilight Guardian. She combs the area, searching for villains to thwart but usually she just heads home and reads her comics, hoping to hone her craft.

To call this comic wickedly bizarre is an understatement. It is definitely unlike anything that is out on the comic racks today or perhaps even ever. I know I have never read a book where I laughing at just how ridiculous the story was but at the same time, greatly amused by the whole idea. Is the Twilight Guardian really a superhero or is she just a crazy person? Perhaps she is in on the joke and knows something the reader and those around do not know. This comic has so much potential and can go in so many directions, it would be crazy for Top Cow to not consider continuing this series.

Hickman does his best toeing the line between serious drama and tongue in cheek scenarios. He definitely knows how to stage a scene. There were many times where I thought something superhero-esque would happen only to realize it was a false alarm. It is very mundane and just overall not too exciting, yet oddly innovative. This is truly a comic book that keeps its feet on the ground yet soars to new heights by just being something off beat and unique. I also like how readers get a chance to read some of the comics that the Twilight Guardian uses as her learner manuals. They are hilarious and poke some serious fun at comic books.

My only complaint about the book is the art. The artist Reza is good enough, but I think a more dynamic, bombastic artist should have been assigned to the book. It would have given the book a bit more of that superhero feel to it, adding to the suspense of whether or not the Twilight Guardian has powers or if she will gain some over the course of the book.

If you want to read something strange, bizarre, and unlike anything you have ever read, you need to pick up Twilight Guardian. It is strangely satisfying even if it is not what you expect."

Thanks so much, Jack!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

New Artwork!

Below are a couple of depictions of Twilight Guardian by the massively talented Christopher Tupa. I think you'll agree that they cook with gas! This guy needs to be doing comics on a regular basis, and soon. You can see more of Christopher's stuff here.

And if you'd like to see your sketches of Twilight Guardian and crew in this space, send 'em along!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Twilight Guardian Video Review

Our pal Amber has posted a review of TG on YouTube. Check it out!

I need to mention, btw, that Amber is currently in the top two for a major costume contest, and she could really use your support! Go here to check out the costumes and place your vote. Thanks, Amber, you're super!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

San Antonio Spurs...Readers to Check Out Twilight Guardian

Here's a nice piece from Jeremy Martin at the San Antonio Current:

The Twilight Guardian, an anonymous loser pretending at superherodom, patrols well-trod territory, but Hickman’s (Common Grounds) skill at character development sets this series apart. So far, anyway. The story, told through terse, personal journal entries, is largely uneventful, but the protagonist, a lonely girl patrolling her suburban neighborhood for evildoers, is compelling and sympathetic. The issue occasionally falters when Hickman attempts a Tick-like mockery of the Guardian’s misguided sense of “justice,” but the endearing attempts of the main character to escape her failed relationship and mundane existence as a dry cleaner by mimicking her favorite comic-book characters makes Twilight Guardian worth reading. Her late-night prowling leads only to the discovery of misdemeanors — teenagers making out in a parked car, a man urinating in his neighbor’s flower bed — but also to other lonely people acquainted with the night: a woman continously watching the same monster movie, a man shooting baskets until his love returns. And it’s this secret knowledge of the friendless people without purpose that gives Twilight Guardian a meaningful voice. Though misguided and ineffective superheroes are standard fare in comic books, Twilight Guardian’s underlying concept — becoming a superhero as a distraction from the isolation of modern-day young adulthood — is novel and at times even heart-defrosting.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

And It Continues!

Here's a nice five-star review from Jason Sacks over at

"Twilight Guardian is a story told completely in interior monologue about a woman who fancies herself the guardian of "a nine block area between Sandusky and Aurora Drive", as she says. "If you belong to the forces of injustice, don't bring your evil ways here. Not on my watch."

The entire story in this comic is told from the standpoint of this unnamed young woman. All we really know about this woman is that she works in a dry cleaner's shop "in her civilian identity", as she puts it, and that she has a single-minded devotion to the cause of keeping the peace in her small sliver of a city.

We see the woman preparing for her nightly patrols and witness a couple. Nothing much ever happens on her patrols -- the most mysterious event might be a man sitting outside a closed Burger King for 40 minutes -- but that just makes the story so much more intriguing.

Of course, the real drama of this story lies in its implications. Who is this woman and why is she so obsessed with crime? We know that she has a collection of 22,000 comic books, but have the comics really influenced her so deeply that she feels compelled to put on a bodystocking and hoodie to become a superheroine? We also know that she has a mother who cares about her: was there some tragic event in this woman's life that motivated her to take up this bizarre obsession?

Obsession is definitely the word for what the woman is experiencing. Her evening ritual is firm and unchanging in its rigor and intensity. Every evening she spends time preparing for that night's patrol. Each patrol must be different from that of the night before, because the forces of evil learn to expect patterns. Then some TV time to learn from TV detectives. Then lastly a read of a great old comic. Then on comes the mask and costume, and off she goes.

I really enjoyed Reza's art in this comic. He does a wonderful job of conveying the slowness and dullness of this woman's life, and really brings an interesting sort of poignancy to this odd woman's story.

This comic is the opposite of most super-hero books. Nothing ever really happens in the story. It all happens inside the very small, insular world of a very strange young woman. And for that reason, I found it absolutely compelling. Troy Hickman does a wonderful job of making a very small story seem quite compelling. I don't know how this might read if Twilight Guardian becomes a regular series, but as a standalone comic, this is wonderful."

Thanks much, Jason!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Troy's Patrol Journal #2

* Tonight I walked by a dog that I've seen for the last few nights. He's leashed in the front yard of a house by a very long chain, and he just constantly runs and jumps all over the place, in a manner that I can only describe as frollicking. I'm not sure of the breed, though he looks sort of like a spotless dalmation. He just seems so happy, though. I assume it may be because he stays inside much of the time, and becomes euphoric when they let him out. He stopped and looked at me, without barking, his tongue hanging out, as if to say "hey, buddy, you coming over to see me?" There are few things that make me happier than seeing a happy dog. It's easy to see why our two species bond so easily.
* Almost every night I hear this kid up in his second-floor bedroom practicing the trombone. When I first hear him, he was just learning the scales, and it was kind of painful. That was months ago. Last night I heard him playing what I believe was the fight song of my old school, Jefferson High. Practice makes...well, maybe not perfect, but close enough for jazz.

* I saw a figure standing on a street corner, leaning down to do something. As I got closer, I realized it was a kid, probably 18-20, in a jogging suit, and he was reaching down to pick up a pair of dumbbells he had been carrying with him. Then he took off again, powerwalking, with his arms pumping the weights up and down as he made his way into the darkness. I guess there are a lot of us out there, trying to accomplish something in the twilight.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Troy's Patrol Journal #1

* Tonight I saw two little boys, approximately age six, running down the sidewalk in front of their 10pm! It was pitch dark, and there was not a parent to be seen anywhere (not even watching through the window). How freaking stupid are people? Look, I was brought up in a time and place when you didn't have to lock your doors, and if a child predator ever had come into the area, he would've been found floating face down in the Wabash River (probably because of someone in my family). And despite all that, there's no way my mom would've let me wonder around by myself at 10pm. And unfortunately the world can be a considerably darker place these days. I kept an eye on the kids for a minute, then they went inside, thank goodness. I'm thinking I should do something about this, even if it's only to leave a note in the mailbox so these rocket scientists might buy a clue.

* The toads are out in full force. You wouldn't think they'd hang around this neighborhood, as it's nothing but houses with back and front yards. There's not a wooded area or pond for quite a distance. And yet ever year about this time you can hear their trilling croak (really a lovely sound), and by the end of June or so, they're littering the sidewalks (I've taken to avoiding any dark-colored splotch on the pavement).

* Every night I pass this house and inside I can see a man and a woman watching TV. The odd thing about it, though, is that they're both sitting on the couch, but leaning forward, like they're on the edge of their seats. They sit like that every night, and tonight when I went by, I noticed they were watching The Weather Channel. I can only assume this either means they have hemorrhoid issues, or they really, really want to hear about the precipitation in Windom, Minnesota.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Now That's a Mensch

Earlier today I heard from Adam Freeman, one of the writers on another one of this year's Pilot Season books, Genius (which looks to be terrific). Adam is also, among other things, writer of the great Monster Attack Network, and a producer of the Gene Simmons Family Jewels tv show.

Adam just wanted to drop me a note and let me know that he'd read and enjoyed Twilight Guardian. Ladies and gents, nothing impresses me more than class and graciousness, and that's exactly what this is.

Best of luck to Adam and all the rest of the Pilot Season creators. I'm sure hoping to be in the top two, but either way I'm in great company with all of these folks.

My Name is Legion, For We Are Many

No sooner do I talk about the reality of walking around at night than I get a message from one of my fellow Twilight Guardians. I'll omit his name to protect his secret identity (let me know if you'd prefer to be known, amigo), but here's what he had to say:

"Hello there. While at the local comic shop today this book caught my eye and I started flipping through it. Within mere pages I found myself delighted by the concept. Finally, a "hero" I can really identify with. You see, I too am a wanderer of the darkened residential streets! During my walks I am not actually on the lookout for crime, but I do playfully refer to them as "patrols", and I think how grateful everyone should be to have me out prowling around keeping an eye on things. I was so charmed I actually bought the book despite my notorious cheapness.

If the series gets picked up, I hope nothing continues to happen to her and that she never gets hurt. I realize these are unusual sentiments to express about a comic book character.

My compliments to Reza also."

Eventually, we're gonna take back the streets, nine blocks at a time...

Twilight Guardian: Felon?

OK, our first comments come from my buddy Wldcelt over at the Top Cow boards, who says this:

"Okay, I was finally able to read it this weekend. I did like the character intensive story, and the inner dialogue gave a strong insight into her character. But it also led me to believe that this girl has some serious "reality" issues, and not in a humorous way. I'm also surprised that someone walking around in a mask all night would only be questioned by the cops, would not be run in for questioning, not told to stop and not be treated like a vigilante stalker-type. It seems highly improbable... On the plus side, I'm highly interested in what will happen next, especially with the whole black cat crossing in front all the time thing. From the cover of the issue, I'm kinda' leaning toward the "sidekick" speculation."

Some interesting questions, Celty. First, thanks for the kind comments. Glad you dug the character focus (especially in a medium where plot concerns tend to reign supreme).

Now, does TG have some "reality" issues? Well, at least as much as the rest of us with OCD do. I think the greater question might be "is she any LESS in touch with reality than the typical comic fan?" I don't know if you've been to a convention lately, but you'll run into a lot of folks who are pretty functional in their daily lives, so much so that you'd never assume they were anything but the most normal people in the world. Yet these same fanboys and fangirls will buy a mail order sword and suddenly think they're a trained ninja. I've had folks tell me they can move things with their minds (though they can never duplicate it in front of an audience, apparently). I've met individuals who actually believe they ARE their RPG characters. Is Twilight Guardian, because she walks around her neighborhood looking for rights to wrong, any crazier than those folks? I dunno. Twilight Guardian is at least aware enough to realize she has no mutant powers...

Regarding the police, I think I covered that in the issue itself when TG comments about the police stopping her for questioning, until they all (the cops in the area) got to know her. They realize that she's harmless, if a little "peculiar." The police generally don't "run in" folks for questioning unless it's a major deal, such as a murder or other serious issue; generally they'll just ask questions on the spot. The "interrogation room" you see on TV shows is a reality, but generally it's used for serious stuff, not looney ladies walking the streets at night. It's not like she's committing a crime and they're going to arrest her. She's not doing anything illegal, except POSSIBLY wearing a mask in public, and I'm not even sure that's against the law in Indiana (and I doubt the cops generally enforce that anyway; look at how often there are KKK rallies with tons of folks wearing hoods, or that recent protest of scientology by folks in Guy Fawkes masks).

Beyond that, I'm not sure you realize just how deserted the streets of the Midwest are at night. Last night, for instance, I walked around my neighborhood (which is what TG's neighborhood is patterned after) for two hours with a SINGLE CAR ever passing me. I've logged probably 100 times more hours on the streets at night than TG has, and I think I've only seen a cop car drive past me maybe three times in all those years, and when they did, they didn't even pause to take a glimpse at me (and I have to think a burly biker-looking fellow like me has to look more suspicious than a woman in a hoodie). I'm not sure they'd even notice a domino mask if they glance her direction.

So I guess it just doesn't seem that improbable to me.

Now, regarding the sidekick issue, I'm kind of leaning towards the sock monkey!

Anyway, thanks much for your questions, Celty, and for your inspiration in creating this blog!

Time To Hit The Streets

Welcome! It occurred to me that since there are a couple of months until the Pilot Season voting, and I want to keep word about Twilight Guardian out there, giving her a blog of her own might not be such a bad idea. So if you have any questions or thoughts about our nocturnal sentinel, this would be the place! Just drop me a line, and I'll hook you up. And hey...make sure that come August, you do what the gent on our right suggests! ------->