Disgraced superheroes. Whole identities lost to court judgments. A super-powered, time-travelling John Adams. If you’ve never dipped your toes into the infinitely witty, superhero-spoof world of AHOY Comics’ My Bad—created by Mark Russell, Bryce Ingman, and Peter Krause—it’s time to dive in head-first. This month, AHOY kicked off its newest installment of My Bad with Escape from Peculiar Island, from the minds of writers Ingman and Russell, artists Krause and Joe Osark, colorist Kelly Fitzpatrick, and letterer Rob Steen. In Peculiar Island and its world of not-so-competent do-gooder and ne’er-do-wells, established heroes find themselves forced out of the world-saving game, other heroes get their shot at greatness, and villains might not always have to be villains.

Also: beaver-faced penguins.

Mr. Russell and Mr. Ingman spoke with me recently about the conceit of My Bad: Escape from Peculiar Island, where we find the cast of My Bad at the beginning of the first issue of the miniseries, reformed villains and their dreams post-criminality, and how the characters have spun off into new directions since the first My Bad installment.

My Bad: Escape from Peculiar Island is a heckuva ride, with readers having no way of guessing what will happen panel-to-panel, let alone page-to-page. If you’re looking for a series that isn’t so self-serious, but still allows for character growth and development, Escape from Peculiar Island will be right up your alley.




FreakSugar: For folks considering picking up the book, what is the idea behind My Bad: Escape from Peculiar Island?

Mark Russell: Well, in my half of the story, Jamington Winthrop loses the intellectual property rights to the Chandelier, so he’s basically out of the hero game. Whereas, a member of the minor leagues of superheroes (The League of Regional Heroes) is elevated to national hero status to fill in.

Bryce Ingman: My half of the book focuses on Amazing Adams (former US President John Adams who has traveled through time and gained superpowers) being named interim governor of a fictional US territory called The Peculiar Islands. This is too much to take for aspiring dictator and semi-retired supervillain Emperor King and he’s determined to usurp Adams and take over the territory. It’s neocolonialism with beaver-faced penguins and acid throwing chimpanzees.

FS: Escape from Peculiar Island also has, well, a peculiar cast. What can you tell us about the characters we’ll meet in the miniseries?

MR: For my part, you will be introduced to Captain Ohio, a new hero on the national scene, as well as the mysterious Shade, a legendary hero who has been around for decades working in, as you would imagine, the shadows.

BI: Our first issue introduces Professor Octopus, a former supervillain with an octopus for a head who has paid his debt to society and now dreams of being an English professor at a mid-sized liberal arts college. Later on, the readers will get to know Strongboy, a Superboy type whose highly effective modus operandi involves breaking the legs of every criminal suspect he encounters.




FS: The press release describes My Bad: Escape from Peculiar Island as being very much in the tradition of the Bwah-Ha-Ha era of Justice League and, after reading issue #1, that’s a good assessment. Was that ever in the back of your mind? Not to ape that era, obviously, but looking toward that kind of feel to the book?

MR: I think that’s probably a good way to describe the series in general. It’s a comparison we can only benefit from. Though we’re certainly not writing My Bad as an overt homage to the old JLI [Justice League International] comics, I might still steal Guy Gardner’s hairdo.

BI: I understand and appreciate the comparison, but I’m afraid our heroes and villains are far more incompetent than the quirky crew of JLI. Any successes our characters enjoy are fleeting and purely accidental. Where’s Batman when you need him?

FS: This isn’t your first time visiting the world My Bad. Have the characters taken you in directions you didn’t expect them to when you first wrote that first installment?

MR: Writing, for me, is sort of like assembling IKEA furniture. I might start out keeping to the blueprint, but sooner or later, I give up on following the directions and just wing it. So, yes, these characters have taken me in unintended directions. Adding to that is the fact that I try to have a certain amount of crossover with what Bryce is writing, so my plans for these characters change depending on what he’s doing with his characters.

BI:  Definitely. Acid Chimp started off as a one-panel joke back in the first season and since then he’s emerged as one of the books’ stars. (He was even spun-off into a one-shot team-up adventure with Mark’s Business Dog character from Billionaire Island.) It’s been a ball developing Acid Chimp’s character traits and history as he’s become a regular part of the My Bad gang.

FS: Following up on that, what your writing collaboration like? What’s the creative process like with the rest of the team?

MR: We sort of come up with our own plotlines for our own half of the series and then discuss how and where they’re going to bump into each other’s stories.

BI: Yep. We have lots of chats as the season gets worked out, sometimes doing our own thing with the scripts and sometimes riffing off of what the other guy is coming up with. As a season winds down, we do more co-plotting to ensure a satisfying conclusion – or a least a really funny one.

FS: What are you reading right now?

MR: I’m reading a really great graphic novel called Elmer, which takes place in an alternate world where the chickens have suddenly become intelligent and we’re having to learn to coexist peacefully with them.

BI: I’m finishing up Jonathan Hickman’s and Mike Huddleston’s Decorum. Spectacular art, inspired world-building, and fantastic characters. Loving it.



FS: Are there any other projects you’re working on at the moment that you’d like to discuss?

MR: I’m working on X-Factor, my first ongoing title at Marvel. So that’s exciting. Issue 1 drops in August.

BI: I have more stories coming up from AHOY’s delightful Project: Cryptid book. One of them is about a Capelobo. Capelobos look like giant hairy men with hooved feet and anteater heads. They are known for eating human brains and drinking our blood. My story is about a Capelobo named Ademir who likes to sing, signs a bad management contract, and unhappily finds himself doing lounge shows in Las Vegas.

FS: Do you have more tales from the world of Peculiar Island in your back pockets?

MR: Peculiar Island is Bryce’s creation, so I’ll let him answer that. Would love to come back for My Bad Season 4, though, whatever island it takes place on.

BI: The Peculiar Islands are a land of magic and mystery. I’d love nothing more than to reveal additional secrets from this glorious territory in future seasons of My Bad. So please tell your friends and enemies to buy lots of copies (physical or digital) of Escape from Peculiar Island. That’s the best way to ensure we can continue producing this delightful My Bad nonsense.

FS: Can you tease anything about what we can expect later in the miniseries?

MR: Jamington Winthrop, having lost the rights to the Chandelier, takes up podcasting.

BI: Emperor King claims he wants to bake cookies with his hated enemy, the Chandelier. Seems sketchy.

FS: If you had one final pitch for the book, what would it be?

MR: This is maybe the season that expands the world of My Bad the most. It might also be the funniest. Plus, one lucky reader will win two million dollars.

BI: Our goal is to make My Bad the funniest comic book on the market. Please give it a read so you can tell us how horribly we’ve failed.

My Bad: Escape from Peculiar Island #1 is on sale now from AHOY Comics.

From the official issue description:

Unmasked and exposed, the crime-fighting Chandelier is finally defeated-by the IRS! Former US President John “Amazing” Adams assumes governorship of the tropical Peculiar Islands! Featuring a Zap-worthy “underground” incentive cover by Shannon Wheeler.