"The High School Age Can Be Very Tricky" – Ian Parker On Cage Hero #2

Corinna Bechko, writer of Aliens/Vampirella #4, talks with plotter/co-creator Ian Parker about Cage Hero #2, both from Dynamite Entertainment and in stores now. Cover art by Renato Rei.

cage hero 2CORINNA BECHKO: Most of the new characters we are introduced to in issue #2 are young, just on the cusp of adulthood. Do you feel this is an important aspect of a story about discovering hidden potential inside oneself? 

IAN PARKER: I do. The high school age can be extremely tricky.  Emotional and physical changes take place, and there are tons of distractions that can take you away from your goals and achieving one's true potential.

CB: As a follow-on to the last question, is the age of the "new recruits" also important to their status as fighters? I know that many athletes are at their peak very early in life, but it seems that in a fight the older, more heavily muscled and experienced combatant might have the edge. For those of us who don't know much about cage matches, does this ring true? 

IP: The age of the new recruits is extremely important to their status as fighters. As accomplished as these young fighters are, they are simply that: young. What this truly means is that they have started their training at a young age and have a ton of room to grow. The sky is the limit for these young characters. They have so much to learn, not only in their own discipline but also from each other.

A fighter who is older, more heavily muscled and experienced could have an edge. But that is not always the case. For those who are not familiar with the world of Mixed Martial Arts, fighters compete in weight classes. This is to minimize a size advantage and to let the fight be determined by who was more prepared for the fight. Fights also really come down to styles. Certain styles favor over others. For example: A fighter who is heavily muscled can have flaws in his or her game. Let's just say their weakness is being taken down by wrestlers. No matter how muscular that fighter is, if paired up against a very successful/decorated wrestler, the size no longer matters. It now comes down to how the fighters prepared for one another.

CB: I often get asked about my "influences" on various projects, but I find that to be a hard question to answer in some cases since many of them are often subconscious. So I'm going to ask you an easier one: what inspires you when crafting an idea like this?

IP: I will do my best to give the easiest answer.  I have multiple inspirations.  1: To put the sport of Mixed Martial Arts in a good light. 2: To provide my son's generation with a new group of heroes they can grow up with. 3: When I originally had these characters created, they were made to put on t-shirts and have professional fighters wear the shirts out to the cage when they were fighting on Pay Per View. When I saw these characters come to life, I thought to myself, what if I put all of these characters together and they protected the world. The idea then hit me, and I ran with it.

CB: There seems to be a certain rebelliousness at the heart of several of the characters, and yet the disciplines they are learning require a great deal of respect for authority, or at least for their teachers. Do you see that as a dichotomy to be overcome or as fuel for further drama?

IP: I think a happy medium of both. Like I mentioned earlier, these Cage Heroes are high school kids. As disciplined as they are, as superbly athletic as they are, they are still kids.

CB: Finally, I'm curious if the flashbacks were always part of the concept, or if those grew out of the scripting phase? 

IP: The flashbacks were always part of the concept. But they 100 percent grew out more during the scripting phase.

For more on Cage Hero #2, click here.

About Dan Wickline

Has quietly been working at Bleeding Cool for over three years. He has written comics for Image, Top Cow, Shadowline, Avatar, IDW, Dynamite, Moonstone, Humanoids and Zenescope. He is the author of the Lucius Fogg series of novels and a published photographer.