We’re continuing our EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEWS with the creative team of the superhero blog The Urban 30. Their current season keeps on rolling out every week, so I’ll pull you away from their adventures for our next discussion.
Christopher Brown is the writer of Xander Allen AKA Hitman, as well as one of the artist’s bringing life to the U30. Please join me in welcoming him Inside the Grizzly Studio.
SupaScoot: Let’s start off easy. What brought you to the Urban 30?
Christopher Brown: I actually started out doing a few illustrations for the character roster at the time for Urban 30 after discovering the site. I really liked the direction and concept of the characters. After a short while, I decided to try my hand at writing. The rest, as they say, is history.
Can you tell us about your character, the Hitman?
The Hitman – Xander Allen – is the resident badass. He’s a long time friend of Sonus and Spire, with a history that’s been revealed over the last few seasons. Hitman is a master of martial arts and virtually all forms of weaponry and often serves as the trainer for new recruits of U30, making sure that they can survive out in the world. He’s also notoriously hard to kill, having survived numerous stabbings, gunshots, explosions, impalings and a fall from a 15 story building. This is all due to a healing factor that allows his body to regenerate and repair itself. Hitman is NOT immortal, however, and would die if decapitated or drowned.
Were there any past badasses that helped influence the creation of Xander?
The clear influence would be Batman, as I’ve always been a fan of the character…but Hitman’s not the billionaire playboy type. I’m also a fan of some of the old school characters like the Green Hornet and Kato and The Shadow…guys who had to rely more on their wits and abilities than on powers.
We were lucky enough to see the motion comic Hitman: RBD from ThreeZeroMedia on an earlier U30 Weekly Update. Is that something you are interested in doing more of?
I’m definitely interested in doing more motion comics and eventually full blown animations as time permits. Hitman RBD was a blast to create and it’s really got me excited about future possibilities.
You were actually the reason I came to the U30 in the first place, due to our working together at B!K! Do you think sites like this and various social media outlets are helping spread the word of the Urban 30?
Sites such as Grizzlybomb and Bam! Kapow! and social media are integral for spreading the word of sites such as the Urban 30. Word of mouth, whether actually verbal or through written/internet recommendation, always carries more weight than an advertisement ever would. People trust the judgment of their friends and respected sites far more than just a random ad that they ran across.
Do you have a favorite moment from the past seasons with the Urban 30?
We’ve had a lot of really great moments in U30. It’s exceptionally hard to choose any one in particular. I do think that some of The Hitman’s WTF moments have made me smile though…especially when he was dropped from 15 stories up and narrating his fall on the way down, followed by peeling himself off of the ground to the horror of his teammates and onlookers.
What would you personally like to accomplish with Hitman and the Urban 30?
Ultimately, I’d like to see the Urban 30 reach levels of greatness like The Avengers or JLA, where it’s not only a household name but a property that is highly marketable. An Urban 30 animated series and movie would be the pinnacle of success, in my opinion.
Most Hitman posts are chock full of action, do you find a sense of comfort in that genre? And is that influenced by anything, like movies or other comics?
It’s funny, I was literally just chatting about this concept with another of our writers. Each of us has kind of taken on a particular genre for our specific character and made that “their thing”. However, just because we do that thing most often, it doesn’t mean that we aren’t capable of running the gamut of styles of writing. For Hitman, the character was conceptualized as being dark and gritty, so that’s where the writing takes him. There are times, however, when humor is injected into the storyline, or when there might even be a moment of emotion or even romance that’s required by the storyline. The idea is to create a character who is ultimately human. In a recent storyline, Engels, the empath, entered Hitman’s mind and discovered some of his dark and horrific past. Suddenly it became clear to him – and hopefully the readers – why he’s so…stand-offish.
I am, admittedly, a huge fan of action movies and comics, especially such films as The Matrix, Kill Bill, Equilibrium, The Dark Knight, anything by John Woo…but I’m also a huge fan of psychological thrillers such as Memento or Oldboy. I have MANY ideas and thoughts for the direction Hitman will take and the journey that he will embark upon, and it will be quite the roller coaster for readers.
A lot of your art has been featured on the site (urban3zero.com) showcasing some of the different characters… ahem… so when do you think we’ll see some more looks at our favorite U30 heroes? Characters like Drifter, for instance? Just wondering… *cough*
As time permits, I’ll definitely be working on some more concepts for the heroes of U30, but we also definitely want to encourage other artists to submit their takes on our characters too. We love seeing other interpretations of our characters!
Okay. Open floor time. Anything you want to personally plug to our readers?
Really, I just want to encourage readers to keep following our adventures, post in the comments to let us know your thoughts – good, bad, or ugly – about the storylines and where we’re heading. Hopefully readers are enjoying our stories as much as we enjoy creating them.
Thanks for stopping by Chris. You can check out more on Hitman, and the rest of The Urban 30 every weekday. And be sure to be here next time when we talk to another writer of The Urban 30 to learn more about some of these great characters.