From Joke to Cosplay to Comic Book: The Birth of Sporkman
Comic creator's humble beginnings spawn populist hero, crowdfunding push
I guess you could say that I’ve been a life-long comic creator.
As a little kid I would draw my own mini comics on little note pads or full sheets of white paper. The stories were straight forward and simple single images per page. In high school, I continued making comics for myself though most of my work never got finished as I’d get distracted by different story ideas.
I wrote a lot growing up as well.
In my early twenties after a late night joking with friends and coming up with ideas for the most ridiculous superheroes, we came upon an idea that just stuck in the back of our heads; Sporkman. He’s part spoon, part fork, and all hero!
A few years later and now married, my wife and I attend one of our first sci-fi conventions. I had created a Sporkman costume for our previous Halloween party to surprise our friends. They encouraged me to enter into the costume contest. I walk out on to the stage and the audience goes nuts. Laughter eventually turned into chants of “spork, spork, spork”!
After the contest was over and I was walking away with two prizes, so many people wanted their picture taken with me, or rather Sporkman the superhero. It was wonderful and surreal at the same time. The one question many people asked, though in jest, was “when is the comic coming out”?
So I told my two friends/co-creators about my experience. Here we had a character people really responded to. We sought out an artist online as well as a company that could do the printing. Let me tell you there is a special feeling opening a package to find a product that YOU helped create! By the next year we had a single issue comic with no real intent to make another.
We called the story Sporkman: Conventions and it took place at a sci-fi convention. A little bit of art imitating life if you will.
A few years later we wrote a three issue mini-series called Sporkman Goes to Japan, which features a host of characters and situations that pay homage at some of the tropes within Japanese anime and manga.
Afterward, due to the cost of producing a comic, which can cost a few thousand dollars for art alone, we went on a very long hiatus until recently. Now in my mid-forties I’m still writing. And still within a universe I helped create over 15 years ago!
Our approach to writing Sporkman doesn’t focus on long narratives where you have to read a hundred issues worth of story to know what’s going on. We want to keep with self-contained miniseries, that while there can be reoccurring characters, anyone can pick up that single issue, (like Conventions), or miniseries, (like Goes to Japan), and get a beginning, middle, and end.
The timeline of events never becomes a burden like many comics have done.
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We are big fans of cinema and many of our story concepts lean on tropes from all genres. What if Sporkman had to find an ancient relic in an adventure story like Indiana Jones? Or Sporkman ends up on Mars? How can we have fun with those situations?
Sporkman is not a dark or overly serious book by any means. It’s meant to be full of humor and action, but most of all… fun! One positive response we’ve had from some readers is that it’s neither written for a more mature audience or children. So a comic fan of any age can enjoy.
We are currently in the middle of a crowdfunding campaign right now on Indiegogo for our newest project, Spearhead, a manga styled comic book that takes place in the Sporkman universe. It will be a little less slap stick, but still with an all ages tone.
If you’d like to help contribute to our success, please visit www.getspork.com where you can buy Sporkman comics and other merchandise. Also, consider contributing to our Indiegogo campaign for Spearhead.
Crowdfunding is essential for independent creators.
Eric J. Berry, the creator of “Sporkman,” has always been a huge “Star Wars” fan and film buff in general. His company Hole in the Ground Productions makes model kits and props for collectors and cosplayers.