Superhero by Superhero: The Mighty Maven

Most powerful superhero in the 1950s.
Unfortunately, she was a female.

Fallen Superhero: The Mighty Maven

Model: Peggy Grigsby (aka Mema)

The Senior Citizen Superhero. She’s badass, stylish and she’s gettin’ too old for this shit. The Mighty Maven is another favorite, mostly because she’s played by my grandmother, Mema.

I wanted to do a superhero that suffered from chauvinism, but chauvinism that was widely accepted as the way things should be. America has a huge history of wrong ideas accepted as the norm. From slavery to lead paint the fruit was ripe for the picking. The fact that women, until very recently, were supposed to stay in the kitchen and have babies became the basis for the Mighty Maven’s backstory. She could stop a bus from going off a cliff with her little finger, but the US military didn’t want that kind of publicity. They would kindly say “thanks,” followed by a “now get back in the kitchen, we’ll take credit for this.”

With her Bazooka Blaster Quad Cane

The design was a classy, elegant superhero. My mother had the dress and cape already made. We modified them slightly to add that superhero zing. My sister stepped up and designed and fabricated her symbol. We went with the classic, long ballroom gown gloves and gauntlets that were more like fancy gold bracelets. Tights and psychedelic boots rounded everything out with the finishing touch of the classic ’50s era thin superhero mask. And sticking to the militant minded 1050s we made her a Bazooka Blaster Quad Cane, for the superhero that needs some walking support.

I grew up with Mema, she was VERY present in my childhood. In many ways she was more of an influence on me than my parents were. I lived with her from the time I was 14 till I moved away to Austin when I was 19. She has a very dry, biting wit. She’s also someone that doesn’t take any crap from anyone.

Gettin’ her Gazelle on

The shooting was pretty painless. The kitchen and the Gazelle shots were both done at my parents house in Lafayette. We actually shot them around midnight so that beautiful daylight you see streaming in from outside is all the brilliance of Eric Curtis’ lighting. The night shot in the garage is also at my parents’ home. The drooping fan blades and all the other “props” are all really there, all actual items found on location. The park shots were done at Chargois Park in Lafayette. The water-tower shot has one of the only photoshopped photos in the book. We added the smoldering squirrel to the image, only because it was too difficult finding an actual smoldering squirrel for the shot. And if you look on the swingset you will see my sister, Stacey, her daughter Mya, who is also in the “Passing the torch” shot, and Josh “the Ponceman” Perry swinging on the monkey bars.

So, the Mighty Maven was cranked out in a few hours. 4 shots from 11PM to 1AM, and 2 shots about 3 months later from noon to 2PM. Pretty efficient shooting. And the generations from Mema to Mya captured is an extra sweet personal bonus for me.

NEXT UP: Shock Mama modelled by Amanda Lyon



Superhero by Superhero: 420BLNT

A man who would rather oganically farm than fight.

Fallen Superhero: 420BLNT

Model: Cosmo Johnson

This was a no brainer as far as picking a person to make a superhero out of goes. Cosmo was MC Outdoorz in the FuelTV show I wrote and produced segments for. Stupidface, available on itunes. It starred Cosmo and his sidekick DJ Ponce, played by that sexy bitch, Josh the Ponceman Perry.

This is a superhero Eric totally took the lead on. He bought this skin tight body suit that serendipitously accentuated one of Cosmo’s largest features, a do-rag, a space helmet and a big-ass pimp clock set to 420. The idea of the brother from another planet was a driving factor.

One thing that was batted around was the notion that everything on Earth that is considered offensive or racist would be the opposite on 420BLNT’s planet. I still love that idea but it definitely was more of a statement about our screwed up society and the power we give words.

P to the imp

Design was all Eric on this one. It’s militant with a little Flava Flav thrown in for good measure. Adam really nailed the idea of alienation. But not being alienated from a new world but from your own world. The choice of pacifism versus conquest ended 420BLNT’s acceptance by his people. The thought that his name, the random result of the classification system on his home planet, somehow gives him street cred here on Earth was brilliant. Again, I give Adam props for having an odd brain that makes me chuckle a lot.

Here’s a little writing insight from Adam:

“I think 420BLNT was originally called 420KRYP.  We ended up changing his name because we thought it would be funny to push the idea that his name on his planet was an indicator of his ability, but here on Earth, it was an indicator of his lifestyle.  Cozmo Johnson did a great job of emoting a look of “What the hell happened to my life?” in all the images.  He’s constantly reflecting back on how it used to be.

A tale of rejection, 420BLNT was a guy who did the right thing, he would not be part of an invasion of another galaxy.  And for that, he would be exiled.  For many of us, sometimes when we choose to do the right thing, we find ourselves with a different set of friends, a different landscape in life, and sometimes, we find ourselves alone.” – Adam Mock

Eric had a bear of a time wrangling Cosmo for the shoot. What was a one day shoot turned into a few days shoot because, well, Cosmo is a hard man to schedule. If you shoot at 9am you can almost guarantee there about 3 hours of waiting till he’s done with some other list of tasks he’s decided he has to do before shooting can commence. Sometimes only those tasks can be tackled while the sun is up, leaving the shooting for some later date. Eric soldiered through these obstacles though and captured some truly captivating images of a man who doesn’t belong anywhere, yet is accepted where he ended up.

UP NEXT: The Mighty Maven