Superhero by Superhero: Fast Food

Fallen Superhero: Fast Food

Model: Matthew Ison (aka Ice-man)

So here’s a lil’ gem that fell from the heavens. Creating Fast Food was one of the most exciting, spirit crushing, then exciting again experiences of the whole shoot.

Eric and I were in Louisiana shooting superheroes. One night while indulging in Caffe Cottage’s $2 Crown special, we met a guy we’ll call Mr. X. The X is for Xtra Large. Fun guy, jolly, and a dream come true for our lil’ project.

We toyed with the idea of a superhero made out of old computer parts, from the 80s. We called him Commodore 640…. as in 640 pounds of Fallen Superhero badassnessness.

Commodore 640, Kevin Smith would love him

He would have a virtual reality visor, the VR 360, so he could fight crime while he played World of Warcraft. Of course, he would always suffer because of his slow internet connection…. he still uses a dial up modem. How awesome would that look, a big dial up modem with an actual old phone plugged into it. And Mr. X had access to all the old computer gear we needed. Winning! It was a great idea but it all fell apart so fast it felt like we’d woken up roofied and raped, and not in the good way.

It seems that Mr. X failed to tell us, or any of his friends, that he had to go to court for a DUI. He thought he would just go in, pay a fine, then go back to business as usual. Instead, he went back to business as UNusual. They locked his ass up for 30 days. and we didn’t find out until 5 days into his incarceration because he didn’t have our phone number on him. We learned of his misfortune through one of his friends and, as you are probably feeling in your stomachs as you read this, our hearts were broken. Our dreams of an obese superhero made of the ultimate computer geek components fighting crime poorly because 98% of his attention was focused on his online avatar were dashed in an instant.

He had already tried on the XXXL lycra bodysuit we bought for him that we were going to build off of, AND broken the zipper trying to get it on. What to do? Then we met the Ice-man. Matthew Ison, a big fan of me and the Ponceman, had been chatting with us on blogTV and really wanted to meet us. He lived in Lake Charles, a little over an hour away from Lafayette where we were stationed as we cranked out our superhero shots. He and his wife Kristen came out to meet us and hang out the day we shot my superhero, VAGABOND, cooking eggs with his Power Thumbs™ out at Lake Martin. When we saw him the lightbulbs went off. He was definitely large money, but had an extra cool quality working for him. He had this crazy curly mullet of a hairdo and the most nifty goatee…. he’d died the tips of it red…. the same red that the lycra bodysuit was. He also really dug photography so it was a natural fit.

At this point, the character Fast Food had been in my brain. A character that was faster than The Flash, but people would prefer to wait the extra few seconds for him to save them because he was just so much more attractive by American magazine cover standards. The Twinkie and Mini Diet Coke Utility belt with the giant asthma inhaler was an inspiration that worked out even better than I’d imagined it. And Matt was down to step into the superboots. The ripped zipper played into an earlier idea I had for a superhero who started as a child but never upgraded his costume. Basically you end up with a grown man in a stretchy suit made for a 10 year old.

Matt was really perfect for Fast Food. He told me he had always been “the fat guy” and this was a way he could show people that he was actually okay with being the fat guy. He was going to channel some sexy into the character. If you’ve seen the pics you know, mission accomplished.

Other serendipitous happenings that came about because of Matt fill the finished book. Conehands’ monster truck, Southern Sunshine, and the trash can graveyard, the retro office pic of Fast Food that became the cover of the book, and the Fast Food mobile all came from Matt hooking us up. That’s one of the beautiful intangibles that pepper the entire project, little connections that turn into big connections that end up making the art you are creating bigger and better than it would have been had you not met “the fat guy” that landed on the cover of said art piece. That’s why this project  is one of the most satisfying experiences I’ve ever been a part of.

In writing Fast Food’s story, Adam totally felt the character. He took everything we had created, the backstory, the locations, even the asthma inhaler on his costume, and took it to 11. He tapped into another one of those human qualities that everyone can either relate to personally or has had to deal with through family or friends.

Adam wrote this about Fast Food, and I think it really speaks volumes about the character and the reason he is such a beloved Fallen Superhero:

“With incredible speed, a love for the Bee Gees, and a nod to The Fonz, Fast Food is an image of brokenness, shame, and addiction, that reminds us all how quickly our vices can catch up to us.” – Adam Mock

NEXT UP: Stress Bitch