By Andrew Dyce, Screen Rant
E-Ratic: Recharged brings the young hero of AWA’s Resistance Universe back for another adventure – and we get the details from co-founder Axel Alonso.
The appeal of E-Ratic was obvious from the start, as the young star of AWA’s new comic universe put a new spin on a classic superhero origin story. So with his first comic completed to acclaim, the hero is returning in September when E-Ratic: Recharged sends him back into action.
Unlike other teenage comic book stars who are blessed with impossible powers, protagonist Oliver Leif faces an added dilemma. Get a permanent power-up, and becoming a superhero is easy… but what if you had superpowers that only lasted 10 minutes a day? When, how, and for whom would you use them? That question lies at the heart of the upcoming Volume 2 of E-Ratic, coming from series writer and artist Kaare Andrews (Spider-Man, Incredible Hulk). Screen Rant got the chance to speak with Axel Alonso, Chief Creative Officer and Co-Founder of AWA Studios about the return of E-Ratic, where this series fits into the larger Resistance Universe, and what’s next for the publisher.
Screen Rant: First things first, just how quickly did you know that you would be calling Kaare Andrews to get a second volume of E-Ratic in the works?
Axel Alonso: The moment issue #1 of Volume 1 came out, and we saw the response, we knew we were going to do more.
SR: E-Ratic set its sights on the well-known “teenage superhero rises in high school” tropes for its debut run, and pulled off a fantastic balance. So, considering where Oliver ended up at the end of the first volume, what comes AFTER the coming-of-age for a teen with his powers?
AA: Kaare is going to make life even more complicated for Oliver Leif – both as a teenager trying to navigate the perilous sociopolitical landscape of high school and an aspiring superhero dealing with a large-scale supervillain threat. Oliver will learn a lot more about the Void, too.
When we were planning our shared universe, Kaare – who’s a father of 4 – called dibs on the first teenage hero. He loved the idea of contributing to a shared universe where he had a stake in his creation – where it wouldn’t be straight work-for-hire – and that’s what we were offering. Kaare has done plenty of superhero comics – including plenty of Spider-Man stories, so it was extremely important to him that his teen hero really reflected the hopes, dreams, and fears of kids today and the complicated world they live in. Many of his scenes are culled from the experiences of his kids, especially the scenes set in the high school.
SR: Did the success of a comic that wore its YA-friendly premise and characters on its sleeve change any plans, or get wheels turning on more books to serve an audience that gave you fantastic sales? E-Ratic really struck a chord.
AA: It sure did. The reception to E-Ratic and Cullen Bunn & Nelson Blake II’s Byte-Sized definitely gave us confidence to do more series in the YA zone.
SR: Prior to its release, you believed that E-Ratic was bringing something special to AWA’s Resistance Universe, and a new perspective on it as a whole. So, what were your big takeaways from the first volume?
AA: A shared universe is only as good as the diversity and complexity of its characters and the stories they are built to tell. E-Ratic is a teenage superhero for Generation Z – a hero who’s rooted in the 21st Century, not some bygone era. The world has changed a lot since Batman and Spider-Man were born. Oliver has to navigate the same severely stratified and complicated cultural and sociopolitical landscape that we currently live in and survive a world that’s embracing fascism born of fear. Sound familiar?
Another thing that sets Oliver apart: He doesn’t have an Aunt May or Bruce in his corner; just an absentee dad, a single mom doing her best to make ends meet and an older brother who’s everything he’s not. Simply put, everything in Oliver’s life is fleeting, temporary – he can’t count on it — including his superpowers, which he can only use for 10 minutes a day. And you thought managing the life of your iPhone battery was stressful!
SR: It’s AWA’s goal to not just sell single issues, or a single run, but build franchises that can stand the test of time. How does that thinking influence something like collected trade paperbacks?
AA: We are going to experiment with formats that embrace the YA audience. We want to tell big, bold, forward-thinking stories that work well as comics and have potential to live beyond the comics page.
SR: You previously said Oliver fits alongside other AWA creations, but is also charting a different path all his own. Where does that take him next?
AA: Sometime in the future, you will see E-Ratic crossing paths with other characters from the Resistance universe.
SR: With E-Ratic now officially confirmed for another adventure, what list of AWA books should readers be turning to next…?
AA: Anyone curious about the shared universe should check out Michael Moreci & Alessandro Vitti’s The Joneses, which is in stores now. A nuclear family of “reborns” – humans who, like Oliver, were endowed with superpowers in the aftermath of a deadly pandemic called “The Great Death” – living in suburbia grapple with the responsibility that comes with their new superpowers. In a world that hates and fears their kind, should they keep their heads down…or is it their responsibility to use their powers for good?
E-Ratic Recharged #1 returns to continue the story of Oliver Leif into a four-part miniseries at your local comic book store on September 7, 2022.
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