Depicting the adventures
of mutated animals who pilot America's finest fighter jets, Fire
Wing Force is poised to tap into a jingoistic feeling in this country.
But even before our nation's waking thoughts became consumed by the
specter of war, it had a lot going for it.
As popular properties
from the 'eighties such as Masters Of The Universe and Thundercats
have been seeing a renewed interest from fans, it's time for something
"I love jet aircraft;
it's one of my passions," said creator Royd Jackman at the San Diego
Comic-Con. Though the Minnesota native never became a pilot himself,
he felt that something could be done with the idea of mixing animated
heroes with military might. "The F-15 Strike Eagle, an eagle. The F-14
Tomcat, a Tomcat. The Falcon, obviously, (and) the Hornet." These four
characters became the Fire Wing Force, sworn to fight evil.
"Since I started with
a bird/animal type thing," Jackman continued, "I had to have an adversary.
So as I was thinking about them, I thought about the vulture, the buzzard,
because of birds of death." Eventually he added a vampire bat and a
crow, to form 4Destruction.
"Basically, that's what
they do: rain terror on land, trying to take the water sources away
from the good, and then the Fire Wing Force are there, obviously, the
good guys to try to protect humanity."
And in true American spirit,
those good guys come from different backgrounds. "It's part of the standards
of our country," continued Jackman. "They do have the multi-cultural
power there. The tomcat is an African-American, the Eagle an American
Indian. Sorinda (the falcon), she's Caucasian, and the hornet is Hispanic.
We have a bi-lingual, multi-cultural strike force."
Not an artist himself,
Jackman turned to long-time comics professional Charles Truog (Vertigo's
Animal Man) to bring his creations to life. "I met someone who
knew Royd and they said he needed a designer for this new project,"
said Truog. "I'd done a lot of contract work, some work for DC and Marvel,
and I was looking for new stuff."
After taking several years
off from comics, Fire Wing Force proved to be the temptation
to bring him back. "I got into sculpture. I needed a break. I'd been
doing it for fifteen years. Grind, grind, grind. I went back to school
and learned how to do stuff in Photoshop and on the computer."
"I couldn't have done
this without him," added Jackman.
Truog's newer artistic
skills have come in handy. In addition to designing the characters from
Jackman's descriptions, he sculpted them into prototype action figures.
"All the kids (at Comic-Con) want the action figures right now," said
an enthusiastic Jackman. "I've had over a thousand phone calls within
the last month."
Right now, however, Fire
Wing Force remains a web-only property. Though Truog recently posted
seven pages of a comic book on the
site, they have no publication deal. Yet.
"I think it's got diversity
in the product field. Action figures, comic books, I'm looking into
interactive games," said Jackman. "There's eight main characters, so
we have a lot of storyline issues with the project."
Truog agreed and expanded.
"Well, I want very much to have someone look at this and say, "hey!
We want to put this on TV…we want this to be the next Ninja Turtles.
That's about it. The next Power Rangers. The next Pokemon. This could
be it. Right here."
With a little luck, he
may be absolutely right.