Fire Wing Force

Who needs He-Man when you've got a fighter jet?

How do you get your creative project into the public eye? Sometimes it's a matter of blind luck, force of will, and sometimes just a matter of perfect timing. In the case of Fire Wing Force, it may be all three.

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 new.

"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.

Derek McCaw




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