I remember the day I came home from my first trip to the local comic shop. I held in my hands the written story of my favorite super-hero, Spider-Man. I had purposely waited to flip through it until I was at home. Sitting on my bed with my door shut as to be totally immersed within Spider-Man’s world, I opened the comic book. The pictures jumped out at me, and the words rang true to my soul with every word balloon and every thought bubble. I felt Spidey’s guilt as he remembered Uncle Ben’s death. I laughed at the Parker luck when it came to girls. I winced as he lay battered and bruised by the crushing blows of that issue’s villain. Then it was over. To be continued.
I awoke from my trance, not knowing how long I had been a fly on the wall of Peter Parker’s world. I sat there, on my bed—still. I didn’t move. I didn’t want to break the spell. I had somehow managed to live within what would later become known to me as the Marvel 616 Universe. And within that moment I was deeply and spiritually changed.
Immediately I wanted to add my own stories to the Spider-Man mythos. I wanted to know more and more about who Gwen Stacey was and why she no longer played a part in Peter’s life. I yearned to be next to Spider-Man in his adventures. And every comic that I pick up allows me to go back; to enter that world of exploration and metaphor.
So is true with Tyler Weaver and Paul Klein. To these creators, sitting back to read a comic is not an option. The story must be engaged and then molded. This is the essence of the Whiz!Bam!Pow! project.
Tyler describes it as “a love letter to comic books, the heroes in them, and the people they inspire.” As I spoke with him about his vision, it became very clear to me that the world that they are creating was a world to be accessible to everyone that has ever felt like me.
Whiz!Bam!Pow! starts out with a comic; with a character, the Sentinel. But soon moves on. The Sentinel is just one piece of the story, just as Spider-Man is just one piece of my story. I am a player on the stage as well, and taking a step back from the universe of the Sentinel allows you and me to see another layer. An invisible one.
As we step back and look closely we can see the readers of this Golden Age comic. Those readers then become characters within the Whiz!Bam!Pow! project. Characters that interpret the metaphor of the love that one man has for comic books.
In order to provide a better understanding of this trans-media project, we need to step back even further. The project consists of three volumes. Volume 1 consists of the comic “Whiz!Bam!Pow! Comics #7,” the radio show “The Adventures of the Sentinel,” a short film “The Bequest,” and the team’s distribution system “The App.”
Volume 2 is set for development next year in the 4 year plan. It will contain the feature film which is the heart of the Whiz!Bam!Pow! Universe. The content and plot of this film are still tightly under wraps, but the power the feature holds is the realization that Volume 1 is just the center of a possible endless pattern of concentric circles.
Volume 3 is the realization of what Whiz!Bam!Pow! truly is. Volume 3 will be completely open-sourced to the public. This is where the audience will begin to see that the characters and the characters they read about aren’t the only variables within the universe. Readers will now become Participants in a fictional world that transcends the written word. They will create. And as far as Tyler is concerned, the possibilities are endless. And that’s the magic of Whiz!Bam!Pow!.
As I sat on my bed, my mind began to race. Other characters leapt from the pages of other comics I had purchased that day into the Spider-Man book. Other themes, other plots, and other dreams. All this made my head spin. How could one book contain so many possibilities? That’s when I realized my mistake.
The book I had just finished reading didn’t have anything in it except some pictures and some words. That’s all it had. It was but a small piece of a puzzle that fit into a bigger picture that was but one frame of a movie. And I longed to see the movie.
Whiz!Bam!Pow! takes the same principle one step further. Their movie is sitting in a vault filled with comics, photos, stories, books, blogs, plots, pencils, podcasts, radio shows, and other films right next to them. Their movie isn’t their greatest creation. Tyler and Paul’s true work is constructing the vault to fill. That is the true magic of Whiz!Bam!Pow!.
I know that I will be first in line to add my contribution to the playground that Tyler and Paul are creating when Volume 3 is released. What medium will I choose? What story will I create? Where will my piece fit in to the Whiz!Bam!Pow! mythos? All good questions, but the only one that matters to you is: what will YOU do?