It was the book that helped put BOOM! Studios on the map, with fans and critics singing its praises, but co-creators and writers Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis have announced that HERO SQUARED will soon be ending. That’s the bad news. The good news is that the two Eisner Award winning writers promise an actual ending to the current storyline, something positively unheard of in this day and age, sorting out the tangled relationships between Milo Stone, Captain Valor, Stephie Johnson and Caliginous. (Sloat we’re not so sure about.)
“With HERO SQUARED Keith and I wanted to examine what would happen if you dropped a super hero into the real world,” J.M. DeMatteis said (not that anyone asked him). “No matter how much you layer super hero tales with psychology and philosophy, the story always comes down to two super beings solving problems by dropping buildings on each other’s heads. In Captain Valor’s parallel universe cities weren’t destroyed beyond repair, innocent people didn’t get hurt, and super heroes always came back to life. But due to the events in HERO SQUARED #4 and #5 — with Valor responsible for major levels of death and destruction — Valor’s character, and the tone of the series, changed irrevocably. We realized that the series was heading toward a natural conclusion. So we planned to end HERO SQUARED with issue #9.
“Problem is,” DeMatteis went on (and on and on), “Keith and I are both swamped right now — especially Keith, with that weekly comic he’s doing for Those Guys In New York — so it’s been getting harder and harder to get H2 out on time. And, believe me, when you have a bi-monthly book shipping late, it’s extremely embarrassing. Rather than let the book’s fans down, we’ve decided to do the final arc as a mini-series that we can take our time with.” Asked if the mini spells the end for HERO SQUARED, DeMatteis replied: “We’re hoping that we can return to the HERO SQUARED/ PLANETARY BRIGADE universe some time in the future. That is, if we’re still talking to each other. I don’t know if you’ve heard this, but Giffen is really hard to work with. What a kvetch!”
Giffen refused to comment on the end of the series, saying only that he was far too angry to discuss it. “It’s all DeMatteis’s fault,” he growled (and sneered. And barked). “That guy is really hard to work with! If I have to listen to any more of his New Age psychobabble, I think I’m gonna buy a handgun!”
Illustrator Joe Abraham, whose art (which brilliantly combines high drama and low comedy) has graced all of Captain Valor’s adventures, was delighted by the news of the book’s demise. “At last!” he whooped. “I can get work from Marvel and DC that actually pays!”
BOOM! publisher Ross Richie was visibly upset by the decision to end the series. “Working with Keith and J.M. is a dream come true for me,” Richie said (lying through his teeth). “I’m a huge fan of their work, individually and collectively, and this project was the firstborn for us through BOOM! Studios. I’m really proud of the work they’ve done, and blown away that they chose BOOM! as a home for it.” He then turned his attention back to comic books he actually cares about.
The previously solicited HERO SQUARED #7 has been canceled and the final story will now be told in a three-issue mini-series, tentatively titled HERO SQUARED: LOVE AND DEATH. As the book staggers toward its finale, look for appearances by members of the Planetary Brigade (okay, so they’re dead, you wanna make something out of it?) and startling revelations that will shock and amaze the millions of loyal Giffen & DeMatteis fans. (What, you have something against shameless and mildly dishonest hyperbole?)
Not wanting to disappoint their incredibly loyal readers any more than they already have, DeMatteis said the mini-series will not be solicited until “at least two issues are in the drawer” to prevent shipping delays.
A second printing of the trade paperback of the original HERO SQUARED mini-series, along with the X-TRA SIZED SPECIAL, was recently released, and issues 1-5 of the (so-called) “ongoing” series will be collected this fall.