In an interview with Diana McCallum and Andrew Ivimey I discovered the secret origins of the new website “From Superheroes”; a site that combines the webcomic Texts from Superheroes, Youtube feed Sketches from Superheroes, and now podcasts (about) superheroes.
What inspired Texts from Superheroes?
“Besides our inability to draw?” joked Diana.
Andrew continued, “We’d known each other three months and so many of our conversations were these short jokes about what if heroes texted each other? So we googled it to see who was doing this silly idea.”
“No one,” answered Diana. “No one was doing it and with the help of photoshop, text messages were about the highest artistic level we were comfortable with. And people seemed to like them.”
Yes, the entire interview was a bit like a live comedy routine. Watching the conversation bounce between them embodies their partnership.
When did you know you had a hit?
Diana pondered for a moment. “I think it was when Dan O’Brien, editor of Cracked, reblogged about the site. I respect his opinion on comedy, so for him to recommend Texts from Superheroes meant a lot.”
Andrew had a different response. “When Diana told me. I come from a stand up comedy world, so once the joke is made, you move on. Diana keeps track of all the analytics and gives me the updates.” It’s another way that they make a great team.
You’ve also had some celebrity attention. Who has retweeted/commented on your work?
Since it had just happened, I mentioned the Robert Downey Jr. Thumbs Up retweet of one of their Iron Man Texts. “It’s too bad he didn’t say anything,” commented Diana.
“It is a bit of an Iron Man move to let the tech do the talking,” I offered, which they both agreed with.
Other commenters included Shawn Ashmore (on an Iceman one, naturally) and they’ve had a few comments from Clark Gregg. But one of their biggest bumps came after George Takei shared their feed.
The recognition that seemed to amaze them most was when Time.com wrote a short article about their tumblr.
“We didn’t see a large boost after that, but then we never thought it was our target audience,” said Andrew.
When did Sketches from Superheroes come about?
It was a natural evolution from the texts. “We’d often come up with jokes that were either more visually based or too long for the text format.”
“I have a lot of talented friends who are stand up and sketch comedians in Toronto,” added Andrew. “The videos gave us a chance to work with and provide a platform for some very funny people.”
Which is your favourite sketch?
“Iron Fist,” was Diana’s immediate response. “I can’t believe they let me do a whole sketch on this character. (I should note that during the interview she was wearing an Iron Fist hoodie.) Given the announcement of Finn Jones playing the live action Iron Fist in the Netflix mini-series, this video takes on a new relevance.
“But our most popular one,” added Andrew, “is still our first one which came out last April, called Tax Season. It focuses on an accountant trying to work with Clark Kent at tax time. I think it’s because it connects with people. Everyone knows Superman and Clark Kent, and taxes are also an accessible situation.”
What about Talk from Superheroes?
The latest addition to the site is a series of weekly podcasts that discuss superhero media, rather than being from the superheroes themselves.
“This is such a great time for superheroes” enthused Andrew, referring to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the abundance of superhero television like Agent Carter and Agents of SHIELD, and the shared television universe of Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, and Legends of Tomorrow. “We watch so many shows, except Gotham. There will be no podcast on Gotham,” Diana stated firmly.
“Once a superhero movie would provide me with two hours of fun, and I was fine with that,” Andrew elaborated. “Now it’s the build up to the movie, seeing the movie, and then mining it for jokes or doing analysis for podcasts.”
“It’s superfun!” was Diana’s response.
The podcasts launched in mid-February, and so far have covered Deadpool, the animated Batman movie Bad Blood, and three current television shows: Legends of Tomorrow, Agent Carter, and The Flash.
The site is an umbrella for the three streams of geekery, but if you have a preferred delivery system there are dedicated pages you can link to. The site has paired with teepublic.com, providing a wide selection of superhero inspired and mashup merchandise you can buy (and support your comedy!)
I had one more set of questions for this intrepid team of Superhero experts.
First, who is your favourite hero both DC and Marvel?
Diana: Robin and Bucky [Barnes, the Winter Soldier].
Andrew: Batman and Spider-Man
And which characters do you love to use in your jokes?
Diana: The Flash because I feel that Barry can laugh at himself. And for Marvel, Captain America because Steve struggling with technology never gets old.
Andrew: Aquaman, because Aquaman. And Iron Man because he is just full of contradictions.
They love superheroes. They love what they do. And, if you check out the site, you can fall in love with them too. Or at least laugh a lot!