SUPER-EGO is the story of a psychiatrist who specializes in super-human neuroses. What inspired this concept?
CAIO: Guess it was Pat Mills’ Marshal Law. There is this girlfriend of him who’s writing a essay or something about super-heroes and it blew my mind! I love that comic, it changed the way I looked at super-heroes. And so, I decided to do create a comic strip about a psychiatrist treating famous super-heroes, like Superman, Hulk, Punisher, etc. The original concept was supposed to be just a few panels, a punchline and in the end the super-guy threw his costume in the trash can, like that classic Spider-Man 50 splash page. The idea was that giving the proper treatment, any super-person would realize how naive and sometimes ridiculous wearing a colorful spandex would be. But the thing took huge proportions on my mind and then I decided to come with something different, bigger, a four issues mini series. I just want to assure everyone that I don’t hate super-heroes, ok? I still love them and want to draw them a lot.
There are numerous familiar character types in the story, yet none of them are direct parodies, each with complete personalities and stories of their own. How did you balance the line between “satire” and “stand-alone, original creation”?
CAIO: On the extras of the second trade paperback of Invincible, Robert Kirkman said that he used parodies of the JLA because he wanted that people cared for the characters before he killed them, and using the archetypes of famous super heroes was the best way to reach peoples hearts. I could’ve create all the super-heroes on the book and made them as “original” as possible, but that was not my point. I wanted to “treat” the big guys, the super-heroes everyone knows and care about. After that, I just had to create my own versions of those famous super-heroes, putting as much of my ideas on them as I could but letting them as recognizable as possible. I really liked Javier Hernandez, aka “Luchador de Fierro”, but I guess some of them I didn’t dare much, like Savior and Venus. That’s why I want to do a special story someday about Savior, maybe a origin story, to put him as far as possible from the Superman.
What is it about the super-hero genre that inspires you? And why do you think the super-hero genre has become so popular in the mainstream media these days?
CAIO: When I was a little kid, about 5 or 6 years old, my school teacher asked everyone in the classroom what they would like to be when grow up. One by one, all the other boys and girls express their desires to be lawyers and medical doctors and soccer players and actors, etc. I said I would like to be a scientist. Not to cure deseases, or to create rocket ships or stuff like that, I would like to be a scientist to reproduce in laboratory all those bizarre experiments that created super-heroes! I would like to make people fly! And I tould that out loud to all those people. They laugh, off course, and I became a joke (they called me “The scientist” for a time… that Coldplay song still hurts me today!). But HEY!, I’m no scientist today, but I DID created super heroes! Who’s laughing now, huh?? The thing is, I can’t explain, I just love the idea of super people flying and shooting blasts from their eyes, it’s just so dawn fun! That’s why is so popular theses days. The movies made everyone remember how fun these characters was when we were young.
This is your first published work in the US; what are you most excited to prove to the North American audience?
CAIO: Well, I would love to tell that I was not trying to prove anything, just do a good comic book, but fact is I’m trying to make my way into the comic book business in the US since 2006, I did a lot of sample pages but never happened. So I did Super-ego on my own as a kind of portfolio, to prove that I can do comic books, that YEAH, I’m prepared! Hope the US audience agrees with that.
Do you have plans to follow this story with additional volumes, or other projects in a similar nature?
CAIO: Yeah, as I said before, I’m planning to do a Savior origin story, but for now, I’m focusing on the second mini series, with a bunch of other famous super heroes achetypes. It’ll be huge! Also, I’ve got some similar projects just waiting for the right moment to get done. All of them with the same vibe of Super-Ego. If you take a look at my authorial stuff on Sequentialink you’ll notice a pattern.