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Turning Zeros into Heroes - An interview with PAUL EZA

Cody of Keeping it Geekly welcomes Paul Eza into the Yeti Cave to chat about Heroes & Zeros Book One: Our Time Is Now, which is live on Kickstarter until 4/9!! It’s time to dive in and see if three zeros can really save the day!

 

COMIC BOOK YETI: Hello and welcome on into the Yeti Cave, Paul!! Feel free to kick your shoes off and make yourself at home! We are getting ready to dive into our Cryptid-Bits segment in which we learn more about you and Heroes & Zeros Book One: Our Time Is Now!! How are you doing today?


Paul Eza: Doing great Cody, and excited to talk comics with you!


CBY: Before we dive into your current campaign, let’s hit the basics first. Can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into creating comics?


PE: I think it’s been a pretty typical journey. I have great memories of reading comics with my dad when I was little. Then I wrote a lot of short stories in high school but as college and life started I gave it up. After a middling career as a graphic designer, I decided to go to law school. After graduation, I met my now-wife, who was in medical school at the time and ran comic conventions on the side. She was friends with seemingly everyone in the industry and many of them became my friends. So I started reading comics again, both to support friends and because I loved the stories. 


Eventually, I got the itch to start writing again. I was still a practicing lawyer and we traveled for a lot of conventions, so time was limited. I’d try to get up early and spend an hour or so writing what would become Heroes & Zeros. 


So, you know, just like every other comic creator 😂


CBY: The elevator pitch for Heroes & Zeros is really interesting, “In a future filled with heroes, can three zeros really save the day?” In a market filled with superhero books, it feels like a breath of fresh air to approach it from a different perspective. Where did the idea for this concept come from? 





PE: I love superhero comics but I also didn’t want to rehash the same old plot. So my first step was to decide what the world looked like. X-Men introduced the idea of powers coming through evolution, so I took that to its logical conclusion and sort of flipped the script. So in this future world, most people have at least one “enhanced ability.” Then I imagined what that society may look like, and what kind of compelling story I could form in this setting, and I landed on the story of people without abilities trying to solve a mystery that the most powerful - literally and figuratively - didn’t want solved.


CBY: I had a chance to read a good portion of Book 1 and I really loved how you flipped the tables with traditional superhero stories. Can you explain to our readers what a world filled with heroes looks like? How do the Zeros fit in?


PE: Thank you for that, I really appreciate the compliment!


I think one of my favorite lines from the opening sequence is “eventually, society’s protectors just became society.” To me, if we are suddenly living in a world where most people have powers, the idea of superhero teams becomes a little irrelevant. So instead, the most powerful decided to reshape society into something they felt was fairer, more equitable, and safer. And in a lot of ways they succeeded, but it didn’t leave much of a place for those without abilities - the Zeros.


CBY: Can you give us a bit about the trio of protagonists we follow in Heroes & Zeroes? What is life like for them not having any powers at all?



PE: Each of our three leads approaches their world a little differently. Allison is the plucky optimist who’s really offended by the idea that she has nothing to contribute, and wants to show the world how wrong they are to exclude her. Isaac is out for adventure and accepts his lot in life - the phrase “here for a good time, not for a long time” comes to mind. And Cassandra has actually achieved some success, but she’s a realist and harbors a deep resentment for those with abilities. But she’s also a little ruthless and will do whatever it takes to protect herself and her friends. Plus, there’s an Old English Sheepdog, Sherlock, who is directly inspired by my childhood dog.


CBY: I felt the interiors and lettering complement each other perfectly! Who is involved with the collaborative process of this book?

PE: I am so lucky to have found the creative team that I am working with on this. Kasey Quevedo, our artist and co-creator, is immensely talented and I can’t believe he’s not more well-known. Maja Opacic’s colors bring everything to life, and Reed Hinckley-Barnes’ letters are impeccable. And I have to mention Devin Arscott, who’s the first person to ever read the script and who’s helped shape this project in ways that can’t be fully described by his title of Editor. CBY: Book One of Heroes & Zeros did a phenomenal job of creating this world and setting up our protagonists with quite a big twist. How long can we expect this series to go on? What challenges await our trio in a world where not having powers makes you the minority?

PE: Again, thank you so much for that. 


This is set up as a three-part series, with each book at least 46 pages long. Originally, I wrote it as a six-issue mini-series because I wanted to prove to myself that I would finish the entire story arc. After working with Devin for a bit we decided to consolidate and make three double-length books.


All that is to say, the rest of the arc is written and there are about 100 pages of story left. If you think there’s a big twist here, just wait til you read the rest. 


After that I have a few ideas for where these characters and this world may take us, but nothing I’ve developed yet. 


CBY: Are you working on anything outside Heroes & Zeros Book One: Our Time Is Now? Where can our audience find you to stay current with your work? PE: I am! I’m currently developing another unrelated series that will be my next focus as we’re working on the art for books 2 and 3. And within the next few days, I’m launching a new imprint, Acorn Comics. For now, that’s just an excuse to have a cool corner box on my covers because I feel like the covers look better when they have those. That could be all it ever is, but I’m open to possibilities for where that might go as well.


So depending on when this interview goes live, that site may or may not be up yet. But within the next week, you’ll be able to reach me by visiting acorncomics.com


CBY: Thank you again for stopping by and chatting with us today! We wish you the best with your campaign and future endeavors.


PE: Thanks so much, Cody! I really appreciate the chance to talk to you and love what you’re doing with Keeping it Geekly and all the other content from Comic Book Yeti. You all are such a huge boost to indie comics and we’re all lucky to have you in our corner!

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