posted Oct.20.17 at 12:01 am

At left, Emp is referring to my 2004 Marvel miniseries Livewires, written by me and featuring artwork by my old buddy Rick Mays—and artwork by me, too, as I did the covers and pencilled about half of the last three issues due to deadline pressure. While Livewires is long outta print, it’s available in digital form from Comixology (and the Marvel app, too).

Emp isn’t kidding, by the way, as she does indeed bear a bit of a resemblance to Livewires’ robohottie Social Butterfly, due in part to the fact that I started drawing the earliest Empowered stories while I was still working on Livewires.

Note that Emp is incorrect, in that the Livewires weren’t really killed off. As extraordinarily durable—and repairable!—mecha, several of them were just horrifically damaged rather than being killed as such. (They were, however, effectively killed off by low sales figures on their miniseries.) In fact, not long ago Gothic Lolita, the team’s fetching, superstrong “Ben Grimm in babydoll lace,” costarred in a 10-page Deadpool story I wrote and drew for the 2016 Deadpool Annual.

At right, Emp is referring to my run writing and occasionally drawing Wildstorm/ DC’s superteam book Gen13, my first brush with superheroes after a decade or so on Dirty Pair. Specifically, she’s referring to insecure young superheroine Roxy Spaulding (aka Freefall), who was the subject of my second Gen13 miniseries, the Sailor Moon-inspired story Magical Drama Queen Roxy. The research and interviews I did for Roxy proved still useful years later for Empowered, gotta say. In a way, I see Emp as a blend of sorts between Gen13’s smart, good-hearted Caitlin Fairchild and self-esteem-challenged Roxy, though I certainly didn’t create her character with those two in mind.

For the record, I killed off Caitlin, Roxy and crew because the existing Gen13 series I was working on was about to cancelled, and the team replaced with an all-new characters in a relaunched Gen13 series to be written by Chris Claremont(!). At the time, I was wrapping up a big story that hinged on a dramatically charged cliffhanger, and I thought, “Hey, what if the ‘gen-bomb’ actually detonates and kills ’em? And what if I turned the last few issues into a really g-d tearjerking, ‘what-could’ve-been’ version of Ambrose Bierce’s famous story An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge?” And lo, in those more generous days of a bygone era, kindly Wildstorm/DC editor Scott Dunbier allowed me those few issues to wrap up the series properly. which I can assure you is not something likely to have happened in the more ruthless modern era of comics. (BTW, those last few issues featured art by Rick Mays as well.)

Side note: The secret, known-only-to-me punchline about the sudden end of Gen13 is that, if the series hadn’t been shot out from under me, I had an upcoming plotline in mind that would’ve been vastly more emotionally brutal than the published, emo-intensive finale of the series. I’m actually using a notably watered-down version of this plotline in Empowered, as I don’t have the heart to put Emp through the truly wrenching, harrowing devastation that Caitlin Fairchild would’ve faced in that unseen story.

Emp is correct in that the original Gen13 team members were brought back from nonexistence when the new team’s book had run its course. The events of the last few issues I wrote were literally rewritten—via ultra-high-tech or magical time-travel means, IIRC—to restore the characters, leading to the truly surreal experience of seeing large chunks of my original dialogue appearing in another writer’s comic as the old series’ climactic events were reshaped. Wacky, folks! And years after that, Gen13 was relaunched yet again, but I never got to make a pitch for the new series. Oh, well.

Alas, all my Gen13 material is likewise outta print, but sadly unavailable even in digital form, unlike Livewires. What can I say, folks? Par for the course when you do mainstream work-for-hire comics, yet neglect to become famous and significant enough for your older work to remain in print.

-Adam Warren