B-Squad In 2002, a crack-head commando unit was sent to Disneyland by a military court for a crime they didn't think funny. These men promptly escaped from a maximum-security lemonade to the Sacramento underground. Today, still wanted by the government, they survive as soldiers of misfortune. If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire... The B-Squad.

Eben Burgoon On Amazon

1) What are your own origins, Eben?   I think when it comes to comics, it sort of started out as a “Well, I guess we could do that?” sort of thing, with the first webcomic I did. Now about 10 years into writing comics, I really didn’t have a lot of interest returning to writing short stories or writing sketch comedy. To me, the collaborative nature of working with people is incredibly rewarding.

Honestly. I just love writing comics. It’s such a puzzle. The planning and care you have to put into telling a story that can only be about 120 to 150 pictures, it’s sometimes very difficult to choose what is left in the gutters, but always such a treat to watch it come to life in a skilled artist’s hands.

2) What inspired you to create, ‘B-Squad’?   Firstly, I really love to make characters, but I don’t have the resources to make 42 comic book titles each month. And secondly, I really enjoy the fun in watching them fail, similar to comedies like Archer or the Venture Brothers, especially when they're rolled up into a ball with the mantra of “kill your darlings” -- the genesis of B-Squad was there.

I also like to get ridiculous with my writing. I love making mashups. One of my favorite characters is Indiana Lebowski -- he has the sort of knowledge and sense of adventure of an Indiana Jones, with the 'I’m loaded by noon' laziness of The Dude. It’s so much fun to write him and it gives me an excuse to watch those movies over and over... as if I needed one, Ha!

3) In your own words how would you describe this story?   B-Squad’s an action comedy series following the misadventures of a squad of B-level action heroes. Not being the best brings them more ridiculous missions that don’t carry much prestige. Ultimately, on each mission one of the squad members is lost in the line of duty, and that’s decided by me, behind the scenes, by the roll of a die.

The missions always start at a funeral ceremony for the character that died in the previous adventure, and then they get a new mission plus a new recruit from their handler. Rinse and repeat.

The story is really about the squad, with the components of each section changing frequently, with the hope that readers will come to love B-Squad more than any just one character. I aspire to write something that on the surface is goofy and ridiculous, but is still going to fulfill some long held questions I’ve had about writing and even existence itself.

4) What song would you say best represents this graphic novel and why?   For whatever reason Big Data’s “Dangerous” always makes me think of B-Squad. There are several lyrics like, “You understand they’ve got a plan for us, I bet you didn’t know that I was dangerous”.  I like that song a lot, as it’s got a great bass line and the lyrics are all laced with paranoia over big brother. 

Phil Hartman
5) If you could get a celebrity – either living or dead – to promote your wares, who would you choose, and why would you want to choose this particular person?   Oh! That is a tough one. It’s hard to not just leap toward Harrison Ford because I just loved his press tour for Star Wars. Saying that, even picking Dan Harmon would be a good choice because I admire his work so much and his writing definitely inspires me. Although, these are all very selfish choices.

Realistically I think it’d have to be somebody who could do lots of different characters and take them on earnestly. So I’d probably go with, Phil Hartman. He was just so good at being whatever he needed to be. I could see him being almost any B-Squad character or voicing them in a cartoonish way.

6) What have you learnt about yourself through this endeavor?   I’m tenacious. The first time I went to Kickstarter to get the help needed to fund my comic, it just didn’t work out. It was a big realization moment for me. It gave me pause and really helped me understand a lot more about comic books and the right way to make them, the right way to partner with people, and how they can be used for more than just silly stories. 

There have been a multitude of hurdles thrown at B-Squad and many of them would have been the end for most comics. I’ve just found a way to turn lemon to lemonade or either just faced it and awkwardly cleared the hurdle, probably splitting my pants a bit, but we’re doing it, buddy! We’re doing it!

I’ve also learned I’m a good mentor and teacher. I orchestrated and created a program teaching grade schoolers how to script comic books, and they each developed pitches and had to pitch their ideas to professional illustrators and collaborate with them. All of that work was ultimately published by a nonprofit agency in Sacramento. It was wonderful to watch that anthology take shape and empower a community to understand that comics are truly for everybody. Grandmother’s ran up to me and said they're going to give comics a shot again. It was tremendous. 

7) During your time in this field, what is the one thing that has kept you in good stead?   More or less I'd say it’s how devoted I am to getting credit where credit is due. I work very hard to get the artists paid an acceptable page rate for their work on B-Squad. For many of them this is there first full length issue, or some sort of return to comics. I’m hoping that I inspire them to pursue their passions -- so far that aspect is working out pretty well.

The letterist of B-Squad, Michael Finn, is starting to learn to color and he also comes with me to many conventions. He’s been an extraordinary help and trusted partner in this -- probably the only other person that knows the secrets of B-Squad.

Our lead artist, Sean Sutter, is running a sister Kickstarter for a miniatures game he made up while waiting for new B-Squad called Relicblade. He funded $12,000 in 7 days, and it’s an awesome game! 

Lauren Monardo had to stop working B-Squad because she was getting too many big jobs to do storyboard work for animation studios and commercial firms.

It already sounds like Luke Henderson is taking the plunge to being a full-time creative. I mean, if that’s the legacy B-Squad leaves… after 40 or so artists work on it that I’ve helped in some small way spark lasting creative careers for them -- wonderful. I love that part of this and draw a lot of drive from it.

8) If ‘B-Squad’ had a motto, what would it be?   Well, it’s usually, “Ridiculous. Dangerous. Expendable”, but when I first came up with the idea, it was “Don’t Get Attached”, and that’s really at the core. It’s not that I don’t want people to feel like they can’t put their love into any one character or artist, no, I want that, but I wanted our readers to know everything is at peril. We all understand that life has a really good way of throwing us a curveball at any given time. Yet you have to be willing to let go of things when they aren’t working. You have to adapt when change comes -- either by choice or force. 

I don’t know how much strength comes from stability (rocks just get eroded to dust eventually). You have to be flexible, understanding, compassionate, and be willing to change. Sometimes when you don’t want to and sometimes to get what you want. Nothing is permanent.

And on that humbling note, dear reader, I'd like to thank Eben for telling us about his comic book, B-Squad, before directing you towards his website, facebook, and twitter pages. And while you're at it, don't forget to pick yourself up a copy on Amazon.

B-SQUAD - NOTHING IS PERMANENT B-SQUAD - NOTHING IS PERMANENT Reviewed by David Andrews on March 18, 2016 Rating: 5

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