Saturday, November 26, 2016
Comicbooks (or as my uncle used to call them “Funnybooks”) tend to be filled with all-powerful heroes and world-conquering madmen, however, when we first meet Joe Martino’s everyman character, Tom Wyatt (soon to be known as Shadowflame), he was just a regular guy; This first meeting is memorable for us as it is just a month after the death of his wife, for which he feels responsible )as well he should) and he all but ready to put a bullet in his head over it. As can be expected, Wyatt is something of a total wreck, and isn’t ready to go to the store to buy milk, forget about being granted unlimited power and potentially become the savior of the human race, yet that is precisely what happens.
For comicbook fan and creator Joe Martino, seeing his creations come to life first in a series of independently-produced comics, and now collected together as a graphic novel — complete with a cover illustration by his personal inspiration, Comicbook Legend John Byrne — is something of a dream come true. “Let me tell you. This is the guy that inspired me to pick up a pencil and draw. So having him do the covers to the Shadowflame trade is like a dream come true. I have the original hanging up in my apartment and every once in a while I stop and look at it and just say ‘Wow’ He really said yes.”
For Martino, Shadowflame has that same fun, free-spirited feeling that the Marvel comics from the 1980s and early 1990s had for him. He has chosen to pay homage to this era in comics, because, for him, that’s when comics really had magic. “I am not trying to reinvent the wheel. I am just writing and telling the stories that I would like to read.” Martino feels that in today’s modern-day, “reality-fueled” world, that comics have seemed or have lost some of the sparkle that made them magic that they had when he was younger. Nowadays, everything needs to be explained and changed to make sense. According to Martino, comics should be about losing yourself in something that is bigger than you, about reimagining yourself in the role of the hero. “When we were kids, how many of us tied a towel to our backs and pretended to fly? Shadowflame is about THAT magic.”