Explosion High Issue One!

If your sidekick is slacking, your alien hero’s awful or your deity’s down in the dumps, you can always send them to Explosion High to learn how to be a superhero!

The school’s got a beautiful jungle campus surrounded by lasers, dinosaurs and laser dinosaurs, but don’t worry, the forcefield around the campus works 90% of the time!

Professor Explosion’s strict courses involve training students in skills needed for both your hero and secret identities, punctuated with deadly traps to keep students on their toes!

Kid, Trouble, Dawn, Mercury, The Mighty Z, Knight Lite and Skyshark are some of the newest students in Explosion High! and possibly the best, if they survive the first day!

Split into three stories, Explosion High follows our doomed students:

The Exploding Race literally drops the characters into the action and blows them up! Kid, Skyshark and Mercury have to pass the final test, fleeing through the jungle to the campus, being chased by dinosaurs. Art by Norrie Millar and colours by Faye Stacey.

Bad Guy follows Trouble, Knight Lite and Dawn as they’re late, lost and surrounded. Can they survive each other, let alone the dinosaur jungle? Art by Debora Lancianese.

The Faulty Stars brings the surviving cast members together and drops an alien into the mix, as we finally see our team! Art by Mike Armstrong, colours by Debora Lancianese!

The stories are written by me, lettered by Rob Jones, edited by Matt Hardy and there’s even an epilogue with my previous collaborator on Blob Detective and Tales from the Quarantine, the wonderful Russell Mark Olson.

If you like the X-Men, Venture Bros and Clone High, then this is the place for you. It’s some high energy superhero nonsense, able to be both brightly coloured fun despite all the deadliness.

Digital Copies

There are a few different places you can pick up Explosion High at the moment.

ComicHaus is a kind of ‘Netflix for indie comics’, where you can subscribe to get access to anything from their library with a subscription fee (or a free trial if you just want to check it out for this). As well as Explosion High, there’s work from Mad Robot Comics and the regular creators we team up with.

Itch.io is a digital platform for creative indie content. That includes video games, RPGs, prose and comics. I’ve put up Explosion High up on there as I’m curious to see how comics do on that platform, and I know creators generally get a better cut, even if it’s not the most searchable platform. If you go here, you’ll get the comic in PDF.

DriveThruComics is a digital storefront similar to Itch, but with better search functionality and a lot more content already on there, so it’s swings and roundabouts as far as what’s better. Again, you can get a PDF copy here.

I’m also proud to say that I’m the first of the Mad Robot Comics empire to be on BuySmallPress with Explosion High, so you can get it there, too!

Physical Copies

Mad Robot Comics are currently seeking distribution through Diamond, who have had what could be called ‘a year’ for the last two years. I used to spend hours every month putting through orders with them back in my comic shop days, so it’d be interesting actually listing a comic through them. That’s a little while off, though.

Speaking of my comic book days, I’ve been selling physical copies through Dave’s Comics in Brighton, my alma mater and one of my favourite places. There are limited supplies there, so if you’re in the city, pick one up ASAP.

Similarly, my current home away from home is the Dice Saloon, where I professionally GM indie RPGs every other week. They also have a limited supply of the comic, so you can pick them up there.

Finally, follow the Mad Robot Comics Twitter account as the Magnificent Matthew Hardy (Cyberarchy, Cadavers, Vehicle-Kill) and Awesome Ash Deadman (Murder Most Mundane, Saxon’s Second Hand Books) are currently attending comic conventions on the Mad Robot Comics stall. They’ve been to several last year and depending on how everything goes with the pandemic, hopefully they’ll be back out in 2022 and I’ll be joining them in the future to shill all our comics.

The amazing pin-up by Gustaffo Vargas!

The Kickstarter and The Future

Explosion High Issue One’s Kickstarter is done. Everything’s been shipped out apart from a couple of physical copies which people have not given me addresses for. I’ll be checking in every few months to see if they’ve finally updated their details, but I figure at this point I’m calling it done.

I need to start sending copies to reviewers, as I want not only to get this issue into more hands, but to get more eyes on issue two.

Speaking of which, I am planning to have issue two out on some crowdfunding platform this year, although I’ve got a lot of things to consider with that at the moment. I have most of the original art team returning and a pair of more tightly-connected stories going from a dorm party to gym class.

The annotated script reward level was a joy, but it was incredibly labour intensive, so I’m thinking I’ll create one annotated script, scan it and then have a less limited tier where I’ll vandalise one part of each annotation in a unique way. That was more people will get to see the tangents I go on both in the script and annotations, the pictures I put in, and any puzzles, tears, burns and cut-out sections. I’ve also put in a couple of spots where people can back and have themselves as superhero students, probably not surviving Explosion High.

During CabinCon, a mini-convention with friends, I wrote the script for a 16-page ‘zine style comic which I’m also hoping to find an artist for an get up on Kickstarter next year after the EH2 project. It’s somehow even scrappier and weirder than Explosion High, a kind of cross between Masters of the Universe, Kamandi: The Last Boy on Earth, Adventure Time and Yor: Hunter from the Future. I’ll share more noise about that when I can.

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