What you'll find here is a series of Q&A's about
the Mysterymen and their creator, Bob Burden.
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ABOUT THE MYSTERYMEN!
The Mysterymen is a team (actually more like a "gang") of superheroes.
They are second-string, mill-town, blue-collar superheroes, costumed adventurers who can't get into the big-time superhero teams because they have the mediocre powers, unsightly or ridiculous costumes, behavioral problems, scandalous reputations, or severe character flaws.
WHERE DID THE MYSTERYMEN COME FROM?
The Mysterymen first appeared in 1987, in a two part story in Flaming Carrot Comics #16 & #17.
WHAT IS FLAMING CARROT?
Flaming Carrot, starring the world's first surrealist superhero, is the comic book from which the Mysterymen evolved. Billed as "the further adventures of the strangest man alive", Flaming Carrot is now available in the Flaming Carrot collected volumes from Dark Horse Comics.
HOW DID FLAMING CARROT EVOLVE INTO THE MYSTERYMEN?
Flaming Carrot was "just too weird" to garner anything but "mild and
bemused interest from book publishers, movie studios and girls in bars",
so Burden "reinvented" Flaming Carrot with THE MYSTERYMEN.
"On his own, Flaming Carrot was fascinating but also sort of disturbing, like something out of a dream or a Salvador Dali painting. Also, in the days before CG, Flaming Carrot's big head presented some problems as to how to portray him on the big screen," says Burden.
Around 1986, the infeasibility of Flaming Carrot reaching a larger audience began sinking in. In an attempt to widen his audience, Burden created THE MYSTERYMEN, THE BIKINI TEENS, MEN FROM UNKNOWN WORLDS (of which Screwball, a Mysteryman, is also a member), FANTOBAL & SHADRACK, and a few others, all as spin-offs of the Flaming Carrot. The MYSTERYMEN is the first to hit the big screen after a decade of interest from Hollywood.
FLAMING CARROT PUBLISHING HISTORY
Flaming Carrot was one of the first Direct Market superheroes, first appearing in Visions #1 in 1979 and continuing as a back-up feature in the annually published magazine for the next few years. There was a rare, oversized, one-shot Flaming carrot comics #1 (6,500 #d copies printed). The regular series began in 1983 and continues sporadically to this day.
HOW DID THE MOVIE COME ABOUT
"Dark Horse Entertainment, a division of Dark Horse comics took Flaming Carrot to Hollywood. Dark Horse founder Mike Richardson, who previously enjoyed big hits with THE MASK and TIME COP, saw the potential for MYSTERYMEN to be the next comic-based blockbuster. He was dedicated to the project and personally took the project to fruition. The MYSTERY MEN is actually a spin-off of Flaming Carrot. Flaming Carrot belonged to this superhero team called the Mysterymen. He saw that the MYSTERYMEN was the project to start with and he made it happen."
WHO IS BOB BURDEN?
Bob Burden was born in Buffalo NY. A cartoonist, writer, performance artist, street poet, and incorigable wanderer, he chose the comic book as his first medium. He created Flaming Carrot, the world's first surrealist superhero which became a cult hit in the 1980's comic book direct market.
He studied Journalism with minors in political science, advertising and English at Marquette University and University of Georgia where he graduated with a degree.
He currently lives in Atlanta and is published by Dark Horse Comics.
MYSTERYMEN vs FLAMING CARROT
"With Flaming Carrot, I experimented with storytelling. I learned my craft, saw what worked and what didn't. I wanted to see what I could get away with. Now, with the Mysterymen, I'm experimenting with the kind of story I'm going to tell. Flaming Carrot was all a lot of fun, but Mysterymen has some more serious stories now and then. Fundamental stories about love, focus, obsession, life, death, and the human condition."
THE MESSAGE OF FLAMING CARROT
"I think the message of Flaming Carrot is "Don't Take Things so Seriously". Flaming Carrot is about "being alive", about "living your life". Everybody seems to be taking everything so seriously these days that nothing's any fun anymore. Every single act, event and staement is judged, adjudicated and classified. You label it and then you put it on a shelf. I think we lose something there. I feel sorry for the kids who have to grow up in such a severely serious world. Parents get neurotic and then feel they have to infect their kids with it. The growing tide of protectionism is raising a nation of ninnys and whiners."
THE MESSAGE OF THE MYSTERYMEN
"The message of Mysterymen Comics is "each according to his nature". People have their nature and that's what they are. The Mysterymen is a departure from the standard "morality play" inherent in comics and most everything else: TV, movies, books... The Mysterymen are fighting the bad guys because they are inherently evil or dangerous, not to punish them or teach them a lesson. The Mysterymen are not perfect characters, and it's not a perfect world. Life's not fair, but good men make it fair."
"But only for so long."
"This makes for a more interesting story. Most adventure-action TV shows these days have become nothing more than propaganda. The message is "do the right thing, and everything will turn out right". But with Mysterymen it's like a gang war between a bunch of guys with hearts and a bunch of guys without hearts. That's really what the battle between good and evil is. And it's between only the 5 or 10 percent of the population that cares. The rest of the world is just looking on like a bunch of rubberneckers at an accident. The Mysterymen comic stories are, at times,a lot more serious and deep than the your average comic."