eSpec Books interviews Walt Ciechanowski, contributor to The Side of Good / The Side of Evil, a Superhero Flipbook anthology,

WaltCiechanowski copy

eSB: Which side are you writing for?

WC: Heroes, although my “hero” doesn’t really feel like much of one.

eSB: Please tell us a little bit about the inspiration for your story.

WC: I wanted to strip away some of the typical superhero tropes. Prince Charming (the hero in my story) isn’t buff or handsome. He also has a superpower that isn’t very helpful in supervillain slugfests, so he doesn’t feel like he fits in. Having said that, he is most definitely a hero, even if he doesn’t believe it himself.

eSB: Who is your favorite superhero and why?

WC: The Flash (Barry Allen). I’m not sure why, but I picked him at an early age. I really enjoy time-travel stories, though, so that definitely plays a part in keeping the Flash close to my heart. I’m a huge fan of the new TV series.

eSB: In your opinion, what characterizes a hero?

WC: A hero must be vulnerable – anyone with enough superpowers to avoid being hurt can play at being a hero. A true hero takes risks, often against her own self-interests, to do what’s right.

eSB: In your opinion, what characterizes a villain?

WC: A good villain doesn’t see herself as a “villain;” she’s only doing what she feels needs to be done because she has the power to do so. We’ve all had those momentary impulses where we’ve gotten frustrated and mumbled to ourselves “if only I had superpower X…” Villains have superpower X and follow through.

eSB: What is your viewpoint on Sidekicks?

WC: I like sidekicks – they are sounding boards and help heroes stay grounded and focused on what they are doing and, more importantly, why they are doing it. A good sidekick is a reflection of her hero’s own past and an opportunity for the hero to learn from her early mistakes. She also challenges the hero to remain one.

eSB: What other comic or superhero-related work have you done in the past?

WC: I work in the roleplaying games industry and I’ve worked for several superhero RPG lines, including DC Adventures, Mutants & Masterminds, and Rotted Capes. If we want to lump in pulp heroes, then I’ve also done work on Thrilling Tales and MARS.

eSB: Please tell us about your non-comic related work.

WC: I mentioned above that I work with RPGs. Recently I’ve done work on the latest edition of Dungeons & Dragons and Doctor Who. I’ve also done work on Victoriana (steampunk fantasy), World War Cthulhu (does that one need explanation?), Dragon Age, and other lines. I’m also one of the Gnomes of Gnome Stew, an RPG blog, and I’ve co-written several similarly-themed books with other Gnomes for Engine Publishing.

eSB: Please let us know where you can be found on social media.

WC: I have a twitter account with more cobwebs than Spider-Man’s rec room, but I can usually be found under my own name on Facebook.

eSB: Thank you for allowing this glimpse beneath your alter-ego. We’re looking forward to more super heroics and evil geniuses to come.

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