File13 is a high tech, high adventure story of sibling rivalry that is played out in tights in a slightly absurd, super-powered universe. The story follows twin brothers, Scott and Randall Solson, who inherited SolTech — a floundering scientific research company — after the death of their father. Together, they returned SolTech to a place of prominence in the scientific communtiy. Randall is a ruthless, company first, bottom-line businessman out to protect SolTech’s place in the market, while his brother, Scott, is a scientific genius driven by curiosity. Scott creates the technology for the military contracts Randall secures, but dreams of making the world a better place.
Their partnership ends abruptly when Randall — tired of Scott’s lack of focus — buys him out and fires him. Outraged by Randall’s actions, and realizing he does have an obligation to serve the greater good, Scott sneaks back into SolTech to steal the prototype combat assault neuro-armor (C.A.N.) he created — which, unfortunately, was built around the trash can on which he tested his regenerative metal formula. When Scott is forced to come face-to-face with one of his brother’s clandestine “projects,” a hero is born.
File 13 is intended to be a full-color, ongoing monthly series. It’s a high tech, high adventure “hero’s journey” with a healthy dose of absurdist humor thrown in for good measure. The stories draw on equal parts classic superhero storytelling, pop culture references, high drama, science fiction, and historic events that are stranger than fiction. The story arcs are generally two to three issues long, reminiscent of the great comics of the 1980s, though there is a larger, evolving mythology underlying the whole story. The comic’s mythology’s roots are set in 1925 when Scott’s great-grandfather discovers something hidden for centuries and uses the technology recovered from it to form Solson Industries (which Randall later renames SolTech). From that seed the super-powered universe grows, encompassing the past, present, and future. At the start of File 13, super-powered beings haven’t been seen in the world for over 25 years. Their numbers dwindled from a peak in the 1960s until all but disappearing in the mid-1980s. This changes, however, on that fateful night out on Long Island when Scott dons the neuro-armor for the first time. It serves as the catalyst that ushers in a new age of heroes with Scott at the center. On his journey, he comes across an amazing assortment of weirdoes — some are dangerous, some are friendly, but almost all of them are ridiculous.
Despite the intrigue, peril, heroes, and villains that smash their way through the pages of File 13, it boils down to the continuing struggle between Scott and Randall Solson. At its heart, File 13 is a story of sibling rivalry played out in tights. According to writer Daniel Hosek, the roots of File 13 go back some three decades to when he was 12 years old and created a comic called Can Man (the title has since evolved into File 13). “I wish I could say I created thousands of comic pages based on his adventures in the intervening years, but the truth is I created about four crudely drawn comics. As a character, Can Man was always on my mind, though, and ideas were kicked around—whether it was plotting out a ‘crossover’ with my friend’s college comic strip hero, or brainstorming ideas for an epic time travel tale, Can Man had an uncanny knack of sticking around.”
Hosek became friends with Keith Koppenhoefer about the same time he created the character Can Man (it was his college comic character that was a part of that crossover story). “One day about six or seven years ago, we began IMing (as we often did during downtime at our jobs) about Can Man. We expanded on the core idea and brought it up to date. Then, tons of ridiculous names and characters came to us, and we populated his universe. We came up with numerous ideas and used these absurd characters to generate almost two years’ worth of story ideas. Art wise, I got as far as doing layouts for #1, but I was never able to sit down at the drawing board to make the final pages.”
Enter artist Ryan Gutierrez. When Hosek and Koppenhoefer finally got serious about making this project happen, they were lucky enough to come across Ryan’s work on a website that Hosek used for freelance graphic design gigs. Hosek loved Gutierrez art the moment he saw it. After sifting through 100+ candidates, he was definitely the one. As it turns out, they all got along great, shared similar ideas and Gutierrez was completely on board.
Currently there are 35 penciled and inked pages of File 13 #1 (the complete first issue) and File 13 #2 is fully pencilled and inked as well. There’s a thoroughly established direction for the first two years of the series, and the creative team is fully committed to seeing it through. Hosek tells us that he has a solid grasp on comic creation from his time spent at Marvel Comics in the mid-1990s. As a Harvey Award-nominated assistant editor, he learned a great deal about how to take a comic from plot to printed product, and feels that his editorial, and subsequent book design experience, will ensure that these books get made. “I’m excited to finally be creating something I’m truly passionate about and I thank you again for anything you can do to help bring File 13 to life!”
File 13 will be an ongoing, monthly, full color series. The first issue will be 40 pages long with 35 story pages. There are some preview pages up for number #2 at whatisfile13.com. All funds raised by this Kickstarter will go directly toward the publication and promotion of File 13. All funds above and beyond the $7,000 pledge goal will help them obtain the best materials for #1 as well as funding additional issues in the series. Also, since File 13 is an ongoing monthly series, adding subsequent issues as stretch rewards is possible if they’re lucky enough to double or triple their goal.
This project will be funded on Saturday, June 28, 2014.
Robert J. Sodaro has been reviewing comic books for some 30 years. During that time, his reviews and articles have appeared in numerous print publications, as well as on the web. Subscribe to receive regular comic book articles and reviews.