It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No, it’s a totally endearing new web series.
Heroes have it rough. Between saving the world and keeping secret identities, there’s very little time to deal with your personal life. What happens when your series is cancelled? How do you live with curse after curse? You drink, of course!
This hilarious exploration into the day to day life of a cancelled hero is a must see. We sat down with creators Michael Nixon, Melinda-Catherine Gross, Richard Valentin Jr. and Drew Hamilton to get the low down on Drunk Hawk Man.
Legion of Leia: What inspired you to create Drunk Hawk Man?
Michael Nixon (Hawk/Hath): A very hungover Friendsgiving in 2013. Melinda, Richard, and I got blitzed the night before and were recovering on her couch, watching the one thing at hand that we all could agree was the right cure; later-series Smallville. When we least expected it, he appeared: Hawkman, played by Michael Shanks (of Stargate SG-1 fame). I ended up riffing a terrible comedy voice based on his take on Hawkman and we just sort of went from there. A few days later, Richie and I typed it up into three or four terrible short sketches, but it was Mel – reading our terrible handiwork – who said that we should transform it into a fully-fledged web series. So, we’ve been working on the show ever since, really.
Melinda-Catherine Gross (Shiara): Ha! Well, one Thanksgiving about three years ago, Michael, Richard and I were stupendously hungover. While the turkey was in the oven, Michael noticed that I had all 10 seasons of Smallville on my shelf, so we decided to watch “Absolute Justice”, the series’ the hour long JSA special. This episode also happened to be the introduction of Michael Shanks’ Carter Hall. Michael (Nixon) started riffing a hilarious voice/conversation which made us laugh for the rest of the day. A week later, Michael and Richard came to me with a base script for a comedy sketch. As I looked it over, I proposed we turn it into a full series, highlighting both of their talents. And now we have a thing!
Richard Valentin, Jr. (Ollie/Merl) : I think kids do this all the time, the “YOU’D be Superman, and and So-and-so would be Green Arrow…” and they create fan-fiction, essentially. And then some of them grow up but don’t really change much, except they drink a lot of beer and write their ideas down. And then they play with cameras and stuff. So the inspiration comes from a lot of places: beer, comics, entertainment, childhood. I just wanted to play with my friends.
Drew Hamilton (Director) : What inspired me to help create drunk hawk man was simply reading the script. Mel had been telling me about the project her Michael and Richard had written and I asked to read it. Immediately upon finishing it I turned to Melinda and asked if I could pitch all three of them to let me direct it. What struck me abut the script was that it was funny, sharp, and above all it had heart. I must have done something right in that interview because here it is!
Legion of Leia: What was it like collaborating on this project?
Michael: Pretty standard by the time we started. We’d been working on some smaller comedy sketches together and DHM seemed like the logical next step and I came around quickly. The actual collaboration was great. It had the usual pitfalls of wholly different people working together on the same project, but that’s filmmaking.
Melinda: I think there’s an easy answer to this, but making something isn’t easy, so I want to give a realistic answer. Collaboration of this magnitude makes you see the best and the worst in people you love. As a self-financed project that was in the works for so long there was a lot of laughter, and there was also a lot of frustration. But that’s just it, there’s both! There should be both. I can’t think of a better way to make art. Having people who are both supportive, but also excruciatingly hard on you, is what brings out the balance to what we put on screen and ultimately made us create the best product we had in us. It has been one of the greatest learning experiences of my life and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
Richard: We had a lot of fun on set. Some of us were old friends, some new, but we all wanted to be there. The combination of talents on this project impressed me every day, and I feel really honored to have worked with such great people. You know you’re on the right track when, even when something doesn’t look how you pictured it, it still looks even better than you’d hoped.
Drew: Collaborating on this project was easy because everyone trusted each other. As the Director I came to the group with a particular vision in my head for how the show would look(everyone sees a script differently in their head). Through Michael, Melinda and Richard’s amazing feedback, constant trust and support, that vision was refined and augmented and eventually became an amalgam of all of our own internal visions. The result is a show I am unbelievably proud of. Helping to create Drunk Hawk Man was some of the most fun I have ever had.
Legion of Leia : You chose to put all the episodes out Netflix style. What do think are the pros and cons of that?
Michael: In my experience, weekly schedules are a nightmare for web shows. Especially for freshly-launching web shows. Attrition between weeks kills you. Missing a week kills you. Every little mistake in each episode becomes far clearer with a week between them. When we started planning the show, I’d recently come off of the three-year-run of a weekly web series, so I wasn’t at all eager to do anything weekly again.
The binge-friendly block release allows an audience the maximum freedom to check out the show at their leisure, with all of it in one place. Watch ’em all in an under-an-hour blast, watch some and take a sandwich break, watch one per night religiously like someone who takes Watchmen too seriously and does that one-chapter-a-day thing every time they read it, whatever works for you.
Melinda: I’d say we’re going to find out! The standard for web shows has always been week-to-week, building up buzz between episodes. But the internet is an ever-changing, soon-to-be Terminator brain and a lot of shows loose their audience after only one episode. People forget to come back the next week due to an influx of new stuff. We made a show we’re really proud of and we would really like people to see the full story. So I guess the con would be that people watch it all and then forget about it, but at least they’ve seen it all!
Richard:There’s a lot less concern with keeping and losing audience I feel, it’s one less gimmick; people either wanna watch, or they don’t. We hope the former, obviously, and that’s where the convenience of all eps at your disposal comes in handy. I’ve never once heard someone complain about Netflix-style, and I won’t either!
Drew: I have always felt that when a show is ready to go its ready to go. We went with the Netflix style release because there really isn’t a reason not to. The script lends itself to binge watching and we don’t need to artificially constrain our release times. I feel like many web shows release week to week because that’s how its almost always been done.
Legion of Leia: What can people expect from season one of Drunk Hawk Man?
Michael: Jokes, drinks, and the avoidance of destiny until it’s too late. I like to think of season one’s theme as “Life.” It’s the day-in-the-life of the worst superheroes in a world where everything happened and anything’s possible.
Melinda: Fun. A lot of super hero media now is big plan, feelings, big fight, then lets talk about maybe some of those feelings. There’s no time for fun! We have some punches and some feelings; also some punches in the feelings. But at its heart, we wanted season one to be fun.
Richard: Season one establishes a lot, you really get to know the characters and relationships. There’s a lot of goofy moments, and then the natural escalation when friends ignore each other’s problems, where you get the second half of the season.
Drew: First off, you can expect to laugh. The show is funny but you can also expect to be confronted with an actually complex story with stakes for all the characters. Sure the show is goofy but the true heart of it is Hawk deciding not to grapple with his destiny and listen to the voices inside his head. He’d rather drink them away.
Legion of Leia: For people who don’t know comics, why should they watch?
Michael: Because it’s fun for everyone! We never wrote the series specifically for comics fans, it’s for everyone (i.e. how comics should also be written). Don’t be thrown off by the superhero stuff. It’s a sitcom that follows people working a gig that just happens to involve magic and lasers and mistakes of super-science.
Melinda: There’s stuff in there for the comic book crowd for sure, but we wanted to make a show for people who recognize that sometimes the things they love can be venerable and fallible in a more human, less super way. A lot of the humor from Drunk Hawk Man is born out of the idea that these guys’ plans aren’t being messed up by villains, but rather by themselves. Should I be a responsible adult tonight? Should I not hook up with my weird ex again? I feel like the story something everyone can relate to. Also it’s flippin’ funny!
Richard: Because it’s COOL! EVERYONE’S DOING IT!!!
Drew: As I’ve mentioned before, the most important aspect of this show is that is has heart. That is why you should watch it. Regardless of all the comic book jokes and references, the story is fun, the characters are funny and who knows it could even get you to start reading comics!
Legion of Leia: And finally, who is your favorite superhero and what would be their drink of choice?
Michael: I’ll go on-theme and say the 80s-90s Katar Hol Hawkman. I am, apparently, the one fan of Hawkworld – and I don’t mean just the first trade, I mean all of it. So yeah, let’s say Katar sipping a really pretentious Thanagarian wine and pontificating in his tighty-whiteys.
Melinda: Oracle (aka Barbara Gordon). I feel like she just keeps a bottle of Macallan Rare Cask Highland Single Malt Scotch in her work desk because of so many reasons.
Richard: I don’t know if that’s an easy question for any of us. If I had to pick across all universes it would probably be Spider-Man. Just somethin’ about him, he’s a New-Yorker. What does Spidey drink? If I had to make it up I’d say stouts and porters, ‘cuz that’s what I drink!
Drew: Easy, Batman. He has been my favorite superhero hero as far back as I can remember. Unfortunately, since batman doesn’t drink, I know that his drink of choice would probably be ginger ale, or like a kale smoothie.
Since that’s no fun I’ll tell you my favorite villain as well, Thanos, I’m sure he drinks. I think he would enjoy either a nice vintage of Chianti or Popov. I’d like to think he is of two minds where when he is going about making plans for controlling the universe he is swirling a large glass of wine, but he also goes into the roughest bar in the galaxy and pounds back essentially rubbing alcohol.
Check out episode 1 of Drunk Hawk Man below and click HERE to see the rest!!