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ASH Wednesday: Warden Year One

This is part 4 of my weekly series on Dave Van Domelen’s Academy of Super-Heroes universe, a collection of musings, interviews, writerly insights and historical notes about the free super-hero serials (which started on the newsgroup rec.arts.comics.creative back in ’94 and recently released as Omnibus editions.)

Warden: Year One was written by Matt Rossi III, the first title in the ASHiverse that focused on a single hero: Thomas Malfeas (otherwise known as Warden) was born without eyes, but is able to tap into the senses of others, giving him borrowed sight (among other powers). A comparison to Daredevil is inevitable, given that Warden is Matt’s homage to Frank Miller.

In Warden, Matt created a city of much intrigue, a New York City left by the North American Combine to be overrun by gangs with superpowers. His NYC has its own unique menacing air, one that later inspired both Marc Singer and I to have our own go at chaos in the city of shadows (STRAFE: The Slow Burn and The Bonfire, and Warden: Change Is Good).

Inspired by what Matt did in this series, I tried to give a city of my own a unique spin. I was living in Montreal at the time, and so it became my city of choice when I was developing plotlines. I don’t think my attempt was as successful as Matt’s in creating a consistent atmosphere, although we writers did put Montreal through a lot, including an epic battle and uh, misplacing the entire city. I’m more plot-oriented than a crafter of atmosphere, so I do look back at Matt’s writing in Warden to see how he achieved it. (He does it quite brilliantly in Warden: The Annuals).

Next week: ASH Omnibus: Pandora’s Box.


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