Local writers bring the superheroes' second team to life

Justin Piatt, of Ventnor, left, Tara Kappel, of Ventnor, and Zack Dolan, of Atlantic City, are the creative team behind the new comic book titled ‘Super!’

In most cases, superheroes operate in a world dominated by humans.

Justin Piatt, of Ventnor, and Zack Dolan, of Atlantic City, came up with a novel idea for their first comic book, the 52-page "Super!" which receives nationwide distribution on Sept. 25.

Their original superhero comic is set in a universe where Supers are commonplace.

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It's a comic that proudly goes against the dark, serious tone that has oversaturated the comic book market over the past few years. Instead, it offers readers a fun experience, lampooning other comics while delivering a quality story of its own.

"I had the idea that I always wanted to do something that was like the average Joe superhero, the "b"-squad hero, not Superman, or Batman, the other guy, the low-tier guys. Just what they would deal with, their day-to-day struggle of trying to be noticed in a world where there are Superman and Batman," said Dolan.

With comic book superheroes now dominating the movie box office, the pair wanted to create a comic comic-book lovers would like.

"We're reaching out to locals and comics fans and fans of all these comic movies, and we are hearing, 'Well, the movies are great,' but it's very difficult for fans of these comic-book movies to get into the comic books. They are like, 'This doesn't make any sense.' We keep hearing that over and over and over," said Piatt, who added there are many quality independent comics.

Dolan and Piatt, who both graduated from Atlantic City High School in 2000, have been working together for the past 2 1/2 years.

Piatt, who teaches English at Atlantic City High School, wrote "Super!" with Dolan. Piatt comes up with the outline and puts things in order. He created 150 characters in a saga that will take years to complete. As writers, Dolan and Piatt each come up with ideas separately, and then, they mash them together and see what works. Dolan did the penciling. Piatt did the lettering. Tara Kappel, of Ventnor, assisted with the penciling and the inking.

Many people have ideas, but Piatt and Dolan proved their concept was viable by running a successful Kickstarter.com campaign. With a goal of raising $2,500, they generated $6,290 in 30 days through 137 backers.

Dolan said he has done penciling work for a couple of small outfits that went bankrupt. Publishing your own comic solves one of the problems he ran into.

"Don't be content to do just what some the other guy wants to do. Make sure you have input in what you are creating, or there is a very good chance you will be working on something bad," Dolan said.

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"Super!" will be released Sept. 25 in print at comic stores and at comixology.com. A release party for "Super!" will be held 5 p.m. Sept. 25 at Level Up Entertainment in the Hamilton Mall, 4403 Black Horse PIke, Mays Landing. Creators Justin Piatt and Zack Dolan will sign books, raffle off free sketches, shirts and comics. Call 609-569-9200.

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