USA Today interviews Whilce Portacio

Whilce Portacio chats about
'Image United' and Fortress

By John Geddes, USA TODAY

Comic series Image United debuts today in comic-book shops across the USA. The collaborative nature of the series marks an exciting experiment in the way comics can be made, while also serving as a reunion for the original founders of Image Comics.

In an ongoing series of creator interviews with USA TODAY, United partner Whilce Portacio took a few moments to discuss the new series and the genesis of his new character, Fortress.

Q. Can you speak a bit about how you developed the character of Fortress and explain a bit about the role he'll play in Image United?

A. Well, he's going to save everyone's butts! (laughs) Actually, that's not far from true. I'm a deliberate creator. I come from the sci-fi world and I devour sci-fi books.

With Fortress, I thought back to my days as a teenager when I would ask myself, "What if I was a superhero?" My answer to that question back in the day is something completely different than how today's teens would respond. For teens today, the sky's the limit. Teenagers are a part of everything in society. They have so much power today. I thought, let's take a kid from this generation and give them real power — power to right all wrongs in the world. Kids think they know everything, anyway. Well, what if they had the power to act on their perceived knowledge?

In United, Fortress goes through a "be careful what you wish for" revelation. My whole theme is about consequences. You're presented with a scenario and you have to make a decision. With Fortress, there are two parts to his powers. First, he's in this special suit and quickly comes to the understanding that there is no nap time; he now has a full-time hero job that he can't get out of. The second part of his powers … I can't reveal yet.