madnessdeathpool said: I haven't heard it yet, but I was curious as to what the story behind how Kulap V inspired the character Kartharsis?
Well, this is kind of a short but fun story. I don’t remember the exact order of some of the events, but basically…
…I became a huge fan of comedy podcasts, and I kept noticing how many of my favorite stand-up comedians who were podcasters were also huge fans of comics. I became email friends with Brian Posehn, Patton Oswalt, Paul F. Tompkins, Paul Scheer, Eugene Mirman and more.
My favorite podcast was Comedy Death Ray, later called Comedy Bang Bang, hosted by Scott Aukerman, who used to write and act on my favorite comedy sketch show, Mr. Show. I later got to be ON that show, with Scott and Paul F., and had a blast, and those guys totally out-nerded me on silver age comics trivia, I mean they really knew their stuff.
That show mentioned another podcast, co-hosted by the hilarious Howard Kremer and Kulap Vilaysack, WHO CHARTED? I thought this show was hysterical and still do, it’s really funny. And listening one episode, they were listing their top five of something, and Kulap talked at some length about my Wonder Woman run and was really very nice about it.
I dashed off a note of thanks and somewhere along this time, I think Kulap mentioned on the show that when Asians were shown in comics, they were almost uniformly Japanese, occasionally Chinese, and that was mostly it. Kulap is a huge comics fan and knows her comics like few celebrities, I mean she knows a lot of comics arcs far better than I do. And she is Laotion.
This stuff always sticks in my head, I get frustrated by these things and rather than just griping about it, I prefer to try to create some characters, you know? I hope I am remembering this in the proper order…
So I came up with a character, Katharsis, as part of a supervillain team, she would be Laotian, but my thinking was that she would break away from the group and go anti-hero even back then. At this point, I had become friends with Kulap and her husband, Scott Aukerman, of Comedy Bang Bang, and I asked Scott if she would be cool with me naming the character after Kulap and giving her likeness to the artist to base the character on (we wanted to surprise her). Scott was very enthusiastic, and when the issue came out, Kulap was delighted, which made me very happy. She had the issue framed, it was fun.
The cool thing from there was that the character, Katharsis, was by far the most popular of the little group of villains I created, so when I started a new hero book, the Movement, I brought her over and made her a hero, as I had always hoped to do…still cranky and dangerous, but no longer working for the bad guys.
One of the coolest things is, Kulap let me use some of her own history in Katharsis’ origin story…the stuff in, I think issue four? Not about her being a cop, but coming to America with her mother, that’s all from Kulap’s real life, with her gracious permission. And I grew to really love the character…she was crackly and fiery. The real Kulap is nice and sweet and funny, so that part is very dissimilar.
Now, the interesting thing is, Kulap Vilaysack, the real one, is working on a movie of her life, and it’s absolutely fascinating, and there’s a lot of comics stuff in it. She found out at age 14 that her father was not her real father, and that her real father still lived in Laos. 20 years later, she went back to meet him, and she’s making a movie about it. I’m actually in it, we recorded some stuff at Wonder Con in Anaheim earlier this year.
What I’ve seen of it looks amazing…she is looking to indigogo for a bit of funding to finish it. It’s called ORIGIN STORY.
I strongly urge people to check it out and see the trailers. I think it’s going to be something special.
Kulap is an amazing woman, a fantastic comedian and actress, and a huge comics nerd. I adore her, and I really want her to be able to finish her film…I think they have raised 60K of the 100K they need.
Please check it out and spread the word, let’s get this film made!