When I first came across The Rockabilly Plump Corps graphic novel project on Kickstarter, I was skeptical. It’s rare that we get a leading role, let alone a strong fat character in any media, and the body positive movement needs another butt-of-the-joke fat character like we need strangers on Instagram to feign “concern” for our health.
Needless to say, the idea of a graphic novel featuring fat superheroes has promise. We reached out to creator Peter Yong to get the lowdown on this new project, where a guy can be fat and smart, fat and dapper, and above all, fat and powerful.
Where did the desire to feature plus size characters come from?
To be honest my initial goal was not to focus on the fact that they are plus-sized. I started researching bodybuilding and became fascinated by how extreme and serious it had become. I wanted to make a fun, comedic story that was parodying bodybuilding, and these plus sized characters were the perfect counterpoint.
I love positive, optimistic characters who are not afraid to be themselves (something I think is very aspirational) and again these plus-sized characters just fit! I think the characters are a nice contrast to the aggressive and superficial world of bodybuilding.
Looking back at my artwork, drawing rotund characters is something I have alway liked doing so that probably had a big factor to play as well.
I don’t think there are many/any plus sized heroes in comics. Again, this was not something I was trying to do, but I’m happy it turned out that way.
Are any of the characters in The Rockabilly Plump Corps based on real-life people?
Dr Swole, the villain is inspired by Bodybuilder Rich Piana. Rich has a YouTube channel and is very candid and upfront with what it takes to be a body builder – including his steroid usage (something most bodybuilders are cagey about). He himself is a larger-than-life personality who makes pretty entertaining videos, and really illustrated to me the kind of extremes it takes to become a pro bodybuilder. I think he seems like a nice, honest guy, but his aggressive attitude to reaching his goals and quotes like “Do whatever it takes” seemed like good fuel to make a villain.
As for the main characters: Ace is the leader of the group and a certified genius. He is a combination of Mark Zuckerberg and Einstein.
Genzo is pretty much every stoic Samurai and Kung Fu hero from my childhood mixed with a Harajuku Rockabilly.
Why Rockabillies? I love their style! Looking at bodybuilders, they generally have a terrible sense of style – again, a counterpoint that fit nicely. I also created the name “Rockabilly Plump Corps” very early on and the name really appealed to me!
Can you share any examples of exciting plot points or adventures in this graphic novel that we can highlight for our readers?
The story begins on Muscle Beach with Ace making a scene to lure Swole from his hideout from deep within the Gym. The other members of the corps reveal themselves and Ace confronts Swole about his illegal dealings with North Korea. An epic fight ensues that takes over Venice Beach, it escalates until the Corps have to pilot their Robotic vintage cars, and the clash reaches a colossal conclusion!
There is also a charming story featuring Ace and Sue as school Kids, which will be created because of my backers. In this Story we discover how they became friends and the secret behind Sues immense strength!
Want more? Though Yong already exceeded his initial fund goal, the Kickstarter for The Rockabilly Plump Corps has an ever-growing list of great reasons to keep the funding going, including an expanded series. The project officially closes May 18th.