When I approached ace St. Louis illustrators Don Secrease and Bill Lux for help in bringing to life The Herobots and launching the characters in a coloring and games book, I was thinking of a bored 6-year-old boy. And myself.
It started with a specific 6-year-old boy. A crabby, impatient, hungry one. I don’t know his name. But he was part of a big crowd enduring a long wait in the lobby of a pancake restaurant with his mother. He was squirming, and I could tell he was desperate for some stimulation, any stimulation. His mother didn’t engage him; didn’t hand him a pencil and paper; or even her phone. (I guess I should be happy about that part.)
I felt the restless boredom radiate out of this young man, and I immediately I wished I had on me a coloring book young kids might like, about, oh, say, superhero robot action figures. I wished I could also hand him some crayons and tell him to “have at.” (With Mom’s permission, of course.) I even had a name bouncing around my mind: the HEROBOTS.
A few months later, after great work by Don and Bill, working from a script by me, we sent to the printers Herobots Coloring and Games Book #1. Here’s the front cover…
Here’s the back cover.
Here are a few pages from the story-to-color. The Herobots are actually action figures, you see, by day, living on the shelf of Sally’s Comics and Toys store.
The plot thickens.
And yes, there are also games!
The 48-page softcover is now available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, but it’s the stack of hard copies I keep on me at busy pancake restaurants that I value most. Because these are the copies I can hand…
…to give random, bored 6-year olds. Bless them. Because I am one of them. Always. It’s why I create, I think. Or at least why I created this video preview of the first few pages of the book. Warning: the narration is by me. (Which you can turn off — just watch the captions!)
So, you ask, is the Herobots Coloring and Games book selling on Amazon and Barnes and Noble? We wouldn’t say it’s selling like, well, pancakes. But we don’t mind. It’s that moment of handing one to a bored kid — for free — that makes up for it.
Walt Jaschek and Don Secrease offer free, downloadable coloring pages of superhero robots: the stars of the Herobots Coloring and Games Book #1. Below, you’ll see the three Herobots — Props, Wheely and Fynn — along with their foes, TREX and the Terrobot. Want to download any and all for the young colorist in your life? Just drag the image to your desktop, click on it, and hit “print.”
Want more Herobots action? Take a look at the Herobots Coloring and Games Book, for young readers, on sale on Amazon and at Barnes and Noble.
Golden Adventures of Brett Hull #1: “Slap Shot to Destiny.” Publisher: The Patrick Company. Agency: Hinkle & Company. Writer: Walt Jaschek and Brock Hanke. Artists: Don Secrease, Bill Lux, Rick Burchett, Bill Vann. (Full credits and backstory here.) Below are the interior spreads! Enjoy this journey back to St. Louis, 1994. “Hold on to your seats, Blues fans,” the story begins. “We’ve got some kind of hockey game here at the Kiel Center tonight…”
“Golden Adventures of Brett Hull” Issue #2: “Power Play: 2094” | Continued from Issue #1 | Publisher: The Patrick Company. Agency: Hinkle & Company. Writers: Walt Jaschek and Brock Hanke. Artists: Don Secrease, Rick Burchett, Bill Lux and Bill Vann. Read the series backstory and full credits
You can also read Walt’s naked script for this comic below — if you want to see how his brain works (and/or you’d like to hire him to write a comic.)
COMIC SCRIPT “NED AND THE NUDE” The Simpsons Writer: Walt Jaschek
Full-page splash. In the foreground is a cute, female ART MODEL, her back to us, her head turned so we can see her face. She is very, very NUDE. One long arm thrusts out and bends back to her hip. Framed in the space between her arm and body is our hero, NED FLANDERS. He is sweating. With one hand, he tugs at his pink collar. With the other, he hold a paint brush up to an canvas on an easel. But the paint is dripping and smearing: he just can’t focus!
CUTE MODEL: What’s WRONG, Mr. Flanders?
CUTE MODEL 2: Why won’t you…
CUTE MODEL 3: PAINT me?
FLANDERS 1: Well, I… [GULP!]
FLANDERS (thought 1:) Great gobs of GIDDY-GOO, man!
FLANDERS (thought 2:) Get a ho-ho-HOLD of yourself!
STORY TITLE: NED AND THE NUDE
END PAGE 1
1 – A classroom. From behind Ned. Across the room, the silhouette of the model, her hands on her hips. Ned is turning to look up — there’s a hand on Ned’s shoulder. And a cigarette burning from the hand!
Voice (from off): YES, Ned. You do seem a little… “UPTIGHT.”
2 – Reveal: Marge’s sister Selma. She is chain smoking, pontificating like a self-important teacher. Because in this class — she is!
Selma: STUDENTS! Did I not LECTURE this class on the need for a true NUDE FIGURE ARTIST to let GO!…
Selma 2: GO!…
Selma 3: [[cough!]]
Selma 4: GO?
3 – A three-shot. Ned, at his easel. On the left, a little behind: Marge, also painting at an easel. On the right, also a little behind: Barney.
Ned: Oh GOSH, Selma! You’re the best darn ADULT EDUCATION ART TEACHER here at EAST-LOWER SPRINGFIELD JUNIOR HIGH!
Ned: It’s JUST that…WELL…
4 – CU of Selma, scowling.
Selma: WHAT, Ned? WHAT?
5 – A shot past the model as Ned leaps up from the easel — he uses one hand to cover his eyes. With his other, he points to the model. He can contain himself no longer.
Ned (yelling): The HUMAN BODY is OBSCENE!
NED (yelling 2): And LOOKING at it is a mortal SIN so SEVERE it’ll yank your SPLEEN out!!!!
6 – 2-shot. Ned is artificially calm now, grinning sheepishly at Selma and making a circular gesture with his hand just above the surface of his canvas.
NED: Plus, I’d feel better with more time for the “UNDER-DRAWING.”
END PAGE 2
1- Exterior shot of East-Lower Springfield Junior High.
SELMA (from within): Are you GETTING this, class?
SELMA (from within): Ned is EMBARASSED — by THIS!
2- In foreground, Selma gesturing to the tableau behind her. The beautiful, nude model. Holy cow! She looks like Britney Spears! With gigantic bosoms! And this is no normal pose: she’s holding a whip! While sucking on lollipop. Wearing (as it turns out) fishnets! About to get into a bathtub! While a fan blows her big hair. In other words, a bunch of obvious cheesecake cliches.
(Selma’s word balloons hide the model’s naughtier bits.)
SELMA: Merely by THIS:
SELMA 2: A completely NATURAL, NORMAL BODY…
SELMA 3: …in a completely NEUTRAL POSE!
3- Selma leans in to taunt Ned. He holds his head in his hands.
SELMA (whispering): Is it because she looks like BRATNEY SPHERES?
NED: SWEET LORD IN HEAVEN! YES!
4 – Selma tosses the nude model a robe.
SELMA: ACHTUNG, my so-called “ARTISTS!”
SELMA 2: When deconstructing the NUDE…
5 – Selma dramatically pulls the straps of her Moo-Moo from her shoulders.
SELMA: You must DIVORCE yourself from POP CULTURE CONTEXT!
6 – Floor level shot, past Selma’s disturbing, naked legs. The Moo-Moo is bundled at her feet. And in the background, our cast so far (Marge, Smithers, Barney) gasps in horror.
SELMA: (from above:) And THINK only…
SELMA 2: SEE only…
SELMA 3: (Yelling): MASS!!!
END OF PAGE 3
1- Same exterior shot as panel 1 on previous page. But now legions are running out the front door, still wearing paint smocks, paint hats, and wielding wet brushes. Who do we see here? How about… Chief Wiggums, Doctor Hibbard, and Apu…
GROUP SCREAM: AAAAAAAAAAAA!
2- Back inside. Ned and Selma. Ned is holding two thick paint brushes covering his eyes so he can’t see. Selma is putting her Moo-Moo back on.
SELMA: Yeah, this won’t work EITHER, Ned.
SELMA 2: We need a QUORUM to meet MODEL FFES.
3 – Cut to: another part of the room. WILLIE, the Scottish groundskeeper at Springfield Elementary, is… ripping off his shirt! He’s really buff — super-hero buff! And he’s coming right at us!
WILLIE: HOW about THIS, Flanders…
WILLIE 2: …ye wee bit o’ POOFY-BOY?
SELMA (from off): WILLIE!?
4- Willie has pulled his pants off one muscuar leg, and has the other muscular leg in the air, pulling the pants from it. Flanders and Selma look on, amazed.
5 – Willie, lying on his side now on the model platform. We’re looking past Selma now, and only her arm and lit cigarette hide his nether-regions.
WILLIE: If it’s a BODY divorced of CONTEXT ye be needin’, PANSY-painters…
WILLIE 2: Grab y’r tubes of YELLOW OOOOCHRA…and HAV’ AT!
6 – CLOSE-UP OF NED. He is holding two paintbrushes in the sign of the cross, as if stopping a vampire.
NED: No! NO! I won’t rendereth WILLIE, EITHER!
END PAGE 4
1- Ned points to his own booty as Selma his fellow artists look on.
NED: I can’t gaze upon ANY “BOO-TAY” that’s not in its God-given GARMENTS!
MARGE: But NED…
2 – Two-shot. Marge and Barney in front of their easels.
MARGE: THEN you won’t PASS the CLASS!
BARNEY: Yeah! And you’ll be doomed to REPEAT it FOR-EVER!
BARNEY 2: Like ME!
3- Ned consults a huge, 3-inch thick catalog, which he evidentally carries with him. On the cover: SPRINGFIELD ADULT EDUCATION / SPRING “SEMESTER”
NED: B… But I NEED to pass!
NED: It’s REQUIRED for admittance to ART 199:
NED: “The Art Of The FAMILY CIRCUS!”
4 – Ned is on his knees, burying his face in folds of Selma’s Moo-Moo.
NED: PLEASE, Selma — Is there ANYTHING I can DO to PASS…
NED: …that DOESN’T involve PAINTING the PANTSLESS?
5 – Selma puffs out a smoke ring and Flanders stares hopefully through it.
SELMA: WEEEELL — I can think of ONE “academic OUT.”
SELMA: It’s not really FAIR…
SELMA: …but it doesn’t break any COMMANDMENTS!
6 – Close-up of Ned, fists clenched, delighted.
NED: I’LL DO IT!
END PAGE 5
Full-page panel. Taking up most of this panel is the nude figure of … NED HIMSELF! He is standing on one foot. The other foot is cupped in one hand, and the leg is bent accordlingly. . The other hand is behind his neck. He is contorted… and content. He looks almost like a human ice swan. And he has a rose in his teeth!
NED (thinking 1): SAY…THIS isn’t so bad!
NED (thinking 2):I guess if I can’t MAKE art — I can BE art!
NED (thinking 3):I feel so…LIBERATED! So LOOSE! So…FREE! But then…
NED (thinking 4):That could just be the BREEZE!
And, looking past Ned, in a small horizontal group shot at the bottom of the panel, simultaneously reacting to this pose, is…
SELMA (pleased, framing him with her hands): FREEZE, you gorgeous MAN-CHILD!
When I approached artist Bill Lux with the concept of a “Take a Chillaxative and Chillax” line of merchandise, he created this incredible image, exceeding my chillax-pectations. He wrote the bottle copy, too! Though there’s a like-filled Chillaxative page on Facebook, sales are not yet booming. Guess everyone stocked up on Chillaxative at Costco.