WHERE DID POWER PENGUIN COME FROM?
The Origin of Power Penguin is my first novel as well as a life-long dream. The book is the end result of nearly eighteen years of my life. The idea was first conceived in November 1999. A crude middle school sketch of a penguin superhero drawn in a South Park style soon gave birth to my first amateur comic series. In 2003 I then thought of turning that concept into a real book. The project started and stopped for years at a time. It wasn't until 2014 that my desire to turn the Power Penguin novel into a reality finally started to take real shape. The core concept of a penguin superhero remained, but the world and its characters had been radically redesigned and developed over the years. Finally in 2017 the novel was completed and self-published through Amazon's CreateSpace.
Power Penguin is based in part on the legacy of radioactive and genetically-mutated characters from modern fiction, such as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or characters exposed to atomic explosions like The Incredible Hulk. In fact, TMNT influenced The Origin of Power Penguin in several ways. The characters of Burns, Smith, Iron, and Beans of L-7 Squad are actually based on the turtles quartet!
WHAT IS THE ORIGIN OF POWER PENGUIN?
The Origin of Power Penguin is an action-packed superhero war story with furries. It is the story of Subject 3623, a.k.a. Red Eyes, a genetically engineered penguin created and trained to be a super-soldier. She's living a peaceful life far from the rest of the war-torn world. When the war comes to her home, she is thrown into the global conflict. What's more, she now has atomic superpowers. It is now up to her to fight for her newfound friends and comrades, and to fight against the tyranny of the Confederate Alliance.
WHAT INFLUENCED POWER PENGUIN AS A CHARACTER?
Firstly, penguins have always been depicted as goofy, comedic characters in fiction. You've never seen a penguin character shoot an automatic rifle or fire atomic energy bursts from her hands. So, that was one desire. I wanted to make a cool penguin character that could win a fight. Another was simply the lack of female action heroes. Sigourney Weaver in Aliens (1986) still stands as the pinnacle of female action heroes, but that was thirty years ago. Who else has there been that even comes close to her? I wanted to create a new action heroine with her own unique qualities. I wanted to make a character that both boys and girls could look up to. I wanted to create a new paradigm shift. I wanted to create something special.
As such, it should probably come as a surprise then that Power Penguin was originally designed as a male. Not only was the character a he, but he could talk like everybody else. So, in another attempt to make the character unique, I made her a mute. She can still understand and communicate, but has to use sign language or written messages. I guess the character of Taarna from Heavy Metal (1981) was also an influence, too.
Concept art for the novel's cover. Bonus points if you get the reference.