Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on the upcoming release of The Ables: The Hero's Journey! For those who may be unfamiliar, how would you describe the premise of The Ables series, and what inspired you to tell this story?
Jeremy Scott: The Ables series is about a group of young disabled superheroes. They have powers, but also disabilities that directly impact the use of those powers. The main character is telekinetic, but also blind. So, their own hero society doesn’t even think they will really be able to truly get the job done. The kids set out to prove otherwise.
As for inspiration, I have always enjoyed superhero stories in movies and comic books. And I’m also disabled in that I have lost over 50% of my hearing and I am diagnosed with anxiety and depression. Things have gotten a lot better, but there’s still a need for greater representation of disabilities in mainstream stories.
BD: What can you share with us about your shared creative process in bringing this comic book to life, and what (or who) have been some of your influences?
JS: Jeremy Simser, the artist, and I were already friends, so we didn’t hesitate to team up once the opportunity arrived. It’s my first time writing a comic book, so I was overwhelmed at first. It’s a much more visual medium than a novel—with a novel you provide scene information and let the reader fill in for themselves the details you don’t address. But with a comic, the visual storytelling is much more front-and-center.
I asked Jeremy lots of questions, and he gave excellent feedback and advice. And we pretty quickly both saw a shared vision for the story we wanted to tell, which is that anyone can be a hero because heroism is merely pushing down your own wants or needs in favor of another’s.
BD: As The Hero’s Journey is a part of the larger 4-part series, what can you tell us about your experience in revisiting The Ables’ world? Did you find that there was a creative shorthand in revisiting the characters and their world?
JS: In the books, I am telling a more personal story. It’s about these characters and how they interact and feel as much as it is about any of the action. So, with The Hero’s Journey, because we shifted to comic books for this story, I was able to explore the action of The Ables more.
It also gave me an opportunity to highlight as a main character someone that in the books is merely one of the gang. So, while the books follow Phillip, the leader of The Ables, the comic is all about James, a teleporter, and his experiences during a battle.
BD: For readers who may first be learning about the series, is it necessary to begin with the first book of the series, or can they jump in with The Hero’s Journey?
JS: I have tried to create stories that are connected but can stand on their own. I don’t think you need to have read any of the books to enjoy the comic, and vice versa. Each story has a beginning, middle, and end, and only the characters carry on throughout the books and comics.
BD: What do you hope that readers will take away from the series?
JS: That they are able. That’s not to say that they are capable of “anything they put their minds to,” which is something we tell young people that is actually an exaggeration of the message we’re trying to send. That message should be: Don’t let circumstances or other people define you or dictate your potential.
BD: What makes Turner Publishing the perfect home for The Ables series?
JS: Easily the people. I can give you several reasons besides that, like the awards they’ve won, or the fact that they are based in Nashville, where I live.
But the truth is that every single person there is an awesome person. It’s not a huge sterile corporation, but a focused group of really nice people. When they talk to me about how excited they are about The Ables stories, it’s not fake or phony; I can tell they really mean it. That goes a long way for me.
BD: Are there any other upcoming projects on which you are currently working that you would like to share with our readers?
JS: I’m most excited about Strings, the sequel to The Ables. That’s a novel that releases on September 24 right alongside The Hero’s Journey comic book. And I’ve started working on the third Ables book, currently something I’m calling Currents.
Beyond that, I’m also writing an anthology of science fiction stories.
BD: Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to find more information about The Ables and The Ables: The Hero’s Journey?
JS: To learn more about the series in general, I would recommend theablesbook.com.
We have also released the entire first chapter of Strings, the sequel to The Ables, which can be read here.