Off Shoot Brings Heroes R Us to Tustin

From: Orange County Register by RAYMOND MENDOZA / STAFF WRITER

Breaking out of a robot controlled prison. Jumping out of a crashing spaceship. Fighting a mechanical shark armed with laser chainsaws.

This was all in a days work for a group of children taking part in the superhero themed “Heroes R Us” event hosted by Off Shoot Comics at the Tustin Public Library on a recent Wednesday. David Clarke and Walter Bryant, founders of Off Shoot Comics which publishes the comic “Heroes R Us,” led the event which had attendees creating their own superheroes as well as controlling “Heroes R Us” characters through a Dungeons and Dragons-type adventure game.Bryant said he and Clarke created the library event to teach children about the process of creating a comic book and making characters that defy the status quo of superhero comic books.

The story for “Heroes R Us” revolves around a town where kids can purchase superpowers from a retail store and a school that teaches individuals how to control their powers. “We definitely hope it’ll spark creativity and the diversity of the stories being told,” Clarke said. “That’s one of our biggest (goals) is that we want comics to be more reflective of the world we live in.” According to Clarke and Bryant, Off Shoot Comics was created three years ago with the notion that comic books should be enjoyable for all ages instead catering to teenage and adult readers. While the characters do employ a certain level of cartoonish violence, Bryant said, the “Heroes R Us” series relies on fun characters and imaginative storylines instead of sexuality and gore.

Vanessa Lambaren, a Tustin resident, said she brought her nephew Israel Aguilar, 6, to build his appreciation for kid-friendly comic books and to help foster creativity when crafting stories. “(Off Shoot Comics) doesn’t have your stereotypical Superman and Spider-Man characters,” Lambaren said. “Instead you have kids picking their own powers, which is pretty cool. Modern superhero movies are somewhat not kid-friendly but (“Heroes R Us”) is a lot better.” Bryant and Clarke said that with the high attendance and enthusiasm seen at the “Heroes R Us” event, the duo would be receptive to having more events at the Tustin Public Library.

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