When I was first getting to know my friend Robert Hulshof-Schmidt, he casually mentioned that he did a little writing in his spare time and had an on-going comic book project he thought I might find interesting. I thought he had a story arc he had created for established characters. What he unboxed — literally — was a decades-long personal project that read like a space opera. He had biographies, timelines, charts, and spreadsheets. It turned out that Robert had started the project in grade school, revisited it on grad school, and was simply itching to dive into it again.
Rellokites are unusual in the Coalition in that they have radial symmetry – five equally spaced faces and limbs with 360° reach and perspective.
I encouraged Robert to establish an online archive of his project. While working on similar projects, we would meet weekly to run new ideas past one another and keep each other honest when it came to self-imposed deadlines. We gently pushed and pulled at his creations, doing our best to rework obviously derivative work, refining story, and debating the evolutionary reasoning behind his various alien species. Helping a creator refine a precious project is challenging. No one wants to be told that their baby can be improved or refined — especially a long-running project. But Robert was cautiously optimistic with me. I knew we’d work well when he accepted that the “Super Hero Squad” was not the best name for a renowned intergalactic organization. By the end of the project, Robert had illustrated and cataloged 77 characters and 26 alien cultures for the Accord.
Analysis, constructive criticism, research, investigation
- Creator Robert Hulshof-Schmidt