The seven remaining fans of The O.C. will recall that in Season 2, lovable geek Seth Cohen (played by Adam Brody) created his own comic book, “Atomic County.” Now, in a case of art imitating life, Brody is teaming up with Danny Bilson (the father of Adam’s O.C. co-star and real-life girlfriend, Rachel Bilson) and Paul DeMeo to pen a series called “Red Menace” for WildStorm, an imprint of DC Comics.
“As much as I love comics, writing one wasn’t something I ever thought about doing. Danny brought it up, so I thought it would be fun, and it has been. I’ve had a blast,” Brody said.
Set in ’50s-era Los Angeles, “Red Menace” is centered around a blacklisted hero named The Eagle and the superpowered youth he takes under his wing.
According to TV Guide, the story was hatched after Bilson and Brody started talking about the 1976 film The Front, which starred Woody Allen as a cashier who agrees to be a front for blacklisted writers.
“I said, ‘Why don’t we just do that, but as a comic?'” Brody recalled.
According to Bilson, the 26-year-old actor also came up with the idea of introducing a younger hero into the story.
“We all contributed different parts to the idea, but in a certain way, I feel like Paul and I own the older guy and Adam owns the younger guy,” Bilson said.
“The funny thing is, I actually like writing the older character better, too. He’s just more fun. The book I wrote had him at his lowest point, and I had fun with that, just making him kind of a loser,” Brody said.
The trio of writers spent some time researching the period, and the comic will incorporate real people such as Roy Cohn and Senator Joseph McCarthy, as well as real L.A. locations.
“I tried to read a 500-page book about the blacklist… and I got about 100 pages in. Most of the research I did was by watching movies,” Brody said.
Brody admits that he was nervous about tackling his first comic script by himself, but he got the hang of it after writing one page.
“You have to give directions to the artist in the script, and I really enjoyed writing that way. It’s kind of like writing and directing at the same time,” he said.
Even his girlfriend was struck by his enthusiasm.
“Rachel told me last week that he kept reading his stuff to her and asking ‘What do you think of this?'” laughs Danny Bilson, adding that unlike her on-screen counterpart, the younger Bilson is staying out of the comics biz. “She said he was writing at 4 in the morning because he was having so much fun with it.”
Red Menace is currently scheduled to run only for six issues, the first due out and on sale in November, but Bilson says the series could continue if fan response is strong enough. In the meantime, Brody is already thinking of which superhero he’d like to tackle next. The way The O.C. is going these days, he’ll have plenty of time to focus on this career soon enough.