“Only Human”: an intellectual horror

By Beau Brown

Beau Brown

Every person has the desire to make an impact; whether it be on a small scale, like helping a little old lady cross the street, or on a larger scale, like becoming a doctor and saving hundreds of lives in countries where medical help is scarce.arts&life

So you go to college, get an education, maybe internship with some humanitarian organization, build up a network, and once you get to the top and get that career, start making a difference. Or, if you’re Joseph A. Michael, you’ll create a comic meant to inspire its readers with an experimental theme: intellectual horror.

“I like to think of the theme of intellectual horror as a cross between ‘The Walking Dead’ and ‘Inception,’” said Michael, the web designer for Only Human and a UA alumnus. “I want to get into the minds of my audience and make them think.”

Only Human, currently in the making and planned to be released in August of this year, centers around the lives of two teenage boys, Wesley and Fisher. Appearing as two normal, everyday people, Wesley and Fisher are outcasts in their own dystopian society. They are surrounded by a world overcome with corporate greed, where people are essentially weapons of mass consumption pulled by the strings of commercialism.

The two youngsters act as uncommon heroes, struggling to rise up above the pressures to be like everyone else. The story of Only Human follows the two as they adventure towards their goal of improving the world and inspiring others to think outside the box built by society. The world they are immersed in is meant to exaggerate the corruptions of modern society and, through this method, Michael hopes to open the eyes of his audience.

“Only Human is an ultimate tale about humanity’s redemption,” said Michael. “Two characters are removed from society and see things from an outside perspective. The story’s about the potential for every human to find the hidden powers inside of them that help the world become a better place.”

In addition to presenting the audience with a nontraditional story about facing the dangers of modern society, the team behind Only Human hopes to reach its audience on a higher level.

Through the messages present in the comic, they hope to inspire the readers – who may not keep up with current events – to do research and become active in their communities.

“We really want this to start a movement and inspire new thought, research and activism,” said Michael. “We want people to step out of their personal bubbles and see the way the world is around them.”

According to Joseph A. Michael, the creator of the story of Only Human, the comic originally began as a novel.

After finishing the story, Michael realized that the novel format wasn’t the best way to portray the story to the audience. After visiting last November’s Akron Comic-Con and meeting comic book artist Dan Gorman, Michael decided that transforming his story into a comic would affect his readers better than one lengthy novel.

Months later, Only Human was created. Currently, four members make up the creative team of the comic and have already released a preview of the comic: Joseph A. Michael; Dan Gorman, a freelance comic book illustrator who has taken on the duty as artist; Blake Wilkie, a colorist from Alabama; and Renee Volchko, sister of Michael, letterer and graphic designer.

“The comic is like one step between creating a novel and filming an animated movie,” said Michael. “The comic provides a greater depth to the story than a novel but takes less time to produce than a movie. It’s good to give the audience a visual presentation of the characters so to better follow the story.”

Michael and his associates have already visited several comic book conventions and have been featured in multiple publications. They are already building up a fan base that is preparing for the release of the first issue of Only Human this year.

The creative team plans to hit home and visit this year’s Akron Comic-Con on Nov. 9 and hopes to meet loyal fans and inspire visitors to read the comic.

“I think that the comic can bring in people who might not normally watch documentaries or watch the news,” said Michael. “People can find entertainment and value in the comic not seen in other media, and hopefully will spark an interest on an international and national level.”

For more information on Only Human and news about the comic, please visit onlyhumancomic.com.