This week will see the release of the final installment of “Plant Man’s Family Reunion,” written by Nat Kutcher and drawn by Sam Albert. Sam’s been here from the beginning, drawing nearly every page of The Electric Team, but until now every page has been written by me and/or Abigail. You may be wondering, just who is this mysterious Nat person? I first promised an explanation of who Nat is, and why Nat’s writing this story, back on October 21, when I said that blog post would be coming “next week.” That was over a month ago, so you can see why so many people in the marketing department lost their jobs. Fortunately, I am still with the company.



Plant Man and Verka, illustrated by Sam Albert


Back when we were in the planning stages of The Electric Team, I got excited about the idea of bringing in guest artists to draw short solo stories about the characters. I originally had ambitious plans for lots of solo stories, but just writing the main story ended up being more time-consuming than I expected. The only guest-artist solo story so far is the Mr. Amazing story, “Swords and Serpents,” beautifully brought to life by Josh Burnett.

Anyway, I was thinking about possible solo story ideas for the main characters, and I realized that I wasn’t sure what to do with Plant Man. Every time I tried to come up with story ideas for a plant-based character, I felt like I was ripping off Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing. That run on Swamp Thing is the definitive statement on plant-people in comics, and I read it at a young enough age that it permeated my brain and made it difficult to think of anything different. Ideally, then, I needed a fresh perspective from someone who had not read Swamp Thing.

(If you haven’t read it, though, you should. Especially “Pog.”)



Panel from “Pog,” illustrated by Shawn McManus


When I realized I wanted a new perspective, I immediately thought of Nat Kutcher. Nat is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati, like Sam, and I know them both because of my wife, Alice. Nat seemed like the perfect choice because a.) Nat is a writer, b.) Nat reads comics, but is way younger than me, and hasn’t read many comics from the 80’s, and most importantly, c.) Nat has spent a lot of time thinking about what it would be like to be a tree.

I once went to a creative writing workshop with Nat, and we were supposed to think of a character from the story of the Garden of Eden, and retell the story from that character’s viewpoint. I can’t remember who I chose–either Adam or Eve, I think–but Nat chose the Tree of Knowledge. And I got the impression, from various conversations, that this was far from the first time they had written about life as a tree.  This is the kind of personal insight that would seem to lend itself to writing Plant Man.

When I approached Nat with the possibility of writing a Plant Man story, they responded enthusiastically, and soon had a pitch for me. It was about . . . well, you know what it was about, it was about Plant Man going home to visit his family. I talked through the ideas, and gave feedback, and pretty soon Nat had written a script. Though I had given them vague ideas about Plant Man’s backstory, it was Nat who created his real name, the details of his family life, Verka the squirrel, Dr. Redcrest, and the rest.

Nat also gave the story a peaceful resolution, something I–rooted in old super-hero comic books as I am–never would have thought to do. The sage of The Electric Team has benefited from a fresh perspective, and we’ve come to know Plant Man better by spending some time with him and his family, all thanks to Nat’s hard work. Thanks, Nat!