"45" Graphic Novel Excerpt


Journalist, James Stanley, is faced with the imminent birth of his child. Having decided to forego the test that would determine whether his child is carrying the all-important “Super-S” gene, which differentiates the genetic makeup of a superhero from that of a normal person, James sets out on a quest to interview forty-five super-powered individuals in the hope that their experiences may better prepare him for the birth of a child that is potentially gifted with extraordinary abilities. On his journey, he encounters characters from all walks of life; from single mothers struggling to raise gifted children, to rebellious super-teenagers, all the way through to those reaching the end of their lives. But what starts as a voyage of personal discovery becomes something far more ominous when he crosses paths with an organization known as XoDOS.


I’m watching the world go by from my table in a quieter part of Soho, London. It’s not often I find myself nervous before an interview; years of journalism prepares you for most things. But this time, I’m the one who’s being interviewed.

I turn back to look at the young woman sitting at my table. Her name is Angela Dace; she smiles politely, tapping her pen on her writing pad. She takes a sip from her americano before writing my name on the top of the page followed by a number: James Stanley. 45.

JS: I’m not that old!

AD: Excuse me? Oh, yes! Funny. Thanks for agreeing to the interview today. To be honest, I wasn’t sure you’d be up for it, it’s strange for me to be interviewing a fellow-journalist.

She shifts uncomfortably on her chair, brushing the hair from her face. How old is she? Twenty-two? Twenty-three? I suddenly feel quite old.

AD: Okay, let’s start at the beginning; can you tell me about yourself and the nature of this “45” project?

JS: I’m James Stanley, a freelance journalist, who isn’t 45 yet. I’ve been a fan of superheroes for as long as I can remember. It’s my interest in their world that has brought me to where I am today. “45” will be a series of forty-five interviews with those individuals that have been gifted with the Super-S gene or those that have developed a super-power later in life – what’s called a 2nd Degree. I assume you’ve done your research and know already that my wife is expecting our first child?

AD: Yes, congratulations to you both. Was it her pregnancy that inspired the idea of the forty-five interviews?

JS: In part, yes. But it was really after we declined the “Super-S” test that the idea really began to take shape.

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