INTERVIEW: Kendra Wells Is up to Some Silly, Sexy, and Queer Real Hero Shit

Cover of Real Hero Shit featuring 5 adventurers ready for battle

Calling on their love of stories like Dragon Age and Critical Role, cartoonist Kendra Wells says that “Real Hero Shit is the most self-indulgent comic I have ever created.” With works like Tell No Tales: Pirates of the Southern Seas, contributions to The Nib, and character designs for Dimension 20’s The Unsleeping City already in their portfolio, why shouldn’t Wells take a moment to do something that’s just “silly and sexy and gay?” inspired by the stories that many of us love. Kickstarting this week from Iron Circus Comics comes Real Hero Shit to fill that “queer little medieval fantasy book with dick jokes in it” shaped hole in our lives.

Cover of Real Hero Shit featuring 5 adventurers ready for battle

In Real Hero Shit, people are going missing in a small mountain town, and the city guards are blocked from a real investigation. The notorious Underguild has assigned Michel a secret mission: find the missing villagers and bring whatever kidnapped them to justice. Unfortunately for Michel and his fellow adventurers, Ani and Hocus, they’re short a fighter and need one more party member to foil this plot. Even more unfortunately, the only volunteer seems to be the arrogant, ostentatious, purple playboy Prince Eugene looking to cure his boredom.

So first, you’re going to have to tell us a little something about your favourite Dragon Age and/or D&D characters! Do we see a bit of those characters here in your story?

Oh my god, how much time do you have? Back in 2017-2018, when I was brainstorming about what would become Real Hero Shit, I was frankly deeply depressed and threw myself into both a new save file for Dragon Age: Inquisition and the second campaign of Critical Role that had just launched. As I was escaping into these worlds, I had an ‘ah-hah’ moment of realizing I, too, could create a story that could be equal parts silly and raunchy and serious. I had been fighting a mental block for years that my work had to be epic and highly intelligent to be taken seriously, and I just didn’t know how to make a story like that. Seeing characters like Dorian and The Iron Bull in Dragon Age, and Jester and Mollymauk in Critical Role cracked my brain open a little: these characters had emotional depth and inspired storylines, but they didn’t shy away from being funny and wry and horny. That emotional balance is something I strive for in Real Hero Shit. I really love incorporating humor and levity into otherwise serious storylines about heavy stuff.

Tell us about your creative process in designing the characters and their specific skill sets and personalities?

Eugene was the first character I created for Real Hero Shit, based entirely on a doodle of a fancy little prince with long horns and a mental note of “what if a spoiled little mama’s boy also happened to maybe be an otherworldly demon?” I knew I needed some ‘straight men’ (symbolically, none of the men in this party are straight) to balance him out and reign him in, so Ani, Michel, and Hocus came to be. Where Eugene is arrogant and sheltered, Ani is abrasive and whip-smart, Michel is laser-focused and impersonal, Hocus is warmly caring but also perhaps in over es head.

I love writing flawed, complicated characters who often aren’t particularly likable, especially to each other. I think it makes a much more interesting ensemble story when you get to watch those relationships develop and work through their own faults to come together and accomplish their goals.

Some of the characters are harboring dark and mysterious pasts. Will we get to see and learn more about them in the future? And will we learn about what happened to the party member that Eugene replaces?

Absolutely. I wrote this volume of Real Hero Shit to be able to stand on its own, but I have a lengthy Google Doc lying in wait and at least two or three more books of material in the back of my mind. Everyone has secrets and traumas that the others don’t know about, and a few of them have things on the horizon that are mysteries even to them. As for the missing party member, some people come and go, and come, and go, and maybe we’re better off going than coming. We’ll see if they make an appearance in a future book!

There are a few pages on your website that feature these characters. Where did these pages fit into your creation process as you worked towards the final comic?

The sample pages of Real Hero Shit on my website were actually a part of an application for a comics grant I made back in 2018! They were more for a proof-of-concept than a fleshed-out story, but it’s kind of incredible to see how little their personalities have changed, even years before I wrote the book. I joke that these characters emerged from my head fully-formed like Athena from the skull of Zeus, but it really feels that way. I love my kids, and I am so proud of them and how far we’ve come.


Today is the first day of the Real Hero Shit Kickstarter, which will continue to run into November.

Wendy Browne

Wendy Browne

Publisher, mother, geek, executive assistant sith, gamer, writer, lazy succubus, blogger, bibliophile. Not necessarily in that order.

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