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Brother Hood

BroHood_CoverWho the heck is Brother ‘Hood? I imagine that’s what many of you are wondering.

Lt. Bob Locke of the Midway City Police Department was mentioned on page 1 of Knight Watchman: Graveyard Shift #1 and didn’t reappear until issues 3 and 4. Locke was the bodyguard of Mayor Lionel Richards of Midway City, although Locke was MIA when the Mayor was blown up (along withMidway City’s favorite son, Galahad) in an assassination attempt. Deputy Mayor John Princeton assumed power and declared that Locke was part of the conspiracy and had him thrown into prison. You’ll just have to read Graveyard Shift to find out how it all turned out.

And wait a minute: Who the heck is Brother ‘Hood anyway?

You may have guessed by now that Robert Locke is Brother ‘Hood, and you would be correct. Graveyard Shift #1 was not Bob Locke’s first appearance though. Many of you know that Brother ‘Hood was the back-up story in Berzerker #4 from Caliber Press, the testing ground for Big Bang Comics. That first 8 page story was both a prequel and sequel to the 4 issue Graveyard Shift mini-series, and showed former cop Bob Locke returning to the streets of Midway City to wage an urban war against the most corrupt city in America.BroHood2

The Brother ‘Hood concept was conceived by Chris Ecker. It was designed as an urban telling of the Robin Hood legend. Mayor Lionel Richards (originally Linus Richmond in the ashcan and Berzerker #4) was an avatar for King Richard the Lionhearted, John Princeton for Prince John, and Robert Locke for Robin of Lockesly (we used the name from the Errol Flynn movie). Father Tucker is obviously Friar Tuck.

I don’t recall any thoughts of bows and arrows. Our Brother in the Hood was an urban guerrilla more likely to use his fists. His plan was to aid, mobilize and protect the ghetto dwellers and downtrodden elements of Midway City. Unfortunately, only the one Brother ‘Hood story ever appeared. Graveyard Shift took a while to tell, and after that Ben was on to bigger and better things . Chris and I struggled to keep Big Bang rolling for quite a while, but I always felt like one of those urban camera stores in the 1980’s and 90’s that featured a “Going Out of Business Sale” for decades.

BroHood_ashCvrThe Brother ‘Hood story wasn’t included in the Knight Watchman: Graveyard Shift trade paperback. It will probably be in the complete Knight Watchman volume 2, but that’s not for certain yet. If there’s any interest, maybe we will make it available as a digital ebook. Let me know what you think.

Oh, by the way, the events in Brother ‘Hood were printed almost a year before Graveyard Shift #1 but take place after GS #4. And just for the record, Berzerker #4 wasn’t Brother ‘Hood’s first appearance. There was a very limited edition promotional ashcan that was made available at the Chicago Comicon in the summer of 1993 and contained the entire 8 page story with a different cover, which is presented here for the first time in 20 years.

One last thing. The cool Brother ‘Hood logo was by Mark Lewis, who designed a boatload of logos for me. If you want to see some fun stuff, visit his blog at

Big Bang Chronological Part 8: Berzerker #4 – Brother ‘Hood

BroHood_ashcanAThe fourth and final Big Bang “try-out” story appeared in the back-up slot of Berzerker #4 in December 1993. By then we were planning and starting to create what would become the original Big Bang Comics mini-series from Caliber Press, in which we would establish the Golden, Silver and Modern Ages of the Big Bang universe.


BB Chronological 39: Knight Watchman #3

Knight Watchman: Graveyard Shift #3 by Chris Ecker, Ben Torres and myself hit the comic book stands around August of 1998, about three years after issue #2 had been published by Caliber Press. During that time, Big Bang Comics had moved to our new publisher Image Comics and had to establish ourselves. Graveyard Shift #s 1 and 2 had been reissued by Image (with new back-up material) so our new, larger audience wouldn’t have to go hunting for them. The inside front cover of issue 3 featured a recap of the story from the first two, along with a Who’s Who roster of the main characters.


How Gary Met Ben

Last time around I showed you Ben Torres’ original Knight Watchman sample pages and someone asked how I “found” Ben. Like so may of the other artists I’ve worked with, Ben found me. After reading Berzerker #1 with the original Knight Watchman backup story, Ben sent me a great packet of samples and the following letter:

BenT_1 Dear Gary Carlson

Here is some sample work (mostly sequential) from a book that will be coming out later this year called RAK Rampage Featuring Darklord the Survivor. Also included are some card designs I did for ANIA, the association of Black publishers, and also my version of the Knight Watchman. By the way, David Noble referred me to you.

Since the Knight Watchman story in Berzerker #1 was drawn in a Bob Kane/Bill Finger Golden Age Batmanesque style, I tried to interpret him in a ’90s Frank Milleresque Dark Knight Returns style. I really like the Knight Watchman character and think that he has a lot of potential. Please give me a call when you receive this package.  Thanks.

Ben Torres

PS: Sorry about the letterhead paper. I was at work.


The letterhead in question was from the Ohio Department of Mental Health. First of all, I was relieved that he was a worker and not a patient there. Secondly, I was blown away by Ben’s art.

There were a handful of pin-ups with strong dynamic figure work, but also about 18 pages of great storytelling, detailed full pencils with dynamite in your face action. I knew that I wanted to work with him, and so did Big Bang partner Chris Ecker when I showed him Ben’s samples.

But on what? He would have been perfect for the mechanized mayhem on Berzerker, but I already had a regular artist. And there was only the one book from Caliber Press. I would have loved to see him on Vanguard at Image Comics but a merry-go-round of great artists were already working on it: Joe Madureira, Jason Pearson, Angel Medina and others.

BenT_3So Chris and I did the best we could. Chris came up with a concept for the back-up in Berzerker #4 that would potentially lead into a modern Knight Watchman story or series.

And that’s exactly the way it happened. Looking back at these samples, I would be just as excited to receive them today, and would do anything I could to work with this guy. I recently asked Ben why he hadn’t done more comics and he said he couldn’t afford it.


Since I first met Ben, he’s been Senior Designer at Hasbro Toy Group, Creative Director at Creative Design Hong Kong / China designing seasonal programs for major U.S. Retailers, Senior Product Manager at Bradford Exchange designing high end programs for the collectible industry, Creative Director at Awesome Toys, and is the owner of Ben Torres Design Inc. Woof.Some brand highlights include Star Wars, G.I. Joe, Batman, Superman, Transformers, among many others.

Next time: Brother Hood.

All non-Big Bang artwork in this post is copyright Ben Torres or respective owners of the characters.

Enter: Ben Torres

KW_BenT_pinup    In case you haven’t been paying attention, the trade paperback of Knight Watchman: Graveyard Shift is currently available at for a measly $8.09 (plus shipping). This book collects the four issue mini-series originally published by Image Comics, written by myself and Chris Ecker and featuring the fabulous art of Ben Torres.

Ben’s career as a designer began at the Hasbro Toy Group, working on Star Wars, GI Joe, Batman, Starting Line Up, Pokemon, Aliens, Predator, Monsters Inc, Planet of the Apes and others. He also served as creative consultant on various television series such as GI Joe, Vortech and Transformers and contributed concept designs and story content for movies such as Star Wars, Men In Black and Jurassic Park.


As far as I know, Ben’s comic book career started right here at Big Bang Comics. Actually, it began with the pre-Big Bang story Brother Hood, the back-up feature in 1993’s Berzerker #4 which evolved into Graveyard Shift.


The first two issues of Graveyard Shift were published by Caliber Press, but the series was interrupted by our move over to Image Comics. Those first two issues were reissued by Image with new covers and back-up stories. The series concluded with issues 3 and 4 which contained all new material.

I thought I’d use this blog post to share some of Ben’s Knight Watchman pieces that are not reprinted in the Graveyard Shift trade paperback. These include the original two covers to the Caliber Press issues, a presentation piece and a drawing that he gave to me.


Also presented here today are Ben’s two original KW sample pages, which have never appeared anywhere except for one figure used in an ad. You will notice that KW’s uniform features the second (unused) version of the chest logo, the black shield with the eyeball on it. It’s also either the grown-up Galahad in the Watchman suit, or more likely just drawn before we decided that the older Reid Randall would be more massive than his junior partner.


Either way, once we saw Ben’s take on the character we knew that we had to do the mini-series.


Knight Watchman: Graveyard Shift is available at at:

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