Well, I would normally do my standard commentary for this issue, but I've decided to write this in paragraph form. There are two reasons for this. For one, Tracie Mauk, the artist, has already posted a "Hidden Stuff" commentary for the issue which notes most everything about the art. But second, I find this issue to be a truly emotional thing for me and I believe that the standard commentary format could not work for this issue.
When I was thirteen, I was a dreamer. I still am, but back then I was ten times what I am today. I practically created a new super hero every day. I wrote original and fan-fiction stories all the time. Most of all, I loved comic books. I had ideas of what the perfect super hero would be. During one night on vacation with my family while we were in a hotel room, though, these dreams allowed me to come up with the realization that a super hero could make his or her suit for less than $12. So I took a hotel notepad and began creating a character whom at the time I called "Detention" (at the time I seemed to have an obsession with that word, as one of my ongoing original stories was called "Detention Hall" and I wanted my comic book company to be called "Detention Comics").
When we got home, I immediately got to work on making this into a comic book somehow. A girl in a chat suggested I name my character "Sierra." I gave the character the last name "Holt" in honor of a then-friend of mine. I also decided, as I was obsessed with the Roswell Incident at the time, to have her involved in some way with aliens. She was to be a Superman for the 21st Century, I thought. She'd envision hope, dreams, and would be a role model to boys and girls alike.
At the time, Tracie Mauk, also known as "Katroz", was the closest friend I could possibly have as far as Internet friends go. I remember racing home from school just to get online to talk to her. I remember when she was grounded for an entire month she'd sneak onto the computer just to e-mail me. For a long period as well we considered ourselves boyfriend and girlfriend, for an entire year actually, though we still to this day have never met in person. When I told Tracie about the idea and asked if she'd draw it (she being possibly the greatest American-manga artist of her age group I think we'll ever have), she jumped at the opportunity. I'm not sure if it's because we were friends or because she liked the idea. She just wanted to do it, that was clear.
I would like to make this clear real quick. I created Sierra and Matt. Tracie created S-409 and Shawn, though as Tracie will point out, I've never written Shawn the way she imagined him to be.
So I set to work writing a script. I had no concept of what constituted a good script. No idea what character development was or why one would want to be a super hero. I didn't even think about having a set page limit. I just wrote and a few days later Tracie began to draw the issue.
Now, the thing to remember is we were both very young and both still in school at the time. This is probably why it took her half a year pretty much to draw most of issue #1. By that time I was just getting into high school. And I was tired of waiting for the issue. I also had realized something: the story sucked and I hated writing about super-heroes. I wanted a comic book with realistic super-heroes with real villains. The problem is... that's rediculous! No one would want to be a super-hero in real life unless they're a retard. Thus why the only time you'll ever see Sierra dressed like a super-hero in the current series will be in issue #6 in the regular series (and she won't be, she just needs a disguise). So I called Tracie up and asked what she would think of ditching our current plot and redoing NQT from scratch... and she loved the idea. She hated the story too! And thus we ditched our original NQT #1 with only one page left to go. Thus why when you read this issue why there is no page 5 (according to Tracie's site, this page got ruined due to a car break in, though I don't recall much about that).
Anyway, back to issue #1. A few things Tracie did forget to mention. For one thing... where are the variant covers?! She drew two variants, one of Sierra flying with Matt in a homage to Amazing Fantasy #15. The other was a spoof of Gen13 #1's cover. We had also planned a spoof cover of The Dark Knight Returns #1, but that never got drawn. A friend by the name of Chiaki Nakaike, an awesome artist, drew a cover as well, which resides in the NQT art gallery section. Also, originally we had a friend named Arcane color the cover, but it was never really an excellent job.
I'd also thank someone who helped out very early in designing this issue, and that was Blue Arsenic. For a long while, believe it or not, Tracie had no scanner. So Blue Arsenic scanned some of the first couple of pages for us originally so that we could discuss the pages and fix anything that wasn't just right. So thank you very much, Blue Arsenic.
As you can imagine, the rest of the series was going to be very different as well. Issue #2 in the original draft was practically the same as our draft only minus the psychiatrist visit. Issue #3 was supposed to be totally different, though. Sierra's dad was supposed to be in a hospital and Sierra was going to be visiting them. Also Matt by this point was going to have a girlfriend named Christy, who later on was going to turn out to be pregnant (though not with Matt's child). Sierra was going to get pissed at a purse thief and beat the crap out of him too. Issue #4... I think Shawn was supposed to kidnap Sierra. I never really had a story for it, I think. And then the next issue Sierra was going to meet Kindle. That was going to be the exact same as issue #6 will be except with Kindle dying and, for some reason, we wanted Kindle to kiss Sierra. I had suggested it to Trace to make Kindle more spontaneous and wild, Trace thought it'd be cool cause they do that stuff all the time in Japanese anime I guess. I think those were our reasons. I dunno, I tossed it out of the current draft. We had discussed a lot of other weird ideas. Sierra learning the Force. Sierra going into the astral plane and seeing her three different future selves (I still love that idea, but it'd be out of place now).
But, anyhow, enjoy reading our little "pilot episode" for NQT. It's fun in a goofy way and it's got brilliant art. Enjoy!