By BRIAN BOHNERT
SENIOR STAFF WRITER
NOVI, Mich. — A few years back, the creative minds behind Michigan-based Webb Comics were on a trip to an out-of-state comic book show when a friend suggested picking up some burritos at a roadside gas station.
What came next was a chain of events that spawned the company’s best-selling comic book to date.
“Needless to say, they came back on him with a vengeance,” said Matt Wilson, writer for Webb Comics. “He made the comment that it felt like the burrito was fighting all the other food that was sitting in his stomach.”
Born from the bowels of their ill-fated friend was “Bad Burrito” — a comedy title about a burrito which comes to life and delivers its own brand of justice to the scum of Cereal City.
Written by Wilson and drawn by artist Tracy Stoops, “Bad Burrito” was first conceived nearly five years ago after the duo finished its Dungeons & Dragons-inspired fantasy epic “Colossal Gods.” The first issue took roughly a year to create, with the two working together back and forth via email.
“It was really cool. It was done back in the day when you actually had to go find a printer — you couldn’t print online,” Wilson said. “There were many late nights staying up working on storyboards, printing out stuff, pasting it to the board and then taking it across the border to Canada to print it.”
Webb Comics brought all three issues of “Bad Burrito” to its booth at the 27th annual Motor City Comic Con in Novi this past weekend as more than 50,000 people poured inside the Suburban Collection Showplace.
“We did a space opera, a vampire story and then ‘Colossal Gods.’ When this came out, it outsold them all,” Wilson said. “When we looked at it, we were trying to get two or three books out in the course of a year and we decided to focus on what people seemed to respond to. That was ‘Bad Burrito.'”
Wilson said he and Stoops try to bring something new to the convention each year, but they weren’t completely satisfied with the fourth issue of “Bad Burrito” just yet.
“We liked it, but we didn’t love it,” he said. “We didn’t want to put out something we weren’t going to be proud of.”
Issue No. 1 of “Bad Burrito” features the eyepatch-wearing titular character waving an American flag while victoriously standing atop the carcasses of its fallen edible foes. Each of the two subsequent issues, “Situation Normal All Forked Up!” and “Bad Burrito in Little Chinatown” are an ode to the 1980s.
“It’s humorous — we find it funny and people seem to dig our humor,” Wilson said. “There’s a nostalgia factor, too. We draw a lot on the things we love from growing up in the 80s.”
The colorful cover of issue No. 2 is a dark, yet witty callback to the days of Saturday morning cartoons with the Burrito gearing up for a fight against the likes of Tony the Tiger, the Kool-Aid Man, Captain Crunch, and more recognizable food mascots.
The third issue is an ode to director John Carpenter’s 1986 action flick “Big Trouble in Little China,” featuring an appearance by classic cartoon character Foghorn Leghorn.
“I think that’s what people key into,” Wilson said of the comic’s campy nostalgia. “They love to see Twinkie the Kid get beaten up.”
There are currently just three issues of “Bad Burrito” in print, but Wilson said he and Stoops have several more planned before moving on to the next big project.
“The nice thing about us doing this as a hobby — doing it because we love it — is we vowed to never put out something we weren’t satisfied with,” he said.