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EMPOWERED vol. 6 cover colors by AdamWarren EMPOWERED vol. 6 cover colors by AdamWarren
Behold, the cover art from the upcoming EMPOWERED vol.6, the latest book in my ongoing "sexy superhero comedy" series published by Dark Horse Comics. Line art by me [link] , fine/exquisite color art by DA's own :iconfrozenlilacs: , who also contributed a very, very funny page of interior artwork to the book. (As did the great Jo Chen :iconjo-chen: , incidentally.)

Currently slated to hit the shelves on September 10, 2010, EMPOWERED vol. 6 can be preordered at your Local Comics Retailer or bookstore, or online at Dark Horse's retail website here: [link]

Here's the solicitation copy for the book:

After a fiery disaster claims the lives of several teammates, costumed crimefighter “Empowered” stumbles upon an ugly little secret of the masks-and-tights business: a growing number of ill-fated superheroes have found out the hard way that, while their bodies are still mortal, their superpowers are not... Now, only our downtrodden but doggedly determined heroine can rescue the (semi-)living superdead from a quite genuine “fate worse than death,” while simultaneously grappling with the challenges of phallospear harassment, car-trunk carpetburn, superhero fantasy leagues, excessive bedroom chatter, and deals with the devil both figurative and literal! All this, plus Empowered’s not-so-secret origin is revealed at last!

FURTHER NOTES, part 1 (read not, if you're prone to commenting "tl;dr"):

Since I had to do this cover long before I'd gotten very far with the actual book, a number of elements appear on this illo that ended up either being deemphasized—or rendered entirely nonexistent—in the final version of the book. Case in point: the narrow-focus "VORPP" beam that Emp is depicted as shooting, here, wound up never appearing in any of the book's interior stories. Oops!

Also, Ninjette and f**king Oyuki-chan (at left) were originally slated to appear in a long, grandiose, extremely violent and bloody ninja fight at the end of the volume, hence the latter's prominent appearance on this cover. I soon realized that I had not even remotely enough pagecount to give this action sequence this space it deserved… So, said ninja-rifffic action sequence got moved to the next EMP book, where it will definitely have room to breathe (and gasp and shriek and kiai and bleed and so on); in fact, this mass fight scene will carry over through most of the volume, or so I'm currently planning. Yeahp, EMPOWERED vol. 7 will be quite Ninjette-centric indeed, looks like...

Anyhoo, in the end, Oyuki-chan [link] shows up unmasked in vol. 6 for not much longer than she did during her initial appearance in vol. 5, I'm saddened to admit. Needless to say, though, she gets to cuss up a storm—albeit formally—in her own inimitable fashion.

Finally, I really should have chosen a cooler-looking member of the "superdead" to show, over there at the lower right… One of this fellow's more colorful-looking friends—or the volume's main antagonist, for that matter—might have been a better choice. The only problem is, I hadn't yet designed any of the other "necrocapes" at the time I was working on this cover. Oh, well.


For the long-term readers out there: The fiery, behorned head ablazing in the background (above The Goddamn Maidman) is indeed the form of Sistah Spooky's Infernal Service Provider, last seen bargaining for her immortal soul in EMPOWERED vol.1, and, presently, playing a small but important role in this volume's events. Interestingly enough, I got the idea for adding this critter to the cover (he wasn't on the original layout) after reading a DA comment from an EMPOWERED reader that happened to mention said demon…


As earlier mentioned in the comments for the inked version of this cover, volume 6 of EMPOWERED did not exactly go smoothly. I let the book go on the schedule too early—thanks, I'm afraid, to how far in advance book-market solicitation has to be done, as opposed to the much shorter and forgiving timeframe involved in solicitation for the comics market—and blundered into a situation wherein, once again, I had to turn the book around in (far) less time than I would have liked. Didn't help things much that, at first, my production speed was unimpressive (a page per day or less, during the first month or two), before I finally rounded into working shape by the last few months (averaging two or more pages per day, which is more like it; even had a few three-page days, by the end).

Unfortunately, cranking out this volume of EMPOWERED in a diminished time frame wound up (literally) costing me dearly, as I lost out on two quite major freelance jobs—an art gig and an equally prized writing gig—while trying to deliver this sucker on time. (And, as noted elsewhere, I nonetheless turned the book in a full two or three weeks late, despite considerable struggle and strain. Ouch.) It should be noted that, remarkably enough, I was paid a kill fee on the writing job, as they might be using some of the plot elements I'd devised before having to bail on the assignment. That's quite impressive, given that I've never, ever been paid a kill fee before, despite all the many, many failed projects I've worked on. Very generous of them, really.

Anyhoo, such an unfortunate blunder on my part will not be happening again, since I'm not going to let the next volume of EMPOWERED go on the schedule until I'm almost done with the damned thing. Combine this sensible precaution with the fact that I have to now line up some other, better-paying jobs to make up for my income shortfall—terrifyingly enough, doing EMPOWERED is a comparative luxury(!) that has to be subsidized by other work—and it looks like the next volume of EMPOWERED won't be coming out for at least another year or more. For what it's worth, I might look into doing another one-shot in the interim, along the lines of last year's THE WENCH WITH A MILLION SIGHS:

FURTHER NOTES, pt. 4: Just kidding, folks; even I myself have grown tired of reading this far. Besides, I have to get back to work on the wide assortment of pitches and proposals with which I'm about to barrage several different companies… Brace yourselves, editors everywhere.
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Seeker1969 Featured By Owner May 6, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Madpredator Featured By Owner Nov 13, 2012
That´s a situation
hericomalatesta Featured By Owner May 31, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
nihcur Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2011
Very dynamic!!!
Ekuran Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2011
That looks... badass. Yeah. that's the closest word in the English language to describe this.[link]
Sunzu49 Featured By Owner Jan 2, 2011  Student Traditional Artist
Man, this looks a lot like a movie poster. @.@
MADstarter Featured By Owner Dec 30, 2010
Soooo, Empowered will now be able to shoot beams from her fingertips?

AWESOME X 10000000!!!!! :D

She's gonna kick some serious villains tails!!!! :D

I LOVE HER!!!! :heart: :heart: :heart: :heart: :heart:
artofJEPROX Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2010  Professional General Artist
...seriously? is there a add all of Adam Warren's art to my fav list? Great stuff!
mangamuscle Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2010
Huh? Now Emp can do the 魔貫光殺砲, Makankōsappō?
everaldopereira Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2010  Student
very nice art!
DarkSpaceWolf Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2010
I have been waiting so long for volume 6 x'D oh lord, i beseech thee, bless us with our beloved Elissa!
Hilltop127 Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2010
just gotta say man I love your Empowered series. The Caged Demonwolf that resides upon the table of coffee is trully genius and I love it whenever he starts in on something. Really all I can say is, it's awesome and I hope you keep it up man.
jmk1999 Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2010
just finished it the other day... loved it and, as tiresome as it might be for you to crank one out, i can't wait for the next issue! :P anyway, i had a question... how do you usually imagine some of the main characters' voices in your series? i've been wondering what voices or maybe even professional voice actors' voices pop into your head when you write the dialogue for each character... for example, every time i read dialogue from sistah spooky, i imagine the voice of Cree Summer.
Coyote-Grey Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2010
I've been wondering how ####ing Oyuki-chan knew about Mindf### and that seeing her would freak out Emp?
roninjedi Featured By Owner Sep 28, 2010  Professional General Artist
Amazingly dynamic. It's impressive how you can have so many elements in one composition but not have it look messy or cluttered. Bravo!

I'm so excited that #6 is coming out! I read Empowered and instantly recognized my girlfriend in Emp. (They look nothing alike but neither realizes her true awesomeness) I've been a fan of yours since The Dirty Pair.
Lilahna1 Featured By Owner Sep 8, 2010
I think it is great that you got a kill fee (though that name sounds quite onminous) for your ideas. It might be the Publishing Gods way of saying that they respect an author who is dedicated to finishing on deadline more than they are willing to humor that chronically late maniac who takes on a hundred projects without really considering the consequences.

That being said I think you have unconciously tapped into the Dark Forces that conspire to put ALL money-sucking opportunities together during the one month that I really need to save some cash! I want to buy the nex volume the MOMENT it comes out but I have a lot of school-bills, previous monetary engagements and lack of employment all working against me!
Don't worry though I FULLY intent of patroning (is that the word? I know it isn't patronizing..) your work above all!
Frissa-Roofshadow Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yay, Volume 6, will we get the answer to the ultimate question in this volume? after all it is a *VERY* tight, almost spraypaint thin, suit!
Mikaidesu Featured By Owner Aug 11, 2010  Student General Artist
Addam can i be ur apprentice
Jbrolic Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2010  Student General Artist
dude i love your series, it so funny and well written i just bought vol. 4
ARTdEVIL-91 Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2010
Sept. 10? What a great day to have a birthday (mine, specifically :D ).

Just purchased vol. 5 and I gotta say, love what you're doing here. Can't wait for vol. 6!
DamonDaSaru Featured By Owner Jul 24, 2010
lovin the color on emps hair there.
cant wait for emp 6 and i semi sympathise with your scheduling problem(semi being i cant wait to read more of it) but if being late makes for more complete story the way you want it made, we fans can wait a bit more, i think. :)
Elinewton Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2010
Amazing art as aways!!
I love your colors!!
darth-tx Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2010
leviadragon99 Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2010
Quite an assortment... heros and villains alike.
Creperum Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2010

PaulCousins1 Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2010
The cover art looks great. The color and shading are very good. And I look forward to reading Volume 6 of Empowered when it comes out.
CptBitterness Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2010
Dear Mr. Warren,

I'm a huge fan and I can't wait for Volume 6! Very sorry to hear you had to get a kill fee. If it's of any consolation, every comic book store owner I've ever talked to about Empowered says that they love it and that every copy of Vol 1 they own goes flying off the shelves! Unfortunately, they add that Dark Horse rarely seems to re-up their orders so they're left with high demand and bare cupboards.

Is there any chance that Dark Horse will try to promote/restock the book a bit better? I shudder at the thought of you not being able to complete the story you want to tell. If its of any comfort, I know that there's been nothing but love from a wide variety of Internet reviewers.

This webcomic about a fictional comic book shop just now raved about "Empowered" in their first Q&A: [link]

This real life reviewer compared Empowered (deservedly) to Buffy and Lost: [link]

Maybe you could contact some of the people who say nice things about your books online for interviews, raise the online profile a bit? In any case, I am very hopeful that people will buy Volume 6 in droves, as you deserve it.

Empowered is the most touching, cleverly written adult superhero book on the stands and I look forward to reading her future adventures.

Thank you!
Ziggyman Featured By Owner Jun 29, 2010  Professional General Artist
Maidman and Ocelotina rules!!
Ziggyman Featured By Owner Jun 29, 2010  Professional General Artist
Maidman and Ocelotina rules!!
Kais86 Featured By Owner Jun 29, 2010
Yay! I can't wait for this to come out, I told my store owner to keep watch for it, and when it comes out I'll be waiting for it.
Ganalef Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2010  Hobbyist Writer
I heavily heart this series, but because this series is in my permanent 'keeper' section, I think it's awesome when you have all the time you need to approach its denouement at maximum awesome level.

That, and I'm frankly afraid of WP. But I am not at all 'tired of reading this.' (though I acknowledge that when the creator is tired, the end-harbinging climax should be nigh.)

I got online to procrastinate. I'm going to go reread Livewires now.
Edgeofreason-Fang Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2010  Student Writer
G'day Adam, it's great to find your page on DA. I don't mean to gush but I find your work brilliant and your concepts and characters very witty and warm. And my love for the Blazing Eyed Devil Goat knows no bounds.

Well, I think that's enough from a fan boy, so thanks for the series and for the sacrafices you made to get Vol. 5 done. Cheers.
mordennight Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2010
Looks great. can't wait for the new volume. I check for it every time I'm near a comic shop. Now that you've supplied me with a date. I'll no doubt save some time.
adony Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2010  Hobbyist Filmographer
I should hope those little, little details don't get lost in the reduction process.
Happened to me back in '95 with my first "Ashcan"; painful lesson!
SteveWeigl Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2010
great work!
SP85 Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2010   Digital Artist
:w00t: Can't wait! :D
Sigojwana Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2010
Mr Warren in an interview on 4thletter in reference to Sistah Spooky you said:
"She has an especially intriguing character arc in the volumes to come, due to the fact that, during vol. 5’s climax, I accidentally stumbled across a compelling concept that I’d not previously seen addressed in a superheroic milieu… Stay tuned, folks!"

Is some portion of the character arc going to grace the pages of volume 6 or do I have to wait till Vol. 7.
AdamWarren Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2010  Professional General Artist
Yeahp, rest assured that some portion of said character arc will indeed be addressed in vol.6... In fact, this becomes something of a pivotal point in the book's climactic story.

That being said, the very particular concept I mentioned in that quote—an idiosyncratic point about the nature of death and grieving in a superheroic milieu—is addressed in more detail in future volumes, since Spooky spends most of volume 6 quite emphatically NOT dealing with her grief.
Sigojwana Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2010
Sounds to me like you're planning on poking fun at the fact death has a revolving door in most comicverses by having Spooky refrain from grieving due to the false belief Minf**k can be brought or will come back to life. Alternatively she might finally start grieving only to suddenly find Mindf**k is back among the living
ShinigamiWyatt Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2010
Oh fuck yes, please let there be more Maid Man.
AdamWarren Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2010  Professional General Artist
And indeed there will be, though he mostly appears in the (very long) last story in the volume...
ShinigamiWyatt Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2010
Most excellent mi amigo. Or would it be chica... I can't tell with all the slang you use these days... homie? Or would that be holmes... or is it intentionally spelled wrong like "homes"...

Ah well, more MM is good. It's nice to see a hero that's not afraid to don the Apron and Ruffles of Justice for once.
MindXXXX-Avenger Featured By Owner Jun 11, 2010
After reading the tale of woe concerning sales & stuff... could we do some kind of grass roots advertising for Empowered 6? For example, maybe produce some "Get Into Empowered" flyers that us fans could print off and put up at our favorite comic shops and put up at any conventions we go to this summer? Might could even be something the Empowered fan club could do.

Because there is one thing I know. Empowered delivers - everybody who I've exposed to the comic becomes an instant fan... we just have to get them to know about it!

Regardless of if this idea garners any interest - I'm excited about this, and can't wait for it to return, and I'll be following this book!
Zefram Featured By Owner Jun 11, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
Anything that smells like viral marketing will just invite potential backlash. :(

You could just do what I did and get the first volume for one or two of the comic-nerds on your holiday shopping list. :D
jargonautti Featured By Owner Jun 11, 2010

Seriously, work faster! It's the best superhero series coming out right now, IMHO.

Loved your earlier Dirty Pair works, BTW. "Run from the future" wasn't so good, but everything before that was. So was your Bubblegum Crisis GN.
PrincessLorlei Featured By Owner Jun 11, 2010

I love Empowered! I read volumes 1 through 5 (only took me a day and li'l bit) and I can't wait for 6! keep up the amazing work :) so glad you've got a DA page so your adoring fans can praise you directly. You are a god amongst men, and I want you to keep doing Empowered for a very, very long time. I wish you the best,

Princess Lorelei
CaptainGenius Featured By Owner Jun 10, 2010
I think you should pitch your Shang Chi idea again.
And again and again and again, until they let you do it.
Cause that sounded really cool.
Central-Cali-Custom Featured By Owner Jun 10, 2010   Artisan Crafter
Zefram Featured By Owner Jun 9, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
Damn, so how do I pose this without spoilers?

Could the tag-line be indicative of a cameo by a recently deceased favorite character of few words and many thoughts?

In any case I'm sorry to hear the book doesn't pull more of its own weight. It's so different from any of the stuff I see in the comic shop nowadays. Everything is either whiny angst, passing attempts at "mature edginess" (which end up rarely being mature or edgy), or just a variation of the same "guy in costume finds excuse to hit other guy in costume". Empowered is a quirky little animal that fills a small but important niche in the world of sequential art (and there's my Scott McCloud reference for the week).

I think more people might give it a chance if they really knew what it was about. Have you thought about making a complete short story or two (I recommend the one with Emp's physics demonstration with the humvee) available online as a preview to help sell the books?

It's a pity there's no American comics equivalent to Shonen Jump (or perhaps a slightly less pornographic Heavy metal) where different stories and characters can get showcased every month.
AdamWarren Featured By Owner Jun 10, 2010  Professional General Artist
Well, the character to whom you refer does, in fact, make an appearance… But I wouldn't necessarily read all THAT much into this acknowledgment, given that Emp's father makes yet another appearance in this volume as well, and he's been dead as the proverbial doornail for quite some time.

I should also note that the Emp story you mentioned did originally appear online as part of the Dark Horse Presents on MySpace anthology, for whatever that's worth... (Heck, it's probably still there in the archives, as far as I know.) Still, your overall point about giving the property better exposure online is certainly a valid one; it's something I've been mulling over for some time.
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