Rochelle the Teen Cockroach is Back in Action
When we last left John Crowther (Stetson 1993), his brainchild, Rochelle the Teen Cockroach, had just burst forth onto the comic book scene in a three-issue run. An attorney by day, Crowther always harbored a longing to pursue a childhood dream: become a comic book writer. Afraid he might miss this opportunity if he didn’t act and armed with an idea, Crowther contacted renowned comic book artist Dell Barras for the chance to bring Rochelle to life.
Fast forward almost three years and Rochelle has become quite the popular cockroach. After the first three issues ran in the summer of 2016 from Antarctic Press, the positive reception which followed astounded Crowther.
“We had several thousand each issue that got pre-ordered, which is pretty remarkable for an indie [independent] press,” said Crowther. “In fact, our first issue, when it came out, got picked up by a whole bunch of different sites as ‘Indie Comic of the Week’ and ‘New Must-Have Indie Comic’ and it was really getting some good reviews.”
Because of the major success, Antarctic Press has extended Rochelle’s contract for another three issues, set to hit the shelves summer 2017. In the meantime, fans of the series can satisfy their cravings with the first trade paperback (which features all three issues so far), set to appear in bookstores worldwide Jan. 25.
But while Crowther’s idea has become a hit phenomenon across the world, the man behind the roach says it has and always will be for his daughter.
“One of the reasons I initially did Rochelle is that I have a daughter,” said Crowther. “She is a comic book fan too, but I didn’t feel like there were enough good, strong female characters that haven’t been over-sexualized. So I wanted her to have a character who is more conservative in their dress.”
Crowther’s daughter often accompanies him to comic book conventions, posing as Rochelle for avid fans to meet in the flesh (or exoskeleton). The success then becomes an afterthought for Crowther, overshadowed by the opportunity to share his stories with people all across the globe.
“It’s really kind of a numbing feeling,” said Crowther. “You never really think about fame or anything, because I don’t think I’m famous by any stretch of the imagination…the best feeling I have is to actually know that someone is enjoying a story that I have told and that I have written.”
As far as the future of Rochelle, that is uncharted, exciting territory for Crowther and his creative team. The team has hopes of pitching the idea of Rochelle to a studio to become an animated series, while continuing her story in many issues to come. It is also Crowther’s hope that with his interesting choice of heroine, he can continue to challenge his readers to view the world a little bit differently.
“One of the themes behind the story is just because something is different than us, it doesn’t mean that we are better than it, it’s better than us,” said Crowther. “I’m hoping that kids that read this story can gain from it that even friends that they meet in school, don’t pick on people, don’t look down on people because they are different.”
In addition to continuing Rochelle, Crowther has also been asked to write Nikolai Volkoff’s (one of the greats when the World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. was first formed) comic mini series, as well as the mini series of the tag team of wrestlers known as The Killer Bees (Jim Brunzell and B. Brian Blair).
Never in his wildest dreams did Crowther think he would be where he is today, but he is loving every moment and enjoying the fact that what they say really is true: if you put your mind to it, anything is possible.
“When I’m gone, these stories are always going to be there,” assured Crowther. “It’s something that I will have with my daughter…it’s just a great feeling to know that I set a goal and I achieved it.”
To find out more about Rochelle the Teen Cockroach, visit the official Facebook page.