Interview: Jaime Sherman and his ‘Voluntaryist’ Superheroes
A Real Voluntaryist and His Superhero
Commentary From Your Libertarian Opinionizer
Some activists communicate their libertarian ideas through books, novels, articles, videos, music, art, webzines and social media sites. Jaime Sherman uses his comic book superhero “The Voluntaryist” to reach freedom-loving people who otherwise might never be won over by political pundits, intellectuals or economists.
“The Voluntaryist” is a young costumed crusader for Liberty, Justice and the Voluntaryist Way, leading his band of dedicated freedom fighters in “Humanity’s Last Stand Against Government.”
Jaime Sherman has produced six full color graphic novels since 2013 when he began his comic series, funding them almost exclusively through the Indiegogo crowdfunding site. Now, at last, he’s producing his long-awaited “origin story,” how a young man named Jack acquired his superpowers and became a champion of voluntaryism.
To truly understand the superhero one must understand his creator. Those are the dual goals of this exclusive Libertarian Opinionizer interview.
A Comic Book Intro to Voluntaryism
YOUR INTERVIEWEE JAIME SHERMAN’S PICK: “Zander Mars lays out the principles of liberty in a comic medium that even a young teen could readily understand. His artwork combined with the narrative is conversational, so it feels like you're talking to someone about why Voluntaryism is the most ethical way to interact with others. The book covers most all the basic philosophical grounds, so it is a great read even for a seasoned libertarian to refresh with. Zander's book has inspired me to write in a way that leads people to think about the principles of Voluntaryism through conversation.” – Jaime Sherman
So what should voluntaryists and other libertarians know about your superhero comic series? Who is this guy and where did he come from?
The character, Voluntaryist, came about as a derivative of my costuming for the real-life group, "The Voluntarysits," which is basically a group of people who dressed in costumes to promote voluntaryism.
The comic character is unlike the real-life heroes in that he is partaking in an adventure foisted upon him, not simply waking people up with signage. The comic's background is based on my research into government practices. I apply a lot of real-life effects of government with some fantasy to hit home the message.
Your latest comic book, subtitled “Origins,” is the long-awaited backstory of your character. Can you give us a brief synopsis?
The origins story is rather complex. In the simplest summary I could give, the main character is affected by radiation which strikes Earth from the collision of two black holes in space. This radiation gives him special powers along with other humans and creatures who are hit and survive the initial impact.
In the background, the government was about to launch a false-flag event to bring about a new world order. The U.S. government along with several other countries (China and the U.K. among others), were in the works of creating genetically modified humans and creatures to play as "aliens" who were trying to take over the world.
So these countries want people to believe that they’re being invaded by space aliens?
The idea was to install martial law as a need to control the population and prepare for an "attack." However, the governments' experiments were not getting the complete results desired (often the humans/creatures were suddenly dying/aging too quickly). The cosmic event accomplished what the government was trying to do and so the governments want to get their hands on modified humans and creatures to perfect their experiments and control the world.
So how does your main character become The Voluntaryist?
The main character's name is Jack “Cap” Lloyd. The story begins where Cap has just graduated from undergrad with a degree in mechanical engineering. He is a smart guy, but worked hard to get through school. His parents live on a farm and raise organic foods which they sell to local markets. Cap comes home after college to help his family for a short time so his father can recover from an upcoming hip surgery.
During the time home, the father and mother are battling an eminent domain issue. The local government is trying to take their farm to use for economic development and possibly as a source for new fuel. The father does not like government generally and this is seen as leaving hints of impressions upon his son. He refuses to sell the land and the government prepares to remove their family after a court order.
While helping at the farm, Cap is struck by energy which radiates from a black-hole collision. The energy shoots in various spots across the globe, causing humans and creatures to mutate with certain powers.
And this turns Cap into a Superhero?
Cap gains many powers which grow over time as his condition sets in. He gets an ability to heal himself quickly (think Wolverine), growing super-strength, flight, and the ability to channel cosmic radiation into energy beams. He also has the ability to heal others, but it comes at a temporary reduction of powers which gradually return in a short time. (Meaning it leaves him more vulnerable – making for potential plot development later on).
So how does government factor into all of this?
The U.S. Government was monitoring the black hole collision and seeks to find every person/creature affected to use in either experiments or for its own power.
When Cap is found by the government, they are not sure what powers he has. (They know from their own experiments some potential for mutation, but nothing quite as successful as Cap). They just know they want him to come willingly, so the government brings him to a secret holding facility to gather more information and run some medical tests. When the government detains and debriefs Cap, he quickly becomes disillusioned with the government’s plans for him and Cap breaks free. (Powerfully bursting out the doors).
He is rescued by Mark Lee, a black-ops agent defector. Mark Lee was one of the governments’ best agents who was about to become a super-agent – an agent who acts as a field supervisor for other black-ops agents. While Mark is on mission to shoot a Russian agent and collect data, he discovers a plot of the U.S. government to completely enslave America. In the process of learning this on his mission, Mark also learns about the government’s radiation experiments and intercepts communication about Cap. Mark uses this knowledge to rescue cap from the government’s pursuit when Cap flees.
Mark takes Cap to a secret hideout and explains everything. Cap is grieved by how crazy things are and wants to find his parents. Mark shows Cap video of Cap’s house on fire and a newscast about a gas leak. It is unclear whether Cap’s parents were murdered or taken as leverage.
But you have supervillains as well as superheroes, right?
This is where the series begins. Meanwhile, the U.S. government has a lot of crazy background sequences going on:
- Super-soldiers to be used against the public.
- Creatures to deploy to make the impression of alien invasion.
- Recruitment of other humans who were given powers by the radiation.
- Working with other nations to create a one-world government to take over the planet.
Also, there are creatures which grow monstrous and invade because of the energy, making the government’s claims seem more plausible to the public. However, the government does not have control over the situation and many attacks are genuine threats which Cap must also address. (Some of the bigger creatures don’t appear until later because they grow first and rise from the depths of the ocean).
Voluntaryist vs. Statism
That’s a very detailed backstory. The next obvious question is what’s your backstory?
I am a 29-year-old living in the Tampa area, Florida. I grew up in New York until my family moved down when my dad retired. I think my interest in comics and dressing up was fostered by my parents who both worked in the entertainment industry, often dressing up for big parties and gala's in the 80s with the entertainment troupe, "Heart-to-Heart."
I had always been into collecting and fiction literature, especially Godzilla movies, figurines, and comics. I had a little inspiration from my older brother, Matt Sherman, who is a James Bond collector and billiards expert. Doing media promotions and publishing has also been in my blood, as my mom has worked on TV and my dad is a published end-times author.
After high school, I studied digital media for a year-and-a-half at the University of Florida before settling on a degree in Public Relations with a business concentration. I then went on to receive my law degree at the Florida State University College of Law.
During that time, I did a lot of crazy things, including voice acting a main character for the XBOX360 video game "Monster Madness," getting on MTV for being in my underwear, and starting a charitable undie run at FSU).
As far as costumes go, I always loved dressing up for new movies and would often go with whatever I could get my hands on. My good friend Zac Hurst is a MASTER costume maker and he provided me with a batman suit for the new Dark Night films. He also has a pretty good Iron Man Suit.
Outside of fantasy land, I enjoy sushi, kung fu movies, guns, and regular exercise.
The next obvious question is what’s your artistic backstory?
To clarify - I am not the cartoonist. I studied art in grade school up to a year-and-a-half in college. My interest was digital arts and sciences, but the program at UF went down the tubes when our major got merged with another and we got a new dean. There were no digital classes left for me to take so I decided to switch majors. I kept my artistic passions up as a hobby with photography and some digital design.
While I can do some digital artwork, I am not gifted in drawing high-end comics, so I had to make a few rough sketches to send to professionals to make the final comic art.
Action Figures. Go Figure!
Voluntaryism is a libertarian philosophy that accepts the non-aggression principle but also rejects government. You identify yourself as a voluntaryist. What’s that backstory? Who or what most influenced you toward libertarianism and then voluntaryism?
My path toward voluntary living began while I was a sophomore at the University of Florida. In my modern American history class I learned about the Eugenics movement for the first time. While I had heard about Margaret Sanger from general history studies, I had no idea that the U.S. government fostered the sterilization and institutionalization of American citizens for things as mundane as low I.Q. and epilepsy. I learned about Buck v. Bell, where Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes emphatically stated “Three generations of imbeciles are enough” as he sentenced a young woman, Carrie Buck, to a compulsory salpingectomy (tube tying).
I was hit – hard. If the government, in all its modernity, having cars, planes and even electricity, could find reason to do this, what couldn’t they do? And, even worse, I discovered how little I knew about our government’s historical policies. This lead me on a two-year search where I used my university’s resources to understand what it is that government is capable of doing behind closed doors.
I came to the conclusion that government serves only one purpose – to work for those in elite echelons while making sure that the general population is economically productive and intellectually blissful. In my research, I stumbled upon many organizations which uncovered this social manipulation, including groups like the Mises Institute and the Alex Jones radio show. I was encouraged to see that I was not the only one who felt like a newborn just awakened to reality.
With these facts in hand, I came to a natural belief in voluntaryism and a disgust for modern political systems. I finally understood the government tactics used to manipulate people into co-dependency. This was further unveiled by my studies in public relations, where I examined the works of Edward Bernays and Abraham Flexner during class, the men who built our modern system of mass public manipulation.
Also, Marc Steven's world's smallest political quiz was a big eye-opener for me.
The Voluntaryist Vanguard
Where are you with your current Voluntaryist Origins comic? Is it ready to go?
The comic book itself has not been started. It will begin being put together after the indiegogo.com fundraiser has finished and all funds from it come through. The script for the origins story has already been written though. Once completed, I plan to release the comic digitally for free on whatever reliable service I can find that will do so for free. I will continue to work on the comic series and keep fans updated on volcomic.com. Hopefully, I will be able to attend some comic conventions and do an exhibition.
Any last comments about your comic series or voluntaryism in general?
If you have any new way to promote voluntary values - run with it! The message of liberty is an attractive and beautiful means for peace.
Cut and Paste Links:
Indiegogo Campaign: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/voluntaryist-origins#