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Vortex Man, a comic book hero, raises environmental awareness while helping kids charities

Vortex Man, a comic book hero, raises environmental awareness while helping kids charities

WATCH:  When it comes to saving the day and the environment, Vortex Man puts Batman and Superman to shame.

PSA - Vortex Man

Before fans learn more about the environmental hero's origins in a new comic-book issue scheduled to be released on Earth Day, Circa interviewed Vortex Man's creator to discover the real-life inspiration behind the character.

Vortex Man - Isaak Shweky and Vincent J Parrone Jr.
Vortex Man creator Isaak Shweky and actor Vincent J Parrone Jr. (dressed as Vortex Man) pose in front of recyclable materials at Reverse Solutions in Southington, Conn., on Feb. 7, 2017. (Photo credit: Circa.)

Isaak Shweky told Circa he came up with the idea for Vortex Man in 2012, when Shweky's leisurely stroll on a Massachusetts beach was interrupted by an old tube of toothpaste that had washed ashore.

He recalled, "I said to myself ... 'This is ridiculous. Why is this happening?'"

Releasing the first Vortex Man comic in 2015, Shweky is a passionate environmentalist.

He owns Reverse Solutions, a Connecticut-based business that helps other companies recycle.

Vortex Man acquires superpowers during a special-ops mission in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

Vortex Man
Vortex Man, in green in the left foreground, is an environmentally conscious comic-book superhero. (Photo courtesy of Lori Charlton.)

Sources of pollution inspired many of the characters in the comic book, including Agro, who spreads GMOs in farmland; Methane Menace, who wreaks havoc with landfill gases; and Frakk, whose drilling threatens the earth's integrity.

Captain Planet Intro and Outro HQ

The new Captain Planet?

"Captain Planet doesn't cover what we cover," Shweky noted. "We cover GMOs. We cover fracking. ... We cover everything that's out there today."

Editor: 'I'm a part of something really great'

Vortex Man is illustrated by industry stalwarts Ian Akin and Brian Garvey, whose myriad comic-book collaborations range from "Iron Man" to "Transformers."

Kevin Pelletier, Vortex Man's chief editor, has been a fan of the duo's work for decades. "I realized that, growing up in the '80s, I read all [their] comics," Pelletier told Circa. "Once I realized what their experience was ... I thought, 'Oh, my goodness, I'm a part of something really great.'"

Equally enthusiastic is actor Vincent J Perrone Jr., who suits up as Vortex Man at events.

A 'real-life hero'

Perrone told Circa that the costumed character could have more of an impact on kids, who often hear environmental lessons from mere mortals.

"They're like, 'Hey, Mom, Vortex Man came up to me this morning and told me, you know, I should recycle. Let me start doing it,'" Perrone said.

He added that, as an actor, he "can make something that, to them, is a real-life hero."

Shweky said 10 percent of Vortex Man profits help charities for kids who have cancer or autism.

Causes close to his heart 

Shweky said his mother died of stomach cancer last year, and his cousin succumbed to the same disease at age 3. Shweky also saw the impact autism had on his late aunt.

Should Vortex Man movie ever become the subject of a blockbuster movie, Shweky envisioned opening a camp for children who live with these afflictions.

"It means so much if I can help out a child," he added. "That's the whole vision of Vortex Man is: to help the children."

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