Seagull-Man: An Unconventional Hero (TPM Series Analysis)

Look! On the ground! Is it a bird? No. Actually it’s a guy who sounds kinda like a bird… It’s Seagull-Man! Today I analyze Thought Plane Media’s “classic” Seagull-Man trilogy and also share behind-the scenes stories about their shoots. So hop on your Seagull-mobile (a bicycle), do your best squawk and embark on a quest to discover just who this terrible hero is…

***SPOILERS AHEAD FOR The Seagull-Man Series***


Behind-the-scenes Stories

For the uninitiated: Seagull-Man is an original “superhero” created by Justin back in 2014, before Matteo and I started collaborating with him. Essentially, Seagull-Man is a do-gooder with the ability to sound a lot like a Seagull and the unfortunate tendency to lose every fight. Usually he’s faced with dumb obstacles which prevent him from saving the day.

I wasn’t around for the first Seagull-Man adventure, so I don’t have any first-hand experiences to share, but Justin gave me a few notes to include for this article. When asked what his inspiration was for the first Seagull-Man video (Defending the Park), Justin simply told me that some girls in a park were chasing a seagull, so he went to “defend” the seagull. Sometimes good concepts are created on the fly!

SIDE NOTE: Justin specifically wanted me to mention that he didn’t harass random little kids for that first video. They were kids he and his brother knew.

A few weeks after the first video released, I joined Justin to film Seagull-Man returns. For added context: he and I had been paintballing all afternoon, and we decided to film once we got back to town. For those wondering why my jacket looks so beat up when we’re in “costume”, that’s why.  

An overeager sidekick and his freaked out “hero” 

Unlike the first video (which seems to have been made spur-of-the-moment), Justin and I put more planning into this story. Basically, we tossed some ideas back and forth and then got the camera rolling. Back in those days, filming was that simple. Funny enough, most of the brainstorming we did that day amounted to nothing…

Originally the plot was going to be a lot longer and end up more like our Batman 1966 video (from a few years later). If I recall, we were going to face The Penguin, or some other bird themed villain, and have a battle in the park; but when we were ready to film that part of the story, we discovered it was raining. So there’s another fun fact: that rain gag was improvised and unintentional. Though we’d planned to come back another day and finish the story we started, Justin made the decision to end the video with the “rain triumphs” bit because it was way funnier and more unexpected.

Why was my costume just a cowboy hat you might ask? Once again, our video was thrown together at the last-minute and that hat was the only costume piece Justin had laying around (besides his Seagull-mask of course).

Seagull-Man returns was, I believe, my second video collaboration with Justin. It’s also the first video I ever worked on for our current YouTube channel, so it holds a special place in my heart. Is it our most refined or polished effort? No. But I still quote that ending all the time.

For more context on our adventures that day, check out this vlog I made after our shoot (on a now defunct channel). It’s admittedly kinda rough but the most important bits are the beginning and end. Enjoy if you’d like!

“I hate rain… It’s slippery and loud and inconvenient– and it gets everywhere” – Obi-Wan Kenobi (on Kamino, probably).

Finally, there’s Seagull-Man vs Silver Toe: A Promposal. This sketch was never actually supposed to be public. It was just going to be a private promposal with a comic angle. Thing is, Justin never got it made in time (and, in case you’re wondering, he didn’t end up going to Prom with Madeleine). We sat on that footage for about 2 years before deciding to release it on YouTube. At the time, we were strapped for content and figured an old, out-of-context Seagull-Man video was better than nothing. Personally, it’s the best one. Once again, the video is largely improv with a loose story tying it all together, but I think its crazy to see how much our craft improved in just two years (from part 2 to part 3)!

The process for this installment was simple: Justin, myself and our friend Alisha went to a local park and hammed it up for the camera till we’d made a video. That’s about all. I don’t really have any special stories associated with this one. For me, the fun was twofold: I got to make a sketch (which I always love) and help my best friend create a promposal. What more could you ask for out of a day?  

Narrative/ Filmmaking Analysis

Look– we made these videos years ago without any particular point or continuity. Truth be told there really isn’t a “deeper” meaning to these films, and the filmmaking is rudimentary at best. BUT, Justin and I have connected some dots over the years and formulated a rough story. So read ahead, and hopefully you’ll get a laugh out of the plot we’ve strung together.

Seagull-Man: Defending the Park begins the crusade of the Sensational Seagull-Man to destroy evil and serve justice! A by-stander records footage of the brand new superhero on his first ever case: stopping The Rocket Rollers– a group of ne’er-do-well adolescent girls who prey on the weak (and roller skate).

This evil little girl gang decides to ruffle the feathers of some Seagulls in a local park; however, they didn’t count on Seagull-Man– defender of the innocent! Seagull-Man arrives on the scene and, as the video proves, attempts to communicate with The Rocket Rollers before taking action. Unfortunately, the camera person did not capture The Rollers harassing the seagull, so we have to picture their misdeeds for ourselves.

The tiny titans of trouble refuse to answer Seagull-Man’s questions! Perhaps this is because he chose to speak to them in Seagull-squawks. This was a foolish and strange move but Seagull-Man is a foolish and strange hero! Left with little choice, Seagull-Man rides in circles on his Seagull-Mobile and attempts to contain the villains while he figures out his next move.

While Seagull-Man’s mind wanders, the gang’s leader attempts to strap on her rocket rollers and prepare the group for a fast getaway. Seagull-Man collects himself and faces the delinquents again (still speaking in squawks for some reason). They are neither intimidated nor impressed, so he attempts to scare them with his Seagull-Cry! It has no effect whatsoever. They laugh maniacally at him. Though his spirit is shattered, his will to fight remains. Seagull-Man resorts to desperate measures and chases the girl goons away, thus ensuring the safety of citizens in the park, both humans and seagulls alike. The Rocket Rollers might have gotten away (exactly as they’d planned) but the day is saved, thanks to The Seagull-Man.

Did they escape, or did Seagull-Man drive them off? History will decide. 

Less than a month after his first misadventure, Seagull-Man Returns for another. By this time, he’s accumulated clout with the local police force and obtained himself a sidekick: The Outlaw (a cowboy themed hero). This video, appropriately titled Seagull-Man Returns, begins with The Outlaw (Joey Kane) bouncing about the Seagull-home and bragging about low crime rates (presumably due to him and Seagull-Man but probably not).

In my head-canon, Joey Kane is the easygoing best friend of Justin Church (Seagull-Man) and one of his few confidantes. Knowing how ineffectual a hero Church is, Kane adopts a half-hearted gimmick costume and lets Church boss him around, accompanying him to fight crime. Somebody needs to save this terrible hero from himself.

The Outlaw demonstrates an overeager need to please his “hero” by picking up the ringing Seagull-phone, thus allowing Seagull-Man to finish his morning newspaper. Here’s a different take though: The Outlaw picks up the phone because he doesn’t believe Seagull-Man will appreciate the gravity of the situation. I’ll come back to this thought soon…

In any case– Joey’s energy in this scene is nearly unnatural. Not even 1960s Robin was this energetic and helpful. Perhaps Joey is addicted to some kind of narcotic (ala Roy Harper in the classic Green Arrow story Snowbirds Don’t Fly); or maybe he just had too much coffee… I’ll leave this one up to you for now.

“Hi there! You wanna talk to Seagull-Man? Lemme check if he’s in…”

Seagull-Man puts on a disguised voice for the phone-call, attempting to hide his identity from the police (even though they could probably just trace the call if they wanted). His cadence is not unlike Adam West’s Batman, subtly calling to mind and/ or reinforcing comparisons between the lighthearted 1960s adventures and our own story. I’d like to believe Seagull-Man was listening to the officer on the other end, but his shifty eye movements and vague responses– “Ah yes– crime!”– convince me otherwise. This is yet another example of Seagull-Man’s ineptitude as a hero. I’d imagine Church’s inability to listen is a major reason Joey insists on taking the phone calls and tagging along on “heroic” escapades. Seagull-Man would probably be lost without him.

SIDE NOTE: If you’re reading this, Justin: this is not a comment on our relationship. How DARE you’d think I’d go there in an artistic analysis of all places? 😉

And so the Turbulent Twosome set forth to stop a vaguely described crime! The Outlaw unveils his hero voice, which sounds a lot like Christian Bale’s Batman. This teases his edgier, more brutal style to fighting injustice.

But this is clearly the Outlaw’s first time in the field because he doesn’t even have a designated vehicle. Demonstrating a need for dominance, Seagull-Man attempts to emasculate The Outlaw by providing him the “pink, girly scooter”, while he steals the domineering black bicycle. This slight is made all the worse considering how many other bicycles are in the garage right next to the Seagull-Mobile. Seagull-Man is shown for the first time as a petty and inconsiderate hero. He treats his sidekick ungratefully. Keep this thought in mind for later.  ​

A most heinous ride for a hero such as The Outlaw!

Exiting the garage, the heroes are met with a fiercer enemy than any they’ve ever faced: rain. Many readers have probably biked/ scootered in poor weather before. It’s not exactly pleasant. Perhaps assuming his displeasure will extend to villainy as well, Seagull-Man utters the immortal declaration:
“Rain triumphs over crime everytime”. Yet again, criminals are left to get away thanks to the non-efforts of Seagull-Man!

This brings us to what is, in my opinion, the most interesting chapter in the original Seagull-Man trilogy: Seagull-Man vs. Silver Toe: A Promposal. We begin 4 years after the last adventure with Seagull-Man facing down a new foe! He is notably more confident this time around– probably due to his vast wealth of experience in crime-fighting. Here the camera cuts to the villain– the dastardly Silver Toe– and we see he’s played by… me?

I’m sure this might be confusing to most viewers. In Seagull-Man returns, I was a sidekick, and now I’m playing the villain? Well get ready to have your minds blown, because Silver Toe and The Outlaw are the same person!!! Though this plot-thread wasn’t intended when we first created the character of Silver Toe, we’ve since retconned the criminal’s backstory to make him Seagull-Man’s former sidekick. How did this development happen in-world, you might ask?

For you comic fans out there, I personally picture a Death in the Family sort of scenario. To quickly explain: The Joker tortured and murdered Robin #2 back in the 80s, and then Robin #2 came back in the 2000s as a vengeful anti-hero. To some of you, the most shocking thing about that sentence is the implication there was a second Robin… There’s actually been about 5 or 6. I’ve lost count. Point is, The Outlaw was brutally tortured and turned against Seagull-Man, and SM was probably at fault somehow.


Remember that point I asked you to keep in mind about Seagull-Man’s inconsideration before? Here’s where it comes into play. I don’t think it’s too far a stretch to believe that, combined with some traumatic event, Joey Kane’s built-up resentment of Seagull-Man from years of mistreatment caused him to snap and become Church’s arch-nemesis.

SIDE NOTE: I’m seriously not venting to the internet about you, Justin. I swear!

So– Seagull-Man almost immediately defeats himself by falling down the hill. This is yet another glaring example of the hero’s incompetence. We soon discover a new and major weakness for Seagull-Man: women. He’s willing to give up his secret identity almost instantly to a random woman he just met (who he must assume works for the villain). Though, considering Silver Toe used to be friends with Seagull-Man, he’d probably have anticipated this behaviour in advance.

Soon, Silver Toe reveals his evil plan: to ruin Prom. Why? In reality it’s because the video was supposed to be a promposal. But why did he formulate this plot in the context of the story? To taunt Seagull-Man. Remember the demeaning manor in which Seagull-Man tried to pass off the “pink, girly scooter” to Joey Kane? This is where Kane gets payback. All Seagull-Man has to do to stop this “evil” plan is get a date. But Silver Toe goes out of his way to cripple Seagull-Man’s confidence and ensure this will never happen. Joey calls Church undesirable, throws Justin’s bad heroing in his face, uses his own words against him and ultimately makes a fool out of him. This is likely revenge for all the emotional abuse Kane suffered as a sidekick.

Seagull-Man is hurt by this verbal beat-down but not defeated. He manages to escape his “bonds”, demonstrating his emotional resilience (or maybe just more of his bad listening skills), and faces off with Silver Toe in a duel to decide the fate of Prom! It’s a testament to SM’s fighting prowess that, in either of the two outcomes (Madeleine says “yes” or refuses the promposal), Seagull-Man loses the confrontation.

However, in the case of “yes”, he musters up enough strength to call in a Seagull-armada for backup. Upon losing control of his flock, they swarm Silver Toe and possibly kill him. We’ll call that a cliffhanger… My opinion? He’s not dead. Because then we can do a sequel someday. But for now it’s up in the air. This marks the first and only time Seagull-Man kinda sorta won the day. Although SM did it by accident and there’s no guarantee stopping Silver Toe derailed his plans… Oh well.

See? There is a storyline to Seagull-Man afterall. Who knew?  

Seagull-Man captured in a rare heroic display

Our Plans for The Character

As far as video sketches go, I’ve been plotting a new one called Seagull-Man: The Gritty Reboot for a couple years now. It’s actually where I got most of my ideas to tie in the admittedly thin plot-threads of the original trilogy. Basically, this is a Zack Snyder/ Christopher Nolan inspired take on the Seagull-Man world.

Matteo and I are also developing a comic-book iteration of the character as part of a larger superhero universe. Stay tuned for the end-of-month company update to find out more about that project!

Which Seagull-Man video is your favourite? Am I over-analyzing a goofy series of sketches? Definitely. If you have any ideas for future articles, or any questions, let me know. Be sure to like this article on Facebook and share if you enjoyed!

Till next time

Joe Morin

By Joseph Morin

Joe's passion for film and entertainment began at 7 years old when his younger brother demanded to watch Duel of the Fates every day for weeks (on DVD). Joe admired the sequence so much, he decided to dedicate his life to film-making and storytelling. He has a degree in Cinema and Media Studies from York University. Joe loves DC superheroes (especially Superman), the first six Star Wars movies, and arguing about media with anyone who will listen.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *