Tiktok creator Maia Trewartha AKA EmptyJunior (a pun on Trewartha's initials M.T. and Jr.) came to my attention when their superhero-based comedy kept showing up on my For You Page. These skits never failed to make me laugh and felt like they reflected the best part of TikTok, the ability to find something specific and small and realize that you're not alone in loving that thing.
From jokes about a blind lawyer somehow knowing to step out of the way while an invisible Miles Morales is walking by, to how Gotham citizens would react during a bank robbery, to queer iterations of favorite characters, Trewartha's humor showcases a deep love and understanding of the esoteric idiosyncrasies of the lives of characters from superhero comics (and The Witcher, Star Trek, and Merlin).
@emptyjunior "pete why is there no prescription in your glasses now?" "I'm a Hipster" #spiderman #OscarsAtHome #peterparker #harryosborn #comedy #marvel #greengoblin ♬ Jenny (Hearteye Speed Mix) - Studio Killers
And it's not just me who likes the videos—Trewartha's EmptyJunior account has an audience of over 160k subscribers with more that 22 million likes on their sketches. As for whether or not they were surprised to find such an active comics fan base on TikTok, Trewartha responded, "I was surprised to find so many people who were looking for the same things in comics I was. Obviously we live in a cinematic superhero age, I doubt there's too many people who haven't heard of Batman or Spiderman, but it's always a very specific version of them that is shown on the big screen. Their characters have existed for almost a century, and they have a lot of different faces and forms. Sometimes it's nice to see them existing in the slice of life genre, see Batman characterized as a frustrated father instead of a gritty vigilante."
As for how they got started, Trewartha had plans to write novels and screenplays, so they were constantly coming up with new dialogue and one-liner ideas that never went anywhere. When they began to learn more about TikTok and video editing, they decided that they could produce all of the scraps they weren't using elsewhere. Now, they've "definitely fallen in love with the immediacy of skit comedy, all you need is that first prompt."
@emptyjunior do y'all think it's okay cause what if it was Yoghurt or ice cream and it touched the outside ground #spiderman #peterparker #marvel #jjonahjameson #dailybugle #sitcom #comedy ♬ Athletic tune "heaven and hell" - Shinonome
When I asked what it's been like for them as a creator on TikTok, Trewartha shared that they are "very lucky to have the following I have, I've been shown so much thoughtfulness, support and genuine enthusiasm in most of my comment sections."
However, not all response to their work is supportive. Trewartha added that they're often questioned for their comic knowledge, even when they have canon to support their storytelling choices. "At a certain point, when I start to look at other creators who look like me and love comics, it becomes a bit obvious that we're always going to be questioned on whether we actually know the things we're talking about." But luckily, that sort of response doesn't take over their page, Trewartha continues that "these interactions aren't a daily occurrence, most people have been generously kind and I find a lot of my comments to be frankly, hilarious."
You can watch EmptyJunior's videos on TikTok