Ok, this week I’m doing short capsules of stories because . . . well, because I feel like it. My head is full to bursting with stories and I want to at least get the germ of these things out there.
[I feel like I should write something about the crappy start September’s gotten off to – the death of Steve Irwin, the burning of Lea Hernandez’s home, the petty politicking surrounding the fifth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks – but I know more compassionate and more insightful people than myself have written about these terrible events. . . .
Except . . .
It’s absurd, but I feel like I knew Steve Irwin as well as or better than my aunts and uncles. He shared so much of his life with us through Animal Planet that I feel a sincere loss at his passing. “Passing.” I never use that word; it feels like it’s too soft, too comforting for something as cold and hard as death. This time, though, I’ve got to use it to soften my own ache and shock. Steve Irwin wasn’t a TV star; he was a hero.
And best of luck to you, Lea. We’ll help as soon as we can. We had to buy a new car this summer and cash is kind of tight.]
Anyway . . .
Let’s start with the silly.
48 Page Prestige Format Special
Batman! Wolverine! The League of Shadows versus the Hand! Do I really need to write any more? (Ok, it’s not a comedy, but how seriously can you take it?)
CAPTAIN AMERICA/WONDER WOMAN: LOVE CONQUERS ALL
64 Page Prestige Format Special
I think that as soon as I finish all of the capsules (which will probably take me several weeks), I’m going to begin scripting with this story because it’s completely unpublishable. Not only has Paul Levitz sworn there won’t be any DC/Marvel crossovers until Joe Quesada is fired, neither publisher would approve what is essentially a burlesque of two of their iconic characters. (Unless I was Howard Chaykin, and I’m not.) My intention is to explore the themes of female domination that William Moulton Marston had in mind when he created Wonder Woman, so in a way I’ll actually be bringing one of those characters closer to her original iconic status.
The story begins in media res with Wonder Woman and the Howling Commandos storming a German castle to free a man named Steve. She busts down a door, finds a muscular blonde man in bondage, and lifts him up for a kiss . . . but he isn’t longtime WW boytoy Steve Trevor, he’s Steve Rogers! And so begins the untold tale of how Marvel and DC’s original patriotic heroes fell in love. We flashback to Captain America being the one to crash on Amazon Island while pursuing a Nazi saboteur and how Diana appropriates his original three-cornered shield to defend the land of liberty. Then it’s on to a villainous plot by the Thule Society, Baroness Paula von Gunther, and the Red Skull to find some sort of mythical Greek artifact (Pandora’s box perhaps?), Etta Candy flirting with Bucky, and finally Eleanor Roosevelt becoming the first female president of the USA. We end with Captain America as the first man to learn the self-improvement secrets of the Amazon . . . and (half-)dressed like Brad Pitt in TROY (except in red, white, and blue).
Ongoing comic book series
This would actually be funnier if it was a MAX series set inside the Marvel Universe, but it can function just fine as a creator-owned series (but that way I don’t get to do guest appearances by Banshee, Captain Britain, or Wolverine).
A young man walks into a government office in Dublin one day saying he’d like to be Ireland’s official superhero . . . and he’d like to get paid for it, if you please. The officials are floored when the former slacker spins them a tale of a mysterious meteorite and demonstrates his abilities. They set him up as the country’s new champion – which mainly involves PR stunts and appearances as Ireland doesn’t really have a super-villain problem. Then, of course, villains start showing up because there is a hero to fight and our barely-reformed slacker discovers being a superhero is hard work. That’s when the surly, drunken leprechaun that really gave him his powers shows up and demands a cut of the cash.
I’m Irish-American. I’m allowed to write these things.
Ongoing comic book series or manga
A harem-style romantic comedy that would attempt to subvert the clichés of the genre. Our presumed protagonist is a girl-shy hermetic alchemist living in Provence on the cusp of the Renaissance, but the real heroine is Galatea – THE Galatea from the myth of Pygmalion. After her creator and lover died, she lived on, passing into suspended animation as a statue until a new man would find her and love her. She’s been the mistress of Caesars and kings, passing on the best of each culture to the next, but she just wants to be free.
Most harem comedies inevitably end with the culturally conservative reassurance that the hero doesn’t choose the alien/magical/robot girl but instead takes to wife the socially-approved girl-next-door. In the end, the male lead of GALATEA would live happily ever after with the woman who has been under his nose the whole time, but that’s because both he and she have been transformed by the education of Galatea. Galatea herself ends freed of her curse and seeks out a new life as an independent woman.
JLA: JUSTICE NINJA FIVE
48 or 64 Page Prestige Format Special
The Justice League as Gatchaman! The mysterious Dr. Kasei (trans. “Mars”) has gathered five remarkable teens from across Japan to defeat a shadowy terrorist organization. Their leader is Shoki Kentaro, an orphan raised on a farm in Hokkaido, but possessing strength and speed beyond mortal ken. His second-in-command is Ueno Bruce, the half-Japanese son of the murdered industrialist who funded Dr. Kasei’s plans. Third is Haniwa Hime, a clay statue discovered in an ancient Jomon-era tomb who has been given life by the spirit of the legendary Queen Pimiko. Fourth is Atom Boy, a diminutive robot with the personality of a child. And fifth is . . . I dunno. A tubby Green Lantern, I guess.
Anyway, they have some Gatchaman-like adventures fighting a cross between the Joker and Berg Katse (like that’s hard to do), his Lex Luthor-ish chief scientist, and the alien intelligence that controls them (presumably Brainiac). In the final battle, their super-plane is destroyed when brave Kentaro sacrifices himself to kamikaze dive it into the bad guy’s solar reactor – and, of course, emerges stronger than ever with his full Kryptonian powers unleashed. Dr. Kasei has died transforming himself into giant size to battle a kaiju the bad guys unleashed, and Atom Boy was nearly destroyed, so the government suspends the Seigi-go Ninjatai.
The epilogue shows us our heroes turning into other anime characters as Shoki Kentaro visits Ueno Bruce at the Ueno Industries tower in Tokyo. Kentaro himself has become an analogue for Goku from DRAGONBALL, Haniwa Hime has four friends and is attending middle school in a sailor suit, Atom Boy has had himself rebuilt into a more adult form and become 8-Man and the Flash simultaneously, and . . . I dunno. I guess fat boy (who really would get more respect and page time than this capsule indicates) is lending his piloting skills to leading Japan into space with transforming fighter planes or something. Kentaro tells Bruce he can relax and enjoy his life; Kentaro has everything in hand. Bruce watches him leave and then goes down to the sub-basement where his giant, bat-faced mecha lurks and THE BIG O’s borrowing from Batman comes full circle.
And things are left open for a sequel.
THE ROAD TO DAMASCUS
3 or 4 Issue Limited Series
A flagrantly atheistic satire of religion in general and Catholicism in specific. It turns out the thieves crucified alongside Jesus Christ – who bear a suspicious resemblance to Bing Crosby and Bob Hope – were freed by the same conspiracy that spirited off the so-called messiah. The thieves flee across the landscape of the New Testament chasing after a Mary Magdalene who looks like Dorothy Lamour and being pursued by a Saul of Tarsus (AKA St. Paul) who looks like Anthony Quinn. In the end, they fake the roadside encounter that converted Saul to Paul and lose Magdalene to a crafty Jesus who is smuggling himself and his pregnant wife to Gaul. There will be songs.
“We’re on the Road to Damascus/We don’t know why, so don’t ask us…”
I’m ex-Catholic. I’m allowed to write these things.
THE SECRET JOURNAL OF LEWIS & CLARK
6 Issue Limited Series
A barely-competent Lewis and Clark eat dogs and encounter prehistoric monsters as they journey across the Louisiana Purchase. Giant ground sloths!
7 Issue Limited Series
Again, this one’s not a comedy, but the premise of it is patently ridiculous. A pastiche of SEVEN SAMURAI starring pastiches of Conan, Elric, Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, Red Sonja, and a couple of other characters (probably a wuxia warrior and . . . honestly, I can’t remember. I had it all worked out once but I don’t have those notes anymore.). One of the jokes was going to be that the Conan character was old and all the women were more attracted to the younger characters. And the villagers would eventually be shown as more evil than their attackers. I hate small towns.
Ok, that’s enough for today. My legs cramping up. I type with my feet (just kidding). As always, everything that isn't copyright somebody else is copyright Sean Tait Bircher 2006.