Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Ghoul Squad

The hardest part about making comic books is making comic books. It's a lot more work than most illustrators could ever imagine- until they try and do one. The production schedule is long and laborious, but it's a lot of fun too. Especially when you are working on an idea you are very fond of.

As is bound to happen in this great big world, sometimes folks will have the same idea or something kinda similar. Some people believe in the collective conscious of humanity, others call it zeitgeist. But, people seem to be having the same ideas all the time- like the movies Armageddon and Deep Impact - or Tombstone and Wyatt Earp. Or I remember hearing on the radio once that Ridley Scott had just finished writing his screenplay about the life of Howard Hughes on the same day that Variety announced that Martin Scorsese was going to begin work on the Aviator. Sometimes, all you can do is accept it, shrug and try to console yourself with the cliche that "great minds think alike". Which is what I had to do after visiting my favorite comic news site this morning.

Ultimately quality wins out. Tombstone was certainly bigger than Wyatt Earp, and this is coming from someone who is a huge fan of Lawrence Kasdan.

So, without further ado, here is MY pitch for "The Ghoul Squad" and three pages of art showing the look and feel of the book. Oh, and if there are any editors out there interested in see this in print, by all means please contact me.

The art (pencils and inks) is by the amazing Kevin Shriver, and the coloring is done by the amazing Kathryn.

The Ghoul Squad is a tale of what happens when monsters try to become super-heroes. It begins with Dracula getting upset over his negative coverage in the press, and just his image in general. Dracula hires a public relations adviser. His PR rep tells him that if he wants to be seen as good he should be seen doing something good.

So, Dracula tries the usual stuff - contributing to charities, posing with orphans, basically having his picture taken all around town. One problem though, he doesn't photograph. So, every time they do a story on him it is always an "artist's depiction" of what he looks like, and they draw him as a scary looking monster. His PR rep tells him he's going to need to kick it up a notch.

They decide the best thing for him to do is to form his own super hero team. But, he doesn't know any super heroes. So he calls some of his buddies to put a team together. Each brings their own special abilities:

Dracula – Invulnerability, can fly (when a bat), hypnotism
Wolf Guy- Super smell, stamina, healing, and claws
Frank N. Stein- Super strength
Sea Creature- Swims, breathes under water and talks to sea animals
Mummy- Martial arts, shoots beams from his eyes

Each has their own gripes about the way they are portrayed in the media and feels misunderstood and mischaracterized. Dracula feels that the whole Mina Harker thing was a big mistake. He simply made an awkward attempt at getting a girlfriend that didn’t go as well as he’d hoped. The Wolf Guy feels like a victim of his lycanthropy, it’s certainly something he didn’t ask for. Frank N. Stein didn’t ask to be brought back to life, and never meant to hurt anyone. He simply had a misunderstanding with a bunch of ignorant villagers. Sea Creature wishes to use the publicity from hero activities as a platform for her environmental causes, while the Mummy wishes to bring attention to the crimes of grave robbing and the stealing of ancient artifacts.

Together they make up the Ghoul Squad and bring justice to criminals throughout the city. It is a very awkward beginning. Most of the people that these new heroes try to help run screaming in the opposite direction. But, luckily, so do the criminals.

Eventually, they become a successful crime fighting team. And, as society comes to embrace these new heroes despite their outward appearance, the heroes start to see something better inside themselves as well.

Not everyone is happy with their newfound success. Major Hero who used to be the most popular super hero is insulted that the focus in now on these ugly looking freaks. He believes the media attention should be on his heroics and good looks, just where it used to be. The ultimate insult comes when the Ghoul Squad rescues Major Hero from destruction at the hands of a super-villain. That is the last straw.

Major Hero has been embarrassed, insulted and demands satisfaction. He develops a plan to bring down the Ghoul Squad and expose them for the freaks that they are. His plan has one tragic flaw: the Ghoul Squad have indeed become heroes inside and out, and his plot only serves to expose them both. It reveals The Squad as the monsters turned hero, and himself as the hero turned monster.