20 March 2013

billion dollar idea ... not really

A month ago, Rob Liefeld put out an open call for writing submissions. A couple weeks later, he selected three winners' stories to be illustrated by him that will appear as back-ups in forthcoming issues of Youngblood or Bloodstrike. I bit. Along with thousands of others, apparently. I wasn't one of the winners.

But I had fun pulling my submission together. The requirements for consideration were simple: 5-6 page story; featuring Extreme characters; one-page synopsis; sign submission agreement; email.

So... how to give myself the best possible shot? First, follow the directions step by step; many I'm sure wouldn't, so I would. Second, I settled on a five-page story; since it would be a paying gig, I figured five pages would cost Rob Liefeld Inc. less and have the benefit of being less to draw. Third, what character or characters? The only Extreme characters I'm familiar with are the Youngblood team (from the original mini-series and recently remixed Joe Casey/Liefeld collection), Bloodwulf (from Darker Image, which I picked up back in the day), and Tim Seeley's Bloodstrike (I always try to support friends' projects). After some research and a consideration of Extreme's current plans, I chose Bloodwulf -- a relatively untapped character that interested me, and soon to appear as a regular in Rob's re-relaunch of the-recently-optioned-for-a-movie Bloodstrike. Fourth, the story. What would Rob like to draw? I had just finished reading Sean Howe's fantastic Marvel Comics: The Untold Story. In it, former Rob collaborators Louise Simonson and Fabian Nicieza spelled out his interests: "It took me about six months to figure out that Rob really wasn't interested in the stories at all. He just wanted to do ... cool drawings of people posing in their costumes" (Simonson) and "[Liefeld] wanted [New Mutants] to be muscle and power -- and [Simonson] wanted it to be about a group of kids growing up" (Nicieza). Cool drawings; muscle; power. And I know Rob is a dedicated father, so... parenthood? While in the shower the next day, the story fell into place. Finally, per the directions, I limited my synopsis to one page, signed the submission agreement, and emailed the lot to Rob before deadline.

"Billion Dollar Babies"
5-Page Short Story
By Evan Harrison Cass


Bloodwulf is dispatched to stop, by all means necessary, an army of killer babies. The killer babies -- actually mechanized robotic baby dolls (see The Beatles' controversial "Yesterday & Today" baby-butchers album cover and Steven Soderbergh's eerie "Bubble" movie for doll type) -- are attempting to forcibly rob Fort Knox of its gold bullion reserves. Bloodwulf arrives on his hovercycle to find chaos, carnage, fires, and a rampaging horde of babies waiting for him.

What follows is an absurd, grotesque melee and firefight between Bloodwulf and the babies intercut with flashbacks to Bloodwulf’s domestic days as a father... A group of babies unsheathe metallic jaw-trap-like teeth and start gnawing on him; Bloodwulf's own kids swarm aggressively and affectionately around him (“Aww, my little ankle biters!”). A baby throws its mouth open unnaturally wide, exposing a flamethrower in place of its tongue and lets out a flame right in Bloodwulf's face; one of Bloodwulf's kids, while being cradled, violently vomits in his face. A baby or babies piss acid out of now pistol-like genitalia all over Bloodwulf; while changing one of his kid's diapers, the kid pees on him.

Bloodwulf successfully vanquishes the national security threat. Standing atop a mound of killer-robot-baby-doll body parts, he waxes nostalgically: "Now I miss my kids..."

Trademark & Copyright Rob Liefeld Inc.

Like I mentioned, I didn't make the cut. But I was surprisingly pleased with the story I banged out. It delivered both action and heart. My 14-year-old self would have loved it!