Last week I professed my affinity for Acclaim Comics and simultaneously lost half my readership. (link to “The Great Acclaim Confession” here) This time, as promised, I present three proposals that I drafted in the attempts of breaking into this crazy industry as a writer for the aforementioned company. Yes, my attempts were a little heavy-handed but I couldn’t let statistics and the possibilities of success stop me. I had stories to tell dammit, and I chose Acclaim’s three biggest guns to tell them with. Following the small section of background information is a pitch supported by commentary from yours truly (in bold), explaining some of the thought process that went into each proposal.
The guardian of the barrier that separated life and death. Anything foolish enough to attempt crossing the void met with this man in black, guns blazing with enchanted weaponry, nonchalant attitude and cool nature nearly betraying the importance of his mission. The fate of the world in the hands of a man that refused to smile, to feel emotion, to behave as a “super-hero”. Michael Leroi, who worked as a
late-night talk show host, was not interested in stopping bank robbers, muggers, and kingpins of crime. His only concern was with the demons, witches, and monsters that haunted the night. It was his job to send them back to Hell, and making the world a better place wasn’t relevant.
A child that can cross the barrier between life and death…
An object that can make the dead live again…
And the curse upon mankind that results…
SHADOWMAN: GENESIS (12 issue maxi-series)
Act I- First Born
She was born in a place where things only die. The young girl known as Nia has gone from newborn to preschooler in just seven days, and her young parents realize that something is terribly wrong. Nia possesses the ability to breach the void between life and death, which makes her a valuable prize to many.
Emerging from Deadside’s much-feared Valley is a band of creatures, led by a serial rapist known as Bryce who harbors a serious grudge against Michael LeRoi. Meanwhile in the land of the living, the covert government organization Obsidian and their leader the Faceless Man are readying their own plans for Nia, for only she can truly complete their assemblage of Deadside artifacts. And only Shadowman can keep her alive long enough to fulfill her role in an ancient prophecy, but one thing is certain…not everyone will leave this conflict alive.
Act II- The D Files
Nia’s demise has triggered something within Mike LeRoi he had believed long gone…his emotions. Perhaps that explains why the romantic wiles of Obsidian defector Lara Lopez prove to be so effective upon the half-dead peacekeeper of the gates when she convinces him to escort her into Deadside. The true reason for Obsidian’s pursuance of Nia is revealed as the legend of the Soul Staff is told. The staff can make the dead live again and Lara needs it to reunite herself with her husband whom Michael killed to protect Nia. This fact is unknown to the Shadowman, in addition to the knowledge that Lara’s promises to resurrect Michael’s own family are complete falsehoods. Only one soul per staff can make the journey from oblivion to renewed life. And to complicate matters, due to Obsidian’s examinations of Nia, they know how to let themselves in and out of Deadside, and the Faceless Man has his own plans for the staff…and for the traitorous Ms. Lopez.
Act III- Darque Days
Every action demands an equal reaction and this situation is no different. Through the use of a Soul Staff, a man has been reunited with his son, but as the Faceless Man can readily attest, there are consequences involved when cheating death. Each time a staff is used in Deadside, a random catastrophe occurs on Liveside. It could occur one week from now, or one hundred, but it will occur. On this particular occasion, the Earth is experiencing a plague like no other. Mankind’s population is decreasing by millions daily and there’s nothing that Shadowman and Obsidian can do to stop it.
Enter Master Darque who claims to hold the answer to salvation, but LeRoi is infinitely certain that this man cannot be trusted…but what choice does Shadowman have? Only the final Soul Staff can be of use, and Nia must return to the land of the living and inadvertently cause the catastrophe that will repopulate the Earth with human life after the virus runs it course.
As legend has it, the first and last Soul Staffs cause the identical disastrous result. The activation of the first staff millennia ago cursed the Earth with humankind, and unless Shadowman wants to spend the remainder of his existence sharing the planet with burgeoning plant life…it must happen again.
Shadowman Commentary: I have a rule. Before I get too overly involved in the construction of a storyline I need to know two things…how it begins and how it ends. Sounds simple right? The beginning is usually the no-brainer, and in this case it was the origin of Michael LeRoi. To be honest, I wasn’t entirely familiar with the particulars on how this radio show host became the guardian of the gates between life and death…and I’m still not. Originally intended as a four-parter, this frame or over-arcing theme became the vehicle that would allow me to tell the story without calling the thing Shadowman: Year One or the Origin of Shadowman. I intended to be a little subtler than that. Develop a main plot, and quietly slip Shadowman’s origin into the mix…after I found out what it was of course. But I still didn’t have an ending.
I had a cast of main characters that served only to ensure that I couldn’t tell this story in four issues leading to nearly uncontrolled expansion and before I knew it, not only was I relating the personal experiences of Michael LeRoi, but I was commenting on the government’s long running conspiracy regarding the existence of Deadside, and commenting on the source of human evolution. An example of how a story can run away from you and provide a more quality finish as a result. But still…I didn’t have an ending.
The more elaborate things became, the stronger the ending had to be, and I still didn’t have one…and then it came to me. How many stories have we seen that concluded in the complete annihilation of the human race? A plague so terrible that humanity could never survive. But then I had to put things back right? Enter the Soul Staff…
On a whole, I’m very satisfied with how things evolved (even though I cheated a little) and I hope to one day cannibalize some of these themes for another story. I mean, come on….the end of humanity? That’s good stuff.