Let this fact be known. I enjoy talking to the readers about my work. Don’t matter if it’s the comics, the video games, my columns or even the way I fill out my tax form, I enjoy it. At conventions and store signings it’s even better. There’s nothing more rewarding than when a reader “gets” what you were going for and the characters that you wrote.
The behind the scenes stuff is fun as well. Kinda like the commentary feature on a DVD only in person. At a recent store signing there was a good crowd, granted, it wasn’t the kinda crowd that Geoff Johns, Jim Lee or Brian Bendis hauls in, but a good crowd never the less. After most of the books were signed we had a chance to hang out, talk and have a few questions thrown my way. Most of the talk was about recent work like Cobb: Off The Leash, future work like Wynonna Earp: The Yeti Wars and like a DVD commentary there was one question that always comes up?
Wonder Woman vs. Xena
Most of you regular Knuckleheads know that about 5 years ago I was hired to write a crossover book between Wonder Woman at DC Comics and Xena, then at Dark Horse. It was to be a 48-page prestige book with my amigo Eduardo Barreto (Cobb) doing the artwork. I’ve mentioned this project here before in passing.
I was prepared for that question this time. During a recent organizing of the office here at the ranch, I came across tons of stuff that I had in storage. As most of you also know, I rarely throw anything out. Well, I came across the script, plot, and contracts for Wonder Woman vs. Xena: The Princess War Diaries. I also came across Xeroxes of some of Eduardo’s rough pencils for the book. So I made some copies and hauled em’ to the store signing because folks always ask about this book. It was something everybody was looking forward to. Quick story for that. After the script was done, turned in, approved and paid for, the Xena TV show ended and Dan DiDio came on board at DC. In the huge job of having to oversee everything at DC creative, I got a letter from DC telling me that Dan figured that without the show being on TV and such that there wasn’t in their best interest to do the book now. I was disappointed and disagreed. Marketing and business 101 in the comic book direct market will tell you that there IS an audience for Wonder Woman and Xena going toe to toe. TV show or not. I was also told by one of the editors that Dan wasn’t a fan of humor with their icon heroes. Wonder Woman being one of em’. Just so you’ll know, the whole point of writing this script was to have it be like one of the light hearted episodes of Xena that Sam Rami and the cast pulled off so very well. As y’all know, I am a huge believer in having a sense of natural humor in characters? all characters. It’s what makes them real and most importantly, an emotional investment to the reader. I never blamed Dan. If anything he had my pity. Coming in he had a hell of a job to do. From the looks of DC it looks like he is doing things right.
The fate of the book was out of my hands. After all, I had been paid and it was their sandbox and their toys. So in the last five years or so it has become one of those projects that is always brought up and always asked about. The same thing happens in films that were almost made and music that was almost cut. (The Beach Boys “Smile” Album) Eduardo and I moved on. In fact, I think that was the last project I’ve done for DC after working for them 5 to 6 years.
So this week I thought I’d share some of the art and script with y’all since I’m not at every convention and comic shop in your area. This’ll be your DVD special feature section only without the DVD. Some of my peers in the comic book industry, like Gail Simone and Chuck Dixon among others have read the entire script and loved it. It’s also one of my personal favorites of scripts that I’ve done. It’s always good to have fond memories of your work. I’ve got other past scripts that make me cringe when I run across em’. Wonder Woman vs. Xena isn’t one of em’.
Here is a little summation of the plot for the book then I’ll follow it up with some art and script.
Wonder Woman vs. Xena: PPV (Pay Per View) The Princess War Diaries.
Things are slow. There are no current wars. Ares?The God Of War is bored.
One evening in between inflicting his irrated behavior on those less than him, Ares decided to “portal surf” to ease his boredom. While surfing through the different times and dimensions Ares comes Earth in current time where he finds Wonder Woman and Wonder Girl in a training session. Ares is attracted to this scene for a couple of reasons. One being that the Wonder Woman and Wonder Girl remind him of the Xena / Gabrielle relationship and the other reason being that Wonder Woman ain’t bad to look at.
The idea to stir the bucket of ox manure and see what happens interests Ares a great deal. He favors pulling Wonder Woman and Wonder Girl into Xena’s time and world. It appeals to him to cast out rumors that a warrior princess and her younger partner are wreaking havoc and mayhem on innocent villages and their people for no other reason than it’s a bad time of month to be in their way. He chuckles at the thought that he will have his own goons do the real damage and destruction leaving signs and more rumors that it was the two women warriors that did the dirty deeds on these poor folks. It excites him to think that by doing this it will guide both Wonder Woman and Wonder Girl to seek and hunt out these two that are throwing donkey dump on their good names. Xena and Gabrielle seek to do the same.
Ares loves the idea of Wonder Woman and Xena doing battle in what he bills as “Warrior Princess-Wet Tunic-Mud Battle-To The Death-Pay-Per-View-Extravaganza”. He figures all the Gods will tune in for this and he will no longer be bored.
A little more Tabasco sauce is thrown into the mix when word of these two destructive divas that are tearing up the countryside reaches the male dominated city of Testosterone. This city is run by Bolos, the most manly man in all the land, the most massive male chauvinist pig ever to burp out ale and slap a serving wench on the ass. Bolos is a large powerful man, an incredible brawler that can withstand huge amounts of pain. He never admits to being wrong, defeated or needing directions. He has a very hairy chest and never wears a shirt no matter what the weather. Bolos decides that these two women need to be tamed and shown their true place in a man’s world. So he and his army of knuckle draggers go in search of these liberated ladies of war.
What we get is a knock down, drag out battle between Wonder Woman and Xena along with Wonder Girl and Gabrielle as the under card fight. There is also the added attraction of Bolos, his men and a trio of female mercenaries that decide their title as the toughest women has been challenged. All of this because Ares and his buddies are bored.
At one point in the story we’ll have Wonder Woman wearing Xena’s outfit and Xena wearing Wonder Woman’s. Why? Because it’s too good not to happen.
This is a story of friendship, loyalty, action, humor and respect that is learned and earned.
“Only weak men and women hide their torsos. The weak to protect their puny skin from my punishing fists and women to hide their bounty from my eyes?.that I will soon change!”
–Bolos The Manly
Referring to women and his hairy chest:
“A bird cannot make a nest in a bare tree.”
–Bolos The Manly.
EATON: Ares, Was that the call to battle?
SFX: (Ares finger) Viiip! Viiiip!
ARES: No, Eaton. It isn’t.
SFX: (Ares Finger) Viiip! Viiip!
ARES: No fights, no takeovers, no coups?.
ARES: Not even a pillow fight between buxom village girls.
EATON: The boys and I could burn a couple of villages, or maybe pummel some hapless goat herders.
EATON: OR?We could just fight among ourselves for a while. Would that work for you?
ARES: No?.I need something with a little more irony, inspiration and creativity!
SFX: (Ares Finger) Viiip! Viiip!
ARES: (Small) Oh?.yes!
WONDER GIRL: (Spitting) PHEEEEEEIIIIIT!
WONDER GIRL: EEEEyuck! I bet there’s fish poop in this water!
WONDER WOMAN: Oh, don’t be a baby, Cassie.
WONDER GIRL: Uugh.. You know you cheated.
WONDER WOMAN: No I didn’t. I’m a princess. Princesses don’t cheat.
WONDER WOMAN: Here?take this.
WONDER WOMAN: Dry your hair. At least you don’t have to worry about drying whoever’s hair you wore before?uh?you know?the wig.
WONDER GIRL: Ugh?please don’t remind me.
ARES: Oh, this’ll be perfect.
ARES: Who do these two remind you of, Eaton?
EATON: I know of who you speak, Ares?
ARES: Oh, no?.not trouble?.AMUSEMENT!
GABRIELLE: Xena, I thought you were going to start eating healthier food?
GABRIELLE: That chicken leg has died, fried and been bathed in a ton of really bad lard.
XENA: Mmmm, huh.
XENA: I take it you’re attempting to beat me over the head with some sort of point, Gabrielle?
XENA: One I’m not interested in hearing at the moment.
GABRIELLE: You know I’m right. You said you were going to start eating more salads. Where’s that motivation?
XENA: Grass. Weeds. Rabbit food. You have to eat meat now and then to keep up your aggression level, Gabrielle.
XENA: That’s important too.
BYSTANDER: YAAAAGH! It’s Dollymus and?her people!
GABRIELLE: Aggressive behavior is controlled through the head AND the heart.
GABRIELLE: Right now you’re clogging up both, Xena.
XENA: Mmm, huh.
DOLLYMUS: Out of my way, worm!
DOLLYMUS: Well, Well, Well!
DOLLYMUS: Ling-Ling, Sirita, Lookee there?.
DOLLYMUS: XENA?.WARRIOR PRINCESS?.
BYSTANDERS: Oooomph! Uuuugh!
DOLLYMUS: And her mammary challenged little friend, Gabrielle.
XENA: (Low) Grrrr?.
XENA: Hello, Dolly!
XENA: Long time no beat up.
SFX: (Salad Bowl) Fluuusht!
SIRITA: No true warrior fights with food!
SFX: Whoooosh! Whoooosh!
XENA: I don’t fight “with” food, Sirita?.
XENA: Today?.I fight with fools.
SFX: BONK! BONK!
DOLLYMUS: (Fading) Ughhhhhhhh?.
LING-LING: Aack! Weeds!!
GABRIELLE: You’ve got some salad in your teeth, Ling-Ling.
LING-LING: (SMALL) ooh?.
SFX: (CHAIR) KEEERAAACK!
GABRIELLE: Ok. It’s gone.
XENA: Check their pouches for money.
SFX: WHAACK! WHAAACK! WHAAACK!
XENA: I’m not paying for the damage this time.
ARES: Okay, all the major players are in position.
ARES: Eaton, I need you and and the boys to do a little?”cross-dressing.”
ARES: Cross-dressing?you know?.you and the horde at going to be women for a little while.
ARES: Yes, women
ARES: Xena, Gabrielle, This Wonder Woman and Wonder Girl to be exact.
ARES: Now don’t get your panties all in a wad?pardon the soon to be pun.
ARES: I’m going to throw a temporary illusion on you and the horde. You’ll be you, but everyone else will see you as these women.
ARES: All you have to do is wreck a few villages and torment some farmers?You know?be yourselves.
ARES: They’ll get the blame. Word will spread of these rampaging Amazons and their Tinkerbell sidekicks.
ARES: They’ll start looking for the imposters, I’ll make sure they meet, a large chaotic cat-fight will ensue?..maybe some clothing will come off?
ARES: And we’ll all gather here with food , wine and women of uncertain morals.
ARES: We’ll watch the fight and have a wonderful time!
EATON: That’ll be just swell, Ares.
That’s just a small taste of the Wonder Woman vs. Xena: PPV-The Princess Warrior Diaries. I hope that gives an idea of the mood and attitude of the story. Please remember the script was unedited and the Eduardo’s art were his rough pencils. If I had more room I’d share even more. I hope you enjoyed this Behind The Scenes look at the book that got left behind. I look forward to your comments unless they’re bad ones. Remember?I’m a sensitive guy.
I wanna thank all of you that wrote in while I was off kicking other men in the shins last week. Your response to the all photo album column was great and even I was surprised at how much you enjoyed it. I’ll try and do another one in the near future.
Halloween is coming up and I just wanna state here and now that it’s my least favorite “holiday”. I didn’t even like it as a kid. I hated wearing a plastic mask that made my face sweat. I didn’t like the other kids that would make annoying attempts to scare me by popping out of the bushes and from around corners. Their reward for those antics was me clobbering them in the head with the plastic pumpkin bucket I carried my candy in. After a while I quit wearing those dumb masks and always dressed up as a cowboy. I also stopped using my pumpkin bucket on the other kids. I “buffaloed em” with my toy cowboy pistols just like Wyatt Earp used to.
Needless to say I was avoided by the other kids after that. Back then nobody sued another kid’s parents when their kid got their ass beat. It was a part of growing up.
I know that’s hard to believe for a guy that worked for Todd McFarlane, IDW and even Chaos Comics. You’d think I’d like all that weirdo, slasher, devil stuff. Nope. Never did probably never will. Doesn’t mean I wasn’t able to write it. I did my share of it. Speaking of Spawn and all that stuff? I probably “ghosted” your most favorite issues. A good writer can write anything. I just never liked all the Halloween stuff.
Every Halloween my wife and I take off before the door to door stuff starts. We go out to eat and stay gone until it’s all over. While we’re gone the dogs scare the living crap out of anybody that knocks on our door. They don’t like Halloween either.
So if you do enjoy it?do so. Just don’t expect to get any candy when you come to my door.
And here you thought I wasn’t gonna give you an angry rant this week?.
As always I hope to hear from ya and see what’s on your mind.
The Flying Fist Ranch
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