Or: Why am I such a comic book nerd?
Because I am a huge comic nerd.
Here’s a story that will illustrate this. When I was between the ages of about 11-16, there was a comic book store about five minutes from my house. It was a dangerous time for allowance, because I spent a lot of money there. It was too convenient, having it be right there. The store eventually moved, and the money I thought I would save was spent on gas so I could drive to the new location.
Anyway, the point is – I’m such a nerd for comics that I dreamed of the store, in its original location. I dream about going to the comic book store. Yeah, you can pity my life a bit, that’s okay.
But there’s a point to this nonsense, stay with me here. I’m not a guy who remembers his dreams very often. I can count on one hand the number of dreams that have stayed with me in my life, but this dream, where I went to the comic store, is one of them. First, it was after hours, so the store was kind of dark. I’m not sure if I broke in or if there was a midnight madness sale or something, that wasn’t relevant to the dream. All I remember is seeing shelves and shelves and shelves of comics, all ready for the taking and reading.
Except my subconscious apparently likes to fuck with me, because every single title and cover image was blurry. Here I was, in the epicenter of comic book goodness, and I couldn’t read a thing. It’s like that story where the world ends and the guy with the glasses is happy because now he can read all the books he wants, and then he breaks his glasses. It was like that. All these books laid out before me, and not one was clear enough to read.
Okay, not exactly – there was one book that had a clear cover and title. It was a comic I’d never heard of (because it didn’t exist). It was called “Dog Catcher”, and it had a picture of a classic uniformed police officer on it (the cop actually looked like Long-Arm from COPS. Out-nerd that!). I picked it up and read it, except it was at that moment that I stopped being the main character in the dream and started watching myself read the book, so I have no idea what it looked like inside the comic.
Still with me? Good, because we’re coming around to the point of this post. Twenty years later, and I met an artist named Matt Mossman over at Digital Webbing.com. Matt and I had the same tastes and opinions about comics, and became friends. We tried a couple of times to put projects together, but things always came up. Both Matt and I have families and jobs and real life to worry about.
But last year, Matt reached out again and said he wanted to put together a pitch that we could send to Image, something that had some potential. I was really interested in putting together a hard sci-fi book at the time, and started to write out ideas for a strange interstellar crime scene cleaning company…but that didn’t work for me. But the idea of the Dog Catcher came back to me, and sparked a brand new idea that all at once fell into my lap. If you’re a writer, you know what I mean – when the whole story suddenly presents itself to you, like you’re not really writing it but channeling it.
The idea was pretty simple, at it’s core: in the future, there are two classes of people – the rich and powerful, who live up above in a floating utopia-like city…and the mutants, who toil away endlessly below to ensure the rich never have to lift a finger or do a day’s work. These poor mutants are commonly called ‘dogs’. Occasionally, a dog tries to make his way up into the rich city, so a special group of police was formed called the Dog Catchers.
Boom. Even the characters came alive for me at the same time. The young rookie paired with a gruff, older partner. But the twist was in how they worked and related to each other. I won’t get into that, because that’s, you know, the story. I’d rather you read it when it’s ready.
Matt has done a ton of work for this, designing characters, tech, the architecture. Here is a sneak peek at some of Matt’s work:
With some luck, we’ll get this picked up for publication this year. 3 issues of sci-fi goodness that should appeal to fans of Saga (wow, I’m pretty full of myself today, huh?) or Transmetropolitan (yeah, I’ll shut up now).
Because I’m in an old school mood, go listen to “Siamese Dream” by Smashing Pumpkins for some of the best guitar rawk ever recorded.