Hypothetical Marvel Comics Story Pitch

Me and some good friends at a NYCC drink and draw

So, NYCC has come and gone with a blur, meaning that there is only one more show left in my convention season before I get to hunker down and really focus on my next project. Honestly, I miss working on a book everyday and can’t wait to get started. That became really clear to be over the last few days. See at New York Comic Con I was asked a question by an attendee that I’ve never been asked before. After talking comics with a guy for a while he asked “If you could work on any Marvel book, what would it be?” Having never really thought about that before, I answered X-men, since it was my first love of Marvel and called it a day. However since he left my brain hasn’t been able to let the question go. Much like I did with Torchlight, I keep building upon a story I’ll almost certainly never have a chance to write. FanFiction isn’t really my thing, so without those two things as an outlet I decided I’d just write them down here in a sort of psuedo-comics pitch. (I say that literally having no idea at all what a comic’s pitch normally looks like lol.)

I think I would want to take a stab at doing a book that would do for Marvel what “New Frontier” did for DC. Kinda of a soft faux-relaunch that lets you tell an epic story without having to worry about years of continuity and could just be a ‘fun” super hero book. IE not incredibly dark or gritty or violent etc. So here’s my rough “pitch” of the dream book I’d love to make one day:

The cover to the first volume of New Frontier by Darwyn Cooke
The cover to the first volume of New Frontier by Darwyn Cooke

The book would take place in the early 1960’s. At the start of the story a small exploratory space team is preparing to go on a top secret mission to investigate rumors that the Russian Satellite Sputnik has spent the last few years taking advanced infrared photography of the United States; to determine where Russia should attack first to cripple US defenses. The team is comprised of the Brilliant scientists Victor Von Doom and his incredible young protégé Reed Richards, Reed’s good friend and remarkable pilot Ben Grimm Reed’s research assistant Sue Storm and a later to be named research assistant of Victor Doom’s.

Sue’s younger brother is incredibly bored with life. He makes money by performing stunts like the up and coming Evel Knievel has been doing on television, and while they do provide a thrill it’s not enough for him. Hearing that his sister has been given an opportunity to take on the ultimate challenge, going to space, Jonny comes up with a plan to crash the launch. Under the guise of celebration, Jonny goes out to celebrate the upcoming launch with Von Doom’s assistant. Jonny grills him on his job and once he thinks he can handle it, he slips him a mickey.

Jonny then takes him to a small hotel and grabs his gear for the mission. Under the disguise of the assistant, Jonny slips into the shuttle just before launch. However, what he didn’t realize is that the assistant had duties on board the vessel, not just in the lab like he discussed over drinks. As the team readies for launch Johnny fails to properly deploy the shields of the space ship. The team is launched into space, barely making it alive through the atmosphere. Once in space the shuttle travels through a cloud of cosmic rays, rays that penetrate the now battered and un shielded shuttle. Victor Von Doom is sent careening into space as the crew desperately returns the ship to earth.

The crew, minus Victor, is rushed to a top secret government hospital. Lucky for the four, a team of the world’s best minds has already gathered at the hospital upon the discovery of the long thought dead Captain America. Members of that team include Bruce Banner a brilliant mind in the field of genetics, The world’s greatest surgeon Dr Stephen Strange and the inventor Howard Stark who hopes to prepare a life support suit to thaw the Captain, made of the rare metal Vibranium, which the team recently procured after a heated negotiation with the young prince T’Challa.

Obviously the four live and develop their powers which are shortly tested by a sudden appearance of a genetic abomination created through nuclear testing that is long thought to be dead. The four dispatch the creature live on tv and become instant heroes. Reed then becomes a massive “Mad Men” like icon for the era doing everything from discussing experimental physics to selling cigarettes. After marrying his longtime friend and research partner Sue, the two become a power couple, with Sue becoming America’s favorite wife.

However, a rift is created between longtime friends Ben and Reed. Having become the Thing Ben can no longer go out in public which is only exacerbated by his friends Reed’s transformation into a media darling. Jonny, still craving adventure, befriends a young photographer named Peter Parker who’s pretty much become a live in acquaintance of the Richard’s, as he is the only member of the paparazzi Reed has agreed to let take photos of him and his family.

Things are quickly turned upside down as word of a strange creature terrorizing folks in the Florida everglades comes to the governments attention. Convinced that it may be his longtime friend Victor von Doom, Reed begs for the four to be sent to investigate the creature under the radar. Getting his wish, the four are sent to Florida where they meet, fight and eventually come to understand Man Thing.

While the four is gone, things are starting to heat up politically. Animosity between the US and Russia are hitting an all-time high. State side the discovery of mutants as thrown the nation into chaos. Some believe them to be Russian spies, others see them as potential weapons while even more see them as abominations to god. Their charismatic leader, Professor Charles Xavier is embroiled in a debate to start a school in order to educate these young mutants so they don’t become a danger to society. He already has his first class of students. This class including the gifted Hank McCoy, Jean Grey, Scott Summers and Bobby Drake.

The US government decides to invite Xavier and his team of mutants to negotiations with Russia on board a massive ship. The hope being, that Russia would see the potential threat America poses, now that it has not one but two team of super human fighters at its disposal. The ship however is lost in the Bermuda triangle and comes a ground in a remote island known as the Savage Land.

Both countries, having lost communications with its high ranking officials and leaders that were sent to negotiate, believe that the other side has killed them and driven the resentment to the brink of war. In order to prevent World War 3 the Fantastic Four assemble in attempts to find the vessel and rescue the crew from the savage land.

So there it is. Obviously I could expand a ton more on this and it would feature a ton more fun cameos and easter eggs for longtime fans. New York Comic Con was a hell of an experience and now that I hope to have this out of my brain, I’m gonna call it a day so I can rest up to start tackling some freelance work for a bit.

-Ryan

The Odd Relationship Comics Have With Spoiler Culture

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An interesting thought hit me this morning. Between the DC Rebirth and now the Captain America: Steve Rogers #1 spoilers, it’s kind of shocking to see how many people (comic people) are posting and debating the merits of these spoilers so freely online. Spoilers that, if they were for a movie or TV show, I’m fairly confident the internets would be readying their pitch forks and torches, but with comics the reaction has been “meh” whenever someone calls foul.

And see, THAT’S what I find fascinating. Now personally, spoilers almost never bother me. Something gets spoiled for me and I’ll still watch/read it with the intent of analyzing how they they got their plot twist to work. It’s kind of a weird side effect of being a comic creator I think. I can’t really watch or read anything without trying to pick it apart for tools I can add to my ol’ war chest of ideas for my own work. (Which as I type that out, I think I may have just figured out why I watch so much sports and so little scripted TV… Huh, look at me being my own personal shrink.)

But that’s not the point I wanted to make. See, I’m curious if spoiler culture actually HELPS the comic medium at the expense of the die-hard fans. Now these are the half processed thoughts of a guy that’s deliriously packing Kickstarter orders, so if I’m a bit off then cut me some slack. That being said, if I’d been a long term Captain America reader, someone who faithfully had read every Cap book over the last couple of years, the spoiler that came out today would have driven me nuts. All of that time and investment into a story, only to have the payoff ruined by a Bleeding Cool headline, a headline where the post image is the actual spoiler itself. Good lord, those people should be going insane today. Which makes me wonder, why the heck do so many people do it so freely for comics? The very book whose website you’re currently reading this on HAS a plot twist ending, one that I really want to protect, so I’m more than a little invested into this topic.

My only thought on this is more of a wandering question. Have comic sales dipped so low that these “spoilers” and shocking reveals are leaked early just so collectors will believe these issues could become “key” issues and that they should buy them up for potential resale value down the road? With the DC Rebirth spoiler, a certain past issue of a comic series that was panned by so many, (wrongfully so in my opinion but I digress) just jumped out of the clearance bins and is now going for like $100 a pop on Ebay. Along that train of thought, I bet a lot of comic shops are fielding emails and calls from customers asking them to hold a copy of Captain America for them this morning. Now the cynical part of my brain has to point out that I BET most comic shops had absolutely no idea that this issue of Captain America: Steve Rogers was gonna be this important. Yes it’s a number one, so they more than likely ordered a couple of extra copies, but I bet it no where meets the demand now that the spoiler is out, making these books instant collectors items.

To go a little further down the conspiracy train, I can’t think of any comic spoilers outside of Marvel and DC books that really had this effect BEFORE the book was for sale. Sure the Walking Dead has had a couple of the shocking deaths in the book leaked before hand, but the very premise of that book is “no one is safe.” Sitting here typing this, I can’t imagine a major spoiler for say, Saga being released by the various comic news blogs and everyone just sitting back and being cool with it. Actually I bet folks would be equally as ticked as they are with a Game of Thrones spoiler. So maybe this speaks to the current level or rather kind of storytelling in Marvel and DC books as opposed to everyone else?

I don’t really have a concrete answer or anything, maybe a loose hypothesis, but that’s all. Essentially I sat down and wrote this all out here because A) not doing so would have filled my brain with this crap all day and B) this would be a REAL long Facebook post. So hey, welcome to the Torchlight blog! Interesting way to start things here but at least they’re started. If you feel like chiming in on whether or not I’m barking up the right tree with this, please feel free to. Just know, I’m trying to keep this blog family friendly so try and keep that in mind.