Monday, June 6, 2016

Where did Old School Evil come from?

I began writing Old School Evil in 2014 as part of NaNoWriMo.  Prior to this book, I had tried my hand at a number of writing projects: a series of fantasy novels that I got a book and a half into (the half was my first NaNo challenge and I lost pretty bad), a few screenplays that never made it past the outlining phase, and a story idea that continually morphed between a novel, a comic, and a cartoon, but never came to fruition in any medium.  Although I loved all of the projects I worked on, I never felt a very strong desire to finish them. 

It wasn't until Megatrons Anonymous that I finally had a project that caught traction.  Transformers had always been my favorite cartoon growing up and since it had survived from its inception to the present day, it offered plenty of collecting potential.  I had dwindled down my collection to Megatrons and after amassing a few dozen of the figures, I decided I wanted to do something with them instead of letting them just sit on a shelf.  I had followed a few fan-made comics on a Transformers forum and after a while throwing around ideas, I came up with a support group, inspired from a Robot Chicken sketch of cartoon villains attending a self-help seminar (here it is).  It gathered a bit of fans and even won a few awards in the community. 

While I enjoyed making the comic and in turn mocking the show I loved, I knew there was only so far I could take it.  There was no way to make Megatrons Anonymous my own thing as long as I depended on another company's creations.  So in 2014, after shelving the comic, I started planning out a story based on a number of original cartoon ideas.  Taking villains from the cartoons I used to watch, I combined them in ways to create new villains and built new cartoons around them.  Eventually, I had a whole line-up of original ideas, stuff that I felt would easily fit in with all the stuff I used to watch. 

For instance, I took two Filmation cartoon villains - Skeletor from He-Man and the Masters of the Universe and Tex Hex from Bravestarr and merged the two, turning him into the ethereal bank robber Sidewinder.  From there I built a number of other criminals and combined them with a Bravestarr/COPS pair of heroes to create the Ultra City Ultra Twins.  Rolls off the tongue.

After creating production bibles for each of the different cartoons, and without a storyline in mind to weave them together, I entered NaNoWriMo in November... and kicked it's ASS.  The 50k required words to win the contest came easily enough in a story that took all the elements of the cartoons and built them into something I'd never read before.  Old School Evil is my love letter to my childhood, simultaneously riffing on the shows I love while living up to the spirit they possessed. 

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