Friday, September 28, 2007
Entry 8: In the Beginning
When I was 13 I was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. I would have to go through 6 months of chemotherapy. My family decided that before I really started to get sick from the treatment we should take a little vacation. We would go to southern California and visit family. Also we could go to Disneyland since, if you're a kid with cancer, it's free for you and your family for 2 days. So my dad made the call to Disneyland to make the arrangements. He gets to talking with the girl who's helping him and by a stroke of luck he finds that she used to be the receptionist at Homage studios, the studio where comic artists Mark Sylvestry, Whilce Portacio, Scott Williams, and my favorite, Jim Lee worked. She tells him that she could set up a day that I could go check it out. You have to understand that I idealized Jim Lee. This wasn't the Make a Wish Foundation but even if it had been, I might very well have wished to meet him.
Going to Homage studios is what made me want to draw comics professionally. When I got home I found inspiration in the very drugs that were making me so sick. A.B.V.D. Adriamycin, Bleomicin, Vinblastine and Dacarbazine, drugs that were being put into my body to kill the Cancer that my body couldn't fight, but were also destroying my body in the process. It was the name Vinblastine that really sparked the idea. Vinblastine just sounded like the gun toting bad ass supper heroes that were becoming so popular in comics at that time. From there, each drug took on a character and I had my mercenary super hero team. I plotted out a story that mirrored what was happening in my body. It took place in a massive space ship constantly fighting of intruding aliens. But the ships defenses are completely unaware that one of it's own citizens has mutated and infects the ship from within. When they finally become aware of the threat they are forced to let in a team of people who can kill this Cancer. As the death tole rises and the bodies defenses weaken, the question is will ABVD kill cancer before it kills the whole ship.
I sketched layouts for the whole first issue at comic book size, which is still how I start an issue today. Then I penciled the pages on the 11 by 17 Image Comics art board that Jim Lee gave me. Until then I didn't know comics were drawn at that size. I even inked the pages with what ever pins I could find. It was pretty ambitious. I only finished 8 pages. I just didn't have the work ethic then.
Just over a year ago I started revamping this old idea. I've re-envisioned the story into a far more sophisticated sci-fi that's still true to the original intent. Hopefully it won't be too long before I can really get it into production.
A note about this spread: You probably can't read the dialog but it was actually written by my good buddy DJ Bryant of Snar-Fled fame. DJ and I have been collaborating on ideas since 7th grade. He only ended up scripting the first three pages, but he also plotted an ABVD prequel and even started drawing it, and he's completely involved with the creation of the new revised version of the story.