DEVIL'S DUE WEEK: Of Many Trivialities, Blood and Guts

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I was reading some comic news the other day and I saw that IDW was going to put out new Badger stuff. I always liked the ideas behind Badger and bought a fair amount of it as a kid. It occurred to me that this property had been around for like 20 years, and that in many ways it's Badger and Nexus that Mike Baron would always be known for.

I mean, Baron wrote a LOT of stuff, but since those two were his original creations and they had a cult audience, those are the things that he'll be doing interview in comic magazines for for the rest of his life.

I realized that Hack/Slash might be the book I'll be "known" for someday. Now, that's not to say that's good or bad, or that I'll be famous or not famous... but, whether I'm famous, infamous or mostly forgotten, those who do remember my comic work will probably say "Oh, he's the guy that did that Hack/Slash thing."

Since I'm a kind of obsessive weirdo whose brain just runs on, I realized I'd have to have entertaining anecdotes to tell about the creation of the property, and interesting trivia, so people actually want to read an interview with my senile old ass.

I did manage to come up with a a few tidbits of information, which depending upon your interest in Hack/Slash could entertain you…

So, did you know that my original idea for writer of the series was Robert Kirkman? Yep, the now BIG TIME Marvel/Image writer and I met in 2001 while both working on indie comics, and we both started working in the "mainstream" at the same time. When I started working at DDP, I decided I wanted to do a Snake-Eyes one-shot. I wrote up an outline for the idea, but I wasn't confident enough to write it AND draw it. So, I emailed my old friend Kirkman and asked if he'd want to write it. He had just done some He-Man stuff, and being a big fan, I figured he'd knock it out of the park. He did. But, Blaylock wasn't crazy about our pitch, and decided Snake Eyes might be better used in an "origin" style miniseries—which eventually became Snake Eyes Declassified. Looking back, the Chief was right—so it got shelved.

A few weeks later, while taking a bath, I came up with Hack/Slash. I wrote down notes and the next day emailed Robert to see if he'd maybe want to try something else. He was getting busy with other projects but said he'd see how his was schedule was going.

In the meantime, I caught Stefano Caselli on IM and asked him what he thought of my lil' idea—this Hack/Slash thing. He loved it, and within a day, I had a ton of character sketches from him. Inspired by his art, I started writing furiously, taking some elements from another pitch I had written (which we'll get to later) and before I knew it, I had a full first issue. Robert ended up doing a few other books, and we all know how that turned out. But, he did give me a pull quote for the second issue, and we still keep in touch, even if he is a MEGASTAR, and I'm sort of a "FRINGEY."

Okay, so on the subject of the other pitch I stole some stuff from for Hack/Slash issue #1... Did you know that "Euthanized" started out as my pitch for an Army of Darkness comic? Yep, it's true. When G.I. Joe became a runaway success for DDP, Josh called me and asked what other properties I thought would be good for comics. As a huge horror geek, my first choice was Evil Dead. Josh said he wasn't sure who had the film rights to the movies, but if I wanted to come up with some art and a story he'd find out.

So, I wrote a story where Ashe has to track down the surviving relatives of Arthur (from AoD) as they are being targeted by Deadites. It just so happens that Arthur's great x14 granddaughter works as a nurse at a veterinary clinic, leaving to all kinds of whacky deadite pet possessions. In fact, the line "Boom shalaka-BOOM/ exploding dog scene" was lifted directly from that pitch.

Ultimately, Blaylock had trouble determining who had the rights to the films (it's a MESS, with Evil Dead and Army of Darkness being separate licenses etc.!) and we ended up distracted by Voltron and a few other properties. Eventually, Dynamite got the rights to Army of Darkness, and we did end up publishing the first couple minis before Dynamite went off and did their own thing. I only got to do one cover, but hey, I ended up with Hack/Slash. Everyone wins, right?

So, there ya go... a few ramblings about my little indie comic, which may or may not be the thing I do interviews about in 20 years. In the end, if I can get a few people to have as fond of memories about it, as I do about Badger, or Nexus, or Scud: The Disposable Assassin, I'll be happy.

Hmm... Badger vs. Hack/Slash...

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