October 19 - "Forbidden" WOMP Character of The Day - The Zit! In about 1990, I really wanted to develop a comics "universe" that could, and should, stand apart from Monkey's "kid friendly" world. Not that I was planning to draw slasher comics or anything, but I felt like I should have a stable of not just characters, but storylines, in several different genres that could then be shopped around to various publishers (why put all my eggs in one basket? OOPS...that's exactly what I did anyway. Oh, well...). Long-time WOMP-Blog readers may remember my finders, inc., characters (as described just about a year ago now), who were part of this intended expansion. Not only did I imagine the three main relic-hunting protagonists, but several supporting characters as well. The Zit was meant to be a smarmy crime lord with an expensive art collection and terrible acne. Much like "Bugsy" Siegel, he'd hate his all-too-descriptive street name, preferring instead to be called Mr. Ng. Sadly (or tellingly?), The Zit is my only Chinese American character. So, why is he now "forbidden?" In short, because he's just too one-dimensional and generic. He's one of literally dozens of such "big boss" characters that I created to spar with the finders, each representing what I thought were woefully underrepresented ethnicities or nationalities (including a Panamanian, a Pole, a Croat, and a Creole!). Several more of The Zit's United-Colors-of-Benneton ilk will grace these entries over the next few days, each more painfully awful than the last. I think that the biggest problem with these characters is that I really know nothing more about the heads of criminal empires than I've seen of them in gangster movies and James Bond films. My caricatured finders villains are better suited to face Dick Tracy than adventuresome antiques dealers. So, I will probably retool Mr. Ng someday. Maybe he'll even still be called "The Zit," but I doubt it. One thing is for sure; I'll have to do some real research before then.
October 20 - "Forbidden" WOMP Character of The Day - I.T. (the Invincible Thing)! Hey, I was just one letter away from having Steven Spielberg over a barrel! My I.T. came into being, and then faded from favor, nearly a decade before Spielberg's E.T. hit the silver screen. Of course, I would have had problems enforcing my copyright anyway because I.T. was just my imaginings of the further adventures of Cousin It from The Addams Family. Yep, I stole the character outright, inventing a backstory and continued storyline wherein I.T., it was revealed, was actually an immortal visitor from outer space. Of course. Look; I didn't understand how copyrights and such worked. As far as I knew, Cousin It was just another "public domain" fictional character from the past, like Paul Bunyan or King Arthur. Even though Cousin It had been on television just a bit over ten years before I began to reimagine the character as I.T., it seemed like ancient history to my young mind. I mean, c'mon; The Addams Family was in black and white, for cryin' out loud! Well, needless to say, I eventually learned that I.T., like all plagiarism, was "forbidden." Still, stealing another person's character was not my worst youthful transgression. No...not by a long shot. Tomorrow's childhood character comes from the darkest, most shocking depths of what is "forbidden." And, even in light of how uncomfortable it makes me to acknowledge the situation, I'm still going to talk about it. *GULP*