August 23 - This is a little different, but it, too, happens to me all the time...
Grand Ideas That Will Never Happen Because Someone Else Stole Them From Me
1) POP! Although not specifically a comic book project, my concept was to open a theme store called "POP!" It would sell Pop Culture stuff like comics, movie collectibles, etc., as well as hundreds and hundreds of different kinds of soda pop. A few days ago, however, I saw a report on CNN Headline News about a new attraction along old Route 66. It is called "Pops," and it sells hundreds and hundreds of different kinds of soda pop, as well as Pop Culture stuff, like Route 66 collectibles. I don't know how, but hey stole that from me.
2) Squished. In 1989, as my plans to rehabilitate my childhood character, Monkey, began to coalesce, I realized that the "charm" of the character was in keeping as strictly as possible to my original storylines. This presented a problem, since Monkey's best friends traditionally included Batman, Superman, Spider-Man, Mr. Spock, and even Muhammad Ali. To solve this conundrum without losing those crucial relationships, I struck upon a plan to simply "squish" two characters from different sources into one new, now WOMP, character. It's not a truly unique plan. People have been doing it for years, but, when Marvel and DC produced their Amalgam titles, I could swear that they had stolen my concepts directly. For example, here is one of my character equations; Flash + Ghost Rider = Demonspeed (originally called Speed Demon, but that, along with the entire concept, was stolen). Here's another; Batman + Wolverine = Ferrex (originally called The Ferret, but that, too, was stolen from me by Malibu Comics). Even some of my oldest characters, dating back to my 1970's grade school days, were stolen. This list includes one now called The Superior Soldier, but originally called Super Soldier (and, to be fair, briefly also as Super Trooper). He was always an amalgam of Superman and Captain America, but with the added element of being from World War One instead of Two. Now, I have downplayed the influences of his original concept, playing up instead the nuclear aspects. Just wait. That will be stolen, too.
3) Not so Fresh. I even have proof of this one! For some time, I'd wanted a WOMP version of a super team, but with the twist that they be teamed up because of their need to do so. This led to the idea of a teen group, like the New Warriors or Teen Titans. Eric Gillitzer, O.F.O.WOMP, picked up this ball, helping to create the Freshmen, as seen in the pages of The Adventures of Monkey #4. He, with artist and O.F.O.WOMP Tim Seeley, presented a little intro to these characters, which were always meant to be spun off into their own title or back-up series, but, now that mini-mogul Seth Green has stolen Freshmen, I guess that won't happen.
4) Next. That this concept has been stolen, well, it really crushes me...even as I am still such a fan of the idea that I'll probably purchase the results of the theft. My plan was to find a way (maybe by virtue of copyrights that had lapsed into public domain) to produce the next issues of long forgotten Golden Age comics. I'd even produced a series of concept drawings to illustrate the idea (one of which now adorns my business card). You know; those drawings of characters like The Blue Bolt. If they unceremoniously ceased publication of his title with #23 back in the 1940's (or whatever it was), then my plan was to produce #24 today. My plan also encompassed the John Byrne Theory of Comics Aging, namely that characters consistently in print don't age (or do so extremely slowly), while those out of the publication limelight do age. So, my Blue Bolt was going to be a distinguished octogenarian who, having just revealed his secret identity, was making the talk-show rounds promoting his book detailing his fantastic exploits. Well, Image Comics is bringing out what they call The Next Issue Project, which, through lapsed copyrights, allows today's top comic book creators to pick up right where their Golden Age predecessors left off. Unlike my plan to age the characters, Image's titles will literally tell the story of the next issue, with virtually no time having passed for the characters since the previous issue of sixty years before. Stolen, then, but with a twist.
And so it goes. I don't, of course, really believe that these concepts were actually "stolen" from me. Well, someone may have stolen the initiative, but these ideas were (are) pretty basic. I'm sure that many other fans or creators have had some of these same plans, right down to the names. The story seems to be, then, that rather than the earliest, it's often the biggest bird that gets to keep the worm. It's one thing to think of this stuff, and another thing to produce it, but it takes a combination of idea, action, and muscle to make it "yours." I suppose that's a good lesson for me...especially since I don't know whether I can even produce the next issue of my own comic anymore, thanks to yet another theft. And that guy stole it. Well, here's your Mystery Theme Comic Book Character of The Day - Doll Man!