Tuesday, May 24, 2011

:dog days:

As threatened/promised last week, I'm going to talk about these wicked little stories I created when I was younger that I recently thought of and managed to unearth. Lucky for me (?) I kept damn near everything I've drawn and written, no matter how embarrassing it may look now.

A good part of my youth was spent making my own comics, one was a major one that I started after seeing "Star Wars," in which I borrowed from nearly everything I read and saw, comics, movies, and TV shows, one reason why it'll never be published. It was also never finished - high school got in the way, and then college, and then real life - but I know how it ends in my head, at least. They do get an ending. I'll go over that comic some other time.

But around the same time, I'd say when I was 13 or so, I started writing and illustrating these vicious little stories in which these little dogs which I called spaniels, even though they were really crudely drawn at first, that met many bloody and gruesome ends. It seems that I even kept meticulous notes on it, thinking that some day somebody would be interested. Hell, I had all these plans for several volumes of stories, and animated movies, I even chose songs for the soundtrack, and designed video games based on them. Quite the dreamer I was.

The nearest I can tell about the genesis for this was my being a cat person, and at the time there were these "humorous" books out about "101 uses for a dead cat," which I guess offended me enough to retaliate against the obvious. I made these dogs SO stupid that they almost invited death. They would get frozen with fear, whine and sweat (not something dogs normally do, but it made sense in a cartoon sense). But killing off cute little doggies is a bit of a hard sell, I'll admit, so a weird sort of mythology developed around them.

Turns out these are not normal dogs, but alien ones dropped off on our planet, from a planet called Strax where they were bioengineered, but they soon overpopulated (they have two day long gestation periods and breed like rabbits - the males are horny little bastards) and threatened their planet with deforestation (they were herbivores, although in some stories I had them degenerate into cannibalism of their own kind). Which gave (I thought) valid reason for the slaughter of them. The original stories were about the different kinds, due to wherever they were dropped off and "too stupid to leave." Tree, arctic, cave, city and, for some reason, English spaniels.

Looking at these now I cringe at the bad writing and crude drawings, but hell, I was only 13! But I did see improvement as I went on. The city spaniel story, meant to be the last one of the "first" volume, was pretty well-written, I thought. The second volume, which was meant to be about the final "death hunts," never got written, they were more storyboards for imagined animated movies. Seeing both "Watership Down" and "Heavy Metal" clearly inspired me. The third volume was supposed to take place on their home planet of Strax. I only got one story done, basically sketched out but never fully illustrated, but I read it now and the black humor in it still makes me laugh.

It's called "Friendship," and I even found the original story idea, written on the back of some school vocabulary test:

1 - two pups are separated in woods 
2 - both find the same female a year later
3 - they fight over female for two days
4 - pups are born, and they apologize
5 - bomb destroys them all

I don't know, something in me really liked building it up to a sappy ending only to yank it away in the end. There is foreshadowing in the final one so that the bomb doesn't literally come out of nowhere.

I also gave them foul little mouths, it seems. I've no idea why I drew it on such crappy paper, though. I guess this was meant to be a rough draft. I have other pages pacing out the story better, but they're even sketchier, pencil-wise. Oh so many unfinished projects in my life.

So who needs subtlety?

Like I said last week, I'm lucky no authority figures or parents saw these back then, they'd probably put me away. Then again, the stuff that kids today can see accidentally online pales in comparison, I suppose.