Monday, February 11, 2008

A (not so) Brief History of Violence

Exorsister was originally born with a few very simple tent-pole concepts in place; make it about a hot chick that fights monsters and uses awesome weapons to do it. A molotov cocktail of youthful interests, really. When I originally drafted up the initial concept about three-to-five years ago, there wasn't much more to it than that. It eventually was filed away in the large back-catalog of "maybe" ideas that I have built up over the majority of my life.

It wasn't really brought up again until my first year in college (or "high school 2" as I like to call it). For some reason I came back to the story and begin to draft up a newer concept that was more outlandish and less "mainstream". Originally Exorsister took place during the here-and-now, and featured a team of protagonists employed by the Vatican who would combat the small pockets of demonic forces that had begun to pop up as the rapture was being kick-started (interestingly, Exorsister's "uber-weapon", which you should all be seeing soon, was not present in this early concept. Sister instead made use of two large bone claws that extended from her wrists -- the use of bone and flesh as weaponry would later go on to become a key point in the current iteration of the Exorsister). It was a serviceable concept, sure, but it didn't really have that "bite". Fortunately, I had been reading a lot of back issues of Heavy Metal and 2000 A.D. online (for any writer out there who thinks they've hit a dead end - go check out 2000 A.D. It will invigorate you with a breath of fresh air). As a result, I sort of freed my mind up and let myself drift into a more extreme place. My interest in Exorsister jumped from being a generic superhero-esque fair to being something more. I wanted to push boundries and tell a dangerous story in a unique way.

This, fortunately, is where I met my collaborator, Sir Ian. Over a mid-day lunch of Pizza at Uno's (which then become "'Za", and eventually folded altogether), I spilled the basic outline of Exorsister on him in a very haphazard way. We had gone out with about six other people, but the conversation eventually spun off away from them and we began to focus at the idea at hand. I was happy to walk away with having told someone about Exorsister (something I had never done up to that point). More so, I was happy that in doing so I had recieved a favorable response.

As is often the case, the story again went by the wayside as my interests bounced to other ideas and school work took its toll. Fortunately, as is also often the case with anyone whom exhibits any sort of creativity, I got the "bite" again a couple of months later. This time, I became obsessed with the idea of actually making something. No longer content with whittling away at a faceless script, I wanted to actually produce something that people could hold in their hands and talk about. I wanted something quick and dirty, a hotel romance of a comic book if you will. Remembering Ian's interest in the concept (and considerable art skills), I contacted him with the suggestion of working with me on an issue. We batted around a few ideas, eventually coming to the concept that we would each work on half of one issue. This would have been pretty effective and cool if it ever happened, but alas, it was not to be. I take the brunt of the responsibility on that one. If there's one thing I can't do, it's feel comfortable in my drawing abilities. So, the story again hit a snag. The difference this time was that I was still very interested in producing the end product. Ultimately, I came to the realization that the only way that I would actually ever be able to have Exorsister produced in a physical way would be to hand over the art details to another person. With this end in mind, I again approached Ian, this time with the suggestion that he take over all art duties. He agreed, and it seemed that there was at least an understanding that this could be done. A simple one-shot story about a hot chick fighting monsters with awesome weapons.

And then, god help us, we started to talk. In a quick series of phone calls (sometimes lasting for as long as two-to-three hours), we had done something dangerous. Exorsister grew. It grew in ways that I would have never imagined (and could never have come up with on my own). What had started so simple and exploitative had matured into a multi-layered beast of a story. What started with boobs in blood grew into a high-concept story about humanity, religion, alienation, and yes, even love. I wouldn't have believed it had I not experienced it.

I have never been so excited or enamored about a concept as I am about Exorsister. And thinking forward, I can only think of one thing that will excite me more; the fact that it's now our turn to show you.

Strap in, kids. Oh, and those of you in the front row be warned; you may get wet.

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