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Dirty Work After the Apocalypse

edited December 2011 in Work Logs
Kicking off my followup to AMALA, since I don't yet know if we'll be able to do more right away. Right now it's just a concept, as with the holidays, I haven't had the chance to sit down and work on it. My hope is to find an available, reliable artist who can do noir, the supernatural, aliens, and a hard-boiled protagonist.

I got a pretty good track record of landing my projects at publishers, so I feel pretty confident that I can take said artist to the dance, so to speak.

The concept is this:

The apocalypse and an alien invasion happen at the same time. One human detective is left in a chaotic world of monsters.

The longer concept is this:

It's the End Times. The demons have risen up to rule the earth for a thousand years ... and then an equally vicious race of aliens invade, on a manifest destiny to colonize the planet. The plane is laid waste, the human race is exterminated, and the earth is then carved up into organized criminal factions; some strictly barbaric alien, some strictly sinister demon, and some an eclectic mix. Only there's one human they forgot about. 

He doesn't want to save the world. He doesn't want to drive out the world's evil. He's not even interested in restoring the human race. He's a detective. Bounty hunter, more like. And the only one rational enough and good enough to hunt down the worst of the worst, no matter how far up it leads.

Whatcha think so far?
«13

Comments

  • I think Dan McDaid needs to draw this.
  • I'd love to work with Danny again. He's a busy guy, though, and I doubt he'd want to do several pages on spec at this stage in his career. Doesn't hurt to ask, tho.
  • Why would God only be God for earth? If you believe in a biblical apocalypse, would it not be the result of God or his work? To counter the End Times with an alien invasion ignores the fact that God created the universe, not just our planet.... If you believe in that sort of thing.
  • Plus, one human left in a world of demons and aliens is either headed for madness or death. Not detective work.
  • "A human lifespan is seventy-eight years. His lifespan is day-to-day. He'll go insane a lot sooner than that."
  • Dunno if I'll dwell on that point, Russ, but I'd assume different planets have different timetables on their Armageddons.
  • It's kind of like the one human or group of humans in the Lovecraft story. You know it's only a matter of time, but the fun is in the journey.
  • Depends on your definition of god, the devil and the afterlife, I guess. If you can make it work, have a blast.
  • Sounds like it could be a fun premise, right? Now to find a story to hang on it.
  • To me, the mash-up seems a bit arbitrary. It could as easily be "Vampires inherit the Earth until the Day of Ragnarok!" or "Time travelers from the future conquer the Earth, just as the Mole-Men strike from their subterranean Empire!" or "The Robots have enslaved humanity just as the Fae have returned from their eons long sleep!" Two sets of imaginary bad guys with whatever superpowers you care to grant them are in a dog fight and one lone human is playing detective.

    How are the Aliens and Demons different and how do they interact (aside from killing each other?) Did the Demons try to save the humans? After all, they needed someone to torture. And what happens after a 1000 years when JC returns? In truth, the Apocalypse concepts just brings so much baggage with it, including alternative millennial interpretations that I'd be hesitant...

    But the bare bones concept of an underdog bounty hunter hired by competing factions of monsters to take out the other side's toughest customers is a solid one. If the hero has one special ability that allows him to defeat the world's worst, and he doesn't much care what happens to him, or around him, well, the competition for his services could make for some mighty twisted plotting.


  • The alien invasion vs. Book of Revelation things sounds interesting to me — mostly for the WTF value of it.

    Making the protagonist a detective or bounty hunter, though, and I'm not likely to check it out — I'm really, really tired of both of those stock characters. It also doesn't strike me as an intuitive choice for the Last Human On Earth, if that's the route you're going. The choice of occupation for the protagonist seems more arbitrary to me than the setting itself.
  • BTW, I read an interesting article a couple months ago about the theological implications of alien life, written by a priest. He touched on some of the points you mention, like whether the Biblical End Time would just apply to Earth, or to any other intelligent life in the universe. Wish I had the link. Found it through Disinfopedia...
  • I can see the initial idea of "Its the end of the world-- Twice!" as having some appeal.
  • Maybe the aliens' world already had its Apocalypse, and that's why the survivors are looking to colonize Earth?
  • edited November 2011
    Good thinking, Kevin. I think the mythology isn't as important to me as the characters and their interactions with each other. How the cosmology comes to be will be shaped from the characters, rather than vice versa.

    But you're right that making him a detective is cliche. I just want to immediately give him a role and a motivation in this psychotic, crazy joke of an Earth after the fall. Something to do to get him to try and achieve what he wants.

    Hmmmm.
  • edited November 2011
    Sounds a bit like BOOM's Jeremiah Harm by Keith Giffen and I enjoyed that a lot. I think there's an interesting psychological aspect to the last human idea, which stories like Legend and Y the Last Man have done well but I don't see it as an overused concept. Maybe he even caused the Apocalypse and has to suffer the aftermath as a result. Plus, how can you not like Aliens vs Demons. 
  • edited November 2011
    Reminds me a bit of GRIMJACK, frankly, insomuch as you're looking for a way to atom-smash different tropes and genres so you can see how they interact. 

    You know, you could go full Lovecraft with this. What if the demons were really just a race of aliens that humans perceived as demons? They mistook their arrival as the end of days, and then the second race of aliens arrives, either because they're opportunists, or because they're the enemy of the first...and things only get worse for mankind.

    Regardless, though...why would either faction go through the trouble of exterminating an entire species, but let one specimen live, never mind giving him work as a detective-slash-bounty hunter? It seems like there'd have to be something special about him, either intrinsically (he's part angel! part demon! part alien! ALL COP!) or extrinsically (i.e. they're fucking with him; he's the source of a wager between the devil and the aliens, etc.).


  • He's not a bounty hunter - he's an arbiter.

    If the demons (supernatural and ritualistic in thought and behaviour) and aliens (scientific and possessed of a differing set of logic patterns)  are coexisting on Earth, they'll need an intermediary.

    Enter the last human -- both sides would just as likely want to end him, but they need him so they don't end up destroying their new home.  With the option of demonic magic and alien super-science, he may not survive all his negotiations either, but he'll be revived in some manner the next time his human brand of thinking is required.

    ~R
  • Good thought Richard.
  • Richard is on to something. A man caught between two foes, working for both of them, but only wanting his freedom.

    Why not forget the apocalypse angle and make it two races of alien invaders? And all our last human wants is to escape to the stars and a mythical planet of human explorers, ala BSG.
  • If the demons (supernatural and ritualistic in thought and behaviour) and aliens (scientific and possessed of a differing set of logic patterns)  are coexisting on Earth, they'll need an intermediary.
    Perhaps the demons are created of the Earth and cannot directly interact with the aliens, and the aliens are atheistic and therefore cannot acknowledge the demons?
  • I wholeheartedly agree with Brandon's take on the bounty hunter/detective thing, BTW.  

    Unless there's an underlying element that really distorts the notion of what a detective is in the piece, or what sort of bounty is being obtained, you're immediately driving into well worn ruts.  

    Your protagonist will usually be some sort of detective, even if they aren't aware of it.  I'd argue the accidental detective is a more interesting character than one who chose the path.

    ~R


  • Good brainstorming all. If I incorporate anything, I'll be sure and put a thank you in the credits.

    I hope to have time this week to crunch this out, and then hopefully decide on an artist soon after that. Reliability as well as talent is going to be important this time around.
  • The issue with the arbiter angle is that's pretty much the backstory of Amala's Blade, and I don't want to risk repeating myself.
  • As a writing exercise, I had the main character explain himself and the world around him, first as a monologue, then as a Q&A. I believe I worked out some things. Here's some of the free-form stuff that resulted. Check it out.

    Tentative title: DIRTY WORK AFTER THE APOCALYPSE

    The End Times.
    The demons rose up and started ... eating. Dying by the millions, humanity offered little resistance, until the aliens invaded. We looked to them as our saviors, then looked again. Barbaric slavers expected soft humans but ran up against supernatural evil.

    Planetwide destruction, and us caught in the middle. We died even faster.

    I'm untouchable. And I do their dirty work, the stuff nobody else wants to do. It's blood money at the hands of billions. But hey, it's a living.

    Right now a real nasty alien chieftain is negotiating Chicago with a demon lord. They want to co-rule. Yeah, that'll happen. Ogra is paying me a million to be sure Brikken dies, but it has to look like an accident.

    I lead three lives. I'm a demon. I'm an alien. And least important of all ... I'm myself.

    Until I lose who I am. It won't be long.

    What was I before?

    Boss of a Hollywood "creature shop?"

    Woody Allen once said "Others want to achieve immortality through their work. I'd rather achieve it through not dying."

    I got there, Mr. Allen.

    It took me a year to learn their two languages. If I hadn't been adept...

    Currency. The aliens brought their with them - pictures of their emperor - but the demons had to make new. After all, human money is as common as scrap paper if there aren't any people to spend it.

    It's got pictures of dead people on it. Wonderful.

    Why do you do this?

    So I don't die.

    Aren't you kinda ruining the good name of the human race?

    Who gives a fuck?

    Are you going to get off planet?

    Maybe.

    Ever meet a sympathetic alien / demon?

    Kids in the former case. All the demons seem equally sinister to me.

    Luckily the demons found me first. They speak Earth languages, of course. Mostly heavily accented English. It took me a year to start to learn the alien language.

    What do I want? To not die. Billions are gone. I'd rather live out my life fully and not be slaughtered and disemboweled.

    Maybe there's a few others like me who escaped the killing fields using their ingenuity.

    I think I've learned enough of the language. I've perfected this alien costume. Whatcha think? Got a synthesizer voicebox and everything so I don't have to worry about my accent.

    ------------

    If you caught it from the above, the main character survived during the initial demon uprising because he worked in a special effects creature shop in Hollywood and whipped up a costume and voice changer while the demons were breaking the door down. He fooled them completely and got away, and he's been living and working as one of them as a sort of enforcer who does the dirty work ever since, disguising himself as different demon species so he's not discovered, and learning the language of their alien opponents. Eventually, he's going to attempt to disguise himself as one of them, too. All in an attempt to stay one step ahead and stay alive, while making enough money to live on, and maybe finding more of his kind.

    The first 5 pages of the story, the pitch pages, would center on a demon who sneaks up on an alien lieutenant, shoots him in the head, arranges the scene to look like an accident, then disappears in the crowd. We catch up to him at a huge barricaded mansion in Hollywood where it's revealed that he's actually human.
  • That kind of rocks, actually. I'm really liking your main character, but I'm not particularly clear on the motivation of either the aliens or the demons. I suppose the planet is full of resources that might be of use to interstellar travelers, but what about the demons? What exactly would the aliens and demons co-rule over -- i.e. in Chicago -- if everyone is dead? 

    My favorite bit is "It's got pictures of dead people on it. Wonderful."  (I love it because human money has pictures of dead people on it, too, when you think about it.)
  • They're occupiers. The demons want to hold the planet and its resources for a thousand years (the prophecy) while the aliens are colonizing (manifest destiny). The earth has vast untapped resources. Even without a lower class to rule over, they'll make do. (Plus, now the two groups of antagonists want to subjugate and/or kill each other, so that's a big motivation.)


  • Still looking for the right artist. Again, I've got a pretty good "hit rate" for pitches, so keep that in mind. You have to be able to draw humans, monsters, noir and dark humor, but I'm not locked in to a particular style.

    Get in touch!
  • The earth's water would be useful and there's a lot of energy in the core.
  • Patricio Betteo is definitely onboard for this. Here's an example of his work, y'all:




    image
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