BLUEDEVIL No. 1
"How to Trap a Devil!"
|Writers/Co-Creators:||Gary Cohn & Dan Mishkin|
While filming a horror movie called [Blue Devil], actress [Sharon Scott] accidentally releases an ancient demon of incredible power, name of [Nebiros], that has designs on eating the film crew. The stuntman and special effects wizard for the film, [Dan Cassidy], dons his Blue Devil costume—which augments his strength and agility by many magnitudes--and brings the fight to Nebiros, eventually succeeding in driving it back to its home dimension. In the course of the battle Dan is, however, zapped by a mystic blast which seals him inside the costume.
Dan Cassidy: Story of my life...I may be a whiz kid when it comes to gimmicks and gizmos, but I'm sure no genius in the love department! Here I'm head over heels about Sharon and I can't even get up the nerve to tell her! Some Hollywood hotshot I turned out to be.
Nebiros: Nebiros wants the creature that freed him! Nebiros wants to thank it!
Marla: You hear that? How do you think it's going to "thank" Sharon?
Blue Devil: But the effects built into this costume aren't really much more than glorified fireworks!
Marla: Plus twenty times normal strength!
Blue Devil: Okay, Marla, you win--but don't forget I get paid extra for hazardous stunts!
Marla: Keep those cameras rolling!
Nebiros: But why do you oppose Nebiros, little brother?
Blue Devil: (thinking) Brother? I don't remember seeing him at the table last Thanksgiving!
Nebiros: Eh? You are quick, little brother...but Nebiros's raking claws are faster!
Blue Devil: Aw, you're just mad 'cause mom always liked me best!
Norm: I'm okay...just a little shaken up...
Marla: Good! You can keep running the cameras then!
Norm: Girl, you are one tough cookie!
Marla: You're a pretty tough old bird yourself, Norm...but if you call me "girl" again, you're fired!
Norm: Keep 'em rolling, boys! This is gonna make "Poltergeist" look like home movies of my old man taking a nap!
Remember when this was the way comic book series used to start? Instant gratification--there's no wasting time. By the end of the issue you know everything you need to know about the world in which these characters exist, you've seen the hero fight the enemy, you've seen him get the girl, and you've been presented with the central character crisis as it will develop throughout the series. And on top of that it's a heap of fun. It was tempting to quote the entire issue for the memorable quotes section. I had to contain myself not to get carried away.<digression>
I had this idea a few months back--and this has probably been done many times before, but bear with me a moment--for a comic book character who is heroic but also pretty regularly has the living bejeezus scared out of him. My thinking was that in the world of heroes, there really isn't much room for human emotionl frailty. I'm not sure I'm phrasing that correctly. Example: one of my favorite moments in any James Bond movie is in Doctor No when Honey and Bond lock hands on their way to see the Doctor. She comments that his palms are sweating, and he says something to the effect of, "Of course. Don't you think I'm as scared as you are?" It's just a great little moment in what could otherwise be a routine spy adventure. What I'm saying in my extremely roundabout way is that I feel it to be a good thing for a hero to be afraid of dying. It makes his struggle more convincing. The more afraid he is the better. And with conventional heros you just don't get much of that. They are all for the most part stoically cool customers, who think lucidly and act decisively in battle, and never have nightmares and cold sweats about their near scrapes with death--or at least...we don't hear about them if they do. Nobody in real life is like this. Does post traumatic stress syndrome exist in the superhero universe? How come none of these heros are ever shown vomitting up their lunch because they're so nervous? Because it's not heroic? Says you.
That all being said, I want to commend Cohn and Mishkin on two things in this particular issue. First of all, that Dan is deathly afraid of Nebiros. We get a couple of thought balloons to this point--I only wish a bit more had been made of it. Also, Wayne Tarrant, who considers himself a total coward, does what's right, risking his life in spite of his fear. That's exactly what I had in mind--a guy who, even though he's shaking in his boots, does the heroic thing almost despite himself. What a fantastic character. I wish Wayne had always been this interesting throughout the series.
I would love to see a series that focused on a character like Wayne as he becomes progressively more heroic, but never losing that fundamental chickenshitness. Has that been done before? A series devoted to a plain human supporting cast member? Well, there was SUPERMAN'S PAL JIMMY OLSEN, come to think of it. There have probably been others. But I'd do it a bit different. A Jimmy Olsen series, or even, say, a Rick Jones series has all of the baggage of the iconic characters to whom they play second fiddle. In order to do this right, the "hero" character should be an unknown. Created for the purpose of the series. He'd be a supporting character. And the main character shouldn't exactly be a willing participant as much as he is just a guy who gets drawn, against his will, into all manner of crazy circumstances as a consequence of his proximity to a superhero. The protagonist should not be conventionally admirable. Hell, even Jimmy Olsen has something of the swashbuckler about him. My guy would be pathetic enough to challenge the audience's notions of what constitutes a hero. Think about it. And if you're an editor at any of the comic book publishers, drop me a line and I'd be happy to write this for you. I also had an idea for a character whose ability, if you will, was nothing more than an extremely effective survival instinct. I'd probably combine the two ideas into a single character. Makes him more believable from a logic standpoint.</digression>
Also, Marla Bloom, what can I say? She's marvelous. I love that her first thought upon the arrival of Nebiros is, "keep those cameras rolling." Tough cookie, indeed.
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