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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Saying Goodbye to CARTOON NETWORK ACTION PACK

As some of you know, today sees the release of Cartoon Network Action Pack #67, the final issue in the series from DC Comics.  Exactly one year ago to this very day, I was able to publicly announce that my first-ever published comic book story would be appearing in CNAP #61 and now here I am saying goodbye to the series.  Strange what can happen in twelve months, hunh?

Yes, it's the end and the moment has been prepared for.  First off, I'd like to thank my longtime friend and editor Michael McCalister for giving me the opportunity to submit a few Generator Rex story pitches that Cartoon Network seemed to like well enough to approve for full scripts.  I'm fortunate to have a number of loyal and dependable friends that truly mean the world to me, and time and time again, Michael proves that just by being Michael.  If you're a friend of his, you should know precisely what I'm talking about here.

I admit that I wasn't much of a Generator Rex fan before submitting those pitches, but I did a considerable amount of internet research and watched a number of episodes thanks to Time Warner Cable's On Demand service in order to get a handle on the characters before writing my first script.  "Night of the Living Movie," which appeared in Cartoon Network Action Pack #61, was actually my second pitch but I'm glad it was my first story to work on.  I learned quite a bit about the importance of things like word balloon placement along with panel layout, so I really appreciated Michael's patience during this initial learning curve.  As for the story itself, I thought it would be fun to see Rex duking it out with an EVO in a movie theater, then built the idea of a sort-of double date around that, featuring Rex and his best friend Noah Nixon meeting a couple of cute girls named Annika and Xan.  The girls were named in tribute to two other friends of mine, Annika Gibson and Xan Sprouse, and I was very relieved to later find out that they both liked their younger comic book counterparts.

My second story published, "Unhappy Holiday," appeared in Cartoon Network Action Pack #66 even though it was my fourth script, commissioned specifically for the 2011 holiday issue.  The issue didn't end up arriving in stores until January because CNAP was shifted to a bi-monthly release schedule.  For a long time, I had the idea of "Die Hard in a shopping mall" rattling around my head, so it seemed like an amusing enough story premise for Generator Rex.  I continued my running theme of pairing Rex with a different supporting character, this time with Dr. Rebecca Holiday, and worked several in-jokes into the story, including (understandably sanitized) Die Hard references, a Star Wars reference, and even the name of this very officially official blog.

Unfortunately, due to CNAP's impending cancellation, my remaining two Generator Rex stories were never published even though (thankfully) I was paid for writing them.  The first, "Fezzes are Cool," was even solicited for CNAP #67 but ended up being replaced with a different story for production reasons.  Hey, these things happen.

It's a shame, because this was the one I most wanted to see in print and I was absolutely thrilled when Michael sent me the pencilled artwork for review.  This story would've seen Rex and Bobo Haha travelling all the way to Morocco to replace Bobo's fez hat that gets destroyed early on.  And if you're a Doctor Who fan, as I am, you can probably guess that this story would've had a number of in-jokes as well...


Ah, what could have been...  The other unpublished story, "Firebirds of Prey," was going to be my nod to Battle of the Planets, one of my favorite animated series as a kid, and Japanese giant monster movies.  This time, Rex would've been paired with Agent Six to investigate reports of EVO activity in Osaka, Japan.  There they'd encounter a team of teenaged EVOs called the Firebirds and everyone would then team up to battle a giant bat-like EVO.  Yeah, tell me that wouldn't be all kinds of crazy awesome.

So now my time on Generator Rex comics is over, for now at least, but I'd also like to thank artists Mike Bowden and Adam Archer as well as the various inkers, colorists and letterers for giving life to my stories.  It was an amazing feeling to check out each page as Michael sent them and see my words visually depicted through someone else's imagination.  I hope that sensation never gets old.  Oh, and many, many thanks to everyone who read my stories in CNAP #61 and #66 and took the time to tell me that they enjoyed them, or just shared their love of Generator Rex. 

And now, let's see what the future holds...

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