As fans, we just weren't getting what we needed. Something was missing. Something was wrong. And, of course, we knew how to fix it. Our collective knowledge, built upon thousands of hours of movie/cartoon watching, reading comics, and playing video games gave us (at least in our minds) the perfect resume. So we put foot to ass and decided to create some of our own stories.
Comics was the easist way to go because, in our infinite wisdom, it seemed easy. You write a story, someone draws it, and you have an instant comic. Oh how little did we know. In hindsight, I can see that the concepts we created were born from the same comics, television shows, movies, and video games that we were obsessing over at the time. Chris created Watchers, a Buffy: The Vampire Slayer-esque WB teen drama. Andre created Black Dragon, a gritty, urban hero that was a cross between Batman and The Punisher.
And I created Drifter.
At the time, I was really into John Woo. I'd never seen anything quite like A Better Tomorrow, Hard Boiled, or The Killer in American cinema. So I read up on Woo and found that one of his influences was a director named Sam Peckinpah.
In an attempt to connect the dots, I watched The Wild Bunch, The Getaway, Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia, and Straw Dogs. The Wild Bunch struck the biggest cord. Even though I'd become quite the movie buff, I'd always felt that Westerns were lame so I'd never really allowed myself to watch any of them. But The Wild Bunch was different. So I kept connecting the dots and ran into Sergio Leone.
A Fistful of Dollars. For A Few Dollars More. The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly. Once Upon A Time In The West.
Eventually, I'd round off my Western education with some Clint Eastwood, mainly Pale Rider and Unforgiven.
During this time, I was also discovering the world of animation.
I was watching the Batman and Superman animated series’ religiously.
They paved the way for the Fleischer Superman cartoons.
And I was starting to get into anime thanks to Giant Robo, Ninja Scroll, and Robotech.
Animation became a viable art form, capable of maturity and inventiveness beyond the after school and Saturday morning cartoons I’d watched as a kid.
So it should come as no surprise that my idea for a comic was Drifter - a gritty western revenge tale filled with violence and bloodshed, set in the backdrop of a barren wastelend…and told in an animated style with cinematic pacing.
With concept in hand, it was off to the drawing board.