I’ve been teasing this GunEngine Zero project for a while now so let’s finally get into it. What I will be doing in the upcoming winter months is detailing the development process of the project. So, for people that like that kind of stuff, strap in. For everyone else, just enjoy the pretty pictures.
A LONG TIME AGO IN A GALAXY RIGHT HERE..
Growing up in the early 80s, most kids had Star Wars for their sci-fi fix. But not me. (Not that I hate Star Wars but I just wasn’t really that into it.)
What I was into was robot/mecha stuff, especially those from Japan. I don’t remember the first property I was exposed to but I do remember shows like StarBlazers, Gatchaman (aka Battle of the Planets aka G-Force) and Shogun Warriors. In the following years, I came upon more things like Ultraman, Gundam, Voltron and Robotech.
I even had the huge toy you see in the pic above. It shot rockets out of one hand and I thought it was the coolest damn thing EVER! I was so excited to share it with my kindergarten classmates for show-and-tell but the teacher completely deflated all my excitement when she said it was dangerous and it could shoot out a kid’s eye.
Maybe this is why I feel such a kinship with Ralphie from A Christmas Story.
Anyway, that’s where my lifelong fascination with robots/mecha began and it is the inspirational spark for what eventually became GunEngine Zero.
Skip ahead to many years later, when I was living in China and thinking about taking another stab at the comic book industry, I had read something Mark Millar wrote about his attempts to get his foot in the door at Marvel. What he did was think of obscure Marvel characters that he could write pitches for. I believe his rationale was that if Marvel wasn’t really using the characters at the time, they might be more inclined to letting him “play” with them.
So, I thought if that strategy worked for him, then maybe it could work for me. I picked three characters/properties and started to develop rebooted versions of each. The three I chose were Team America (the group of motorcycle riders, not the Trey Parker and Matt Stone movie), Cloak and Dagger (this was before the Freeform TV show came out) and ROM: Spaceknight (this was before I discovered that it had already been rebooted by IDW). I just picked these because they were characters I had liked in my childhood and I had immediately come up with ideas that I thought would make for interesting takes on them.
While developing these concepts, I was able to get my hands on some digital copies of the original Marvel run of ROM to refresh my memory of the character. My initial takeaway was that some aspects of the story were fairly silly. So if I were to do a reboot of it, I would embrace that absurdity by turning it up to 11.
I only ended up writing a general outline of my rebooted version of ROM before I realized that it would be a waste of my time to go beyond that. I faced the fact that I would never be commissioned to work for Marvel so the best path for me was to instead develop my own properties.
But I liked the basic concept that I had come up with and I didn’t want to trash it. So, like other scripts I had written for Mark Millar’s Hit-Girl and Huck, I reworked it as a new, unique character that only vaguely resembled the initial inspiration. At this point, the concept was titled T.O.M. from Outerspace, T.O.M. being an acronym for “total obliteration mechanism”.
I worked on the concept off-and-on for awhile before eventually asking artist Steve Myers if he would be interested in helping me design the main character. We went back and forth trying to nail down TOM’s look (which is based on motorcycle racing helmet and leathers) before Steve decided he was no longer interested in working on the project.
So, it again sat dormant for a while until I asked another artist (who goes by the name of “Moonee”) to see if he could help me nail down TOM’s design and he eventually produced what you see below. The only thing I wasn’t too keen on was the shape of TOM’s head. It looks very cat-like to me and not quite like the motorcycle racing helmet I had envisioned.
Once again, TOM was shelved for a while as I worked on other projects. But since Neotheric didn’t seem like it had any chance of continuing, I asked artist Andrey Portilla if he would be interested in working on TOM.
He tried his hand at character sketches and a pinup for several months before finally sending me some samples.
But Andrey confessed to me that he was having a hard time visualizing the character/project, for whatever reason, and it would be best for him to drop out.
So as I continued to write the scripts and fine-tune the concept to move away from being just a reimagining of a preexisting character/story, I had to again search for an artist to bring it to life.
And that’s where we’ll pick up in the next newsletter.
~ Michael T Gonzalez
GO-GO A NO-GO?
The “a la carte” Indiegogo campaign is sputtering along and will close on October 16th. This could be your last chance to pick up a copy (or extra copy) of these first printings so don’t hesitate. Click the pic above to go straight to the campaign page.
Also note that you can get my daughter’s two mini-comics. They come as a set. Once again, I’ll be matching however many of her books are sold and donating them to Comic Books For Kids!, which is a charity that gives comics, coloring books, Funkos and other cool stuff to kids in hospitals and cancer centers.
When I was younger I used to doodle a lot because I had delusions of becoming a professional artist. So, this is basically the graveyard of my dreams. Enjoy!
With all the talk about Japanese robot/mecha, I figured I’d share this artwork I made 20 years ago. This is “Khyron the Backstabber” from Robotech. One of my favorite villains from one of my favorite shows of all time.
T-SHIRTS ON STORE FRONTIER
Click the image above to go directly to the store!
I’ve uploaded a bunch of t-shirt designs to Store Frontier that you might want to check out. I’ve tried Red Bubble, Teepublic and Teespring but they always had problems. Either the shirts weren’t printed correctly or the quality of the shirts were poor. I ordered one of the “Rainy Road logo” shirts for myself and the printing looks good and the fabric is nice. And they have sizes up to 3XL. If you have particular designs or colors (because they only allow me to set 3 colors per design) you’d like to see offered, hit me up and I can see what I can do.
If we can reach 100 subscribers to this newsletter, I’ll start giving away random stuff, like comics (or sets of comics), posters, sticker sets, artwork (Oh, my!)
So tell your family, your friends, your enemies, your pets, your pet’s enemies and your social media followers to visit rainyroadmedia.com and sign up for the newsletter.
The more the merrier!