Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Hickman on Guys in Loincloths

OK, so again, where was I in the grand story of "Troy Hickman's Non-Existence in Comic Land"? Oh, yeah, I had just gotten a write-up in Wizard for Holey Crullers, which is the equivalent of a nocturnal emission for a mini-comics publisher (actually, mini-comics publishers don't need equivalents for nocturnal emissions, but I digress).

So there I was, basking in something my addled brain was letting me think was fame, when I got a phone call from someone claiming to be Fabian Nicieza, head of Acclaim Comics. I was just about to tell the obvious faker to kiss my rosy red backside when it became apparent that it wasn't a gag. Fabian was interested in having me do some work for Acclaim. Wha---?

Before I could say "Velociraptor," I had a gig on a Turok one-shot. I was thrilled, not just because it was the first somewhat "mainstream" character on which I'd had a chance to work, but because the synchronicity of it seemed right; one of the very first comics I'd ever owned was a Gold Key Turok comic from the mid-sixties, with a cover featuring Turok and his pal on a raft being attacked by some damned giant gar or somesuch (I still have it around here somewhere).

It was an interesting assignment, given the particulars. I was told that it needed to feature Turok, obviously, as well as Adon, a female character who played a pivotal role in the previous Turok one-shot, and who was also included in the video game that the comic was supposed to help launch.

The only problem was that I wasn't that familiar with the "new" Turok, so I had to bone up on the character. In doing so, I found out he wasn't my father's Oldsmobile. Gone was the prehistoric Indian who went after dinos with his trusty knife. The current Turok was able to pull weapons galore out of his bag o' tricks, ala Felix the Cat. It was an interesting switch, but one that gave me a bit of trouble at first. In one memorable phone conversation, Fabian was puzzled as to why I had Turok pull a slingshot out of his bag when he could've accessed a plasma rifle or a photon cannon. Oops. (I tend to pull boneheaded moves like that occasionally, though, like when I wrote a Green Lantern Corps story that editor Kevin Dooley liked, except for the fact that I had GL form a giant umbrella...for like the 956th time in comic history!)

I wanted it to be my own take on Turok, though, not just one more big guns vs. dinosaurs epic, so I hit on a solution: I made the damned thing a love story. Turok and Adon would fall for each other, but in the end, it would be a tragedy beyond Shakespearean proportions.

And the Acclaim team dug it. So they gave it to artist Ryan Benjamin to draw, they stuck on a painted cover by fan favorite David Mack (though, I have to ask, don't you think his Turok on the cover bears a strange resemblence to Val Kilmer?), and they sent it to press. And voila! My first color comic project.

Of course, it was a one-shot, so it wasn't a regular gig. And it was magazine-sized, so a lot of shops didn't have room for it on the stands. And they probably only printed up 5000-10000 copies total. OK, so it wasn't Secret Wars, but dammit, it was a big, colorful comic with my name on it!

And they even made an action figure of Adon, a character I hadn't created, but had largely fleshed out and brought to life.

And Acclaim liked it enough to offer me more work, including one of the three issues in their big company crossover that was going to restructure the whole Acclaim Universe.

And, as with 98% of everything else in my life, the gig went south. They eventually lined up Jim "Little Fucks" Shooter to script the event, and truth be told, I never even bothered to read the thing.

Unfortunately, a short time later, Acclaim was no more, at least not as a comic book publisher.

But I'd had my fling with them, and I'd gotten my name out there a bit more, and I'd worked on a character that at least comic book fans had heard of. And that was something.

Something that would have to tide me over for the next four years...

Next: Whatever Happened to Roy Hobbs?


  1. I love you man. Turok? No way. No effing way. That is a comic I love to love to hate. Its absolutely awful and absolutely absurd, but that makes it so frickin' great. Indians and dinosaurs and aliens and Ak-47s? Its like an orgy from some uncreative teen's sketchbook. So gravy. Although the second game sucked shit through a funnel, I still have a copy of your issue tucked away in storage somewhere. God, I would kill to write for Turok. I remember I got wicked depressed when Adon was all "Now I must destroy you" and Turoks all "I want to see you naked". God. I love you man. This is awesome. You are awesome.

  2. Troy, he nerdgasmed ALL OVER YOU.

    Here, have a washcloth.

  3. interesting stuff .. i used to love the video games when i was a kid.


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