I don’t usually talk about dead projects…most of the time my thoughts are that a project is never dead, simply delayed to be resurrected at some later date. Not long ago, though, I talked to Rich Handley, who was putting together a compendium of Planet of the Apes material, and as I had participated in playing in that world via the PoTA: Blood of the Apes mini-series I did with artists Darren Goodhart and Bruce McCorkindale, he wanted to talk to me not just about BoTA, but asked to see if I had any “unpublished” Apes stories.
I did, of course.
I hesitated to give them to him because, as I said, I don’t think a story idea is gone until…well, until it’s gone (no comments from you, Hank Kanalz!). In the back of my mind, I think I’ll simply revise it—change the apes to cats or some such, and viola! New story. I did tell him though, though, and you can check out the finished book here.
But that made me think of one project that is not likely to go anywhere at all, a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles story. Yep, TMNT!
The project happened because my artist buddy Ken Branch, who was primarily inking back…well, a few years back now, had a contact with the TMNT publishers. He pitched the idea for me to come up with a story, our pal Steven Butler to pencil it, and he’d ink it. A ready made creative team.
Well, y’all know that I like to be Southern-centric when I can, so I thought I’d bring the Turtles to the South. The story opens with boys on a paddle-boat chugging along the Mississippi River. They’re on a vacation and find themselves in Vicksburg, Mississippi where they visit the Civil War battlefield and end up fighting some alligator mutants as well as some armadillo mutants. Not a complicated story, but one with some history and some humor. For you non-Southerners, ask a Reb you know how most of us ever see armadillos.
Well, I finished up the story synopsis and Steven did a page…and then the TMNT publishers stopped taking outside creators to work on it.
So it sat…for years.
Recently, when IDW began publishing TMNT material, I contacted Steven and asked if he still had any interest. He did…I resubmitted. But no go—seems the Turtles’ origin is no longer compatible with the story…and as the editor who responded didn’t open the door to revisions…well, it’s a dead project.
For your eyeball pleasure, though, here’s a good scan of Steven’s page with the boys facing off against Armadillo!
It would have been fun.