Thursday, December 22, 2005

Superboy




Being overwhelmingly swamped with work and holiday preparations, I decided to post another old comic book pitch onto the blog because it's faster and easier than thinking of something semi-interesting to write.

Back in 2001, DC Comics was looking for a new direction for their Superboy comic. At the time, I was the inker on the book and was pretty up to date with the continuity. A different editor at DC, one that I'm friendly with, helpfully suggested that I try to enlist a co-writer and pitch something together so that I'd have a chance to be taken more seriously.

Geoff Johns, who at the time was still cutting his teeth in comics, agreed to pitch something with me. I remember we had a few conversations on the phone and then I went off and wrote this, Geoff thought it was good to go, and we threw it to the Superboy editor.

It all amounted to a hill of beans. Even having Geoff on board, the pitch was never even read by the Superboy editor. The book was given to the writing due of Jimmy Palmiotti and Dan Didio (whatever happened to that guy, anyway?), I was fired off the book to make room for a new art team, and the rest is history.

However, this pitch is noteworthy because it contains ONE BIG ASS IDEA. Luckily, Geoff was eventually able to put it into play elsewhere and it's become an important story in the context of the DC Universe.

Enjoy and Happy Holidays. Catch you on the flipside of Christmas.

SUPERBOY: THE FAMILY TREE
Prestige one shot
By
Keith Champagne and Geoff Johns
5-23-01
With the 100th issue of SUPERBOY fast approaching, the timing couldn’t be better to shake things up for Superboy. To redefine the character in a way which opens up intriguing new possibilities and directions for future creative teams to explore.

SUPERBOY: THE FAMILY TREE is a story that will make fundamental changes to the character of Superboy; changes that will make him the black sheep of the SUPERMAN family, adding a layer of tension to his relationship with Superman. Changes that will force Kon-El to reevaluate the way he thinks of himself, giving him a long-term inner conflict to resolve, as well as an immediate goal to accomplish.

CHARACTERS
SUPERBOY- For years, Kon-El has known that he’s an amalgam of Superman and Paul Westfield, a mixture of Kryptonian and human DNA. Superboy has long ago come to terms with the fact that he’s cloned from an evil man. He’s overcome his genetically tainted beginnings and established himself as a first rate hero in the DC Universe.
Or so he thinks…

AMANDA SPENCE- last seen explosively decompressing in space, Amanda is back with a vengeance. She’s come up with an ingenious plan to bring her father, Paul Westfield, back to life; a plan that will turn Superboy’s world upside down.

DEATHSTROKE THE TERMINATOR- The deadliest mercenary in the DC Universe has just been hired to capture Superboy. He doesn’t plan to fail.

ARMAGEDDON- cloned by Amanda Spence when her plan for Superboy goes awry, Armageddon is also an amalgam of Kryptonian and human DNA. In this case, a teenager created from the DNA of DOOMSDAY and LEX LUTHOR, implanted with the mind and memories of Paul Westfield.

LEX LUTHOR- what secret connection does an unsuspecting Lex share with Superboy?
(I've deleted an additional character name/potential wrinkle here in case Geoff ever decides to use it in Titans)

STORY
Amanda Spence has an idea: if Superboy was cloned using her Father’s DNA, she, in turn, could clone her father using Superboy’s DNA. In fact, the same memory implant and accelerated growth technology featured in the ‘Our World’s at War’ storyline would make it a breeze to restore her father to life.

Amanda hires Deathstroke the Terminator to capture Superboy, and for once, the deadliest mercenary in the DCU actually completes a job successfully. Having acquired Superboy, Spence sets her plan in motion. She culls Westfield’s DNA from The Kid’s human/kryptonian mix and begins to grow herself a new father.

Imagine the surprise of everyone involved when, after accelerating the new Westfield’s growth a few years, she realizes that the clone looks nothing at all like her father. There’s only one possible answer: Superboy wasn’t actually cloned from Westfield.

Superboy takes advantage of the resulting confusion to escape, but he’s left with one gigantic question: Whom is he really cloned from?

Kon-El enlists Serling Roquette to help him find out. Together, they confront the one man who may be able to provide answers: Dabney Donovan. The insane geneticist taunts Superboy with a list of names he may have been created from: Guardian, Lex Luthor, Bruce Wayne, Hal Jordan, or The Joker. Donovan also drops an additional bomb: (Deleted plot point here, sorry.)
In the meantime, a distraught Amanda Spence searches through her father’s belongings, desperately trying to find anything that will help salvage her ruined plans. What she finds is a vial containing a scrap of bone belonging to Doomsday. Her twisted mind quickly forms a plan to kill Superboy once and for all.

Superboy and Roquette are on the move. They travel around the DCU, obtaining and testing DNA samples of the various suspects. Some, like Guardian, are easy. Others, like The Joker, are terrifying. Still others, like Lex Luthor, are almost impossible. Nevertheless, one by one the various suspects are eliminated until only two remain: Lex and Bruce Wayne.

Simultaneously, Amanda Spence has completed her newest creation. She’s combined Doomsday’s DNA with the cell sample she culled from Superboy, creating a being she’s named Armageddon. On top of that, she’s implanted her father’s warped mind and memories into Armageddon, bringing Westfield back to life in a new, incredibly powerful body.

Serling performs the last two tests while Superboy anxiously awaits the results, which is when Armageddon chooses to strike. Kon-El is completely overwhelmed and outmatched. Ironically, it’s only the DNA results that save Superboy’s life. When the test confirms that Superboy was cloned from Luthor, Armageddon chooses to let Kon-El live, to suffer before being put out of his misery.

Superboy is rocked by the information. Westfield was a minnow compared to a shark like Luthor. How will Superman react, and is there any hope for Kon-El to grow into a hero when at his core, he may be evil through and through?

A few days later, a nervous Superboy meets with Luthor. Throughout their conversation, Kon-El desperately searches for a shred of decency in Lex; even the smallest bit of good in Luthor’s black soul would give Superboy hope that, possibly, Lex’s evil wouldn’t taint him.

Finding none, Superboy chooses not to disclose his secret to Luthor. Instead, he begins to search for (deleted), who may be his only hope for salvation.

1 comment:

Chris Yeoman said...

Awesome Keith! They really need to give you more writing freedom!