Tuesday, January 03, 2006

The Not-So-Secret History of Monster Island

My friend Adam and I went to elementary school together. Then junior high, then high school. Different colleges, but we stayed in the same crappy band until graduation. I went to work in magazines, he went to work for MTV. We both really wanted to be screenwriters but found ourselves on career paths that allowed us to see the objective, but wouldn’t let us merge to the exit (“Can’t. Get. Left.”).

He eventually moved to LA and, as all people do when they move to LA, met someone who dangled an intriguing opportunity: she was a producer who had a deal with an animation company and they were looking for material. So I rooted around in my Ideas folder and found this snippet:

“There's an island, somewhere in the Pacific, that's a gleaming metropolitan paradise. Lapuatu has all the best a city-nation could offer: the finest restaurants, a thriving nightlife, respected museums, luxury beach resorts, impressive live performances, etc. The people are beautiful and friendly. The economy is good. It is, in a word, perfect.

Except for the giant monsters.”

Didn’t have much more than that. I just liked the idea of a place that was so beautiful, so idyllic, that people would stay there despite all the bad stuff that happens on a regular basis. Like Sunnydale. Or California. (Why those poor sods stay in Tornado Alley is something else entirely. My guess: they're broke.)

Adam and I then sparked to the concept of the people who would make such an island possible. The clean-up crew. The guys who, day in and day out, keep a place like this running. Then, we decided to make it a workplace sitcom. Like Cheers, but set in the office of the Lapuatu Urgency Network. Complete with the wacky love triangle between the hero, the girl, and the Godzooki-like monster who so resented the other monsters who always picked on him he decided to play for the other team. We called it Monster Island.

We never got to pitch it to the producer. Because, more often than not, that’s just how things wind up in Hollywood. Unrealized.

But that same summer, I went to the 2005 San Diego Comic Con, with an inkling that it might be my last year going as a journalist. Had a brew-ha-ha and a moo-ha-ha (beer and a burger) with Larry Young. Ran a few ideas across his frontal lobe. He sparked to a couple, and settled on a revamped, big-budget-y, widescreen, action-oriented Monster Island. (I kind of always saw it as an action movie, because that’s pretty much my wheelhouse.)

Larry saw it as a 96-page original graphic novel. Awesome. Shouldn’t be too hard to bang out; it’s just as long as a screenplay, and we’ve written those.

Ha fucking ha.

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