If you're a regular reader of my blog (as millions are), you've no doubt heard me blathering on about the first time I saw Star Wars and the huge impact it had on my life. Well, it's true. It did.
Star Wars became my gateway drug, so to speak, and I soon started reading as many science fiction and fantasy novels I could get my hands on. Dune, Foundation, The Lord Of The Rings– you name it, I read it. I particularly liked author Larry Niven and his Known Space series.
Naturally it wasn't long before I started thinking, "Hey, I could write something like this," which soon turned to, "Hey, I could write something better than this!"
I started planning out this whole little universe, complete with extraterrestrial races, strange planets and even alien languages (!). Yes, I was quite the nerd.
It was all horribly derivative of course, as I took bits and pieces from Frank Herbert, Robert Heinlein, Frederik Pohl, Isaac Asimov and more and made my own Franken-series. Looking back, it was embarrassingly awful and had a less than zero chance of ever being published, but I had a lot of fun working on it.
I filled up a ton of sketchbooks with drawings and notes about my series. I'm hesitant to actually post anything from that period, as the art was really, reeeeeeally bad. But in the interest of full disclosure, here you go. I told you it was bad.
The two main characters in my series were both aliens (human characters are so mundane) called, sigh... Dag and Wallas. Where'd I get those names? Well, you'll have to ask Twenty Year Old Bob about that. Dag was this short, furry alien that looked like of like a weird dog walking on its hind legs. Personality-wise he was pretty much Han Solo. He even owned his own spaceship, and made a space living as a space smuggler. And he didn't wear pants!
Wallas was his silent, Chewbacca-like sidekick who was an eight foot tall tree-like alien, and was no doubt inspired by the Ents from The Lord Of The Rings. I told you it was derivative.
I had a whole series of books planned out; each would be a separate adventure but with an overall story arc. What was this story arc, you ask? Various solar systems in the galaxy are exploding for no apparent reason, and Dag and Wallas want to know why.
Eventually they find out the reason for the explosions: the Galaxy isn't just a collection of solar systems and cosmic dust bound together by gravity. It's alive. A living entity. And it's detonating solar systems on one of its sides in order to propel it toward... a neighboring galaxy. Wow, cosmic, man. What will happen when it reaches its neighbor? Will they fight? Mate? Or just say howdy? Who can say? Yeah, I told you it was terrible.
Could a galaxy really sail across the universe by detonating parts of itself? I'm betting the answer is a resounding no, but it sure sounded like a cool idea to Twenty Year Old Bob.
I don't have any really good images of Dag and Wallas, as over the years they've been lost to the mists of time. So I took the liberty of recreating them here. Hopefully my drawing skills are a bit better now than they were back in the 1980s.
Hmm. These two characters of mine remind me of something, but I can't quite think of what it could be...
Oh yeah. Now I remember. They're pretty much dead ringers for Rocket Raccoon and Groot, from the upcoming Guardians Of The Galaxy film. Look at 'em! They're practically identical! One's short, furry and aggressive and the other's a tall, serene plant thing. They couldn't be more like my characters if they tried. Damn you, Marvel!!!
Ah well. I came up with these characters in 1980. I've had 'em for over three decades. If I haven't done anything with them by now, I'm probably never going to, so I'll let it go. You win this round, Marvel Cinematic Universe.