DICK RUBY AND THE CASE OF LITTLE GREEN MEN - PAGE 1
I can't remember what all I suggested to Matt. All I remember was his reaction. "Dick Ruby, we have to start with that." I asked why (admittedly, it was the one that grabbed me the most, but I was interested to see why he liked the idea). He paused, looked up and said the full title out loud slowly. "It's. Just. Sounds. Sooooooo. (long pause) Pulpy." I realized, I had him with the title. It was a good start, and my partner was clearly excited. Maybe this would work if I didn't screw it up.
I knew two things when I started. First, I wanted to begin at the end and have Dick tell the story so I could have a first person narrative. It would echo a style of storytelling that is frequently associated with the noir genre. Second, I wanted a "saga cell" for the series. It seems that lots of pulp novels either left the main figure rather mysterious or they hit you with everything at once instead of portioning out the backstory. (Fans of James Bond will notice the rather fun send up of the villain backstory with Dr. Evil in one of Mike Myers "
Powers" films). I figured I would do it in a compact-all-at-once-way. I went broad and over the top with the
dramatics (to stay true to the form) and I think it worked well. I got in all
the bits I wanted to establish in a pretty clean way. I wanted to establish
that Dick is smart - college educated - not a generic working class "deez,
dem and doz" Austin
stereotype. He needed to be physical (an athlete), and hardened by life (combat
veteran who has had to adapt to a different life path). Since it was a weekly
comic, I needed a hook that would bring back readers a week later, each page
had to have some kind of cliffhanger element. I went real big on that. I figure
once you see the title you are either in or out at that point, so I figured I
should stay true to the genre and go over the top. (How do you know it's over
the top? If you can't help but do the musical effect of "bum-bum-bum"
in your head.)