Last week"Welcome To Eltingville" creator Evan Dorkin talkedabout the inspiration for The Eltingville Club and the process ofbringing the caustic strip to animated life. This week Comics2Filmpresents part II of that interview. Dorkin talks about what the future holds forthe TV show and the comics.
Comics2Film(C2F): "WelcomeTo Eltingville" is the pilot episode for your show. What do you haveplanned if it gets picked up as a series?
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Evan Dorkin(ED): First I wake up. Then I get drunk and pass out again.
If it got picked up I actually have about 20 plots, which surprised the hellout of me. I wasn't sure if this thing could make a series. Honest to God Iwasn't sure. It's not false humility. I was like, "how many more plots do Ihave with these guys?"
It turned out I have a lot.
I would love it if the network gave me a chance to do five more, a smallmini-series. I feel like the pilot sets up a lot and now that that's all donewith we can just flip out on the next few plots. I have episodes that are fulldream sequences based on the fear of...well, I won't get into that one.
I'd really like to do one where the group always goes to the Renaissance fairupstate every year and this year Josh breaks off from the group to go to KlingonCamp. There's a big fight between them over that. And the Klingon Camp is rightnext store to the Renaissance fair and apparently there's been bad blood betweenthe two camps over the years and it culminates in a Klingon vs. Elf war.
Andthere's jousting on...what are those things scooters that they sell on TV?The Buddies. Old, very overweight comics retailers with jousting sticks on thoselittle cripple scooters...Klingons siccing dogs...I'd be able to show everythingI hate about the Klingon sub-culture and the Renaissance Fair sub-culture beforethey do get into their final, stupid war which gets them all arrested and burnsdown half of upstate New York. I think there're a lot of possibilities for thatone.
There's another one where Bill's mother throws out a small, innocuous pieceof an action figure that looks like garbage. They scour the neighborhood to findit and eventually they end up in the world's largest dump to look for thisthing. The group learns about the fabled, untouched pile of garbage from thefifties. This is all based on the Statton Island dump which is the world'slargest landfill. So the characters get into this "Treasure f the SierraMadres" deal where they end up in the hot sun in the world's largestlandfill for a day and a half looking for this fabled garbage dump, thismountain of gold treasure. They start to hallucinate and go insane from eatingthe food they find and meet other scavengers in there, other comics retailerswho are looking for stuff.
That's just two of the more over-the-top ones.
There's one about the million-fan march in Washington where they elect thenew head of world fandom.
They attempt to do a class-action lawsuit against parents who throw kidscomics out and try to sue them for the value that they're worth now.
I'd add some more of the strips. I'd love to do the"Marathon Men" from thestrip. Some of these things would only make maybe an act or two. I want toexpand "The Two-Headed Fanboy" which is a three-panel joke I did in Dork, I could use that as a dream episode with Josh and hisinner-adult trying to get out of him.
C2F: I likedthe deprogramming strip that you did in the most recent issue.
ED: Right! I would love to do that.
I told them I was doing that strip. In adream world, if we actually got a season or a few episodes, I would love to dothe adaptation of the strip where Bill's mother hires deprogrammers, former fans,to basically kidnap him and try to do a fandom intervention (like its areligion). He is so twisted and insane that he turns them back into crazed fanswho give up their jobs and girlfriends and hygiene and start collecting again. Ofcourse they steal his collection as a start.
I was pretty happy with that strip. The art's not thatgreat; I got a littlerushed on it. But part of the whole deal with Eltingville is to be manic andcrazed. I try to reflect that in the art.
Hopefully we caughtthat in the show. Of course the show's not as mean. Foryour average cartoon it's pretty manic and the characters are pretty desperate,pretty obnoxious. I don't think overly so. I wanted to try to avoid what I callthe Buffalo Bill scenario. I personally like shows about awfulpeople or movies about awful people. I like cynical Billy Wilder films like Acein The Hole. I like Sweet Smell of Success.
It was that showBuffalo Bill that Dabney Coleman did, which everyone seemed tolike in the industry (you know, I read "TV Guide"...like I'm in theindustry). But they just said his character was too mean and too nasty. Everyshow he's done is about a character that is nasty and they all bombed. I wantedto try to avoid having the show be so awful that you couldn't watch thesecharacters again.
But I foundthat, after doing the strip for 10 years, I'm amazed that I get all this mailfrom people who sympathize with the characters even though they're horrible. Tome they're like three Ralph Kramdens and one Ed Norton. They're filled with allthese, not really get-rich-quick schemes, but these get-more-knowledge,get-more-stuff, buy-more-things, know-more-crap, become-more-powerful in fancircles, but they don't have Alice and they don't have Trixie. So there's nohugs. There's no "baby, you're the greatest." There's no learning.There's no love. Their parents are never seen so you wonder who the hell createdthese monsters.
But people seemto actually feel sorry for them because they're so insane and their dreams areso small and stupid. If you noticed, even in their dreams they lose and even intheir fantasy games they lose. In their subconscious and in their D&D games,where they should be able to be winners finally, their personality flaws stilltrip them up because they're just so insane.
So, hopefullypeople will not just turn off to them. They'll be able to empathize with themand see that they're just so sad that you have to feel sorry for them. Maybenot. I don't know.
(laughing) Maybepeople should just feel sorry for me, when they watch the show! "I reallyfeel sorry for this guy. I feel sorry for the Cartoon Network and pop culture ingeneral."
C2F: There'sa "Myron the living voodoo doll" reference in the pilot. Will there beany other Dorkcharacters showing up?
ED: That was just aweird thing. I wanted there to be some material in there that was not justpop-culture.
The Spielbergjoke is pop-culture but it's tipped with the anti-Semitic gag, things like that.The joke where the kid gets knocked down and instead of helping him they gothrough his stuff.
It's just toround it out a little bit and not make it as pointed towards the fan mentality,so we can get the general audience some participation there, hopefully. Again, Idon't know who the hell's watching any of this.
The Myron thingwas just I wanted to do something weird. That comes from the character Jane whois not explored much in the pilot. Her sickness is that she's a very angryCatholic grade-school girl who started a girl gang at school. She's positive shehas latent psychic powers that will manifest any day now. She believes in theafterlife and all this crazy stuff: voodoo and Wiccan crap. She's trying to killher brother and the club members or do them harm. She's a fairly, purely evil,screwed-up little girl. She's actually a character I really like and I hopewe'll be able to do a little more work in.
There's a coupleof references to my own work in there I just threw in there to just do as agoof. There's the voodoo bit and the background has Milk & Cheese.They're in there as toys and things like that. [Mike Allred's] Madmanis in there, [Frank Miller's] Sin City, Oni and Slave Labor are afew things I was able to get.
DC and Marvel wouldn'tgive me the rights to any of their stuff, which was a little frustrating becauseDC is owned by the same parent company.
C2F: But you gotBoba Fett!
ED: That was great.That was a real luck-out because it just locks the episode down. That wasreally crucial for me because, one: I'm used to that being the thing in thestrip and two: Boba Fett to me is just one of the silliest characters evercreated.
He has this hugepop-culture following and basically he's a guy who shows up, walks around andtrips and falls down into a pit. And there's millions of dollars of toys andposters of him and people love that character and he's a guy wearing a can onhis head who walks around and trips into a pit. This character is famous! He'san also-ran schmuck in two of these dumb movies and I love that. Plus, it's afunny name.
Somebody at theCartoon Network knew somebody at Lucasfilm and somehow it worked out and thatwas great! Boy did that help. If we had to call it "Bring me the Head ofMade-up Guy" it just wouldn't be the same. It resonates that the show isabout real pop culture. Even though we made up a lot of things like Major Violenceand Mushroom Man...I wanted to get as much pop-culture in there as possible soits grounded in reality so the viewers would be like "oh they're talkingabout real stuff."
It's justsomething in a cartoon might be, in a small way, kind of surprising that there'sthis verisimilitude in the cartoon. They're not just talking about "made-upguy."
And then I justput a lot of jokes in the background because that's what I do in the comics:"Beverly Hills Robocop" and "Two Guys With Two Guns Story."
C2F: What does thefuture hold for the comics?
ED: Right now I'mworking on Dork #10, which I don't thing will have any Eltingvillestrips in it.
I'm doing anEltingville one-shot. I still own the rights to the characters. If the showmiraculously went to series, I'd still be able to do comics but the networkwould own the characters, God help them.
I'm planning onprobably wrapping up the series as a one-shot. I think I'm going to do a big 40pager. By then I'll know if the series is dead or not.
I've alwaysplanned on having the four characters meet when they're in their thirties in SanDiego at the convention and basically they haven't spoken in 15-16 years. Theyall really don't know why they broke up and they go over all the plots I wasn'table to use on the show because they think that might be the one they broke upthe club over. At the end they realize they broke up because they're justhorrible people and they end up in a fistfight.
The joke is thatthree of the four got into the industry. One of them is at DC as an editor. Oneof them is in a gaming company. Pete's doing something for like Troma orsomething. Bill's the only one who didn't get into the industry, the one who waslike their alpha male and the big bully and everything. He assists at a comicshop flea-market table a couple times a week. He's a very lonely fan, stillliving with his parents.
But I'm doingthe last few stories. I'm doing one story that takes place mainly in Joe's ComicShop, so I can hit the retailers up a little bit, because I've been going afterthe fans. I want to do at least one shot that gets a little bile out towards theretailers. There're a lot of good retailers out there but plenty you can makefun of.
Then that's probablygoing to be it for the Eltingville Club. This is probably the beginning of theend.
I just need toget on to some other strips. All this trivia and all this pop-culture gets evenme depressed. I'm looking up at 30 little Japanese vinyl toys on my shelf rightnow. But you get blown out but it. As I get older I think I want to do lessstuff that's about fandom because I think I'm getting known for that.
Of course if theseries happens I'd be very happy to write ten scripts write off the bat.
Welcome ToEltingvilleairs on Cartoon Network on March 3 at 11:00p.m.
Also: don'tforget to enter our Giveawayand Trivia Exhibition! You could win an original work of art by Dorkinhimself as well as a bunch of other cool prizes from CartoonNetwork, Slave Labor Graphics and TheAquabats!