Fall of Bum Man, Rise of Kitestring

Posted by Steve on Jan 2, 2010 in Characters, Design, Prehistory | Subscribe

Bum Man, a homeless superhero, was one of the very first concepts I came up with for Frown Town.  Unfortunately, much like the Neanderthal, the Dodo and the Gros Michel banana cultivar, he proved too beautiful to live.  Too wretchedly repugnant, actually.  Just, a really bad idea.

This is the first page of the pocket notebook Frown Town got rolling in.  I apologize for my handwriting, I blame keyboards.  The idea of a legitimate — if second rate — superhero coming off as a pedophile, resulting in our timid main character’s missing out on the chance of a lifetime and catching a severe beating for a punch line is, unarguably, funny.  It’d make a good comic strip.  Dark, but ironic and amusing if you’re into that sort of thing.

However, as soon as Andy finished the first concept sketch we began to realize that we might have buried our humor in horror.  The script fared no better, the 3 beat joke worked in outline form, but when we stretched it out with dialog, what we found ourselves with was little but a long-winded pedo joke — perhaps not the best center piece for our pilot episode.

Andy’s valiant attempt to tone down the horrible met with little success.  Longer shorts for the boy, a bit of humanization for Bum Man — but nope, still creepy.  Way too creepy.  We decided to scrap the joke and the superhero.  Instead, we turned our focus to the flip-flop kid.  He — or his dead body — already appeared in more script outlines than Bum Man, he was a main character waiting to happen.  Just humming with potential.  Look at those flip-flops.  I mean, come on!

And with that, the most gruesome thing in the show became the most wholesome.  From the ashes of Bum Man rose Patches Kitestring, the most best kid in town.  But don’t think we’ve gone soft — some truely terrible things happen to good ol’ Patches, but he comes out clean on the other side, a smile on his face, a whistle on his lips, roving pedos no where to be found.  And so, our brief detour through a rusted out van in the estuary took us to a golden vista by the sea.  Then back to a bloated corpse in a sewer.  It’s Frown Town.

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