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Welcome to Brainstorm's Corner, a monthly springboard showcase. A springboard, basically a one-page prose summary of a comic book story, is the format used for submitting stories to companies such as DC Comics. In one page, a writer must describe the plot while also trying to make it as intriguing as possible. It's quite a challenge!

Brainstorm's Corner gives YOU, the reader, the chance to critique the story before a writer sends it off to every editor at DC. So let Fanzing know…would you pay to read this? If not, why not?

"A Turtle's Tale"

Michael Hutchison

A New Zoo Crew Proposal

This is a Captain Carrot springboard I wrote about 6 years ago, and believe me, my writing skills have greatly improved! I was going to completely revamp this before posting it for hundreds to see, but why not give everyone a chance to see how I used to write before next month, when you'll get to read my proposal for an Elongated Man mystery. By the way, Kevin Dooley wrote me a kind note about this, saying he liked my ideas but humor doesn't sell. One last thing: The Grinn Brothers have posted a series of artwork on the Captain Carrot website with their visions of a new Zoo Crew. It's nothing like my vision, but you've gotta admit, it's got style! Here are two of the images:

New Zoo Crew New Zoo Crew

(For background, see "Revitalization Proposal," included)

Timmy Joe (Fastback) Terrapin, rests in an alley, talking to fellow homeless critters about his inability to find a job due to his poor work record and disadvantages as a turtle. A proud Southerner, he refuses to return to his family a beaten amphibian.

He races over to Califurnia to watch the demolition of the Z-Building. Timmy reflects on the five years since the team fell apart. In the seconds before the building is dynamited, Timmy races through their old HQ and removes all of their old momentos.

Timmy returns some old comic artwork to Rodney Rabbit (Captain Carrot), who is still writing comic books. Rod and Felina are now married, with the hyphenated last name of Rabbit-Furr and a litter of little kids. Timmy doesn’t let on that he’s unemployed. They discuss the betrayal that led to the team’s downfall and where the rest of the team is now. Little Cheese is a college student, studying to become a scientist like his dad. Pig Iron lives in seclusion. Byrd Rentals’ career has gone downhill since Rova Barkitt revealed his identity as Rubberduck.

The next day, Timmy is washing car windows when a fancy Cattle-ac's passenger asks him to wash his windshield. When Timmy finishes, the passenger sneers and speeds away. Timmy, finally enraged by his predicament, pursues the car and demolishes it at super-speed. When the police arrive, he honorably turns himself in. Too poor to hire a good weasel, he is appointed a weasel by the court. Though his old friends rush to his defense, Terrapin is sentenced to 18 months in a maximum security prison (due to his powers).

At Alcatratz Prison, Timmy Joe encounters several old enemies, led by Fat Katt. One afternoon, they confront him in the courtyard, and a riot ensues. Tim's sentence is extended to two years. The warden, like Timmy's judge before, is actually in Katt's pocket.

In prison, Timmy receives visitors: first, Rova Barkitt informs him that she would like to make amends by writing an expose on the corrupt system. A few days later, expecting Barkitt to be paying another visit, he finds that his visitors are his family, who have found out about the bad turns which his life has taken. They urge him to return home for good when he finishes his sentence. Timmy is humiliated and heartbroken.

Days later, Katt and his minions lead a prison break. Timmy yearns for freedom, especially due to his unfair sentencing, yet he saves the guards’ lives and catches the escapees.

Timmy's corrupt judge is exposed (due to muck-raking reporting by a remorseful Rova Barkitt) and he is retried. At a special hearing, Timmy's sentence is commuted, owing to his heroic actions, his honor in staying behind when the other prisoners left, and for his own protection, since he would otherwise be jailed with the very creatures he'd captured. His friends greet him upon his release and they reform as "The Gnu Zoo Crew"!


Revitalization of
"Captain Carrot & His Zoo Crew"

Revitalizing old, dead-concept characters is all the rage at DC Comics, and I would like to breathe some life into one of my favorite series, "Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew." Keith Giffen and "Justice League" made serious-comics funny; I'd like to make funny-comics serious, using goofy cartoon characters in a serious world to comment on our own society's ills (A funny-animal "Star Trek," if you will), such as racism, the legal and prison systems, unemployment, the homeless without belaboring the points.

First of all, I'd like to mention that every change I am proposing is based on subplots from the original series which were never followed-through, such as the suggested romance between Rodney Rabbit (Captain Carrot) and Felina Furr (Alley-Kat-Abra), Rova (Yankee Poodle) Barkitt's threatened expose on the Zoo Crew's secrets, Timmy Joe (Fastback) Terrapin's habitual unemployment, and Pig Iron's visit to Germany where he finally gained public acceptance. I am not "altering" the characters' personalities or histories, just building on what was already there in 1982 and '83.

I want to begin this new series five years after the Zoo Crew has fallen apart, due to the public exposure of Rubberduck’s identity by Barkitt, who was desperate to save her floundering career. With her own ID now public knowledge, and spurned by her friends who regard her as a traitor, Yankee Poodle now bitterly works as a government agent. Rod and Felina are married. Pig Iron has moved to Germany. Rubberduck's film career is declining, and he struggles along as a stuntman. Little Cheese is in college, studying to be a scientist like his late father.

Most importantly, Timmy Joe Terrapin, who relied on the Crew's Headquarters for a place to live, is now homeless. Still unemployed due to his extremely poor work record, he is the pivotal character of the first story arc as he tracks down his old teammates and tries to rejuvenate the Zoo Crew, with little success.

The enclosed springboard is for a storyline which, by my outline, would begin in issue #1. Issue #2 would end with Terrapin's jail sentence, issue #3 would follow his experiences in prison, ending with his family's visit, and #4 would conclude with his release and the reformation of the "Gnu" Zoo Crew! His trial serves as the rallying point for the team.

There are a few subplots which aren’t in the springboard. Rodney Rabbit has become increasingly disheartened with his comic book job, as the new editorial staff pressures him to include more sex and gore and un-heroic characters in his comics. Also, a mysterious villain (Doc Hoot) uses old Crew enemies to capture Pig Iron, and two more villains under Hoot's command attempt to kidnap Rod and Felina.

is Editor-In-Chief of Fanzing.com. He is the world's biggest Elongated Man fan and runs the only EM fan site. He lives in Rochester, MN.
AIM: Fanzinger
ICQ: 70101007

The Brothers Grinn have a web site at Supermegatopia.com and have written and drawn a story for our first comic book, "Fanzing Presents: Job Wanted", which can be purchased at Too Many Longboxes.com!

 
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Story is © Michael Hutchison 1998
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