Wednesday, October 17, 2007

UV:TARGET - My Sci-Fi Lullaby

UV:TARGET - My Sci-Fi Lullaby
By Keith Giles

Four years ago I was writing a variety of original comicbook scripts and juggling a handful of sci-fi projects ranging from short stories to graphic novels.

One of my favorites was a reality bending, surreal sci-fi action epic called "UV:Target." If you could imagine Phillip K. Dick and David Lynch collaborating on a sci-fi comic, with everything from genetic engineering, and the nature of insanity to dreams of dentistry, split personality and fine art thrown in, then this would be the result.

Essentially the story plays with some real-world science I uncovered while researching the genetic engineering developments being funded by the Chinese Government right now. From there I investigated the human eye and the entire spectrum of light (of which "visible light" is only a small portion) and theorized that a genetic mutation could be made on the human eye so that it would be possible to see the ultra-violet, gamma and infra-red range of light. What would it be like to see through solid objects? In truth, it make you blind in a way to the physical world but open you up to the world beneath this one, in a manner of speaking.

As I began to craft my main character, Roy the GenAssassin who can see through walls, I also began toying with the idea of introducing a second character named Walter who believes he too is a genetically engineered assassin. However everyone around Walter insists that he is insane and that these are delusional projections of his tortured mind. His doctor urges him to take his medication.

At the same time we wonder if Walter might really just be Roy's imaginary friend as it seems that no one but Roy can ever see Walter when they are together. Is Roy the one who is insane, or is Walter? Which of them is real and which of them is imagined, or is it possible that they are both very sane and something entirely different is going on?

That's the main mystery of the book. It's a very "PhilDickian" story idea where reality and sanity and identity is constantly in flux and open to interpretation. I was watching films like "A Beautiful Mind" and David Lynch's "Mulholland Drive" at the time, and a lot of the plays on sanity and reality and imagination informed my script for UV:Target.

I was also inspired by the epic mini series by Bill Sienkiewicz and Frank Miller called "Elektra:Assassin" which employed a lot of surrealist artwork and storytelling to weave an otherworldly tale of espionage, madness and dark magic.

During the early stages of writing the script I also came up with another character named "Claire" and when I discovered that she actually fit into this storyline the whole thing really snapped into place. Claire is able to read minds and can see a few minutes into the future. I can't give away more than that.

The fourth major character was "Cash" who works for the FBI and is determined to find Roy and kill him in retribution for the death of her partner. We also have another recurring character, "Dr. Wong" who is both Walter's psychiatrist and Roy's boss. Kinda confusing, I know.
My artistic muse for this book was Malaysian painter "Adijin". I ran across a few pages he had posted on a message board for his own book called "Siapa?" and those three pages were exactly the art style I knew I needed for UV:Target. After contacting Adijin via email and showing him the first ten pages of my script, he agreed that the match was made in heaven and we were off.
Earlier I had attempted to illustrate the book with a guy named "Flood" (he never told me his real name). His style was very Geoff Darrow inspired and I could have been happy with a book that looked like Miller's "Hardboiled". The problem was that Flood just kept drawing the same page over and over again. I have five versions of the first page. He was hopeless.

Once Adijin was on board I also received an incredible cover image by Jake Parker ("Flight Anthology") of our main character Roy G. Biv. It was gorgeous.

What killed this book ultimately was Adijin's workload on a professional (read "Paying") job for IDW's "Silent Hill" series. After his work on that book he was too busy to finish our book, and I was just flat-out exausted trying to keep all those plates spinning on so many Plastic Animal projects at one time. Plus, I made a conscious decision to lay aside my sci-fi writing in favor of my [Subversive] articles and interviews and so we turned out the lights at Plastic Animal and I began my regular column over at which ultimately became my blog ( and that spawned the weekly e-newsletter [Subversive Underground].

For some reason, and I admit I don't entirely understand why, I have felt drawn back to those sci-fi stories from the PA years. Most especially the UV:Target story, I think because it embodies so much of what I love about the science fiction work of Philip K. Dick and the film work of David Lynch.

The graphic novel script is almost entirely complete. I've recently worked up a synopsis of the entire storyline and added a new element to Roy's character development which, I think, places Roy in a much more intriguing light.

I've been struggling lately with whether or not to begin writing this story in a prose format. About two weeks ago I was really wrestling with whether or not the time was right to return to this story. Ultimately I decided to keep it all on the shelf and continue to focus on my [Subversive] writings and especially my two new book projects which are only barely releasing in the next few weeks.

It's not quite time to take Roy and Walter out of the box yet.

Maybe next year?

1 comment:

Lito said...

Any great story worth telling is worth telling tomorrow as well as today. There's no terrible rush to get it out now. It's not like you're racing against another studio who has decent enough talent to get attention for a similar story, but still B-listers who can ruin the field for your version.

Even if others do manage to publish a similar story-- this is yours. yet another story worth telling correctly.