Years ago, while still working at Disney, Michael Mullin and I collaborated on an idea for an animated TV show. Neither of us had worked in television animation before. After several months of feverish late night work we had produced an intensively illustrated, full color, highly polished, 15-page booklet (including a foldout!), known in TV speak as a “show bible”: character bios, storyboard sequences, background designs, character poses and sample scripts. Then we showed it to the networks.
After two or three meetings in which very junior production assistants blankly told us it didn’t seem to be precisely identical to everything else they were doing that season we realized that all those months of work had resulted in exactly zero. Although one of the companies we pitched later did a strikingly similar show called “Atomic Betty.” A knock-off? I can’t say for sure. Judge for yourself. Both concepts are retro pastiches so true provenance is murky at best.
It was after this experience that I realized if I’d just done a children’s book instead there might be a potential audience of more than two or three production assistants. At least that insight proved valuable.
But now, thanks to Michael’s Gemiknight Press, Rocketboy has been rescued from obscurity. The first Rocketboy novel for middle grade readers (ages 7-10 basically), Rocketboy: the Return of Dr. Megaton, is now available. It is a prose novel with art pulled from our ill-fated TV pitch and a new cover illustration.
Enter to win a giveaway of Rocketboy: the Return of Dr. Megaton at Goodreads.
Below are some of the pages from the TV show that never was.
RB’s origin: a nerdy schoolboy becomes an intergalactic superhero by mistake.
His robot friends Snipe and Twidget’s names come from unofficial terms for mechanics and technicians, respectively, in the US Navy. Hayley Comet is RB’s alien mentor (and crush). Dr. Megaton is the resident evil genius bent on galactic domination.RB’s two worlds. His secret hero hideout, the Pad, hidden in an abandoned toy factory. And school, where he’s seen as a bit less than a hero.
You can catch a brief glimpse of Rocketboy in flight on coming-soon website. Or buy the book!