What is DWPFF, you ask? It's a project I'm working on, that's what! It stands for Digital Webbing Presents Future Fairy tales. The idea behind the concept is to take traditional fairy tales, myths, tall tales, etc. and put a future spin on them. The idea started on the Digital Webbing message boards when one of the many creators mentioned that there really hadn't been anything put together in concert by the Digital Webbing community since the anthology title Digital Webbing Presents folded. Ideas were tossed around, and it was eventually decided that putting a future spin on fairy tales would be a fantastic, if daunting, project to undertake. A submissions process was developed, editors were chosen, and creators were invited to pitch their little hearts out for a shot at inclusion into the project. The first step in the process was to pitch written concepts on the Digital Webbing forums with art, lettering and the other necessities of comic book making to come later on down the line.
I was asked by one of the editors of the project, a fine gentleman by the name of Chris Stevens, to pitch my own idea for the project. The first idea I came up with dealt with "The Ugly Duckling". Here's the pitch, as I originally worded it to Chris...
An alien lands on Earth in an egg-shaped capsule. He is “born” from the capsule with no knowledge of who or what he is. He is adopted by a human family that assure him he is one of their own, no different than anybody else, but he is so hideous that just the sight of him causes any person he interacts with to mistreat him. After years of horrible treatment, the alien race comes to Earth with plans to eliminate humanity and colonize the planet for themselves. The Ugly Duckling, despite all he’s gone through, convinces the aliens to spare humanity, becoming humanity’s beloved savior… their swan.
I had plans to tweak it a little more. I'd considered setting the story in a not-so-distant future where humanity was so obsessed with their appearance that everyone would be fit and healthy with good skin, straight teeth, and all those other outward characteristics people seem to value so much these days, along with some other ideas. Although Chris thought the idea was a pretty good one, there'd already been a story based on that tale accepted into the project. While waiting for Chris to respond, I'd also noticed quite a few of the other pitches dealt with alien life landing on a future Earth. So even if "The Ugly Duckling" had been accepted into the project, I would have definitely altered it to compensate for those similarites. Chris encouraged me to pitch again, and I had a vague idea about one of my favorites, "The Brave Little Tailor", but because Chris had provided me with a list of fairy tales he had hoped would be pitched in his initial rejection, I immediately set my sights on his suggestion of material from "The Jungle Books".
What was the story that immediately sprang to mind? I'll tackle that and more next time.