When I was kid, I remember watching TV late one night and got all excited when the announcer said, "Coming up next... THE AVENGERS!" So, I fought sleep expecting to see Captain America, Thor, Iron Man and the rest of the mighty team.
And then I saw this...
A guy with an umbrella?
And a sexy karate-chopping girl in a catsuit?!
They're the Avengers?!
I kept watching anyway, hoping that Captain American or Iron Man will suddenly come to their rescue. But it seemed like Mrs. Peel and Mr. Steed were capable to fighting off their weird foes. And I kept tuning in, week after week, trying to make sense of this dynamic duo and their strange adventures.
What does THE AVENGERS have to do with THE KAMBAL?
Keep reading! :-)
In 1998, Marvel Knights was launched and I thought I could directly pitch a story to Joe Quesada.
Since I was a big X-phile at the time, I thought it would be neat to have the Shroud fight the paranormal and supernatural creatures of the Marvel Universe.
I made his base of operations THE NIGHT SHIFT, the hottest night club in Los Angeles. From there he would keep in touch with his contacts in the criminal underworld and the supernatural underworld.
I gave him two bodyguards: The Brothers Grimm. They were magicians with deadly tricks-- deadly enough to give Iron Man a hard time.
But I wasn't too cool with the idea of them running around in their circus outfits along side with the Shroud. They needed to look... cooler!
Back then, I was also a big fan of Jim Lee's WILDCATS and loved the tandem of Grifter and Zealot.
So, I thought, I could do my own riff of Grifter and Zealot and replaced the Brother Grimm's magic tricks with guns and swords. I gave one brother all the guns and he could all sorts of tricks with it and I made the other brother the swordsman.
But I still wanted to get them out of the circus costumes and that's when I went back to the Avengers. I liked Mr. Steed's fashion sense and thought the Brothers Grimm would look very gentlemanly-like in pinstripe suits. So, that's I wrote in the pitch.
Needless to say, that pitch was rejected and it sat in some forgotten folder in my computer.
Cut to: 2005 and I got that, now legendary, text from Kajo where he said, "Let's do a comic book! Let's do a monthly comic book!" I opened up my COMICS SCRIPTS folder and took a look at what I had lying around and saw the two drafts I had for the Anton Trese story and also saw the pitch I had for the the Shroud (but I didn't think about it at the time.)
So, I sent Kajo the "test page" when Anton was fighting an aswang-mama-san.
I got the page one hour later and as I stared at it, excited at the thought that this could work, I thought of all the characters that inspired Anton Trese were all male and that Keanu's Constantine just showed in the theaters, we needed to make our character different.
WHAT IF TRESE WERE A WOMAN!, I texted Kajo and he loved the idea immediately.
And she would be armed with a magical sword... ummm... a dagger! No! A kriss!
And since she'd be focused on solving mysteries, she would hate wasting her time fighting off aswang and the like, so she's need a bodyguard...a hitman! How about two hitmen ... who wear masks (to hide the fact that they're aswang themselves) and they'd really cool if they were suits (to show they mean business) and one of them would be the hot-headed guy with the guys and the level-headed dude with the swords (but Trese is already armed with a sword)... so.... so, let's just make both of her bodyguards carry guns! With masks! And they're twins! And we'll call them... the Kambal!
And Trese's base of operations would be a nightclub in Malate and it would called... the Night Shift? Nope. No, Marvel might sue us. It'll be a place where creatures of the underworld can mingle with humans and Trese can keep tabs on all her contacts and it would be called... The Diabolical!
So, that's how you make a comic book, kids! Get some parts from a 1960s British TV show, mix it with a Wildstorm comic book and a rejected pitch for Marvel and you can have you very own comic book! Try this at home!