Monday, July 11, 2016

TRUE TALES: Charlton Neo submission

So, following an open solicitation made by Mort Todd on Facebook yesterday, I sent a submission to Charlton Neo. They only pay in "exposure bucks," it's true, but that's kinda what I'm after at this point. The hope is that, the next time DC Comics takes applications for a writers workshop, mine can say, "Yes, in addition to being a newspaper reporter for 13-plus years, I do actually have published comic book credits." 

And from there, it's just a short skip away from writing the Legion of Super-Heroes! Holy grife, you know it, baby! Here's to freedom, friendship, and FRUNT! Am I right??

Anyway, here's the submission, if you'd care to offer any critiques:

“The Immortal Mr. Mook”

Proposal for a 6-page story for Charlton Neo

By Duke Harrington

A stand-alone story hosted by Countess R.H. Von Bludd asks whether archeologists many millennia from now will view our culture with the same certainly with which their modern peers now presume to know the ancient Egyptians.

A young boy obsessed with mummification grows to be a genetic research scientist dedicated to extending human life for real, but as he nears the end of his own life, he resorts to cryogenics, only to be unearthed in a far future where his life of reason is dismissed as religious hokum, and the freezing of bodies a naive attempt to ease high-ranking souls into the afterlife.

He thought he could live forever and speak to the ages . . . he just didn’t know THIS is what he’d say!


Countess Von Bludd introduces us to a grade school class touring a nondescript natural history museum. In the Ancient Egypt room, the tour guide explains how priests would remove the pharaoh’s organs, preserve them in natron salt, and store them in canopic jars, so they could be used in the afterlife. This grosses out most of the children, particularly the girls, but young Myron Mook is fascinated — so fascinated, in fact, that when no one is looking, he snaps the jackal head of Duamatef off one jar and slips it into his pocket.

Myron spends the rest of his adolescent and teen years delving deep into Egyptian lore, learning all he can, always with his beloved jackal head nearby. But in college, a weary professor squashes Myron’s thirst for knowledge, dismissing the eager student’s questions with a wave of the hand, telling him there are no new discoveries to be made, that we know all there is to learn about ancient Egyptian culture.

Discouraged, Myron begins to resent the time and energy he seemingly wasted on his dead-end passion. Growing to view Egyptian mythology as almost childishly naive, he changes his major to biology. Where the Egyptian pharaohs preserved their bodies in hopes of living on in the afterlife, he would do them one better — he would learn to preserve his body and live forever in THIS life.

Myron ends up leaving college early to pursue his goals, never earning a doctorate. But working tirelessly and forsaking all else, he becomes a rich man, owing partly to his research into human longevity, but mostly to his own endless self-promotion. Over time, Mr. Mook’s “Duamatef Diet” pills become de rigueur among the elite in a youth-obsessed culture and young starlets becomes almost cult-like their devotion to him. Still, while his product can indeed boost human physiology, he knows it is useless in actually extending lifespans. The jackel-head, which he has kept all this time, seems to taunt him.

Nearing the end of his life and realizing he’s failed in his quest for immortality, Mr. Mook turns to cryogenics, hoping to come back in a time when science has caught up to his ambition. Because of his advanced age, the cyrogeneticists tell Mr. Mook, they will have to remove his head, as his body and declining organs will undoubtedly fail to survive the freezing and thawing process. But that’s okay, Mr. Mook thinks, as he gazes into the freeze chamber at the young acolytes he’s convinced to undergo the process with him, not having let on one of them will become his new form. But, then, in a moment of doubt, Mr. Mook worries he may not return to life for hundreds, maybe even thousands, of years. In that time, his head might get separated from his hand-selected neo-bods. For that matter, the careful arrangements he made to preserve and protect his personal possessions could come to naught. As he prepares to go under, Mr. Mook takes the one cherished item he can’t bear to live without, his head of Duamatef from that old canopic jar, and quietly slips it into his mouth.

We start by seeing Mr. Mook’s head in silhouetted profile, as a young girl taps at the glass of the jar it’s in. Moving out, find ourselves in the Ancient Americans room in a museum of the far, far future. The tour guide explains to the girl and her class that the Ancient Americans of the Early Presidentium foolishly believed that by freezing their dead, and preventing the bodies from decaying, they could assure vitality for their souls in the afterlife. And, what’s more, for very high-ranking senators and senatresses, the oldest priest at the inaugural ceremony would have his head removed and stuffed with the idol of the canine god Elvis, messenger of love, so that he might best speak in praise of the deceased before the Congess of Statesmen, assuring acceptance into terms of office that would last for all eternity. As our view rotates around the room of badly misunderstood objects, we come back to Mr. Mook, and see his rotting head full on, floating in a fluid clearly meant to keep him from decomposing any further. His eyes are open wide in a stare that seems to say this is not at all the future he was expecting, and on the outstretched tongue that hangs from a barely attached jaw, we see the jackal head of Duamatef. Countess Von Bludd then returns to ask us how much we really know about Ancient Egypt.

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