Thursday, July 9, 2009

Wizard Features That WERE: The Goonies 2

Late February was always a fun time of the year in Wizard planning meetings, as it was around then that we would begin to hatch ideas for the April issue, which meant April Fool's gags aplenty. This ranged from fake ads to false news items, but it was also tradition to devote one Up Close feature to a 100% fabricated upcoming comics project that we would do our utmost to convince fans was actually happening.

I was a big fan of these masterworks coming onboard to the staff, having chuckled to such goodies as the Geoff Johns/Phil Jimenez Captain Carrot revival (which Geoff then ended up kinda doing in Teen Titans during Infinite Crisis), Brian K. Vaughan's "Three Dog Night" (starring Underdog, Hong Kong Phooey and I forget the third one in a murder mystery) and Ben Templesmith's horror take on Count Chocula and friends in "General Mills Massacre." So naturally I begged to be given the chance to head up the 2007 edition.

I don't remember how it came to me, perhaps because I had watched the movie some time before the meeting, but I locked on to the idea of doing something involving The Goonies. Because it was only a month or so before Buffy the Vampire Slayer launched as an ongoing comic picking up where the TV show had left off, and because Goonies creator Richard Donner had entered comics part-time as a co-writer on Action Comics, I came up with the notion that a Goonies sequel done in comic book form was not that implausible. No less than Sean T. Collins his own damn self loved the idea and jumped at the chance to edit that bad boy (i.e. Sean and I came up with an excuse to have numerous "meetings" where we'd come up with fake Goonies plots).

Immediately I approached veteran April Fool's joke perpetrator and Donner protege Geoff Johns with the idea that he would be the co-writer of the fake project with his mentor, which he was totally enthused about. While we knew Donner himself wouldn't have time to actually participate in the ruse, Geoff did make sure to get his blessing both to go through with it and to stand in for him in a fake interview (the last thing either of us wanted was Dick reading about a Goonies comic he was apparently writing and not be in on the joke).

We kicked around some rough ideas about details/gags for the article (Geoff was definitely the one who insisted Data have "a bandolier of iPods"), but as he was stretched pretty thin with comic and movie work, we agreed I would come up with a rough outline for what the story would be about then shoot it to him so he could give me quotes from him and "Dick."

But you can't ask me to write the plot for a Goonies sequel and only do a "rough outline." That would be criminal.

No, I totally wrote a multi-page treatment that included a plot tying in Sloth's origin to Bigfoot as well as complete character breakdowns for where each of the kids had been for the past decade and a half. I probably blew a deadline for an article I was supposed to be writing about 52 or something because my genius ideas for "Goonies: The Search for Sloth" were consuming me. I even sent the draft to my buddy Jordan, the biggest Goonies fan I know, and asked if he were presented with that and didn't know it was a joke would he fall for it--his response was, "This is a joke? You asshole." Sean read over the draft, made some additions of his own (and became a co-writer in the process by virtue of his contributions), and we were off to the races.

So I sent the draft off to Geoff, he told me I was disturbed, then we conducted a pretend interview with me, him and "Dick." Around this time, Wizard editor Brian Cunningham also secured artist Matt Haley, who had just gotten done working on several Superman Returns comic prequels and a series of amazing Firestorm covers, to provide original art for the piece. Brian more or less took point working with Matt to create our vision of the adult Goonies and it came out perfectly (I can't find a version of the piece small enough to post here, but you can view it in all it's glory here).

Time passed, seasons changed, boys became men and the issue saw print. I am pleased to say we fooled many a Goonies fan into thinking their day had finally come. Geoff and I promoted the crap out of our "project" on his Comic Bloc forum. It took a few weeks before people checked the date the article was published and came screaming for our heads, but by then I had had plenty of time to bask in the satisfaction of a prank well done.

A year or so later, Geoff was doing an interview and somebody asked him if he ever would seriously consider working on a Goonies sequel, be it a comic book or a movie. He said he totally would but then mentioned something along the lines of "but it wouldn't have that ridiculous Bigfoot stuff in it."


The full article seems to have been lost to the ravages of time and Wizard relaunching their web site a dozen times, but I found a portion of it so you can experience the magic.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Time passed, seasons changed, boys became men and the issue saw print. I am pleased to say we fooled many a Goonies fan into thinking their day had finally come. movie2k