pentapus: (Default)
pentapus ([personal profile] pentapus) wrote2010-01-03 10:43 am
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Yuletide reveal!

Now I can add the authors to my gifts, and thank applegnat, ambyr, Elizabeth Culmer!

For yuletide, I wrote:

Of Human Origin
Hellboy (comics), Liz Sherman/Abe Sapien
She handed him a thick manila envelope. A cover sheet was clipped to the front along with a post-it note. The title of the cover sheet said, 'Notification of Qualification for Peabody Extranormal Self-Protection Act.'


If you've seen the movies, your brief guide to comic canon is:
Abe Sapien, taciturn, masculine, team leader, no psychic powers.
Liz Sherman, red head, a little butch, experienced field agent, no UST of any kind with Hellboy.

I love Hellboy and I'd read scattered bits of BPRD, so I added this fandom pretty impulsively to my signup. It came back to kick me in the butt. Over the next few weeks I read the entirety of Hellboy and BRPD canon at least three times and produced over 30 pages of story notes and snippets, desperately trying to get a grasp on writing the characters. Despite working on it almost every day, I still wrote most of the story the day of the deadline.

Trouble is, Hellboy/BPRD is a series driven by action. Action, all the time! Great action! It has interesting, very real characters -- the women are 30-45ish, competent and wear sensible clothes! Kate Corrigan, I love you -- but it's not so much with the little moments of character interaction.

And now, some DVD extras from those 30 pages of notes
[1] Character notes, Liz:
Born 1962
1973 killed family during pyrokinetic episode
1974 became ward of bureau
1980 made full agent
Liz is a little hard-edged, not prickly on her end, but not really pulling too many punches in talking to other people.

[2] Character notes, Abe
Formerly Langdon Everett Caul, may have been mildly immortal.
1865 Ended up a fishman in a tube
1979 Woke up from his tube in BPRD, no memories
Less naturally driven to field work, but it has been his role in the BPRD historically. His usefulness as a field agent is probably important to him.
Likes Liz. Abe is very fiercely protective of liz against threats, especially skeevy threats like Memnan Saa.
Increasingly angry, increasingly hardass as series progresses.

[3] Snippets.
[a] This is what an aimless conversation between Liz and most everybody else looks like:
“Liz,” Waller said, inhaling gratefully, “You are the best friend a cancer risk could have in the rain.”

“Knew there was a reason you wanted me back.” Liz took her own cigarette from Bud’s pack – fair trade. Their lit ends stood out against the dreary weather.

“Sherman,” said Boyko, the rookie, “Can I ask – why’d you keep leaving the bureau?”

“To rack up some ex-boyfriends who couldn’t see through my bathroom door.” Liz tugged at her hood.

“Ha ha!” Boyko said. A beat passed. “Do we have any of those?”

“Didn’t hear it from me,” Liz said, grinning shark-like.

Waller roared with laughter.

This is what an aimless conversation between Abe and Liz sounds like:
In Colorado, Abe’s bedroom had a desk, a chair, a tank, and one folding chair for guests. In Connecticut, Abe’s room had -- in addition to the above -- a couch and a cot, never unmade. Liz switched the cot’s pillow to the foot, jammed up against Abe’s computer desk, and fell asleep.

When she woke up, Abe said, “Do you want another cup? Your coffee’s cold.”

“My coffee’s never cold,” said Liz.


[b] They got lost twice before they found the room. Bureau staff were still unfolding chairs, and plastic party tablecloths were in the offing. The view was of an empty, snow-capped Colorado at dusk, fit for a postcard.

Kate Corrigan wandered over, a clipboard hanging from one hand. “Not bad, huh?”

“Kate – wow. Kudos on finding a room with windows.”

“They’re aquarium grade plexiglass. Sometimes I wonder what they were thinking when they built this fortress all the way up here.”

“Bugs you, huh?” Liz grinned.

“Deep in my historian’s heart.” Kate smiled. In a weird way, it was like Liz had gotten that extra hour of sleep. Kate checked her watch. “Ok, I’ve got things to do before showtime. Feel free to join the effort to figure out the projector.”


[4] Dialogue bits
Liz: What I am, is a field agent.

Liz: I have it, I use it. It sure as hell better be good for something.

Liz: I'm tired of being someone else's battery.

Abe: I know very little is the true poison of it. Langdon – He – I favored discovery, not for its own sake, but for progress and the improvement of the world. I’m not sure what that meant to someone whose associates were somehow involved in a presidential assassination.

Liz: Leadership position? Jesus, doesn’t “quits repeatedly” put a kink in the career path?

Liz: I didn’t get my driver’s license until I was 24, when the Bureau decided there wasn’t a flammability issue. Of course, I was kind of a pissed-off teenager, so I’d been driving without one for a while longer than that.

Liz: What the picture needs here, is a fish guy dressed in country club casual.

Rookie: Wow, that got awkward.
Liz: Don’t worry about it, kiddo. I grew up in a classified compound, raised by scientists and TV. I wasn’t properly socialized until I was 35.

Liz: Ha. You’re an easy mark, Abe.
Abe: [distracted] Oh? Yes.
Liz: Hahaha.
Sydney: That’s dangerous knowledge to let out Abe. I am a proud part of the grand tradition of Bureau pranks—
Liz: [dangerous] Try it.

[5] Alternative story ideas--
- the one at an old dinosaur quarry with reference to the Bone Wars, a historical feud between two American paleontologists, in which they dynamited fossils so the other guy wouldn't get them, redirected the other guy's shipments to their own museum, and sniped endlessly in scientific literature. There was also going to be a cave and a dragon. (It's actually what happens next in the story I did write -- I just never got there.)

- the one where Abe gets turned back into Langdon Everett Caul, without any of Abe's memories. During some supernatural happenings, Abe is lost in a cave in, but they find a man there, Langdon Caul, who seems very surprised to discover the date is sometime in 2007.

There's some hint in the comic that even before he got turned into Abe Sapian, fishguy, Caul may have been... unusually long-lived. In this story, I'd picture him as something akin to a Highlander immortal, a few hundred years old - or about as old as the history of British colonialism. Intelligent, adaptable, and a knowledge-seeker who believes in progress in an unfortunately paternalistic, racist, 19th century way. Hits on Liz. Liz is worried about Abe.

Plot-wise, I imagine the next time a super-powered madman has a plan to 'make the planet better' that involves killing a whole bunch of people (kind of the standard Hellboy villain), Caul is won over (the secret society he belonged to back in the day eventually planned to do something similar). Then, in an emotionally satisfying moment, he comes around at the last minute. And somehow gets turned back into Abe, who doesn't think killing millions of people is a good idea. And there is probably Liz/Abe in there. Somewhere.

Yeah, there's no way I was going to finish that by the yuletide deadline.

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