A Lost Quest For Jonny
♦ Tripwire’s contributing writer Scott Braden gives us his latest in his series of features on comic stories or series that never happened. This week it’s the turn of Mark Irwin and Mike Oeming’s Johnny Quest …
Mark Irwin and Mike Oeming’s Jonny Quest
“Back in 1997 or ’98, thereabouts,” Irwin remembered, “I heard through the grapevine at WildStorm that we had somehow gotten the rights to Jonny Quest, which just happened to be my favourite all-time cartoon (next to The Herculoids).
“I was already trying to do some writing and try to find ways to not just be an inker anymore, and this seemed tailor-made for me. In a burst of creativity, I wrote a six-issue mini-series about Jonny – taking the basic premise of Benton Quest being asked to investigate a scientific wonder in the middle of the Indian Ocean, taking the Jonny Quest crew along, and subsequently finding out that said scientific marvel was being likewise investigated and likely manipulated by the evil Dr. Zin.
“But, unlike pretty much every episode of the show, this actually had the consequence of unearthing and solving the mystery of what happened to Jonny’s mom – who was mistakenly killed by Dr. Zin during the course of another of Benton Quest’s, well, quests. I gave closure to that, while also giving growth to Hadji (wanted there to be more for him beyond being Jonny’s sidekick) and Jonny. It also had some kick-ass action with Race Bannon, because, well, it’s Race Bannon, not to mention some side romance with Jezebel Jade!”
According to Irwin, he went above and beyond with this – his first project as a writer: “After writing this all up (literally dialogue and everything – again, rookie writer here), I reached out to Mike Oeming, someone who’s work I’d long admired at that point. I sent him the script and talked to him a bit about it, and he loved it and seemed to really want to do it. I went back to the Powers-that-Be at WildStorm and proposed the book with Mike attached, and they were flabbergasted at the amount of work I’d done in pulling the whole thing together. We were told the book was going to happen, and then it was naught but radio silence for six months – despite my repeated queries about the book.
“After that, I saw Mike at the San Diego Comic-Con, where he informed me that he’d been called by someone who shall remain nameless at WildStorm and was told Jonny Quest was ‘off.’ He was disappointed but already working on other stuff. I was devastated! I’d worked really hard on the script, gotten Mike to join the project, and loved Jonny Quest. And, of course, was pretty ticked no one came to me – the guy who actually worked at WildStorm and put it all together!”
Although the mini-series was not to be, Irwin did find some good from the experience.
“In the long run,” Irwin admitted, “it did inform my novel series, Jack Secret, and made for a good lesson for me in what to do in pitching a project.”
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