Recently (a few months ago) I was contacted by Rondal Scott III over at Strange Kids Club (www.strangekidsclub.com) to see if I would do a Saturday morning cartoon style line-up of a classic 80s movie for their magazine release. I chose They Live! I basically rethought the whole end of the movie, and wrote out small blurbs for my general concept, and biographies for each of the characters. Read them... if you dare!
General Concept- After blowing up the transmission station in LA, Nada and Frank take the fight to New York City. There they meet a young girl named Maya who has attempted to digitally subvert the alien invasion. Her hacking efforts can only go so far so she enlists the demolition talents of Nada and Frank.
Nada– For the Nada I wanted to stick with his classic clothing. After all, he never changed clothes through the entire movie. His clothes are a part of him. Those nightmarish jeans already appeared to be sneaking into his body cavity from the bottom. To make the design look more like an 80s cartoon I also added a power gauge and bright laser blasts to the gun. By 80s cartoon logic it was permissible to burn a hole through a baddy with a laser gun, but not with bullets. Funny.
Frank– The Frank design was also pretty faithful to the costume from the film, but with more of a focus on his construction background. Rather than equipping all of the good guys with sunglasses, I decided to a give Frank and Maya (more on her later) the new and improved alien spotting contact lenses. Unlike the contact lenses from the movie, which miraculously didn't look like they were wearing contact lenses at all, the cartoon lenses reflect a bright green eye-shine.
Maya– In the grand tradition of 80s/90s cartoons I have included Maya as the token kid/ethnically ambiguous character. She never appeared in the source material, but that never seemed to stop cartoon producers before (See: H.E.R.B.I.E. in the Fantastic Four). It does seem like the line-up of characters needs some fresh blood to expand the universe. She was also necessary to balance the mindless/tenacious machismo of Nada and Frank. I wanted Maya to be the brains of the operation. Just look at her fancy state-of-the-art Compaq SLT!
Holly– In my animated series Holly has become the boss alien's #2. She has dropped her good girl pretense and become an 80s femme fatale – much like a noir femme fatale, but with big padded shoulders.
The Boss– In the film they never confront a leader of the alien invasion, so I invented one. Keeping with the “fight the establishment” theme of the film, I made the boss alien a Wall Street fat cat in the style of Gordon Gekko. The boss is accompanied by his faithful robotic suitcase, who desperately wants to take their relationship to the next level.
Alien Minion– In addition to all of the other aliens that have implanted themselves into human society, The Boss is protected by a phalanx of alien riot police. There seems to be an inexhaustible supply of these alien minions that Nada and Frank blast their way through every Saturday morning.