I’ve always been a Disney geek, but the Canadian animation company Nelvana made five of my all-time favorite cartoons. Four of them came on a mysterious four-pack that my sister and I used to religiously rent from our local video store. The four half-hour features include A Cosmic Christmas, The Devil and Daniel Mouse, Romie-0 and Julie-8 and Please Don’t Eat the Planet. All four cartoons are charming as hell, and they’ve aged surprisingly well over the years.
But Nelvana’s Rock and Rule simply … well, it rules. Beautifully animated, Rock and Rule takes place in a post-apocalyptic society populated by a race of mutant animals. In this world, a mad rock star hatches a plot for world domination that hinges on one special voice – a voice that can summon an unstoppable demon from hell.
Like I said, I was a weird kid.
Rock and Rule’s influence on my writing can best be seen in its action-comedy tone. I grew up on action movies, comic-books and a lot of great novels, and in adulthood, I’ve gravitated toward the work of John Carpenter (Big Trouble in Little China), Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), along with many other writers and filmmakers who specialize in in telling action-packed stories filled with lots of wise-cracking, broad humor and high stakes. My sweet-spot as a writer falls in this zone.
The stakes don’t get any higher than Rock and Rule’s climax, which features a final showdown with the mad rock star’s evil demon. But I don’t want to spoil the fun. Instead, please enjoy the opening scenes.