My Original Inspiration For “Splatterpunk”

Here is the original Splatterpunk.

Executioner #264, the second novel in what has become known as “The COMCON Trilogy.” COMCON was an acronym that meant COMmittee to suspend the US CONstitution. Of course, the nemesis for GREEN MAJIK has become the much better entity of MAJESTIC. In the case of Splatterpunk, the upcoming reboot this summer, is the better of the two as well.

The core idea for Splatterpunk came from an idea I started to write as a spec novel back when I was attempting college for the first time right out of high school in Durango, Colorado during the 1982-1983 school year. During this period of time, my favorite book series — The Executioner by Don Pendleton — had recently traded publisher hands. The books were no longer being published by Pinnacle Books. Gold Eagle was the new publisher. It turned out that Gold Eagle was a new imprint in the vast Harlequin romance mill. I guess they thought they had to conquer the men’s equivalent of the romance novel — the action-adventure novel. At that time in popular media, the biggest name in action-adventure was Don Pendleton’s character, Mack Bolan aka The Executioner. In fact, Marvel’s character of The Punisher is the Marvel Universe’s Mack Bolan. Mack Bolan inspired Frank Castle.

A new feature of the new publisher was that Don Pendleton wasn’t really writing the books anymore; a team of ghost writers were. This was discovered by closely reading the copyright page. It listed the writer’s name as being a contributor to the “work.”

Long story short, it turned out one of these writers was living in Durango and owned a used bookstore in downtown Durango. I discovered this by chance one weekend I was sight-seeing on foot. Once I knew who he was, I started hanging out picking his brain about how to get into the writing program at Gold Eagle. I started writing spec chapters. Steve Mertz (the Bolan writer) liked my stuff and let me mail stuff to his editor, Mark Howell, at the time.

Anyway, the idea that struck me back then was based on this simple tagline: Jason meets Mack Bolan. You know, Jason is the hockey masked super killer in the Friday The 13th movies. Back then, I had endured a couple of the Jason franchise in complete horror. I couldn’t believe what a WASTE a character like Jason was being pitted against mere hormone-swelled teenagers hopping around the set like wildebeests in heat. Teenie boppers were no challenge for something like Jason. Jason needed to face-down the most fearsome the human race had to offer. Someone like Mack Bolan. What an epic clash that would be.

I called the prospective novel Goat’s Head Soup. Back then, the monster was supernatural like Michael Myers and Jason and wore a tin mask like the mascot on the cover of the Quiet Riot albums. By the time I actually got a contract to write a few Bolans, I brushed off this concept but made the villain super this time; not supernatural. Nanotechnology was the basis of Splatterpunk’s radical abilities. He became even more formidable with this scientifically plausible basis for superhuman abilities. Before I wrote about what the tech could do, I went to some scientists working in the field and asked them what might be possible with the kind of nanotech I was thinking of for the book. They told me things that blew my friggin’ mind. A lot of “hardcore realist” types in the readers really rejected this book for being complete fantasy, not possible for the Bolan universe, blah blah, don’t confuse me with the facts, I know what I believe type stuff. Nevertheless, everything I depicted with Splatterpunk 1.0 was everything these scientists said would be possible “very soon.” Mind you, they were telling me this over 17 years ago. Imagine where they’re at with this now.

The re-issue of Pretty Hate Machine now includes the first chapter of the new Splatterpunk. If you read Splatterpunk in the Bolan incarnation, you’ll immediately see that the rebooted Splatterpunk is a totally new menace to society; even more so than the first one was.

Like I’ve said before: buckle up, Bones. You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.