THE END OF THE EARTH
At Toy Fair the following year we tried to figure out who the winning candidate was that would make us proud to lose the big election. Apparently it was a line of oversized action figures based on “Conan the Barbarian”, tamed down to become “Conan the Adventurer”.
I found this guy on E-Bay today, for 99 cents. Although, his fat neck is unarticulated, his hands appear ready for action.
Meanwhile, the story of Invasion Earth was not yet over. In 1995, after a few years of hibernation, my partners managed to wake it up, and sell the concept to “Film Roman”, the animation studio that produces the Simpsons, the Family Guy etc. Their intention was to turn Invasion Earth into a prime time weekly half hour animated series for both adults and children. And this time it was a “Go” not just an option.
Film Roman forged ahead enthusiastically. And I was spending a lot of time on the phone, working on the story with a battery of writers and even the founder of the company, Phil Roman; “Film Roman” get it? Clever title. I was loving every minute of it, amazed and flattered at how faithfully they were following the stuff that Andy and I had written. Faxes with the latest story ideas arrived daily. Here is the introduction to one that goes on for 45 pages.
Throughout the year that followed, we watched with a certain amount of satisfaction as Conan the Adventurer ascended like a lead balloon, to crash and die, without a whimper.
One bold thing they were proposing really impressed me. It amounted to rewriting history. The story would begin in the 1950s, about the time that the first UFOs, called Flying Saucers then, were sighted. That is when the Invasion would take place. And from that point forward, we would see the history of the World as it might have unfolded if that were the case.
But even as this blisful state continued, all was not well! There was the sound of distant thunder and storm clouds appeared on the horizon. It was rumored that Tim Burton was working on a movie called “Mars Attacks”. Another film called “Independence Day” was also mentioned. Film Roman insisted that it didn’t matter, and carried on undaunted.
Then Independence Day arrived, and it immediately became clear that it DID matter!
"Invasion Earth" and "Independance Day" were, in fact, EXACTLY the Same story! The similarities were, no doubt circumstancial, but nonetheless, uncanny. All the Nations of the Earth unite to fight the Alien Invasion. And an American pilot was the hero of both stories. This was what one might call "too close for comfort."
This passage from "Invasion Earth" that Andy and I wrote in 1988 accurately parallels and predicts the plot of 1996's "Independence Day" as well.
Thus it was when "Independence Day" arrived in 1996, it crafted a coffin for "Invasion Earth."
Then “Mars Attacks” attacked, and nailed it shut.
Not only did “Independence Day” duplicate the plot and premise of the United Earth Force, but following shortly thereafter, the characterizations of the aliens inTim Burton’s “Mars Attacks” eerily resembled our's as well. And so it was that, even though both entities were created 8 years after "Invasion Earth", they beat us to it! There was no wiggle room or buts about it. Film Roman, had no option but to, reluctantly, throw in the towel.
Once more, we thought "Invasion Earth" was dead. But, in a bittersweet manner of speaking, we were proven wrong. Unbeknownst to us, in 1998 a six episode TV series of the same name, “Invasion Earth” was produced in England. Again the story was similar to ours. I understand that this time there were Creatures.
I guess we'll never know if the name "Invasion Earth" was mearly floating in the ether, or if our little property, after kicking around the industry forever, had in any way influenced a TV show of the same name and story ten years later. Maybe it was just Fate that killed "Invasion Earth" or maybe it was some bacteria in Earth's atmosphere. At any rate, it was all over, and any chance of doing it was gone.
Meanwhile my original Creature survived. It is still alive and well in a showcase in my studio. And, in spite of all it has been through, it remains one of the few things I did over the years that I still like looking at today.
Needless to say, we were flat out mystified. Far from bursting with pride, we found ourselves bursting out in laughter. Was our vision tainted by sour grapes or was this really a Bummer?
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