Brad and I have joined a group for next years Emerald City Comic Con. The theme is, “When your favorite show ends…” The idea is both simple and grand. Imagine all of your favorite childhood shows. The ones you watched in the mornings before school, after getting home from school, and early Saturday morning. Those times when it was only you and the TV and you got to be one of the heroes.
Now RE-imagine those characters. After their shows ended. And after the apocalypse. What could possibly warp and change them after what they’ve seen on their shows? How could the end of the world effect them?
My first inclination was a fusion of Mad Max and Speed Racer. Unfortunately he was already chosen. I toyed with the idea of joining with a rendition of Racer X. In one of the posts Tina mentioned that they had found their Mr. Rogers. Naturally this got me thinking of Captain Kangaroo. Having grown up in Washington State, my stream of consciousness quickly latched onto JP Patches.
For those that don’t know, JP Patches is a legitimate icon in Seattle. Over two decades on the air, thousands of hours, and millions of fans. He’s recognizable and memorable. Even those in the Seattle area who had not been born by the time the show went off the air in 1981 know who he is. Among those of us old enough to remember him, his reach extends globally.
The children that he taught to laugh and love. To be compassionate and caring. To be good neighbors and even greater people. We crossed the planet and shared what he shared with us.
Now take a that character and reimagine him having survived the apocalypse.
Pause a moment to reflect on how changing such a beloved character can be taken by the general public.
In a society today that will jump on everything, whether the criticism is justified or not. Where the anonymity of the internet has allowed the callous and venomous to spew their hate unchecked. A society that has even allowed that venom to escape that virtual reality into actual reality. People behaving in a manner that should shake us at our core, yet somehow, doesn’t.
Imagine the hate that changing this character, in this way, could foster. I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that this makes me more than a little nervous. JP Patches means a lot to me! I want to honor him as much as I want to be creative. This isn’t about making someone you love into somebody you could never recognize.
I don’t think that the idea is to take a character and show “what a monster they’ve become.” I want the world to see “a shining light that has survived the darkest night.” With Gertrude to help and lean on, it’s not that hard to imagine. I still want JP Patches, even post apocalypse, to represent love, compassion, and friendship.
The rub is how to do it properly. To remain recognizable as JP Patches. To show the trails and tribulations survived. And still radiate hope and joy.
These are some big shoes to fill (pun intended).