The background of Bust + new story insight

Hi backers, and thank you for making the last 24 hours something incredibly exciting for both Chris and I. Together you’ve raised £520 towards our total with 43 days left to go. That’s insane (in a good way of course!).

Part of this process is to keep you all updated and to give as much insight into the project as possible, and that’s what this post is about.

The original sketches of page 2 from April 2013
The original sketches of page 2 from April 2013

 

The background of Bust

Bust, like all of the writing projects I’ve worked on, started as something drastically different. In the beginning it was a short one-shot focusing on a card dealer called Frank who go a bit too big for his boots and started stealing from his boss, who also happened to be a local Mafia big shot.

Frank then tries to gamble all of the money he stole at his bosses illegal card game. He wins and makes over a million dollars, but as it happens, his boss has been wise to him this whole time. Frank gets roughed up, the Mafia kidnaps his family and the plot kicks into high gear.

We then see Frank held captive for man months, and is forced to brawl his way through a seemingly never-ending wave of bare knuckle boxing matches to pay off the money he stole – even though his boss took it back anyway (yup, he’s a ‘paying interest’ kind of Mafia guy). The thing is, Frank is so driven to see his family again that he whips himself into shape and becomes an utter monster in the ring.

He breaks noses, shatters bones and displaces the teeth of many men until eventually, one last fight is all that’s left, and it’s against a beast of a man whose fighting name escapes me (this was about two years back, I should add), but it was something nuts like Pat ‘the skull fucker’ ‘destroyer’ Brookes or something like that. I popped in a joke about the man was so tough that he had two nicknames. It wasn’t very funny.

How page two looks today
How page two looks today

Anyway, the fight went on for many pages and without any dialogue, a proper silent, but incredible brutal exchange that you could compare to Balboa vs Drago. In the end both men are about to collapse but wind up for one final swing as Frank’s family looks on from the crowd.

And then, the comic ends, just as the fists of both men are about to connect with the other’s jaw.

Who won? I actually have no idea, but that was the cliffhanger I went out on.

It never got made of course, but a close friend of mine suggested I throw zombies in the ring, and that got me thinking about something bigger. I kept the Bust name, changed the character to Jack and melded the concept with Fallout, Gladiator and a dollop of Walking Dead – although our creatures aren’t actually confirmed as zombies. Their origins and motivations are largely kept ambiguous for you to decide.

So then, the story!

Jack and his family attempt to flee America
Jack and his family attempt to flee America

New story insight

If I had to pick one theme that Bust focuses on the most it’s family and the relationships that keep us whole during trying times. Jack sees the America fall at the hands of a terrible plague that mutates humans and turns them in to ravenous, violent killing machines, and he does what he can to spare his wife and son the same fate.

At first Jack tries to leave the country but quickly finds that is not an option. Those who are immune to the plague find themselves trapped and sandwiched between unstoppable monsters trying to tear them to shred, and ruthless gangs trying to overthrow the established order and claim the country as their own.

The Texan city of Austin is the last safe city in North America, thanks to the quick action and generosity of billionaire businessman Eddie Scott. He has giant walls erected around a perimeter and sees that all the food and resources for miles are brought back to the city for rationing. Time passes and Eddie becomes a tyrant for reasons we don’t understand at first. People worship and fear him, those deemed ‘disloyal’ to his whim are killed or exiled to the wastes beyond.

Eddie. He's not a nice man.
Eddie. He’s not a nice man.

Jack and his family make new friends, and he even gets himself a new job in Eddie’s casino. But after a horrific day at the tables, he has a sudden pang of conscience, and decides he has to get his family out of America. Following rumours that there is a boat that can get them to Europe, Jack steals from Eddie but is found out and forced to fight waves of ravenous freaks in the nearby football stadium to survive.

Can he win all his bouts, pay back Eddie and see his family again?

That’s the story we hope to tell in issue #1 certainly, but I’ve also written the arc for issue #2 and beyond. While they are both set in the same world, the second instalment goes at a slower pace. With the first entry we wanted to give a quick introduction to Jack without rushing things, to really capture the madness and chaos erupting around him. Consider it the pilot, a complete package of essentials you need to become interested enough in the world that you will – hopefully – want more.

Issue #2 marks the start of a grand arc and the appearance of a truly loathsome villain. It’s at this point the world takes on a grand new level of depth, and various new characters and factions come into play. I can’t say anything more about it yet, but if we hit our funding goal, you will all be invited to help Chris and I pick our title.

That’s all for now guys, thanks for reading this far and for helping us with your support.

-Dave

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