No two proposals for comic book series are alike, and the original proposal for HELHEIM illustrates that quite well. I’m presenting the pitch here as it originally appeared.
If you’re familiar with the book, you’ll notice a few distinct differences between this concept document and the final product. Even the name of our hero was different at this stage of the game.
If you’re not familiar with the book, watch out! Spoilers abound.
Looking at this proposal, I think it’s actually a little too short. I think a little more detail might have served the idea a little better. But the end result–getting the publisher to ask for more information on the book–was achieved. So this one goes down as a success… even though I cringe a little when reading it now.
Here ya go!
A Proposal for an OGN or Limited Series
By Cullen Bunn
Beowulf meets Frankenstein in a horrific story of black magic and a warrior who is not allowed to die. A pair of witches has long feuded for dominion of the wild lands. As one of the witches makes a final, brutal play against the other, a fallen warrior is raised from the dead to stand against the minions of darkness. But the warrior himself longs for the reward of Valhalla, and his unstoppable rage grows as he is denied. Cut loose into the world, the warrior finds himself at odds with not one but two powerful witches, and he must recover his glory by protecting a defenseless village caught in the middle of their terrible war.
We open on a desolated hall, where the warriors of a great chieftain, battle against vicious enemies who have been worked into a drug-enhanced rage by Groa. Their mission is to slay Bera, who is under the lust-filled protection of the chieftain. They are almost successful in their mission, but the sword of the chieftain’s greatest warrior, Nikulas, saves the day. Unfortunately, Nikulas suffers a mortal injury during the fight. His body is crushed in the battle.
At peace with his impending death, Nikulas is horrified to find that Bera intends to raise him from the dead, severing his head and attaching it to the body of another, more physically powerful warrior. Nikulas is set against the warriors, demons, and assassins in Groa’s service, and his body is changed over the course of his battles (his arms replaced by the monstrous arms of demons, etc.)
Eventually, Nikulas escapes Bera’s service, and he wanders near a populated village. As the war between the witches escalates, the village is caught in the crossfire. Nikulas makes a last stand against both witches in order to save the village and reclaim his right to enter Paradise.
Groa – A sinister, withered old hag who specializes in poisons and alchemy and demon-summoning. She is a hideous creature, and the reader will quickly identify her as a villain.
Bera – Opposed to Groa, Bera appears to be young and beautiful. She is charming and uses her sexuality to get what she wants as much as she uses magic. She is gifted in the art of necromancy.
Nikulas – Our hero, the greatest of Viking warriors. When he is raised, his head is placed upon the body of a stronger man. Throughout the story, new “additions” are stitched onto his body, replacing his arms, adding scaled plates as armor, etc. He longs for the death he deserves, and he must reclaim his honor in order to reach Valhalla.
Kadlin – A young girl from the village Nikulas protects. She becomes his connection to his lost humanity.
This is a horrific tale of violence and bloodshed, Vikings and the blackest magic—a grim story showcasing the awfulness of battle, the power of superstition, and an honor that transcends death. This is a dark tale, and even after Groa and Bera are vanquished and Nikulas at final rest, we will end on a dark note—Kadlin is, herself, a third witch, and she is preparing to raise an army of abominations similar to Nikulas to help her conquer the land of men.