The following excerpts are from my original proposal to publishers for four full issues of Ed mayhem
FROM THE INTRO LETTER:
With Ed the Grocer, I hope to capitalize on the rising demand for senseless violence while simultaneously parodying it. Plus, I think it's funny as Hell!
There's plenty to make fun of in this vein; grafting Batman-like grimness and violence onto the life of a grouchy old shopkeeper yields some pretty unusual moments. His story is admittedly thin on redeeming social values, but those never helped sell comics anyhow. The tone, obviously, is black comedy.
The look of the series is dark and moodily lit despite the fact that much of it takes place in supermarkets. Ed's world is one of odd camera angles and sweaty closeups, imagined conspirators and ominous forebodings. He tells his own story in the most melodramatic interior monologue since Apocalypse Now-his methods of revenge arcane and complicated in the best lunatic tradition.
In dealing excessive justice to minor lawbreakers and even innocents, Ed the Grocer hopefully communicates the strangeness of the current vogue for blood-soaked vigilantes in comics.
Or maybe not.
Maybe it's just outrageously violent nonsense.
With a heart.
And an axe.
For those of you just joining us, Ed is the star of our story, and, in a twisted sort of way, the hero.
With his athletic prowess and fierce dedication to law enforcement, Ed naturally chose a life in the grocery business. A 42 year career of shelf stocking and mop up has yielded not only an assistant managership but also a complex psychological soup of bitterness, paranoia and suppressed anger.
Did I say Suppressed?
Actually, Ed tends to be somewhat extreme in both his morals and his methods, never hesitating to kill in order to drive home a point. He lives in a melodramatic world of his own making-but that world is about to change.
You guessed it, it's about to get worse!
#1: BAD DAY AT KREBLER MART
It starts out as a perfectly normal Tuesday: restock the shelves, rinse out the vegetable bins, bust a few shoplifter's heads. But later, on his nightly patrol of the vice-ridden city streets, Ed's blood-soaked quest for justice is witnessed by some understandably confused citizens.
The next morning the local paper carries the lurid reports of a "crazed vigilante chef"... leading Ed to deduce that he is the victim of the Evil Communist Liberal Media Conspiracy.
Somewhat cranky, he severely reprimands an errant shopper for eating a grape and in the ensuing melee actually loses his job.
In a dramatic sequence reminiscent of Branded he is stripped of his apron and name tag, then banished from Krebler's Mart...A grocer no more!
#2: A GROCER NO MORE!
Ed prowls the city streets in a particularly bitter frame of mind, certain that the coils of some ghastly conspiracy are tightening around him. After a confrontation with, and flight from an angry mob, the Grim Grocer realizes he must leave his hometown and go into hiding.
Unfortunately, Ed's idea of laying low is to run through the suburbs at night musing aloud in Shakespearean tones.
A man of Ed's skills is qualified for much, and he does stints flipping hamburgers, minding a convenience store, and even dressing like a penguin. All of these jobs end disastrously, of course, and before long Ed is penniless, hungry and thoroughly ticked off.
Near death and at the end of his receipt, Ed stumbles across the eerie spectacle of the abandoned Lucky Clown Mart.
#3: 'TIS THE SEASON FOR WREAKING VENGEANCE
Inside the Lucky Clown Mart, Ed lies writhing on the floor - beside him, the empty tins of long-expired meat products. In the grip of a toxin-induced nightmare, Ed is visited by the inexplicable Cabal of Clerks and told the nature of the conspiracy against him.
The rather flimsy account involves Ed's manager, a newspaper columnist, assorted international terrorist franchises and that woman at the donut shop who always puts the iced ones face down in the box.
Told to watch for a sign, Ed wakes and wanders into the cool night air, to be hit in the face by his destiny: a help wanted ad for Santas. Not long afterwards, this two-fisted Saint Nick busts up a dope deal and suddenly finds himself in possession of a lot of drug money, exactly what he needs to wreak his revenge.
#4: JUST DESSERTS
After spending thousands of dollars and several weeks fixing up the Lucky Clown Mart, Ed is ready for the grand re-opening: he kidnaps his three "enemies" and introduces them to the horrors of Hell Mart, trying to extract information about the conspiracy.
Of course, they have no information to give, so the interrogation does not go well. The unfortunate three are subjected to numerous indignities including lobsters, spoiled milk, mad dogs and meat slicers. Eventually they beg forgiveness for crimes they never committed, at which point Ed kills them all.
After much deep thought Ed determines that the conspiracy will prevent him from operating in the open and decides he must go underground, become a Grocer of the Night.
Our tale ends with the Midnight Marketer standing ever vigilant over an edgy populace, with the promise of further gratuitous violence to come.
SKETCHES AND PANELS FROM THE PRESENTATION
all images ©1999 by Tom Stazer
No reproduction allowed without consent of Tom Stazer
Like this'll stop you thieving cyber-weasels.