I've had an amazing first day at Comicpalooza, the science fiction, comic, anime, film, and gaming convention being held this weekend in Houston, Texas. I've been able to meet with some old friends, make new ones, and generally hang out with a bunch of fellow geeks. The convention was a lot larger than I imagined, taking up a ton of space at Houston's George R. Brown Convention Center, and lots of dealer booths, exhibitions, panels, activities, and of course, geek people watching, which is always fun. I can't imagine anyone wanting to wear Darth Vader gear in Houston weather, but hey, if Vader can do it, so can we Texans.
Today at his panel, Edward James Olmos announced his project that he's working on with his son, producer, and co-writer Michael Olmos and co-writer Bob Layton (IRON MAN's amazing "Demon In A Bottle" comic and creator of Valiant Comics), The project is a superhero story called METTLE. There will be comic books based on the character in his youth, and then a full-length feature film.
The premise of the story concerns Olmos' character, a Latino soldier from the Vietnam War, who when captured by the Vietcong undergoes various medical experiments that grant him superpowers. When he gets home he learns to adapt to his powers (which were unspecified at the panel, but I'd imagine some super-strength would be involved, based on the hints they gave). Come present day, Olmos' character is struck ill and loses his abilities, and also must deal with post-traumatic stress disorder due to the traumatizing events of his life. It's at that moment that his enemies decide to strike, and Olmos' character must deal with the return of his enemies and their plots at the moment in his life when he's most vulnerable. Layton, especially was talking up the story, which Olmos said, "has a killer ending. Maybe better than SEVEN's. A killer opening, too."
The way Olmos pitched the project, it really sounded amazing, big in scope, and Layton talked about how in the end, it's what the character is willing to die for that counts. There would be flashbacks to earlier in Olmos' superhero career, and they clearly stated that Olmos would be playing the character at all stages of his life. Whether this would be achieved through CGI, or makeup, was unclear, but they were very specific that Olmos would be playing Mettle (which I'm assuming the hero would be called) through the entire film. There is a plan to release a comic book with Mettle's younger exploits in it, as well.
Edward James Olmos also stated that he hopes the project gets enough success that he would be able to launch his dream project - the story of Roy Benevidez, American Congressional Medal of Honor winner, and soldier in Vietnam. "If this weren't real, people would never believe it," said Olmos, who went on to describe a story of pure heroics as Benevidez jumped out of a helicopter to help save his fellow soldiers in a firefight in Vietnam. "This guy out-Rambos Rambo."
I hope both of these projects pan out for Edward James Olmos - they sound epic in scale and, more importantly, just plain old good, entertaining stories with terrific larger-than-life characters. Olmos professed a great love of the superhero genre in general - "You should see my garage," he said, pointing towards his son Michael. "$500? For a comic book?" Apparently he raised a true geek son, and now this sounds like a terrific project.