ELVIS SHRUGGED


I have several writer friends who create interesting science-fiction novels and short stories.  They know I have never attempted any science-fiction writing, but I think I can pull off a trick on them.  After our meetings, we go out to eat, and drink, and talk.  I’m going to tell them I’m mulling over a sci-fi Elvis idea and would like to hear what they think about it.
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The story would take place in the future.  Sony/Time/Warner would be the only surviving record company—because they bought all the competition or forced them out of business.  But, greed for more profit causes Sony/Time/Warner to drastically cut assets.  They eradicate all music except rock.  Then slowly, top rock musicians start to disappear.
 
At this point, I hope my sci-fi writer friends will be hooked.
 
The story continues.  Meanwhile, Frank Sinatra has just finished taking Austrian youthfulness treatments and bionic arm replacements.  He is now a big, strong, mean guy that looks like he is part of a heavy metal band.  Frank and Madonna are just getting ready to record some revolutionary new music, free from the shackles of Sony/Time/Warner.  Unfortunately, the corporate giant quashes their effort.
 
OK, so now we have two other famous names in the story, and Frank Sinatra has become ‘Young Blue Eyes — on Steroids.’  We have a nasty money-grubbing conglomerate as our antagonist.  I hope this is plenty to get my sci-fi friends caught up in the story.
 
Madonna undertakes a trek to trace the missing musicians.  She stumbles upon Elvis in Tibet, where he is searching for his soul.  Madonna and Elvis get it on and soon fall in love. They travel to a secret island paradise called Blue Hawaii. The location of Elvis’ whereabouts slowly filters to select musicians.  Soon, John Lennon fakes his death and joins Elvis on the island hideaway.  So do Roy Orbison, Frank Zappa, and Sammy Davis Jr.
 
Col. Parker is also a bad guy in this story, collaborating with Sony/Time/Warner.  He is producing a new TV musical spectacular starring Michael Jackson called “Madame Superfly.”  Elvis and friends jam the telecast feed and replace it with a new form of music he has created called Elvisia.  But, Col. Parker’s henchmen are able to get a fix on Elvis’ signal and use a hypno-beam to lure him off the island.  Parker tries to use Elvis’ DNA to make a clone, but something goes wrong and all he can produce is a bunch of midget Elvises.
 
My writer buddies will probably be laughing at this point, but I’ll bet they want to hear the finish.
 
Frank Sinatra, Madonna, and the other rockers from Blue Hawaii pull off a daring rescue of Elvis, but Col. Parker takes Madonna and escapes to a floating spacepod, held aloft by one gigantic balloon.  Elvis and the gang pull off some Die Hard-like stunts to rescue her and force Col. Parker’s spacecraft to crash into the Statue of Liberty and explode.
 
All the musicians return to Blue Hawaii, where they are finally free to create music without profit pressure from the big, evil music company. 
 
I hope my sci-fi writer buddies will tell me they love my story, but I have to be honest with them and reveal my trick.  The story they heard wasn’t my original creation.  It was actually a thumbnail of the plot of a 3-volume Elvis comic book series titled Elvis Shrugged.  It was published in 1991 by Revolutionary Comics (Unauthorized And Proud Of It), and had modest success.   The three volumes total 108 pages, basically a small book.
 
About ten or twelve years ago, I discovered a copy of Volume lll at a record show and bought it.  Without knowledge of the two proceeding volumes, I had trouble making sense of the story.  It was also pretty weird.  So, I read it once and packed it away with my Elvis goodies.  It stayed there until I surfed into the website www.comicsutra.com the other day.  It had a reprint of an August 1997 column by Beth Hannan Rimmels in the Long Island VoiceMs Rimmels’ review of Elvis Shrugged filled in all the early plot blanks for me.  Now, I could go back to my comic book and really enjoy it.  Blog research has never been more fun.  Here are some pictures from it.
 
This is Madonna, Elvis and Frank Sinatra.  Check out the bionic arms.  Elvis and Frank are about to rumble over Madonna, but Sammy Davis comes along and cools things off.
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Here is the loving couple.  Elvis gives her a pretty nice present for Christmas.  Notice the matching jumpsuits.
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Elvis’ daring rescue scene where he must battle the midget Elvis clones. The quality of the artwork on this frame dropped off.
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Here is the cover of Volume l.  Do you see the little floating bell-jar with a cowboy hat in the top right?  That’s Col. Parker’s scientifically preserved head, still capable of being a mean sum-bitch.  Do you see some other faces you recognize in the drawing?
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Here is Volume ll.  I think sales of this series were hurt by the lack of a vivid picture of Elvis on the cover of the first volume.  Elvis is shown here in a jumpsuit, which he also wears it in the first part of Volume lll.
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However, the story wraps up with Elvis bare-chested, like this cover of Volume lll, the copy I own.  This picture should have been on the first volume.  Note that Elvis is wearing his sun-glasses in all these pictures.
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I would like to finish with two quotes from Ms. Rimmel’s review:
“It parodies Atlas Shrugged very well.  In Atlas Shrugged, when something goes wrong, people ask “Who is John Galt?”  In Elvis Shrugged, the phrase is “Is Elvis alive?”
“I love it because while the title sounds like a jab, it’s really a compliment, because the story says Elvis would have never become a shadow of his former self.”
 
She had some pretty serious reasons for liking Elvis Shrugged.  I liked it because it was cool.
Weird, but cool.
 
©  2008   Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister  All Rights Reserved   www.ElvisBlog.net

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