Saturday, October 15, 2011


For those of you that missed the 90's Image era I worked on a book called Bloodstrike. The basic idea of the book was that a government group of superheroes would get killed and brought back to life for each mission. Universal Soldier meets Youngblood.

I had come off of working for the Homage team and I was eager to do my own thing. Extreme Studios was exploding and Rob Liefeld was kind enough to give me a crack at Bloodstrike. He had an idea for a bold new direction for the book. It went from being a team to single character book. With a mysterious anti-hero taking on the name of the Bloodstrike team.

My goal was to out Extreme everyone with the art. I wanted to smash people in the mouth with the layouts and crack them over the skull with the level of detail. The new direction seemed to really resonate with readers and till this day I get asked to draw pictures of this iconic character.

A couple of years ago Rob and I discussed doing a new version of Bloodstrike. I was eager to get another shot (pun intended) at the character but I wanted to bring a modern look and feel to it.

My intention if the idea had moved forward was to go all out with the action and kick up the gore. I wanted to create something that was unlike any comic I'd done. I imagined it as Metal Gear/Ghost in the Shell vs The Authority.

Unfortunately the project never came together. Just this week it was announced that there will be a Bloodstrike relaunch. I was hit with several emails and messages asking if I was going to be working on it. I will not but from what I've seen it looks like a very impressive book. I wish them the best as they add another chapter to Cabbot and his undead super hero bad asses.

Below are some of the designs I did for the project as well as the first issue pitch I put together for the project.

Bloodstrike-Born Again

Pashtun Mountains located on the Pakistan/Afghanistan border.
Two Months Ago.

Four Blackhawk helicopters fly low and fast through the jagged Pashtun mountains by night. The Blackhawks are delivering a team of special forces operatives to a remote Taliban controlled area. They are chasing down a well know terrorist leader. The lead chopper is piloted by Maria Shawn her call sign is Fourplay. Fourplay notices that something is wrong with the choppers controls and navigation computers. As they close in on their target the chopper in the rear explodes. A NuGene active terrorist has flown through the chopper destroying it and killing everyone on board. The team has been drawn into a trap with Nu Gene active mercenaries. The rest of the choppers start taking on fire from Nu Genes who are firing on them from below!  Fireballs and energy blasts light up the night. A half man/bat flies along one of the choppers and rips one of the soldiers out his seat throwing him to the ground. Fourplay brings her chopper down and delivers her team. She pulls her chopper up and a giant horned creature comes out of nowhere and rips off the tale of the chopper. It spins out of control and violently crashes. Fourplay pulls herself from the wreckage.  She reaches for her pistol and realizes her right arm is missing from the elbow down. She looks up and sees the special forces team getting slaughtered by super human mercenaries. She calls in an air strike on her position. She looks up and sees two Predator attack drones bombing the area. We focus on her eyes as the flames from the explosions move towards her. We cut to a satellite video images of the explosions from above.

Cut to an edited versions of those images on a TV screen. A broadcaster describes how four U.N. copters crashed on a humanitarian mission to deliver supplies to a remote Pakistani village stricken by a flood. A promo for an Entertainment Tonight/TMZ type show focusing on members of Youngblood.

We pull back to reveal a woman and four men dressed in dark Euro/Matrix gear watching the broadcast on a large screen TV. It's 24 hours since the Pakistan attack. They are located in a large loft in London. It has no furniture just a single T.V. and a large table. The room is made up of concrete walls and floors with windows running across the wall facing out to the London skyline. Rain is falling. "Turn those lies off." The female says. She is a large Latin woman. Imagine a Mexican Wonder Woman. The guy sitting at the table has spiked hair. He snaps his fingers and the TV turns off. The three last men smoke and quietly wait for something to happen. They all wear tiny earpieces making them look like secret service Euro trash. A knock at the door. They all look at each other. A bit of fear in their eyes. Suddenly a man wearing a trench coat and carrying a suitcase phases through the door.  He puts the suitcase on the table. "Complements of the Sheik for making sure his son was not given a one way ticket to Getmo." He pulls out stacks of Euros from the case and puts them into even piles. They each take out various duffel bags and cases and begin filling them up with their money. The Woman smells her money and smiles. Suddenly the window shatters and an armor piercing shell rips her in the chest. She flies across the room and through the trench coat man (he phases) and through several walls and out of the building and down to the street below. She hits the ground and crashes down into the subway system. A cigarette falls from the mouth of the spikey haired guy.

Voice over.
Cabbot as Bloodstrike" Rule one: always take out the strong guy on the team first."

We follow the bullet backwards through the hole in the wall and across town to a rooftop (think Wanted) Rain falls on the roof but one spot is dry. Bloodstrike pulls off a camo sheet that gives him electronic invisibility. He has a huge tank buster sniper rifle. He stands up rain evaporating off the barrel of the gun.

"Super teams have a hierarchy. They piss in their pants when the strong guy goes down. When you can leap a tall building in a single bound you can get cocky and sloppy. I'm here to remind them what fear is."

The trench coat man orders them to attack. One of the men turns into the bat/man creature and rips through the window screaming his head off. One of them turns into a horned creature and jumps from the window landing on the ground and jumping like the Hulk. The spike haired guy begins glowing with electricity and the last guy turns on fire burning his clothes off.

"The flyers are usually the first on the scene. They send intel back to the group. Kill the flyer. Blind the team."

Cut to the man/bat swooping in on Bloodstrike. He talks back to the group with his earpiece yelling out Bloodstrike's position. Bloodstrike jumps from building to building and forces the Man/Bat into a tight spot in between two buildings. He turns side ways to fit and as he comes out his wings are cut off by laser wire strung between the buildings. He crashes to the floor. He looks up into the rain as Bloodstike's boot crushes him in the face. Bloodstrike punches a needle filled with anti NuGene nanos. The Man/Bat reverts to his human form.

"The big one will need room to use his size and strength. I'll take that away."

The horned creature jumps onto a roof and charges set under it explode and he falls down through the building to the basement. Bloodstrike meets him there sword drawn. They square off and the Horned creature can't move and can't ram Bloodstrike. Bloodstrike uses his size against him and cuts at him with his sword. He stabs him in the heart and presses the hilt of his sword sending Nanos into the creature turning him back to a human and robbing him of his powers.

The spikey haired electricity user is making his way down a dark alley. He is visibly nervous. He's heard of Bloodstrike and for NuGene Mercs he's like Michale Myers and Freddy wrapped up into one ass kicking package. He hears a noise and stumbles falling into a puddle. A shadow blocks out the moon. Bloodstrike is standing in front of him. He fires an electricity blast that goes right through Bloodstrike and into light pole triggering a feedback of electricity that fries him. Another Bloodstrike comes out of the shadows.
"Good job." he says to his other self. "No problem" says the other self. The other self flickers and disappears revealing that he was a hologram the whole time projected by a device on a nearby wall. Bloodstrike hits spikey hair with the anti NuGene nanos and moves on.

The Trench coat man is hiding holding an automatic sub-machine gun. As he puts the gun around the corner Bloodstrike appears and rips the gun out of his hand tossing it across the room. Trench coat man tries to phase and a current running through Bloodstrike's gloves stops him from escaping. Bloodstrike is about to interrogate him when up from the floor comes the Strong woman who punches Bloodstrike and tosses him around the room. She grabs his arms and breaks it. Twisting it like a broken doll. She grabs his head and is about to crush him when a sound from outside distracts her. The roof suddenly rips off, revealing Shogun! He punches Strong woman freeing Bloodstrike. She jumps at Shogun and they tumble off of one roof on to the roof of a nearby building. She rips off his arm and he hits her with his energy mace. Shogun is about to lower the boom on her and suddenly she is pulled through the floor. Trench coat guy has helped her escape. Bloodstrike stands up his arm dangling. He twists his arm back into place resetting it. He squeezes his hand into a fist. Next time I won't play so nice he mutters to himself.

Maria wakes up violently. Sitting upright in her hospital bed. She rubs her face unaware of where she is. As she rubs her eyes another hand appears brushing back her hair. She doesn't seem to notice. Than a fourth hand appears straightening her hospital smock. She slowly becomes aware of that she has four arms. She freaks out falling out of the bed kicking and screaming. She crawls into the corner of what now appears to be a hospital room.

A voice from across the room comforts her.
"Welcome back to the land of the living Fourplay."
She looks up to see Bloodstrike with his back to her looking over his shoulder at her.

Her screams echo through the deserted hallways.

End issue #1

1 comment:

Chris Flowers said...

This is amazing stuff Karl .I have no doubt that this would've been the Bloodstrike of my dreams. Your Bloodstrike redesign ranks among the coolest costumes i've ever seen and you've got a solid grasp (death-grip) on the things that make this character so great..

There was a time when i didn't think i could possibly like anything more than the original Team Bloodstrike and you proved me wrong with your work on the solo version. I liked the look of the solo version so much that i didn't think it could be improved upon either, yet you sold me on this redesign 100% the first second i saw it. I liked it so much , I even got a commission from Rob featuring this version of the character. The Bloodstrike sketches you did for Carlos and I are off-the-charts awesome.

As happy as i am to see a new Bloodstrike comic coming my way.... It's kinda bittersweet. It honestly just feels weird without you. (Kinda like Warlock and Thanos without Jim Starlin). Like you , I wish nothing but the best for the new creative team . I hope they do well and it ends up leading new fans back to the old stuff that inspired it. That old stuff will always rank among my all-time favorite runs of ANY comic. I hope others will seek it out and discover Karl Altstaetter the same way i did back in the day.

On the brightside... Every story has a beginning and an end. There will come a time when the new creative team will step aside for the next phase of Bloodstrike's story and I HOPE you'll consider coming back and implementing some of these ideas and designs. :) . For me, That would be an event. I'm confident old-school fans would share my opinion

The best thing about comics is that if you can imagine it.... It can be done. Sooner or later everything comes full circle. Nostalgia paired with new ideas is a powerful thing so if there's any justice in the world you'll be drawing Bloodstrike again at some point in the future. When that day comes, I'll be there , cash in hand.... and screaming my head off on Twitter. =)

You da man Karl.