Friday, July 17, 2009

Song of the Howlin' Tornado

No, I haven't stopped writing. Quite the contrary. I just haven't done much with this blog. Here's a copy/paste from my main blog, in case anybody stumbles upon this blog instead:

My goal this summer is to get a lot of writing done. So far, I'm not doing too badly, even though I haven't started the story that I've been trying to write for more than a decade now. Basically, everything that I write takes place in the same world, and for the most part follows the adventures of one particular character. This story that I just finished, however, is a prequel of sorts, and it tells the story of a previous generation of heroes. It's not quite as long as the novel I wrote last year (and still need to do a second draft on) but if Wikipedia can be believed, it's long enough to be called a novella.

So, if you feel like reading it, here it is. I had to use File Factory, and all you need to do is select the "Free Download" option. You'll then have to wait a bit for the timer to count down, but then you'll have a link to download it. If that's too much work, email me and I'll send you the PDF.

Not sure if you want to take the time to read it, but you want to learn a little something more - like what it's about? Well then, here's a rundown of the plot and major characters.

The story:

During World War II, the government commissioned group of superheroes, known as The Victory Brigade, to assist with the war effort. Much of the story takes place in the final days of the war, as the heroes must stop Adolf Hitler from attaining godhood. Not only must they deal with the Nazi menace, but they soon discover that their Soviet allies are not to be trusted either.

The main characters:

Eagleman - The leader of the Victory Brigade. He's a man in a mask who can fly with the aid of wings and a jetpack. Little is known about who he really is, but he commands absolute trust from his teammates. His greatest strength is his ability to see the big picture in any situation, but sometimes this leads him to not dealing with the immediate threat.

St. George - Not the original saint, but the latest in a family line of heroes who have taken on the title in order to fight evil. He often butts heads with Eagleman, but he values his leader's judgment.

The Howlin' Tornado - A former supervillain who can harness the wind, The Howlin' Tornado wound up helping Eagleman and St. George deal with a Nazi invasion of America. Shortly after, he was asked to join the Victory Brigade. When not fighting evil, Martin Zephyrus (his real name) writes songs and plays the guitar, hoping to be a Country and Western singer in the tradition of Gene Autry and the Sons of the Pioneers. He narrates the story.

Spaceman - A mysterious, reptillian alien from another world, Spaceman has a grudge against the Germans and has fought with the Victory Brigade since the beginning of the war.

The Bavarian Lion - One of Germany's many superheroes, The Bavarian Lion starts off as a faithful servant of The Fuhrer, but eventually his conscience and ambition brings him to working with The Victory Brigade.

Comrade Worker - The Soviet superhero is actually one of many who goes by that name. In fact, they belong to a team simply known as Comrade Workers. As The Howlin' Tornado points out, Communists don't have much imagination when it comes to superheroes.

The influences:

I pretty much throw everything up against the wall on this one, and hopefully it will all stick. The driving force behind this story though was my attempt to write a Shakespearean tragedy using superheroes. Shakespeare's characters are often over-the-top, and to me this simply feels like a natural amalgamation.

Aside from that, this story incorporates my love of history and comics, obviously. It's also a tribute to old-time country music, for which I have quite a fondness. I've been listening to The Sons of the Pioneers, and so many of their songs are both sad and beautiful, unlike much of the cheesy, manufactured pablum that passes for country music nowadays.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

The Complete Epic

Okay, here's my first, very rough, draft of my epic:

Stop the End - a tale of Eagle-Man by Lance Christian Johnson

It's got pretty much everything you'd want in a story - superheroes, two versions of Jesus, Greek gods, a Slavic forest witch, the Rapture, Armageddon, time travel, zombies, and angels having violences inflicted upon them.

I don't know when I'm going to get around to a second draft. Right now, I've started to write Eagle-Man's origin story. (The epic is potentially his final adventure - kinda hard to find a bigger threat than God.)

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Runaway story

Book I
Book II

There ya have it - the first two chapters of the epic that I've been mulling about in my mind for some time now. The thing is, this story is really getting away with itself. My original intention was for The Rapture to occur within the first few pages, and then the rest of the story would start from there.

I then decided to start the story in the middle and then flash back, just like The Odyssey and a lot of film noir do. That shouldn't have changed things too much, but I realized that I needed some sort of a dramatic hook to the whole thing. There had to be something personally at stake for Eagle-Man if he was going to try and turn the tide of the Apocalypse.

I figured out what that thing was, but then I had to set all of that up. So, by the time you get to the end of Book II, you'll discover that The Rapture still hasn't happened yet. I haven't started the third chapter just yet, but it's safe to say that it's finally going to happen there.

That's okay though, as I like what I have so far. The first one sets up many of the issues that the whole epic will deal with, and the second, while seemingly a bit of a diversion, sets up even more things that will play out by the end of the story. I was going for a mini-story within a larger one with Book II, and I was borrowing heavily from fairy tale traditions. Hopefully it works in the larger context of what I'm trying to do.

I think that's enough writing for today though. I need to ruminate on whether St. George gets raptured or not. Hmmm...

Sunday, May 25, 2008

PDF Goodness

The short story I wrote a little while back is now in PDF. Check it out.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

The Eagle-Epic

First off, just want to let you know that I fixed the link on the last post. That story should pop right up in MS Word.

Secondly, it probably looks like I haven't been doing much as far as Eagle-Man is concerned. That couldn't be further from the truth, as I've been doing a lot of ruminating - mostly in my head, but I've been making notes and I have the first few pages of a story going.

This one, if I manage to pull it off, is going to be big. It's going to be my The Odyssey. I don't want to write too much about it on this blog, but here's a little:

I start off with the general concept of the Left Behind books. In case you don't know what those are, they're a series of books that deal with "the rapture" and the prophecies from the Book of Revelation. They deal with those who were "left behind" after the rapture, the rise of the anti-Christ, the seven-year tribulation, etc. They're pretty popular amongst fundamentalist Christians, and while they're supposed to be action/adventure, a lot of Christians take them quite seriously and seriously believe that they're laying out a scenario that's actually going to happen.

Of course, I haven't actually read this crap. I did see the movie that was based on the first book. Don't bother with it. I thought it would be funny bad, but it's boring bad. Still, there are so many patently absurd things in there, and it is an interesting setup, that I want to do my own riff on it. So, I've been scouring the summaries on Wikipedia and making notes based on that. Also, I've been looking into the actual Book of Revelation and the Gospels for further inspiration.

So, it's basically Eagle-Man versus the fundamentalist end times. It will also involve time travel, zombies, an army of archaic gods, and many angels getting their heads smashed in. If I can pull this one off, it should be pretty fun. My plan is to work on it this summer (since I won't be working).

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Monday, March 24, 2008

Who dares Eagle-Man?

One thing I've always struggled with my Eagle-Man stories is coming up with a decent villain for him to go up against. I've had a few who were okay, but with the ideas that I currently have in my head, they really don't work. The only one whom I'd keep is a fella named The Harbinger, who basically is part of a race that inhabited Earth before the coming of the human race (he's humanlike in appearance - perhaps in the new version, he'd be a former angel or something along those lines.) He wants this current age to pass, and he tries to bring on the destruction of the planet by awakening a dragon. Not a bad idea, and I'll probably tweak it and add it to the current mythology.

Without a doubt, the two superheroes with the best rogues galleries are Spider-Man and Batman. All their villains are so perfectly suited to battling their respective heroes. The Joker represents the chaos that's in conflict with Batman's order. The Green Goblin represents the corrupted man who battles against the idealistic youth of Spider-Man. Great stuff, and I want mine to be just as good.

I figure that everyone he fights needs to have some kind of an animal theme in some way or another. I want to bring in other elements as well that keep a slight, satircal bent. I'm currently thinking of an evangelist who's secretly a vampire (the animal theme, of course, being that of a bat.) I also want to make fun of pundits - but what animal best corresponds with the likes of Hannity and Limbaugh? Leeches? I'm not sure, but I'll come up with something.