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.