Friday, July 20, 2012

Back from the Dead

The third chapter from Monorama is "Back from the Dead," a tale about superheroes.

Unlike the more in-depth Cloak of Shrouded Men, this one's a little more broad strokes, and stems from an unrelated project, for which I developed a series of superhero monikers that sounded interesting and unique (which some comic books these days would have you believe is harder than it really is).  I ended up with so many names, once I tallied them, I surprised myself, and so I started taking some of them and another concept I'd jotted down in my trusty notebook, which happened to happily coalesce with thoughts I had while reading Barbara Tuchman's A Distant Mirror, specifically its depiction of the knight-and-squire model, and how it might be relevant to the 99% Generation.

Now, traditionally, when you think about superheroes, you think of them in big glowing terms (unless you still remember the grim 'n' gritty era that dominated the 1990s thanks to Alan Moore and Frank Miller).  If you're confused about what you think, just keep Superman in mind.  (Never mind that in Shrouded Men, Superman  and Batman surrogates don't get along mostly because Superman refuses to put his money where his mouth is.  I promise I like superheroes.)

In "Back from the Dead," the paradigm is defined by elitist superheroes who let their sidekicks do all the fighting.  The title refers to one of these sidekicks, much as Jason Todd and Bucky Barnes did in the comics, unexpectedly return, causing, well, a paradigm shift.  It's a parable for our times (it's worth noting that an Occupy Wall Street story does appear in "Lost Books of Tomorrow).

Like the majority of my stories, "Back from the Dead" is a series of character studies.  Most writers have it drilled into them that showing is better than telling.  I don't subscribe to that school.  Then again, I'm not sure most writers have enough to say about even one character to be able to study them long enough for a whole story.  They think in broad, familiar strokes, archetypes, and not necessarily character types so much as story types, even the literary set that mostly does "disturbed family" types.  Their characters only exist long enough to fill out a story.  I try to create ones that hopefully live well past the experience the reader has on the page.  That's my idea of imagination.  I don't necessarily care if the reader can visual an image.  I want them to visualize the character, and understand at least one world a little better.

Yeah, so it's a superhero story.


  1. Deep characterization are always my favorite. That and superhero stories.

    1. Awesome! Then with all due modesty you need never look for another writer again!


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