Saturday, December 8, 2018

Crisis Weekly, eight weeks completed!

Wow.  So I've just posted Crisis Weekly #8.

I say "wow" for a couple reasons.  The first is that this week's script is double the length of previous ones, sixteen script pages as opposed to eight.  This is because I'm hedging my bets about how next week will turn out.  I've been writing these scripts on Saturday, but next Saturday I'll be participating in a mini family reunion, so if I don't get a chance to write something before then, I'll at least know I've got the script numbers where they should be (old NaNo habit). 

The second is that I finally got around to something I've been itching to write since I started this thing, which is to say the first of two spotlights on Bloodwynd's origins.  This week is the origin itself, which I've revised.  It was previously detailed in the pages of DC's '90s Showcase comics.  I decided that it would be interesting, given the confusion some fans still have about this, to have Martian Manhunter help explain it, because these fans think Martian Manhunter is Bloodwynd, which I again reference in the script.  Probably won't get around to actually exploring that, although I certainly have ideas.  Likewise, I obliquely reference Firehawk's origins, but probably won't be getting back into that, either, but it's nice to mention, something I remember from DC's '90s trading cards, where I first learned about Firehawk at all.

And for once, action fills the story, and that felt nice, too, a change of pace, and getting into the thick of the White Martian plot, which will continue to ramp up in the weeks to come.

The next script, whenever I get around to it, will continue Bloodwynd's origins, and I'm very much looking forward to writing that one...

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Crisis Weekly, seven down!

That's Sparx!  She makes her Crisis Weekly debut this week.  Donna Carol "D.C." Force debuted in the '90s, during an attempted new wave of superheroes, most of whom drifted comfortably into immediate obscurity, some of whom stuck around for a while.  Sparx stuck around for a while.  She ended up as a featured character in Superboy and the Ravers, one of the less-heralded of the many teenage superhero books that were in publication that decade (including Generation X, Gen 13, Young Justice, and of course several iterations of Teen Titans and Legion of Super-Heroes).

My favorite was Superboy and the Ravers.  This was a team composed of damaged individuals like Half-Life, half of whose body was literally exposed skeleton covered in ectoplasmic goo.  Take that, X-Men!  This was a dude oozing with angst!  There was also Hero, a rare gay superhero who also happened to have possession of a power vest and later the H-Dial (as in "Dial 'H' for Hero").  Then there was the Qwardian warrior Kaliber, who had a near breakout moment during the Genesis crossover event.  And Aura.  And Rex the Wonder Dog.  And the Flying Buttress! 

But mainly, I loved seeing Sparx get a chance, because she was a fun character, and unlike the rest of the Bloodlines generation, she seemed packaged for greatness, part of a whole family of superheroes but powerless until alien parasites attack her.  There was always a ton of potential in her, and so yeah, of course I was going to have to include Sparx, too, in this crazy adventure, even if she isn't immediately a featured player (time and space will tell).

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Crisis Weekly, the sixth week!

Just posted Crisis Weekly #6.

The whole concept of a DC crisis has rich history.  The original, 1985's Crisis on Infinite Earths, remains a huge watershed moment.  It was originally designed to collapse the multiverse back into a coherent, single DC continuity, so that every superhero operated in the same world.  This was a problem since DC had inadvertently created the concept of the multiverse based on how its publishing fortunes had developed since Superman's debut in 1938.  Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman have always been DC's three most important creations, but they originally existed at the same time as the Justice Society of America, several members of which were famously reinvented at the start of the Silver Age, the second wave of DC superheroes in the 1950s.  One of them, the second Flash, met his predecessor in the famous "Flash of Two Worlds" issue, which in effect ushered in the era of the multiverse.  Eventually, the Justice Society was placed in a second continuity, Earth 2, and there were regularly team-ups between the Society and the more famous Justice League.  In Earth 2 continuity, Batman and Catwoman really did officially get married, and their daughter was Huntress, and eventually, Batman was even permanently killed off!

Anyway, so DC got fed up with competing continuities, and so Crisis on Infinite Earths happened.  But then DC decided that the multiverse was a good idea, and so Infinite Crisis happened in 2006, and later Final Crisis in 2008. 

Infinite Crisis was a story predicated on the notion that the grim nature of superhero comics that had developed roughly since Alan Moore's seminal Watchmen twenty years earlier had become toxic.  In it, the characters are fully aware that they're no longer seen in their best light.  Wonder Woman had been forced, like Superman in the real world controversy in 2013's Man of Steel where he snaps the neck of General Zod and audiences watched in horror, to murder a diabolical schemer named Maxwell Lord, and that was used as the main focal point.  DC used the opportunity to also reflect on Superman's periodic relative unpopularity, as well as the massive success of the "Doomsday" arc in which he became the most famous murdered fictional character since Sherlock Holmes. 

And Batman offers this choice observation:


So anyway, this week's Crisis Weekly is very much in the spirit of that particular moment.  There's a brutal verbal takedown, in this case reflecting once again the real world, where confidence in the US seems to be at an all-time low.  Fiction ought to reflect reality, comment on reality, otherwise it's mere escapism.

But this installment also bursts into "mere escapism" by finally unveiling Man-Bat, long teased, as one of the main antagonists of the narrative, thereby plunging a lot of heavy real world issues back into fiction, and as promised, beginning a full-throttle dive into more traditional superhero storytelling.  It's the first big culmination point, equal parts summary of what has come before and an illustration of what it's all meant.

And it's really just getting started...!

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Crisis Weekly, five weeks in!

Did I say last week that I was done introducing the real world crises?  Ah!  Because this one features Mexican migrants...!

Crisis Weekly #5 also features obscure superhero El Dorado!

El Dorado is best known as one of the ethnic creations from Super Friends, all of whom were later dismissed as bad stereotypes.  But well before I had ever heard of the teleporting mutant Nightcrawler, and certainly before I'd ever seen X2: X-Men United, in which Nightcrawler so memorably invades the White House, I was fascinated by El Dorado's wonderful cape, which he used to transport himself wherever he pleased.

But to everyone else, El Dorado more or less never existed at all.  He's made a handful of appearances since, even made a cameo in the comics, but certainly never starred in his own series or been featured as a member of the Justice League (which, as we all know, the "Super Friends" was all along).

So of course if I was ever going to write comic book scripts, I was going to rectify that. 

In Crisis Weekly, not only does El Dorado exist, he's helping migrants cross the borders, and in his civilian identity (a name taken from his appearance in the Young Justice cartoon, because he never got one in Super Friends) even serves as Vice President of Mexico!  (Before you say so, officially that office hasn't existed for a hundred years.) 

Vindication!  Viva El Dorado!

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Crisis Weekly, four weeks down!

I just posted Crisis Weekly #4.

Four weeks and four different crises, all of them ripped from the real world (a scandal, a presidential assassination, a school shooting), with the latest being...a black man is pulled over unjustifiably by a white cop. 

The only way this would've been more relevant is if the black man had been shot dead.  But the black man in this instance is one-time Justice Leaguer Bloodwynd, and the cop is Guy Gardner.  The unprovoked pullover is itself an all-too common occurrence.  The black community views it as residual institutional racism, and it's been one of the things that has contributed to the heated nature of our times.  Guy Gardner has never been portrayed as racist.  I've been playing a little fast and loose with him in Crisis Weekly.  He has been known, for most of his appearances, as brash.  What I've been doing with him isn't so much out of character as implied as highly possible if he existed in the real world.  Even if he doesn't mean to come off as racist, he's the kind of guy (heh) who could very easily appear to be, and might even be, even if just a little.  Racism in its benign form is prejudice, the inability to look beyond one's own perspective.  To be, in other words, a fairly rude individual, when confronted with strangers.  Guy doesn't care who he offends.

The other benefit of this unfortunate encounter is that it unites Guy and Bloodwynd from their experiences in the first and second installments of Crisis Weekly, begins to move along the narrative of the White Martian crisis, the fictional construct that grounds the otherwise real world problems in a familiar superhero context.  And for the third time in four weeks, there are also bats, of which we are getting closer to finding out about, too.  Much sooner than the White Martians, actually.

And this rounds out the first month of Crisis Weekly!  Wow!

Friday, November 2, 2018

Crisis Weekly...week three!

The third installment of Crisis Weekly is up. Find it here.

This week was a little bit of a departure narratively.  It's the story of a school shooting.  No bats, no mention of White Martians.  As school shootings go, I figured it was worth introducing the topic on its own.

Obviously these things have been happening.  The first time I remember one was back in 1999 with Columbine.  We talked about it at track practice.  The Matrix had opened, and people wanted to blame Neo and company for looking all swank while they shot up buildings.  But we know school shootings don't happen because of The MatrixThe Matrix isn't cool anymore, and yet the shootings keep happening.

So I decided to include it in this story.  Yes, it's also the third crisis in a row in a series with "crisis" in the name, and a DC story, where "crisis" tends to be the operative word.  But this one seems like one of the worst crises of the modern era, and everyone has an explanation, even today, for why they keep happening.

All I knew is that I had to write about it.  I processed Katrina like that, in the unpublished manuscript In the Land of Pangaea.  And I'll probably process the recent Hurricane Michael.  I have friends who were personally impacted by that one, and I have experience in the area affected by it, and it's still weird to think about that.  Writers process by writing.  It's what we do. 

This will probably be the toughest week to read.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Crisis Weekly, Week Two!

The second installment of Crisis Weekly has been posted!  Find it here.

When I conceived of this project, I thought it would be relatively simple to execute.  The only thing I didn't count on was...finding time to actually, y'know, write.

This is thanks to having a regular job on top of spending time with my niece, with whom I'm currently living.  The job hours tend to be erratic.  This week was a full one, and as I said, my day doesn't end when I get home.  I'm not complaining.  The thing is, I used to have the rest of the day free.  When I was writing book-length manuscripts in 2009-2014, or even the NaNo efforts in 2004-2006, even if the hours were somewhat equally erratic, I could always count on having the time to just write, not worrying about other commitments.  Or feeling truly exhausted, whether from the demands of work (these days I work in a child development center as a teaching assistant; no cracks, Pat) or giving my niece the attention she deserves.  I often don't feel like I have the extra energy to tackle something more.  It's enough to just try and unwind without falling asleep before doing anything at all for myself.

And yet...I had to do this thing.  Even if it doesn't get me anywhere closer to my ultimate goal, I had to do it. 

The idea is to produce a new script every week, even if it's just eight pages of comic book material.  Sounds easy enough, but as I've suggested, it seems like a lot more when piled on top of everything else.  And this is only the second week!  I set out with cockamamie schemes of having scripts out at roughly the same time, the same day, every week.  Yeah, that didn't happen even for the second week!  But here we are, second script down, second week.  Hopefully good enough.

And the delay (relatively speaking) was fruitful.  I came up with a new character who wouldn't have existed at all if in the original scheme I had already written the script, a spy who came in very late from the cold, and I think the story will be richer for it.

And I gave myself permission for the first time in the story to play with one of my personal favorite toys in the DC sandbox, a relatively obscure Justice Leaguer named Bloodwynd, and I addressed right away one of the common misconceptions about him, that he was always just Martian Manhunter in disguise.  But he wasn't.  And I'm not nearly done showing my hand with my intentions for him. 

All this is to say, I'm having fun.
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