When I set out to do the Star Dragon series, I wanted a really 1950’s pulp feel to it. Old school sensibilities, like a boy scout would bring to the table, rather than the ironically-anti-hip bad-boy hero of the modern age.

Personally, I think we’ve overdone that shtick to the point of tragic comedy. I miss heroes. People who stand for something that they know is right, and are willing to fight for it. And by right, I’m leaving out all the folks on the wrong side of history, claiming that “right” as they see it is the permission to oppress someone else based on any of a long list of characteristics.

Are you making the world a better place for everyone, or just people who look like you?

Just went back and watched Avengers: Endgame for a second time this week. Picked up a lot of things you always miss with a movie that has that many moving parts.

But the thing that struck me was the arc of Steve Rogers. Captain America. He’s always been my favorite, going back to my youth. (I had a shirt custom made with the shield on the chest in 1997, long before anyone else. Wore it yesterday.)

Two scenes in the movie nailed it for me, and if you haven’t seen the movie yet (what the hell is wrong with you, btw?) then these are sort of spoilers, but its been several weeks, so deal with it.

Thanos about to kill Thor with Stormbreaker, and Mjolnir bounces off his head, tumbling our villain ass over teakettle.

And then Mjolnir returns to Cap’s hand. Remember Odin’s enchantment, that only the worthy may wield such a weapon.

Worthy. Cap. But we always knew Steve and Fred Rogers were the two best role models of masculinity in the 20th Century and beyond.

And then it’s him against all of Thanos’s hordes, by himself. Captain America with shield and hammer, engaging everything. It’s almost anti-climactic when the portals begin to open and all the armies of Wakanda and the Sorcerer Supreme’s students step through, leading to one of the most famous lines from my childhood: “Avengers Assemble!”

Heroic. Others have their arcs, and many of them find some level of resolution across the movie, while others will move forward into Phase IV.

Which brings me back to the Star Dragon.

Gareth St. John Dankworth and Steve Rogers could sit down over a pitcher of lemonade and be friends. Both share that vision of making the world a better place for everyone, and not just some narrow caste based on color, religion, or creed.


All Gareth ever wanted to do was be a cop. To make the world better. When he gets pulled out of his own life, sent to a place from which he can never return, he has the occasional moment of sorrow, but then he moves on, because he’s the only person he knows who can save the broader galaxy from an evil most beings can’t even fathom.

Even knowing he can never go back to what he lost. Just like Steve Rogers, frozen in the ice since 1945. I won’t spoil the ending of either the movie or the series, but I always want a hero who strives, even against the impossible or inevitable.

The man who plants himself alongside the river of truth and says “No. You move.”

The Star Dragon series is big. Pulpy in the best ways. I always tried to imagine I was standing in the year 1950 and pretending like this was a sci fi serial of the sort you’d see at the movie theater on Saturday morning. Weirdly scientific. but with certain things that they would take for granted and we’ve already grown past, like people smoking cigarettes on a spaceship, or Gareth trying to figure out how a hands-free faucet works in an alien rest room.

I wanted that sense of wonder. To go back to where we were before we lost that in the early 1970’s and everyone turned dark and broody. Whatever. Gimme heroes. Superman’s hope rather than Batman’s rage. Captain America’s optimism rather than Iron Man’s cynicism.

Fred Rogers’ neighborhood, where we’re all friends together, striving to make the world a better place.

I hop you will enjoy the Star Dragon books. #1 is out. #2-4 are up for pre-order. #5 will join them soon. That will wrap this phase of the Star Dragon stories, but I’ve left the door open.

Boundary Shock Quarterly 006 has a Gareth story, send in his past from the Star Dragon tales. And Issue 008, coming in the fall of 2019, will have a second one from the Sky Patrol days.

Let’s get pulpy.