In ancient times, almost every culture invented mighty warriors to commit great deeds and fight terrible monsters. At the same time, future generations could look back on those mighty warriors for inspiration, an ancestor-worship so powerful that ruling dynasties often claimed to be descended from such heroes as a way of gaining legitimacy.
For the heroes themselves, they were often looked upon as the child of a god and a mortal, making them so much greater than the rest of us and capable of doing such great things. Think about the stories of Heracles, or Rustam, or Rama, or Yoshi-Iye, depending on your cultural matrix.
Which brings us to the so-called Modern Age. Starting in the 1930’s, superheroes began to fill the niche that had once been the province of demigods. Superman, Batman, Dr. Fate, and a whole host of others, many long since forgotten. In the fifties, they kind of fell to the side, to be resurrected by people like Jack Kirby and Stan Lee. Spiderman, the Fantastic Four, the Avengers.
We have not been without costumed heroes now for more than seven decades, but only in the last twenty years has it really been possible to make movies where mortals like us could believably play such gods on the silver or green screen.
With this in mind, my confession that I’m kinda of comic book nerd. I know, major surprise on your parts. Bear with me.
Nobody has ever really done a good job explaining where super-powered beings might come from. Superman is an alien with a solar-powered battery. Batman is just a bad-ass with a major-league bank account. Mutants are the off-spring of the atomic age.
With White Crane, I tried to create a good-enough story for where spandex-clad heroes and villains might come from. Mutants should just inherit the exact same powers as their parents had, if the mutation is what gives them the power.
In the Modern Gods world, it was atomic bombs that were the genesis of power suddenly swamping the world, but not by mutating human genes. Instead, the bombs themselves blasted power into the atmosphere in the form of unstable isotopes and exotic elements that became the basis of power, available for those people who were born with the ability to tap it.
There had always been those people, but there was barely enough power, so the world only knew a few gods at any one time. In the modern age, there can now be many.
I enjoy reading well-written superhero stories. I try to write them as well. Sometimes, I even succeed, or at least entertain myself, and maybe a few of you.
As a side note, you can get a whole plethora of superhero stuff in the Capes Masks Spandex bundle, right now on the rabbit
On September 10th, the next Amazon drop, there will be three new stories in the Modern Gods world. Or rather, two of them already are out there, but only available in anthologies where folks might not be interested in buying the whole for a single story. (Silly you: much cheaper that way.)
The Coffee Doctor is about Anna, a woman with the ability to tap the power, but who grew up in a place where nobody understood her, and she thinks she might be crazy, until she realizes that she really can understand the lightpole’s emotions, or the pavement’s. Now, she must confront her own fears about going crazy and find out if the Coffee Doctor can really help her.
Breakfast Dragon is the other half of Business for Breakfast: The Beginning Professional Storyteller. One of the recurring examples I used in that book was about making toast, and how compelling something so utterly mundane could be once you wrapped your head around the techniques of the Seven Point Plot structure and threw in explosions, car chases, and femme fatales. Or something like that.
Finally, Kid Lexington. A 32-year-old Japanese-American, US Army, WW2 veteran, pretending to be the patriotic, teenage sidekick of a bigger and better-known hero, because it is 1952 and white people in those days weren’t yet willing to accept that every American might be a hero.
When Kid Lexington gets captured by the team’s greatest enemy, his life will never be the same. Nor will anyone else’s.
Coming soon, but not yet available for pre-order, I will have another Modern Gods story in a bundle on BundleRabbit, sometime soon. Stand Up is a story about a Small God, a woman with no powers whatsoever, intent on leaving her mark and making the world a better place, even if she must face some of the most dangerous people in Emerald, or the world, to do it.
Finally, in November, also on BundleRabbit, Expectations. It is a story starring (spoiler alert) Kid Lexington’s two daughters, coming of age in 1974 as the world seems to be coming apart. And come to grips with her own family secrets.