DEAD BEAT IN LA ESCA is a different kind of Dillon story for a couple of major reasons. It’s the first Dillon story penned by another writer and it’s the first story where Dillon meets another fictional hero, the rock guitarist/mercenary Sly Gantlet created by Joel Jenkins and for more information on The Gantlet Brothers all you need to do is get to clickin'.
Joel and I go back a long ways. Back to when he ran a website called Electronic Tales which presented modern day pulp stories. Joel was good enough to give a home to my earliest stories about Regency, an urban vigilante and we recognized in each other a really strong connection in terms of our writing style and choice of material.
I have written stories about Joel’s characters: so far there are two stories where Regency teams up with Joel’s Max Damage and his companions who collectively are known as Damage, Inc. The stories aren’t finished yet but I plan to correct that next year. More on that later.
I had long been talking about teaming up Dillon with The Gantlet Brothers since it seemed plausible that they would have run into each other given that they’re in the same business, more or less. Don’t ask me how or why Joel and I latched onto the idea of Dillon and Sly Gantlet being best frenemies, but this is the story that starts that rivalry.
My contribution to the story is minimal. It’s Joel’s all the way and he does it with gusto that makes me laugh every time I read it. Dillon and Sly Gantlet are in the tradition of great partnerships such as Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck. Bing Crosby and Bob Hope. Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder. Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon. Lucille Ball and Vivian Vance. With the added flavor that between the two of them they’ve got the skills, the weaponry to wipe out an army.
But the question I always get asked is how did Joel and I start trading characters back and forth and how far will it go? I really dunno exactly. It’s not like we sat down and drew up a contract and stamped it. Despite living at opposite ends of the country and having only talked via email, phone and Skype, Joel and I have trusted each other implicitly with each other’s characters. We’ve spent considerable time planning adventures together for his characters and mine. We just have to put time aside when we’re not crafting our individual stories to do so.
In any case, you’ll get a chance to see how well Joel writes Dillon when FOUR BULLETS FOR DILLON drops as DEAD BEAT IN LA ESCA is the second story in that volume. I’ve already got the second Dillon/Sly Gantlet story; “Dead Beat In Khusra” plotted out and currently my plans are to have that story done in 2012.