Sunday, January 22, 2012

Coming Attractions #2: The Vril Agenda

Have a seat and get comfortable as we’re going to talk in detail about a project I’ve hinted about and talked about on PULPED! but not here.  So let’s take a few minutes and delve into how THE VRIL AGENDA came about.

It got into my melon of a head a particular obsession to have Dillon be trained in various disciplines by the great pulp champions of the past.  Since Dillon is a spiritual son of those heroes, I always thought it would be a gas for him to seek out some of these men and women to learn what they know.  Particularly in the early years of his career when he was fresh in the world and still learning his way around.

Of course I knew I couldn’t use The Big Three by name.  I’m talking about Doc Savage, The Shadow and The Avenger.  But I could allude to them and in fact, in my portion of THE VRIL AGENDA that is written (patience, children…I’m getting to that) I do mention Doc, The Shadow, The Avenger  and The Spider.  Not directly by name, of course.  But even if you’re only a casual pulp fan you’ll know who I’m talking about.  But I did want to have Dillon meet up with actual classic pulp heroes and maybe even share an adventure with them.  I didn’t want to create my own analogues or pastiche character.  I wanted the actual guys.

Enter Jim Anthony, Super-Detective  “Half-Indian, half-Irish and All-American” he started out in 1940 as a Doc Savage clone.  But in recent years he’s been resurrected by Airship 27 in some really good stories.  My favorites have been written by my friend and partner Joshua Reynolds

Josh and I have known each other for a goodish number of years.  We’ve not only got a love of movies, comic books, pulp adventure, horror and writing in common we also share a common ancestry in that he’s from South Carolina which is where both of my parents as well as most of my uncles and aunts were born and raised.  Josh and I have for years talked about writing something together and when I got this idea of having a Not-Ready-For-Prime-Time Dillon seeking out a retired Jim Anthony for some post-graduate training in nemesising evil it was natural that I reach out to Josh.  

Josh was all for the idea and before a knew what I had gotten myself into, he threw a blizzard of ideas and concepts at me, building on my initial idea so that we could incorporate Nazi super-technology, Hollow Earth theory and The Vril-Ya.  And if that wasn’t enough, Josh suggested that we put Jim Anthony and Dillon up against Sun Koh.  Josh’s idea was that since both Jim and Dillon were inspired by Doc Savage why not put them up against yet renowned pulp character also inspired by Doc.

I’d have been crazy to say no to any of Josh’s idea and so a plot was quickly whacked into shape and we hatched an even more inspired idea.  Since Josh was writing Jim Anthony for Airship 27 we went to Captain Ron Fortier  and asked him about doing the proposed book as a joint Airship 27/Pulpwork Press project.  Before we could even finish the pitch, Ron said yes.

Now here’s the funny part of the story: Ron informs us that due to Airship 27’s crowded schedule he couldn’t promise us when the book would be published.  Only that it would be.  Therefore he urged us to take our time.  I said sure.  And Josh said sure.  I swear on my complete run of Howard The Duck from the 70’s that he said yes as well and agreed to take his time.

A week later.  So help me Harryhausen, seven mollyfoggin’ days later I open my email to find Josh’s half of the book “The Coming Race” done.  All 30,219 words of it.  Done.  And it’s good.  No, it’s better than that.  It’s damn good.  

Full of righteous outrage I get hold of Josh via Skype and ask him what in the Seven Mulvanian Hells does he think he’s doing.  He replies very simply that this project fired his imagination to such a degree that he sat down and just blasted through it.

Sigh.  What are you gonna do with a guy like that except work with him?

So now it’s on me to finish my half, “Vril-Ya!” which now stands at 12,334 words.  And to be honest, I think I get to do the part that’s the most fun.  So that’s where THE VRIL AGENDA is at.  I am working on it and I’m hoping to have my half done by the end of February.  Feel free to ask questions or even just to send me an email once in a while telling me to hurry the hell up with the story awreddy.

Not all of us can be Josh Reynolds, y’know.

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