About Me

                “How do you shoot the devil in the back, agent Kujan?  What if you miss?” 

                The Usual Suspects could be looked at as a study of creating the perfect villain.  Why?  Simple.  Everything that we know about Keyser Soze comes from stories.  We don’t actually see him do anything.  We just hear stories of who he is and what he’s done.  Part of the beauty of it, is we don’t even know the truth from the lie.  Ordinarily, we see the “bad guy” do something bad.  In this case, what we know is made up of the best, or worst, stories told by those that believe them.  The characters telling the stories have created the perfect villain.  They’ve created someone that they are afraid of.  Even more, it’s not just fear, there’s also principle.  Keyser Soze is a man to be feared because he has a code that he believes in and follows, no matter the consequences. 

                So, when creating a villain, or adversary, there are two important elements:  Power.  Conviction.    

                Power.  As mentioned in the hero perspective, the adversary has to be more powerful that the hero.  That power doesn’t have to be physical.  It could be intellectual, or political, or economical.  Take Lex Luthor for example.  What makes him an equal for Superman is his non-physical power.  He’s the perfect adversary for someone who has such physical power.  Superman can’t fight him with brute force, and he can’t fight Lex on his level because he’s not capable.  Lex Luthor almost always maintains the upper hand.  The same can be said for the Kingpin.  The difference in this case, is that Daredevil and the Kingpin can duke it out.  But, even if Daredevil wins the fight, he still often loses the battle.  Like Lex Luthor, the Kingpin has the money and connections to fight a battle without lifting a finger. 

                Conviction.  In the hero narrative I used Magneto as the example for absolute belief in their “by any means necessary” actions.  But, I’m going to pull a little switcheroo this time and go with something a little more esoteric (if you will) and topically current.  Skynet.  The Terminator franchise features an almost unbeatable and for all intents and purposes intangible adversary.  Skynet, an autonomous self-aware computer program that believes for its own survival the human race must be obliterated.  Quite a different view from the Machine City of The Matrix, who sees a connection between their survival and the existence of the human race.  In the case of Skynet, the program, for lack of a better term, goes to extreme measures in carrying out its goals; infiltration robots, time travel, and human experimentation.  One thing that is never mentioned, is what does it do if it wins.  If Skynet succeeds in wiping out the human race, then what?  A world run entirely by robots.  There’s nothing in any of the stories that gives us any indication that the program wants a robotic utopian society, but that doesn’t matter.  Its ultimate goal is survival, pure and basic.  This is something that anyone can understand and relate to.  For me to live, you must die.  Now, this might not seem like much of a conviction, but honestly, who needs much more than that?  I’ll ground this with another example.  Dr. Doom.  Now, the motives of this masked man may seem more egotistical to those that only know him from the movies, and not the comic books, but his core belief and driving force has a great deal more weight.  Doom is driven by a belief that the world would be a much better place if he ran it.  Ok, not a very unique ideology among megalomaniacs, but Doom has one very special thing going for him-he’s right.  In his country of Latveria, he is revered and loved by the people.  He protects them, takes care of them, and make sure that everyone is treated as equals, though lesser than him.  He rules with an iron fist, and because of this not all of his subjects are happy under his rule.  This view of Dr. Doom isn’t shared by all, but just stay with me or the purposes of this study.  In addition, check out the Emperor Doom graphic novel, if you can find it, and see for yourself what a Doom run world would be like. 

                There’s more that goes into creating a adversary than just these elements, and depending on who, what, and why you’re creating them they don’t all apply.  In addition, they aren’t all equal parts.  Look at them like cakes.  You’re going to have more flour than you do sugar, and more sugar than you do milk.  The amounts maybe less, for necessary reasons, but you taste them all.  If you look at some of the best villains/adversaries written, you’ll see these components will make up the bulk of their character. 


Jerale C



                Before we get started- I know you’re probably wondering why I’m late getting this week’s blog posted.  Well, I’m not really.  See I posted this week’s blog on Sunday, but then Nero came back in time and changed the timeline around so that now my blog hasn’t been posted yet.  You buy that?  Didn’t think so. 

                Now, I know I should be doing the follow up to my creating heroes blog, and talk about creating villains/adversaries, but there’s still a little more space dust on my copy of How To Cook For Forty Humans (early Simpsons Treehouse of Horrors reference).  In other words, more updates.   

                Good news.  As we speak new bookmarks and postcards are being printed for the con.  There will be two different books marks displaying the new cover for the 2nd printing.  One will have a Skull quote on the bottom, the other a Talon.  The postcards will have a new synopsis on the back, and a picture of the 2nd printing cover on the front. 

                Bad news.  The concept that I had for printing The Unknown isn’t going to be a viable option.  I was working hard on it, and the concept was so cool, but in the end I just wasn’t going to work.  That isn’t to say that it’s not being printed.  There will still be a special printed book version of The Unknown for sale.  This isn’t just a printed version of what’s on the site, it’s got a few additions to bring it all together.  Plus, you can get it signed.  I can sign your computer if you prefer (laptops only, no desktops), but I generally put my Herbie Hancock on the screen which annoys a few people. 

                “Meanwhile, back at the wrench.”  Things are coming along nicely.  I wish I had more to say, but to be honest, I’m exhausted.  Prepping for all this is mentally draining.  My mind feels like a scrambled Rubiks Cube.  Ok, I’m done.  Scotty, one to beam up.


            Still trying to get things ready for the Con.  We’re just a little over a month away, and it seems like time is ticking by so fast.  I swear just two months ago I still had three months to go.  Well, the good news is, I’ve got a good bit of stuff ready.  I have lanyards with the Riders of the Storm title and logo that I’ll be giving away to whomever stops by the booth.  There will be ROTS drawstring backpacks for sale as well.  The packs will go for about $5.00.  The packs are great for the Con.  They have a small handle at the top and are big enough to hold comic art.  They’re also water resistant.  Take that Billy Mays! 

            ROTS is now in its 2nd printing.  The new printing has a new title font and a black cover. The 2nd printing also includes the story Prelude to Exile.  For those of you that aren’t overly familiar with the ROTS storyline, Prelude to Exile is a story that revolves around Firestorm and Ace, and takes place several months after the end of the first book.  As of right now, I don’t have any plans to publish this story anywhere else, not even in the ROTS book about Firestorm and Ace.  I’ve occasionally tossed around ideas of a book of short stories that take place in the ROTS universe (and here’s that word again) tentatively titled Tales of Neutra America.  If so, I’ve considered putting Prelude in there.  But, that’s a ways off.  The book schedule as it stands, now, is: Rots: The Legend of Skull and Talon, ROTS: Death of a Rider (2nd Skull and Talon book), ROTS: Of Kings and Queens and Fools- The Story of Firestorm and Ace (yeah, I know, long title.  It makes sense once you learn of the characters.), then there is ROTS: Ash and Freeze (no subtitle for that one yet), and then maybe Tales of Neutra America.  Anyway, I’m getting off topic… 

            I’m still working on a special edition version of The Unknown for the Con.  My original plan was going to cost me more than I wanted, which would raise the price for the book itself.  Wasn’t happy with that.  I can’t realistically ask someone to pay some ridiculous price for a story that they can get online for free; even with some cool added extras.  So, I’m being forced to go with my back up plan, which, incidentally, was my first plan before I got the really cool idea.  I may still do a limited printing of it as I envisioned it in all its coolness, but I’m not sure.  I have so many things up in the air right now, I can’t tell what’s rising and what’s falling.  I just keep my hands moving and hope that nothing hits the ground. 

            In the words of the famous Rocket J. Squirrel: “Now here’s something we hope you’ll really like.” 

            Mathew and Will are coming to the Con and will be at the booth.  Matthew and Will are the co-creators of the ROTS world, and are responsible with creating Fireball and Talon (respectively).  This will be one of those rare occasions, at least for the time being, that we will all be together at one time and you’ll get a book signed by all of us.  This is a momentous occasion, as we haven’t all been in the same room together in over 10 years.  If nothing else you’ll have to come by and watch the three of us in action.  It’s a good thing they don’t sell alcohol at this thing.


            Before I start, I need to rant.  “And you created X-Force?”  NO YOU DIDN’T!!!  Fabian Nicieza created X-Force, not Rob Liefeld.  You cherubic-faced-501-jean-wearing- no-talent-plagiarizing-punk.  True, Liefeld did design (I refuse to use the word create) the character, but it was Nicieza that gave him life.  By this, it was Joe Kelly that gave him a soul and really crafted the machine gunfire nonstop verbal assault for us to truly understand why he was named the “Merc With The Mouth.”  And, because I feel like adding him, Christopher Priest.  Priest did expand some on what Kelly had laid down and breathed some new life into him.  Who am I taking about?  The one, and only, Wade Wilson a.k.a. Deadpool. 

            So, what does this have to do with anything?  Three words: X-Men Origins: Wolverine.  Yes.  I can feel your hatred and anger, young Skywalker.  You may not agree, but Ryan Reynolds did a nice job.  I could see him really playing the role.  What role?  What Deadpool solo movie that was in talks for years?  Oh yeah, that’s not gonna happen now.  Oh, but I beg to differ.  Allow me, if you will, a chance to undo what Hollywood has done- and ultimately give them a chance to screw it up again.  I will save Deadpool.  *cracking fingers*  Let’s begin.  Ladies and gentlemen: The Deadpoool Solution.

             The concept is really simple.  As the movie has said, Wade was the only member of the Team X (Yes, I’m referring to them by their comic name.  We keeps it real here in the comic geek hood. Yea! Yea!) that could handle/survive the implantation of all the mutant powers.  When did Wade become a mutant?  Nevermind.  We take the story from Wade’s involvement.  To do this we have to give him some sort of BS power like hyper-agility, which will explain his sequence in the beginning (I’m trying to stay vague for those of you that haven’t seen the movie yet) and will somewhat explain his constant chatter.  This power will allow his body to quickly adapt to anything new that has been introduced to it.  This is not a healing factor. 

            Wade has been living a quiet life, like the rest of them.  Unlike them, he’s quickly dying from cancer.  An adverse affect of his hyper-agility, rapidly spreading the cancer through his body.  Aware of Wade’s condition, Stryker approaches him about coming to work for the government again, and offers to find a cure for his cancer.  Once Wade agrees to come back in, it all begins.  Of course, Wade is completely unaware that Stryker is the one who had him exposed to a cancer-like agent to bring him in.  Much like he does with Wolverine, Wade had to come on his own volition.  Stryker begins testing his theory by giving him a bit of Sabretooth’s healing factor.  Once he realizes that his plan will work (Wade’s cancer goes into remission), he has Wade placed on continuous sedation and begins with the mutant hunt and other experiments.  It’s at this time Stryker decides to fuse Wade’s mouth shut using acid.  (I am aware that the healing factor should prevent this from happening, but it has to be done, and it can’t be done prior to getting the healing ability.)  He also gets the idea to infuse him with adamantium and decides to test it first on Wolverine; needing his healing factor. 

            Not wanting to lose such a valuable test subject and possible perfect soldier, Stryker has Sabretooth bring him a young man named Jamie Madrox.  You may remember Madrox as being poorly written and misplayed in X-Men: The Last Stand.  Madrox, also known as the Multiple Man, has the ability to create duplicates of himself.  Not clones, but exact duplicates of the original.  In the comic, he can’t control this ability as his dupes are spawned by kinetic energy and has to wear a special suit which allows him to control if and when a dupe will spawn; still brought about by kinetic energy.  You can see where I’m going with this. 

            Stryker has Madrox’s ability synthesized to create a duplicate of Wade to do all of his experimentation on.  If something goes wrong, he hasn’t lost the whole show, and can start over again with another dupe.  The synthesized version is a onetime use, with plans to fully infuse the ability in him and create a full army once Deadpool has been perfected. 

            After Wolverine is given the adamantium Wade is infused with Logan’s ability and a dupe is created so that they can inject him with adamanium, too.  The events of the Wolverine movie prevent Stryker’s plans for a Deadpool army from proceeding.  Wolverine and Sabretooth fight and kill the Deadpool dupe and the Three Mile Island base is destroyed. 

            Wade emerges from the rubble of the base with no knowledge of the recent events.  He knows that he’s cancer free, and that he has a healing factor now.  He slices his mouth open so he can talk, and covers his disfigured face with a scrap of cloth he finds.  So begins the Deadpool movie.  Now, to help push him to that edge-of-sanity Deadpool we know from the comics, we can have him find the disembodied head of his dupe.  Not knowing how of why he’s looking at himself decapitated, his mind would start to warp a bit.  To do this, we scratch the stinger ending with Deadpool (since not everyone gets to see it, it’s easier to do away with) and use this.  Trying to use the extra ending creates additional problems we don’t need; all the extra powers and 2 foot retractable adamantium claws would dilute the true character and weigh down the story.

            It could work.  Plus we’ve tied everything in to the other movies so the continuity still flows.  There it is: The Deadpool Solution.

Jerale C