About John McGuire

Writer of comics and novels. In 2006 his first short story "The God That Failed" was published by Terminus Media in their debut comic Evolution Book 1. Since that time he has had stories published in Terminus Media's Evolution Book 2 and Evolution Special, Kenzer and Company's The Knights of the Dinner Table, and Four J Publishing's The Burner #3. Currently he is eagerly awaiting the digital publishing of his first creator-owned comic The Gilded Age #1 to be published online as well as his first novel The Dark That Follows later this year.

At the End of it All

We’re in the process of catching up on The Walking Dead’s sister show: Fear the Walking Dead. I’m not going to discuss the merits of the spin off. Likely many people checked it out in the first season and found certain aspects of it not to their liking. Personally I feel like the second part of Season 2 has become to really hit it’s stride.

But that’s not what I want to write about today.

No, I want to focus on one of the core ideas Fear deals with that the main show certainly hits on from time to time, but given the “newness” of the zombie apocalypse, there are still things the main characters are trying to figure out. In an episode of Fear, the main group has the decision on whether they should help two people, one clearly injured. They could bring them both aboard and worst case make things a little more comfortable for the dying man.

Some try to maintain their old humanity by helping them, others on the ship are more concerned about their family’s safety. Ultimately the decision is made for them. Yet there is still the quandary:

If you were trying to survive in an apocalyptic situation, do you help strangers?

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Not to flat out steal from my Guildmate who writes the head scratching style of questioning books, J Edward Neill, but it’s a piece of the zombie outbreak question that is sometimes glossed over. From a horror movie sort of view, the answer becomes obvious: DON’T. Clearly everyone is out to get you and letting them have some kind of real and true access to you will only allow them to get more opportunities to kill you.

In the tv show/movies it is shown as a life or death equation. What isn’t always explicitly said, but clearly implied is that this decision affects you nearly as much as the person you want to help/leave behind. You may have to live with the consequences of inviting someone along with you if they end up doing bad things.

Court and I talked about it for a while as to what we would choose and came to a different question: What would members of my family do (I have not talked it out with them, this is just a straight out guess)?

My Dad – He’s too logical. Too protective of his family. In fact, I think he’d have to really dig in his heels with other members of my family in order ensure that no random element would be let into our group.

My Mom – She’d understand all the logic my dad would throw around. Heck, her head would probably agree with his decision, but I can’t foresee a situation where she wouldn’t at least try and help another person.

My Sister (Courtney) – Perhaps even more than my mom, my sister would want to help as many people as she could… at first. The one thing that would change that is if things went sideways and one of her family was put in danger. Assuming that like a tv show things could still work out, I could see such an incident ensuring no one else would get any assistance.

My Brother in law (Bill) – He has a big heart. He loves helping people in the real world. However… I think all that gets thrown out the window in favor of the group/family. No messing around, no-nonsense. Let’s get to wherever it is we’re going and that be that.

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My Brother (Mark) – Probably the one I’m most unsure on. I lean towards thinking he’d move on past the strangers for the sake of his group, but a small piece of me can’t help but think that perhaps he’d try to give them some assistance… possibly food/water.

My Sister in law (Meagan) – On the other hand, she’s going to want to help other people. Maybe even to the point that the very thought of NOT helping would cause her distress. She might be the one who leaving someone behind would weigh on the most.

My Mother in Law – Someone who has effectively adopted her next door neighbors  would be hard-pressed to turn away others, I think. Talking it out with my wife, she thought that her mom would then feel guilt about all the other ones out there that she couldn’t get to.

My Father in Law – Before he passed away, I think I would have put him in the move on column, but at his wake I got to meet many of the people in the AA program who he helped try to get their lives back on the right track. Strangers who he felt compelled to help because he was in the same situation. In this case fiction has to mirror reality.

My Step Father in Law – A former cop and a former locksmith, he’s definitely someone I want on “my team” when the end comes. As we search the wasteland for signs of food and water, those locked places would open their treasures up to us. He’s one that I lean towards helping strangers, but it would have to be the right place and the right time as his background in law enforcement could very well help him spot those trying to do us ill.

My Brother in law (Nathan) – A lot like my dad, I think Nathan wouldn’t entertain the possibility of something endangering his loved ones. And these Strangers, they are a variable in the equation that might not sit quite right.

My Sister in law (Mandy) – I don’t think she’d invite the Strangers to come along, but instead falls into the category of wanting to help where she could through extra food/clothing/etc. But when we break camp, you need to go in a different direction.

My wife (Courtney) – I think we’re to the point where she’s watched too much Walking Dead to totally trust the random strangers. If something seems too good to be true type thing.

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It would weigh on her, though.

And me? I think I’d have to think of my group/family at first, but after sleepless nights trying to weigh whether that was even the right decision, we’d eventually come upon someone(s) where the guilt would force me to let them in.

I can only hope that these are good people I’m letting in.

***

John McGuire

John McGuire is the author of the supernatural thriller The Dark That Follows, the steampunk comic The Gilded Age, and the novella There’s Something About Mac through the Amazon Kindle Worlds program.

His second novel, Hollow Empire, is now complete. The first episode is now FREE!

He also has a short story in the Beyond the Gate anthology, which is free on most platforms!

And has two shorts in the Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows anthology! Check it out!

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com.

So Little Time… for Time Travel TV Shows

I love TV Shows. Much like I love movies and novels, I want to see a good story develop. Doesn’t matter the format whether it is in a podcast or some old book. As I told Chad the other night, I don’t know if this is still the new Golden Age of TV, but’s it feels like it gets better an better every year.

However, I normally don’t jump into a new show with my whole body. No, I’ve been burned far too many times where I’ve invested in a story line and characters and by about episode 5 or 6 the networks have made a decision not to order an additional half season (Flashfoward, Terra Nova, Journeyman, Brimstone just to name a few). Or maybe they get through that first season, but then don’t get another season.

Those are the shows I can do without at this point. Last year I waited on Lucifer, to see if it got renewed or not. So it sat on my DVR until finally they announced it was coming back this season. It was only at that point that I started watching (by the way if you tried it out but decided that the first couple of episodes weren’t your thing – it genuinely improves with every episode – I was pleasantly surprised). I realize that this is counter productive in a way, as if everyone did this then nothing would make it, but I feel like my one vote of viewership isn’t going to tip these particular scales.

This season, someone must have downloaded another piece of my brain, because no less than 4 shows have to do with Time Travel, and now I’m wondering if my rule of waiting on the shows may have to be reevaluated given my love for such things. I knew about two of them, and had added them to my list:

frequency tv

Frequency (CW)

October 5 at 9:00 PM

Look, the movie was amazing. This idea that a son could talk to his father some twenty years earlier, and throughout the movie they suddenly realize that the case the son is working on (he’s a cop) is the same killer who murdered his mom years ago.

I don’t want to say anymore, but it is worth watching.

This is a remake of the movie, switching the son for a daughter, and from the long trailer I saw, it seems like the Butterfly Effect is in full… effect. If this show is half as good as the movie…

Like I said, this was already getting the full add to the DVR.

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Timeless (NBC)

October 3 at 10:00 PM

This appears to be more along the lines of agents working to fix time because someone else is screwing things up for all of history. If you’ve seen the trailer, it looks like much of the pilot is centered around the Hindenburg Crash. I’m hopeful that this one has some legs, as being on NBC means that it’s going to have the potential for more eyes, but the last time I watched a time travel show on NBC it was Journeyman, which was AMAZING, and lasted all of 1 season.

Fool me once? Who am I kidding, I’ll be watching this one from the word go.

The other two are mid-season replacements:

Time-After-Time

Time After Time (ABC)

Sundays at 9 PM

Apparently this is based on the movie/novel about H.G. Wells (yes, the author of the Time Machine) who is chasing Jack the Ripper through time.

I must admit, this is one of those movies that I keep meaning to watch and have just never gotten around to doing so. It’s one of those, that whenever I see it on tv it’s always half-over.

What I do know is that this is a Kevin Williamson tv show, so it goes on the list of one to at least give a try.

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Making History (FOX)

Sundays at 8:30 PM

A comedy, about time travel… hmm, I’m not entirely sure how this one is going to work. Basically, a teacher/professor has a time machine that he uses every week to go back to the 1700s where he has a girlfriend and apparently the British haven’t been kicked to the curb just yet. I watched the trailer for the show and thought there is a possibility for some funny stuff, so this gets a…

I’m at least checking out the pilot when it comes on. It looks like it may be paired with Last Man on Earth, which can only help.

 

***

John McGuire

John McGuire is the author of the supernatural thriller The Dark That Follows, the steampunk comic The Gilded Age, and the novella There’s Something About Mac through the Amazon Kindle Worlds program.

His second novel, Hollow Empire, is now complete. The first episode is now FREE!

He also has a short story in the Beyond the Gate anthology, which is free on most platforms!

And has two shorts in the Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows anthology! Check it out!

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com.

Dragoncon 2016 – The Good and Other Thoughts

Last week I talked a lot about the bad stuff that went down at Dragon Con this year. These are obviously not crazy problems, and I completely understand that. More it was as much about having that moment where you just say “this is going to be one of those weekends” and it happened to be this particular one.

That said, I do have some thoughts about the convention below that occurred to me as I was waiting in the fabulous Line Ride(s).

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But first, The Good

On Saturday we saw the Legends of Tomorrow panel where I got to see a man dance like he might have been Michael Jackson in a previous life. Considering he plays Hawkman, a character whose whole gimmick is reincarnation, it was somewhat fitting. I discovered that the man who plays Vandal Savage (Casper Crump) might actually be Vandal Savage in real life (or more to the point, just frickin’ owns the role!). I realized that the cast realized they might have a drinking game on their hands with the number of times Kendra (Hawkgirl) says “But I was a barista only 3 weeks ago!” Something Robert had brought up the day before (that I hadn’t really noticed).

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Oh, and the complaint about not getting the line in quick enough from last week? Apparently that was not a problem for this panel as we got moving 15 minutes before the panel started and were seated by the time things got started.

Maybe it is a hotel thing?

I sat in a number of writing panels where I either learned something or it helped to reinforce some things I knew, but haven’t yet put into proper practice. I like to think of those panels as a nice way to get recharged for the rest of the year. You have all these people who just want to get their ideas out there, tell their stories, and hope someone enjoys them.

It’s refreshing.

Even on Sunday, we had no problems getting into the vendor’s room, and the extra floor really helped to let things breathe a little bit more. That’s probably the single best thing from the convention expanding into the America’s Mart buildings these last couple of years.

Like I said before, while it might have started out rough, we came home on Sunday with smiles on our faces, already looking forward to next year.

The OTHER

I do have a couple of thoughts about Dragon Con and where it might need to go eventually. Again, I’ve been going to Dragon Con virtually every year since 1993. And I know I’m probably in the minority on this, but during those moments when you can’t move due to the sheer amount of bodies in a building, where you can’t get into a panel without having to wait an hour plus in a line, and where there is even discussion about what a Fire Marshall might require.. it might be that Dragon Con is TOO BIG.

Dragon Con 2016

I’m not sure of the attendance numbers, I do feel that Dragon Con has gotten bigger and bigger over the last 4 or 5 years. When it gets unpleasant for people to be there, that’s not really the goal, is it?

Maybe they should consider a couple of things:

Capping attendance. Not sure if that is through only having pre-sale 4 day passes or something. I know they want to be able to serve everyone who wants to come, but enough is enough.

Or maybe this Con needs to move to a bigger venue. Yes, we all love that it’s in the hotels. It means that when you are sore and tired (and have a room), you can go upstairs and take a rest. But one of the things hotels create are choke-points. The sky bridges are natural choke points. Everyone is in costume, and it’s awesome, but I can’t move from one building to another because there is no flow. So many times it becomes salmon swimming upstream.

This year we were lucky to not have rain most of the weekend. When it rains no one walks the streets and the hotels cannot handle it. It becomes a complete mess.

Now used to be, before the Chick-fil-a Kickoff game didn’t exist, I thought “Hey, move to the World Congress Center, we’d have the space and everything would be in ONE BUILDING (effectively)”. Currently the Con is now in 6 buildings over like 5-6 blocks.

SIX BUILDINGS!

Come on. That is far too many.

Now that the football game exists, I don’t think being over there would be the best idea. We’d be on top of the football tailgaters. And while I love the looks on the people from out-of-town as they gawk at the cosplayers, we’d just be over crowed somewhere else.

So my solution, assuming the World Congress Center would work otherwise, is to move the date of Dragon Con. It’s not unprecedented. Used to be it was in mid-July. If you moved it, you’d be asking people to take that Monday off (instead of having the built-in holiday), but I’m not sure that would really be the issue. Monday is kind of hit or miss most years (we normally use that day to recover, but maybe we’re in the minority). Find that weekend where you are the only BIG THING in town.

Now maybe that would mean a slight dip in attendance, but I’m saying that may not be a bad thing. If there were 5-10% fewer people there… just something to think about.

And there is another benefit, more hotels available for the con goers. You wouldn’t be competing with the football people for rooms. Heck, could it be possible the prices might drop slightly (probably not, but I can dream).

Note, this is not me dreaming of the “good old days”, just trying to make it a little better before it becomes too big (an odd statement to be sure).

Again, maybe I’m just being grumpy. It’s always possible.

***

John McGuire

John McGuire is the author of the supernatural thriller The Dark That Follows, the steampunk comic The Gilded Age, and the novella There’s Something About Mac through the Amazon Kindle Worlds program.

His second novel, Hollow Empire, is now complete. The first episode is now FREE!

He also has a short story in the Beyond the Gate anthology, which is free on most platforms!

And has two shorts in the Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows anthology! Check it out!

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com.

Dragoncon 2016 – The Bad

This year I think I’m playing the Grumpy Old Man.

That’s how I felt on Friday of Dragon Con. The little things adding up to just annoy and bother me. I’d like to think it was just a combination of things, but regardless of the individual pieces there was still enough there to last me until about 4:30 on Saturday. Luckily it all turned around shortly after that, and I was left with a positive taste in my mouth after the weekend was done.

But let’s start from the beginning…

Actually, let’s start about two week’s earlier, because that’s when I tweaked my ankle, aggravating an old Achilles strain. Come Dragon Con, it was still hurting. Good thing I wasn’t going to have to do much walking or anything!

But, I digress…

Friday morning we gathered the last of what we’d need for the trip to downtown Atlanta for the day. I had a couple of copies of my books and comics just in case (in case of exactly what, who knows, but I need to have them on hand more than I normally do). I go to the drawer in our desk where every other year I’ve placed the postcards Dragon Con mails out (effectively your ticket).

Not there.

I checked another drawer and then another and then another. At some point I could only say, “I’m starting to panic here, Courtney.”

After another 30 minutes of looking with no luck, I checked the web to see what the procedure was, and while it wasn’t on the FAQ, it was on a Reddit thread from like two years ago (just present your Driver’s Licence and you’re good to go). So we drive down, find a parking spot, and then go over to Registration… where they can’t find that we’ve paid.

Eh?

So now we have to go to the far side of the room where it seems one of the places didn’t turn in their registration forms last year. We don’t have a receipt because we’ve never needed to have a receipt. And I’m starting to wonder if maybe we didn’t preregister last year…

A minute later we have our badges and it is off to the Vendor’s hall.

Except, we get stopped about 8 people from being able to get in. It seems that they were already experiencing, at 2:30 on Friday afternoon, capacity issues and don’t want the Fire Marshall to shut them down, so we have to wait. Now this isn’t a big deal except that the Vendor’s room has been open for only 1 1/2 hours and they are having this issue. On Friday.

We make the pack not to bother to come this way on Saturday as I could only imagine how long the line to get in might have been.

30 minutes later we get in, do a quick walk through of one floor of the vendor’s room, before we have to go upstairs to the CDC Panel that I’m actually a part of (second time I’ve been on any kind of Dragon Con panel!). The panel was focused on the motion comic web series I helped write KABI Chronicles (check out all 7 episodes!).

(I plan on doing a full post about that whole experience soon.)

As to the panel, other than wishing more people had turned out, it went well enough. And afterwards we did another pass of the vendor’s room before heading out to eat.

All these people coming to Atlanta during Labor Day Weekend!

Now, here’s the thing. In Atlanta on Labor Day weekend, you have tens of thousands of people descending on downtown due to Dragon Con, the Chick-fil-a Kickoff Football game, AC-DC had played on Thursday night, and probably a bunch of other things I’m forgetting at the moment. So normally getting into a restaurant can be a bit of a pain. But not this night. Somewhere, the convention gods smiled down on us and said that Hooters would get us seated in about 15 minutes.

And then 45 minutes later we had to inform a manager type person that we still hadn’t gotten our food.

Why didn’t we tell the waitress? Oh, that could be because she’d disappeared for most of that time. And then, after the manager offered us free deserts to smooth things over, she tried to charge us for those as well!

That was enough for us, so Court and headed home, where I began to realize that I wished we’d actually had a room downtown so that I didn’t have to make that 40 minute drive again.

Saturday started fine, but nearly the last straw was trying to get into the Flash/Arrow panel. We decided not to try to play the epic game of “where does this line actually begin” but instead just wait until those people got inside, and then if there was room we’d go in (not wanting to screw anyone over here).

Dragon Con 2016

The problem is that Dragon Con puts these panels 30 minutes apart. But instead of loading the room as soon as the previous one is cleared, they waited until 5 minutes before the panel’s start time to start letting people in. By minute 20 of the panel people in that line still hadn’t finished entering.

What the fuck!?!

Had I actually been in the line and missed a third of the panel because of incompetence, I might have lost it on someone. As it was, we opted to go and check out something else for a little while.

Oh, and to the lady who was taking her time walking in the line… not hobbled or anything, just acting like she’s got all the time in the world – you’re not only holding up the rest of the line, but you are going to see a panel featuring stars from the FLASH, not slow-poke Magoo! Pick up the pace!

Then things took a turn for the better…

But that is a story for next week.

***

John McGuire

John McGuire is the author of the supernatural thriller The Dark That Follows, the steampunk comic The Gilded Age, and the novella There’s Something About Mac through the Amazon Kindle Worlds program.

His second novel, Hollow Empire, is now complete. The first episode is now FREE!

He also has a short story in the Beyond the Gate anthology, which is free on most platforms!

And has two shorts in the Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows anthology! Check it out!

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com.

 

What This Blog Looks Like Now Will Shock You!

Good things take a while. Bad things arrive instantly wherever they are not wanted.

Projects drag on for much longer than you ever thought possible. And I have the patience of… well, something with a lot of patience. There is a fine line between patience and stubbornness. Most times, I’m not sure I understand the difference. Either way, I do my best to remain upbeat about the little hiccups. I try not to worry about the medium-sized issues which tend to pop up every now and again regardless of the project you might actually be working on right then and there.

But when it all goes sideways. When Lucy pulls that damn football out from under you just as you prepare to strike the goal.

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That’s the moments that make you wonder if the Thing is ever going to actually happen.

I worry about what other people think. Not in the way you’re probably thinking. More in the writing itself. I wonder if people have it in the back of their minds that “oh, it’s nice he’s doing that comic book thing. Oh, that’s good he did that novel thing. But…”

And the “But” could be any number of things, but in my mind what the “But” signifies is that age old question so many writers tend to want to worry about – Am I a real writer?

Said with the same emphasis Pinocchio might have used when he asked if he was a real boy.

pinochio

You see, to my friends and family I wonder if they view this as a Hobby? Dreaded word that is. That maybe I’m just staying up until 2 in the morning because I got nothing better to do. That maybe I’m kidding myself in this pursuit.

So I want to have those moments where there is something tangible. Even if they might not “get” what I’m doing with the various comics, when I hold up a copy of the book there is something tactile they can see. And maybe they don’t have any idea of the work that went into it, but it is there.

Now, some/most/all of this might just be in my head. Stephen King said that (at least I think it was him) if you got paid for something you wrote and it was enough to pay for a utility bill – that’s it. You’re a “Real Writer”.

And I have managed to do that. Multiple times.

Yet doubt is there.

And then the doubt kicks into overtime when a couple of things don’t go my way. Earlier this year I sent a pitch and sample chapter(s) to an assortment of agents who represent Science Fiction for my novel The White Effect. Nothing, no takers. Earlier this month I entered a contest #Pitchwars with the same novel and got the same result (as in, I didn’t get anywhere with it).

Yesterday I found out I wasn’t accepted into the DC Comic Workshop.

Now, I understand… in my head, that these things are long shots. That the good things take time to happen.

But… it gets hard. Lucy needs to let me hit that ball from time to time.

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Then maybe it is fitting that this week, along with Robert Jeffrey, I’ll be participating in my second ever Dragon Con Panel to talk about a project that at multiple times I was 100% sure was never going to see the light of day. Because that’s just how these things go. Sometimes it is good to be wrong.

The panel (4 PM on Friday) is going to discuss the KABI Chronicles, a motion comic Terminus Media did for the Centers for Disease Control (yes, THAT CDC), to create a series of stories that could both entertain as well as teach teenagers and young twenty-somethings about STIs and HIV. Something that we started working on 5 years ago. Something that went from 3 episodes to 7 episodes. Something that was delayed and then restarted and then delayed and then…

Something that I helped to write. Something I helped to create.

And now it is out there.

Nice timing…

***

John McGuire

John McGuire is the author of the supernatural thriller The Dark That Follows, the steampunk comic The Gilded Age, and the novella There’s Something About Mac through the Amazon Kindle Worlds program.

His second novel, Hollow Empire, is now complete. The first episode is now FREE!

He also has a short story in the Beyond the Gate anthology, which is free on most platforms!

And has two shorts in the Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows anthology! Check it out!

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com.

Letters to You

I found a letter I wrote over twenty years ago mixed in with my various electronic files I thought enough of to try and keep them for the pack rat in me (at least the digital versions of these things don’t cost as much space these days). What’s interesting is how that 17 year old was so angry at how things were turning out. You see, I think the lie that we all like to hear is that as you get older it gets easier, but as time goes on I’m not sure that’s the truth of it. I think we’ve just had more experiences that we no longer react as extreme to some of the bad things.

old-letters

Maybe.

And of course, when you’re 17 the “bad stuff” is not always as bad as you think it is. But even that’s unfair to say. If something is affecting you negatively it doesn’t matter how big or small the “thing”might be… right?

In the letter though, is a line that stuck out to me more than anything else: “Maybe one day someone will find this, and understand me a little more than before.”

That line is a bit ominous. Anger, sadness, teen angst… I read it and I’m not sure I understand that person, but I remember those same feelings.

You see, when you get to be a junior in high school, that’s when it is all supposed to change. You can drive by that point so there is a fair amount of freedom you’ve never had before. And with that are potential dates… and yet none of that had happened by the end of April. It’s my own fault for inaction mixed with a crippling sense of “what if she says no”. And I’m fairly sure I missed any number of signs that might have come my way… oblivious to the flirting. Always looking for the explanation where the girl in question was just being nice and there was nothing more than that.

anger

Junior year was supposed to be “the year”. But it had started with some body blows to the old self-confidence and then shifted to ensure that confidence would be diminished later in the late fall. After playing 2 years of high school basketball, it came time for Varsity try-outs, and I just wasn’t good enough. I’d be lying if I said it was a complete shock. I was never a starter on the Freshman or JV teams, but I would be lying if I didn’t say it was still a kick to the gut. I remember later that year talking to some others in my classes and one of the guys mentioned that I should have went out for varsity as I was a shoo-in to make the team.

Yeah, not so much.

The second “big bad” was getting pink eye and having to wear those dorky/nerdy glasses again over my contacts. Glasses had always been that thing growing up that made me see myself as ugly – so when it was that I got contact lenses it immediately took my confidence from a negative 100 to around a solid 0. Suddenly to go backwards for the better part of a month… just a nightmare.

My week days were a mixture of working at Kroger from the time I left school until 9 or 9:30 at night. I’d eat dinner, do any homework I had left, and then maybe watch some TV or play video games or listen to music in my room. On my off days I’d roleplay with friends or play basketball.

This version of me in the letter… he lays awake at night and seriously wonders if there is someone out there for him. He’s a dreamer who wishes he was a realist. Maybe he’s read too many fantasy stories where the guy gets the girl. I’m not sure. And again, at this point in April High School is closer to being completely over than it is to starting. Of course, the problem is he’s in the midst of it. He’s too close to acknowledge something like that.

board-Welcome to the future

He’s made it almost to the finish line. I want to find someway to reach through and let him know that while Junior year sucked, Senior year will more than make up for it. That he only has a few more weeks of school and then summer vacation will begin. I want to mention that the girl he’s been waiting for is someone he already knows. That he is still 3 months, almost to the day, from going out with her.

That he needs to take a moment and just be patient. It is going to get better. No lie…

***

John McGuire

John McGuire is the author of the supernatural thriller The Dark That Follows, the steampunk comic The Gilded Age, and the novella There’s Something About Mac through the Amazon Kindle Worlds program.

His second novel, Hollow Empire, is now complete. The first episode is now FREE!

He also has a short story in the Beyond the Gate anthology, which is free on most platforms!

And has two shorts in the Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows anthology! Check it out!

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com.

Again and Again

Wake up. Look at the alarm clock. Decide begrudgingly to not hit the snooze alarm (again). Stumble out of bed, somehow weaving through your house to find clothes for the new day. At some point decide not to call in sick to work so as to take a hooky day.

Go out to lunch, bring my lunch?

Tackle Task 1 on the To Do List or tackle Task 747 (the Goddess must be appeased!)

Take the interstate home? Take the back roads?

Go to the gym?

Watch TV when I get home? Write? Play a game? Go to bed?

Start all over again.

***

alarm-clock

This is your life through your eyes. This is your world, shaped by your decisions and desires.

Time and decisions and more time and less time…

***

Why does the Old Guy speak his mind so readily when the rest of us struggle to say what we actually mean? Could it be he doesn’t have the time left in front of him to pussy-foot around or spare your feelings? Could it be he has shit to do, and more than anything else, you are actually killing him very slowly?

***

More than money, more than love, more than hate, more than anything – Time is that thing you, me, everyone just doesn’t have enough of. Even if we had more of it, what good would it do me? I still perceive the world through these same eyes. Through the colored lens of my own experiences and memories. I might chose to do something different the next time a similar situation comes up, but only because I know more about what the outcomes are.

***

Maybe that’s why time travel fascinates me so much. Those long forgotten decisions shaping today. What would it be like to take a glimpse at some event from our past as an outside bystander? What would we see that we couldn’t see in the moment?

But so many of the books and movies and tv shows (because they need to sell you on the storyline) make it where they are going to change things that went wrong. Or maybe they are going to right something and save lives.

Or they are probably going to try and kill Hitler at some point.

Probably.

***

Today as I left the gym I saw the front desk girl talking with some guy, and she was clearly into the guy. And maybe, maybe he knows. Maybe they are already dating. Or maybe they’re still in that dance where she’s putting out the signals, and he’s hoping she’s into him, but he doesn’t want to put himself out there?

But the point is, as the outsider, I could see some aspect of what’s going on. I was the time traveler of their moment that is already gone as I type these words.

If I was the Old Guy, I might have gone up to them and said, “Look, she likes you. You like her. Get together and see what happens.

(Well if I were the Old Guy and also very ballsy.)

***

book-school

School is starting/has started/or is about to start for kids everywhere. And much like the graduation signs in the Spring, this time of year has me looking back to my own high school days. Days when I was completely clueless about everything and everyone. How I was convinced no girl would ever want to go out with me.

The standard types of things.

But it makes me wonder, if I could go back in time to those moments and just observe. And see if the world was actually the way I perceived it, or maybe it wasn’t quite as big and scary. Maybe things were much more apparent than even I was seeing, but I lacked the 4th dimensional view of things.

This isn’t that old standard of “if I only knew then, what I know now”. This is more being able to actually get outside of yourself for a little while. Take in your surroundings. Understand why the events are happening.

Because…

Those days where going to school meant that you somehow had to force yourself through the door. Force yourself to smile when all you might have wanted to do was scream. Maybe the highlight of your days were in 5 minute doses, talking with the few friends who seemed to instinctively understand… IT.

***

They say that those who do not know their history are destined to repeat it.

They also say that history repeats itself.

But I like Mark Twain’s quote:

history rhymes

 

Never the exact same, but enough of the same sounds to maybe let us understand things a bit better?

***

High School never ends…

We still have to do things we don’t want to do. And there will be days that you can’t get out bed. But… just maybe we can hear that old song in a new way?

Maybe we can find a way to make that new rhyme…

***

John McGuire

John McGuire is the author of the supernatural thriller The Dark That Follows, the steampunk comic The Gilded Age, and the novella There’s Something About Mac through the Amazon Kindle Worlds program.

His second novel, Hollow Empire, is now complete. The first episode is now FREE!

He also has a short story in the Beyond the Gate anthology, which is free on most platforms!

And has two shorts in the Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows anthology! Check it out!

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com.

You’ve Got the Touch!

Transformers the Movie turned 30 years old on Monday. I want to write something about the Transformers to celebrate that idea. But then I realized that I’ve already written a bunch of things about the Transformers already:

Transformers-movieposter-west

How when the movie originally came out, I couldn’t go during opening weekend. And it disappeared from our theater before the next weekend (stupid small town theater!).

Or how issue #4 of the comic was the first comic I ever bought.

Or how Michael Bay won’t get me to watch another of his movies, even if they have Dinobots in them!

Or even discussing the proper way to “play transformers” (and no, they don’t play “Friends”).

The thing about Transformers is that it kind of replaced Star Wars for me after Jedi had come and gone. Maybe there was some aspect of the engineer in me wanting to come out as I transformed certain characters from car to robot and back to car again. But when there was really no other outlet to interact with Star Wars anymore (remember, this is still the better part of a decade before the Zahn books even show up).

This was crazy space battles. And crazy Earth battles. And planets which could destroy other planets (granted it wasn’t a laser beam from a Death Star, but by being eaten by Unicron).

Good and evil fighting things out until the end of everything.

But here’s the thing, without the movie I would have still loved the show. Heck, it took years for me to even see the movie. However, there was something about the idea there could even be a theatrical release of a children’s cartoon. GI Joe didn’t manage that. He Man did, but it was a live action. The less we talk about that, the better things will be for all of us.

My show got a movie. Not only that, but it advanced the storyline. Characters lived and died and underwent complete changes. After the movie, I remember the GI Joe TV movie where some things changed, and we got Surpentor. Or the Thundercats “movie” where they introduced other villains and other survivors for the characters to interact with.

And maybe all those things were in the works for a long time previous. To my 10 year old self, it meant that Transformers was pushing the envelop in story-telling. That thing we all kind of take for granted from television today: serialization.

dinobots

But it didn’t just start with the movie, the show had done some of that kind of thing before. Obviously it was to sell toys, but they’d introduce the Dinobots, then many episodes later there would be two more Dinobots, and then maybe they got their own episode. The characters might not change at all from episode to episode, but the world was definitely getting a little bigger than it had been before.

When one season ended and the next began, so it meant we’d be seeing newer Transformers. We’d have new favorites to cheer for and against.

What the movie really did was super-charge things. Where the transition from season 1 to season 2 might have meant less screen time for your old favorites, they were still there. After the movie, the slate had been cleared for a whole new generation of Autobots and Decepticons to continue fighting this never-ending war. Again the world got bigger (suddenly we had a whole universe to fight over rather than simply remaining on Earth).

Death had come to the Transformers.

Generation 1 Box Art 2 1280 x 1024

It was a big deal to me. As big a deal as Vader’s revelation to Luke at the end of Empire. Optimus Prime was dead (and again, realize I had to have friends describe exactly what happened since I couldn’t see the movie. It would be like trying to dissect the Zapruder Film with only someone else’s word to let you know exactly what had happened). Someone else was the leader (who the heck does this Rodimus Prime think he is anyway?). Starscream was gone (and thought dead as well – say it ain’t so!).

Lil’ John McGuire’s world was sufficiently rocked by all of this. And then I bought the soundtrack, and Stan Bush rocked me a little more.

Now, I have to admit, I haven’t seen the movie in a long time. I have no doubt it won’t necessarily hold up to my standards today. It is sitting over there on the shelf… and my nephew is coming to town this weekend. I wonder what he’d think of it…

***

John McGuire

John McGuire is the author of the supernatural thriller The Dark That Follows, the steampunk comic The Gilded Age, and the novella There’s Something About Mac through the Amazon Kindle Worlds program.

His second novel, Hollow Empire, is now complete. The first episode is now FREE!

He also has a short story in the Beyond the Gate anthology, which is free on most platforms!

And has two shorts in the Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows anthology! Check it out!

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com.

Alaska-Part 3

Forgive my indulgence in the trip for one more week. I write these blogs for myself as much as anyone else so as to not forget some of the little things. Memory has a way of distorting or disappearing when we least expect it to.

“Paper is less perishable than gray matter, and lead pencil markings endure longer than memory.” – Jack London

For our purposes, the digital screen is a good enough stand-in for paper in the 21st century.

Anyway, Parts 1 & 2 and now for part 3, also known as the DVD Extra Bits.

Day 0 (Seattle) – My wife is a morning person while I am the exact opposite of her. So she awoke bright and early on our first morning in Seattle and decided to go on a little walk, maybe get to see that quite part of the city when very few people are milling around. Like almost every other morning person I know, she also thought that this would be a good time to get that first cup of coffee out in the city known for that very beverage. So she walked down one street for a couple of blocks… no Starbucks. Turned down another street… no Starbucks. Then another one, with the same amount of luck.

When she later replayed the story for me I could only think that she’d fallen into the Twilight Zone or some weird Bermuda-Seattle Triangle where no coffee can be served lest some horrible fate might befall the city.

“To the lover of wilderness, Alaska is one of the most wonderful countries in the world.” – John Muir

sea lions

Day 3 (Juneau) – When we arrived at our first “stop” on the tour boat, we were treated to a baby humpback testing its limits – slapping its tail again and again against the surface of the water. The whole time the mom was close enough if she was needed, but mostly seemed content to let him “do his thing”.

The whales weren’t the only things we saw though. There is a whole sea lion area nearby, and the captain took us out to see those guys. For some reason it never occurred to me why they might have gotten the name sea “lion”. When we approached the little island, it was readily apparent. They growl.

Day All of them (At Sea) – Mostly due to wanting to avoid any craziness with motion sickness, we were in a middle room, no windows, not too much around us, etc. But I think no matter what, there is only so long you can stay in your room when you aren’t asleep, so you have to find your spots on the ship. Those quiet places where you can watch the ocean and land drift by you while you relax a little bit (it is a vacation after all). Courtney ended up discovering the quiet spot at the bow of the ship in the lounge area. Plenty of chairs, plenty of windows, and aside from the dance classes or the later night activities, it mostly stayed silent.

Day 4 (Skagway) – One of the things I mentally tried to think of when we went on this trip was what animals might we encounter. However, the two goats in Canada were not even a blip on my list. As our bus pulled into Caribou Crossing for lunch and to see the sled dogs, I saw that just up on the hill behind the “town” was two white specks. Pulling out my binoculars, I was surprised to see two mountain goats hanging out on the side of the mountain. Quickly snapping a couple of pictures, I pointed them out to Courtney.

Fast forward to an hour or so later as we are leaving the area. I take a second to glance back to see if they’re still up there. Sure enough they are. Not only that, they haven’t moved from their spots.

At all.

Hmm…

Yeah, they were fakes. Not sure why they needed to get my hopes up (not huge hopes, these are goats we’re talking about here), but they definitely “got me”.

skagway

Day 4 (Skagway) – I’d say that Skagway had the look of what I thought Alaska was going to be. Much more mountainous, snow caps, rainy and a little cold. We also saw these odd-looking things above the road we were taking. A pole with a bit of red on one end. However, the tour guide was quick to inform us of the true use of such things. You see, in the winter, they still need to have use of the roads. Snow plows have to go out and clear as best they can. But, with all the snow, the road can get a little (a lot) obscured, so in an effort to keep you “on the road” you best stay on the good side of “the red”.

Yes, apparently Alaska has all sorts of way to kill you!

skagway-avalanche

Day 6 (Ketchican) – Quick note. When the tour guide tells you to meet the van at the “Rainfall Gauge”, this is what they mean:

rainfall

 

***

John McGuire

John McGuire is the author of the supernatural thriller The Dark That Follows, the steampunk comic The Gilded Age, and the novella There’s Something About Mac through the Amazon Kindle Worlds program.

His second novel, Hollow Empire, is now complete. The first episode is now FREE!

He also has a short story in the Beyond the Gate anthology, which is free on most platforms!

And has two shorts in the Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows anthology! Check it out!

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com.

 

 

Alaska – Part 2

For Part 1, click here.

When last we left our intrepid heroes, they were cruising away from Juneau onto their next port of call with a mind full of dancing humpback whales and bald eagles everywhere.

Day 4 (Skagway) – This was the longest day at any port. Took a tour bus into the Yukon which meant going through the Canadian Border Patrol at Fraser, Canada. Now I say Fraser and you think “town” (well, maybe you think Cheers or even his spinoff), but what you should envision is about 3-4 houses, a border patrol building, and the train station where you can ride the train back into Skagway (which is what we did). Apparently you should not run to the bathroom on the bus when you are about to go through the passport check, the Canadians and Americans don’t seem to like this very much (luckily I did not have to experience any issues like that).

But we were warned both coming and going. And here I thought we were all hugs and kisses with our friends to the north.

In the Yukon (this is back in the 19th Century), listen I understand that there was a gold rush and all, but they had to institute a rule (the Canadian government did this) that in order to pass by the border to look for gold you had to have 1 TON of supplies with you (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chilkoot_Pass) because people just didn’t realize they had a good chance of just out-and-out dying. You know, no big deal.

I actually have a picture of the full list…

Supplies

Sorry for the glare at the top.

 

The train ride back was very cool, but there is only 10 ft of “road” up there, so you really are on the edge of the cliff. Literally. The rail line was finished right after the gold rush was basically over, so it ended up not doing much good. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_Pass_and_Yukon_Route) We also went to Carcross and Caribou Crossing in Canada which were effectively glorified touristy places, but definitely had that whole “in the middle of nowhere vibe going on. Even got to pet some sled dog puppies which was cool. I thought about the myriad of ways I could possibly stick one of those dogs under my jacket and get him back to the ship. And name him Buck.

Sadly, I did not go through with my plans.

Day 5 (Glacier Bay) – Woke up to a huge sheet of ice. It is amazing how big it is, how far it used to be only 100 years ago (noted from the explorers maps from that time). We hung out for over an hour taking pictures and just experiencing being there.

Gacier Bay

This along with portions of Skagway were what my mind had built up as Alaska, not the rainforests (how naive of me).

The rest of this day was really spent hanging out with my parents. It was effectively an “at sea” day, so you really have make sure to fit in Breakfast, 2nd Breakfast, Lunch, snack, dinner, and some late night 4th meal. It’s hard work.

Day 6 (Ketchican) – The rain capital of North America or something like that (I thought that’s what I read or heard). The town is right next to the port, and again is somewhat contained by roads that don’t lead to other places. We did a rainforest sanctuary and totem pole excursion, which helped to answer the age-old question:

Does a bear s$#@ in the woods?

The answer is yes, by the way. And they apparently like to do their business on the trail paths as well. You know, just to let you know they were out there (I did not take any pictures of those piles… you can use your imagination).

We didn’t see any of the black bears, but we were told by our tour guide that “they were more curious this year than normal”, which I’m not 100% on, but I’m pretty sure you don’t want to hear those words… ever.

Probably the highlight of this trip was when we got to see a bald eagle as up close as you could ask for (like 2 feet away) because he has an injured wing and is a permanent resident of their sanctuary. He just hung out, very much the superstar, probably thinking about freedom and how he’s so glad that the turkey didn’t get to be our national bird.

eagle

 

Day 7 (Victoria, British Columbia) – Very beautiful. From what the tour guide told us it effectively has a Mediterranean climate. Approximately 10 days of winter a year, but only about 10 days of summer as well. Sadly, we arrived at 6 PM and only had 5+ hours before the boat left, so while we opted for the city tour bus there was only so much time to see what we might have wanted to see (the bus tour is the way to go, but after 6 PM they don’t do the get on/get off aspect they do during the day). There is a castle in the middle of town (like in the middle of the neighborhoods) (https://thecastle.ca/).

And the history of that castle was crazy in that after it was build the Dad died and the children didn’t want to pay the land taxes on the place, so they tried to sell it, but NO ONE wanted to buy it. So they came up with a scheme where they’d put all the resident’s names in a hat and the winner would “get” the castle. And that person didn’t want it either.

At some point the City of Victoria bought it.

It was cold on the tour bus… might have been the coldest we’d been on the entire trip (temps were high 50s/low 60s for everywhere). By the way, packing for this kind of trip is not the easiest. You need a jacket or two (but not FIVE like my wife), but there were days that a hoodie was all I really needed. However, the reason Victoria was the coldest had less to do with the temperature and more to do with the fact we were on a double-decker bus, on the top-level, and it had rained earlier that day.

My wife opted not to sit in a wet seat and put her coat down. A few minutes into the drive she was freezing, but waited almost 30 minutes to put on the jacket due to not wanting to stand up while we were in motion.

Of all the times not to bring the heavy jacket…

victoria

Parliament Building

 

Day 8 (Seattle) – Back to Seattle, get off the boat, taxi to the airport (since the subway station was a hike from the Port). Got to the airport legitimately 4 1/2 hours early. One of the things we kept reading was if the ship gets in before noon then DO NOT book a ticket home earlier than noon… that’s a kind of stress no one wants or needs in their lives. Of course, being in the airport for that long was a bit longer than I might have wanted, but I’d rather that than end up running through the airport because the ship was delayed by storms or something. Plus, it kind of worked out as our flight ended up being 30 minutes shorter than the estimated arrival time (gotta love those tailwinds).

Home by midnight.

Day 9 (Georgia) – Veg all day. Laundry all day. One thing you realize about packing for this long of a trip, you start to run out of clothes, and then when you get home it takes all day to clean everything. And you’re a little jet lagged. And you realize your dad had it right all those years when he took 2 weeks off for vacation. The first for the actual vacation and the second week to recover from said vacation.

I don’t have that kind of time, so I took one extra day (Monday being Memorial Day and all), and did my best to get into work for a shortened Wednesday to Friday week.

Thus ends our trip. Most of the time on vacation I’m always amazed at how quick the time went, but this trip wasn’t like that. Maybe I managed to stay “in the moment” more than a normal vacation. I’m not sure that makes a lot of sense. Regardless, I felt like I experienced it, and it was the exact correct length.

***

John McGuire

John McGuire is the author of the supernatural thriller The Dark That Follows, the steampunk comic The Gilded Age, and the novella There’s Something About Mac through the Amazon Kindle Worlds program.

His second novel, Hollow Empire, is now complete. The first episode is now FREE!

He also has a short story in the Beyond the Gate anthology, which is free on most platforms!

And has two shorts in the Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows anthology! Check it out!

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com.

Terminus Media and the CDC Team Up For San Diego Comic Con

Two of Tessera Guild’s own are excited to announce a project years in the making will finally see the light of day 4:00 PM (PST) at San Diego Comic Con during a panel titled “Using Motion Comics for HIV/STI Prevention”. Robert Jeffrey and John McGuire acted a two of the main writers for the project in which they scripted a series of motion comics with the idea of both entertaining and informing. Episode One of the series will be shown in its entirety for the first time at the panel with a plan to roll out the additional episodes during the remainder of the year.

Below is the press release:

tmlogo-600x600

Terminus Media and CDC Team Up for San Diego Comic Con

Press Release

Atlanta, GA (July 18, 2016) On Friday, July 22nd the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Terminus Media will host a panel titled Using Motion Comics for HIV/ STI Prevention at this year’s San Diego Comic Con. The panel will highlight the continuing collaboration between the CDC and Terminus Media a Creative Services and Entertainment Studio in their efforts to use the medium of motion comics/animation to raise awareness about HIV/ STI prevention.

“With using motion comics to spread “edutainment” our hope is that we will be able to use this medium to better illustrate the facts of this issue, while also highlighting the personal experiences of those affected by HIV/ and STI,” Mark Stancil, CEO and co-founder of Terminus Media explained.

cdc-logo-1024x751

The event will be held at San Diego Comic Con between 4:00 pm-5:00 pm PST, in room 32AB. An official description of the panel is as follows:

4:00p.m. – 5:00p.m PST Using Motion Comics for HIV/STI Prevention

In the U.S., young people (ages 16-24 years) are significantly affected by Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and other sexually transmitted infections (STI).  Storytelling through comic books has been shown to be a useful method for HIV/STI education and prevention.  The increasing popularity of comic related media and advances in computerized graphics have created new ways of using comics to reach youth with HIV/STI information.  You are invited to come and learn how scientists from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Leigh Willis (behavioral scientist), Rachel Kachur (health scientist,) Ted Castellanos (public health advisor), John Brooks (senior medical advisor), and Terminus Media Mark Stancil (CEO),
Joe Phillips (lead artist) Lexington Wolfcraft (artist) worked to create an HIV/STI focused motion comic which improves knowledge about, and reduces stigma around, HIV and STI, and encourages healthy behaviors by young people.  Attendees will learn how audience feedback, behavioral research and cutting edge comic production methods were used to create the storyline and the look, sound and feel of this motion comic.  For the first time ever, during this session, the first episode of the series will be debuted.  Information will also be provided on how the public can access the full motion comic series and future plans for the series will be discussed.   

CDC_Motion_Comic1

About Terminus Media

Terminus Media is an Atlanta-based Creative Services and Entertainment studio dedicated to identifying, developing and aggressively marketing corporate and creator-owned properties into valuable multimedia assets. In addition to publication of critically acclaimed titles like The Gilded Age, the Glyph Comic Award winning, Route 3Terminus Team Up, and the Glyph-award nominated, Radio Free Amerika. Our Creative Services division assists corporate, government and private-sector clients with visual communication projects ranging from animation and character development to full-scale message-specific publications, including work done for such clients as the Centers for Disease Control, Nitto Tires, and The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra/Alliance Theatre.

www.terminusmedia.com

Terminus Media LLC

860 Johnson Ferry Road, Suite 140

Atlanta, GA 30342,  contact@terminusmedia.com

Star Trek… Beyond?

Or Why You’re Wrong About the New Star Trek Movies

Cast your mind back to the Spring of 2005, regardless of how you felt about the show (or its final episode – which I still don’t completely understand the backlash there), Enterprise was going off the air. Which meant for the first time since 1987 there wouldn’t be a Star Trek show on TV.

What the hell did that even mean? For almost as long as I can remember, some starship was out there discovering, searching, having a 5-year or a continuing  or some kind of mission. There were missteps and ideas that took a while to really gel. But apparently whatever ratings they were getting not only wasn’t good enough for Enterprise, but not good enough to even warrant a replacement show.

Three years earlier was the last Next Generation movie: Nemesis which barely made back its production budget of $60 million (it took in a worldwide box office of $67 million, down almost half of Star Trek: Insurrection).

star trek captains

Star Trek was dead on the vine.

Here’s the thing, I’m a Star Trek Fan, but I am not a Fanatic about it. I will fully own up to the fact that I haven’t seen most of the episodes of the various series (The Original Series and Next Generation I’m probably in the 90% range, but the rest are somewhat scattered). And normally this would mean that I should probably keep my mouth shut about it other than to say “I like the shows”… but…

You see, I think I’m much more in the vein of the person that can see things as they are (and maybe not how we all might really want them to be). So when I say Star Trek was dead on the vine, I don’t take any joy in that fact. There was something very comforting about knowing I could turn on my tv any given week and have a new episode to comfort me.

That’s why I both understand the venom against the new movies (the Reboot) and can’t understand it at all. Think of it another way – clearly the fan base for the show had become numb to the lot of it. You were down to the diehards as opposed to even some of the fans like myself (who had watched 2 seasons of Enterprise and then got distracted by life). After my disappointment in Insurrection, I made no attempt to watch Nemesis (and while I know I’ve seen it – I couldn’t tell you very much about it). This from someone who loved the movies before those last two.

trek 3

But the Reboot… I get it. I personally don’t like it when DC comics keeps doing that same thing to my comics. I don’t like the idea that MY VERSION of things is no longer cannon. And I hate it when someone tells me the answer is to reread my old comics or search out old comics if “that is what you want to read about”. How insulting.  While I love to go back a reread things I loved or even find those hidden gems I never knew about in the first place. Yet, I participate in fandom because I want to experience it in new and exciting ways.

I’m not sure the old universe had much juice left in it for broad consumption. Note, this isn’t taking anything away from the numerous fan film projects (some that look flat out amazing). This isn’t taking anything away from the newer comics or books or anything else that might have still existed. This was about saving the series for (forgive the pun) the next generation of potential fans.

The Reboot. I liked it. It’s not perfect, but it did exactly what was needed to be done. It made Star Trek into a spectacle, an event again. And while money isn’t the only thing we should gauge this stuff on, it made SIX times as much as Nemesis. So I’m not wrong (at least not completely).

This was the shot in the arm.

You want to know why these movies needed to happen (lens flares and all)? Because of someone like my wife. A person who has managed to embrace pretty much all my crazy fandoms. From Spiderman and the Avengers to the Flash tv show to Star Wars and Firefly.

You want to know the one thing she could never really understand/connect with? Star Trek.

You want to know what happened when we went and saw Into Darkness? She was literally bouncing in her chair at the end of the movie. Yes, for us who had seen Wrath of Khan (still the best movie) there was a lot of switch-a-roo (and plot holes – why do they need Khan’s blood when they have a whole ship worth of guys and gals with the same blood? – I digress). And maybe that pissed you off (and that’s cool… not that you needed my permission). She really enjoyed it.

New fans. New blood.

And what has that led to? A NEW SHOW. Something I wasn’t sure was possible a decade ago. And maybe a chance for that Star Fleet Academy show to finally happen (you know, the one that always gets thrown around as an idea for the next show) (have they announced what the new show is about yet?).

Perhaps it is time to slacken up on the death grip you’ve performed with the series all these years. Let’s invite these new fans in and then show them why the old shows ruled so much… and if we have to deal with the Beastie Boys in a Star Trek movie… well, that might be the price we have to pay to still have it around at all.

***

John McGuire

John McGuire is the author of the supernatural thriller The Dark That Follows, the steampunk comic The Gilded Age, and the novella There’s Something About Mac through the Amazon Kindle Worlds program.

His second novel, Hollow Empire, is now complete. The first episode is now FREE!

He also has a short story in the Beyond the Gate anthology, which is free on most platforms!

And has two shorts in the Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows anthology! Check it out!

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com.

Alaska – Part 1

First an one-sentence overview of Alaska:

Good lord that is some amazing country.

Alaska - View from Ship

Between the rainforest (yeah, that’s right, they have a rainforest up there – didn’t know that) and the mountain peaks, and the isolated towns – Skagway’s population goes to about 300 people during the winter months (from around 2500 people during the summer) – to entering Canada and having to produce my passport while on a tour bus (we all did) – to riding a train that at times felt like you were hanging off the edge of the “road”…

My lovely bride presented me this idea of an Alaskan Cruise back at Christmas catching me totally off-guard. We’d been talking about what we could do for my 40th birthday… and well, she made it so we don’t have to worry about a present for my birthday, or her birthday, or our anniversary, or our other anniversary, or Christmas, or next Christmas…

It’s not cheap, but I’d recommend it to anyone who might be on the fence about it.

It’s been just over a month since we went, and I’ve had parts of this post(s) ready pretty much the week we got back, but I wanted to make sure I didn’t short change anything, though that would be impossible on a trip like this. There was so much to see that I felt like I wanted to open my eyes wider in an effort to get as much of the scenery into my brain, my body, my soul.

Day 0 (Saturday) – Seattle – We got into Seattle late on Friday night. Basically got off the plane, and then tried to figure out the best way to get to the hotel. A taxi would have been $50 (to give an idea of distance from airport to downtown Seattle – it was a solid 30+ minutes on their light rail. However, the Light rail (honestly it was basically their subway system) only cost $3 per person, so I felt that was a win right out of the gate.

But there was a catch… the Light Rail station was FOREVER away from our bags. It became this joke as we hauled our luggage out into the parking deck area. Signs telling us that we were on the correct path gave us reassurance that it would only be around the next corner, or possibly the one after that, or finally down this even longer walkway.

Maybe the actual city is even further away, but we just walked the first part?

On Saturday we met up with my parents (who were accompanying us on the journey) and then my former roommate Andy Hickson and his wife Jamie acted as our tour guides the rest of the day (given that they’ve lived in Seattle for the better part of 15 years now… I think that’s right). We did Pike’s Market and watched them throw fish (and almost hit a bystander which would have made for a better story), we went on the Underground tour and learned about the history of the city – apparently Seattle burned to the ground and they decided to raise the city up about 15 feet, so they created a series of of retaining walls and then filled the streets in (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seattle_Underground)... I’m not trying to get into the weeds with it, but it was definitely a clever way to fix their potential flooding problems at the time. And as a guy who designs roads during the day, it scratched that engineer itch.

They even got me to ride the Ferris Wheel (I’m not big on heights).

Leaving Seattle

Day 1 (Sunday) – Got to the ship. For some reason we didn’t leave the port on time… technically they did come over the loud-speaker to say why… but the Captain was the most mono-tone person I’ve ever heard. And the way he talked, well the only way I know how to describe it is that he spoke as if sentences did not have spaces between words. It wasn’t quick talk, but somehow I couldn’t tell where one word began and the next one ended. All I could figure out was they would have to burn a little more fuel (go faster) to ensure we got to Juneau on time come Tuesday).

An aside – I get motion sick, not nausea but bad headaches mostly. So I got the Patch you put behind your ear for this trip even though EVERYONE who had gone on this cruise before that we talked to mentioned how smooth the seas were for them and whatnot. But I also know that it’s better to have it and not need it than…

All I have to say is for Sunday night and almost all day Monday the boat was rocking. Not sure if it was because of that delay in leaving Seattle or if there were bad storms somewhere just over the horizon (and that’s why we delayed in the first place). What I do know is that if I hadn’t had the patch I would have been screwed. As it was there was a couple of times that I had to kind of refocus due to the up and down of the ship. And many times walking had you doing that half-drunk thing of needing to recenter yourself. Otherwise you’d end up like more than one person I saw who used both the right and the left walls to try and steady themselves as they moved down the hallways.

I don’t want to make it seem like we were in 20 ft swales or anything, just that those two days were not “smooth sailing” by any means.

Day 2 (Monday) – At Sea – So it was mostly eating various meals, getting a low-down on where everything was on the ship, going to a show that night, and hitting the casino to play some Blackjack and Poker. Sadly I don’t have any tales of how I paid for the trip or anything. The House took my money and my wife’s money throughout the course of the week.

Day 3 (Tuesday) – Juneau – Found out that the only way into Juneau is by air or by boat due to the fact that there is a huge sheet of ice preventing any rail or roads from reaching the place. Coming from Atlanta where we live on our interstates, that is a weird one to be sure.

We went on a wilderness (there’s that rainforest word again) hike. Then went on a whale-watching boat tour. Saw so many bald eagles. So cool. Saw humpbacks not 25 ft from the boat. And there was that cool moment/thought that both our guide and the Boat Captain had genuine excitement when the humpbacks would pop up. Especially when you consider that they’ve probably seen hundreds if not thousands over the years, but I have some video where the whale comes up and the tour guide’s voice can be heard above most of the other passengers.

Whale

Aside – All of our tour guides were from other places and spent the summers up in Alaska doing the tour guide thing or whatever… you know, it never occurred to me that such an option was out there while I was in college (not saying I would have done it, but more that it never passed through my brain). This particular guide basically followed the whales from Hawaii in the winter to Alaska in the summer.

That’s not too bad a life.

***

There is much, much more, but I’ll save that for next week.

***

John McGuire

John McGuire is the author of the supernatural thriller The Dark That Follows, the steampunk comic The Gilded Age, and the novella There’s Something About Mac through the Amazon Kindle Worlds program.

His second novel, Hollow Empire, is now complete. The first episode is now FREE!

He also has a short story in the Beyond the Gate anthology, which is free on most platforms!

And has two shorts in the Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows anthology! Check it out!

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com.

My Sliding Doors Story

First things first… Sliding Doors was a movie starring Gwyneth Paltrow where we see her character along two different timelines. One where she catches a subway train and one where she does not. And then the movie shows us how different that one moment has made her lives from each other.

It is very much a Butterfly Effect style of movie where changing the one incident causes more and more ripples until things are not anything like what they “should have been”.

Slidingdoors

The thing is, you never know if something is going to be that defining moment of your life. No one knows when it is coming, what it is going to look like… heck, it could be a very minor thing like missing a train or it could be a major thing like getting arrested by the police…

***

Anywhere the foliage above didn’t completely cover the area, the sun found its way and broke through in a patchwork of light. I crept along, trying to keep the amount of noise I made a small as possible. Not an easy task when every step you take is through broken tree leaves and limbs. Not the best thing when it is Autumn and everything takes on that extra bit of crunchiness.

About ten feet to my right I see one of the others, the barrel of his gun protruding slowly from where he was hiding behind his tree for some cover and possibly surprise.

He hasn’t spotted me yet.

I could try and sneak up on him, but the floor of the woods would give away my position quicker than anything else. I don’t have any kind of clean shot from here. And I don’t know where the rest of his family might be waiting. They hear the shot, and maybe I’m down before I even have time to think about finding another target.

In fact, they might have already seen me and are just waiting for me to shift, to move into their sights. To be easy prey for them.

I glance down at my watch and realize the time. I only have about thirty minutes before I have to be at Kroger to begin my shift. An odd time for it to begin: 5:00 where normally I either have to be in at 3:00 or not at all during the week. It’s alright though, they really just needed some extra warm bodies for this school project. Something about the family feuds from Huckleberry Finn… at least I think that’s what it’s for. I film one more scene – my death scene, and then wish them good luck for the rest of the afternoon.

What I don’t know… what I’ll find out later is about 15 minutes after I leave the cops will arrive to investigate some kids running around the woods with BB guns. Somewhere during that there will be word that an neighbor’s dog might have gotten shot by one of the guns (I never did find out whether anyone of our group had accidentally done this or not, but since I don’t believe anything came of their trip to the station… I’m guessing not).

cops

A number of my friends will get to experience something that it’ll be another 4 or 5 years before I get around to it: being put into the back of a police car.

***

I’m going to be late. I’m always late. I could leave twenty minutes early for something and still be ten minutes late. At Kroger, I’ve become a master of the clock in by 5 after so I don’t get docked the quarter-hour pay. And when you’re only making $4.25/hour, that’s a significant chunk.

They’ve only talked to me about it a couple of times at this point. In my defense though, I told them that I could start my shifts at 3:30 since I get out of high school at 2:15. That would give me just enough time to head home, change, maybe grab a snack, and then get to work… and not feel rushed.

In all my time working there I never had a 3:30 start time.It’s always be in at 3:00.

Of course, I also mentioned that 9:00 was as late as I could work. You know, so that I could get home by 9:15, eat dinner, and then actually do any of the homework which might be waiting for me in my book bag.

I always worked until 9:30.

They must have had something in their ears. I probably could have complained more, but when you’re 16 and me, you just roll with it.

This day though, this day was some rare thing. I’m not entirely sure, looking back now, that I ever had another 5:00 start time.

The thing is, I never complained. Never bitched about these things. I just came in when they scheduled me.

That day I sped into the parking lot, the time on my dash telling me I might not make it by even the 5 minute after cut-off. I grabbed a parking spot far enough away not to steal any potential customer’s spots… and only then did I realize there were a number of cop cars all around.

frog and cop

When I entered I saw more, mostly huddled around the bank, but a couple talking to the floor manager. And it is only then that I find out I missed the incident by ten minutes… tops.

In the same day I missed getting picked up by the police (and all the fun that would have been for my parents) by about 10 minutes and then additionally miss the bank robbery by the same amount of time. Had I left a few minutes early or a few minutes later my day could have been completely different. Somewhere in that drive to work was a pivot point in my teenage life. Now that’s not to say anything sinister would have come of either things had I been there, but considering I worked at Kroger for 2 1/2 years and never heard of this happening again. And I worked on plenty of school projects and never had the cops called on me…

I don’t know. I didn’t end up getting a different haircut. I didn’t have an alternate reality open up for me, but… something was in the air that day. Something strange, something weird… a day of close calls to be sure.

***

John McGuire

John McGuire is the author of the supernatural thriller The Dark That Follows, the steampunk comic The Gilded Age, and the novella There’s Something About Mac through the Amazon Kindle Worlds program.

His second novel, Hollow Empire, is now complete. The first episode is now FREE!

He also has a short story in the Beyond the Gate anthology, which is free on most platforms!

And has two shorts in the Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows anthology! Check it out!

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com.

June Grab Bag

Sometimes I only have the barest nuggets of ideas for the blog. Things which wouldn’t fill a full post, but maybe have passed through my mind in, and I need to get them out of there so that new ideas will take their place.

***

I’m just tired of the lie. Not a month goes by without me hearing the lie, and it has now gotten to the point that I don’t know if anyone realizes they are lying anymore. But I have to call BS on them all.

Stop saying when you were young people didn’t get participation trophies.

Just stop it! Stop lying to the world or to yourself for whatever reasons you think you might have. I grew up in the 1980s and had a handful of baseball and basketball trophies for… that’s right: PARTICIPATION!

trophy

And unless you are in your 50s or older I’m guessing you did too. But somewhere alone the way you’ve forgotten. Or perhaps you haven’t forgotten and need to make some point or another and it fits your narrative.

Just stop it! Enough is enough!

***

Why is “sleeping in” considered lazy but going to bed early is considered the “thing to do” by society? If I’m up until 3 in the morning writing or even if I’m goofing, and then sleep to noon it’s something that people might talk about. However, you getting up at 6 in the morning – read the paper, watch the morning news – effectively “goofing”, but going to bed at 9 at night is awesome? By my count we’re awake the same amount of hours.

alarm-clock

The only thing I can come up with is staying up all night is associated with the young and carefree days of your teenage years or your twenties, but waking up early is something adults do because they must go to work.

You’re not more responsible, and I’m not less responsible (well at least not because I stay up late at least).

***

After going to Heroes Con in Charlotte, NC this year, I’m amazed that Atlanta doesn’t have a Comic Book Convention of comparable size. And no, Dragon Con is not it. It might have been twenty years ago, but it has morphed into more of a Geek/Nerd Culture Con (and I go every year, so I’m good with it). I’ve watched as Heroes has slowly expanded over the years, but it still seems to have an impressive turnout not only from dealers but from the artists and writers themselves. So many Independent creators are there. It is always nice to be surrounded by such a room full of talent.

 

But every time someone seems to get the idea of doing a dedicated Comic Con here it lasts for maybe two years before disappearing into the ether once more. Some kind of Halley’s Comet of Conventions. I just don’t understand.

***

Editing is for suckers. That’s my thinking. It sucks, and I don’t want to do it anymore. It is soul crushing and never ends, and I don’t want to do it anymore.

Crap. I have two books still to edit, and now I’m starting another.

What is wrong with me?

writing

***

Character names. Like many things they are either there, fully formed in my head before I put one letter onto the page or they simply don’t exist. In the later’s case, I find myself searching through various name databases in order to squeeze something so that I can start calling the characters in my new book by something other than XXX, YYY, & ZZZ (and that XXX is a spitfire, let me tell you).

Of course, it can’t just be any old name, but it has to be one which fits the character… that many times I haven’t quite figured out myself. I mean, this is the thing that I’m going to saddle XXX with, I need to make sure that it represents what I want it to represent… that’s a lot of pressure on something which could be picked willy nilly.

But, yeah, the current book doesn’t have ONE named character yet. Luckily I’m only a chapter in. Unluckily I am a chapter in and no one has a name yet.

Well, at least I know what they look like and how they act.

***

Rants done. Random thoughts registered. Brain cleared.

***

John McGuire

John McGuire is the author of the supernatural thriller The Dark That Follows, the steampunk comic The Gilded Age, and the novella There’s Something About Mac through the Amazon Kindle Worlds program.

His second novel, Hollow Empire, is now complete. The first episode is now FREE!

He also has a short story in the Beyond the Gate anthology, which is free on most platforms!

And has two shorts in the Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows anthology! Check it out!

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com.

Run and Jump, Never Slowing Down

Not one person hasn’t experienced a moment in their life where they didn’t have a near miss, close call, “there but for the grace of God go I”. Instead we want to place the blame immediately, thinking ourselves to be all-knowing, all-correct in our assessment of whatever situation. Through all of it we forget all the previous times we escaped some kind of disaster.

jump-to-conclusions-mat

It would be baffling if I didn’t read about it once a week. And whether it is a kid falling into a zoo exhibit or falling off the jungle gym there are always those people who KNOW BETTER. The same people who effectively say “it wouldn’t have gone down like that” when they have no idea.

Look, I’m not saying I know any better either. But I just think these people must have the shortest memories of all time. They are like the guy from Memento who can only remember a few minutes of his life at a time and everything else just disappears into the ether. All those bits of stupid they just fail to remember not only that they did them, but that they escaped something horrific.

Memento_poster

Some of the stupid I’ve been connected to:

The biggest one I’ve done a whole post on, but it probably goes down as the single dumbest moment I’ve ever had. And even though it makes for a good story now – if my passengers had meant me any harm I might not be writing this post right now. Check it out, my dumbest moment.

***

It was a funeral for a relative, and at some point a 12 or 13 year old version of me was supposed to watch my 2 year old brother. So we went out back to the pool to dangle our (his) feet in the water. Somewhere in this process it turned into him trying to get up, slipping, and falling into the deep end of the pool. Not because I wasn’t watching him, but because he’s a 2 YEAR OLD and shit happens. I jumped in, suit and tie and all, grabbed him up and while there was a little crying – everyone was good afterwards.

water-103817_1280

***

My parents live in the backwoods of Virginia just outside of Richmond. They have a long dirt/rock driveway which connects them to the main street where larger trucks are certainly known to travel down from time to time.  My nephew (another 2 year old) decides while in view of multiple adults who are outside as well, that it would be an excellent idea to take off down the driveway towards this street.

Now to hear my mom tell the story it was a case of the old 1 second he’s there beside you and the next he’s running. And now all the adults are either running or yelling or both because there is a truck coming…

Luckily adults have much longer legs than a 2 year old and they scooped him up well before something terrible could happen.

***

I was probably 5 years old when I wandered outside and saw my grandfather’s car set up on some kind of blocks. Noticing the driver’s side door was open, I climbed in and started to play every kid’s favorite game “I’m driving!” I start to twist the wheel a little back and forth, making car noises with my mouth. And then I decide to shift gears (even though it is an automatic). Giving it a little force, I click it into reverse and suddenly… I AM driving! Or more to the point the car is rolling off the blocks backward.

What I didn’t know was that my grandfather was UNDER the car working on it. Had the car rolled the other way (as in, had I somehow put it into DRIVE instead of REVERSE, he’d been crushed).

***

When I was 4 or 5 I was playing in the parking lot of our apartment complex with one of the neighbor kids. Probably some kind of “chasing” game. At the same time, one of the other neighbors was working on his car/truck and left a bottle of cleaner out (I think he walked back inside to fetch something. Of course, my friend saw the bottle and decided that it was his laser gun and he should shoot me. Spraying me with what he thought was water right into my eyes… hours later and a trip to the emergency room where they flushed my eyes repetitively, I emerged unscathed (I do wear contacts/glasses, but that is genetic).

spray-24302_1280

But what if he hadn’t diluted his cleaner? What if the kid’s aim was a little better and put a more concentrated dose in my eyes.

***

There’s an old saying “Better lucky than good” which I think holds for all of us. But nobody hsould pat themselves on the back for just being lucky.

One second. That’s it. One second to have something go wrong. The universe gets in the way for one second.

Just be thankful. Just be thankful for all those “seconds”.

***

John McGuire

John McGuire is the author of the supernatural thriller The Dark That Follows, the steampunk comic The Gilded Age, and the novella There’s Something About Mac through the Amazon Kindle Worlds program.

His second novel, Hollow Empire, is now complete. The first episode is now FREE!

He also has a short story in the Beyond the Gate anthology, which is free on most platforms!

And has two shorts in the Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows anthology! Check it out!

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com.

 

Stealing History

It’s dark right now. This blog is technically an hour late, though, since many of you wouldn’t see this until tomorrow, that’s not really my concern.

I’m having one of those couple of weeks where the day job is a bit more stressful than normal. A task that has been ongoing for what feels like years, but is really more like months is looking like it has come to an ending. But what that does really is “fry” me a bit as I keep trying to finish that last 10% of the project and it continues to snake away from me, doing its best to ensure that I’ll be back at trying to “finish it up” tomorrow.

night-913046_1280

What this really does is make my evenings want to be less productive than I’d like. You know, that thing you actually have fun doing suddenly becomes the last thing you actually want to sit down and think about?

I need a jump-start, that’s what I need. Something that will just clear away the other stuff and reset me mind for the writing.

***

You know what I’m enjoying right now? Hardcore History by Dan Carlin

Deep down I believe I have an addictive personality. When I’m into something I want to be “INTO IT”. I don’t just want to lurk around the edges of it. No, I want to jump into the deep end and learn and follow internet rabbit holes and stay up way too late figuring the thing out.

I’m in the middle of his series of podcasts on the Great War and by “in the middle of” I mean I’ve listened to about 10-12 hours worth of so far and still have about 6 hours to go (I think it is a 5 or 6 parter).

I found out about this podcast last weekend. I’ve probably listened to close to 20 hours at this point. I’ve entertained (re: bored probably) my wife with some of the little anecdotes he drops into the episodes. You see, this is the thing about history: it can be stale and end up as a bunch of dates and events that you memorized for that one test back in high school and then you let it disappear into the ether. Like a fish you didn’t want to eat in the first place.

<I actually like the dates and events, but that’s a different issue.>

***

I knew this podcast was for me while listening to the episode about the Spanish/American War. Now, I have to admit, prior to the podcast I knew 3 things about that war:

1 – Teddy Roosevelt and his Rough Riders fought in it

2 – The United States won.

3 – My favorite story from history actually comes out of this war. I remember reading it in the back of some history book and just loving it. And then Dan Carlin said he had a favorite story from the war… and it was the same one.

The story is this – at some point during this war, the Spanish forces are in retreat and the American commander – who just happened to have served in the Civil War on the Confederate side was now wearing the Blues – he gives the order to chase after them by saying “We’ve got those Yanks on the run!”

I just love the idea that in the din of war, he got a little confused or had a flashback.

But I knew I’d found the right podcast for me when he told that story.

***

This podcast makes it a story. You start to know the players in the telling, and then, like one of your favorite novels or tv shows or movies, history takes a left turn when you were expecting something else and it makes you wonder “Are they making this shit up?”

old-letters-1082299_1280

It builds and builds and maybe you know bits and pieces, but it will introduce the horror through first hand-accounts. He makes use of quotes to help illustrate the overall story.

But it is making me think about my own writing. Thinking about how to present things in the current projects. Too often I think I forget that there is tons of sources out there that can give me a better idea than any fictional work might be able to. What I mean is that when I’m writing an action scene and it isn’t flowing the way I want, then I’ll go to a book or two on the bookshelf and see how XXX author did it. I’m not looking to copy, but I want to see the techniques. How did they convey exactly what they wanted to convey.

They say you are supposed to write what you know. And that is true. I believe everything we write is from some piece of our own souls/memories/experiences and can only improve by taking it from our first-hand accounts.

I’ve written some fantasy, and the thing with fantasy you are going to write about death and carnage and war. And I’m lucky not to have experienced those things. So what do you do? Listening to the Great War and hearing the horrors those men went through described sometimes in ways I would have never thought of myself. Again, not that I want to lift their words, but it helps to hear those stories.

Still learning… still trying to figure it out for myself. Every day something new, hopefully.

I guess I could claim that it is writing research and that wouldn’t be a complete lie, but it’s more that I’ve gotta jump in on these. My iPod yelling at me that I have plenty of other podcasts that I still need to listen to…

***

John McGuire

John McGuire is the author of the supernatural thriller The Dark That Follows, the steampunk comic The Gilded Age, and the novella There’s Something About Mac through the Amazon Kindle Worlds program.

His second novel, Hollow Empire, is now complete. The first episode is now FREE!

He also has a short story in the Beyond the Gate anthology, which is free on most platforms!

And has two shorts in the Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows anthology! Check it out!

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com.

Sequels That Never Were – The Crow

The Crow: The Devil’s Mask

Setting: Washington, D.C.

Time: The Near Future

 kuala-lumpur-398792_1280

Night. A crow soars through the city streets of Washington, D.C. In the distance there are fires burning, the results of the latest riots. While the crow continues its flight, the narrator, a woman’s voice, speaks.

“Sometimes, when a person has died a horrible death their soul is too sad to cross over to the other side.  Then sometimes a crow comes to guide the spirit back to right the wrongs that had been done to it.”

The crow lands on a rooftop and scans the surroundings until its gaze rests upon the White House.  The building is only half standing. Only a few of its flags remain waving in the night breeze, and those are dirty and tattered. The crow continues on to the White House.

Interior of the White House.  A large black man sits at the head of the long hall. Beneath him is his throne, a patchwork of various pieces raided from the old seat of the Republic. Beside him, one to either side, are two women in various states of undress. Throughout the hall are an assortment of thugs and hired guns ensuring that their “King” is in no danger. Above the leader rests lays a rifle with a scope. And around the leader’s neck is a Yin-Yang necklace.

dragon-34167_1280

The front door to the hall opens (slow motion style) and some measure of slower techno/metal song begins to play (only slow at first and then building throughout the scene. Through the entrance stalks our hero, The Crow, with his bird flying in just above him.

The music is in full swing as the Crow lays into the men.  Throughout the fight we cut back to the leader who merely looks at the rifle above him as if he is trying to decide something. Eventually he takes it down, raises it, puts his eye to the scope, and sets the cross-hairs targeting the crow (the bird).  The Crow (the guy) is about to pummel the last of the King’s men when the gun is fired (this coincides with the stoppage of music).

Bird and man fall as the bullet impacts.

The King brings his weapon down to his side and makes his way over to the would-be hero. “Very good.  One, two … nine of my men total you were able to get to.  I think that is well beyond the record.”

As the Crow begins to stand the King raises his weapon again and shoots the Crow’s kneecap.

Screams of pain fill the room.

Over The Crow’s shoulder, the two women walk up beside their leader.  The one on his right holds a revolver, and the one on his left holds a red mask in her hands.  The each hand their items to the Leader. He slowly places the red devil mask on.

death-161695_1280

The Crow whispers, “I’m sorry Laura.”

The King cocks his head to one side and raises the gun to the mask’s lips.

“No, no, no.  Tell Laura that you’ll be with her in a moment.  Tell her that I sent you home.”

At that moment a crow flies up from behind the King and lands upon his shoulder.

Wide-eyed, the Crow mutters out, “You’re…”

The King merely nods and levels the revolver at the Crow.

“Tell everyone ‘Hi’ for me.”

The chamber echoes with gun fire.

Fade to black – Narrator’s voice

“And sometimes the person doesn’t want to go back.”

the crow fire

***

Years ago, after being disappointed in the second Crow movie (after loving the original so much), Chad wrote up a pitch for a sequel to the Crow. And like many things when you get writers to start riffing on a subject, a story appeared to me. I jotted down the notes I had for it while at work, typed it up, and sent it out that next night.

But because I’m a pack rat and never throw anything out (idea or otherwise), this is one of those bits of story I keep trying to reuse in other forms… sometimes it seems like a decent fit, and sometimes it just doesn’t work and the story goes into the folder on the computer not to be looked at again…

But I was looking through that folder this evening and came across the document again, so I thought I’d share it. Not that this is all of it, just what would be in a movie right before the credits kicked in…

***

John McGuire

John McGuire is the author of the supernatural thriller The Dark That Follows, the steampunk comic The Gilded Age, and the novella There’s Something About Mac through the Amazon Kindle Worlds program.

His second novel, Hollow Empire, is now complete. The first episode is now FREE!

He also has a short story in the Beyond the Gate anthology, which is free on most platforms!

And has two shorts in the Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows anthology! Check it out!

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com.

Pearl Jam’s Hidden Gems

A few weeks ago I wrote about my love of Pearl Jam (OK, obsession maybe). But it occurs to me that while people are probably familiar with their various hits, those only scratch the surface of why they are my favorite band. So I present a few of the deeper cuts.

PearlJam-Binaural

Sleight of Hand – Binaural

“He found himself staring down at his own hands, not remembering the changes, not recalling the plan… was his.”

That’s how we go into the first chorus for this song. A man who finds himself at the crossroads of life. I’ve written about this idea before – that an 18 year old has picked out your life for you. Determined your path.

“Lost on a road he knew by heart.”

And here we have a man who has finally reached the point where he has to make a change – to something different. Hoping that it’s not too late to change.

“He waves goodbye to himself.”

It doesn’t take much, just a desire to make the change… and a willingness to do it.

A little push.

“Another man… moved by Slight of Hand.”

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Unemployable – Pearl Jam

“Thinking if he can’t sleep, how will he ever dream again.”

More than anything, it’s this one lyric that does it for me. Something so simple about stress, about not knowing how we’re supposed to get through the next day. How do we know we’ve done the right thing by our family? All of these things which keep us up at night – leads us to the real point:

When all we’re doing is just getting by – “How will he ever dream again.”

We all have dreams or at least had them at one point and put them aside for various reasons life throws at us. But they aren’t gone, just buried deep… waiting for us to dream them again.

Gone – Pearl Jam

I’m a sucker for Pearl Jam’s “Driving” songs. They started back on Vs. with Rearviewmirror – Eddie’s howl “Things were clearer… when you were in my Rearviewmirror.”

Yield brought MFC (Many Fast Cars) which I love for its tempo right out of the gate. We’re already on the road, going as fast as we can.

Gone, though, is different. It starts slow, deliberate… another person who is dissatisfied with their life. We see a mix of their regular self. Almost like a list of things someone wouldn’t care to miss. And then the decision is made.

“I will be what I could be once I get out of this town.”

But it’s a game… when will they end up with the choice? When will they make it.

“Long gone, I haven’t gone at all…

This time I’m gone.”

Is it a dare? And if so, for who? Us? Them?

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4/20/02 – Lost Dogs (Disc 2 – Hidden Track)

“So sing just like him…”

“Because he’s dead.”

Pearl Jam’s tribute to Layne Stanley isn’t lauded or celebrated, but is buried as an unlisted track on their 2nd Lost Dogs Disc. And that’s fine. It doesn’t need to be anything more than it is. All too often we look at musicians who cannot escape their personal demons and succumb – and then we’re all left to wonder (and lament) about the music they didn’t get to create. That the world is denied their gift.

And then we get to Pearl Jam. Somehow, someway they’ve made it through when their popularity could crush them. Past individual member’s struggles with drugs. Past the tragedy at Rosklide…

“No blame, no blame… it could be you.”

“Use it.”

That refrain we all make when faced with the loss of someone we cared about, admired, or loved. We have to carry on. We have to “use” the pain and push through the sludge.

Otherwise we might succumb too.

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Off He Goes – No Code

We actually included this song on the cds we burned for our wedding keepsakes. I knew a couple of things about that project (which Courtney put me in charge of) but the biggest was that it wasn’t just going to be a bunch of sappy love songs for the sake of having love songs. And that there needed to be 1 Pearl Jam song.

I thought about it for a good while. Trying to figure out if their was a song that just fit, and then I went back and listened to the lyrics for this song – a song about friends and how fleeting our time is with them as we grow older.

“We go way back.”

Those early days where all we had to focus on was school and maybe sports. Somewhere along the line life started to show up. And friends moved away or they got busy. And it can be sad…

“And now I rub my eyes, for he has returned.”

The moments that we now might get to spend with those old friends through phone calls or emails or even in person – we have to take a little time and really understand what we have with each other. Catch up with them, but more than anything take the time to be in that moment.

“And now he’s home and we’re laughing like we always did

My same old, same old friend…”

You won’t regret it.

***

John McGuire

John McGuire is the author of the supernatural thriller The Dark That Follows, the steampunk comic The Gilded Age, and the novella There’s Something About Mac through the Amazon Kindle Worlds program.

His second novel, Hollow Empire, is now complete. The first episode is now FREE!

He also has a short story in the Beyond the Gate anthology, which is free on most platforms!

And has two shorts in the Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows anthology! Check it out!

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com.

 

When Fandom Attacks

I want to start with the simplest of questions:

At what point is the “Thing” no longer your “Thing”?

the thing

Not this Thing… well actually, maybe this Thing

Fandom has reached the point where the next generation has caught up. They are already exerting pressure on the accepted way “things are”. When do we relax our grip on it and let someone else insert their own views/ideas/stories?

***

Did you know that eye-witness account only go so far with the police? The thought is if you asked six different people, who saw the same crime being committed, to describe it you’d come away with six slightly different versions of the same event. Sure, the big things would be the same, but the minor details – maybe something as simple as the color of a shirt would differ.

Why is that? They all saw the same thing. Why isn’t there a consensus on what happened?

***

We are all colored by every little thing we’ve experienced in our lives. Both obvious and not so obvious. Which means everything we consume gets put through a particular unique filter. Hence why we can all love a movie/show/book/album/piece of art, but not love the exact same particulars. It means we are shaped again and again so that those minor differences really become the most important things.

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***

However, there is always a place we agree – the crime was that he broke into the car. Whether that was with his arm, a tire iron, crowbar, rock, or whatever.

Yet, on a long enough timeline those things are bound to blur.

***

Comics, books, movies, tv shows…

Fandom.

This new generation has absorbed what they thought important and focused on that. This pisses other fans off. The more the version deviates from the “CORE” things/values/ideas… the more we rebel. The more we are likely to exclaim, “That’s not this thing that I love!”

The scary piece is we probably are both correct and both flat out wrong about the piece of fandom. As the time ticks by there may be less and less opportunity to say “This isn’t right” and move towards “This isn’t my preferred version”.

Take the Hobbit movies. I personally really like them. Could watch them over and over (and do every time I see the Smaug scene is about to start).

I hated the book (and wrote about that very thing here). One could make the argument that I am literally the last person who should provide an opinion on that piece of literature or anything which might be derived from its pages.

And yet…

***

Batman V Superman

Batman doesn’t use guns.

But he does in the Burton movie. His Batwing is firing them directly at the Joker.

Superman doesn’t kill.

But he has… maybe the better thing to say is that Superman tries extremely hard to not take a life.

Because it isn’t never.

Here’s the thing, there is a group of fans who are absorbing these new movies and deciding what the hero does or does not do. They’ve seen the love story in the Hobbit and embrace that as now a proper part of the legend. They realize that Superman will kill as a last resort. Batman could use a gun.

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These are the New Truths. Should we rage against them? Should we fight the good fight? Or should we possibly take a step back and reevaluate why we hold our particular truths so sacred.

Maybe we could just roll with these new punches?

***

On a long enough timeline, the details begin to blur. Will these stories end up a part of some elaborate telephone game where eventually the only thing which remains is Superman has an “S” on his chest? That Smaug is the dragon they are going to kill?

Maybe that’s why we’re gripping so hard right now?

***

John McGuire

John McGuire is the author of the supernatural thriller The Dark That Follows, the steampunk comic The Gilded Age, and the novella There’s Something About Mac through the Amazon Kindle Worlds program.

His second novel, Hollow Empire, is now complete. The first episode is now FREE!

He also has a short story in the Beyond the Gate anthology, which is free on most platforms!

And has two shorts in the Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows anthology! Check it out!

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com.

Behind the Comic- The Gilded Age 2

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Two years is a long time to wait between these posts. The last one was back in March, 2014 where I talked about the origin story of the Gilded Age comic book. So I had hoped to tell this story before now.

Sometimes these things take more time than you realize.

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Here it is, with the character who inspired the setting. Strange to think that without Silas Gideon, the Gilded Age wouldn’t exist, but moreso that this concept has become something bigger (in my mind at least) than that one character. In fact, the main character for the Gilded Age right now is really Hannah (from the 1st issue).

This story is really the tale of 3 characters – Silas Gideon, the war veteran who has seen better days, but still has a need to put food on the table, Keturah, the gypsy who has fallen for her costar, but only manages to learn bits and pieces about him, and Oscar Grant, a man who wants to be KNOWN.

We all suffer in obscurity at times. We wake up, do our jobs, go home, and then do it all over again. If we were to die, our friends and family would certainly suffer, but the world at large would continue spinning the same as it always had. However, when a celebrity dies, we all take some measure of notice. We stop and it is a shared grief stretching far from our circle. Strangers who have never met share the same emotions.

That’s what being KNOWN means. If you pass from this world you leave behind something to note you were there in the first place. Immortality.

And yet, most of us push ourselves to be better than we are. Sometimes that comes in the form of losing weight, or playing cards, or shooting baskets, but we practice these things because we need to have successes.

Now take that to the far edge of things. What if you were the absolute BEST at something? What if everyone who heard your name knew that one undeniable fact?

And what if you wanted the title?

***

The thing about this comic, though, is that I wasn’t sure if it would see the light of day. The thing they don’t always tell you about Indy Comics is that the money is not a river forever flowing thick and strong… no, it is more like a trickle here or there. Other expenses take precedence while paying projects you thought were going to sustain the growth suddenly dry up to near nothingness.

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Much like when in your own household, and you get laid off… the belt has to tighten. Projects that were green-lit suddenly must be put in a holding pattern in hopes that things will be a little better in the new year.

So it was with Gilded Age 2.

The sad thing was pencils had been completed, as had 18 of the 22 pages of inks. Which meant that we were down to the colors and letters, typically not the place you want to come to a complete stop.

But that’s what we had to do.

***

The other thing they don’t tell you about… well, about most things honestly… is that when you come to a complete stop and then the stream begins flowing again, you can’t jump back into action at full speed. There is a slow build up.

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In GA #2’s case it had been over a year of it sitting on a hard drive. Terminus wasn’t even sure what pages they had, what pages they still needed, etc. Add to that the idea of getting the same colorist and hoping he’d have a break in his schedule in order to keep some level of continuity between issue 1 and issue 2.

It meant multiple communications from all parties. Tracking down the right files, and when a couple of those went missing, getting updated versions from the artist. Anything to get the damn thing back up and running.

***

A comic doesn’t exist until it does exist.

What I mean by that is before you see a printed (or complete digital version) of a comic book it just isn’t anything more than an idea. And idea that a writer wrote down, an artist adapted into pictures, an inker refined, a colorist painted the world, and the letterer fit the words onto the page such that everything flows.

But until it is done, every piece is just a piece of something which might be great, might be awesome. The creators don’t really know.

And that’s the lesson of this comic… it’s not a done deal until it fully exists. Don’t assume anything, and don’t take that fact for granted. I know I still struggle with that at times. Just accept those pages the artist sends as really f-ing cool trailers for a movie you HOPE comes to town.

***

But also, when it does sit in your hands… celebrate!

***

John McGuire

John McGuire is the author of the supernatural thriller The Dark That Follows, the steampunk comic The Gilded Age, and the novella There’s Something About Mac through the Amazon Kindle Worlds program.

His second novel, Hollow Empire, is now complete. The first episode is now FREE!

He also has a short story in the Beyond the Gate anthology, which is free on most platforms!

And has two shorts in the Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows anthology! Check it out!

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com.

 

Book Review – The Dagger and the Coin Series

This is what happens when you are waiting for a new Game of Thrones novel. You expand the search a little bit.

Here’s the thing: I love the Fantasy genre. When I began reading, the second series I read was Piers Anthony’s Xanth series. Not long after that I dove into Dragonlance novels and Forgotten Realms novels… However, I stayed away from the giants of their craft – Brooks, Jordan, Eddings, etc. For some reason I didn’t want to make that leap into some world I had no connection to (unlike all the D&D related books where I at least had some passing interest in those worlds having played in my fair share of campaigns). Those others though, I just couldn’t pull the trigger.

Years passed and I read other things, lamenting that I’d love to read some good fantasy at some point. Then came the TV show for Game of Thrones… and it was over. My self-imposed drought finally ended. I devoured the five books over the course of maybe two months (it might not have even been that long).

library-fantasy

And then I got to experience (and still am) the waiting (I guess this is karma for “knowing what’s going to happen”).

So the call went out again… what could I possibly fill the years with?

Miraculously, it was answered when my buddy Egg couldn’t stop raving about this fantasy series he’d been reading.

“You don’t understand, one of the main characters is a Banker. And it completely works. Like I could see Banker now being a D&D class… that’s how much this works.”

Honestly, I’m not sure if he said anything else about the series other than talk about how this author made banking cool.

Not knowing where else to possibly turn, and maybe because Book 1 went on sale, I bought it and-

Wait… that’s not entirely true. I went to Daniel Abraham’s website and decided to read one of his shorts in order to get an idea of his style (see if I liked it or not). So I read “The Cambist and Lord Iron“.

I’m not kidding about this – go and read that story right away. It’s one of those stories that I’ve reread because I loved it so much. And it effectively has a banker in it as well. And the man knows how to write bankers.

THEN I downloaded The Dragon’s Path. And devoured it. And grabbed the next one and the next one… until I reached a point in January where I’d read all 4 of the released books… and had to wait a whole 2 months until the last book in the series came out.

 

inigo - i hate waiting2

He gets it.

 

But we’re past all of that (and I realize I’ve not told you anything about the series yet).

Thousands of years ago Dragons ruled everything. And they created the races of men of specific purposes. Some were bred larger, stronger, with tusks or claws, to be their foot soldiers. Others were graceful and slight, but with higher intelligence so that they might create works of greatness. Regardless of your station, if you were human, you were a slave.

And then an uprising happened – the dragons disappeared… died out… leaving their charges to fend for themselves. Great empires rose and fell, connected by the old Dragon Roads of Jade. Countries attack each other almost seasonally, trading in more pomp and circumstance than actual real battle.

And that’s where our story innocently picks up…

daggerandcoin

With a ward of the Bank sent out in disguise to smuggle all their Bank’s wealth away prior to the combat.

With a grizzled mercenary captain who happens to be in the wrong city at the wrong time.

A noble from a lower house who is teased and picked on by the rest of the men in his regiment.

Very humble beginnings, with no guess that this place and this time will set in motion events that have been dormant for thousands of years. That there is a change coming to the land, a new magic unknown to almost everyone, and an ancient sect waiting to be discovered.

I really don’t want to give anything more away than that as Abraham does an excellent job of making seemingly unconnected things come together. Bits and pieces of world building that appears to be just that and nothing more turn out to have a purpose I wasn’t expecting.

More than that, though, is how not only the POV characters are portrayed, but the “secondary” characters as well. By being able to view them through different eyes we get a glimpse of not only how the POV characters might see them, but also how the other secondary and tertiary characters view them. And just like the greater world building ties together, so too, does the interactions between everyone.

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I’m not sure how those other Fantasy books do it. How do they deliver the stakes? Do they tell you up front and explain that if X and Y aren’t accomplished, then the end of everything will happen? Because with The Dagger and the Coin series it isn’t known what we’re fighting for (big EPIC picture-wise) until the 3rd book. And I think that is a benefit of the series. Again, looking back I see how the pieces fit together, but Abraham allowed me to get immersed in the world, in his characters, the LITTLE moments, before he revealed the true STAKES for the characters.

Well worth checking out and for you, there will be no more waiting as the series is done. Though, a little irony that I’m saddened by that aspect. What can I say, I grew to love the characters and want to know what they’ll do next.

 

***

John McGuire

John McGuire is the author of the supernatural thriller The Dark That Follows, the steampunk comic The Gilded Age, and the novella There’s Something About Mac through the Amazon Kindle Worlds program.

His second novel, Hollow Empire, is now complete. The first episode is now FREE!

He also has a short story in the Beyond the Gate anthology, which is free on most platforms!

And has two shorts in the Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows anthology! Check it out!

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com.

The Agonizing Art of Writing Book Blurbs – Challenge Accepted

In the late moments of the day, when the wife and the cats have settled into sleep, I sometimes find myself struggling to come up with the next week’s blog (in between editing one novel and trying to finish up a novella at the moment).

Leave it to Mr. Neill to help a Guildmate out. He wrote a bunch of 1-sentence blurbs for each of his books, and then challenged anyone who happened to read his post to do the same for their own works. As this is a skill I certainly could use work on…

Well, Challenge Accepted…

The Dark That Follows by John R McGuire

 The Dark That Follows – A fortune teller comes to realize that his latest customer no longer has any future left.

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Hollow Empire – Twenty years after the Great Lichy Plague wiped out fifty percent of the population, the next generation struggles to find their way in this dark and desolate land.

BeyondtheGate

Beyond the Gate – A country surrounded by an oppressive Fog, where nightmares and monsters live, these are the stories of the Ruddermouths, the Sky Captains, and of the children of the festivals.

Machina Obscurum

Machina Obscurum – Dark tales of death, betrayal, and the end of all things.

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There’s Something About Mac – When Cindy “Mac” Mackenzie’s younger biological sister goes missing, it is up to Mac to track down the missing teen.

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Piece by Piece – Jason Mill’s fortune reading becomes an exercise in the Butterfly Effect as he examines a myriad of possible futures for his latest client.

The Guilded Age

Gilded Age #1 – Hannah Lancaster leaps at the opportunity to help the Branning Troupe’s Stage Magician, only to discover that his latest trick might be played on her.

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Gilded Age #2 – When you are known as the Fastest Gun, there will always be those who want to challenge for the crown.

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Tiger Style #1 – A kid with a Robin Hood complex discovers that he’s targeted the wrong “Rich” men, and these are willing to do anything in their power to reclaim a mystical artifact.

Terminus Team-up #2 – Amber Fox’s journey to the Gilded Age takes a detour through time as her companion seeks to understand how era’s end.

That definitely used a few different writing muscles. If you like any of these, click the pic and head to Amazon to pick up your copy today!

***

John McGuire

John McGuire is the author of the supernatural thriller The Dark That Follows, the steampunk comic The Gilded Age, and the novella There’s Something About Mac through the Amazon Kindle Worlds program.

His second novel, Hollow Empire, is now complete. The first episode is now FREE!

He also has a short story in the Beyond the Gate anthology, which is free on most platforms!

And has two shorts in the Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows anthology! Check it out!

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com.

You Have Permission To Fail

Something I’m always amazed by is both how little and how much people pay attention to the worlds that their stories take place in. That both makes sense and totally makes no sense.

What do I mean by that?

You can tell when an author is more in love with her world than with the actual characters propagating it. When they’ve clearly spent hours and hours on the connections of the history of the world rather than getting to the story they want to tell.

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In fact, it is the type of thing that can completely paralyze a potential author. Especially if you are a plotter and outline things. In order to have that road map, you might convince yourself the only way to truly understand where things could possibly go is by chasing that rabbit hole all the way back in the timeline. Instead of knowing only your lead characters, you need to know who their parents are and by extension who their grandparents were.

And it doesn’t only happen in the fantasy or science fiction stories, but can be just as much of a problem in stories set during modern times.

The thing is, you need to know a little of this stuff entering into a story, but when you try to do all the extra, one of two things are happening:

You’re procrastinating on doing the actual writing. It’s not that you need to figure out the line of succession for the President of Earth in your world (heck, you might need that information), but by focusing on that type of… stuff, you ensure no progress will be made on the story. Instead of letting people know how far along in the process, you tell them, “I’m still doing research.”

procrastination

Or, perhaps, it is that you actually do need to have the information, but you don’t know how you are going to apply it to the story you want to tell.

The secret is, the best way to build might not be from having the constellations figured out or trying to figure out what the President had for breakfast two weeks ago.

I like to think of myself as an outliner. I love the idea of calling myself an outliner at least. But what it really means is that I have a very general idea of what the book/comic/story is all about and start jotting something down in order to begin to massage it into something worth bothering with. And slowly, over the course of months sometimes, the thing begins to become… something.

The question I always have to remind myself of is whether or not I’m delaying because of true and honest reasons or because I’d rather be screwing around than doing the hard part (you know, typing the pretty words into the computer). Am I such a slave to having everything in its correct sequence and if that doesn’t happen there is just no point?

No, what you need to do is bring a little Pantsing into your life. You’re too rigid, not willing to see where it all goes. So, start small. Figure out one little thing about the town where your main character is from. Or a couple of the people she is going to interact with.

And then go and write about it.

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Remember, it’s fine. And even though you are putting words up on the screen (or in your notebook) that may not always make sense, it’s my opinion that you are allowing your brain to almost subconsciously tell you what you really want to write about.

Every writer has had that moment where certain pieces of a story somehow start to tie together in a way that you never had planned out from the beginning. A thread appears, then another, and then another until you see how it could all fit together. So you go back and add a paragraph four chapters earlier to help grow the thread… until it gets to the point where a potential reader would never even know the difference of what started in the manuscript and what was added latter.

That’s a little of the “magic” of writing.

But behind that is the need to allow yourself to possibly write absolute dreck. Because sometimes who the town’s mayor is actually very important. And sometimes what he had for breakfast could make or break your story.

However, even with all those things being true… these words on the screen can be changed and tweaked and deleted and added and refined until you are happy with them. Write a hundred words you hate. Hit the backspace key and watch your problems disappear.

***

John McGuire

John McGuire is the author of the supernatural thriller The Dark That Follows, the steampunk comic The Gilded Age, and the novella There’s Something About Mac through the Amazon Kindle Worlds program.

His second novel, Hollow Empire, is now complete. The first episode is now FREE!

He also has a short story in the Beyond the Gate anthology, which is free on most platforms!

And has two shorts in the Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows anthology! Check it out!

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com.

My Musical Love Affair: Pearl Jam

Prior to 1992, my musical tastes could have gone a few different ways. The small collection of cds that I happen to be cultivating was an eclectic mix of many different genres. Among the first 3 cds I ever had were Aerosmith’s Permanent Vacation, Bell Biv Devoe’s Poison, and Wilson Phillips’ Wilson Phillips. Add to that the handful of tapes I’d bought (Michael Jackson’s Thriller, Def Leppard’s Hysteria, and a pair of “tape singles” featuring Poison’s “Unskinny Bop” and Faith No More’s “Epic”) and it didn’t necessarily tell a complete tale of “this guy is going to be into this type of music”.

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Growing up, my sister and I were somehow convinced, even with MTV, that the radio only had one station. And it only played the Oldies.

Seriously. If every time you got into the car with your parents the station NEVER CHANGED, you might think there was nothing else.

It got so bad that during the summer the Beach Boys put out “Kokomo”, my sister would call the station to try and get them to put on Madonna and when that failed, she’d opt for “Kokomo” (which they would play because it was the Beach Boys).

Fall of 1992 that changed. Chad Shonk for some reason or another brought over a cd to play while we got ready for another night of D&D. And from what little I heard, I didn’t think much of whatever it was. The next morning (or more like around Noon), when everyone staggered out to their cars in order to go home, Chad forgot to grab the cd.

It sat in my player for about a week, never spinning… until Chad requested his property back. So I thought, “I should probably listen to this band for free since he seems to like them.” So I sat on the edge of my bed, powered up my stereo, and clicked play…

I don’t want to do the cliche’ thing of saying that listen changed my life. It’s not like I suddenly went out and bought a guitar and started a band and made it big because of that night. That said, it might be the first album I’d ever heard that I immediately liked on the first listen.

That weekend I returned it to Chad and promptly bought myself a copy of Pearl Jam’s Ten.

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In that following year it was a mad scramble to find whatever we could that Pearl Jam had done. Back in the days prior to the internet telling us the complete discography of every band, we had to go to the “cool” record shops and dig through the bootlegs they might have. I paid $20 for a taped concert just to get 1 song I’d never heard before (turns out it was a Who song). But every couple of weekends the search would begin anew.

A year later, I purchased Vs. on the day it came out (the first time I’d ever done that). I did it again with Vitalogy. I went to the midnight release of No Code and Yield. Each time I have a slight fear before I press play on the new album. I worry that this will be the point they lose me. I worry that they will become another band that I “liked”. I worry I’ll become one of those fans who, disappointed with the “new stuff” goes on and on about how they used to be good… or whatever happened to those guys or even worse “I wish they’d stopped X albums ago”.

Yet, it hasn’t happened yet. Sure I like some songs more than others, but overall they have yet to disappoint.

In those early days, if I had to chose my side in the Pearl Jam vs. Nirvana grunge war, there was no question where my allegiance was going. I bought Rolling Stones with them on the cover, scanned MTV for any word or bit of news about the band. When Cobain committed suicide my first thought was whether Eddie Vedder would be next (and selfishly thinking about all the songs I would never get to hear if that happened).

While in college I discovered that I could download some of their concerts… so I did. So many concerts (dozens)

I’ve written about my first real concert with them (at the Fox Theater in Atlanta) here. Not only is it my favorite concert of all time, it still is the concert I judge all others by.

I’m lucky too that my wife loves them too. That she’s seen them with me every time I’ve seen them. When they were boycotting Ticketmaster, Courtney and I drove up to Charlotte, NC to see them and then drove home after the concert. 10 years later we did something similar in Columbia, SC, with me somehow finding my way home through blurry eyes. She was the one who scolded me when my Fan Club membership accidentally lapsed and we had to get tickets for the 2000 show like “normal” people.

Look, I make no claim to be Pearl Jam’s biggest fan or anything like that. From reading blogs breaking down every song in their catalog, to reading about the concert exchanges online from various traders… I haven’t reached that level of obsession. I’ve never followed them around on tour (nor have I ever seen more than 1 show on any of their tours).

I do have a spreadsheet showing every concert I’ve been to and the set lists laid out so that I know which songs I have heard in concert and which songs I still need to hear (“Oceans” and “Breath” are two I have never seen from the Ten era that I’d love to be played). Also on this spreadsheet is every song they’ve ever put out in an effort to make sure I have all their songs.

I take offense when I read on a forum about how the show I happened to go to wasn’t as good as the one in X place. That the set list wasn’t as “cool”, or that it was too “paint by numbers”, or even that the crowd “wasn’t as into it”.

So there is a bit of an obsession.

And I believe in fandom. Heck, I read comic books and watch TV shows and go to conventions that are only based on fandom. I believe that while we can LIKE a great many bands, we can only LOVE a select few. Pearl Jam is at the top of that mountain for me.

I love the fact that songs which meant one thing to me in my teens might mean something different to me now.

stewie - like that band too much

In a couple of days I will be seeing them again, for the 9th time (I can’t count Lollapalooza 1992, we only saw 2 songs and it was about a month before Chad brought Ten over), having again drive to Columbia, SC from the suburbs of Atlanta (I still don’t quite understand why Atlanta gets skipped on these southern tours every other time). I don’t have any expectations as this will be the first show I’ve seen not on the heels of an album release. In theory, that could allow them to play almost any song in their arsenal. You see, Pearl Jam is not a band with a locked in set list. It varies night to night, and while there are staples that will be played, it also means some of the more obscure stuff might sneak in there. Maybe a song you haven’t thought about in years. So, yeah, I’m excited. I want the crowd to be into it. I want the band to be into it.

I want the evening to last forever.

***

John McGuire

John McGuire is the author of the supernatural thriller The Dark That Follows, the steampunk comic The Gilded Age, and the novella There’s Something About Mac through the Amazon Kindle Worlds program.

His second novel, Hollow Empire, is now complete. The first episode is now FREE!

He also has a short story in the Beyond the Gate anthology, which is free on most platforms!

And has two shorts in the Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows anthology! Check it out!

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com.

 

What if We’re Wrong – Batman V Superman

What if all this has just been shouting in the wind? What if all our complaints about Man of Steel are flat out meaningless? What if we’re the ones in the wrong.

Every so often, DC comics likes to shake things up with their universe. This started with Crisis on Infinite Earths where they rebooted the universe and started over with nearly every character such that their adventures in the past 30, 40, or 50 years just didn’t matter to the current crop of stories being told.

One of the characters that needed to have this done was Superman. You see, he’d gotten too powerful over the years to the point that they were inventing new Kryptonite colors in an effort to keep telling new stories. I mean, what do you do to a character that can move planets? But with the reboot, they had an opportunity to scale back on those powers and make him someone who might be able to get hurt once in a while.

superman-moves worlds

FYI – Batman really didn’t get this treatment. Yeah, some stories were kind of glossed over (the more science fiction ones of the 50s) and whether Joe Chill was the one who killed his parents. Overall, they didn’t mess with him too much. He was getting darker due to the stories being told about him.

Years later they would reboot again with the New 52. And again it’s Superman who gets a complete reboot. De-aged, no longer married, lower power level… while Batman… well, his history is pretty much intact.

***

Batman Begins is really the natural evolution of where we had been with the Batman character and where he is in the process of going. And while the Nolan movies are uber-realistic (and dark), they were merely following in the footsteps of Batman 66 to Batman 89.

You see, Batman doesn’t require reboots in the comics because he is adaptable.

Superman requires reboots because he is not.

Superman is the boy scout. Big blue. He’s going to save us. But change who he is? Have him question something and everyone loses their minds. You see there are rules to Superman. Fundamental things that you cannot change. He is supposed to bring hope to those he saves. To those who watch or read his exploits.

Hope.

Only, what if he doesn’t have to be in this particular box we’ve set up for him? What if he could be angry at the world for not taking care of itself? What if he was tired of the constant struggle? What if you could present Superman in a way that had never been seen before? Would it be alright to do that?

superman kills

Is that even Superman at that point?

Man of Steel – That’s the attempt. There’s no humor in that movie. There’s no joy. It is dark and depressing until he finally ends things the only way he knows he can – by killing the bad guy.

Then comes the complaints, many by people who have actually written Superman stories.

Superman wouldn’t do that.

Superman would have found a way around it.

Superman doesn’t kill.

Yet, here was Superman who did just that. And this Superman, this version, has been seen by more people than probably have ever read an issue of the comic.

Superman used to not be able to fly… he leaps over buildings in a single bound… he jumped, no flying involved.

Kryptonite was introduced on the radio show… but no one would try to argue that wasn’t a great thing to introduce.

Things can change, right?

Why can’t he kill? I’m not talking like the Punisher, but when there is no other way out. When the threat is too great. When it will save hundreds of thousands of lives. When is it OK? Can it ever be OK for Superman to take a life?

Maybe we’re wrong. We’ve railed against Man of Steel and the darkness for 4 years now. All of us convinced that this version of Superman is not the right one to portray.

Superman V Batman made $166 million in its opening weekend. Maybe this is the version we get now. Maybe this character resonates with the non-comic book guys and gals more than big blue. Maybe it’s OK that this is happening. It may not be your Superman, but which version of the character was yours to begin with?

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The goofy Silver Age version?

The original version from the 30s?

The Smallville TV show version?

The Christopher Reeves version?

The one that wears his red trunks?

The one that can move the sun?

The one that kills, but only when there is no other option?

Maybe we’re the ones who are wrong. Just dinosaurs, seeing the comet about to crash into the Earth, and paying it no mind?

***

John McGuire

John McGuire is the author of the supernatural thriller The Dark That Follows, the steampunk comic The Gilded Age, and the novella There’s Something About Mac through the Amazon Kindle Worlds program.

His second novel, Hollow Empire, is now complete. The first episode is now FREE!

He also has a short story in the Beyond the Gate anthology, which is free on most platforms!

And has two shorts in the Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows anthology! Check it out!

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com.

 

Marking Time with Movies

Like everything else in my life, I have milestones, road signs, stops, ups and downs, and everything else in between. These moments become fixed in my mind whether I want them to or not.

But there is another thing that can happen. Through the movies we watch. The best movies have a story. And I don’t mean the plot of the movie. I mean they tell a story from your own life, offering a snapshot of what things might have been occurring around the time you watched the film.

Sometimes I think that aspect can get lost in the newest spectacle which comes down the pipe from Hollywood. We rush to see these things on opening weekend that we’ll forget details of in the weeks and months that follow.

But when you can connect them to something else. Some event… they will always be there to illuminate that memory.

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Star Wars – At the Drive Through – When I was about 3 or 4 years old.

I like to think of this as my first memory. It could be that I don’t know the exact dates involved here. I have others from around this time, so it is entirely possible that it chronologically falls later than I think. What I do know is that this is the very first “movie experience” I have. It’s no surprise then that like every other kid I fell in love with the movies.

The thing is, I don’t have specifics. Oh I remember little things, but over the course of 30+ years and multiple viewings of the movie I’m no longer sure what is my memory of this event and what might just be a memory of the movie itself.

Still, that opening scene… I can hear that through the speaker perched on the driver side window.

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Transformers the Movie – At home

Consider something you are ultimately passionate about. Some toy or comic book or tv show or novel or whatever. Now find out that they are making a movie about that very thing… you’d be excited. You’re friends would be excited. I mean, you talk about the show ALL THE TIME.

ALL THE TIME.

And then the day begins to approach. Yet, for some reason your mom is unable to take you to the movies opening weekend. You, being the kid, actually take it fairly well (I have no memory of complaining… I’m sure I did). Promises of seeing it the following weekend accepted, you go to school on Monday to hear your best friends talking about these characters you’ve never seen. Plus, this being a time before you even understand there is such a thing as spoilers… well, they tell you the biggest news: Optimus Prime is dead, killed by Megatron.

You have your Princess Bride moment, “You mean Megatron wins?”

On and on it goes, bits and pieces of the movie suddenly etched in your mind without having viewed the damn thing.

But it didn’t matter. You were going to see it in 5 days… 4… 3… 2… 1… and on Friday you hurried home to look at the movie times on Saturday…

And couldn’t find the movie listed. See, you live in small town USA where movies come and go in a week’s time.

Disappointment. That’s what it felt like. And you watched the new episodes where they referenced some of the stuff in the movies and you figured it out, but still… you missed out…

Until finally it came on tv, broken into 5 parts (to be shown in place of the regular episodes). And you finally connected all the dots.

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Clerks/Mallrats – Dorm Room

While it was Chad Shonk who first showed me his copy of Clerks, it wasn’t until my college roommate and I made a bootleg copy of Clerks and Mallrats onto one VHS tape that it became an anthem of sorts for those long days in the middle of the year. Those days where we weren’t going anywhere. We didn’t have any homework to do (or we just weren’t going to do it right then). So we’d pop it in and listen more than watch as we sat at our desks surfing the internet, playing video games, or just talking.

All those quotable scenes flying in the background helped the two of us bond in a way that we might not have if we hadn’t found the appropriate common language.

Ghostbusters

Ghostbusters II and Who Framed Roger Rabbit – Home… and the beach

For two summers I saw these two movies every day at least once each. My sister and I watched our younger brother (2 or 3 at the time) during the summer months while my mom slept (she worked nights). Now when you are babysitting a small child with your mom trying to squeeze in 6 hours of sleep it is a lot like Fight Club.

Rule 1 – Don’t let Mark wake up Mom.

Rule 2 – Don’t let Mark wake up MOM!

Most days we could find plenty of things to keep him occupied, whether it was hanging out with me in the basement playing video games (he just held the other controller while I played)… but the all-time fix to a fussy toddler was those two movies (again bootlegged on the same tape). One played right into the other. And while he’d normally fall asleep on the couch at some point during the 3 plus hours of cinematic offerings, neither my sister or I dared to change the tape… Mark had a 6th sense about such things.

roger rabbit

However, in the last year there is a slight caveat to Who Framed Roger Rabbit for me. While at the beach with my nephew, he asked to watch a movie with me (he was 7) and we chose Roger Rabbit. Even though he had seen the movie before, it was like he was watching for the first time.

And when the Judge is revealed as a Toon… his mouth literally fell open. Just perfect.

That image will stick with me now… and so the movies change my perception one more time.

***

John McGuire

John McGuire is the author of the supernatural thriller The Dark That Follows, the steampunk comic The Gilded Age, and the novella There’s Something About Mac through the Amazon Kindle Worlds program.

His second novel, Hollow Empire, is now complete. The first episode is now FREE!

He also has a short story in the Beyond the Gate anthology, which is free on most platforms!

And has two shorts in the Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows anthology! Check it out!

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com.

Fools Get Their Own Day?

April Fools’ Day

Ugh.

To quote Gollum – “We hates it!”

gollum

This guy gets it.

 

Here’s the deal. Yes, you’re going to get me. Whatever plans you’ve drawn up and schemed for the past 12 months. It’s going to work. Whatever test you think that you have gotten me on… I am Charlie Brown trying to kick the ball and you are forever pulling it out of my reach.

Congratulations! You win!

Your prize? Oh, someone else’s humiliation. My embarrassment.

So “Yea!” for this “holiday”. Yea, for people dog-piling on to make everyone else feel less clever.

How is this foolishness encouraged? Why?

scott pilgrim

A few years ago, my Mother-in-law called saying that she was on her way to Florida to visit with some friends because her husband had left her (my wife’s Step Father). And it wasn’t an immediate thing where she said, “Awww, just kidding!” No, she milked it. And my wife tried to work through it a little bit. Trying to figure out the details while in complete shock about the whole thing.

Then the punch in the gut happened.

“April Fools!”

To which I said (after I recovered from the “what just happened moments”), “Well, that was awful brave of you. What if we had went off on him and said he was a horrible person and we never liked him? That could have really backfired.”

Of course, that doesn’t mean that anyone will have learned their lessons. I just know it. And that’s just one example of many (that I’m not going to get into right now).

Did you know that the night before I repeat a mantra reminding me what April 1 will bring? I set constant reminders. I end up not visiting any blogs or news sites for the day lest I fall for the latest attempt to make me read an entire article.

Again, congratulations! You made me waste time from my day.

Aren’t you clever?

april-fool

It’s like being told that there are tacks on the floor and we’ve misplaced your shoes… and it’s really dark. So I tip-toe through this hellish day just hoping beyond hope that people don’t look directly at me. That they forget about me and run their prank train on someone else. Just leave me be for 24 hours.

I prefer it when the day lands on a Saturday or Sunday, then I can retreat to my house and not leave for the entirety of the day. I force the pizza delivery guy to hand me the things I’ve ordered and then leave as quickly as possible.

It’s like no one has ever read Peter and the Wolf or something.

<Speaking of old tales… I read that it may/probably/could have originated with Chaucer. So in 1392 he mentioned something that I would rue to this day.>

<700+ years is a long con if ever there was.>

<Well played, Mr. Chaucer.>

And no, this isn’t going to be one of those posts that is so meta that I’ve somehow made it a trick that I hate the day, but at the end I’ll reveal I’m the biggest prankster EVA! And then you’ll feel foolish.

No. That is not going to happen. Instead I invite you to share in my hate. Embrace it with me.

And if you need to get a hold of me, best do it by 12:00 on March 31, because I’ll be in 24 hour lock down for the next day. And no matter what you tell me I won’t believe you. The truth won’t save you on that day.

But let’s be honest, I’ll forget the date and you’ll get me again and dance in the streets…

And I will fume for another year.

 

***

John McGuire

John McGuire is the author of the supernatural thriller The Dark That Follows, the steampunk comic The Gilded Age, and the novella There’s Something About Mac through the Amazon Kindle Worlds program.

His second novel, Hollow Empire, is now complete. The first episode is now FREE!

He also has a short story in the Beyond the Gate anthology, which is free on most platforms!

And has two shorts in the Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows anthology! Check it out!

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com.

This Weekend – SC Comicon in Greenville, SC – Meet Robert Jeffrey II & John McGuire

This coming weekend, both Robert Jeffrey II and John McGuire will be at the Terminus Media table at the South Carolina Comic Con, at the TD Convention Center, in Greenville, S.C. on April 2-3!

We will manning Table 129 in Artists Alley, so come and stop by, have a chat, maybe pick up a comic or 2.

Stop by to pick up new issues of The Gilded Age #2, Route 3 #3, Terminus Team Up #1 & #2, and a certain Glyph Comics Award nominated series recently released as a graphic novel!!

Head to http://sccomicon.com/ for more information!

 

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Taking a stab at the DC Movies

There was a time… not all that too long ago where if you were to ask which of the Big 2 comic companies made the best movies, the answer would have been DC comics and it wouldn’t have even been close.

We no longer live in that time, but now we are on the verge of a true beginning of sorts from DC. Their cinematic universe truly begins this week. So now seems as good a time to rank the old movies. Note, I have only included those movies I’ve actually seen (so no Jonah Hex, Steel, or Catwoman… though, if I had to hazard a guess on where those might end up…)

2010-Biodiversity_countdown (1)

15. Batman and Robin – No doubt, just awful. I didn’t see this in the theater, and word of mouth spread pretty quickly on this one. And so I avoided the suck for so long… until one night I’m in my apartment with nothing to do and guess what’s coming on? I knew and I still watched it, trying to convince myself that there was NO WAY it was as bad as everyone made out. That worst case I could find some redeeming quality to it. Somewhere.

No. There is none. NONE.

14. Supergirl – I have seen it, but damn if I remember very much about it. I remember it being cheesy and… that’s pretty much it. Given that we never got another Supergirl movie I might not have been the only one.

13. Superman Returns – So Superman goes out into space for 5 years and only now comes back so that he can effectively redo his very first movie except that he has fathered an illegitimate child with Lois Lane? And Lex is doing a land grab? Again?

12. Superman IV – The Quest for Peace. Is that Ducky from Pretty in Pink? Oh, Lex, Lex, Lex… what happened? Oh Clark, what happened?  Has the Nuclear Man ever appeared in the comics? Yeah, I think that says it all.

11. Superman III – Why didn’t they use Red Kryptonite? Just why? I enjoyed seeing a mean Superman, but when you get right down to it, he’s really just having a Nic-fit, right?

But hey, Richard Pryor is in it. And I love Richard Pryor.

10. Batman Forever – It doesn’t hold up, I know that much. The Riddler, while way over the top (tell us something we don’t already know) is actually fine, but Two-Face… dear lord. Ugh. I don’t know who Tommy Lee Jones is playing, but that is not Two-Face.

unite the 7

9. Green Lantern – I love Ryan Renolds. I love Green Lantern (not like I love the Flash, but I have been collecting a Green Lantern comic since the early 90s). So this should have been a slam dunk, no doubter. And I enjoyed the movie, but I also know that it isn’t the greatest movie either. But I don’t know what exactly to fix… it seems like there is a lot. I just can’t see it.

8. Man of Steel – A lot of my thinking on this movie will/may be changed this weekend. There are tons of things I have problems with in this movie. Pa Kent’s death, the 45 minutes of disaster porn at the end, the fact that there is very little joy in the movie. Probably the only thing I don’t have a problem with is the ending. No, Superman doesn’t kill, but I’m not entirely convinced he’s Superman just yet. I think he’s still Clark Kent playing dress up trying to figure out how he fits into this world.

7. Batman Returns – Let’s forget about the Penguin storyline. No, really. If it was just Catwoman and Batman we’d put it on repeat and never leave the house. That’s how good their scenes are (and how good Michelle Pfeiffer was). Sadly it does have the Penguin and so it doesn’t end up higher on the list.

6. Superman – The glasses. It may be the dumbest thing in comics. I can’t explain it to my non-comic book friends and family. I just shrug and shake my head. Yet, Reeves made me believe that a man could wear glasses and no one would know. There is a scene (I think it is in this movie… it may be Superman II) where he’s about to tell Lois that he’s Superman. He takes off the glasses, stands up straighter, and projects his voice… and then thinks better of himself. By the time Lois has turned around he’s back to the nerdy Clark Kent and Superman is long gone. It’s a powerful moment that Reeves pulls off that not many could have. And if that was all this movie did, it would be enough to be this high, but this movie also gives us “Otisburg”… and I will forever love it for that.

otisburg

It’s an itty bitty place.

 

5. The Dark Knight Rises – Yes, I know. Your Batman would never retire. Your Batman wouldn’t mope and cry over the loss of a woman. I get it, and I got over it. Not a perfect movie, but it wrapped up the Nolan movies in a pretty satisfying way. Bane, Catwoman, Talia al Ghul (another one I didn’t think would show up on the big screen). Flaws and warts and Joseph Gordon Levitt.

4. Batman Begins – Tell me a Batman story I’ve never seen on screen before. Show me a version of his origin story that doesn’t begin and end in Crime Alley with pearls scattering onto the ground. This is my first “grown-up” superhero movie. It is grim and gritty, but more than that it is the journey from the Batman we know and love and that little kid in the alleyway (at least until Gotham, I guess). And it introduced everyone to Ra’s al Ghul. What more needs to be said?

3. Batman – I didn’t collect Batman comics in the 80s, so my 2 biggest exposures to Batman was the old live-action tv show and Super Friends (and I guess his occassional appearance on Scooby doo). I didn’t know anything about Frank Miller and his ground-breaking update of the Bat. So when I say that Tim Burton blew me away, I’m trying not to undersell it.

Oh, and Michael Keaton is still my Batman.

2. Superman II – For over twenty years this was my favorite superhero movie. It’s cheesy, I know. And I don’t care (though I’m still not sure why they thought Superman needed new and weirder powers). This movie gave us our first super powered fight. But what seals it for me is how he wins. After all the chaos and destruction, it isn’t through brute force that Superman saves the day… no, he does it by outwitting his enemies (even the great Lex Luthor). This was no naive kid from Kansas, but a hero worthy of watching.

 

i believe in harvey dent

1. The Dark Knight – And it wasn’t even close. Not only a great Batman movie, but a great movie. Period. Nolan had updated the Batman myth in Begins, but here he provides us with not only the most worthy of adversaries, but a character who I wasn’t sure would ever get a fair shake outside of the animated series in Harvey Dent. They gave us the true fall into insanity the character deserved.

 

***

John McGuire

John McGuire is the author of the supernatural thriller The Dark That Follows, the steampunk comic The Gilded Age, and the novella There’s Something About Mac through the Amazon Kindle Worlds program.

His second novel, Hollow Empire, is now complete. The first episode is now FREE!

He also has a short story in the Beyond the Gate anthology, which is free on most platforms!

And has two shorts in the Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows anthology! Check it out!

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com.