Monday, March 5, 2012

I, Crimsonstreak Commentary: Chapter 4

Chapter 4

A (Potentially Dangerous) Case of the Munchies

Author’s Notes

  • Crimsonstreak’s references are starting to pick up now that he’s out of the drudgery of the Clermont Institution for the Criminally Insane. He loves his pop culture, but gives us a little history riff on “Give ‘em Hell Harry” to start the chapter.

  • The relationship presented here about food and our hero’s abilities is only implied. We have a few scenes where he’s eating something very quickly or having a snack. It doesn’t reach Brad Pitt in Ocean’s 11 levels, but it’s something to watch.

  • The crack about “roughing it” is a reference to a very old family joke. One time, my brother came home to visit from college with a couple of his friends. I was probably 16 or 17 at the time. His buddies were going on a camping trip, but talked about how they were staying in air-conditioned RV’s with satellite TV and all the amenities. I told them they were a couple of real “throwbacks,” and the story remains part of family lore.

  • The Human Compass is mentioned exactly once in the book. As our hero says, there isn’t much use for the guy. I’m sure he tries hard, though.

  • Ah, the infamous talking cheetah. I have to laugh at this part of the book because this is completely ridiculous. I fully admit this. My wife kept telling me this was the part of the book where she stopped reading because the character was just too absurd. When I submitted the book to Candlemark & Gleam, the cheetah character also gave the editor pause in its original incarnation, which was sort of a “magical native” trope. Looking back, it was a terrible idea, but my editor had a suggestion: make the character a stoner. Thus, Stoner Cheetah was born. I think he’s a lot more fun to write in this persona. A little stereotypical, perhaps, but I like the guy.

  • Don MacClean’s “sweet perfume.” In “American Pie,” it could refer to tear gas, the music of the Beatles, or reefer. I’m going with reefer.

  • Stoner Cheetah throws in quite a few references of his own: Bono, the Technicolor Dreamcoat, the Ten Commandments. I think he channels a little old-school Keanu Reeves at points.

  • Chris’ escape is fairly straightforward. Under the guidance of his transforming man-cheetah, he takes a dive into the waters below. He’s injured, though, and it’s slowing him down. Frustrated, he takes a break and gets some cheap calories from Stoner Cheetah’s Cheeto stock.

  • The Clermont Enforcers aren’t very bright, but they don’t really have to be. Even when inmates escape, a force-field keeps them from going very far. Chris encounters three escaped villains who simply died, and nobody bothered to check into it. This scene was inspired by a brief bit from an episode of G.I. Joe called “Worlds Without End” where three Joes encounter their own corpses. Wait…what? Yeah, that actually happened in a kid’s show.

  • Crimsonstreak’s tangent-prone mind has a field day with the force-field. First, he’s doing a Wile E. Coyote. Then, he’s in a York Peppermint Patty commercial. Before we can take a breath, he’s quoting the theme to the superhero TV show The Greatest American Hero. An aside: I always thought this was a Lionel Richie song, but it’s Joey Scarbury. Believe it or not, the official title of the song is “The Greatest American Hero (Believe it or Not).”

  • Oh, sweet irony. I set out to write a book about a hero who isn’t based in New York…and he ends up in New York. A “few” superheroes have made the Big Apple their home, including Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, the Punisher, Iron Man, Luke Cage, Daredevil, the Avengers, and…oh holy hell, the entire effin’ Marvel Universe. Batman (Gotham City) and Superman (Metropolis) both patrol NYC analogues.