A (Potentially Dangerous) Case of the Munchies
- 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.
BACK TO CRIMSONSTREAK CENTRAL!