Three guesses who this is, once again the latest character piece from the amazing Jamal Campbell. Just as a side-note, you have to love Jamal’s name; could it possibly be more American (Canadian)? Jamal means “handsome” in the original Arabic, and there is no more Scottish name than Campbell–look up the famous history of Clan Campbell sometime. Jamal, did you know you are entitled to wear the Campbell tartan?
So, on to the purpose of today’s post: News.
Small Town Heroes is going well if slower than I’d like (I have actually taken the step of ordering a Microsoft Surface Tablet so I can take it to the library every day in an attempt to cut out distractions and Get It Done). It is turning out to be the hardest storyline I’ve attempted yet, and I hope my readers will like the result enough to forgive the delays.
Wearing the Cape: the Roleplaying Game is still on track, so everyone interested in taking part in the second round of playtesting keep their eyes here; I estimate 30 days between Small Town Heroes’ publication date and the launch of Round 2.
In the meantime, I thought it might be a good idea to use this post as a Q & A; there is, of course, no such thing as stupid questions…no, there really is. But I promise not to mock anybody. More seriously, if anybody has any questions about the books, the game, favorite characters, etc., post them here. I’ll even provide background details not in the books yet so long as they aren’t spoilers. I will move all questions into the body of the post with my answers.
Questions/Answers (Thank you, everybody.)
Q1, will there be more of our Oz princess?
Q2, Will you run the rpg on kickstarter? (I’d love to get it and all your paper books as a reward tier)
A2, I’m seriously considering it; it’s the only way to produce a good hard-backed rulebook. Otherwise, it will be available as a PDF (probably $19.99) and paperback rulebook (probably $45-$50).
Q3, Will there be any other major Female leads coming in to the story? (My sister wants to know, a big Wonder Woman fan)
A3, between Astra, Artemis, Shell/Shelly, and Ozma, I think the ladies are well-represented. Of course more characters of both sexes are introduced all the time.
Q4, Are the books (I’m assuming a long run of novels here, fingers crossed) ever going to delve into the nature and cause of the Event, or is that more a background/flavor thing in your view?
A4, No. The main reason is simply this; with the cause of the Event unknown, the people of the Post-Event world are free to assign it significance according to their worldview. Many people believe different things about the Event, and it motivates their actions. The reader is also free to assign his own significance to the Event.
Q5, How is it you write books that make grown men cry?
A5, It’s a gift. More seriously, I just create characters the reader can empathize with and want the best for, then put them through hell for every victory. Simple? Yes. Easy? No. True story: When I wrote Wearing the Cape, I felt so bad for Hope after Atlas’ death in the Whittier Base Attack that I gave her Shelly just so that she would have something good happen to her. In the first finished draft of WtC, Shelly had been nothing more than a part of Hope’s tragic back-story; I never intended her to reappear as the the cool quantum-ghost AI she turned into.
Q6, You had mentioned that things are going slower in Small Town Heroes. Is it something to do with the storyline itself?
It is more that the world-effects of this story are bigger, and it involves more of the wider world than the previous stories. It’s actual location has also shifted once.
Q7, You also mentioned something about that it was your most difficult storyline to date. Do you feel you have too little or too much going for the character(s)?
A7, See above.
Q8, Why are some powers listed by the name of the individual to exhibit them (i.e. Atlas-type) and others just under a category (speedster)?
A8, Powers listed by name are named after prominent early superheroes, like Atlas. Some superhuman powers didn’t get uniquely associated with a specific superhero early on, however. In the case of speedsters there was more than one from the beginning, so the power-type was simply labeled “speedster-type.”
Q9, Are you planning to reveal all of the categories as well as examples for A-class, B-class (etc) of said categories at some point?
A9, I’m never going to make a comprehensive list of the different power-types, if that is what you are asking; for one thing, the possibilities are endless. However I may create a glossary of terms, including power types that have appeared in the books.
Q10, I noticed Megaton was not in the two released chapters. Will he be making a return appearance in Small Town Heroes?
A10, Yes. However, I have dropped back to using a single POV, which is Hope’s. And Hope spends most of the book away from Chicago… This means that the others will have less “screen-time” in this book.
Q11, Love the books Mr.Harmon, any idea how many there will be?
A11, Thank you. No idea, but expressed algebraically I would say 7+X=?. Some of them may be side-stories like Bite Me (possibly even a Bite Me sequel).
Q12, Has the Astra/Seven relationship been resolved (nothing more than friends, forget the damn kiss in Omega) or is that something that will be fleshed out further?
A12, I have to say that I do like Seven for Astra; his easygoing attitude makes a nice balance for her tendency to get too serious. However, Astra is only 19 (almost 20) after all, with a lot of growing left to do; for her, being “just friends” with a guy she is very much attracted to is progress. Is Seven still a prospect? Yes. So is Megaton and Grendel, and Astra might always meet someone else; I have never set her character development in stone, and until I see who she becomes I won’t know who she should be with.
Q13, Are any more short stories from this world forthcoming?
A 13, Maybe...
Q14, Ever come up with a great new character only to realize that you basically recreated some Marvel/DC character?
A 14, No. But I probably have without realizing it.
Q15, Are there any non-powered, unlicensed humans that try to act as superheroes – masked vigilantes, basically?
A15, Yes. You meet one (briefly) in Villains Inc.
Q16, You got some favorite superhero comics?
A16, I enjoy superhero comics that put a spin on the genre. Noble Causes. Astro City. Wildguard. Invincible Universe.
Q17, Will you ever revisit the flesh-and-blood Shelly? It has to be traumatic to have these great super powers only to have them disappear in an instant.
A17, Yes you will be seeing Shelly again, and yes, she does have some issues.
Q18, Will we find out what happened to the wreckers and co?
A18, Yes, although not right away.
Q19, I don’t think we saw any characters with religious beliefs directly informed by the Event? Am I forgetting/overlooking characters? It seems like interesting territory to explore beliefs that only make sense in a post-Event world.
A19, The Foundation of Awakened Theosophy in Young Sentinels is a post-Event cult inspired by the existence of breakthroughs.