Wednesday, December 21, 2011

How to Approach a Superman Video Game

As one of the biggest fans of Superman comics, films, TV and Cartoon Shows alike, I have been dreaming like so many other people in the world of a way to live as Superman in a virtual world. You would assume that with today's technology and today's latest creative edge going to much of the video game industry as well as television, that creating a video game based off of one of DC Comics' most treasured Superheroes would be in the works. Well, Rocksteady Studios already made two award-worthy games: Batman: Arkham Asylum, and Batman: Arkham City.

What Rocksteady Studios managed to do was not only combine great game mechanics as far as hand-to-hand combat, stealth, gadgetry, mobility, and puzzles, but also managed to create an intricately weaved storyline with multitudes of depth and great overall voice acting talent. The art direction was superb as the underbelly of Gotham's dirtiest criminals came alive in their own element. In Batman: Arkham Asylum we get a first hand account of inside the devil's den, an all out circus filled with Batman's A-list offenders. Although the story didn't reveal too many villains to encounter, Batman: Arkham City surely made up for that as Batman himself took to the streets to battle even more of his arch-nemeses in a world rich with detail, depravity and intrigue.

So what does Batman have to do with Superman? Well I feel that Rocksteady Studios did such a fantastic job re-creating a day in the life of Batman, that it would take nearly the same amount of effort and attention to detail to create such an immersive experience as to play a game featuring The Man of Steel. By simply exploring the game itself and the environment such as Arkham City, you know that each architecture piece or set piece was meticulously crafted to tell each and every story imaginable.
In order for this to happen to a city such as say Metropolis, one has to look at the style and architecture differences between the two cities. Gotham in general is an older city, but a grittier city and a lot of it's buildings are rustic and old looking. There is grime and grit and you would expect such trash and debris to liter the grounds as much as it did in Arkham City. Metropolis has many names and it often goes by "The City of Tomorrow". The buildings are far more developed for less of a lower-urban locale and was established as a monument to one of man's greatest achievements: Progress. The buildings will be tall and grand, and the metals to be a bit worn with age, but still pristine to show the city's namesake. You can tell which buildings will be older by their more than noticeable architecture style.

Understanding Metropolis as a character herself will be important to build a world where Superman can flourish. Superman takes to the skies and oversees the great megalith-bound city and all of it's many inhabitants. To build a city worthy of such an act in a game would be crucial. There were countless times when I just grappled to a gargoyle and crouched as iconic as Batman, just to do it. Looking at the world through his eyes is what made the experience for me.

Next you have a map where the player can see the entire city and spot out major iconic locations where parts of the story has had its fix there. Such locales include, "The Daily Planet" and "Star Labs" not to mention, "Clark's Apartment", "Lois Lane's Apartment" and "Stryker's Island" name a few. Using a map in an open world game is useful for many reasons. For instance, if Clark hears of a building burning down, or some thugs are knocking off a bank or something, the player can look to the map and set a point on the map where he needs to get to. From there, Superman can take to the skies and quickly see via the world where he managed to highlight his destination. Now depending on importance or ability upgrades, will depend on how fast he gets there. One can simply fly in a split of a second to the exact location, or the player can manage to fly there "manually" to feel more like the Man of Steel. I will get back to powers/abilities a bit later.

The flight mechanics have to be reasonable, much like how Batman's glide ability worked so well. Visually capes aren't a problem anymore in games and to see Superman fly with his iconic red cape flaying in the wind behind him, or to see it react when he lands abruptly on the ground will be quite a sight. Flying should be in any case easy to do with the thumb sticks where the left controls where he flies and the right if held down will send the player into bullet-like speeds.

I understand that narrowing down Superman's abilities in a way that can be brought into a gaming world is quite a task. Superman, unlike many of his fellow heroes, has almost an unlimited list of powers and attributes. He has flight, strength, different types of vision, intellect, super-breath, near-invulnerability, speed, etc. Giving a player the right to be a God from the get go might not seem like the best way to approach Superman's gifts. I also have considered taking his powers away and letting the player experience and earn Superman's abilities over time. That may not be the same thing as well, considering that Superman always has his abilities, he is always Superman. I guess you can bring in some red-sun generating machine that wipes Superman of his powers and allows him to get through the tutorials with the player, but what I was thinking was a much different approach.

Like I had said previously that playing Batman: Arkham City is like being Batman for a day. You literally step into the cape and cowl and you are on the job from the get go. You have to think what it's like to be Superman on a daily basis. Of course there is going to be the occasional story-bound bad guy or villain, but in the every day circumstances of his job as a hero, Superman has to face every day challenges. Superman is a living breathing God amongst humans. He has to be able to control his powers so that he can not destroy literally everything in his path.

Take a burning building for instance: There is a building about to collapse and there are people still trapped high above the streets within this burning structure. 1) You fly over to the site where fire trucks and such are trying but failing to do their jobs. (Perfect job for...) 2) you pick up people screaming with your precise super-hearing, and then you scan the building with your X-Ray vision. 3) you find an entry point, but you can't fly too fast to land or the bottom will cave and will kill anybody who is underneath. 4) You hover and land gently with the thumb sticks, and you quickly want to use your super-breath to blow the fire out. 5) You can't blow the fire out because blowing the fire out might make the support beams too unstable and will collapse the roof above. 6) you decide to use your ice-breath to add support to the beams, and settle the fire long enough to get the people out safe. 7) You freeze breath a pathway on the wooden floor so people can have a walkway to get to the exit. 8) You start to clear people out, but you notice that the exit structure is going to collapse. You make a last minute decision to brace and hold the structure up so you can make sure the last person is out safe. 9) Once you use your X-ray vision to see that there is nobody left, you release the structure, and you saved the day.

With these kinds of decisions that the player has to make, they can use Superman's abilities in different ways to solve how he can save the people he is trying to save at the moment. This allows a number of outcomes based on the player's decisions and the crisis at hand. When Superman has to deal with inner-city problems, these kinds of challenges are to happen. I also don't want to just limit Superman to the ground, as it were. To allow the player to feel more free as The Last Son of Krypton, Air challenges can come about, and what other way to better demonstrate his flight and strength, not to mention the player's keen smarts is to save an airliner from plummeting to the earth or into the ocean....more on that later.


How to organize Superman's powers into manageable tools for gameplay: I would first assume that the player can toggle between different attributes on the D-Pad. I would also split his major qualities into 4 select-able tools: 1) Heat/Laser vision 2) Super Breath 3) Freeze Breath 4) Super Speed(on ground)

When Heat Vision is selected (1) left trigger can aim, and right trigger can execute laser blast. Same goes for items 2 and 3. Super Speed can be selected and used whenever the "A" button is pressed. Press it once and select a direction on the left thumb stick and Superman will execute a quick-dash type of movement. This will also be available in the air as well. Hold down the move button and keep it held will start Superman into a run and then the longer you hold it, the faster he will gradually get. Ease off the button and he will slow down. (This attribute can only work on the ground or on a surface) Each ability will have a strength meter which gauges how much of each power a player is using according to the world around them. For example: Super Breath. If Superman has to use his breath to ward off a hostile incoming tsunami from hitting the big city due to Weather Wizard's weather machine, the player can activate the Super Breath and hold it down to create a strong enough gust of wind to blow the Tsunami right back into the ocean. This power level will not be right to use if he were to blow missiles back from oncoming helicopters or put out a fire. So initially, the player has to regulate how powerfully Superman can use his main powers. (Again it goes back to "What would it be like for Superman?")

His multitude of vision abilities will be put into the left bumper on the controller. Much like Batman's "Detective Mode" Superman will be able to toggle between X-Ray Vision, and other modes of infrared and color spectrums that are built into his array of powers. This would be handy if the player needed to find bombs that were hidden, enemies that are around a corner, unseen victims, or certain signals that are being transmitted around Metropolis.


Now what worked for the Batman titles was having a compelling story and not to mention great voice actors. Tim Conroy and Mark Hamill were great as their legendary roles, and the rest of the voice actors were spot on as well(I thought the Penguin and Mr Freeze were awesome). The reason for such a great story is because they brought in none other than Paul Dini, the creative genius behind Batman: The Animated Series we all loved in the 90s. If there was ever a person to pen the story of Batman's all time game iterations it was him. As a fellow writer I can appreciate the level of depth that he brings to his characters and stories. I never missed an episode and the villains and situations that the characters on the show found themselves in felt more real than anything I had ever seen in a cartoon show. To me it was like watching a TV show, not a cartoon show. To honor the great work that was done both by Bruce Timm and Paul Dini, I would bring back Tim Daly as the voice of Superman/Clark Kent, Dana Delany as Lois Lane, Clancy Brown as Lex Luthor, and of course Michael Ironside as Darkseid.

The story for Superman has to have all the same refinements and attention to character development as any other well thought out game plan. Superman can't ALWAYS be putting out fires or battling tornadoes or bank robbers. There has to be a thread of plots that weave through points of major action to excite and inform the player. Now I know what you're thinking....have I thought about writing a Superman story??? And the answer is a big fat DUH. I have had plenty of nights dreaming of a world where a man in blue and red tights and a red cape flies around saving the day. The approach I had settled on eventually was a story that starts with Jor-El and ends with Kal-El. In a nutshell, I had crafted a way to introduce Zod, Brainiac, and start the path of Superman's ultimate feel that what he does with his powers is eventually the right thing to do. Did his father have an ultimate plan for his son? Now here is where I go a bit into my own world of storytelling...

First of all, I believe in the three-act structure for storytelling, and of course you have to leave things a bit non-linear for gamers to get out a bit of the storyline and stretch their legs a bit. I also tend to pull from the source material for inspiration. There was one particular comic series that really spoke to me, "Superman: Birthright". Written by Mark Waid and drawn by Leinil Francis Yu, Superman: Birthright was meant to bring Superman into the NOW and they had created one of the best comic origins that I have ever had the pleasure of experiencing.

The comic explores issues such as how his family (Ma and Pa) felt about him being a hero, and his first assignment as a journalist in West Africa during a bloody tribal dispute. Clark uses his abilities to get to the bottom of political aggressions while promising to protect an activist and his family. I thought this was a great way to help Clark have a place where he could go "undercover" and really feel out his powers, but it was also a move to help him get a job at the Daily Planet.

Now as a big Superman fan I feel it is necessary for Clark Kent to be as important as Superman himself. Clark is the identity that Superman has made for himself while being on Earth. I feel that in a game the player can have the ability to change from Clark to Superman at will. I compare it to the game Transformers: War for Cybertron. One of the coolest parts about that game is that the player had control over when a Transformer would transform. I see this game no differently. If you are somewhere as Clark and you need to change into Superman, you can do that. If you need to go somewhere as Clark, you as Superman would need a "safe zone" where a hidden pre-packed suitcase with Clark's items would be stored(In my mind, if I were Superman, I would hide sets of clothes all throughout Metropolis just in case I would need to change and fall back under my alter ego). These locations would be layed out for the player in the mini-map for convenience.

Another aspect of the story would be incorporating villains into the mix to challenge Superman. First of all it is probably a well known fact that most us wouldn't know a list as extensive as Batman's Rogues Gallery for Superman's villains. I think that most of us would probably stop at Lex Luthor. But there are quite a few that get some real bashing time with The Man of Steel. Brainiac, Darkseid, and Doomsday are my top 3 choices to be game changer bad guys for Superman. These three villainous characters offer challenges that are not easily defeat-able. Brainiac, a super-computer created on Krypton hellbent on destroying the Universe as we know it challenges Superman's wits and keen intellect. Darkseid, a war-mongering tyrant from an alien war-based world, Apokolips challenges everything Superman stands for as a hero, and Doomsday, the mega powerful Alien lab experiment with the destructive force of a hundred nuclear bombs and a thirst for blood challenges Superman's physicality and ulitmately leads to his death on Earth.
Then you have other villains that populate Metropolis. Lex Luthor for one is the top dog. Taking over the portrayal of a land tycoon obsessed with real estate and wealth and power, and replacing it with a cold, emotionless powerful business man and founder of Lex Corps. (Thank you Paul Dini). Not only has Lex managed to start one of the biggest military business operations,(second only to Wayne Tech)but he did it legitimately(as far as we know) and has gone to fund much of Metropolis's building contracts and has developed parts of Metropolis herself. Most of what Lex Luthor does is cloak and dagger, and within the shadowy confines of his company. His tall looming towers are symbols of a man who has amassed great wealth and power and stands up to oppose Superman in the public view.

I would also bring in Metallo, Mr. Mxyzptlk, Bizarro, (mention)General Zod, Professor Hamilton(S.T.A.R. Labs), Mongul, Parasite, Weather Wizard, Kalibak,Livewire, Lobo, The Toy Maker, etc. These are lesser on the threat level, but still hold challenges for Superman.
Next I would populate the city with thugs, goons, and the occasional military faction or two to test Superman and the player. So not only do we have natural disasters, but actual villains that run a muck as well and gangs of thugs and bruisers to come in and wreak havok in Metropolis.

Now it must be puzzling to think how these events will unfold. I would introduce a villain from the major list to help drive the story and get the player to the final end or boss battle as it were. Bringing in too many villains would just muck up the story. The reason why Batman: Arkham Asylum worked was because of The Joker. There were other villains that posed as threats to Batman, but The Joker was always there leading Batman around with cheese through the maze. The reason Batman: Arkham City worked was again there was a central villain guiding the hero's actions. In this case it was Hugo Strange.

So which villain is it going to be? I would start by doing a parallel story arch with Darkseid. The way he is set up is that you have to bring the threat down on a major level. The reason Batman was so easily lead around by the Joker is that Batman himself is a detective. A detective is only as good as the crimes he is investigating. In an open world environment, the game designers want the player to seek out everything in the world. The player has to be there. The side missions were just the cherry on top when it came to this one simple rule: Keep the player interested. With Superman, everything has to have a bigger scale of threats for the player to really feel they are doing their job. So having madmen who rig parts of the city to explode with bombs deep underground, and having Superman use his X-Ray Vision or hearing to detect and defuse the bombs in time would be fun, or to try and find escaped villains from Stryker's Maximum Security Prison, would be a cool side mission. Not to mention setting up Professor Hamilton's ultimate fall to villainy after being long time friends with Superman.


Darkseid is a formidable opponent for Superman. Lets take a closer look at Darkseid and see how he can pose a major threat and push along a major storyline for a game.

As we may or may not all know by now, Darkseid was an heir to a throne deep, within the darkest recesses of space on a war-torn world known as Apocolips. On Apokolips, Darkseid reigns as supreme ruler having had his sons and mother banished from their homeworld. He conquered and killed his brother who in turn was responsible for manipulating Darkseid's skin into a rock-like surface. As his rage and hunger for power grew, Darkseid managed to seek a device called, " The Anti-Life Equation" where if posessed would bring its user ultimate control and influence over all sentient beings in the Universe...Darkseid would become a God and rule over all of the Cosmos. As it turns out in order to allow his master plan to continue, he creates swarms of alien soldiers to carry out his bidding across the galaxies. Earth became a well known target for Darkseid over the years and low and behold had encountered Superman on numerous occasions. Darkseid's physical prowess is almost as powerful as Superman and his mental capacity for an never-ending bloodlust for war and chaos makes him a foe not to be reckoned with. Using Apokolips technology transplanted deep within sections of Metropolis, Darkseid had managed to create a powerful standing on Earth without even being there called, "Intergang". Intergang is a group of highly loyal constituents who use their technologies to do a lot of evil in Metropolis. Later on they become a cult that ultimately worships Darkseid and plans to bring him to Earth to mold Earth into a planet much like Apokolips.

In a potential story with Darkseid being the major threat, Intergang will have to play a pivotal roll in the enemy challenges for Superman. At first we start to introduce the existence of Intergang gradually as more and more events unfold. As Superman notices the alien tech being used by Intergang, he becomes suspicious of their whereabouts. Later on you see more and more outlandish acts being committed by this terror organization. Their technology gets more and more funded until eventually Superman has no choice but to investigate further. The more Intergang members Superman locks away, the more they talk about the coming of their "Master" and how Superman will not be able to stop him from creating "The new Apokolips" on Earth. As soon as Superman hears "Apokolips", he heads out to his Fortress of Solitude(Yes its going to be in there)and proceeds to ask his "Father" data crystal array for all known knowledge of Apokolips. There Jor-El tells his son that the data he is requesting was not included in the original crystal given to him in his vessel he arrived in as a child(The green one that made the Fortress of Solitude in the films). As it turned out, there was a hidden data crystal that was taken directly from Krypton's archives. Jor-El had hidden it in fear that his ship and his son would be found by General Zod(Leader of the Kryptonian Security Council)who was actually manipulating the Kryptonian council which condemned the planet Krypton to its eventual demise. The hidden crystal was stored within the vessel itself and in order to access it and all its data, the Kryptonian ship has to be active. In order for the ship's onboard crystal array to be activated, the star drive must be in space. The vessel as it is now does not work within Earth's atmospheres due to the crash landing it experienced when it first arrived.
So, Superman must take the vessel out of Earth's atmospheres and venture into space in order for the crystal array to work properly.

This will allow a change in decor for the game and us as fans get to see Superman AND his Kryptonian ship out in space. (Nerd-gasm!!!)

Moving right soon as Superman gets the data needed, he uploads it to the crystal array back in the Fortress and descends back to Earth. Having the ship work again Superman makes a home for it within the Fortress of Solitude and there he can learn all the Data he was missing. Among that data were mentions of an evil Super-Computer named Brainiac, Apokolips and the first known record of Darkseid, and General Zod and the Phantom Zone.

Now as Superman gets closer and closer to ridding the city of these sycophantic terrorsts from Intergang, he discovers a plot linked to...S.T.A.R. Labs? Apparently there were traces of Apokolips technology within S.T.A.R. Labs and was being used to generate a reverse-Phantom Zone like device to pull people out of trapped dimensions. Originally built for Superman years ealier to try and communicate with his fallen parents. The device was created by Professor Hamilton. Although it didn't work properly, Hamilton made several adjustments to it along the years. As a trusted friend and colleague of Superman, Hamilton had spent years doing research for The Man of Steel but never recieved any credit or payment. His experiments hardly worked, but Professor Hamilton managed to collect quite a lot of information on Superman. It wasn't until the B13 event and the ultimate sacrifice of Hamilton's professional career that lead him to mentally unravel and blame Superman for his misfortunes. Hamilton disappeared and was never seen or heard from again.
When Superman goes to S.T.A.R. Labs he finds not only Apokolips technolgy--modified for a pull from an inter-stellar travel point(Apokolips)but encounters a mysterious figure...named "Ruin". Is this masked man responsible for the Intergang attacks? Does Ruin know the whereabouts of Professor Hamilton? Why go to S.T.A.R. Labs? Why occupy Hamilton's old lab?.....

Well, as it turns out, S.T.A.R. Labs was nothing more than a failed attempt by Intergang. But what is revealed by "Ruin" is that Darkseid is coming to Earth, and the portal with the working technology is somewhere in Metropolis...time is running out.

Lex Luthor
While all this is unfolding, Lex Luthor is brought into the mix by starting his campaign as the next President of the United States. This infuriates Superman because of the past dealings that has been had between the two. Lex has claimed to be turning over a new leaf and with his generous donations to the city's infrastructure, Lex is well on his way to winning the votes in Metropolis. Lex's plan is to simply do one thing, but is really doing another. For example, his company has been sending generous amounts of funds to build up the city's Police Dept. and Prison facilities. In actuality, he is sending better weapons and tech to criminal organizations so that it would appear that he is helping the city rid of criminals, but really, he is helping them by giving them better ways to break the law. In this instance Lex has turned to arms dealing as a way to help fund his Presidential campaign.
As more and more criminals get outfitted with LexCorps tech, Superman now has to deal with the escalation problem. He knows Lex is up to no good, and he needs to stop him at any costs. The tricky part is trying to stop the weapons supplies going out to criminals. He has to then try and locate and destroy wherever those crates are being stored. Well Lex understanding that Superman can't see through lead, has managed to hide all his weapons caches in lead-based storage crates in Metropolis Harbor. Since Superman can't see which crate contains what, he has to look inside each one or at least find a manifesto with credible evidence linking LexCorps to underground arms dealings. This looks like a job for....Clark Kent?

Since the crates are there "legally" and Superman has promised the US Government he won't use his powers for his own purposes, plus he doesn't want to tip off Lex Luthor or anybody involved, the player now has the ability to play as Clark. Using his press connections, and knowing that a large shipment of priceless artifacts from West Africa (see what I did there? If confused, see above sections about West Africa), which are to premiere in the Metropolis Natural History Museum. Surely there is going to be press there and obviously Lex will be using the artifacts as cover for his weapons caches. Alongside the Mayor who will be cutting the ribbon to the famed exhibit (one exhibit being from Addis Ababa) will be none other than Lex Luthor himself who is receiving aide from the Mayor for his Presidential Campaign; whom Lex promised to make his running mate if he gets chosen.

So Clark needs to find "missing" crates he couldn't find at the docks, at the museum. If he can find the shipping manifesto with the matching numbers, he will have enough evidence to allow the US Government and the business bureau to investigate Lex and LexCorps. Now it would seem unfair to include Clark in on the museum opening and not have Lois and at least Jimmy there taking press photos.

The stage is set. Lex Luthor and the Mayor unveiling a rare and never-before-seen exhibit from Africa, which includes a shipment from Addis Ababa which we all know contains Kryptonite. As Clark finally discovers the crates after roaming the museum for a while, he manages to find the manifesto. On the other hand, a group of heavily armed military personnel arrive to come and steal the precious gems and such from the exhibit. In actuality, Lex Luthor planned everything. By playing innocent to the crime about to be committed, his name is cleared by the public. Behind the scenes, the thugs work for him and are there to make a switch with the other weapons crates. The icing on Lex's cake is that Superman will be arriving shortly. Lois Lane is among the press and wherever there's trouble, Superman will not be far. By now Clark hears all the commotion and has found a place to change into Superman. He then sneaks out another way and makes his triumphant entrance into the museum.
Superman confronts the militants and demands them to let the people go and no one else will get hurt. The military personnel oblige and release the people from the museum. Now, Superman can quickly do away with these guys, except.....what do they have in a lead box? Can it be? Kryptonite. The last one to leave is Lex. He simply walks out of the room , and mutters under his breath..."kill him".

Struggling to find his footing, Superman hears Lex and decides to make a dash to fight for his life. In my story Kryptonite weakens and eventually kills Superman the longer he is exposed to it. For the fight to last with these thugs, Superman has to act on his feet and defend himself. The short time he has been exposed to the radioactive pieces of his homeworld has managed to weaken him to the extent of a mere mortal. He is not dying, but is going to feel every brutal punch and every brutal attack.

So here we have the player who not only gets to change from Clark to Superman, manage to get into a scuffle with a major military faction and now has to fight his way to survive. This is now adding a certain game experience that no player has really had the option of ever playing: Superman vs human enemies in a fist fight. We finally get to see Superman get his butt kicked a little, and as Superman fans we get to see him be the hero and go toe to toe with thugs at a very weakened state. This in turn makes Superman appear to be more heroic. That was my major complaint in a lot of Superman lore. Kryptonite was such a device like a light switch for Superman. No matter the amount of Kryptonite or the prolonged exposure, Superman as soon as he knew it was there, became instantly if his abilities were shut off like a light switch. In this case, the small amount found at the museum was enough to weaken him, but not completely inhibit his motor skills or completely take him out of commission.

Lex Luthor as a character has his own motives. Of course he wants to destroy Superman, but Lex is no random bad guy or evil scientist. Despite his origins Lex was revamped back in the 90s as sort of a crafty and devious business man. This makes sense as Superman's opposition because Superman is literally powerful beyond belief and has no real need for money, whereas Lex is a very wealthy powerful man who has made a life throwing money around as a way of displaying his prowess both in the business world and in the real world.
With Lex turning his attentions to the campaign trail, he is bent on making a world that exists where Superman is not needed. He has spent so many years and so many dollars trying to thwart The Man of Steel, but his ploy now is to do it in a way that would make Superman hurt the most. Understanding part of Superman's psyche where he greatly desires to shake his "alien" persona and heritage. In a way Superman wants to know about where he comes from, but he never wants that knowledge to influence how his life is or how he sees himself. Clark wants to be human so much that he literally created a way for him to be among his peers without feeling like an outsider. The funny thing about it, is that no matter how Clark or Superman acts, he will always be different. Superman has to find a way to feel normal in his own skin. Most of us humans always dream to be super powerful and a hero, but Superman wants more than anything to be human.

Supporting Cast

Another great asset to a good story is the supporting cast. Not having interactions with Lois Lane or Jimmy Olsen would be a crime. Being able to explore a rich world such as the one painted so well over numerous years as Superman should give some development time for the characters in the classic story to age and feel real and to grow. Lois Lane is not only a fast talking female reporter, she's a woman who is in a place where she has a lot of freedom to be a strong independent woman. She has a sort of leadership role over Jimmy and sometimes even Clark. She can hold her ground and she allows her wits and her charm to get her into places that most reporters get access to...which often times leads to Superman often times getting her out of scraps. To me personally, Lois's character compared to Superman's is that she reminds me of a that one particular girlfriend who is dating the football star. She knows her boyfriend can clean up any mess her busy wordy mouth can get her into. She's afraid of very little, and that's part of the appeal for Clark. Clark sees her as this superhuman among humans in her desire for greatness and her way to not show fear. Clark likes that because he feels that he can really be himself without his Superman persona getting in the way.
Jimmy Olsen in my mind is a valuable asset to the daily Planet team, as it were. He takes the photos, but he also manages the website for the Daily Planet. Jimmy should be tech savvy like much of the young people his age would be in this modern era. He is a bit of a minor character compared to the big hitters, and what Jimmy wants by now is to be a real journalist. Taking photos was never his real plan but it got him in a door that most people would avoid. Jimmy Olsen wants to get his career off the ground, and wants to be taken seriously as a photojournalist. I feel in this type of storytelling it is a good thing to show character growth. Whether in a film medium or a video game, richer characters even if they are minor, if shown that they have grown over time, will be better characters and in turn will help make the overall product better.
Perry White is still the Editor and Chief of The Daily Planet but he is shifting into a time where retirement looks closer and closer. With the events that unfold within all these events, his main concern is his work. A classic workaholic, Perry is a man who has learned to care for Lois and Clark, and his entire staff. Although L and C are his tag team of reporters, he always manages to pull the best journalism out of both of them. He remains a solid piece of Americana that will stand true,even in the face of real threat.


The long lasting relationship between Lois and Clark has lasted longer than most marriages. I don't necessarily want to push them towards any notion of marriage just yet, but ideally, her actions must fuel his actions in some sort of way that can put Superman or even Clark in a place of real emotion. That is why I have in my little slice of the Superman pie the two are openly dating. She knows Clark is Superman and Lois has promised to keep his secret. This is integral in their story as lovers and characters. Things begin to feel more real and more at risk when Lois knows that Clark is Superman. Clark must be stronger now more than ever for Lois as well. Pulling them into everyday challenges as a couple is new ground that can be greatly explored. Lois has a real hard time accepting that her boyfriend has the world's most dangerous jobs and that even in the back of her mind his job will always win. For Clark, no matter what he does as Superman, he is always thinking of Lois and how he has to manage to come back to her night after night, facing some of the greatest challenges a hero has to face. It is the fact that their love transcends all of those challenges is the reason why they work so well together. They never truly let those outside forces dictate where their relationship is going to go. Even in the face of an alien invasion from the planet Apokolips, Lois knows that Clark has to do what he must do to make sure there is still a planet and a girlfriend even to come home to.


So in the wake of Metropolis's most tested and darkest moments, a man...a man of steel comes to her rescue. Superman has withstood the test of time solely because of his ideals, what he stands for, and his ability to be the hero that all other heroes want to be. I am sure with great thought and execution there will be a great Superman story to be told within the medium of digital storytelling. As a major fan of the big guy in blue, I have felt that this article was necessary not just for me to write, but for the thousands of fans out there who, like me, have felt that Superman has gone without a great game to be played. With countless attempts over the years it is clear as to see why it would be so difficult, but sometimes we have to look beyond whats on the surface and dig deep to get what we want. If Superman: The Man of Steel ever turns out to be good, then I am sure the fans will have another way to adore and look up to Earth's Greatest Protector, a man we all know as Superman.

If you want to contact me about this article or find out more about what I have in mind for our Man of Steel, please feel free to contact me at:, or if you enjoyed this article feel free to comment below or check out my other blog,

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Gods of Rock

Being a creative mind such as myself I like to keep my hands full of projects to occupy my mind. There is the Western I am ALWAYS thinking about, and I feel I will have much to work out with that one. My mind however never stops working and I have managed to think of other stories I want to work on. One being a project titled, "Gods of Rock".

I am a huge fan of mythology and history and I absolutely love music, so I came up with an idea to write a rock opera musical with hints of action and comedy. I particularly like to listen to 80's rock bands and the like, and I enjoy Greek Myths so I decided to combine the two in a way that would seem fresh enough and funny. I am also a fan of all the animated movies that are coming out as of late so I decided to pitch this idea as an animated film. That way, I could work on the look and style of the film as well as keeping it entertaining as far as how characters look and act.

So long story short, "Gods of Rock" is about three best friends who work at a tavern at the base of Mount Olympus. Their town is sort of one of those towns who are only known because they are next to something famous. I look at it as a town on the way to Vegas who's known for their "Giant Thermometer".

These 3 guys have been best friends since they were kids and their biggest dream was to start a band and be famous for their music. Well as the fates would have it, they grow up and end up working a dead end job, which in turn only fuels their fire to become famous musicians.

The Mayor of the town decides to hold a festival and contest honoring the Gods and this year's theme is music. (how appropriate) So you basically have an ancient Greek version of battle of the bands. The winners of the contest will get to tour all the hot spots of Greece and the ancient world, performing as they go along, they will even have ancient Greek groupies, a press agent, and if they play their cards right, might even get rich off merchandising.

The only problem with the 3 best friends is that their hearts are int he right place, but they haven't found their true sound yet for their band. night they are working late at the tavern, and they witness first hand of a battle between Zeus and the Titans of old over the control of Mount Olympus. The 3 are so inspired by what they witnessed they stay up all night and write a song depicting Zeus and his epic conflict with the Titans. They now have their entry into the battle of the bands.

They get to perform their "experimental" music piece in the contest, and low and behold, they win the contest. They instantly become famous and before they go on tour, they get a message from Hermes, the messenger of the Gods, inviting them to Zeus's official coronation on Mount Olympus. So they go up on the mountain and perform their song in honor of Zeus and the "New Gods". Zeus has defeated the Titans and banished them to a prison deep within the underworld under the watch of his brother, Hades.

Zeus loves the song so much, he makes the 3 official Gods on Mount Olympus, hence the "Gods of Rock" are born. This is the part of the story where they go from garage band to rock stars. They meet all the other Gods on Mount Olympus, and the other Gods I have written to have very quirky personalities and yet still within the realm of what people expect to see of them. That's where the comedy comes in and shenanigans ensue....

Stay tuned for more to come.....(very soon, I promise)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Researching topics

I like most writers am always looking for new topics to learn and explore. What this does for my creative process is it allows me to imagine all kinds of new material for my writing. In the case of science and everything in that category, the more research one does, the better the material is going to be.

Research alone can take a long time and often times a writer can get stuck in that phase of the creative process. It is hard to find a way out from doing a lot of research, especially for me because I love to learn new and interesting topics. If anything you as a writer should limit yourself at first to what you really need for your project. Narrowing down a search is a good way to keep the research to a minimum. When it comes to genres or story types, it is also a good thing to keep it somewhat brief at first, then go back and do more research if you have to. Being buried under all that tedious researching can be exhausting.

When planning for scenes to write, also plan the kinds of research you will have to do to make that particular part of your project better or more interesting for the reader. When you have things more planned out it gives you more time and space to be creative and focus on the writing, and not the research.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

What makes Sci-Fi ????

In my personal opinion Science Fiction is one of the most overdone and overlooked genres of any kind of storytelling. What different people perceive it as can be very drastic depending on the person telling the story.

It is one of those vague descriptions that can pretty much be interpreted in many ways. For one, are there certain guidelines to narrow the genre? I would like to think so, but isn't what is needed is just science and some fiction?

There are many "rules" for writing or story building in this particular genre; things that have to exist in order for that to be that particular genre. One would have to be the science aspect. Now this doesn't just mean like test tubes and quantum theories. I have noticed that a lot of Sci-fi stuff usually has the science either half or totally integrated within its world. Take "Star Trek" (thought I was gonna go with Star Wars, huh?) Star Trek is a classic example of Science Fiction. You have aspects of space travel, exploration, high technology(ie: Star Ships, deflector shields, phasors, etc) and you also have different worlds and aliens that populate the "realm" of Star Trek. What seems to be clear is that the science in Science Fiction has to be not only rooted in the world, but it has to be somewhat believable.

Now I know that beaming someone up from the surface of a planet to their command vessel is hardly believable, but what helps sell the idea is that the audience can associate the function of that type of beaming technology, and also the way the information is displayed to that set audience is cleverly designed.

It didn't take much for past audiences say in the 50's and 60's to suspend their disbelief to enjoy those things, but what troubles more modern writers in today's age of Science Fiction, is that the key audience has gotten smarter. This doesn't seem like a problem at first, I mean who really invests in Science Fiction other than nerds and geeks, right? Well what I have noticed is that back in the 50's and 60's there was this great unknown about much of what we call Science. There were tremendous leaps forward during that time which made people seem more accepting of the genre but not many people really knew what it all meant. Nowadays, you can have high school kids debunking things from past Star Trek episodes, when the show first aired, on the internet in like 6 seconds. I mean back then a portable hand help communications device was pretty hi-tech but now its called a cell phone.

The need to explore space say in the case of Star Trek was fitting because of the times. There was the cold war and the race to space mentality that was happening so much of that idea or concept was on a lot of people's minds at the time. Now going back to modern times...the audience is smarter and it is partly due to those writers of older science fiction. What people often overlook is the influence the genre has on actual science. I mean if it weren't for Star Trek displaying all those nifty gadgets, we as a science based people would not have the desire to make those technologies a possibility. Science Fiction has actually inspired many of what we consider today as modern marvels. It is kind of nice to see a genre that gives back to our fellow man.

So what writers today have to deal with is the way they display their material. Since the audiences are smarter, it takes a lot more to convince them of the ideas within the material itself. Writers are now becoming smarter as well to accommodate for their audience's growth in frontal lobe mass. This makes for more research and a lot more interesting topics.

All in all I feel that there is much more for the genre of Science Fiction for the future. At one time in history Sci-Fi influenced much of what actual real life science has to offer, and now the advancements in technology and science will push the boundaries of Science Fiction into the great vast beyond.

Monday, April 4, 2011

New Quarter!!

I have been on my spring break and it is Monday, the day we all go back to school to start a new quarter. I was pretty busy so I did not get a chance to work on my writings. It is hard at times to keep up with my art and my writing to post. I am happy however to get back in the swing of things and very excited to start work on my graduating portfolio. But, rest assured I will post new stuff soon!

PS If you guys have nay questions on any topics related to writing or just art or stories let me know and I will post some helpful stuff.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Alan Wake: More than a video game

In case you guys haven't figured out by now, I am a huge video game player. I also am going to school to learn video game design and one game that I have had my eye on for a while was Alan Wake. I just got done playing this game, and I must say that visually and story-wise it was very well crafted.
The story is about a writer named Alan Wake who goes to a pacific Northwest town for vacation. Little does he know that weird and scary things are about to happen...

As a writer I enjoyed this game because the makers tell the story as writers; as if I wrote the story. The narration is what makes this game so unique amongst all those overplayed first-person shooters. I was pleased to see that the story justified the action and the action supported the story. Even how they cleverly adapted a sort of episodic feel to the game, I was entertained from start to epic finish.

The set pieces were amazing and the lighting effects really looked great for a next-gen game. As a writer I felt satisfied with the suspense aspect of the game and I very much enjoyed the creepy factor. I highly recommend this game for any writer who wants to tell a story...I mean who doesn't want to live their own stories, right???

Monday, February 28, 2011

New Passage

I am sorry I haven't posted in a while, I have been busy with life. I however have another passage to share, so here it is...

By this time Jess flourished into a beautiful young woman. She read books made by the town printers and enjoyed picnicking in the woods with her friends. She was also well on her way to becoming a physician of animal anatomy. She would often take lessons from Brimwalls main physician, Alexander Dubble; an ex-Civil War doctor who traveled west to start life new again and often times operated on man and beast alike during the early part of the war.

The town was a sight during the day but really came alive at night to reveal its true nature and beauty. After sundown the torches and lights of the town illuminated into the night sky in rays of orange and yellow. The wood soaked in light as the town lights competed with the bright white twinkles of starlight every night. The townsfolk would sit out of their houses and shops and just looked in awe as the town became more of a homely place; a sort of place that added peace and prosperity to the wilderness that somehow needed it.

Sanders, a former slave, stood out into the muddy street and walked over to Winnham’s office. Winnham was outside on his balcony rocking back and forth smoking from a pipe. The flashes of each puff lit his face in the dark as he sat there watching his town. Sanders calls up to Mr. Winnham. “Sure is a fine night tonight, ‘aint it Mr. Winnham?”.

“Yes it is Mr. Sanders. Yes it is”.

Sanders rubbed his hands together as we walked back over to the far side of the street. His leather boots sank into the mud as he walked making a rather amusing sound to Jess as she gazed upon the man.

“Hello Mr. Sanders” said Jess.

“Well hello Miss Jess, Ma’am. Fine night tonight. Me and the misses is gonna go over to the hillside to see the stars. Shine as bright as ever tonight they are! Care to join us?” asked the dark man.

“Perhaps tomorrow night. I have news of great importance that I must speak of with my father”.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Myth of Spirit Healing

When the earth was young, and the ways of the great spirits were known, the world of beasts as we know it was born. When the great creator sought fit to create all living things on this earth our mother, he created man. Out of this man came two spirits. One became light and full of rays and became everything good of man. The other was dark, heavy and thunderous; this was everything evil of man.

Although the Great Creator made man he didn’t make man whole. He was torn between both spirits being swayed one way or another and could not be good and could not be bad. He just was. Knowing this, the Great Creator decided to make another, a woman in hopes to complete the man. The woman was also born of two spirits. She did not know why but she felt drawn to man.

Winters went by and the man and woman got married by the Great Creator. He told man and woman that the reason for joining is to have children, and those children shall live on the earth forever. Man and woman did as they were told and made many children. And over time both man and woman gained the spirits of good in them. But the other spirits dark and heavy grew jealous. They crashed the skies and shook the ground. Man and woman gathered their many children and fled to a cave nearby. The dark spirit of man moved water to flood the cave. The dark spirit of woman grew thick roots from the ground and blocked the cave exit. Being of an older age, Man and woman knew to look to the heavens to Great Creator. There they saw an opening with light shining through. When the water filled the cave, it pushed Man and Woman up through the hole with all their children safe by their sides.

Many more winters went by and Man and Woman had managed to fend off the dark spirits’ attacks long enough to raise many healthy warriors and wives. There were many more children that needed protecting. This gave the dark spirits an idea.

“I will disguise myself as Man and mate with woman” said the dark spirit of man. “I will give us a child that will be greater than any other child that has been born before”.

So one night when Man took his children out to hunt, the dark spirit of man slipped inside the hut of Woman. He transformed into man and took woman in her bed. Surprised by her husbands presence so soon, woman asked of the hunt. The dark spirit told her that she was dreaming, but will wake up full with belly. By the next sunrise he left. When man returned with many kills, woman tells him she is with child. Stunned and surprised, man celebrated with all to see.

They had a child, but it was different than the others. Instead of killing animals for use, he killed them with no reason other than to see them suffer. The boy didn’t have the same light as the others and Man knew this. He called to Great creator, but he didn’t answer.

The dark spirits were happy with their trickery. “Soon the boy will be of age and will be stronger than any other warrior, even the old man” hissed the dark spirit of man.

“I will whisper dark thoughts upon his ears at night so he knows who his real father is” said the dark spirit of woman.

Together for many seasons, they managed to raise the boy pure of dark heart and malice. They decided that when Man goes on his hunt, the dark son will kill him.

On his hunt man was killed by his own dark son. The dark spirits manifested themselves in front of woman and her children. All the mighty warriors tried by failed to kill their attackers. In a final attack, all of mans children were slain by the dark son and the dark spirits. All were killed except one; a mighty warrior who was from another tribe. In a great and lasting battle, he struck down one of the dark spirits. The dark son became enraged and attacked the mysterious warrior. The hero overcame his attacker and struck a killing blow. The last of the dark spirits, the dark essence of man, fought the mighty warrior. Their battle lasted for many moons and many suns. Finally with the strength of his tomahawk, the mighty warrior struck the dark spirit hard and made him sleep.
The Great Creator came down from the sky and spoke with the mighty warrior. Since he had defeated these dark and terrible creatures, he was to be a warrior for the Great Creator and go forth and fight others who deal with this pain. He must go and heal them of their dark spirits. The warrior accepted what the Creator had set forth. With a final touch, the warrior received a great gift from The Creator; the gift of finding the way to the land of the spirits to fight the dark ones that hinder all of mankind.

The mighty warrior then took the sleeping spirit and locked him away into a sacred wooden totem and hid it away from man. Deep in the forests is where he must remain guarding the totem and keeping the ways of the ancients and the Great Creator.

This is the way of the Spirit Healers of the North West. Their champion- The Spirit Fighter carries on the ways of his ancestors and of the ancients keeping safe what must never be unleashed again into the world of man.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Novel

The Novel I am working on is primarily a Western genre novel, and I have thrown in elements of Fantasy and Spirituality. The main character is a Native American whose family is slain for their land by whites and then adopted by white church folk until age 15. Then he is thrown into a boom town started by a wealthy, yet reasonable businessman with a heart of gold. The young Native boy starts work as an assistant to the town Blacksmith, but quickly develops a relationship with the businessman and his daughter.

As you might have figured out by now, he falls in love with the daughter. They grow a little older together and then plan on a wedding. The only thing is that there is still plenty of racial prejudice so the local judge refuses to marry the young couple.

One of the fun components of telling a story set in the Western genre is describing the terrain and really getting caught up in the lore of the genre itself. In my approach however, I wanted to tell a story of this young man's journey of his own discovery. He eventually turns to a more vengeful quest when all that he holds dear is taken away from him. One of the themes that excite me when I either watch Westerns or read them is the revenge story. In a novel it works to carry the audience with the protagonist's revenge quest. We as an audience can feel for the hero and journey with him as he discovers new things about how to accomplish his ultimate goal.

The other twist I put into my story is the fact that the hero is a healer, or a Native Shaman. This puts a wrench into anyone's revenge plans when they stand for something that might ultimately lead to tilting the world off its course in a Spiritual sense. The Shaman character is supposed to be a person of wisdom and harmony, but the young man shapes his own destiny and decides to use his extraordinary skills and abilities as a Shaman to exact the revenge he so greatly desires.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

How I organize my ideas

When I am trying to figure out either a storyline, a plot, or a particular character arc, I use post-it notes. I lay them out on a board or on my desk or something, and then I write down the scenarios or plots I am trying to decide with on the post-its. I sometimes even rearrange the notes until I get an interesting enough arc or sets of events. It is hard sometimes when you want to do a certain sequence and you don't know where it should go. Of course your story should make sense with the flow of things, but it is always a good idea to mix things up every once and a while.

Another Passage

Another part of the novel I am working on. A bit different from the previous section.

The stagecoach swayed back and forth as the oak wheels turned on the ground below. Mud and dirt shot out from the wheel spokes and a small bit of mire reached out and landed on Jess’s face. The mud felt cold and refreshing on her face. She had been leaning outside the wagon for air; at least that is what she told her father. A much as she loved her father she did not agree with his views sometimes of how she was to act. Her father being a very lucrative business man and always kept an order of things about him at all times did not want Jess to be anything but a lady. Having to celebrate her thirteenth birthday in the frontier with wagon masters and hardened miners and workers was not her idea of a good time, although she thought the West wasn’t such a savage place as the people thought back home in New York. With the war raging on between the states, she only knew of the times her father bathed her as an infant and how much he enjoyed her laughter. Now times are different, and with the success of her family business Jess was becoming more and more accustomed to the wealth her Father was creating with the help of the gold rushes and the excessive need for people to start a new in a new place.

The coach hit a hard bump in the road. The entire inside cabin shook and swayed so much that Jess clenched her father’s arm. Douglass C. Winnham eased his daughter’s fright by gently moving a strand of her blonde hair away from her eyes that was shaken loose from the wagons rocking forces. A tall and slender man he was with all the makings of a successful business man. His suits were always pressed and secured, his hair always combed in the most stylish of fashions to suit the day, and his grey mustache hung under his nose as if chiseled by a Greek sculptor.
His long wrinkled fingers were still strong. If anything his hands were the pride and glory of Mr. Winnham. His were the hands of a builder; a reminder of the days of old before his grand operations where he worked hard each day to survive. Waking up every morning before light came to help his father build his family’s house and later to build his own with his wife. Even Jess’s crib and all the house’s furnishings were crafted by Winnham. Growing up as a carpenter’s son, he knew and loved the feel and smell of wood. He ventured into all sorts of wood trades and quickly found the lumber business satisfying. After being married he started his business and became successful. Always in with the over seas trade with other counties which was what Winnham really wanted to be in near the time of his daughter’s birth. With trades with China and Russia and even England, he managed to create quite the lumber trade. Knowing that ships needed to be built along with houses and farms, not to mention the towns booming up with all those gold rush stories; Winnham knew it was right for the taking.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Why do I write?

I have been writing for most of my educational career and even as a small child my imagination always seemed to run away with me. I was like most other kids in that I stayed fairly active, but my body got all the exercise and not my imagination. I was always daydreaming of other worlds, other adventures. Growing up I was exposed to a lot of television and movies so I loved watching those things to escape my normal happenings.

As a kid I hated doing homework and only wanted to write and draw. My parents saw a natural talent for both, but still insisted I do my homework. Writing for me as I got older became more of a natural pursuit than a hobby.

As I entered into Jr High and High School, I couldn't wait to enroll in my English classes so I could write more stories. Writing to me seemed to have a purpose. At that age for anyone things usually are pretty awkward, and what I realized the most was how to adjust to my affinity for the arts at such an early age in my life.

When college rolled around I desperately needed to be in a place where I could create. Music has always been close to my heart as well. When I drive around I listen to music. For some strange reason, my creative mind just gets triggered and I imagine stories unfolding while I listen to particular pieces of music. I think in a way music is my muse of sorts. I have been able to really come up with a lot of good material just driving from place to place, running errands as normal people do, but I always tend to be able to let my mind just go. This process for me is quite freeing.

I now I shop for music according to what stories I want to draw or write. For a while in my early 20's I was a huge Frank Frazetta fan. His fantasy art really inspired me as a kid, so I decided to produce a series of Viking-like drawings in honor of my late hero. As music served me then as it does today, I listened to the "Conan the Barbarian" soundtrack to inspire me. The work never looked better.

As an artist and creative mind I find it comforting to know that I have a creative process. I sometimes over do it and it creates more stress, but it still works for me. Perhaps as I get older I will have it mastered or even it will all change for me. Until then I will continue to create.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Of Blood and Drink

The following is a passage from a novel I am working on. It is very much a rough concept so far, but I have many ideas planned.

Of Blood and Drink

The water was lucid and reflected daylight as it splashed under their feet while the party drudged onward toward the westward part of the banks. There were six total with one leading the group a few yards ahead. The group struggled to keep up, but the Native was not only familiar with this area, but was determined to lead these few where they needed to go. Trees tall and green surrounded the party in every direction. One could wonder if the Indian guide knew his way around at all. The party drew closer to the dark man as he came to a slower pace.

White Elk stopped and stood looking to the winds as if to receive further instructions. He bends down to adjust his leather moccasin. He wipes his brow with the sleeve of his shirt, now soaked with sweat and the scent of the forest itself. His belt holding his weapon: a tomahawk with a sturdy handle and a carving of a bird’s head at the top with a long narrow blade sharpened to look like the bird’s beak covered in scratches and dried blood. His black damp hair tied into double braids extends down from his head to the dip of his collar bones. He gets his direction again, and increases his pace from before.

The party’s Chef de Voyage, Bon Son proceeded to the front near White Elk. A large man whose presence shakes the very knees of most frontiersmen, does not dare upset White Elk by treading ahead of him. With buckskin trousers nestling a large hunting knife at the waist, and a true to life real Hawken at his ready, Bon Son grew weary of their passage up to this point.

“What did the winds tell you?”

“Chinook greeted us with great warmth” said White Elk. “She told me that the trees are watching for dangers and will let her know when it is not safe for us, Booshway”.

“That is all and fine. My men are growing tired. May we stop and fill our belly’s full of drink?” asked Bon Son.

White Elk did not stop but acknowledged the man with a slight nod and went ahead to scout for a resting point. He found a small nest of brush and fine weeds near the base of a rock formation. White Elk signals the men to come, and they all make camp ready to rest.

The night dropped in like a curtain at the stage. The mountain men under the guidance of Bon Son grew tired after a small meal of beaver and adwerdenty. Bright flashes of orange and yellow flicker and decorate the rock wall behind the party, as White Elk sits alone away from the excitement. Talks of newly explored wilderness and feats of great proportion escape the men’s lips as they drink more whiskey. Even Bon Son, who is usually not a curly wolf, extends lexis in conjunction with the other bearded souls. White Elk just sits away from the warmth looking to the trees that now loom over him. He pulls a small photograph from his leather satchel. The photograph with all its wear still seems bright in the dark impression. The image of a girl no older than twenty appears to the man smiling and peering into his heart. He breathes in slowly and lets out a sigh and shrug as if to somehow let out his very soul to the image. He then grips his tomahawk handle with much vigor and slips the photograph back into his satchel. A snap of a twig awakens White Elk’s weapon from its belted cradle and the Native turns towards the camp. There Bon Son is with a bottle in hand offering it to the guide as if it were payment of sorts for his efforts. White Elk lifts his hand vertical to the sky and shakes his head. Stumbling for a footing, Bon Son accepts the decline and proceeds back to join his fellow voyagers.

The air amongst the wood grows heavy and fleeting. White Elk listens for Chinook, but the winds are not amongst these few tonight. Silence falls over the camp, and out of the brush a snake leaps and catches one of Bon Son’s men. He lets out a wail of unnatural sound as the snake stops and coils to look at the men now awake from their drunken haze. The snake just looks at the men and snarls its fangs and hisses almost to deliver a message. The men step away just enough for White Elk’s blade to finish off the snake’s head. The body uncoils and then becomes motionless on the ground.

“We must leave now”, White Elk starts urgently. “There is great danger ahead and I fear our pause has brought us closer to it. I want to be far from here where our trail recesses.”

The men see to the one’s wounds and quickly gather their items. They all leave camp with fire burned out and empty bottles left behind.

Venturing for what seemed like hours, the whole of Bon Son’s men are still rattled from their mid-night taste of what’s to come. White Elk still ahead of the group now has both knife and tomahawk drawn ready to ward off what he knows, and only he knows is hunting them all. It was closer than he had realized. The thickness of air in the clearing was a sign, but too distraught over the memory of his fallen love White Elk did not realize the signs when he should. Now fully aware the strike of the serpent was clearly the work of panic and fear. Not Fear of the group but fear of what was trailing in the darkness.

As the mountain men struggle now to keep pace, Bon Son sees White Elk stop again. Chinook comes their way, bringing warning, but it is too late. They are all around, and they are ready to kill.

White Elk’s ears focus in on what sounds like a swarm of rushing currents darting through the air. Then in a slow manner to a crescendo the violent currents enter the sight of all in the open. The first spear falls and pierces the one with the snake wound in his chest. The man crumbles as he falls to his knees, blood draining out of his mouth as he tries to signal the others. Panic overtakes the party as more and more spears fall from the night sky. Some landing in the dirt, others into colleagues; White Elk stands his ground as he struggles to look for the origin of the attack. Spears are falling and piercing in all directions. Then in a swift motion, the spears stop. Bon Son is injured but not badly, gripping his left arm just about to stop the blood. White Elk now sees into the darkness. What looks like illuminated wolf eyes staring at what’s left of the company is indeed the party’s attackers.

The voyagers then find themselves in a rush of sorts made up of fierce warriors covered in mud and feathers screaming as they run lifting their oddly shaped clubs in the air. Their open gaps reveal rotted teeth and their heads barely covered by hair in bunches. Their eyes reflect the moonlight perfectly as they proceed to strike down the men in a violent haze of blood and passion.

White Elk’s weapons strike with might as bones and tendons separate under the swift cuts of his tomahawk and knife. A spear misses White Elk’s face and lands in the ground. He grabs the end and with his tomahawk breaks the spear in two. Just as another dark warrior rushes in front, White Elk thrusts the broken spear into the neck of his attacker spilling blood and spit into his face. Three more arrive and surround the young Native. He ducks under a swinging blow of a war club and jams his knife into the leg. He then hits in the abdomen with his hawk and knocks the foe from his stance. Another attempts a head blow with his weapon and White Elk turns and slices the enemy’s wrist with a swift swipe of his knife and finishes with a hack to the upper neck releasing head from ear and spilling brain. The last of the attackers swings with both arms large clubs. White Elk barely ducks backwards under the strikes and hits and takes out the knee spraying bone fragments in an outwardly manner. Gun shots all around fill the air with the smell of black powder as the mud covered heathens close in on their prey.

White Elk hits down another and calls to Bon Son who is seen struggling with one of the demons on the ground.

“Whatever happens, I will get us through this night”

Bon Son hits his adversary in the head with the butt of his Hawken rifle and gains his stance once again.

“What are these creatures?” asked Bon Son.

The mudded war party is starting to diminish. The fight may be over, but both sides have lost brave men. White Elk clears the blood from his trusty blades as the remaining dark souls escape into the thickets. He walks slowly over to Bon Son and reaches out to his shoulder.

“They go by many names. They are the Walking Death to my kinsmen. We have trailed on their land and they see fit to defend its borders”.

“Are they of men?”

“They are what nature needs them to be. They are one of the oldest orders that are from the ancient ways of the earth. The earth’s pains are their killing blows; the anguish brought on by the evils of man is how they are born onto this world. We live to venture on but at great cost. We must press onwards before the earth sends another party this night”.

As both men gather the two remaining mountaineers, they give penance for their fallen friends. The air grows light again and the moon lights the forest for the weary travelers. For White Elk this was a direct message from the earth herself. She is in great pain and only the Spirit Fighter can heal her wounds. For Bon Son it was a lesson not to venture this way again. His duty to his troupe was broken but not lost. The four gather themselves and continue on through the dark until morning light.

Hello and Welcome!

I have created a new blog for my writing! I am so excited because I had recently read an interesting article about how a local man in Anaheim, California had been wanting to be a published writer. He had said in the article that he tried and tried but kept getting rejected, until he recieved an email from a web company requesting that he send in articles to be read on a blog site for the original website. So after a year or so of writing for the blog, he got a book offer and now he is a published author whose books are printed in over 7 languages. So inspiring! So here is my little tidbit of cyberspace which features some of my up and coming works, as well as small topics/ articles of interest relating to writing for the entertainment field. Enjoy!