October 27, 2015

Where Stories Come From: BLACK BAT MYSTERY VOL 3

You know, I could be rather pedantic and just encourage you to read my introductory essay, "The Auteur & The Vigilante" after "The Magnificent Anderson" in Airship 27's excellent Black Bat Mystery, Vol 3 collection....but that would be a bit snarky.

I could simply cut and paste the essay from the original Word document and post it here, but that would be 1) lazy and 2) detrimental to sales.

So in an effort to encourage you to purchase this book, here's what I'm going to do....many writers will claim various sources of inspiration, but I can point my finger at the one man who is responsible for starting the process that led to the writing of this story.

And that man's name....is Chuck Moore, my former Comic Related editor and current co-host of The Charlie Tonic Hour.  

I wish this story had better, more elaborate details - you know, things like a mysterious phone call in the night, a sudden road trip to Texas, and a large attache case full of newly minted $100. It's the kind of story that Chuck deserves....but it's not quite that colorful.

In fact, it was the result of Chuck posting two videos on his Facebook page - a fan-created video that postulated a Batman film starring none other than Orson Welles. And now, for your viewing pleasure....






So after viewing, and having copious amounts of free time (due to being....what is the word....unemployed), I found myself indulging in some research, and came across an interview where Welles was describing how he wanted to make Citizen Kane a kind of "social document".

So it hit me....what if Welles based his "social document" on an honest-to-goodness pulp hero? And, thanks to Airship 27, I knew there was an opening for a Black Bat Mystery anthology....and thus the story was born.

It went through a series of tentative titles, none of them very good, including:

  • Citizen Payne (which sounds like a bad 1980s action flick);
  • The Magnificent Payne (Yes, before he was "Randy" Anderson, he was Roderick Payne); and
  • Lights! Camera! The Black Bat!
("The Magnificent Anderson" was a great compromise - it let the reader know about the in-joke, and the reason I didn't include the actual historical figures....if you know that three well-known people and Sparky, the Donut Boy are suspects in a murder, you can be well assured that Sparky's going to be the murderer. You're not going to mess with history).

So what came forth was an unusual pulp tale - one that combined high intellect with lower motivations. One with plenty of nods to Welles' life without seeming too knowing. It's a great little tale, and I think it shows how much I have grown as a writer.


Chuck gave me my first professional "break" as a writer....and in a strange way, he's done so again.

John Wilson and Brant Fowler have a lot of catching up to do. 

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