Somebody asked me to write a post about the various comic books that influenced my writing. This is a tough one because I was into a lot of them and was running off to comic show after comic show. I had a battered little notebook with a listing of what I was looking for and it eventually fell apart around the same time I ran out of money. I did get a few sweet finds though:
- Very battered first appearance of Sabretooth.
- Wolverine Limited Series #1
- Spectacular Spider-Man #1
- A bunch of first appearances like Rogue, Gambit, Apocalypse, Deadpool (that got damaged during the Florida move), and mostly other mutants.
- All of the Batman: Knightfall story arc, which took me 2 years to collect.
The first influence I should mention is Spider-Man. I was into the games and cartoons before I stepped into the comics. In fact, the first ones I got was the complete collection for ‘Maximum Carnage’. That means I began with Spidey, Venom, and Carnage in the spotlight. These three became my mental standard for heroes, anti-heroes, and villains that were connected. For those that don’t know:
- Spider-Man was the true hero who was always doing what is right.
- Venom was the violent anti-hero who would do what he thought was right even if it broke the law to help others.
- Carnage was a murderous serial killer that went on to get used so often that he lost his impact.
You might see this triad turn up in my stories from time to time. Not sure if it turns up a lot in Legends of Windemere or if it’s so clear. You might find parts of Spider-Man in there though like Luke Callindor worrying a lot or Delvin Cunningham being very responsible. Honestly, I tend to look into a character’s sense of responsibility a lot as they go through with their adventure. One thing I can say is that Spider-Man is a big influence for Savior.
The next big comic series I got into were the X-Titles. For me this was, X-Men, X-Factor, Excalibur, X-Force, Cable, Wolverine, and Generation X. Not really sure where I started with this, but I remember a lot of the big events of the 90’s. As far as influences go, I couldn’t pinpoint anything specific. There were so many characters in these titles that I could connect every character of mine to somebody. One thing I do think this helped me with is figuring out team dynamics and making it more like a family than a business partnership.
Lloyd Tenay from Crossing Bedlam took a lot from Deadpool. I liked the violence and humor of him. Not as much 4th wall breaking in the beginning from what I remember, but I’d have to read his original comic run again.
I’ll finish on two aspects of comics that I tend to include in my books and both of which end up in the action scenes. One is the blow for blow, back-and-forth battles that tries to make it visual. It’s not very often that you find a one-sided comic fight. At least when I was reading them and that was predominantly Spider-Man. All combatants took blows and many times the hero had to think of a way to end the fight after being injured. I see the fight play out in my mind as pictures instead of words, which is a big reason why the scenes are what they are. Also might be why I write in present tense.
Finally, the second aspect is the banter during fighting. A break to catch their breath and try to get an emotion out of the other. This doesn’t always go over well with people, but I use it to do a variety of things. You get a sense of the mental status of a character and the fight can be more than a paragraph of pain. This doesn’t always work though. I try to have the banter hit when both combatants are wounded or tired, so they welcome the pause since neither can take advantage of the others’ weakness. Another part of this is that different characters have different banter styles and rates. Luke Callindor and Sari tend to mouth off a lot. Nyx does it too, but more threatening than teasing. Delvin and Timoran aren’t much into talking during battle unless they see a strategic reason. I’m always curious to see how it comes out for new characters.