|Awesome art by Derrick Fleece. More on this later.|
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
The new story, and MASKS Volume 2 begins …?
So in case you missed it (for some reason Facebook only let about 40 of you see the link), I posted a brand-spanking-new story over on Pocket Coyote yesterday. I was originally going to call it “Ghost Dance,” but it went in a different direction and ended up with the title “Brothers in Arms.” Same story, different title. Sorry for the confusion. Anyway, it’s over 5,000 words long and introduces three(!) new heroes in the Masks-verse.
No, they’re not taking over the series in Volume 2. But each of those three guys will be important in Rae’s and Trevor’s next adventure.
The first new guy we meet is Clayton Ross, a.k.a. the Black Mask. He’s the guy we get the word mask from, sort of like how modern English speakers got superhero from Superman. And for someone who basically defined what it means to be a mask, he’s rather … well … human. And grumpy. And sarcastic, but by now you guys know to expect that. He’s a trenchcoat-and-fedora hero, not a cape-and-tights hero, and he apparently spends most of his time punching mobsters in the face and taking their stuff. (In this story, he’s somehow acquired a rather luxurious private plane—and in 1947, having a private plane of any description was pretty impressive.) He’s spent the last few years creeping around Europe, punching Nazis in the face, and he’s fresh off using his skullduggery skills to gather evidence for the Doctors’ Trial in Nuremberg. Now he’s back in the United States, and he’s uncovered something that gives even him the creeps. Someone has been keeping a mask—or “mysteryman,” as they’re called in Ross’s time—prisoner, trying to figure out how his powers work. Ross wants to break the guy out, and to that end, he’s recruited the kid.
“The kid” is actually almost 30 years old now—Ben Wise, a.k.a. Eagle Eye. He got into the masked-hero game when an eccentric inventor paid him a hundred bucks to strap on an experimental flying harness and jump off a roof. (It was the Depression. Don’t judge.) Ben got hooked on the rush of flying, and the next thing you know, he’s gliding over rooftops looking for muggers to beat up. Sometime in the 1930s, he ran into the Black Mask and teamed up with him several times. Later, Eagle Eye volunteered for service in World War II, and some bad things happened to him overseas. When Ross finds the young man he’ll always think of as “the kid”, he’s trying to drink himself into a stupor. But Ross needs the kid sober if they’re going to pull off a superhero-style heist …
The third side of this triangle is a bit more mysterious, and he’s important to “Brothers in Arms” mostly because of his absence. First identified as the Big Guy, he’s a well-known mysteryman who teamed up with the Black Mask and Eagle Eye and was the major reason they got along before the war. The Big Guy had a great sense of humor, he was bulletproof, and he was the sort of fellow who’s friends with everyone within a few seconds of meeting them. Ross and Ben miss having someone around who can laugh at the bad guys, and they’re not sure how to do this team-up thing now that the Big Guy has gone missing in the bombing of Dresden. But the Big Guy still has a few secrets in sore …
So what does this have to do with Masks volume 2, you ask?
Well, each of these three men—the Black Mask, Eagle Eye, and the Big Guy—has a role to play in the story. That’s not to say any or all of them actually appear; the Black Mask, of course, was famously blown up ten years ago, and Eagle Eye’s a very old man if he’s still alive, and the Big Guy, well, was in Dresden. But they cast long shadows, and those shadows begin to gather in the first chapter of Volume 2, which goes live tonight at midnight Pacific time.
Yes, you read that right. Volume 2 starts tomorrow. Only on Pocket Coyote. The first chapter is called “Transformations,” and it throws Rae and Trevor into a new and dangerous situation. A major supervillain has died, and the executor of his estate is selling off some of his most treasured and esoteric possessions—including one object that Trevor desperately needs. He and Rae must go undercover at an auction full of villains in order to get that precious object. If they’re recognized, they’ll be dead before they can reach the door. And there’s someone there with an agenda of his own, someone who’s nothing but trouble for our young heroes. Oh, and somebody wears leather pants. I’m all about the value for click.
And now, if you’ll excuse me, I have an illustration to finish …