It was late at night when I got the email -- JD’s, I mean, and it was actually a deviantArt note -- asking me if I had a project with legs. I didn’t have time for a proper reply. The midnight movie started in an hour, see, and God forbid I bother to memorize the bus schedule.
Imagine me, that night at the bus stop: a six-foot scarecrow in a snappy blazer, scribbling down ideas in a tiny yellow notepad under the flickering streetlight, snickering, chuckling, buzzing like a high tension cable with sheer electric excitement. Some other schlub was waiting there too, huddled on the far side of the bench. I could feel him freaking out. I could not have been paid to care. I had a chance to make something meaningful with my top-draft artist, and the night was pregnant with possibility.
Something with frontier bounty hunters. Something with aliens and spies. A pair of Harleys roared by the stop -- something with motorcycles, I scratched onto the paper. The bus was rolling up. Legible handwriting and riding a vehicle on the streets of Santa Cruz do not a feasible combination make, so I cranked out one last stray bit of headmatter for the road:
The Shadow’s agents.
Not an idea by any means. Not a new idea, anyhow -- Walter Gibson called dibs on that one back in 1935. But it’s a good one; a secret web of men and women just like you or I, each of them devoted body and soul to a cackling criminal mastermind whose dark machinations brought doom to evil men. It’s an idea that means a lot to me, for various reasons that merit their own post. And it got me thinking of what the Shadow and his vigilante mafia would look like in 2011… didn’t hold water, of course. The updated homage joint is half a comic at best, Supreme Power be damned.
The next day I’m sitting at my desk with youtube and This Isn’t Happiness™ sharing the screen when I come across this
which for some reason transforms into this
on it’s way from my eyes to my brain. Somewhere in the bowels of my mind I remember this grainy photo that's supposed to be the enigmatic writer B. Traven -- the Shadow had an office under the name B. Jonas -- and before I know it this gonzo writer pirate radio vigilante has taken shape and name in my mind, and he sits there and sneers at me as an entire world grows up around him. Lamont Cranston reborn, let iCrime beware. And it’s almost enough. It's almost enough! But it’s still just a fresh coat of paint. It needed Jack Donaghy’s third heat.
The Third Heat. Not a horrible title for something, that.
Next time: The Third Heat.