Monday, May 22, 2017

It was the monsters: T. Mike McCurley on Dino Force

Dino Force has 24 hours left on Kickstarter. Here's some words from T. Mike McCurley on his contribution to the shared world. 

Godzilla stomping his way through Japan, viewed on a tiny black-and-white television. Raymond Burr as reporter Steve Martin, cast in deep shadow one moment and stark closeup the next, telling the world of this titanic monster from the sea. Me, as a kid, sitting on the edge of my chair and watching the display with mouth hanging open. Dreaming for weeks of enormous beasts wading through cities.

That was my introduction to kaiju in general, but it wasn’t my last exposure. For decades, I got my fix with late-night movies, VHS tapes with bad tracking, and the occasional new gem found in some movie rental place.

Shortly after those early kaiju films set a spark in my brain, the discovery of TV shows such as Ultraman, and Voltron: Defender of the Universe fanned the flames. I grew up loving these things. When I started writing, I always had little fragments and snippets of verse that alluded to them.

Years passed, and while I still loved the subject matter, I did nothing significant with it, turning my attention instead to superheroes and serial survival stories. My only exposure was a stack of movies and quite a few television shows. Then one day, I get a message from Nick Ahlhelm telling me of a project he has in the works and gauging my interest. I fairly jumped at the chance. Shortly thereafter I was scribbling notes in a book and imagining where I wanted to take the tale.

When the locations and creatures were decided upon, I threw away all those notes. It wasn’t that they wouldn’t work, but rather a new idea jumped to mind. I ran with the new one, bringing in a teenage girl with a troubled family history and a desire to live her own life more than simply to fit in. I wanted to take her away from the usual patterns I had seen, and so I made her a boxer, used to the dingy, dimly-lit gyms you’d see in old movies. The kind of person who would willingly get up at “oh-dark-thirty” so she could get in her necessary exercise and training before school. Someone willing to sacrifice social standing for her own reasons. Someone who believes in herself, even if others dismiss her. Sam came alive for me, and I am glad I got to share a part of her here.

Where I once had to depend on late night television to feed my love of movies, I now have shelves devoted to DVDs. My “guilty pleasure”, as it were. Since those early days, I’ve seen tokusatsu in many forms, and even at its worst, it tells the stories of people. People from disparate backgrounds coming together, even if they don’t really care for each other on a normal basis, and helping to stop a threat to their homes. It’s that connection to others that brings out the best in humanity. Having my character become a part of that makes me proud to be a part of the Dino Force team.

As I type this, I have yet to see the “final form” of Dino Force. I know the basis. I’ve read the background and the main ideas behind the project, but the only contact I have had so far has been entirely my own. I can’t wait to see what the others have done, and how Sam’s tale fits in with theirs, now that the enemies have returned.

T. Mike McCurley lives in a small city in Oklahoma, where indeed, “the wind comes sweeping” and all that. He began writing superhero prose on a whim one day, and found it enjoyable enough to continue. His short stories soon formed the backbone of what became known as the world of The Emergence, describing events and players in a world of metahumanity that began in 1963 and has continued to grow since. From there came the stories of the metahuman cop known as Firedrake, which has now filled three books, with a fourth in the works. The Adventures of Jericho Sims was born from ideas years ago and they are finally seeing the light of day. Described by the author as “Josey Wales meets Carl Kolchak”, Jericho is a gunfighter cursed by dark forces. Searching for a demonic doctor, Jericho’s travels bring him face to face with the supernatural. Amazon has a full list of available books, and if you want free stuff (‘cause who doesn’t like free, right?) check out the website at where the blog runneth over with free stories!

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