Page 260 is here, and here are some notes about it!

1. Look at that Jason Occult–after hours of battling that huge team-up of heroes, there’s not a scratch on him! That guy’s powerful! Which is why it took me so long, as I mentioned in an earlier one of these blog posts, to figure out the method by which Jason became the Ultimage. I needed something that could justify his phenomenal cosmic power.

2. In case you forgot, Jason used the cloak and Skelman the Sorcerer’s spellbook to channel the ENERGIES OF THE MULTIVERSE ITSELF!

3. I normally post these notes earlier in the week, but I was sick. I’ve been sick, off and on, for weeks. The worst of it was, let’s see, a couple of weeks ago, around Monday the 28th. I pretty much slept all day that day. Then we got some days off school because of the cold, and that gave me more time to rest, which was helpful. Then I felt great! Free from the sickness! And then, a couple of days ago, I came home and collapsed, unusually exhausted, and the next day I had a sore throat, and now the mucus . . . I’m just saying, it seems random, every day, whether I’ll feel well or not, and what symptoms I’ll have.

4. My instinct is to feel guilty and beat myself up when I, for example, don’t write a blog post in a timely manner, but my loving wife keeps reminding me that it’s important to rest when you’re sick.

5. This page and the first half of the next page are the climax of our story. At this point, it’s pretty much all out there, you can see where we’ve been going with this. What’s left is all epilogue. It’s a weird feeling, after months of planning, outlining, counting pages, and hoping I could squeeze everything in, to actually be at the end.

6. The caption in panel 4 says, ” Where had this need to control everything come from? A sense of inadequacy? A childhood trauma? What hurt him so badly?” On the one hand, I think it would be a fair criticism of this story to say that the reader never really learns Jason’s motivation, that it’s always kind of vague. On the other hand, the whole story is from Brianna’s point of view, and, as this caption demonstrates, she doesn’t really get where he’s coming from or why he’s like this. Maybe there’s a perfectly good explanation, but she and the reader don’t know it. That may seem like a cop-out, but it works for me.  

7. I wrote a novella called The Nihilist’s Curse (coming soon!), and when I shared it with my writers’ group, they were appalled at one of the characters’ world-view. That character was the nihilist referred to in the title, and he explains about how he doesn’t care about morality, that he only cares about himself, and he thinks everyone else feels the same way, but they just lie about it. My friends in writers’ group are kind, generous, loving people, and they couldn’t believe how awful this character was, and they questioned whether he would actually have friends and be able to function in society.

I replied that, not only do people like this really exist, but there are a lot of them, many of whom are very successful. These are the people who run the world–there are plenty of CEOs, politicians, and other movers and shakers who care only about their own power, wealth, and personal comfort, and don’t give a damn about anyone else. At a certain level of society, I would say this kind of attitude is the norm, rather than an exception. I don’t think the character I wrote was that unusual, except maybe in how honestly he articulated his worldview.

8. It’s occurred to me that my assumption that the average American CEO has the same basic mindset as a super-villain probably affects the way I write my villains. None of the villains in the Electric Team so far–Major Ager, Dr. February, Larzipan, Jason Occult, etc.–has had any inciting incident that turned them evil. They’re just greedy jerks. It would be nice to think that you need a traumatic even, like Dr. Doom’s losing his mother, or Lex Luthor’s losing his hair, to turn you into a villain, but it seems like many people are just naturally greedy. Yes, I think Dr. February is evil; no, I don’t think she’s any worse of a person than, say, Mitch McConnell.  

9. Which brings me back to Jason Occult. From my perspective, Jason doesn’t really change much over the course of the story. When they first meet, Jason tells Brianna that she’s special, that they’re both special, and they deserve better. He means it; he thinks that he and Brianna are superior, that normal rules do not apply to them, and that other people exist to serve them. There are lots of people who have this sort of attitude but never have the power to act on it. It’s the power that makes the difference.  

10. It’s like in Bonnie & Clyde, where Clyde impressed Bonnie at first, with all his talk about how she deserves better, and he’s going to show her the world, but near the end, when they’ve lost people they love, and nearly died, and the cops are closing in and it’s all gone wrong, and Bonnie asks Clyde what he would do differently if he had it all to do over again, and he says he’d do his bank jobs differently, and starts to talk about the logistics of it, and you can tell by Bonnie’s expression that she’s realized that he’s not the man she thought he was, he’s limited by his imagination, he can never dream of anything more than robbing banks.