Last year, I posted some fun background bits about the Action Figures series — trivia about the series and my writing process. Readers enjoyed the peek inside my head, so as I get ready for a weekend working MASSive ComicCon with my wife (and therefore will be away from my laptop), I thought I’d share some more insights (be forewarned, there might be some slightly SPOILERY tidbits).
- Lovecraft references are scattered throughout the series. One of the more obscure references is to the film version of Re-Animator; the Lumley brothers — Gordon, Stuart, and Jeffrey — are named after director Stuart Gordon and star Jeffrey Combs.
- While the series is roughly plotted out through the final book, game plans change as the story progresses. Originally, Matt and Sara were going to end up together, but the more I thought about it, the less I liked that idea. It fell into a trope I rather despise: boy meets girl; girl has no interest in boy; boy ignores girl’s feelings and keeps after her; girl breaks down after realizing boy wouldn’t keep trying so hard if his love wasn’t real; boy and girl get together. I dislike that trope because it sends a message that boys shouldn’t respect a girl when she says no, that a girl is a prize to be won, and that someone with self-esteem issues can be “fixed” by the love of a good person. I abandoned that story thread while revising Secret Origins and started planting hints that Sara’s lack of interest was due to the fact she was still coming to grips with her sexuality.
- Edison “Concorde” Bose is named after Thomas Edison (who, like Concorde, was kind of a dick). Edison’s son Nick is named after Nikola Tesla.
- Carrie owns a copy of the first American printing of The Hobbit featuring the revised Riddles in the Dark chapter, passed down to her from her father, who got it from his father. In mint condition, this book would be worth close to $2,000. Carrie’s edition is very well-read and nowhere close to mint condition.
- The Hero Squad’s favorite flavors: Carrie = mocha. Matt = caramel. Sara = maple. Missy = ginger. Stuart = why play favorites? They’re all good.
And now, a bonus factoid or two about The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot…
- The main characters are a subtle homage to a classic Dungeons & Dragons adventuring party composition. There are two fighters (Derek, a straightforward fighter, and Erika, a ranger type), a thief (Felix), a magic user (David), and a cleric (Winifred). Also, the party starts to form after a chance meeting in a tavern — a traditional starting point for many adventures.
- Speaking of Winifred, I’d originally planned for her to be a one-adventure character, but I liked her too much. How will she factor in with the rest of the series? You’ll have to wait for Assassins Brawl to find out.
As I’ve mentioned before, I sometimes cast actors as certain roles to help me find their characters. In S&L, Winifred’s look is based on former WWE star Stacy Keibler (which I guess would make her a Keibler elf), Derek was inspired by Mummy-era Brendan Fraser, and Felix I’ve always pictured as a scruffy Ryan Reynolds. In Assassins Brawl, I’ve fan-casted two new characters — Lord Paradim and his captain of the guard, Isla Manse — as Jorge Garcia and Gina Torres, respectively.
Curiously, no one has stood out in my mind as suitable for Erika. If anyone has their own fan-casting suggestions, I’d love to hear them.