The second guest post in my “Superhero” month comes from TW Johnson. Tim and I have known each other just over ten years, having both published our first books through the same publisher. And we had the same results.
Never heard of Metaegus, you say? You will. Two short stories are coming up in two anthologies (I’m not at liberty to discuss the details) and I’ve had the pleasure of beta reading both stories and, as always, Johnson is an incredible storyteller. Aside from writing, he is a skilled graphic designer, having put together the layout for the ebook version of LILY’S REDEMPTION for me and the layout for all versions of INVASION OF THE NINJA.
And did I mention that he’s a black belt in Tae Kwon Do? Tim’s hurt his back and has taken the time out of his therapy to write this guest post for me.
Thanks for having me, Jeff.
Well, I once read somewhere that many find their passion for the written word when they’re children. My day of discovery, notwithstanding, was somewhat different. Sill, the seed for this craft most likely began its germination probably in the late 1970s to early 1980s at the place of my old stomping grounds. The neighborhood had few kids—and I was an only child—so a big imagination was paramount.
Of course, TV played its role too. Think of it as a “golden age”, if you will (for me, at least), of well-made shows and cartoons which often mixed fantasy and science fiction seamlessly (Thundarr the Barbarian, Blackstar, and Masters of the Universe, to name a few). Years later, those same programs (and others) would prove to have a significant impact on my artistic direction.
So fast forward several years and I’m heavy into music. In truth, I began pounding on church hymnals at age three, so drums were my primary instrument at the very young age of six. I started singing at an early age, too, then took up guitar lessons for a time. Later on (pre-teens to my mid-teens), I studied piano; and toyed with the trombone. It seemed as though I was always composing some musical piece, which often included lyrics.
Anyhow, during my late teens, I began collecting and reading comics (still have them). Whereas before—as a kid—I never recalled seeing a single comic book store anywhere. Didn’t even know they existed, as crazy as that may seem. Undoubtedly, had I known sooner, my fascination with them would’ve begun at a much younger age. I did, nevertheless, have a few comics back then (Archie, I think, and a handful of others). But how I acquired them remains a mystery. They just always seemed to be there.
I’m going to skip way ahead now. It’s 1995; I’m married and working for a phosphate mining company. And strangely enough, for the first time in my life, I’m an avid reader. Weird, huh?
So one day that same year, my wife pulls out a short English assignment while sifting through her school papers. She hands me a horror story to read, and I loved it.
Inspired, I set out to write my own—a first of many. And that’s how I got my start. I wrote a horror anthology, then set it aside to work on a much larger project that I naively published via an online scam in 2003. Like multitudes before me, I’d fallen prey to an unsavory lot I now call “dream-stealers.”
It went from bad to worse one year later, though, when several hurricanes devastated my hometown. Needless to say, all aspirations halted while we spent the next several years re-building.
Eventually, I was able to leave the mines and return to college. I graduated with an associates degree in 2011, then started writing again sometime afterward.
I’ve recently been reworking all of my original material, compiling it into an ongoing superhero mashup (of sorts), utilizing my fondness of the 1920s-1950s pulp fiction era, and the 1980s burgeoning palette of pop culture to create something unique.
Which brings me to what this article is about: one of my superheroes, Metaegus, who initially began as an FBI agent. Nowadays, he’s a particular type of detective/enforcer that works for an elite group I’ve dubbed the Paranormal Science Force (or PSF for short). He can also transform into a celestial guardian.
This massive overhaul of my stories and characters is due to the evolution of a single villain, though, who went from supernatural horror motif to an all-powerful cosmic status.
Call it retconning or whatever, but it was necessary for me to create a heroic contender, and continue to change the storyline so that everything meshed suitably in the end. I know many don’t like “set in stone” ideas altered, but shouldn’t the creator/owner always have the last word when said work(s) belong to him/her? Isn’t it the author’s/owner’s right to construct and reconstruct as they see fit?
Alas, other thoughts have intercepted the flow of this article, so I should bid all adieu before I digress into inane banter. Thanks again, Jeff, for allowing me to share a distilled version of my backstory, a hint at what I’m up to, and (completely not planned), one person’s thoughts on their intellectual right to govern all aspects of their creation(s).
Should anyone be interested in following my endeavors (stories, music, etc.), even though I’m a bit slow when it comes to delivery, go to http://phasmafic.com. I’d be very grateful.