I had an idea I would like to try for my new superhero story. I have always been a fan and admirer of Stan Lee, the founder of the modern superhero genre. I kept track of all his cameos, attended some of his conventions, and watched a number of his shows. Now, however, a bright light has gone out in the universe when Stan Lee died. He was two years older than my sainted grandmother. Thanks to his decades of creating superheroes, Stan Lee has left an overwhelmingly fruitful legacy. He gave us superheroes such as Spider-Man, The Fantastic Four, The Incredible Hulk, and the X-Men. To honor and pay tribute to Stan’s memory and legacy, I am thinking of basing a major supporting character in my new superhero story after him. The character will not share his name, but he will share some aspects of Stan’s physical appearance and personality. This character will serve as a homage and salute to this great man!
When Marvel Studios did a montage of all of Stan Lee’s cameos over the years in the opening of Captain Marvel, the only words that crossed my mind were, “We love you, Stan!”
A hero by definition is someone who does heroic deeds. A superhero by definition is someone with extraordinary powers or skills who performs heroic deeds. However, I am thinking of redefining the concept of what it means to be a superhero in my superhuman series. In Game of Thrones, George R. R. Martin introduced us to the Age of Heroes, which was inhabited by legendary figures such as Bran the Builder, Lann the Clever, and Garth Greenhand. These characters could be considered the Game of Thrones version of superheroes. However, these characters were called heroes because the deeds they did were not heroic, but because they were legendary. I am thinking of adopting this concept with my superhuman series. The main characters will be superheroes not because their deeds are heroic, but because they will be legendary yet morally ambiguous.
I had a conversation with my favorite author, Christopher Paolini, on goodreads.com and this is how it went:
Me: “It is an honor to communicate with you, Mr. Paolini. I am a great admirer of your work and look forward to reading your future books. I am pleased to inform you that you are the reason I decided to become an author myself. I thank you for your inspiration. However, there is one thing that I have been meaning to ask you. Will we see another story taking place in the Inheritance world?”
Mr. Paolini: “Glad to hear that you are writing your own projects! There is no set date for a return to the world of Alagaësia because it’s really dependent on when I finish all of the other projects I’ve been working on and thinking about first, including my upcoming science fiction novel, #TSiaSoS. Hope that helps!”
This experience was utterly blissful because I got to talk to my idol and childhood hero!
I have spent my entire writing career creating stories about superheroes performing good deeds and saving lives, but this time, I actually got to just that yesterday. I was about to drive out of my neighborhood when I found a stray dog wandering around. I stopped the car, caught up with the dog, and called its owner through its license. The owner found me and I was able to return the dog. After the deed was done, I finally got to feel the satisfaction of doing a good deed for a fellow human being and a helpless animal. It was during this ordeal that I understood that writing about people doing good deeds for the public is one thing, but to actually do it in real life is something else entirely. When you write such as event, you are basing what you imagine the character would feel during that situation. However, when you perform something good in the real world, you feel and understand the emotions that occur throughout the event.
At WonderCon of 2014, I encountered Dan Parsons, who was one of the people responsible for the Star Wars Legacy Comics, which are some of my most favorite Star Wars graphic novels. When I found out who he was, I felt a jolt of excitement because I have dreamed of meeting one of the masterminds behind Star Wars Legacy. It was basically like shaking hands with one of my personal heroes. I enjoyed meeting another storyteller and artist who possessed as much passion in their work as I do and it is a moment that I will forever treasure until the end of my days.