Origin of a Species: It’s Mostly Lon Chaney Jr.’s fault, and a little bit of Michael J. Fox’s

Things that aren’t clever: Gorilla’s in Gorilla city. Puppies from Puptopia.

Things that are clever: Thundercats from Thundera. Romulans from Romulas. A werewolf named Lupin.

I will forever be a fan of Michael J. Fox as Scott Howard. Until I die, every time I look in the mirror and think I’m dressed dapper, the BeeGees will play in my head and I will say out loud,

“You are an animal, awoooo!”

A lot of the time I blame my dad for things, but this one lies squarely on the shoulders of my mother. My dad gave me my first comic book and kept the television tuned to spaceships and laser beams. But it was my mother who introduced me to monsters. I was a King Kong-ophile at 2 years old. As soon as she thought I could handle it (4 years old, maybe?) she put Frankenstein in front of me. And Dracula. And Dr Jekyll. And (drumroll, please) The Wolfman.

It’s there in the title folks. THE Wolfman. Not Curse of the Werewolf or I Was a Teenage Werewolf or Saturday Night B Movie Werewolf. She went straight to the top shelf. I’ve said it before,

“Monsters and Superheroes were my first drug and my parents were the dealers.”the_wolf_man

I couldn’t get enough of LCJ and his buffalo hair. He was the best monster. He couldn’t be stopped. Frankenstein and the Mummy had bum legs. Dracula was allergic to vegetables and could be taken out in his sleep. But if you were close enough to see The Wolfman, you were already toast. He was faster than you. He could smell where you went. He was gonna get you. But you felt bad for the guy! You didn’t want him to get caught. You wanted him to escape and find a cure. You wanted him to get the girl. I mean him as in Larry Talbot, not the wolf. If he got the girl it was over. And man the part when Claude Reins has to…you know what I’m not gonna spoil it. But man, it’s the best.

And then came Teen Wolf.

When I was a kid I wasn’t allowed to buy ice cream from the ice cream man. The guy in the truck I mean. Kids in LA were getting snatched left and right and my parents were taking no chances. But it was fine, because my mom would buy freeze pops or drumsticks or just plain old ice cream. No muss, no fuss.

You see I loved The Wolfman because A)I felt for Larry and B) it terrified me in a fun way. It was a safe scare. But yeah he could have been under my bed at night or in my closet or behind that tree in the back yard or what was that noise?!

But Scott Howard was kid. Not only was he a kid, he was Marty McFly! (Don’t even get me started on the genius that is BTtF, we’ll be here all day) He wasn’t attacked and almost killed, he just became a werewolf. Now right around that time in my life I had stumbled upon Weird Wolf in the school library. I check it out once a month for year. I think I was in 1st grade. Yeah, definitely 1st grade. So I was 7 years old and facing a dilemma. I wanted to be a werewolf. That was my wish-upon-a-star wish. But I wasn’t all that hearty about it because after The Wolfman changed, he always killed somebody.

Weird Wolf introduced me to the idea of non-lethal lycanthropy, and then Scottie brought it home.

You mean you can be a werewolf and still wear clothes and talk and do handstands?!

I wanted that for Christmas.

Oh, and he was instantly good at sports. I sook at sports. Always have, always will. Even sports video games confound me. But if I were a werewolf…

Teen-Wolf-2

So that’s why when I created a fantasy world I had to have werewolves. But what would I name them? Weres? Too easy, and probably taken. Wolfmen? Too on the noise.

When in doubt, Questors, just look up the latin/scientific name of that thing you want to rename.

Dogs and wolves are part of the genus canis. It’s where we get canine. From there it was just a simple task of figuring out the spelling.

 

Hey wouldn’t it be cool if there were a race of cat people that were ancient enemies of these wolf people? And oh man, what if there was a guy who was Kaynai and couldn’t control himself after a Shift to dire?

Sincerely,

Shomari

 

Want in on the Brainstorm? Email me: author@sabiensquest.com

Character Quirks: Do monks really know kung fu?

Yes and no. But mostly no. Unless it’s yes. Look, all I know is this: Bruce Leeroy is my homie.

Barry Gordy’s The Last Dragon was my favorite movie as a kid. Well after King Kong. And Teen Wolf. But I’ll get into those later. The Last Dragon is the story of a guy who knows karate, and then fights another guy who knows karate. And it takes place in Harlem, New York.

And it’s AWESOME!

In 10th grade, when I was supposed to be thinking about Spanish and English and Geometry, what I was really doing was counting down the minutes until I could get home and play Silver.

Cover

This game was a love letter written only for me. You could become a werewolf. You could use your mouse to slash and stab the way you’d use a Wiimote now. And then you could grab these magic orbs, one of ice, another of fire, and then shoot fireballs. And you could even get a sword that shot ice!cagen

But the coolest thing was that there was a character you could add to your party who was this monk, Cagen. He knew kung fu, and whenever you swiped your mouse, instead of stabbing with a sword he could punch kick. It was the best.

And he was such a pleasant guy! Bruce Leeroy, too. They were swell fellas. I wanted to write about a monk who studied fighting at his monastery and was as nice as them.

So I did.

Now for those of you who didn’t take martial arts as a kid, there are these things called katas. Basically, it’s you moving around the room in predetermined stances strung together. If it were figure skating you’d call it the routine.

(Figure skating? What made me think of that?)

I wanted Sabien to be one of those Way of the Peaceful Warrior types. I wanted him to be able to defend himself. And I wanted to write what I knew.

So yes, monks DO know kung fu.

Sincerely,

Shomari

 

Want in on the Brainstorm? Email me: author@sabiensquest.com