Monday, April 13, 2009

An Origin Story!

That's what I need! Wolverine, Batman -- what makes them compelling characters is that they have an extraordinary origin story. So I need to have one, too. Something gripping that will fire the imaginations of readers. Any suggestions?


Tom Jackson said...

OK, let's see:

"Mild-mannered Methodist seminarian Arnold Zwickelheimer, bitten by a radioactive palmetto bug in the rabbit-food department of a PetSmart in Polk County, Florida ..."

naaah, isn't working.

John said...

I like the rabbit food thing. I'll work that in. Or maybe I got my powers from being bitten by a radioactive rabbit. But what's my motivation? What drives me to my great acts of heroism? That's important in an origin story.

Tom Jackson said...

The best origin stories establish a clear relationship between the origins and the nature of the resulting acts of heroism; you need to make a list of those acts, and then decide what might have provoked them.

John said...

That's true, Tom.

Well, let's see...there is that time that I prevented you from accidentally walking into an Abercrombie & Fitch. Let me think of other heroic deeds for a while.

Tom Jackson said...

In my defense, I would point out that Abercrombie and Fitch was once an excellent sporting-goods mercantile establishment, purveyor of fly rods and elephant rifles to such great men as Theodore Roosevelt, and my wandering in its direction was in complete ignorance of its more recent degeneracy.

JD said...

You could be "That Guy." The guy that does "those things." Like, when someone needs a flat fixed, they would say, "Man, I wish That Guy was here to fix my flat." Or if someone is choking on their food, "Hey, where's that guy that knows the hymlic(sp)?" That could be you! And due to your penchant for never wearing sandles, you will be one step ahead of all of us sandel wearing hippies.

Darn, that sounded better in my head.


bob said...

After running over the Easter bunny someone must carry on the tradition. You realize that it is you when you start laying colored eggs each morning.

John said...


I think that Saturday Night Live covered that back in the 80s with a Mike Myers character called "Middle-Aged Man" -- who could be consulted on all manner of things that a middle-aged American suburbanite would know.


Is that the reason? I wish I had known. That urologist has been ripping me off all these years.

Dan Trabue said...

Perhaps it would help if I revealed my hidden identity and told my origin:

John, I AM Parallel Parking Man. I can parallel park like nobody's business. I got MAD parking skills. Give me a spot that's an inch longer than my car and I will be there to get the car in that spot.

The back story is this: When I was a young teen, I wanted to drive, drive, drive. I wanted to drive more than anything. In order to feed my need for speed, I played the early car racing video games and I was the best there was. I had leather fingerless driving gloves made just for me. There wasn't a game or a competitor that could beat me.

Til one day, some friends told me about this unbeatable game at a local bowling alley. Being a good Southern Baptist boy, I wasn't allowed to go into bowling alleys, for they smoked and drank there.

I went anyway.

Through the mist of the smoke from a hundred cigarettes, I saw the game against the wall: Rally 2000 (and this was only 1977!).

I approached it. I put in my TWO quarters (you knew a game had to be good when it took two quarters). I pulled on my custom leather racing gloves and let the game begin.

It was a tough one, I'm here to tell you, but I stuck with it: Hugging the curves, shooting over hills, cutting off the competition - ALL at top speed. Soon, it was down to just me and one other car.

Neck and neck we raced, the finish line just ahead. Nothing I could do to throw him off or get the lead, nothing he could do to shake me.

Soon, the game itself started to smoke and shake. Still, I held on, staying the course. As we approached the finish line, the shaking and smoking making it hard to hang on - I inched ahead, certain to win...

That's when it exploded.

Now, my friends were all around me and they told me later that I was knocked back and out for just a few seconds, but I swear, I entered the very soul of that dark machine and, after a life and death struggle, took that Golden Car Key from Racer X and emerged victorious, waking back up.

Ever since then, I've had mad parking skills.

And now you know.

Guard my secret well, friend.

JD said...

All I can say is captain sweatpants my friend, captain sweatpants.


John said...

Dan, that is an awful power, but an awesome origin story.

JD, a poor sense of fashion is not a superpower.

Dan Trabue said...

An awful power?? Are you kidding me?!

Did you understand what my power is? Parallel parking, you know, with cars? In the city?

JD said...


the power to parallel park in this day and age, be successful at it, and actually share that ability, is a enormous power and responsibility, so much so that Dan should be the head driver's ed teacher of all driver's ed teacher.

captain sweatpants looked pretty powerful to me. i bet he could take you and i out just by blinking.