Savage Enterprises Publishing
Mike Aragona - Freelance Writer / Editor

The Last Word

Creating Adventures — (February 2001) I just realized it's been a long time since I took a look at my life in terms of where I am and where all my dreams have gone. It seems I've spent a good number of years figuring out my career/ day job and/or just day to day living. But, I've failed to put down where I am creatively. So, since I'm at somewhat of a loss in terms of what to write for this Last Word article, I decided to concentrate on that. I'll try to go as linear-ly as possible, but I make no guarantees.

The Mysterious Minute-Men. My first true creation. Came to me as an inspiration for the internal newsletter I created back at my first job SO many years ago. The idea of a super-hero parody of both the genre and the people I worked with struck a chord with me and (luckily) with most everyone who read their exploits. As I ported their adventures over to Comicopia, their stories grew wilder and larger with each issue and introduction of a "new" character based on an existing member. At one point in time, especially after seeing their appearance in a Dog Savage Saga, I made the decision that I wanted to see them in a true comic book format. Gaby was going to help with the art chores and I had Francisco's knowledge to help with the publishing (after all, he'd figured it all out with Variations on The Theme). All I needed was a script and money.

The story part was simple enough. I wanted the focus to be on the history, but I also wanted the new characters to be in the book. Thus, the 1st (and probably only) issue would begin with the Current Team celebrating some kind of anniversary at Stan Mikita's Donuts. Someone would ask Minute-Man to tell them a story of the early days and we would flash back to the creation of The Mysterious Minute-Men (basically, the meeting between Minute-Man and Orion and how they teamed up to go after The Diabolical Chef Jacques). If the book would have been (will be?) a success, future issues would have rotated between new and old stories (or perhaps half and half).

The hardest part, of course, was the money. Because of Francisco's experiences, it was easy enough to guesstimate the costs involved. They're not as unreasonable as they could be. And, I had begun to put money aside towards that project. But, as you all know, life changed for me in many ways which pretty much ate up those reserves. Thus, although the heart was in it, the other factors fell apart and the book is now relegated to limbo. Sadly, the specific mind-set I needed to write the kind of stories which made The Mysterious Minute-Men popular began to fade as my joie-de-vivre was replaced with struggling-to-live. The beginning of the end came with my utter disgust at the whole Spider-Man Clone fiasco. That was when I truly realized that money was more important than content to the "industry". I was able to bounce back from that thanks in part to Dog Savage, though. I also fondly remember the tribute to Jack Kirby in which I exorcized my "Image Comics" demons by concentrating on what made comics important to me. Somewhere along the lines, I wanted to write more "serious" stories.

I used The Mysterious Minute-Men first and presented a story in which Minute-Man battles (and finally overcomes) his own internal demons with the help of his (unknown) future-friend and future-son (yes, foreshadowing :)). It pleased me and I was very happy with it. However, the bug to write more serious hero-fiction bit deeply and I wanted to pursue it. But, I didn't want to pervert the original raison-d'etre of The Mysterious Minute-Men. Enter: The Night Stalker.

The Town of Realmont first saw light in a story I wrote to bridge a gap between my online identity of The Savage Knight in FayryLand and "today". To me, Realmont is Montreal with Super-Heroes. Thus, when the character of The Night Stalker was born, it was only natural for me to expand upon Realmont. And, as the storyline got more convoluted, it only made sense to bring The Savage Knight into the fray.

Before I continue, let me explain how my thought processes worked in creating this "universe" of mine.

Every town must have a "first" hero. Thus, The Night Stalker. In order to fill myself (and hopefully the readers) with a sense of nostalgia for the "olden" or "golden" days, I wanted his first story to the world to be his LAST. In this manner, we get a sense of history which could slowly be expanded upon through interactions with other characters and future stories. The cliffhanger ending of the first story begged so many questions: who did it? how did they do it? what's going on? But I wasn't ready to divulge these answers yet.

As I mentioned, the bug bit deeply. Writing that first story caused an explosion of ideas in my head that begged to be put to paper. The Night Stalker was a hero of electronics and experience. But I was interested in the occult. Enter Eldritch Tales for my own brand of "Hellblazer". So, if magic exists, why not a land of magic? Or even a time-lost Knight in search of something? Re-enter The Savage Knight. The more characters and storylines came to me, the more ideas sprung up once their stories were written. With The Night Stalker gone, who would replace him? Why? What would the other heroes think? What would HIS first adventure be?

Bit by bit, the pieces fell into place. The Savage Knight came to Realmont after a brief stopover in which he meets his guide and his love, Oracle. He enters our world to find Jack about to extend his life. And in the shadows, The Night Stalker and Night Shade watch and then follow. Of course, before I can continue my Tales of Realmont, I introduce everyone to Eclipse and The Red Devil!!! Will this ever end? :)

Let me assure you that I know perfectly well where I'm going with this storyline. It IS one storyline and will wrap itself up. However, before I do that, I am going to continue presenting you with characters and storylines which give you more insight into the players involved in this drama. Then, when the main story concludes, I'll write up new individual adventures of my favorite characters. Just bear with me :)

So, what about Fan Fiction based on established characters? I've never been one to do that, don't ask me why. Every time I've tried, the stories all became galactic in scope and size! First with my Fantastic Four/ Skrull story (in the early years of the Apa), then the Gene-X mutant stories, and finally with my Return of the JLA/ SpeedForce story (which you've never seen although a couple of you have seen my notes). I guess I find it easier to create on a Grand scale using my own characters. (Because, truthfully, that's what happened with my Realmont tales. I started writing individual stories and they forced me to converge and link them all up. It's crazy!! :) )

All other projects I've been involved with have, sadly, also been hit by various setbacks. Because of that, there's no point in my discussing them here since I am not the one who has control over them. Perhaps one day they will get the green light again and some progress can be made. Until then, I'll continue to delve into my little universe whenever I have the time. At least now I finally have an outlet for all my creative sides: Comedy with The Mysterious Minute-Men; Occult with Eldritch Tales; Fantasy with The Savage Knight; and Super-Heroes with The Night Stalker, Eclipse, and many others you've yet to meet. There *are* a few other genres I haven't touched upon yet, but I will. When I'm ready to explore them. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the stories I have presented and will continue to present. And, I also hope you have enjoyed this quick over-view of where I've been and how far I've come!

What does the future hold? Who knows. I'm not a clairvoyant. That's Oracle's job. But, I will continue to create. It's a part of who I am. And, many years from now, who knows? Perhaps the funds will be available and Savage Enterprises Publishing can finally put out some comic books created with love for the medium by people who generally care about what they present. You never know... :)

(The Last Word (c) Mike Aragona. All rights reserved. No reproduction or retransmission of this article is granted without written permission of Mike Aragona)

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