This week’s blog is dedicated to the best cat ever.
Sarsgard Wentworth Linde
Born somewhere around 2003. Died April 24, 2019
“Of my friend, I can only say this. Of all the souls I have encountered in my travels, his was the most human.”
We miss you, buddy.
A comment from a recent visitor:
“Well, hell yeah, I’d want to win!!!”
And my answer to that eloquent comment is, me too! And I wrote the damn thing! Thanks for stopping by and entering, Tony.
Just a friendly reminder; this is the last week to enter to win an autographed copy of “Son of Ravage.” If you haven’t already, proceed to the comments form. The rest is easy. And now’s the time to get any friends to stop by to enter. You can’t have all the fun and, hey, you’re doing them a favor. I will be drawing the name of some lucky person next week.
Hold onto your hats as we have some great blogs coming your way. In a few weeks, we will run my interview with journalist Alex Horvath. Alex is a Bay Area legend who has interviewed such luminaries as Tony Curtis, Marty Balin of the Jefferson Airplane, and now. Little old me. We will be doing that interview Sunday, April 28th and will post it before it prints. So, stay tuned!
And now this…
Exercise. That’s the topic of this week. Even great heroes need to get off their ass once in a while to make sure they remain fit for adventuring, fighting crime or both. Unlike the vast majority of modern Americans, they know the importance of a vigorous daily mental and physical regimen that keeps the heart pounding and the blood flowing.
As the writer of Son of Ravage, I know that sometimes it’s just a matter of having enough hours in the say to take care of ourselves. And, there’s always the cost to consider. Gym memberships aren’t cheap and once you have one, you still run the risk of contracting a flesh-eating bacteria from stationary bike that had its last full sanitary wipe-down sometime during the Carter administration. Exclusive and higher cost gyms have their own drawbacks. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked out for a date in the men’s steam room. Nothing worse than a “come hither” look from a complete stranger who’s attempting to reenact the police interrogation scene from “Basic Instinct.”
Oh, sure I could jog or bike. But that carries its own risk. Have you seen the drivers that are out there these days? I know from personal experience. They’re terrible. I should know, I’m one of them. No, I need a regimen that I can practice in the privacy of my own home. Something a bit more challenging than Robert Preston singing “Go you chicken fat, go away. Go you chicken fat, go.”
Well, after years of searching, I think I’ve finally found it.
As you can see from this rare photo above, I’ve stumbled onto a daily routine that can be accomplished from the comfort of your Lazy Boy recliner. For the last eleven years, not a day goes by that I don’t indulge in this rigorous activity. Sometimes, I am so immersed, my wife has to come into yell at me that it is time for dinner or that it is three in the morning or that I need to turn the damn sound down. During these daily drills, my senses are tested to the limit, thumbs and forefingers strenuously going through a series of four challenging buttons L1, L2, R1, R2 and the most complicated maneuvers of all, L3 and R3 (which can help strengthening the muscles of your flexor pollicis brevis, and abductor pollicis brevis).
As with all good things, some people can overdo it, taxing their body too much and pushing the envelope. Some spend entire days, nights and even weeks, in deep, contemplative training. Some devotees never leave their basements, wearing adult diapers and taking entire meals from Taco Bell or Carl’s Jr, while deep in their pursuit for perfection. Generally, these disciples are not married, or in any kind of serious relationship. The pale, sun-deprived devotees know full well, that if they pause, even for the briefest of moments, they very well might lose their competitive edge. They are truly are the unsung champions of the digital age, keeping the fight in the basement and rumpus rooms where they belong.
I am 65 years young and I am proud to be one of them. Remember, you are only as old as you feel…or as old as the osteoarthritis in your hands makes you feel. Maybe this explains what happened to John Carradine. I will have to check that out. Until next time, Happy Exercising and Boss exterminating.
This week I received a cryptic message from a new visitor to our site, one Steverounc Steverounc
I can’t be sure, but my hunch is this message is from the same person who messed with the 2016 presidential elections. His message of hope and conciliation is as follows:
“Hi, I've been visiting your website a few times and decided to give you some positive feedback because I find it very useful. Well done. I was wondering if you as someone with experience of creating a useful website could help me out with my new site by giving some feedback about what I could improve? You can find my site by searching for "c*&^*^ monkey" in Google. I would appreciate if you could check it out quickly and tell me what you think. c&^%#monkey.com Thank you for help and I wish you a great week!”
His nefarious purpose is clear. Not only does he demand all of us to visit his online casino but, just like in the last presidential election, he is attempting to overthrow my contest for an autographed copy of “Son of Ravage.”
Do you damnedest, Steverounc Steverounc or whatever your hacking handle is at the moment. jplinde.com and the friends at Weebly will remain vigilant.
And now, this week’s blog:
Villains wore black and spoke with distinct fascist-tinged accents. The heroes were true-blue, red-blooded Americans, and possessed neither fear nor vice. These adventurers had distinct names, meant to strike fear in the hearts of evil-doers around the world. Names like, The Shadow, The Avenger, The Black Bat, and others. Danger was around every corner and on every page. It was an era of the dime novel and the daring exploits of Rock Ravage and his amazing crew of adventurers.
To say, I love fantastic stories found in the pulp novels of the thirties is a bit of an understatement. I came to these unique tales late in life, introduced by a college friend who shared a sensibility as well as my sense of humor. I devoured as many of these paperbacks as I could find, as addicted to the colorful covers as I was to the words inside. This, my friends, is how “Son of Ravage” came to be.
Like most books, Son of Ravage did not come into this world easily. In the eighties, its incarnation was a screenplay titled, “Comic Book Heroes. Some of the core characters even existed in the unproduced version but the plot never really got off the ground and the project was abandoned.
An extremely overwritten first draft of the novel had been finished years ago, and it was only through much trial and effort that the final version eventually manifested itself. I wanted the work to have a distinct feel, each chapter resembling the over-the-top serials of the 40s. In essence, I wanted to take an entire book series of pulp adventures and cram them into a single volume. Easier said than done.
I also wanted to infuse the novel with a 1980’s vibe, complete with a distinct voice and sense of humor. The work does border on satire but hopefully is much more than that. If I did it right, the humor is both situational and borne out of the distinct characters. The constant bickering of the vain actor Face and the exuberant hulking man-child known as Beast quickly became my favorite scenes to write. Creating a constant feuding that felt familiar to pulp and comic fans became a fun challenge. Doc and Brain proved to be a bit more challenging, and it was a quite teh task not to have the two archetypes blend together. Lisa Wittman, an early supporter of the project, was extremely helpful in insisting that the two have own distinct style.
The cast of colleagues are all based on real-life personalities. Close friends that I have known for a long time. However, as close as their physical description is to real life, their motivations and personal histories still remain complete fiction. On a humorous note; one of these real-life personalities, the friend who is the basis of character Doc, recently read a draft. His only comment was that Brain seemed to get more page time.
Any careful reader will note immediately that historical events do not always coincide with the actual year and date. I humbly ask for forgiveness whenever history does not match the the decade. If you have any sense of history at all, you will soon know what I mean.
I hope you have a better understanding of why this book is so important to me. It represents an attempt, feeble as it may be, to recreate a very special time. National and world events being what they are, maybe it is time for more heroes like Barry Levitt. I, for one, hope so. It has been a long journey from imagination to page, but I have enjoyed every single step of it. I hope you get a kick out of it as well.
Okay, well that’s it for this week. As usual, tell all your friends about our little virtual home away from home. And most of all, to visitor, Steverounc Steverounc. As God is my witness, you, sir, will never win an autographed copy of my book
“I finished HDA. I really really enjoyed it. It was an original concept with undertones of Sam Spade and Q’s gadgetry. Where’s “The Dream Killers”? I want more!”
Thanks, Tony! Appreciate the comments. There will be more. I promise.
Palm Sunday. Who’d have guessed that this particular part of the human anatomy would get its very own holiday? Admit it, Ravagers, the greeting card companies have gone way too far. Oh, well, since everyone is doing it, give yourself a hand. And, in honor of the high, holy holiday, Turner Classic Movies will be showing, “Ben Hur,” both versions, “King of Kings,” both versions, “Greatest Story Ever Told,’ thankfully only one version, “Quo Vadis,” “The Robe,” “Demetrius and the Gladiator,” “Easter Parade,” and holiday perennial, “Star 80.”
Since we’re talking film, it might be fun to go over my Top Ten Films of right now. Of course, all this nonsense is subjective. My rating is pretty much based on how many times I have watched the movie and, if I happen to stumble upon it on the tube, do I waste a few precious moments of my day, jumping back into it. These are in no particular order, but their addition means they made quite the impression.
“Grapes of Wrath.” Based on John Steinbeck’s prize-winning novel, this John Ford classic pulls no punches on the depression-era trials and tribulations of the down trodden Joad family as they make their way to California. I have seen it so many times, I’ve lost count.
“Double Indemnity.” Billy Wilder. A noir classic. See it for the performance of Barbara Stanwick alone. Politics aside, Edward G Robinson is damn good and creative bantamweight Fred McMurray holds his own as the Insurance Broker with an extremely dark sales pitch, Walter Neff. This is another film I can’t get enough of.
“Out of the Past.” Classic Noir. Are you beginning to see a pattern here? The hard-boiled detective, Robert Mitchum, the seductive femme fatale, Jane Greer and, of course, Kirk Douglas as the gangster Whit. How can this little film be so great? “Baby, I don’t care.”
“The Professionals.” Richard Brooks epic saga of four adventurers hired to find a kidnapped wife. The story takes place in turn of the century Mexico and features great chemistry between the leads, Lee Marvin, Burt Lancaster, Woody Strode and Robert Ryan. I must have seen this movie a thousand times and have never, ever gotten tired or bored with it. It also contains one of my favorite retorts to “You bastard” of all time. “Yes, Sir. In my case an accident of birth. But you, Sir, you're a self-made man.”
“The Great Escape.” Directed by the legendary John Sturges at the zenith of his career. The only reason that The Magnificent 7 is not on my list, is because this prison camp escape film is. An ensemble in the true sense of the word. “Hold onto yourself, Bartlett. You’re twenty feet short.”
“Being There.” Peter Sellers as Chance the Gardner is simply one of the greatest performances of all time. “I like to watch” became a catch phrase of a generation and in one broad swoop, Sellers was able to remove the bad taste from the last three Pink Panther Movies.
“West Side Story.” The concept of dancing and singing hoods is not altogether new. But, the seriousness of subject matter, paired with the music of Bernstein and choreography of Jerome Robbins, made this the biggest Oscar winning musical of all time. So great, it makes me worry what Steven Spielberg is going to do with his version.
“To Be or Not to Be” directed by Ernst Lubitsch and starring Jack Benny and Carol Lombard. If it weren’t for a mediocre remake, I would have never heard of the original. By the director of the equally great, “The Shop Around the Corner,” this film wins because of the smart comedic dialogue, intertwined seamlessly with a rather complicated plot. Benny and Lombard are brilliant foils, playing masterly off each other. There is also a cynical dark side to this movie that is sometime missed.
Okay, that’s my list. I’ve shown you mine, show me yours. Post your thoughts in the comment section. It can’t hurt and, as an added benefit, you’ll be thrown in the contest for an autographed copy of “Son of Ravage.”
Great news, Ravagers! We’re holding a good ol’ fashioned barn raising and book signing. Bring your wooden mallets and tool belts, along with your copies of “Son of Ravage,” to Outer Planes Comics & Gifts, 519 Mendocino Avenue, Santa Rosa, CA 95401. The reading and signing will take place between the hours of 6 and 7:30 pm. We’ll take care of the barn sometime after. Books and swag will be available at the event. See you there!
We now return you to "Fox and Friends."
Thanks for stopping by and for spreading the word about this little website. I have a couple more special guests that will dropping by in the coming months so stay tuned. Some of these guests may be genre specific, writing about topics near and dear to all our hearts. Others might be here just to drop some knowledge on what it takes to create. Either way, they will always be worth the read.
NEWS FLASH: We’ve made a down payment on a nearby sweat shop, city officials have been bribed to stay away and my Pay Pal account is up and running. What does it mean? It means SON OF RAVAGE SWAG is almost here! We’ll keep you posted.
While we’re at it, a quick shout out to one of our many visitors last week, Scott R. Scott was kind enough to stop by and leave the following comment: “Doc Savage fan from way back --- 45 years now! I am not so much of a purist that I cannot appreciate a well-done pastiche!!”
Wow! Much appreciated. As for “pastiche,” Son of Ravage” certainly qualifies. Comments, like Scott’s, are always welcome, and, as an added bonus, he’s now entered to win a personally autographed copy of “Son of Ravage.” See how easy it is?
And now, from Amazon reader reviews, this little nugget:
“Linde's got a fertile imagination, a quick wit, a sharp sense of irony and an impressive way with words. He tells an imaginative tales with skill and yet still manages to surprise the reader. A fun read!”
Thank you, Verified Purchase!
And now, without further ado, this week’s blog:
“On the rare occasion he was spotted, the turret was explained as the medical appliance for a man who lost most of his face during a nasty brawl at CBGB’s.”
Son of Ravage
Fans are letting me know in no uncertain terms that one of their favorite characters from “Son of Ravage” is gasp, not Barry Levitt, Doc, Brain, Face or even Beast, but none other than that nefarious henchman, the dapper hitman with the steel-plated face, Tanktop. And, to be frank, he’s one of my favorites as well. But did you know that this is not the first time, our beloved villain has graced the page? If you said, no, you win a kewpie doll! Tanktop was created by me in the eighties and first drawn by artist, entrepreneur and founding member of the “No Prisoners” comedy troupe, James Edgerton. Tanktop played an integral character in a screenplay I had written aptly titled, “Comic Book Heroes.” Being one of my first screenplays, the story had to include Nazi Vampires (Editor Note: Nazi vampires have always been big with me. However, I do feel validated by the proliferation of Nazi Zombies on the various incarnations of “Call of Duty.” I mean Nazi vampires are pretty much the same thing. Right?). The screenplay did feature a climactic battle atop Seattle’s Space Needle. Hmm, I may have to revisit that scene again.
Time passed but the idea of a henchman with a tank turret for a head never abandoned me. The name, of course, is a homage to the Dick Tracy villains of the 1930s. You know the ones, Flat-top, Prune Face, Pear Shape, Lips, The Brow, and my personal favorite, Catheter Nose. Okay, you got me. I may have made the last one up. Call me simple, but I love the idea of naming a henchman by his one, defining feature. It’s simple, direct, and gets to the point. Plus, whenever the reader comes across the name, it’s easy to imagine in their mind’s eye.
Richard Kiel as Jaws from 1977’s “The Spy Who Loved Me” was an inspiration. Menacing and funny is hard to pull off but Kiel seems to handle it all easily. His follow-up appearance, in “Moonraker,” eh, not so much.
Tanktop raised his iron-plated proboscis again, more than 30 years later when director Matt Zettell and I created a kid’s television sitcom pilot that made the studio rounds titled “The Nemeses.” The pitch was simple. Super criminal Blofeld is now a family man, on the lam and hiding out in the middle of suburbia. I needed a Lurch-type of character and decided my old friend fit the bill quite nicely. Producers and readers agreed; the presence of the silent giant stole the unproduced show. Again, close but no cigar.
But I’m a stubborn cuss and was not about to give up on what I believe is the breakthrough literary character of the 21stCentury. For my second novel, a homage to the pulp stories of the 30s, I wanted a henchman that was both deadly and comically absurd. Someone that would capture the reader’s imagination but would be sympathetic at the same time. I think our friend fits the bill quite nicely. It was fun coming up with an origin story that fit his singular epic personality. Feel free to read all about Tanktop’s tragic beginnings in “Son of Ravage,” available exclusively on Kindle and paperback on Amazon.
A very special shout-out to artist and friend, Aaron Montes for the Tanktop logo that is now gracing tee-shirts and coffee mugs. Who knows, logo inspired lingerie may be just around the corner. Aaron certainly captured the absurdity of such a character, and I am extremely grateful for his creativity.
No spoilers but if Tanktop manages to make it through the first story, I hope he will decide to stop by for the second installment. But like Jaws in “Moonraker,” I would hate for him to overstay his welcome. What do you think? Why not leave a comment.
Well, that’s all I have. I’m tapped. Until next week, America!
In 1981, J.P. Linde co-wrote and appeared in a one-man comedy show titled “Casually Insane.” Shortly after, he joined the ranks of stand-up comedy and performed in clubs and colleges throughout the United States and Canada. In 1989, he made his national television debut on “Showtime’s Comedy Club Network.” He wrote the libretto for the musical comedy “Wild Space A Go Go” and co-wrote and co-produced the feature motion picture, “Axe to Grind.” “Son of Ravage” is his second novel.