Started the long weekend with this little mini review from Mark in the great Pacific Northwest:
“Reading “Son of Ravage.” Great story with fun, quirky, character development.
Kind of a “Carl Hiaasen” feel but west coast based. Great way to spend the long weekend!”
Mark goes on about considering it for his local book club. Wow. Obviously a very discerning group of literature lovers. Where do I sign up? Let me know and I will gladly bring the box of wine. Seriously, thanks Mark! One caveat. If you do have a SON OF RAVAGE themed book club, please send info and pictures. I promise to post them right here.
Let the countdown begin! Seven days until I stand before a crowd of thousands at Outer Planes Comics & Games and declare to the entire world that I am the actual, living, breathing of son of Ravage. Gotcha again. Not really. Unfortunately, I will not be declaring any unexpected birthright. Not this time, anyway. But I will be reading from SON OF RAVAGE with as much dramatic excitement as humanly possible. Does that count? Hopefully we’ll get someone to get take video of the whole event so we can share it right here. Stay tuned. I will be back the following week with a full report on the “Son of Ravage” Book reading and signing at Outer Planes Comics & Games. We’ll even share a few pictures.
If you read it, they will come.
Before I get all caught up in the whirlwind of the event, a special shout-out to Albert and Dan at Outer Planes for all of their hospitality. Always willing to try new things, they have been fantastic partners in this endeavor! When people ask me, why a comic books store, I tell them; SON OF RAVAGE is a comic book…without the pictures. Give it a read it and you’ll know by the first chapter what I am talking about.
Next week also marks the debut of a very special guest blogger here at jplinde.com. My daughter, Pacia Marie Linde will be bringing all of her wit, wisdom and literary prowess to the virtual table with her particular take on a little show we call “Riverdale.” If you haven’t watched this hour-long piece of modern Americana, you should. Half “Twin Peaks,” half “90210,” this little gem of CW network is a ripe topic for a discussion. So, stay tuned. It should be fun!
Just a reminder, my episode of “Stop Me If I’ve Heard This” featuring Art Krug and Susan Rice is still available for download. This is not your parent’s book plugging podcast. There be laughter here. Lots of laughs and a bit of info about the much-anticipated sequel to my little opus.
Almost forgot. Next week a new contest begins. Tell all of your friends, relatives and arch enemies that starting June 1stuntil the end of August, you can enter to win a Son of Ravage tee-shirt. That’s right. One lucky winner will be receiving apparel featuring the logo and villainous henchman Tanktop. Click on contact on the top banner and enter your information along with the words, “tee-shirt.” One lucky winner will be drawn at random at the end of the summer. Good luck to all of you. And, as usual, no wagering.
Well, that’s about it for now. See you next week!
A new record! 433 visits to jplinde.com in the past 7 days. Still, I can’t really tell how many of those visits were by Russian bots…so there’s that. But to the rest of you who took the time to visit, thanks!
We’re officially TWO WEEKS away from the SON OF RAVAGE reading and book signing at Outer Planes Comics & Games. The good news, I picked the 2ndsection to read aloud! The bad news? It will most likely be the acknowledgments. Am I kidding? You’ll just have to show up and find out. Anyway, I hope to see all of you Bay Area fans from 6 to 7:30 pm at 519 Mendocino Avenue in Santa Rosa. I’ll be selling and signing books and will also have some nifty Tanktop t-shirts for sale.
These little beauties were designed by the remarkable Aaron Montes and put together by the phenomenal Justin Billy. There is a rumor they may even be at the reading, so make sure to say hi.
Recorded my episode of STOP ME IF I’VE HEARD THIS with the uber talented Susan Rice and the always bubbly and effervescent Art Krug. So much fun and so many laughs. I got my start in stand-up comedy with these two wonderful performers and it is always great to catch up and share a few laughs. We talked about all things SON OF RAVAGE and the two were even able to squeeze out a couple tantalizing nuggets regarding Barry’s follow-up adventure. The podcast will drop tomorrow, May 27th.
We have a very special guest blogger dropping by in a couple weeks. Don’t want to give the writer or the subject matter away, but it promises to be a lot of fun. I wish I could provide you with a hint, but I am contractually unable to do so. It’s in the fine print, buried inside a 2008 iTunes agreement. It’s all rather complicated.
We have another review on Amazon. Five stars.
“Really loved this book! great characters and dialogue - fun adventures and great pop culture references. I'm looking forward to the hinted at sequel!”
Thanks! Keep those reviews on Amazon and Good Reads coming.
We’ve gone international!
A shout-out to the following is in order:
Angus & Robertson Bookworld in Australia
Blackwell in United Kingdom
One more little friendly reminder. If you want a copy of SON OF RAVAGE and have managed to get yourself from Amazon for violating the user agreement, you can always jog on down to your local independent bookstore. They will be glad to order it for you. Who knows, after you read it, and following your sterling recommendation, they may even decide to stock it on their shelves. The same goes for your local library. Just request a copy and they will get a copy, or two, for their more discerning patrons.
Okay, that’s about it for now. See you next week!
Phew, we are back to posting Sunday like civilized bloggers. I can’t tell you what a burden it was to post Saturday, Friday or whenever day that happened to be convenient. I just hope you appreciate the effort it takes to provide you with your weekly fix. And now that I have successfully reminded you of your mother, we can move on.
Hopefully, Scott in Houston, has his winner’s copy of “Son of Ravage” and already deep inside the tale. Can’t wait to hear what he thinks. Speaking of reviews, please remember to post your own reviews on Amazon, Good Reads and wherever book reviews are accepted. Reviews are never expected but always appreciated. So keep spreading the good word about our fanciful little tale!
Found some old writer blog posts from almost a decade ago. I thought this particular post was worth revisiting. I liked it because it was almost 100 percent wrong. The entry is from, Thursday, March 11th2010, and concerns the first table read of the musical comedy “Wild Space A Go Go.”
I must say that I went in to this first rehearsal with a bit of anxiety. Not so much for the cast - as they are all fantastic! I knew going in that they would be both professional, prepared and up to the task. The anxiety was all mine. I mean, why not? I was the one who wrote the libretto for Christ’s sake. I am not sure if I am the typical insecure writer or not, but I really went in expecting hundreds of winces as actors got to particular jokes/lines or maybe, even worse, a throw-down of their scripts in total disgust and a collective walkout.
Luckily that was not the case! If there were winces, they were well masked by their professional faces. What’s more, their timing was impeccable, and the reading astounded, not only me, but the director and composer as well. Here were actors who instinctively got all character beats in the script and got my timing for the way a broad comedy script like this has to go. I believe that each writer delivers a script but a timing of how that script will play. It’s all part of that inner voice that manifests itself when we are writing. It is just a matter of trusting that voice and believing that it will carry over.
I mentioned in an earlier blog that I was forced to trim in order to meet time restraints of the venue but also jokes that somehow repeated too many times. What ended up happening, in one case, was putting a joke back in – just based on how the actor delivered the line. With his unique reading, it was not overkill at all but a wonderful set-up for the next gag. Bravo, actor. Well done!
Insecurity comes with the creative territory. But all of the pundits agree in terms of comedy. If it makes you laugh, it will cross over from the page to the performance. I guess the real test comes with the actor that breathes life into the lines and their experience. If they have the chops, the laugh will come.
We are blessed with an immensely talented cast. Whatever happens, I will be grateful to work with all of them. In all future projects, I hope that I work with actors of this caliber.
So optimistic, right? Well, on the third day of rehearsals, the actors turned on each other and cannibalism ensued. Just kidding. They never went fully Whaling Ship Essex on me. Maybe they should have. You see, we rushed to production and there were some, eh…problems. The show needed more work. We needed (drum roll please) more table reads, preferably some in front of a live audience.
A year before, we workshopped the project, other actors reading the libretto and performing the songs before an invited crowd. No laughter. Zip. Zero. For a tragedy, this might be okay. For a musical comedy, this is a ground zero disaster. I was talked into believing that we only needed one workshop. That these events were always this quiet and the book, music and lyrics only needed a new opening.
This, my friends, was not my first trip to the table read rodeo. Tom McComb (Doc to you Son of Ravage fans) and I had a sitcom pilot that was cowritten and starred the legendary Jerry Lambert and featured the awesome Debra Jo Rupp from “That 70’s Show.” This reading was far more successful as the material had been properly tested.
You know when you are ready and so does your audience. Cast reads are only part of the equation. Workshop as often as you can before a live audience. Never blame them for not laughing. Look at the material first.
There was a horror script at Paramount and the first read was a disaster, Everyone, including the actors, knew it. I was hired and did a complete overhaul. I met the actors for the 2nd reading and taped the performance. Much better, but not quite there. After repeated listening, it was decided that more tweaking was needed and there was a third reading. This time, we hit it out of the park. Keep writing. Despite what you think, or what people tell you, you’re work can always be better.
Another week come and gone. Can you believe it? It seems just like yesterday when I promised to announce the winner of a free, autographed copy of SON RAVAGE. I am pleased to announce that Mr. Scott Ranalli is our winner. Scott, if you are reading this, you won! Try to contain your excitement. For the rest of you, you’re all winners in my book. Anyway, new contest coming soon. And, to all of you, thanks for playing our little game.
I am currently in Los Angeles, soaking up the cool and clouds of an uncharacteristically late spring. Oh, yes, and for those who are keeping track. I am writing this from Starbucks. Santa Monica and, I haven’t caught sight of a single, fellow writer. What is happening? The first thing you must know about writers in Southern California is that, we are everywhere. Apparently, just not in this particular Starbucks.
When I lived in Hermosa Beach, CA in the nineties, I walked out of my back door only to see a page from a screenplay laying in a mud puddle. Of course, I did what any self-respecting producer would do, I picked it up and threw it in the trash. Nothing worse than a littering writer.
Did I mention that we have some very nice “Son of Ravage” tee shirts coming your way? Of course, I did! I predict that someday these articles of collector clothing are going to be as popular as Trump Steaks. And, I’m betting, just as edible. They should be arriving just in time for my reading at Outer Planes Comics & Games in Santa Rosa on Sunday, June 9 at 6 pm. What I don’t sell there will be up for grabs. 100 percent certified sweatshop free. I will keep you posted! Rumor has it, that they might be the prize in our next contest. Available in medium, large and X large.
Have you checked out my J.P. Linde Author Page on Facebook? Good information and you can sign up for my reading at Outer Planes Comics &Games. And, I have it on good authority that 1980 J.P. Linde drops by with a very important announcement. Check it out.
Well, I better get going. I have a Starbucks cup I need to deliver to the set of Game of Thrones. Boy, are they in for a surprise.
The big winner in our contest will be announced Mother’s Day, May 11. The rest of you still have a chance. Click contact form, fill it out and you could be the proud owner of an autographed copy of “Son of Ravage.” Speaking of contact forms, we had another guest who entered our little contest. Below are his comments:
Hereby bring to your esteemed company
attention allocation which is currently on board in Rotterdam port / Huston port.
Kindly notify us your willingness to allocation this available products.
See how easy it is? Even people from the dark web can enter. I only hope they are not planning to undermine our American Way of life and our beloved “Son of Ravage” autographed book contest. If so, it will not go unpunished, Alexander, or whatever your filthy Russian bot name is.
The big day at Outer Planes Comics & Games is just weeks away. I am feverishly looking through “Son of Ravage” for one additional passage to read and share. I’ve chosen the first one and that was a no-brainer but am looking for one more that showcases the work in general. If you have any ideas, let me know. In the meantime, I will practice my diction.
And speaking of Outer Planes Comics & Gifts at 519 Mendocino Avenue in Santa Rosa, they are the only store authorized to sell copies of “Son of Ravage in the United States.” If you are in the Bay area and want to see the comic store that the “The Bohemian” named the best comic bookstore in Sonoma County. Check it out. More bookstores from around the country will be selling it soon.
NEWS FLASH: “Son of Ravage” has gone International! The novel is now available in the Great White North. King's Bookstore, 6350 Coburg Road in Halifax Nova Scotia, Canada now carries the literary adventures of one Barry Ravage, proving once and for all that this favorite Maritime Province is more than just Puffins and Seals. It also happens to be the birthplace of Ellen Page! Keep it classy, Canada.
I will be the guest of Susan Rice and Art Krug on their fantastic podcast, “Stop Me If I’ve Heard This.” We will be recording May 19thjust in time for Memorial Day. Here is a link to their fantastic show.
Susan and Art are old friends, gracious hosts, and fantastic comedians. I’m sure we’ll share a gaggle of laughs while talking about my little book. Do yourself a favor and subscribe to this podcast.
Okay, I can see that I overstayed my welcome. Don’t forget to tip your waitresses and, in the immortal words of dark web Alexander, “Proshchay.”
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.