Two weeks ago, I suggested that fantasy / science fiction is silly. Last week I admitted that I like toys. So what else can I do to damage my credibility as a serious artist?
How about monsters?
If you’ve ready any of my books (and let’s just pretend that you have) then you already know I like monsters. Weird monsters. Classic monsters. Giant monsters. Tiny monsters. You name the monster, then I’m probably a fan.
Whenever I get accused of being a “Big Kid”, it’s usually for something like this because kids like monsters until they are convinced to grow out of it and replace the fiendish creatures with second rate stand ins like serial killers and vampires, zombies and werewolves. But I like my monsters to be monstrous. I like them to be big and scary and decidedly inhuman.
This is why I’m not a huge vampire fan. Technically, they’re monsters, but they’re really just people with fangs. Zombies are okay, but they’re really just very hungry cannibals. And werewolves can be cool, but usually aren’t. Monsters should not be sexy. And monsters shouldn’t be able to pass for human for more than a minute. That’s my definition of monster, and I’m sticking with it.
This is why I’m enjoying We Kill Monsters by Red 5 Comics. It’s about monsters. Fiendish, horrible beasts that leap from the shadows intending to eat you. It’s also why most of my favorite comic book characters are obviously inhuman in some way. Whether it’s Benjamin J. Grimm (the Ever-Lovin’ Blue Eyed Thing), the Man-Thing, Howard the Duck, or Devil Dinosaur, I gravitate toward characters that cannot pass for human, even if Ben and Howard are about as working stiff in their attitude as a superhero and a duck can be.
Even my favorite villains tend to be monstrous in one way or another. Doctor Doom might be human, but he walks around in power armor that hides his humanity (what little there is in his ruthless soul). My favorite Batman villian is Man-Bat. Ulik is a troll who fights the Mighty Thor. Modok is a giant telepathic head in a hoverchair. And let’s not forget Fin Fang Foom or Spragg, the Living Hill! (And, yes, he is one evil hill.)
My favorite toys were always Transformers. Robots aren’t technically monsters, although they can be. Is it any surprise that the Dinobots rank among my all time favorite Transformers? Robots AND dinosaurs? This is almost too much cool for our humble universe.
Kolchak the Night Stalker is probably the best TV show ever because every week, Darren McGavin faced a strange supernatural menace. The relaunch failed because it went more X-Files, less creature feature. A fine example of missing the point of the original series.
When first playing World of Warcraft, I knew I would be a tauren. One look at those hulking minotaur-like creatures was all it took. I eventually broke down and created an undead mage, and since he’s undead and able to throw bolts of pure arcane fury, he’s pretty cool. But he’s no tauren, and he’ll always be second in my heart because of it. Shallow, I know. But that’s just the way it is.
I make no apologies for loving monsters. Will all my books have monsters in them? Probably not. Although so far, they do tend to pop up even when I don’t plan on it. Heck, my current manuscript is about a Cthulhu-esque creature that wants to eat the moon. After that? Who knows? I just write what comes to me, and if that doesn’t involve monsters, so be it.
But for the foreseeable future, weird creatures and strange beasts are probably here to stay in my novels, and if I can offer an alternative to the sea of serial killers, psychopaths, and pretty boy vamps then I’m happy to do it. If it damages my reputation as a serious writer, so be it.
I’m not in this to win awards, after all. I’m just trying to cover my butt when the great monster uprising begins.
But perhaps I’ve said too much.