This is a story that occupies a special place in my heart: it was my first full on professional publication. The magazine was called Mythic Heroes: The Serialized Superhero Prose Alternative, and in a lot of ways it was the first attempt of the Superguy authors to try and make a (very) small amount of coin doing what they did. This included some of the better writers — Gary Olson had a serial in it, and so did Christopher Angelini. Ben Brown had a cool story about super powered couriers. And there were lots and lots of other stories that were pretty cool and I wish they’d had more of a chance.
I wrote for it, and I was an assistant editor. The editor in chief and publisher was Greg Fishbone, an intellectual property lawyer and cool person who put the money up for the magazine. I should digress and mention Greg has a book coming out in a couple of months, and you should all own a copy.
The magazine didn’t last long. While the concept was sound — comic book sized magazines with some black and white art but mostly devoted to prose stories, sold in comic book shops alongside the comics — it launched right at the big comic bust and never had much of a chance. Though some issues (not all of them, but some) are still available at second hand shops if you’re lucky.
I launched with two serials — one an actual serial called Daybreak in Dark City which I’ll get around to putting on here one of these weeks, and the other a series of collected short stories called The Home Front. These were the stories of the mystery men of the twenties and thirties, gathered together by President Roosevelt into one grand force of heroes who… traveled around the country putting on a show to convince people to buy war bonds. See, there were these actual superhumans who were taking the war to Hitler and the Pacific, or breaking up spy rings and the like. The guys and girls who were just putting on costumes and fighting crime? Not so much.
Is this my best writing? Not really. I’ve learned a few things since 1996. But for all intents and purposes, this is the first story I was ever paid for. It’s fitting, perhaps, that this was the story of the first of the mystery men in this setting. It’s called “My White Plume,” and if it’s not the best thing I’ve written, it’s also not the worst and I’m fond of it.