A little while back I told you guys that my friend Blaze Ward was putting together a Superhero Anthology, and he invited me to participate. I submitted a story and he accepted it, and I fully expect to catch all sorts of hell over what I did.
A little background.
I am a big fan of The Dead Robots Society podcast. It is on my short list of podcasts I listen to every week, without fail, and wish they would put out more. Great show; check it out if you are interested in writing and publishing, and enjoy irreverent joking around in between a multitude of cogent points.
Anyway, about a year ago, maybe a year and a half, the guys were having a discussion about what makes for a good protagonist in a story. They discussed the notion that the protagonist has to be sympathetic and, correctly imho, dismissed it in favor of the following: the protagonist must be interesting. Big, and important, difference. A good protagonist doesn’t have to be a good person, but he must be compelling.
At some point in the discussion, Justin Macumber, one of the hosts at the time, stated that there were limits to that proposal. For example, a Ku Klux Klan member could never be a good protagonist, because evil racist.
I perked up when I heard that and thought, “Bullshit.” Not because I approve of the Klan or anything it stands for, but because I am grown up enough and, not to toot my own horn too much, thoughtful enough to realize that membership in that group, and holding the opinions that membership requires, is not the sum total of the person, any more than my status as a Naval Officer summed up my entire being. That person has a family, a job, challenges to deal with, and legit (in his mind at least) reasons to believe what he believes. The only reason he couldn’t be a good protagonist is Political Correctness, that is to say the refusal to even consider a point of view other than that which is in accordance with accepted and approved dogma.
The modern Social Justice Warrior shares many things in common with the ancient Pharisee, or Inquisitor, or Witch Hunter, or not-so-ancient Brownshirt.
But, you know, there’s no point arguing with a podcast, so I shrugged and went about my business.
When Blaze invited me to his anthology, titled Hiding Behind The Cowl, I flashed back to that discussion and my disagreement with Justin’s assertion, because cowl…hood…
I really wanted to write something else, but nothing else seemed nearly as intriguing.
So I wrote a story about a super hero who is a Ku Klux Klan member.
Blaze describes it as Batman in a White Hood, and I think that’s fitting. Hats off to him for not turning his nose up at the protagonist. Many others in today’s world are spineless around this kind of subject matter. I really appreciate him rolling with it, and I think it speaks volumes about the story itself that he did. After all, if the story sucked, it would have been extremely easy to say no, right?
No doubt there will be people who cast dispersions my way because of the story, willfully ignoring the fact that the story is not the writer is not the story. I really don’t care. Because I’m a grown up.
Anyway, mine isn’t the only story in the anthology, and let’s be frank I am far from the best writer featured in it. Even if my story sounds like nothing you ever want to consider looking at, the other stories are awesome. It’s totally worth your time, and it’s out in just a few hours. Official release is tomorrow, 2 May.
Go grab a copy and see for yourself.
It’s available just about everywhere books are sold. Enjoy!