Tuesday, February 26, 2008

A Renovated Hero

Having actually lived the life of the Stinking Stalker around the middle of the 1970’s, I have a lot of odd and nutty experiences to draw from in creating the stories for this series. Throughout the years as I would tell the tale of this Aromatic Hero the reaction was always one of wonder and laughter. The character of Skunk-Guy easily won the admiration of all, and the listeners would inevitably beg to be considered for the Skunk Squad. It was plainly obvious that there was still a spark of life in this legacy, and so I began the task of reinventing The Stinking Stalker for the printed page.
There were certain elements from my experience that I decided up front must be maintained. The first being the time period. The nineteen seventies was a gaudy and awkward period. It was a time when technology was nowhere near what we have today. The biggest video game on the market at the time was a thing called PONG. This presents our hero with the challenge of doing more leg work in his investigation of things. He couldn’t just Google something and get the answer. This is why there is no PC in Wendal’s bedroom. The second element was the place. Fort Wayne, Indiana was the actually stomping grounds of the original Stinking Stalker. There were so many historical and special events that took place, I wanted to make certain that they would be a part of this new phase of the legend. The third element came through the radio. When Skunk-Guy was regularly interviewed on the air, listeners would call in and add to the fun. Their enthusiasm was very much like a twisted version of bat mania from the 1960’s. I wanted to make sure that this form of interaction would be continued and so I constructed http://www.skunk-guy.com/.
I wanted the humor of Skunk-Guy to be genuine, coming mainly from the characters and their relationships and not stereo-typical super-hero clich├ęs. That’s the main reason that Skunk-Guy isn’t mentioned in the title of the first novel. It’s really about Norman the boy behind the mask. What kind of an imaginative kid could take an absolutely ridiculous situation and turn it into a noble crusade. Villains and monsters will come and go, but the hero should stay with us long after the story is over, no matter how much of a klutz he is.