The Origin Story has always been interesting to me. Going beyond comic books – Joseph Campbell (not J. Scott Campbell for comic book fans) and his “Hero With A Thousand Faces” spoke to me – a kid with an avid interest in mythology, both ancient and current, and the heroes that live through their stories. Each hero does have a similar origin story. Think about how similar Luke Skywalker, Frodo Baggins, Peter Parker (aka Spiderman), and even Jesus have similar events that have happened in their lives. But I think that’s why we categorize these individuals as heroes – their origins usually have something humbling that brings these awe inspiring people to a level where we can relate to them.
The pages felt light against his fingers … light even though they held trapped within their words, entire worlds and eons of stories wrapped up until his mouth spoke them out loud. Then they came to life, unraveling and spilling across his vision like the movies he enjoyed watching – the old Samurai, Kung-fu, stop motion Greek myth adventures, and Harrison Ford franchises (Indiana Jones & Star Wars). As he grew older he didn’t need to move his lips to make the magic happen. His eyes would take care of the playback and the recreating of the fantastic and funny.
Comic books and fantasy novels he loved to read and soon in his own time he began to create himself. Taking pen to page to scribble a picture of mighty warrior or jot down the monologue of a villain detailing his dastardly plans – he shared them to the delight of his family who encouraged his creative development. But these were just stories in his mind.
As he grew older the plot elements he only read about became a part of his life, as well becoming a list of firsts:
- the first time he felt like a hero
- the first time he was betrayed by a friend
- the first time he was lost and alone
- the first time he experienced the exultant taste of victory
- the first time he bore through physical pain
- the first time he felt intoxicated (through an overdose of cough medicine)
- the first time he felt the presence of a higher being
- the first time he felt the flames of hatred and the desire for vengeance
- the first time he ran away from responsibility
- the first time he fell in love
Even things he didn’t experience he wrote about in gusto – imagining what it would be like. This was a favorite of his friends, especially a group of girls who would ask him to pen tawdry tales to tease them with sensuous escapades. His writing belied his innocence as his friends would giggle and fan themselves, as proper ladies shouldn’t be reading such material. But those exercises in emulation of the romance novels he peeked through were nothing compared to what he would experience later in life. Yes, gentlemen don’t kiss and tell … but his words were always seasoned with the spice of his own knowing.
His love for stories grew beyond the fantastic – because now, the realistic … tales that incorporated all of these experiences he now knew first hand appealed to him just the same. And he wrote – short stories and poems … his life poured into these pages freely along with his imagination. Life around him now took the shape and form of screenplays, as he now mentally musically scored these mind movies of his. He smiled a lot and people would ask sometimes what he found amusing. It was the story of the world around him that captivated his interests.