Batman vs. Dracula (or How I Became a Writer)
I get asked frequently how the whole writing gig came about. Questions like "Did you always want to be a writer?" "What got you started?" and "Why are you irrationally handsome?" are perfect examples. Well, the first two, at least. I wrote this blog post last year to address those questions, and (as usual) the answer is probably longer than you'd like--but it's the truth.
I’ve always enjoyed telling stories (or ‘lies’ as they are referred to in more uncultured circles), beginning with my parents as a child—
“Yes, as crazy as it sounds, my baseball glove ‘slipped’ out of my hand and hit Steve Solomon’s bike wheel as he was riding by. The fact that the glove got stuck between the spokes, stopped the front wheel from turning, and subsequently launched Steve over the handlebars, resulting in a broken arm, was therefore a tragic accident, and completelynotmyfault.”
This skill was sharpened in business school, when I blew off a Marketing term paper/lab experiment until the day before it was due. During an all-nighter, fueled by No-Doze and pure desperation, I fabricated an entire experiment on subliminal advertising. Yep, clipped an ad from Playboy Magazine about a cassette tape of contemporary music with hidden messages guaranteed to seduce any woman who listens to it…lied and said I’d ordered the tape…invented a questionnaire…described all of the in-depth testing of the tape on women from my dorm…sadly divulged the conclusion that the tape DID NOT successfully result in mass seductions, and then proceeded to completely rail against the ridiculousness of subliminal messaging for the five required pages of the term paper.
Result? A+. When I got the paper back, the professor actually sounded disappointed for me in his comments. I showed the grade to my roommate (a computer science major who frequently pulled his own hair out while struggling with differential equations), who simply shook his head and said, “If you make more money than I do when we graduate, there is no God.”
These were mere stepping stones on the path, though. It wasn’t until my late 20’s when Batman and Dracula joined forces to make me finally sit down and write something for real. See, I’ve always been a big comic book… ahem, GRAPHIC NOVEL fan, and one day I read that D.C. Comics was developing a Batman vs. Dracula extravaganza, the likes of which had never been seen. My favorite hero versus my favorite villain? Holy crap, I was jazzed. Batman vs. Dracula = Excitement which could NOT be ruined. I breathlessly awaited its arrival, only to find out…I was wrong. So very wrong.
The book blew. Excitement begat excrement. Batman got his ass kicked all over the place, then agreed to become a vampire to defeat Dracula. After throwing the book down at the end, I finally got the inspiration so many writers get at one point or another: “I could TOTALLY write that better.”
And that’s when I sat down and started to turn some of my crazy ideas into actual stories.