Chapter 19: Dawning

More cryptic answers for David’s cryptic questions. There’s more to Calemadestes than vague leadership and two word answers. And: Miles!

The basis for Calemadestes came from a comic book character I drew in high school. Me and my artist friends would have sleep-overs where we stayed up late into the night to draw or read comic books, pumped full of raw ramen noodles and Diet Coke to keep us going until dawn. We were obsessed with comic books and, since imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, I proceeded to pretty much rip off my favorite X-Men and Xcalibur characters. Of course, I thought they were all original ideas at the time; but hardly anything you create in middle school is actually a new idea — it’s just new to you.

There were several characters I still remember, although more by their powers than their actual names. I have a few inked sketches of them, even. There was one that was your run-of-the-mill-psychic-flies-through-the-air girl, and a chick who’s body played host to an ancient Chinese dragon, which gave her pretty righteous powers — although, I don’t think they were ever actually defined… I just like to draw her channeling the dragon in various dramatic ways. Another had all ball-in-joint joints and could climb walls like a bug.

Yet another girl was very nature-y; she could talk to trees and communicate with animals, that sort of thing. She was also seven feet tall and could kick a lot of butt with her bow staff. That’s the one that popped into my head when I was brain-storming for Clam. She lost the bowstaff and she can no longer make the trees grow according to her whim… but she gained a giant galloping lizard, which is pretty cool. It was more fun fleshing out a striking character like her when I’ve known and met more impressive people through the years — as opposed to Bill Nye the Science Guy, Ronin Warriors, Batman: the Animated Adventure, and 90210, which all served as my exposure to cool characters when I was 14. She’s definitely got more life this round, and became a very engaging character for me throughout the writing. You’ll see more of her later.

For the record, 99% of the characters I created back then were girls, because I could never draw dudes. I did try to draw some sort of lumpy-muscled monstrosity (that was a clear rip-off of the X-Men’s Beast, I might add), and I’m pretty sure his name was Lor. I think I gave him insect eyes. Regardless, he garnered a lot of criticism, and I have declined running for political office on the off-chance he will ever surface. He was that awesome.