I am doing another Minicomic Kickstarter with artist Brian Wolf and then former Nerdcenaries contributor Ziah Grace and Nick Rockel are doing a comic as well. I wanted to make a post about it to go more into what the story I am writing, ERAS: Fung is going to be about.
The first ERAS story, ERAS Parrish is something I’ll totally regard as a failure on my part. I didn’t get a second opinion till it was done and that opinion hated it. Parrish ended up focusing too much on a dramatic story with issues of masculinity and white knighting that suddenly changed into a horror story with monsters in it in the last 2 pages. Not very good on my part – the balance was off like a seesaw with a boulder on one side.
With ERAS Fung I realized I needed an actual story to wrap the issues around, instead of issues to base a story on. I needed to lay the bricks before pouring the paint. Luckily the story came more easily since the artist wanted to do the drug/murder mystery based on Dr. Fung and my loose pitch of that.
The original Dr. Fung was your overly stereotypical Chinese detective – that “ancient Chinese secret” brand of racist detective. I didn’t want to completely abandon that since the Fung himself was a good person and there was some value in the horrible stereotype but I wanted to paint the effects on the future of what that stereotype does and so ERAS: Fung focuses on his son, Marvin (though Dr. Fung appears).
Marvin is a good person unlike Ted Parrish. Marvin can be abrasive and rude but in a lot of ways he earned it. He’s gone through a lot of adversity before the comic even started. He graduated med school at an early age despite several racist teachers who were against it. He made himself his own person instead of following his father’s footsteps.
But he has this tie to his family and the people in his community in San Francisco that he loves that is he weakeness. He cares about his father, he cares about the widowed Nancy Asner (who is tied into another ERAS story) and he cares about using his gifts to help these people instead of moving ahead in his own life. He is an altruistic good person because there aren’t enough plainly good heroes in the comic. He studied what magic he could post med school because he needed to and now works as a magic consultant for the police but mostly as a detective for various people in town with – arcane problems.
Contrasting him is Dan Barrister. The original Dan Barrister was Dr. Fung’s teenage sidekick, the brawn to balance out Fung’s brains. So Barrister went on after Dr. Fung retired to be a father, because of old age, because of many things, to become a police officer. But this is San Francisco in the 60’s and there is still a lot of racism, especially towards the Asian community (and towards the gay community – where is Dr. Fung’s wife and Marvin’s mother?). Someone who hung out with an old Asian man fighting crime – that doesn’t sound like someone who’d make it on the force. So Barrister got mean, he acts racists and slowly that is who he becomes – this racist and hateful person. He starts to create these fake memories that allow him to justify his hate (were he and Dr. Fung closer than he’d like to remember?). Soon that boy who helped an old man solve his mysteries is the Police Director and he is a monster. And when forced to deal with things he doesn’t understand while wrestling around with inner problems – who he is, what he lost and he drinks and eats the problems away.
And then you have the Summer of Love. All of these hippies in town passing out drugs and sleeping around. Dan has been cracking down because he can, because he likes the taste of brutality in his mouth a bit too much. But then the wrong kid overdoses (a cameo role that could be you!) and Dan knows something isn’t kosher about the drugs. Dan knows that there is magic involved and Dan finally can’t ignore the magic stuff so he has to call in Marvin, the son of the man he lead him to hate just by being a good person.