Wednesday, May 8, 2019

The past brings a new Second Life! The Good Fight 5: The Golden Age is here!

The Good Fight 5: The Golden Age came out last week. The book features stories with a pulp twist and set in the time period between the 1930s and 1950s. I was happy to be back for this one, though the nature of the book meant much like the third volume of the series, it didn't exactly work for a new story of The Second Life of D.B. Cooper, a character I always like to go back to in these volumes.

This time around though, it seemed like a great time to give a prequel to that series. Thus was born my story "The Second Life of Grigori Yefimovich Rasputin."

I thought about putting Mignola's Rasputin here,
but he looks nothing like the real thing. So here's
Riley Rossmo's version from an equally oddball
take on the character. 
Grigori popped up in the first of Coop's story back in The Good Fight 2: Villains. His connection to Coop has never really been made clear, but the legendary Mad Monk now gets to live his own second life in a story set in the late 30s.

Though he's probably best known these days as a character in Hellboy, Rasputin's place in Russian history is the stuff of legend. The stories of his powers are all over the place and the insanity surrounding his death makes it clear he's just the kind of guy to have another life after the Bolshevik Revolution. Now he's in America, on the trail of a mysterious threat in a small Washington town.

I've always loved the legend of Rasputin. Much like D.B. Cooper, his legend is larger than reality and that makes him a perfect figure for super powered fiction. Yet more often than not, he's played usually as a villain or at best, an enigmatic meddler. Yet history showed him to have some history in Russian democracy, which certainly seems a noble cause to any American. I built my take on Rasputin with that in mind. After twenty years traveling the world, he's a very different individual, a man with a noble heart but a willingness to do bad things for the good of all.

The story serves as a prequel to the three existing Coop stories, but it will also have ties to an upcoming project as well. But I'll talk more about that in a future column.

The story's appearance in this volume will now serve as something of a bittersweet point in my career. The volume features the first Pen & Cape Society story by James Hudnall, a true inspiration to me as a writer. Sadly, it will also be his last as he passed away last month at the far too young age of 61. I knew James only through a few brief encounters online, but his work on ESPers directly inspired the idea of a psychic D.B. Cooper. I will talk about the meaning of his work more in a future column, but his death leaves me heartbroken for what could have been.

You'll be missed, Hud.

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