Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The Forensics of Spume

And here we have my second entry to the River of Mnemosyne Challenge. Presenting "The Forensics of Spume":

    “...this last goddess was Hope.

    At last, after days of searching, hunting down addresses for any and all used bookstores in the immediate area; after examining book after book, wading through a sea of history and forgotten knowledge, he had found another source. Another piece of spindrift, one more reference that made him believe he might actually be on to something.

    Kirby Lee was a writer, more specifically a writer of comic books and graphic novels. Over the years he has created some very well-received characters, written stories nominated for awards, but there was a saying usually associated with the film industry that he was finding unfortunately true these days, “you’re only as good as your next one.” The year was 1994, and it was the era of big muscles, bigger guns, and cartoonishly proportioned women with the biggest... attributes you’ve ever seen. It was the time of Rob Liefeld and Todd McFarlane, when the old creators like Kirby Lee were struggling to be remembered.

    He had just been picked up by one of the new independent comic houses springing up in the wake of the success of Image, and he knew he needed to make a huge showing. He wanted something new, something different, something no one else had ever done before, of course the problem was everything seemed to have been used up, reinterpreted, revamped, re-imagined, or regurgitated in some way, so he was having problems finding something new. So instead, he started looking for something old.

    Lee had been searching through bookstores for any piece of forgotten folklore or mythology. All the classic characters had their basis in one form of mythology or another. But he didn’t want to retread any of the mythology already used by other creators. DC had run rampant with Greek mythology with Wonder Woman, while Marvel kept the Norse myths alive in Thor. Hell, Marvel had introduced practically every pantheon known at one point. He needed something different, something unique, something so old that it seemed new.

    And that’s when he found the first reference to the Seven Goddesses.

    It was in an obscure text in a university library, buried in a surprisingly impressive occult section. The book had only the briefest mention, but it stuck out in Kirby’s mind because with all his readings into folklore and myth, he had never heard anything about these Seven Goddesses before. It was something that certainly warranted further investigation. And so his search began.

    He contacted every book dealer and library he could think of looking for something, anything that mentioned these Seven Goddesses. He was pouring his entire advance fee into finding whatever material he could, he had traveled to any location he thought old books might be hiding in the hopes of finding just one more reference, another mention that meant he was on to something, and at last his search had paid off.

    It was one of those classic used bookstores with more books than shelf space, stacks looming above the customers, looking like they could tumble and kill someone at the faintest breath. There was no real sense of order to the place. It was like the owner had stopped caring after a while, like the books had won. He had been digging through these stacks for hours upon hours, hunting like a man possessed, looking for one particular title that the owner thought might be what he was looking for. He had made himself a little nest in the back corner of the shop, and refused to stop until he had personally inspected each and every book in the building. He was nothing if not determined.

    At one point, the owner had stepped out for lunch, locking Kirby Lee inside, but he didn’t even notice. There were more books to look through, food and drink could wait.

    Finally, it was in the late afternoon of the second day that he found what he was looking for. The owner had forced him out the day before, promising he could return the moment they were open tomorrow. Kirby was waiting at the door when the owner arrived. He had started back to his search immediately and hadn’t stopped until around four o’clock that afternoon. He read the passage, explaining each goddess and what she stood for. Then he scanned through the rest of the book to find any other references to the Seven, of which he was thrilled to find several. He stood up quickly, sending the books he had piled around him in his haste flying, and bringing an unpleasant tingle to his legs from having sat too long.

    He shoved the books he’d been checking out of the way, enough to clear a bit of a path, and made his way to the front. There was a palpable relief in the owner’s eyes as Kirby finally made his way forward with a book in hand. “At least the nut bag is gonna buy something,” the old man thought.

    Putting the book on the counter, a new excitement began to build in Kirby Lee, his search had produced results, and he had found material that no one else in his business had ever heard of. It would be something unique. He couldn’t wait to get home and start reading. For the first time since he had signed his contract with that new publisher, he felt positive about writing comics again. He felt a sense of... hope...


    And somewhere, deep in the darkness at the edge of the universe, the faintest glimmer of light began to glow just a little bit brighter.

Muse the Second, complete. Hopefully you'll see the third either tonight or tomorrow. Until then,

William the Bloody Fortunately Knew That Spindrift Was Another Word For Spume Redd


JeffScape said...

Kirby Lee? HAH! ;)

I'm intrigued, but this is very expository. I'm listening, but not experiencing, and there's a nice mystery here.

Lame muse.

Ute Orgassa said...

I found the introduction of the main character a bit strange. There is also some confusion of tenses in the first paragraphs. That was a nice comic book history lesson. Especially with Jack Stan there. You have several run-on sentences. One of them is a whole paragraph long.The excitement of the MC translates well.

Harnett-Hargrove said...

Liking the nod, perhaps to Stan Lee...

Baino said...

Lots of description, frankly I don't mind that, puts me in the picture and since I'm not much of a comic book person, the lesson was appreciated. You write a bit like me, master of the long sentence and muddled tense.