Gladstone’s book 3 Directors commentary – Meet Scorpio Kane’s crew

by Daniel Pomlett on 18.01.19 in Uncategorised

Gladstone’s book 3 Directors commentary – Meet Scorpio Kane’s crew

by Daniel Pomlett on 18.01.19 in Uncategorised

Armand Villavert and I started Gladstone’s School for World Conquerors Book 3 in 2012. The concept for the book began around the name of a villain ‘Scorpio Kane’ which had been kicking around in my head.

Often, I will begin a new series by sketching and doodling, even though I am the writer. For me this is a form of play. By drawing and doodling in a sketchbook, characters start talking to each other and I start writing ideas down.

This is one of my earliest sketches for Scorpio Kane:

Early sketch of Scorpio Kane

Originally, Scorpio had more of a skeleton luchador look for his costume a scorpion emblem on his chest. He had a fur cape and a mouth like Trap-Jaw from ‘Masters of the Universe’.

Armand ran with the original sketch and did his thing. We decided there were layers to Scorpio’s design as he goes through his attacks. The character adapts depending on where he is in a battle and what he needs at that given moment. Scorpio doesn’t start off attacking with full-power but will use his Ambrosia Stone Gauntlet as a power up item if he decides an enemy is enough of a challenge.

Scorpio has a backup crew of hired mercenaries with different backgrounds and abilities. This mercenary group originally started off as a huge list of character names I sent Armand and he picked the names and concepts that he liked and came back with sketches for those characters.

 

We wanted the Gladstone’s crew to be outnumbered at least two to one in the battle royale for book 3 to create a challenge for our characters and to push them to their limits.

Many of the mercenary characters came from Japanese folklore such as Ameonna, Akashita, Kamaitachi, Aoi Manto, and Aka Manto. These characters were more silent and creepy in general. Ameonna is based on a rain spirit that is an unlucky woman who has a rain cloud follow her wherever she goes. Akashita was adapted to be more like the smoke monster from Lost, but with a collection of souls and spirits in there. Kamaitachi is a slicing wind spirit or dust devil that’s caused by a weasel. Aoi Manto and Aka Manto are based on a legend of a Japanese toilet ghost.

Hellblade was a legendary swordsman with a sentient blade that swallows the spirits of those defeated in battle. Scythe was someone whose body was made of razors. I really loved Scythe in the book because she had some fun moments battle against Mummy Girl (I gave her an Irish accent).

Android Assassin is an old Ultra Man type character and he can teleport from place to place and take out targets. He’s a machine much like the Terminator crossed with Nightcrawler from the X-men’s ability.

The hive is a walking nests that quickly generates nasty bugs.

Aoi Manto and Aka Manto

You can see in the sketches here that Aoi Manto and Aka Manto where changed from the Japanese legend of the toilet ghost to be more of parasitic capes that were intelligent but also extremely alien and creepy. They have lab grown host bodies that they use for energy and replace every six months or so.

I really liked what Armand did with the concept of Kamaitachi and his costume.  Kamaitachi’s cape cuts like a blade, and the character retains the weasel personality from the Japanese legend but is modified so that it fits seamlessly into our Gladstone’s world and he stands on his own. Kamaitachi is a character that I would like to see pop up again in the Gladstone’s universe.

Kamaitachi and The Abysmal One

Abysmal is a character who is a combination of Djinn and his Master. The Djinn is tied to Abysmal who is his master and must do his bidding. It’s not the ‘three wishes story’, but I think a lot scarier to have a Djinn protector that gives the character his powers in exchange for being able to feed off the fear of his prey.

Here you can see Ameonna and Akashita with Armand’s notes.

Ameonna and Akashita

The War Master was a Nightmare/Cosmic Licht general with mystic powers. War Master summons ancient beings from the dark realms of the universe. He really is the ‘Big Guns’ of Scorpio Kane’s Mercenary crew and equivalent to about four other fighters and has the most epic attacks.

War Master and Clockstopper

The Clockstopper was inspired originally by Clockwork Orange. He’s a character that can speed up or slow down time. He can envelop you in a time bubble and you might age 40 years in a few seconds. As I was writing him, I was playing with the idea that he’s not really a Clockstopper, but more of a character that can project mental images and beliefs into his prey, so they believe that they are aging. I didn’t go in that direction for him. I like this character and he would have been a good standalone villain for a single character to fight as part of a rouge’s gallery.  I like him because he’s a creepy gentleman that’s polite but also wants to end you, and that’s terrifying in many ways.

Taurobeetle and Lady Chimera

Taurobeetle was Armand’s creation. I think he wanted a giant powerhouse guy for them to go up against. Lady Chimera is a mix of creatures, all deadly that want to kill you.

 

Dusk: The Dream Demon is another character in Scorpio’s crew. He can basically hypnotize you and put you into a trance. I think I made him Persian and when he’s knocked out he talks in his sleep and asks for his ‘baba’ (father). I like little touches like that.

Dusk: The Dream Demon and The Shogun Cosmic

 

The Shogun Cosmic was a name of a character that Armand created a sketch for, but this character didn’t make it into the series. I think it was because he was too similar to the War Master.

Doing a ‘Battle Royale’ was like spinning a lot of plates in the air at once. We made this third volume huge. I don’t think we’ll do another big battle royale for quite some time because we want every book to feel different. The next book will be a lot more cerebral. We also need to do 100 page books to deliver the series more quickly to our loyal readers and not take so much time between books.

That’s the ‘Director’s Commentary’ for Scorpio Kane’s mercenary crew.

Most of these characters were meant to be ‘done in one’ and limited to book 3. But in making the book with Armand, a few really grew on me. I found myself liking them. I wouldn’t mind seeing some characters pop up again in the series and standing on their own as bad guys.  The characters which grew on me the most from book 3 that I would like to see appear again on their own in Gladstone’s are: Kamaitachi, the Clockstopper, Abysmal, Scythe and the War Master.

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