Friday, August 22, 2014

The Phantom Bowman

Perhaps the background post you've all been waiting for. Perhaps not. Especially since this is only like the third blog post on a blog that no one reads, about a book no one has read.


As with the rest of these blogs, I'll assume you've read the novel "In the Shadows of Myrmidons" and that you got here because you wanted to know more about what you just read. If you randomly found this, please go buy the book!

Alright. Phantom Bowman.

The Phantom Bowman, aka Roberto D'Imperio, owner of Single-Handed Sandwiches. This character was a recent addition to the Reptilian Authority mythos, and in fact, was never part of it originally.

Robbie's origin as a character is something like this. When I was rewriting and reworking what wad originally "Shadows" and wasn't sure if it was a Reptilian Authority story, I had the Snake character becoming a vigilante and taking back his school. Part of this was him using a bow and arrow like Green Arrow or Hawkeye...I mean Robin Hood. (Keep in mind, this was in 2009, BEFORE CW's "Arrow"). I thought it was not reasonable to have a teenage kid just taking up a bow and arrow to fight crime.

He needed a mentor.

Enter the Phantom Bowman. Robbie, the retired Bowman would serve as mentor to Snake. I chose an archer character because at the time, Batman was (i suppose always is) popular, Superman wasn't feasible as a mentor and the coolest street level superhero (besides another unfeasible, Powerman) was Green Arrow. Which made me think of Robin Hood. And really, I didn't want to rip off Green Arrow, I just thought at the time (again, pre-"Arrow" 2009) that an archer was underappreciated. Further, as I've said before, Snake was always meant to use a bow and arrow in the future. So an archer just made sense.

To make the Phantom Bowman differ from from the more well-known archers, I tried a few things, nothing major. I was going to go with Golden Archer, as a pun on McDonald's, but Squadron Supreme had already beat me to that. The color was too bright anyways,  so I opted for a darker gray and black scheme. Which makes more sense than the more colorful options, especially in an urban environment.

The intended darker color scheme made me think of ghostly things, which reminded me of the word phantom, and from there a plot point in Edgar Rice Burroughs' "Thuvia, Maid of Mars" where there are an army of ghostly archers called "phantom bowmen of Lothar". Despite the obviously occult origin of those Martians, the name is cool and sounds like something a young vigilante (and probable Burroughs fan) would take as a crime fighting pseudonym.

After Robbie's forced retirement(s) from superheroics, he does his best to let things go and live a normal life as a small business owner in the neighborhood he once defended. Though his basement setup and eagerness to take Snake as an apprentice make it obvious he never gave it up fully, but was only biding his time.

Rest assured, Book 2 will answer some questions and hopefully show the elder Bowman in action.


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