Sign of the Hammer!

Thursday, 31 December 2015

The Paragon Paradox Part One: Master of Sparks

A homage to... something, not quite sure what. Pencils / inks by Davey Candlish, colours by Jim Cameron

The PARAGON Annual 2016 is out, in more formats than you can shake a rabid badger at. (Not that shaking tends to work - they just tighten their monochromatic grip.) So, if you want to see Spencer Nero, Jikan, Bulldog and Battle Ganesh team up to punch extradimensional evil (and each other) in the face, here's your chance. And here's mine too, to indulge in a multi-part blogging bout, in which I take a self-indulgent look at the genesis and development of 'The Paragon Paradox', my story for the annual. But first - here's how to get hold of the book in the incarnation of your choice.

The hardback:

The paperback:

The e-book:

Just 'The Paragon Paradox' itself:

And now, let's turn the clock back to find out how the story came into being. Feel free to wobble productively - this is a flashback after all...

In the worlds before PARAGON, primal chaos reigned...

'The Paragon Paradox' all began with Stephen Prestwood - specifically, this smashing picture that he drew of various PARAGON heroes, standing around looking tough.

Crossover candidates

Davey Candlish stuck it up on the PARAGON blog in March 2015, and I happened to mention we now needed a story where they all teamed-up and fought some interdimensional menace. Of course, saying something like that in front of Dave is like dipping yourself in gravy and dancing naked in front of a man-eating tiger - you can't be surprised when he bites. So it was decided there and then I was to script the multi-hero tale - a tale which the inspirational Mr. Prestwood suggested be titled 'The Paragon Paradox'.

Looking back at my notes, it seems I almost immediately decided to link the whole thing into Spencer Nero continuity by featuring Ekhidna, the extradimensionally-exiled Mother of all Monsters from 'Spencer Nero Goes South' in PARAGON #13. I could have come up with some other interdimensional menace, but since I already had one waiting, why not use her? I'd had plans to write a story called 'Spencer Nero's Army', in which he and various characters from his adventures to-date all teamed up to travel to Ekhidna's realm and rescue his uncle, so I thought I might use this basic framework for the crossover.

Panel from 'Spencer Nero Goes South', art by James Corcoran

I definitely wanted this story to 'count', for Spencer at least - I like crossovers that are very squarely part of a character's continuity, rather than ones that are detached, and never mentioned again. The Judge Dredd / Batman and Judge Dredd / Alien crossovers are perfect examples of the former - both draw on existing continuity, have some impact on Dredd's world, and are obliquely referenced further down the line.

So with that in mind (and deciding also that if I used Spencer's continuity, I had to make damn sure he didn't dominate the story), I had to choose my cast. It wasn't realistic to feature all the characters from Stephen's original drawing in major roles - this wasn't Crisis on Infinite Earths - so I decided to boil it down to a squad of four... a Paragon Patrol.

In the next post, I'll explain, who, why, and what they were originally going to get up to...

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