Saturday, November 01, 2008

From The Desk of Steve Englehart II

Back in the late 70s, right after writing the definitive Batman, I quit comics for the first time to write my first novel, The Point Man. It was about a normal guy, Max August, who got caught up in an espionage war between two magickal forces. On Max's side was Cornelius Agrippa, a 494-year-old alchemist who had obviously mastered the art of being Timeless - never-aging, never dying on his own, but able to be killed. The Point Man, set in 1980, was a one-shot for Dell, and I never planned to write a sequel.

But when I decided to quit comics a fourth time or whatever it's been, I had an idea. What if Max himself had learned the art of being Timeless, say in 1985, and had not aged since then? Stories about immortal guys are almost always about guys who are 500 years old, but what about a guy who was now just twenty years into it, forever in the prime of his life, as his friends began to age or even die? What about a guy who was just 20 years into it and was really understanding that he could well be around in 2050, in 2100, in 2500? How would a guy like that view the world and the people in it? I think he would care very deeply about the world's survival and its people's freedom, because he'll be living in that world with those people.

So I wrote The Long Man. It takes that guy and puts him in the here-and-now, once again up against the people who threaten the world. In 1980 that was the international Communist conspiracy. Today it's the Neocon conspiracy, which is not going to end with the election next week.

And so we get to the news. The Long Man was bought by Tor, who will publish it in a little over six months, just in time for your summer reading. But beyond that, Tor liked it well enough to ask for two more books, and to decide to reissue The Point Man. That reissue and the third book, The Plain Man, will be out in 2010, and the fourth book, The Cubic Man, in 2011, and then we shall see what we shall see.

I can also announce that the cover art will be by Tomer Hanuka. You can see samples of his work at, which will tell you why I'm so excited about that. If you're a comics guy, which you probably are if you're getting this, you can appreciate his art as great modern comics - and if you're not a comics guy, you can see it as New Yorker-type illustration. Win/win.


RAB said...

First, this is welcome news -- I look forward to the new books and the reissue of The Point Man with nearly equal anticipation.

Second, with all respect and thanks to Dan, I've wished for a long time that Steve would start blogging himself. Perhaps these posts may serve as a way for him to test the waters a little, hint hint?

Lars Johansson ( Predabot) said...

Ok, I'm coming new into these posts, so this was quite a bit confusing... I thought it was Dannyboy himself that put those words so eloquently, so I was rather perplexed when he mentioned a run on the Batman.

It really would be quite interesting to see Mr Englehart get a blog of his own. I mean, if Peter David and Steve Gerber could do it, then surely Mr Englehart would rock the blogosphere as well?

Interesting post none the less. And I do believe, that no matter what, once you've been bitten by comics, you never really leave. You may take pauses, but the lure will always draw a person back to it. :)