HOW TO DATE A HENCHMAN has been in the works for a long time. I’m fascinated by the little people behind the scenes – the henchmen, secretaries, accountants, carpenters and all the people that make an Evil Corporation run smoothly while the supervillain/CEO is gloating in his/her secret lair and possibly ordering sharks with lasers on eBay. I knew I wanted to write a story about the less-than-larger-than-life personalities, but to do so I needed a supervillain to put my story into perspective.
My first supervillain was the Whaler, a personal favourite who didn’t make it into the novella. The Whaler is a salty old sea dog with one leg, an eye patch, and a long navy coat with gold buttons. He has a whale gun. That shoots whales. Who wouldn’t feel menaced if a humpback came sailing out of the ocean into central Manhattan? The only problem? The Whaler has to track down a whale to load his gun with before he can shoot a whale into Manhattan. Them whales are hard to load.
Then I hit on Static. Eccentric, confident and somewhat smug, Static was originally a lot weirder than he is in the book. He wore two amber canisters on his back, full of cats. His arch-nemeses were dryer sheets. (I may have been drinking.) Although the cats didn’t make it into the final draft, Static’s sense that he’s special did. After all, you don’t become a supervillain unless you truly believe you can change the world—and that you’re the man to do it.
Then I needed a superhero. There’s something ridiculous about superheroes. Supervillains embrace the fact that they’re weirdos who don’t fit in, but superheroes are so *earnest*. They wear tights and Believe In Things like justice, honour and that everyone has a good heart. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge superhero fan. But I love the juxtaposition of costumes and capes versus the real world, where things aren’t as easy, and right and wrong are stops along a continuum. Which is where I found Glimmer.
So. Supervillains who embrace their weirdness. Earnest superheroes who don’t really understand how the world works. And the little people, the henchmen and secretaries, who make the whole thing possible. That’s HOW TO DATE A HENCHMAN.