Damned Damned Damned

Back during the golden age, Stan Lee scripted just about everything published by Marvel Comics. Someone once asked him how he was able to accomplish such a task. His response (and here we paraphrase) went something like this: “It’s easy. After a while, the characters write the stories themselves.”

As any writer will tell you, characters make stories. The writer creates them and puts them on a blank page. The characters bump into each other to create conflict, and out of conflict comes a story. Easy peasy.

But imagine if the Bible was like a Stan Lee comic book. The world only exists because The Man in the Heavenly Castle is pounding away at His word processor. When He writes “The End” at the bottom of the last page, everything will wrap up. And we, as “fictional characters” will no longer exist.

That’s more or less the crux of The Damned Busters. God is the author of all existence. And at some point he will complete His manuscript. After that, who knows? A new reality will be born and a giant re-org will take place.

In concert with all this end-of-the-world business is the story of Chesney Anstruther, a wimpy insurance company actuary. While building a five-sided poker table, he mistakenly summons a demon from Hell. One thing leads to another and he becomes a superhero called the Actionary (see the book’s clever cover illustration for details). What follows is a wildly humorous story of a man and his demon sidekick fighting crime in a world about to end.

Satan has heard all the rumors about the end of the world. And naturally he doesn’t believe any of it. “I am real,” he says dismissively. “I am not some character in a book.” He’s not stupid either. He knows that where there is chaos, there is opportunity. He created the Actionary and he’s keeping him on a short leash. You never know when a superhero might come in handy. To quote Stan Lee: “Hold on to your hats, True Believers!” To be continued.

[The Damned Busters / By Matthew Hughes / First Printing: May 2011 / ISBN: 9780857661036]

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