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Whatever Happened to Nightmaster? (part 8)

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  • mcmaenza
    It took awhile for me to get into that next album. Nothing was really working. Songs of love just weren t ringing true. The studio was getting a bit annoyed
    Message 1 of 22 , Jun 1, 2003
      It took awhile for me to get into that next album. Nothing was
      really working. Songs of love just weren't ringing true. The
      studio was getting a bit annoyed with me, but I insisted that I
      could give them something to put out if they gave me a few more
      months. They reluctantly agreed.

      I struggled to find the creative muse again, often drinking myself
      into a stupor. It was only when I was rummaging under my bed for
      something did I run across the Nightsword, which I kept in a special
      red velvet lined box. The sight of the sword reminded me of
      something, a grand adventure, of a time when I was a hero albeit for
      a brief moment. I remembered my passion for Janet and how I worked
      so hard to find her after she was taken from me.

      I couldn't do that again. She asked me not to.

      But I could relive it through music, through song. I had found
      inspiration and went to work on those tunes that would make up 'Sing
      A Song Of Sorcery'. As I said before, that album took awhile to
      come together. In between I did some touring with other acts as
      well as other appearances. We even took a few of those recordings
      to mix together as a live album. Anything the studio could do to
      keep my name and face in the public eye.

      Eventually, we put 'Sing A Song of Sorcery' out, but it stalled part
      way up the charts. It seems only my true hard core fans were
      willing to give it a listen. Many of the radio stations didn't
      touch it. Only the album rock stations would give it a chance, and
      that was mostly due to the occasional request calls or the late
      night drive DJs needing to take breaks while the long eight to
      twelve minute tracks played out.

      The studio was pissed with me at this point and weren't interested
      in renewing my contract when it expired. My management team had to
      shop around quite a bit, going through many of the major labels
      quite a few times before someone was interested in signing me
      again. During that time, I was living off residuals.

      I found I had few friends during that period. But I could always
      count on Jack Daniels and Jim Beam to see me through. They always
      seemed happy to see me.
    • mcmaenza
      By this point, the disco era was taking the world by storm. It seemed everyone was dabbling into that arena. Even former friends like the Stones and Rod
      Message 2 of 22 , Jun 1, 2003
        By this point, the disco era was taking the world by storm. It
        seemed everyone was dabbling into that arena. Even former friends
        like the Stones and Rod Stewart, and, an even bigger surprise,
        heavier acts like Kiss. It was everywhere; it seemed unstoppable.
        I was lucky. I never had to fall into that pit.

        Just as that stuff was on the rise and I was supposed to start work
        on a new album, something intervened. Or more specifically someone -
        King Zolto! Returning home one night from late hours in the
        studio, I heard a low hum coming from beneath my bed. The
        Nightsword was singing. As soon as I touched the hilt of the blade,
        a force washed over me like a thousand tidal waves. My senses
        reeled once more as they had nearly a decade ago.

        When my head finally cleared, I was back in Myrra again.

        "What is it?" I demanded of Zolto. "Why have you brought me here
        again?"

        "Myrra has need once more for her champion," the old ruler said.

        "The Warlocks again?" I asked.

        "Nay! Something far more sinister I fear. Word has come from the
        Eastern continent that a tide of great evil is brewing in the Dread
        Domain. Tickeytarkopolis volunteered for a mission to investigate
        four seasons ago but has not been heard from since!"

        "Tark!" I exclaimed. "Tark is missing!"

        "Aye," the king said sadly. "I fear he might be dead..."

        "Can you get the me there fast?" I asked. "This isn't the best time
        for me back home..."

        "Nay, I cannot," the king frowned further. "I fear my magics have
        been exhausted in bringing you here. The nexus between dimensions
        remains fairly strong, but the fact that your weapon has its roots
        here was an added boast to breaching the divide."

        Now I was frowning. "Fine. I'll go to the Dread Domain, and I'll
        find Tark. And once I am through, do you promise to return me home?"

        "Aye," Zolto said.

        I spelled out what I would need - supplies, companions and the like
        Then, reluctantly, I took off. Little did I know that quest would
        take its toll on my physically and emotionally. In the end, the
        threat was met and vanquished, but there were losses. After some
        healing, Zolto was able to return me home.

        But, it was nearly five years later!

        No one knew what had happened to me. The label was furious with me
        to say the least. Rumors had spread about my apparent demise,
        though there was nothing to prove it one way or the other. I was
        forced to concoct a rather huge lie to explain my absence; surely no
        one would believe the truth!

        My career, my life, was in a total shambles. I had lost everything
        and needed to start over again, from the ground up.
      • mcmaenza
        My latest album, Master of the Night , debuted in April of this year. It was a heavier guitar based sound, likening back to some of my earlier records.
        Message 3 of 22 , Jun 1, 2003
          My latest album, 'Master of the Night', debuted in April of this
          year. It was a heavier guitar based sound, likening back to some of
          my earlier records. After some initial curiosity on the charts, it
          stalled at number seventy two. A tour was thrown together quickly
          to try and re-spark the sales.

          The alien Invasion over the summer months turned a lot of folks off
          to going out and doing things; between the panic and the economic
          stresses, all of the industry suffered. And someone like me was hit
          even more harder than the bigger guns. The tour was a total bust.

          My management team wanted me to get back into the studio, to work on
          a greatest hits compilation with a couple new tracks. They even
          negotiated with my older labels to get permission to release tracks
          that spanned my entire career. Seems hardly anyone cared that much
          as long as they could make a few bucks off the old catalog. The
          plan was to do a three disk box set, on the newer CD format.

          All the old stuff, though, in revisiting it and re-mastering it,
          just reminded me of the past and of Janet. It depressed me, and
          when I was depressed I drank. I was in the studio earlier tonight
          in fact when I lost it.

          "This is crap!" I swore, hurling the headphones across the sound
          booth.

          "What is it now, Jim?" the sound technician asked.

          "I...I can't do this any more!" I said as I came out of the small
          room. "I need to get out, get some air!"

          "Jim, we're on a tight schedule here," Frank, the producer of the
          compilation, reminded me for the tenth time today. "We need to get
          this done so we can get the masters to production. There's a set
          street date."

          "Hell with the street date!" I said. I reached for a small flask
          that I kept in my jacket pocket. I started to open it to take a
          drink when Frank knocked it from my hands.

          "What the hell are you doing?" I screamed as the liquor spilled to
          the floor.

          "What the hell are you doing?" Frank countered. "We've got a
          project to finish, and you're not helping any with your drinking!"

          "Yeah?" I replied. "Well, fine, then! If you're so smart, you
          finish the goddamn album yourself! I'm out of here!" And I stormed
          out of the studio and hit the road.

          Not long after, I was tearing down the lonely highways, doing the
          best I could to run away from the problems. I was tired of it.
          Tired of working so hard only to get knocked down time and time
          again.

          I needed to clear my mind, clear my head.

          I turned on the radio and flipped through the channels. I stopped
          on a classic by J. Frank Wilson and the Cavaliers. I always liked
          that song.

          "...Something warm running in my eyes, but I found my baby somehow
          that night. I raised her head, and when she smiled, and said, 'Hold
          me darling for a little while.' I held her close. I kissed her our
          last kiss. I found the love that I knew I would miss. But now she's
          gone, even though I hold her tight. I lost my love ... my life, that
          night..."
        • mcmaenza
          And that, Jim Rook concluded with some sadness in his voice, brings us up to the here n now. He frowned deeply as his own tale sank in. The wind
          Message 4 of 22 , Jun 1, 2003
            "And that," Jim Rook concluded with some sadness in his
            voice, "brings us up to the here 'n' now." He frowned deeply as his
            own tale sank in. The wind whipped about the canyon, sending a cold
            chill up his spine. "What a waste, huh?"

            The blonde man shook his head. "It's not too late, Jim Rook," he
            said. He pointed his long, tapered and neatly manicured finger
            toward the burning wreckage of the car below. "Clearly, you have
            been saved for a greater purpose. Would you go the way of your
            automobile or will you rise again like a proverbial phoenix, reborn
            with a new purpose?"

            Jim was silent, deep in thought and a bit unsure. He shrugged his
            shoulders. "I dunno..."

            "It was fate that our paths would cross this night!" the blonde
            insisted as he reached forward, placing his hand on Jim's chin and
            rising it up. He looked into those deep blue eyes and said, "the
            choice is up to you. I can help you turn your life around. Will
            you accept my offer to help you get what your heart most desires?"

            Jim Rook swallowed and looked down at the remains car on the rocky
            slope. The chilly autumn wind blew against the dying flames as they
            slowly burned out, leaving a charred mass of metal behind.

            He then turned up again to the man who had plucked him from that
            terrible fate. "My life's been a roller coaster ride before," Jim
            said. "And like Neil Young said '...it's better to burn out than
            fade away...'"

            "Indeed," the blonde said, extending his hand. "So...?"

            "So..." Jim Rook said with some returning resolve. "...I accept
            your offer to help." He took the man's hand in his own. It was
            cold to the touch.

            "Good," Neron said with a wide smile. "Very good!"

            And with that, the two men floating in thin air vanished into the
            night sky.


            (to be continued...)
          • Brian Asbury
            Hmmm... intriguing ending! So Nightmaster is to be part of Neron s grand design, eh? Very well crafted tale, Martin. I knew practically nothing about this
            Message 5 of 22 , Jun 2, 2003
              Hmmm... intriguing ending! So Nightmaster is to be part of Neron's
              grand design, eh?

              Very well crafted tale, Martin. I knew practically nothing about this
              character, but now I feel I'd like to know more...

              BKA
            • mcmaenza
              ... Yup. I m sneaky that way, eh? ... this ... Honestly, I knew very little about Nightmaster as well until I got his three issue Showcase run last year on
              Message 6 of 22 , Jun 2, 2003
                --- In Earth1AftertheCrisis@yahoogroups.com, "Brian Asbury"
                <bkasbury@h...> wrote:
                > Hmmm... intriguing ending! So Nightmaster is to be part of Neron's
                > grand design, eh?
                >

                Yup. I'm sneaky that way, eh?

                > Very well crafted tale, Martin. I knew practically nothing about
                this
                > character, but now I feel I'd like to know more...

                Honestly, I knew very little about Nightmaster as well until I got
                his three issue Showcase run last year on ebay (a bit pricy in part
                because it is very early Bernie Wrightson art from the late
                60's/early 70's). The storyline (the first Myrra visit, which I
                sort of recapped) was so so, IMHO. Probably why DC never really did
                anything with him after that. I figured he'd make a good character
                to build off of and to do something with. The reluctant hero worked
                well with what I had in mind.

                I could see going back and filling in that lost five years I
                established in a story arc at some point, if interest warranted.

                Martin
              • libbylawrence
                Boy, I just loved it! That was well worth the wait. I never knew NM except as a Showcase 100 picture and a Who s Who entry but now, I d sure like to see more
                Message 7 of 22 , Jun 2, 2003
                  Boy, I just loved it! That was well worth the wait. I never knew NM
                  except as a Showcase 100 picture and a Who's Who entry but now, I'd
                  sure like to see more of Nightmaster and his missing years. Talk
                  about Behind the Music, you certainly covered the bases. It reminds
                  me a bit of the Alan Dean Foster series Spellsinger.
                • mcmaenza
                  Not sure which came first - Nightmaster or Spellsinger? One certainly could have inspired the other. I did have Behind the Music in mind when I wrote it
                  Message 8 of 22 , Jun 2, 2003
                    Not sure which came first - Nightmaster or Spellsinger? One
                    certainly could have inspired the other.

                    I did have Behind the Music in mind when I wrote it (watched a ton
                    of those over the years). I'll add the "lost years" to my to-do
                    list.

                    Glad you enjoyed it.
                  • BLACKWOLF
                    ... I could be wrong but I am quite sure NIGHTMASTER predated any of Alan Dean Foster s professional sales. [the first ones of which were adaptions of the STAR
                    Message 9 of 22 , Jun 2, 2003
                      --- mcmaenza <no_reply@yahoogroups.com> wrote:
                      > Not sure which came first - Nightmaster or
                      > Spellsinger? One
                      > certainly could have inspired the other.
                      >
                      > I did have Behind the Music in mind when I wrote it
                      > (watched a ton
                      > of those over the years). I'll add the "lost years"
                      > to my to-do
                      > list.
                      >
                      > Glad you enjoyed it.
                      >
                      I could be wrong but I am quite sure NIGHTMASTER
                      predated any of Alan Dean Foster's professional sales.
                      [the first ones of which were adaptions of the STAR
                      TREK cartoons which came a wee bit after Night Master
                      I am quite sure.]
                      Wolf

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                    • BLACKWOLF
                      ... I should add I became aware of Alan Dean Foster with his Trek cartoon adfaptions what he did before that I do not know but I am quite sure Spellsinger came
                      Message 10 of 22 , Jun 2, 2003
                        --- mcmaenza <no_reply@yahoogroups.com> wrote:
                        > Not sure which came first - Nightmaster or
                        > Spellsinger? One
                        > certainly could have inspired the other.
                        >
                        > I did have Behind the Music in mind when I wrote it
                        > (watched a ton
                        > of those over the years). I'll add the "lost years"
                        > to my to-do
                        > list.
                        >
                        > Glad you enjoyed it.
                        >
                        I should add I became aware of Alan Dean Foster with
                        his Trek cartoon adfaptions what he did before that I
                        do not know but I am quite sure Spellsinger came much
                        later. Wolf

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                      • immortalwildcat
                        ... That s how I first became familiar with Foster as well. I just checked my bookcase: Spellsinger, first printing, 1983. Quite some time after the
                        Message 11 of 22 , Jun 2, 2003
                          --- In Earth1AftertheCrisis@yahoogroups.com, BLACKWOLF
                          <BLACKWOLF247@Y...> wrote:
                          >
                          > --- mcmaenza <no_reply@yahoogroups.com> wrote:
                          > > Not sure which came first - Nightmaster or
                          > > Spellsinger? One
                          > > certainly could have inspired the other.
                          > >
                          > I should add I became aware of Alan Dean Foster with
                          > his Trek cartoon adfaptions what he did before that I
                          > do not know but I am quite sure Spellsinger came much
                          > later. Wolf
                          >

                          That's how I first became familiar with Foster as well.

                          I just checked my bookcase: Spellsinger, first printing, 1983.
                          Quite some time after the Nightmaster story in Showcase.

                          Yeah, that's right, I got rid of my comic collection all those years
                          ago, but have kept most of the SF/fantasy. Especially the series
                          books.


                          da 'Cat!
                        • Brian Asbury
                          Nightmaster definitely made his appearances in the sixties. Not sure about Spellsinger: I don t think I encountered that series until the eighties, but I doubt
                          Message 12 of 22 , Jun 3, 2003
                            Nightmaster definitely made his appearances in the sixties. Not sure
                            about Spellsinger: I don't think I encountered that series until the
                            eighties, but I doubt that it started earlier than the mid-seventies.

                            --- In Earth1AftertheCrisis@yahoogroups.com, mcmaenza <no_reply@y...>
                            wrote:
                            > Not sure which came first - Nightmaster or Spellsinger? One
                            > certainly could have inspired the other.
                            >
                            > I did have Behind the Music in mind when I wrote it (watched a ton
                            > of those over the years). I'll add the "lost years" to my to-do
                            > list.
                            >
                            > Glad you enjoyed it.
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