The Worlds of Jan StryVant


(Maybe I will put a cool picture here?)

Current Books Available:
Into The Dark (a Prequel with a collection of shorts, and a bonus section at the end)

Shadow is a story that I started writing as a series of shorts a long time ago. Honestly, I don't even remember when I wrote the first Shadow story. I used to read a lot of comics from what is now known as 'The Black and White Boom.' Some of you may be familiar with it. One of my favorites was 'Those Annoying Post Brothers' (hell, it's STILL one of my favorites). This is what the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles came out if. Comics were all over the map back then and there are some true gems out there, if you can still find them.

So, for some reason, I was just getting annoyed at the current state of four-color comics. I had friends who still read them, but I was pretty much done with them by then. They stories had just gotten dumb and repetitive. So I wrote a much more (to me at least) realistic comic character. I mean come on, you've got all these powers, you've got women drooling over you, and you're not going out there and getting laid? I mean really? Who writes these things? Virgins?

Now I'm not saying you have to put sex scenes in a comic book, but let's just acknowledge the fact in the ones aimed at a more grown up audience that yeah, the super hero (or bad guy) is getting a little on the side. Or maybe a lot, I don't know, right?

So yeah, I wrote the first Shadow story. Over the years, if I was feeling like I needed to write something, but I didn't want to work on a project, I'd sit on the couch, fire up 'Deadliest Catch' (I grew up on an island, I know all about fishermen and bad weather - part of why I love that show, I've been at sea in a storm, both majestic and scary as hell), and I'd write me some more Shadow.

However, the story was never really put together well, it was just too disjointed. The shorts stood on their own well enough, but they didn't hang together well as a cohesive whole. Plus they weren't written in any kind of order. I'd just write about different times in his life. I have a whole story about him in college, another about him hunting while he's still working in Boston. Another little short about when his oldest daughter runs away to find him. (Note: These are now released in the Into the Dark collection)

So, on a lark I decided to show it to my patreon subscribers. They loved it. Said it needed work, but loved it. That led to me sitting down and spending a few weeks doing a major edit, rewrite, and adding about twenty thousand words to it.

They liked it even more after that. But the beginning of it I felt was too long and too slow (the whole college scene bit) so I cut that off (which was probably twenty thousand words) and then put it out there. (That part has since been rewritten and put in the above named collection)

I was floored by the response. I'm still floored by the response. Sean is a bit of a sociopath. The only reason that he's not a complete sociopath is because he's aware of just what he is and just how he got there. He remembers enough of his humanity, and enough of what it was like to have been a victim of a monster, to restrain himself. Well, at least most of the time. When Sean's pissed, he really doesn't care about anything but killing whatever the hell it is that's pissing him off (a very leopard trait, trust me on that one). At least until he's calmed down. Then he'll simply plot his revenge.

The 'obviously a teenager who's never gotten laid' ones make me laugh, a lot. Especially as the people writing them seem to be the type that have never spent any time with members of the opposite sex (or even the same sex, I don't judge). I made a joking reply to one of those folks, whose username links him directly to a bar band he plays in, and wow, did he get upset!! I thought that the guys in bar bands get laid a lot? Maybe he's the bass player? (I'm a bass player; I'm allowed to make bass player jokes).

My only self-criticism on the book is that I took out a bunch of stuff on Shadow's skill tree. Shadow's general design (the super powers that is) came directly out of the Super's rules of the Champions games. I'd found a way to build a character that after every campaign (which was usually a couple of months of gaming sessions) suddenly had a new form with a whole bunch of new powers. I think it was like a twenty point cost at first, but after five of them it was down to like ten. Yeah, drove the DM mad :-) Of course that character was nowhere near as edgy as the one the book is about. The one time I tried to play a character that edgy in a supers campaign with another DM, the guy literally freaked.

I have long since forgotten what city this all originally was meant to take place in, somewhere in the Midwest. But even if I did, I wouldn't tell you. Shadow isn't one to mess with after all, right?

Is Sean a 'Mary-Sue'?
Heavens no! And not because of the sex, but because of the killing. I was in the service; I was not however, ever in a war zone (I was in before 2001). When I was in college I worked for an ambulance company as a Paramedic. I've seen a lot of injured and dying people. I've found dead bodies. Almost been killed a few times myself (but that's another story).

Anyway, because of all of that, I could never take another human life as cavalierly as Shadow does. Killing to Shadow is about the same as tying his shoes, and as he rarely wears shoes, well, it's nothing. Yeah, that's not me, and it will never be me. There are things about Shadow that I definitely don't like. He may not be a 'bad' guy, but he's not a 'good' guy either.

But he's still a hell of a lot of fun to write and read about, isn't he?

If you have any other questions, by all means drop me an email: stryvant at gmail dot com