Archive for February, 2011

Aquaman vs. Namor the Sub-Mariner

Lego Aquaman

Lego Aquaman

Growing up, I admit, my first recollection of Atlantis didn’t come to me by reading Plato, or even learning about it in school, it came to me via a comic book hero named Arthur Curry, a.k.a. Aquaman. It wasn’t so much that I read many Aquaman comics books, I was more into Spiderman back then, but I do remember watching The Justice League. Yes there was Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman, but who was that hero riding the giant seahorse and talking to fish? Why that was none other than Aquaman himself.

It wasn’t long after I received my first Aquaman action figure. No, it wasn’t a doll as my sister would say, it was an action figure. You didn’t dress him up and put on pretty little outfits. You would smash him, throw him, drop him from the second floor, it was pure action. I remember taking him with me whenever I had any underwater adventures, which for me back then was either in the bathtub, or the local swimming pool. This was where I first imagined Atlantis as an actual undersea world.

Now, when it came to the comic world, both DC Comics (Aquaman), and Marvel (Namor the Sub-Mariner) did a wonderful job in exploring the idea of Atlantis in very creative ways. The most important impression they left me with was that Atlantis was indeed a thriving underwater nation that currently existed in the world we live in today. Both Aquaman and Namor were the respective rulers of their great nation; Aquaman a king and Namor a prince. But who better represented Atlantis? This is where it gets a little complicated.

Let’s start with Aquaman … talk about your identity crisis. When he was first created, it was said that his father, a famous undersea explorer discovered Atlantis. He taught his son, Arthur, how to breathe underwater and speak with sea life. From there it gets a little fuzzy. Was he the son of a common man and woman, or was Arthur’s real mother Atlanna, an outcast from Atlantis, who gave him his underwater super powers? Regardless, he viewed as the king of Atlantis. He then joined up with the famous Justice League, and from there, so many twists and re-creations of his character entered his life that now I don’t think even he would recognize himself. The last I recall, he has a spear in place of his left hand and he turned in his super hero good looks to become the Grizzly Adams of the sea. That aside, his adventures took place all over the world, and his base was in Atlantis.

Now let’s take a look at Namor the Sub-Mariner. Namor was actually born in the Atlantean empire. His father was an American sea captain, and his mother, the daughter of the Atlantean Emperor, Thakorr. He was raised in Atlantis, and later became their prince, and a warrior for their nation. He’s still around today, alternating between living there and adventuring above land. The last I recall he was seen with some pretty questionable characters and had a distaste for people who lived above the sea.

That said, both did an excellent job of representing Atlantis as a prosperous and thriving nation still in existence today. The question of who did a better job of opening up your imagination to the lost city really depends upon the character you followed closest. To me, even with all his flaws and changes, my nod still goes to Aquaman, his name said it all. Namor, not really sure how his name came about, never did it for me. I don’t think I cared much for his European style swimming trunks. This is just one man’s opinion, what do you think?


First Radio Interview

It came and went just like a blur. When my novel was published, I knew there would be some marketing implications involved with the selling of the book, so mentally I was prepared for this, but I admit, when I was told to prepare for my first radio interview, well … I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was a bit anxious. It’s not as if I was new to this sort of thing. I’ve actually done quite a few interviews and performances on the radio with my band, Koncrete Kite, in the past. But that was with my band, my brothers. This time I was going solo.

I wasn’t exactly sure how I should approach this one. Should I prepare notes, or just wing it. Being that I’m a bit of a procrastinator, I chose the latter and didn’t think much more about it until the day before the interview. Suddenly it dawned on me that I didn’t know anything about either the interviewer, or the station. Would this person toss me some softball questions about my book, or would they grill me on the subject matter? After all, who was I to write about Atlantis? What do I know about the lost city? What qualifies me to write about this topic? The seeds of doubt started growing in my mind. What if I couldn’t answer their questions?

After allowing myself a few moments to run through a number of worst-case scenarios that could possibly arise from this brief experiment in public speaking, I stopped, took a deep breath, and just relaxed. Clearly I was over analyzing this. They’re just going to ask me a few questions about my book. What was I so nervous about? I mean, I did write it, I should know the answers. It’s not like they were going to ask me to discuss the history of Atlantis … or would they?

When the time finally arrived, I was well prepared. Even though I told myself I wouldn’t, I did my homework and read up everything I could about Atlantis. I couldn’t leave anything to chance. By the time of the interview I could tell you who else wrote about it, filmed it, where it first originated from, etc. I’m not sure if it was a relief, or a disappointment that I didn’t get to share any of this newfound knowledge.

Before I knew it, the interview was over and I had a blast. The interviewer couldn’t have been more professional. He prepared me for what we would discuss, made me feel very relaxed, and best of all, mentioned to me that the interview would be recorded; therefore it could be edited. Now being a musician, that’s all I needed to hear. I’ve had my share of overdubs in the past.

In the end, I thought I did okay; at least they said I did okay. I don’t know, I never heard it myself. You be the judge. It just so happens that I have another radio spot coming up this week and I would love some feedback. As far as preparing for the next one, this much I do know … I plan on having fun with it.

Atlantis, Fact or Fiction?

I recently watched a brief documentary entitled, “The Search for the Lost City of Atlantis”, in where they discussed the lost city as if it possibly could have been a once thriving civilization. Now as I have mentioned in the past, the history of Atlantis itself can easily be traced back to Plato, who first wrote about the lost city over two thousand years ago in his dialogue Timaeus and Critias. Most people had believed his story to be a work of fiction, a trilogy that was never completed.

The mention of this once great nation may have been erased from the minds of the world if not for the theory of one, Ignatius Donnelly, a populist writer and amateur scientist, who in 1882 came out with his theory arguing that Atlantis really did exist. Not only did he believe that Atlantis existed, he also believed that the Atlanteans alone were responsible for bringing civilization to the great nations of the world.

While both Plato and Donnelly agree that Atlantis was indeed a great civilization that existed thousands of years ago, their impression of the continent appeared to differ. Plato said the Atlanteans were a naval power to be feared. They were beloved by Poseidon and conquered many parts of Western Europe and Africa. His comment on their demise was that the nation was lost in ‘a single day and night of misfortune’.

Donnelly too believed that the city was indeed overcome by a flood – some twelve thousand years ago, but it was his belief that many Atlanteans escaped this disaster by boat and went on to live in the surrounding nations. It wasn’t so much that they conquered these nations, but migrated into such places as Egypt, Mesopotamia, Mexico, and South America. He believed that the Atlanteans brought with them their knowledge of farming, writing, building, art, and religion, and with this knowledge they helped to transform these once considered barbaric nations into the thriving nations they became.

Ask any archeologist what they might believe and they would tell you this theory is rubbish. Why … carbon dating. The use of carbon dating allows you the ability to test the age of any sight by chemically testing the samples in that specific area. What most archeologists have found is that the dates of the greatest civilizations around the world were shockingly built thousands of years apart from one another. This certainly throws a monkey wrench in Donnelley’s theory of just one single source of civilization.

So what was it? Was Atlantis once a thriving nation that dominated the world with both their militaristic and cultural ways, or was is it an imaginative thought from a once great philosopher? I tend to lean on the side of the latter, but that’s just one man’s opinion. What do you think?

Family Divided

The Brady Bunch

The Brady Bunch

One of the main themes that comes across in my novel, Mayhem’s Fountain, is the theme of family. Now, I know I may be dating myself, but many of you still may recall the picture perfect family life portrayed in the television show The Brady Bunch. Gosh, they were a happy … bunch. Sure they may have had some minor drama enter their lives: Marsha’s nose, Peter’s voice, and Jan’s … who are we kidding, Jan was a mess. All in all though, life was pretty good in the Brady home. Well, if your family is anything like mine, you’re probably thinking, if only family life were that easy. Where’s my Alice?

When I created the families involved in my novel I admit I was at an impasse as to which direction I wanted to take them. Although I knew I was dealing in a fantasy world, I wanted to keep a little reality in what lies behind the true everyday family. Let’s face it; sometimes the truth is far wilder than anything you can imagine. Granted, I may have created far more turmoil and tragedy than one would expect to find in your average family, but that’s what keeps their lives so interesting. There’s a little crazy in every family, but it’s the degree of crazy that makes the difference.

In my novel, I highlight the lives of three separate families. In one family, you have a son who can’t let his father die without trying to help ease his pain, but his help leads to unforeseen tragedy amongst his people. In another story, you have a captain consumed by the guilt of harming the ones he cared for in order to fulfill his own selfish aspirations. He now does everything in his power to right the wrongs he’s caused them. As for the Atlanteans, you have a brother who can’t forgive his sister of her sins and commits heinous acts of his own in the hopes of reuniting what he once believed was sacred.

We all know family life is not perfect. My characters and their families are no different. They just go through some extreme measures to resolve their differences. If you’ve had enough of yours, tune into the lives in Mayhem’s Fountain. You may come to find that you appreciate your family just a little bit more.

The History of Atlantis – J. A. Bove

When one thinks about the history of Atlantis, it’s relatively easy to discover its origins. The Greek philosopher Plato first mentioned the lost city in his dialogue Timaeus and Critias written back in roughly 355-360 BC.  Many believed the dialogues were meant to be a trilogy discussing such things as the nature of man and the creation of the world. Plato first described Atlantis as a naval power lying in front of the Pillars of Hercules. Unfortunately, only the first book Timaeus was written, because Critias was never completed. The introduction of the concept alone though, was enough to mesmerize audiences for the next couple of thousand years and beyond.

The idea of Atlantis, in itself, has been written about or eluded to time and time again in such classic books as Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, to J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Silmarillion, and to Arthur Conan Doyle’s, The Maracot Deep. Even such contemporary authors from Clive Cussler to David Gemmel have tackled the idea. This is not to mention the countless number of movies released on the subject from as recent as 2008 in the release of 10,000 BC, to Disney’s animated film released back in 2001, Atlantis: The Lost Empire. Whatever the reason, people have always been fascinated with the thought of the existence of Atlantis.

The question remains- was it fact or fiction? Could it have once been a continent beloved by Poseidon that conquered many parts of Western Europe only to “sink into the middle of the ocean in a single day and night of misfortune?” Or, was it purely a fictional creation taken in great liberties by many authors, like myself, to describe a thriving civilization that existed under the sea. I think most would tend to lean toward the side of fiction. I like to think that even the thought of this city being discussed over two thousand years later would bring a smile to Plato’s face.

This is why I am yet another of many who have tried to put their own spin on this great mythical tale. In my novel, Mayhem’s Fountain, I do my best to bring the city to life. I want you to let your imagination run wild. That’s the beauty of fantasy. Where else, in only a few hours a day, can you escape from your everyday life into a world of pure imagination? If you’re like me, and you enjoy discovering new worlds, please give my novel a read. If anything, I will do my best to take you into the mythical city and experience how it would feel to be an Atlantean. Even if it is for only a few hours a day.