Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Researching the unknown .. with Professor Mentia

Before reading the following paragraphs telling of the plotting of this caption, please look at the actual caption and try to figure out how I came up with what I did.


This is another one of those captions that came out after I "went through the motions" of making something the other day. I had gotten a caption from a Haven newbie, and I thought it was pretty good. I am not a big fan of steampunk and fantasy stories, but it was quite well done and I LOVE the aesthetic of steampunk fashion.

When looking at her preferences, she was well within the realm of what she had created for me, so I had to step up my game. I know of Dr. Who, though what I know is mostly in a Pop Culture sense. I've never watched more than 5 minutes of any show, and the one I think of when someone says "Dr. Who" is that dude with the afro from the late 70's. Tom Baker is his name I think.

Anyway, I had an idea to take what I thought he was, mix it with a movie I'll mention in the next paragraph, and sort of merge it with John Audobon. I've been reading up on his life, and the idea occurred to me that it'd make a great idea for a story ... research for a compendium of magical entities. My character would be that mixture of Dr. Who and John Audobon sort, in the manor of  Sherlock Holmes, who definitely needs a sidekick ala Watson. The best way to do that is have someone that is impartial and unbiased .. hence where Suzy comes in.

What fully got me into this plotline is the goggles. When I saw them, I thought about Ghostbusters and the P.K.E. meter device. The lenses are green, and the green meter represents paranormal substances. In my mind, I combined the P.K.E. meter and the Ectogoggles into one device (much more stylish goggles too!) which Suzy can use now that she's fully female.

That tied all my thoughts together. A traveller, reasearching the magical world, and where it intersects into our real world ... gadding about and having fun. Now that I look at it like that, perhaps there is a bit of Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy in their as well. Anyway, I am not adverse to revisiting this avenue again if need be, and mostly if I can find pictures that work for it.

What shocked me though was the response. People that I respect on the Haven seemed to really enjoy it. Maybe it is due to the quality of the "source material" but it went over MUCH better than I expected.

DISCUSSION QUESTION: If I decide to continue it, any ideas on how to structure it as a series? I have a definite idea on how I would write more captions, but I am interested in seeing what others would suggest. Also, what magical entities (hopefully some will be somewhat obscure) would make good antagonists for Suzy to interact with?


  1. Uhmmm you beat at cultural knowledge this time Dee but i think you can work with pretty much of Stargate ideas (lots of entities in there to work around and some episodes were really geeky stuff ^-^) and Dr Who (you should watch at least the last season it's really good) and The Warehouse for incredible artifacts also there is this series where a chick was looking for treasures or something (treasure hunter was called i think and she was sort of a Lara Croft lady yeah)...
    So yeah the search for a magical object could work. ^-^
    Hugs and Kisses Alectra

  2. For now I'll comment on the caption itself. It has me curious simply because it felt like the start of something interesting. I almost feel like it's part of a caption series. Overall look and feel is top notch.

  3. First off Dee, great cap. I love the photo.

    I think if this were to become a series, it would be hard to have it be solely about Suzy. She has already changed, so any more gender changing monsters, magics and things would changer her back into him.

    But having Suzy going out on missions for Dr. Mentia and seeing these things effecting other people... well that opens the door to all kinds of wonderful. Basically it would open the door for another narrator instead of your standard 'Dee' ones.

    I thought I remembered an old monster from D&D that had a rare ability to change its own gender... but I can't find it (nor can I find my dozens of D&D books!).

    The one creature that I do remember that could offer some fun possibilities would be a faerie dragon. Picture a dragon about 2 feet from nose to tail, with butterfly wings. When we played with them, we ignored most of the rules about them and made them very powerful but very playfull creatures. They were almost godlike, and very childlike. So the 'wishes' they could grant would never turn out right.

  4. "That dude with the afro from the late 70's. Tom Baker is his name I think."

    Oh Dee, I'm shocked and appalled! Dear oh dear. I can see you comparisons though and as with the Doctor you could take Suzy to different times (perhaps dressing her in different outfits or sending her undercover to investigate something), planets or dimensions. I tend to agree with Caitlyn though, it might be hard to continue unless you have a running theme, maybe you and Suzy are trying to track down some kind of steampunk TG gun or magical dust or something.

  5. @ Caitlyn

    That sounds like a cute little thing. My GF would probably LOVE to have one of those critters.

  6. I had held off on replying to this one for a good while because I wanted to suggest a creature or two that would fit in with it. And though I know of a few odd ball folk lore creatures and the like, none of them felt like you could twist them in such a way to fit this universe for a tg caption. Or even find enough creatures that would lend it self well for a continuing story of TF's and TG Tales.

    So instead, i thought i would offer the suggestion of something I've seen done many times and used to great effect. Like in Neil Gaiman's sand man, American gods, kentaro miura's berserk, or Mike mignola's hellboy, Take the legends, myths, religions. etc, and twist them to your own needs.

    In Neil Gaiman sandman, all religions, myths, fantasy's, and other worldly entity's were meshed together to become one large living breathing fantasy world world set in the dc universe. Besides one or two story's featuring a dc hero, everything else was taking from Greek tragedy's, Christian believes, Buddhism, Dante's inferno, children's story's books, everything. And it worked very well even though a lot of it didn't seem like it could be paired with this or that.

    In berserk, kentaro miura Took well known myths and legends from different time periods, and made them his own. An orge looked quite different from the traditional approach, and was even explained as something else entirely. Much like trolls, demons, angels, kelpies, fariys, and various other creatures. It worked quite well and was just familiar enough to let you know these are legends in this universe, But still were his own creation.

    Hellboy took many things that followed the legends pretty closely, but he also changed up some things here and there. (Anubis for example)and made up his own stuff that some how fit together. From nazi heads in jars, to talking gorillas, and Rasputin back from the grave.

    So what I'm saying is, Take what you already know and make it work. do it your own way and it will slowly flesh out and become it's own little universe filled with legends that are just familiar enough to draw readers in, but unique to keep them hooked and wondering what else this world has to offer.

    That's just my two cents. ^_^