From the Mind of Mr. Zeus, part 16

File #: 2018Q4
Subject: new issue of quarterly ‘Official Mr. Zeus Fanclub Newsletter’
Purpose: readers’ enjoyment/entertainment and (occasionally) education
Author: Mr. Zeus (aka <name unknown>; formerly known as Jacob Szymanski, aka “Hacksaw Jack”)

Not actually Olympia and me (we’re much better looking)

“Date Night”

First off, a big public “Thank you!” to Ben and Bernie M. of Sante Fe, NM. You may remember their names from the Q&A last issue, ‘cuz they asked me what my favorite food was. As it turns out, Ben and Bernie own a popular steak-n-pasta restaurant just outside Santa Fe called ‘The BB Grill’. After that issue came out, they contacted me via my manager and offered a free meal for two. Awesome! Olympia was due to come stateside for some meetings and a convention signing, so we had a date at the BB Grill. (If you’re interested, I had a HUGE steak and some linguini in shrimp sauce, while Olympia had a big steak and an even bigger salad. We topped it off with chocolate mousse.) Everything was DELICIOUS! While we didn’t have to pay (this time), the prices seemed reasonable for such an establishment, and we highly recommend both the food and atmosphere. The wait staff was friendly and very attentive, as well. No wonder it’s so popular!

“Publishing Success”

Many thanks also go out to everyone who purchased copies of ‘Sherlock’ Sherwood and the Phantom Killer by Phil Prendergast and yours truly. (On a whim, I sent autographed copies out to everyone who got their questions printed in the 2018Q3 issue.) Given the subject matter, main protagonist, and the co-authors, ‘Sherlock’ is sort of an odd fit, and some retailers aren’t exactly sure how to market it. Some direct it to adults, others to youth. Even some comic stores are carrying it, though there isn’t any sci-fi/fantasy action or superheroics in it. As long as people like it and recommend it to their friends, though, I don’t care where people find it. Since it was released back in June, we’ve been creeping up the rankings for both ‘Mystery’ and ‘Adventure’ novels. In fact, the sales projections are high enough that our publisher wants Phil and I to meet with them in a couple weeks to discuss another co-authored novel. Not sure if it will be a ‘Sherlock’ sequel or one of the other ideas I mentioned back in the 2016Q4 newsletter.

Before you ask, I have two additional writing projects that I’m working on right now. The first is refining the manuscript for my The Rise of Mr. Zeus sequel, which picks up right where the first left off. In case you haven’t checked it out, the first one was an account of my wrestling career as ‘Hacksaw Jack’, the events leading to gaining my superhuman abilities, and the first few years of my costumed adventuring as ‘Mr. Zeus’. The sequel will recount the next several years, as I further honed my skills, made some major busts, joined the Alliance of SuperHuman Adventurers (A.S.H.A.), and really became a household name, ending in my retirement as a full-time superhero. Still deciding on a title, though. I like Ride the Lightning, but the publisher has final say.

The other project is a graphic novel titled Confessions of a Bionic Mutant Zombie, a near-future tale about an undead cyborg superhero who has to contend with a neurotic girlfriend, overdue rent, an invasion of intelligent rodents from Tau Ceti VI, malfunctioning bionic parts, a nagging addiction to human brain matter, and the fact that his favorite TV shows keep getting canceled. Also, his mother — who happens to be Vice President of the United States — is still in denial about his “condition” and insists that he get a “regular” job and settle down with the aforementioned girlfriend. You know, normal stuff. We’ve got some major art talent ready to sign on, so I’m excited. Tentative publication date is next November — just in time for the holidays! — but that assumes everything works out from the start and runs like clockwork, which is quite rare in this biz. Fingers crossed…

Not A.S.H.A., but you get the idea…

“Additional A.S.H.A. Assemble!”

Did you guys read or hear about A.S.H.A.’s expansion plans? As an alumnus, I got a heads-up a few months ago, but the official public announcement was last week. When I joined several years ago, there was the original team headquartered at Asgard Tower in California, plus the new East Coast team I was recruited for and based at the Atlantia Compound. (I still remember those bungalows we had on the grounds. On a quiet night, you could forget you were on the Jersey Coast and imagine you were on a beach in Hawaii.) With all the new talent out there, they decided to have a “casting call” for potential new members, and the new team will be based in the Dallas/Fort Worth area at a place being dubbed “Athena Ranch”. Plus, there are tentative plans for a Canadian satellite team to be located in the missile base at Arcadia Mountain, though that probably won’t happen for another 2-3 years. (I even heard rumors of a possible Chicago-based team and something else top-secret, but you didn’t hear that from me….)

I’m excited for the old gang, a few of whom will likely relocate to the new locations, in order to help ensure a smooth transition, liaise with local law enforcement, and guide new recruits, etc. (My buddy, Bravado, will be team leader at Athena, and it will be awesome to have him closer by.) It will also be great for the crimefighters who join the new team(s), ‘cuz I know firsthand how the mentoring and support of a team, both in the field and off, gave me greater confidence and improved my offense and defense skills. (The monthly stipends and other benefits are really nice, too!) Of course, A.S.H.A. and this whole expansion effort is only possible with the continued funding of the private Argos Foundation, so… Three Cheers for Argos!!! 🙂

“Q & A”

Alright, I think I’ll throw in a couple Q&A entries from fans outside the U.S….

Louie back in the ’80s

Q: Since you pump iron, do you have any favorite professional bodybuilders? (Colin B. of Edmonton, AB, Canada)

A: Funny you should ask that, Colin. Even though my favorite superhero comic to collect was Thor, I’m a big Hulk fan, too. I loved to watch reruns of the old “Incredible Hulk” TV show, starring Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno, and Ferrigno was the guy who inspired me to start pumping iron while in my mid-teens. So, yeah, Lou Ferrigno was and is probably my most favorite, non-super bodybuilder. In fact, since we are both on the sci-fi/comic convention circuit, we met several years ago and have become friends! Besides “Louie”, other faves include “Brutal” Bertil Fox, Dave “The Blond Bomber” Draper, Tom “The Quadfather” Platz, and Boyer Coe. For some reason, all my favorites were big in the ’70s and ’80s — though, of course, Ferrigno made a comeback in the ’90s. I don’t really pay much attention to the sport anymore. Too much else going on, I guess.

Btw, personally, I would never want to look like a professional bodybuilder. I mean, I admire those guys for their passion (though it can be an unhealthy obsession) and immense dedication and what they are able to accomplish (even without steroids). But, let’s just say I wouldn’t want to try living a normal (or even superheroic) life looking quite that “pumped”….

Q: Who would play you in a movie? (Sirhan H. of Manchester, England)

A: You mean in a cameo? Or, one about my life or maybe about A.S.H.A.? I guess it doesn’t matter. Hmm… Given my unusual size, there aren’t many who could, to be honest. There might be a couple pro-wrestlers these days that come close to me size-wise (e.g., “Might Marko” (6’7.5″), “Brother Titan” (7′), or that new Korean guy (6’11”)), but none of them look like me or have the right proportions. Depending on the size of the role (pun intended), those guys might not have the acting skills, either. More likely, they’d have to put a real actor in a special suit and do the whole CGI thing.

Mantente fuerte, mis amigos!

* All ideas copyright Christopher Harris, 2013-2018.

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