Written by Tilda Harper for Toni Kelner, author of the Where Are They Now? mysteries.
Despite the foot of snow on the ground, I ventured into Boston this weekend, just to go to Arisia. Arisia is one of the biggest annual science fiction/fantasy conventions in New England, and can be a good place for leads on upcoming movies and TV shows. Even better, sometimes there are media-related guests I can get close enough to for interviews. Arisia can't pay for the A-listers, but since I specialize in the formerly famous, the more obscure stars of shows long gone are all the better for me.
There was nobody along those lines scheduled this year, but Arisia is also a good time for me to touch base with some of my contacts in the fan community, so after I registered and took a look through the program book to see who might be worth tracking down, I went to meet my friend Vincent.
Vincent was late, but the conventioneers wandering through the lobby made for great entertainment. Arisia is very popular for cosplayers, and in ten minutes' time I saw the Joker (Heath Ledger edition), four young girls in Dalek party dresses, three incarnations of Doctor Who, and a woman I couldn't see well enough to decide if she was a Vulcan or a Romulan. Most of the rest I saw were steampunk. If I ever decided to go to a con in costume, steampunk would be tempting, but I've never worn a corset in public and don't intend to.
When Vincent finally showed, his attire was a relief. I'd been afraid he'd be in black leather, or worse yet, tight vinyl of some sort--neither of which would really suit his shape--but he was in jeans and a black Fangtasia t-shirt, which was practically mundane in that crowd. He apologized for being late, mentioning something about getting caught up in a broad sword lesson. Then he gave me a big hug even though hugging is normally not included in our relationship--I chalked it up to the joy of being in a crowd of other fans.
Before I could even ask Vincent about the gossip, he said, "Have you heard about Pharos?"
"Um... The new villain in Doctor Who?"
"No, Pharos the comic book!"
"Refresh my memory." I do read comics, but not even Vincent can keep up with all of them.
"It was one of the black-and-white indie comics back in the eighties. Dylan O'Taine lived in this mystic lighthouse called Pharos and protected people on land from sea monsters and stuff. His girlfriend was a mermaid, and--"
"Okay, now I remember. Good stuff."
"Good? It was incredible and way ahead of it's time. Unfortunately, the idiot publisher cancelled the book after just a few issues. If it weren't for the fanfic, the story would have ended there."
I grunted in a more or less positive way. "So what about Pharos?"
"The movie adaptation has been green-lit!"
"Maybe. I mean it's good news is they're making a movie, of course, but the film makers have never done anything this big, so they'll probably screw it up. No definite word on the casting, but somebody saw an internet rumor that John Laryea is reading a script."
"That could work."
"Seriously? The man is way too old for the part."
As if that ever mattered in Hollywood. It was always easier to change the script to fit the actor than the other way around--ironic, considering how many plastic surgeons were operating in LA.
"Does the comic book writer have enough juice to veto him?" I asked.
"Didn't you know? Nobody knows who Leviathan was."
"And Leviathan would be..."
"Leviathan was the genius behind Pharos. And that's all we know about him--the name. It's a huge mystery."
"Interesting," I said speculatively. "Vincent," I said, "lunch is on me." A missing comic book creator sounded like my kind of story, if the movie got made. And come to think of it, I'd done some background work on Laryea, too--he'd starred in an obscure kids' TV show years back. Put the two together, and I might just be able to get a story out of it.
BLAST FROM THE PAST is Toni L.P. Kelner's third "Where are they Now?" mystery about Boston-based entertainment reporter Tilda Harper, who specializes in writing about the formerly famous. Toni also co-edits urban fantasy anthologies with Charlaine Harris--their latest is DEATH'S EXCELLENT VACATION. She lives north of Boston, where there has been entirely too much snow this year, and is married to author Stephen P. Kelner, Jr., with whom she's co-authored two daughters.