Why Wolves? Answering Questions About 365 Infantry
Getting to the Root of Things...
I’m making this month’s behind-the-scenes article a freebie because it is going to cut to the heart of a lot of what I do here on the series. Fundamental questions culled from my first year of operation and clarifications I wish to make of my own accord. I have not fielded any of these (more on that later), so some of this might come careening out of nowhere. And perhaps the biggest question I’ve gotten in passing is:
I have had people tell me they would read this series if didn’t star bipedal wolves. I’ve had people tell me that if it wasn’t for the art and occasional descriptors, they would not have even realized these characters are wolves. And as one would suspect, the word “furry” has been thrown around. While that second one is more a comment on my need to improve my writing (I’m young yet folks) and the third remains to be seen, the question remains begged.
And in answer, I say: power fantasy. Pure power fantasy.
Now, there is enough intellectual backbone to make the choice make sense. The wolf, in my mind, is a great figure. A figure of majesty, viciousness, nobility, cunning. In many ways, the wolf is analogous to man on a heightened level. Where our fangs and claws come out through the weapons we use to kill and maim one another, the venom and vitriol we hurl at one another, the wolf wears his and wields them purely for survival. And while the wolf can be a mean sonofabitch, he can also be a creature of tremendous beauty. Find some quality nature photography and the animal’s form speaks for itself.
It is the aesthetics of the wolf that I wanted to marry with the denim-and-leather style of the series because it adds up to a striking type of character. After all, I imagine there aren’t too many of you who have seen a gray wolf in a riding jacket, faded jeans, and harness boots clocking 110 on a Harley, spitting the rest of the freeway lollygaggers out his tailpipe.
If you have, consider yourself lucky.
But the truth of it all is that I simply dig the idea. Life is too pale and gray a place to constantly build your work completely around it. You wake up, you go to sleep, and somewhere along the way, you find yourself in the company of people. People in the morning, people in the evening. And that’s terrific. But it is because the wolf wears his ferocity on his sleeve by nature that I find the image of one dressed like a Hell’s Angel with a Smith & Wesson in his hand that much more entertaining than that of a man. We’ve seen Mel Gibson as Mad Max, we’ve seen Stallone as Cobra, but we have not seen a wolf done up the way I have.
365 Infantry could only have starred wolves. They are a part of the identity of the series. It’s a mean world filled with horrors of technology, war, and of the psyche itself. But through it all, there is a beauty and a righteousness and a nobility as can only be embodied by a wolf.
What Time Is It?
I’ve certainly etched it onto the section pages in the 2022 Annual Collection, but I feel like I’ve been not the best at clarifying the timeline of events with the series.
In short, everything is occurring at different points of time.
The War takes place in the year 2476, The Hunt takes place during the 2460s, and the Urban Avenger and Speedfreak Files series take place in the 2450s. The reason for the staggering of years is more than just a creative flourish.
I know where this series is headed. I’ve written the finale well in advance. In fact, there was a time where I was willing to write the entire story into a single novel. But the way I’ve structured the buildup to this finale allows me to gear towards it whenever I feel ready.
Characters will crossover from one series to the next, and in a domino effect, build to the final resolution. This was all presaged by Nic Ridgefield’s role as Chief of Engineering in The War contrasting his earlier days as a lawman in Speedfreak. It’s also why Lita in the Steeled Spies serial is in her 40s; it too is part of The War. Whether through some well-placed dates, dossiers, or a “when & where” style slug-line, I’ll try to be better about making this clear in the future.
Why 365 Infantry?
In my op-ed Entering the Iron Age, I gave the frilly thematic meaning behind the name of the series. A nonstop, round-the-clock fight for freedom, as well as an in-world explanation found in “An Address from the General.” What I haven’t shared here is the reason WHY the name stuck.
Imagine if you will: lil’ ol college student me, October of 2021, in his dorm room, diving into some fine local Chinese food. I’m sucker for the stuff and the place downtown fixes it to five-star perfection. I finish devouring it and I get to the fortune cookie.
Now, for those who haven’t read “An Address,” the choice of 365 came to General Knox after noticing that the numbers on his gal’s Porsche 356 were in the wrong order. The rechristening of the Force as the 365th Infantry is a reference to both the fight ahead, and a tribute to the love of his life who died for the cause.
Now, imagine the earth-shattering shock when I crack open this gold-crusted harbinger of deliciously processed wisdom, to find this:
It was moments like these that showed me, no matter how far I have yet to go, how much more I need to grow, I’m on the right path when making this series.
What Did I Miss?
Ask me literally anything about the series, my process, anything. For God’s sake, ask me what I ate for dinner last night. I’ll compile all questions into a proper Q&A once I have enough of them. I want to hear from EVERYBODY! Passersby, regular readers, anybody and everybody.
Ask your questions down in the comments below. And as always, may God bless You and this Force. See you in July!
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