Paul Milligan accuses me time and time again (usually when we're bored at conventions and need something to debate) that the women in my stories get unfairly beaten upon. I apparently have a bad case of "Women in Refrigerators" as a plot device. In my defense, (1) several of my stories have strong leading women. If you are the protagonist, the conflict follows you and you're an easy target. (2) The men in my stories also get beaten upon. Basically, if you are a character in one of my stories, expect bad things. (3) Joss Whedon is my spirit guide. It's the "I learned it from watching you" rebuttal. I don't just love Whedon. I study him. I've read all the scripts for the first three seasons of Buffy. I watch his shows with a notebook in front of me. Not kidding. I'm ready to learn. And you think I'm bad? You should see what he does to the women in his stories. In fact, I imagine he uses excuses 1 and 2 quite a bit as well.
For public record, here are my crimes against fictitious characters. Their lives were in my hands. I'll let you be the judge. Spoiler warning. Also, it's a fairly complete listing of everything I've worked on in the past seven years, published and unpublished.
SPACE TO OCCUPY *stage play, performed at UTA* No women were harmed in this story. One was homeless, but that's it. A guy douses himself with gasoline and attempts to set himself ablaze. Guy, not a girl.
THE INSIGHT *comic book, never published* Okay, a college girl is murdered. She develops psyche powers from her boyfriend (it could happen), and she accidentally discovers that her professor murdered his own son. The prof kills the girl to cover up his previous crime. Later, the psychic ghost imprint of the girl forces her boyfriend to kill the professor. I'm sure it would make sense if you read the script. Maybe not.
SOME OTHER DAY *mini-comic, self published* No women were seriously harmed. A mom punches her own teenage daughter. One pastor is killed when a piece of space shuttle debris lands on him. (read the comic)
FIGHT TO LIVE *short story featured in DEAD@17 ROUGH CUT VOL. 1* No women were harmed in this story. In fact, one girl comes back to life. That should count for something. (read the comic)
THE SPARROW *short story featured in DEAD@17 ROUGH CUT VOL. 2* No women were harmed in this story. A pastor dies saving a baby girl's life. Hmmm. Maybe I should look into how often I kill off clergy in my stories... (read the comic)
CFI SILENT FOREST *short story featured in SILENT FOREST TELEVISION PARODY SPECIAL* A golfer, male, is found dead. His head shoved in the ground. (read the comic)
THE STRANGER WAITS FOR ME *short story featured in WESTERN TALES OF TERROR #2* A woman is shot to death, but more guys were shot to death. (read the comic)
OMISOKA BRIDGE *graphic novel, never published* In this tale of a young samurai searching for his family, his mother sacrifices herself to save his life.
ROCKET SCIENCE *comic book, never published* Late 1950s, alien invasion. The human resistance is led by three gifted teens (think Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew) with access to some sweet jet packs and ray guns. Besides most of the world being wiped out by the invasion, no women were hurt? My Nancy Drew-esque character survives.
JACK RUBY *graphic novel, never published* Non-fiction. JFK dies. Lee Harvey Oswald dies. It shouldn't be too much of a surprise.
THE LAST BABYSITTER *graphic novel, never published* A quirky teenage girl loads up on guns to protect the neighborhood children against the robot apocalypse. Sorry to spoil the ending, but the babysitter dies at the end of chapter three to save the kids.
EMILY EDISON *graphic novel, published by Viper Comics* A large monster attacks a city. If they were any deaths, they occur in the reader's own imagination. Only death mentioned is my own. Off panel, the English teacher is eaten by the large monster. Alas, Mr. Hopkins. Beyond that, there's girl-fighting-robots violence. One girl is attacked by tiny spider-bots.
SIREN SONG *short story featured in DARK HORRORS* A dad searches for his missing daughter. He is lured into the ocean and drowns. (read the comic)
BULLETPROOF WEST *comic book, never published* Co-written by Jamar Nicholas. I don't remember any women dying in this one. Although, Annie Oakley beats up Lillian Smith.
THE HENCHMAN *short story, never completed* A poor guy breaks his leg. Twice. (read it here)
BETRAYAL OF THE MAN-EATING COW CLONES *one pager featured in THE TICK'S 20TH ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL EDITION* The Tick's sidekick Arthur gets mauled by ravenous cows. (read the comic)
VIRGINIA 1939 *short story featured in THE BRADLEY BOYS ADVENTURE MAGAZINE* An editor is punched by Dash Bradley. (read the comic)
ANTIGONE *comic book, published by Silent Devil* The lead character Antigone, she's horribly beaten and then commits suicide. Her lover Haimon kills himself. Haimon's mother also commits suicide. None of this is my fault. It's an adaptation from a play written by Sophocles. Blame him.
KARMA INCORPORATED: POOR MR. WILSON *graphic novel, published by Viper Comics* In chapter one, Susan throws hot coffee on Art Gellman. In chapter two, a police officer is beaten, kicked, and tied up. A man is shot and killed. A guy is thrown through a window. Yet, for some reason, people seem to remember chapter three as the violent one. Marsha is beaten badly, pistol whipped and choked. Her antagonist gets his face bashed in with a remote control airplane.
KARMA INCORPORATED: VICE & VIRTUE *graphic novel, unpublished* I released the script earlier this summer (click here). Their headquarters blows up. Susan is badly injured. Someone dies later in the story, but I don't want to give anything away. A woman is shot, but she lives.
LAKE ARCHER *comic book, never published* I scripted the first four issues of this ongoing series about a small town under quarantine. In the first issue, there's a woman found dead in her SUV. Also, a man is shot during a bank robbery.
FRONTIER *graphic novel/manga, still in development* Can't really share much about this one. In the name of disclosure, a main female character does die, but so do lots of other people. It's a story about a wealthy family driven into the frontier (hence the name) as a result of war.
DELTA COUNTY *graphic novel, still in development* The story revolves around a school shooting in a small town. Four students die. Three boys. One girl.
HOW TO LOSE BIG *graphic novel, still in development* I'm working on this project with Paul, and I'm proud to say no women were hurt in the main story. One girl is pushed over in a convention brawl, but that happens all the time. However, in the backup story "Princesses vs. Unicorns" -- it's not pretty. Unicorn and princess carnage. Grenades, shotguns, and chainsaws are employed.
50 MILES TO MARFA *short story featured in POPGUN VOL. 3* Con artists ditch a car in the middle of nowhere and walk home with the loot from a bank job. I don't want to spoil the ending, but it does support Paul's hypothesis.
THE HEIST AND THE HEART ATTACK *short story featured in POPGUN VOL. 4 (unreleased)* This story is about the bank job hinted at in "50 Miles to Marfa." As the title suggests, someone has a heart attack. And someone punches an old lady.
ASTRONAUT DAD, VOL. 1 *graphic novel, published by Silent Devil* No women were harmed in this story. However, in the second volume, some bad stuff happens. I would argue that the "bad stuff" only exists to show the very real tragedies that can occur in life.
UNTITLED PROJECT *graphic novel, still in development* Centers around the murder of a young girl. It's loosely inspired by actual events.
Here's my closing defense. The most important people in my life are all women. Could it be possible that my writer's imagination leads me to dark places and I can't imagine anything worse than something terrible happening to the people closest to me? It's catharsis to confront my own fears as an artistic expression?