Friday, 22 January 2010

Inspector Chang

I finally finished a screenplay treatment for my story Zach which I wrote about here and I've been getting some people on the movie team at work to have a look at it for me. Anyhow, it got me to thinking about another character whom I created many years ago and plan to revive in the future - Inspector Chang.

This character, who
was, in essence, a pulp superhero, was one of my first forays into writing original fiction. I created him, together with a black American kid called Rayner Enyong, when I was at school in Africa. The character, or at the very least many of his exploits and the grotesquely over-the-top, grand guignol violence in the stories, was heavily inspired by a supremely trashy pulp action-adventure novel Rayner and I read, which was part of an ongoing series featuring a character named Richard Camellion, the "Death Merchant", a brutal mercenary who spoke in corny one-liners and was a health freak who drank milk and ate raisins.

Chang, despite being ostensibly a New York City Police Department detective inspector, obviously worked - for reasons I cannot now remember or explain - under the auspices of the CIA or some other such clandestine organization, as he was forever being sent round the world, James Bond style, to battle some criminal syndicate or terrorist group or other, most of which were doubtless inspired by the evil Cobra organization in G.I. Joe. Chang was a martial arts master who had been trained from childhood by a semi-mystical order of Buddhist monks, the Silver Star, to be an unstoppable killing machine.

Rayner and I even attempted to write a Chang novel and, a few years later, before we came up with the story that would form the basis of Zach, my friend Bill and I tried to write another one called Rubber Nails And Glass Hammers. It was, perhaps unsurprisingly, not much better than the original stories, but it did give me the confidence to believe that something could seriously be done with the character.

In my new Chang reboot, the action is transposed to 1930s New York, where Chang is a brilliant young police detective who has had to confront both racial prejudice and corruption to rise in the ranks. When a sinister series of slayings grips the city, Chang's investigation leads him to suspect that the Silver Star may be involved - and that they may not be everything he believed them to be. Don't hold your breath, though - it won't be going into production anytime soon.

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