Page 45 – Dickinson Killdeer
So I bought this book called Alaska Bear Tales and put it next to my toilet so that whenever I take time to sit and contemplate I can brush up on bear knowledge. I had already written Bearmageddon before I started to read it, but reading it had an effect on how tough I needed to make the bears as I reexamined my script. I knew bears were crazy, but I didn’t realize just how much they have been known to shrug off injuries when they are in kill mode. There are multiple stories of bears who went on killing and mauling after a hunter unloaded on them with a rifle. In some cases, if the bear died, upon examination the bear’s heart had been blown to bits but it had kept fighting for 15-20 minutes. I always thought taking a bears’ eyes out when it is attacking you would scare it off, but I read about a guy who managed to stab out a bear’s eyes with his pocket knife as it was mauling him and it didn’t even react. Of course you would assume if you have a gun you are safe, but there is story after story about a person getting a couple shots off only to have the bear bite the gun and break it or bend it. This is of course not the case with every bear, but these things have been reported, so my bears have to be at least as murderous.
On another topic, Dickinson Killdeer is a character near and dear to my heart. I actually owe his creation to my dear friend and ex-rock-mate Anthony Munoz. Back when we were in our band we were on a desolate “tour” through middle America. We were driving in North Dakota to play a small show in Bowman and we kept noticing all the cool hunter sounding names of all the small towns. At one point, a sign passed us showing an upcoming highway sign that read “Hwy 22 Dickinson Killdeer”. Anthony said “Dickinson Killdeer sounds like the name of some bad ass hunter”. It was one of those moments where something sparked in my head and a character started to form. We started this inside joke where, in our boredom on the road, one of us would talk in an old 50’s announcer voice and narrate the story of Dickinson Killdeer. Something like “Dickinson Killdeer started off a man like any other, but when he became a man of the mountains he had to learn to strangle a bear…” then everyone would sing “Dickinson Killdeer!” in an old west sort of melody similar to the theme song of Davy Crockett. It was really stupid, but it cracked us up and as we drove for hours I kept getting images of this insane Davy Crockett character who is like Tarzan of the forest. He has total command of nature. If he were in a movie I would tell scientists to make a Nolte/Norris hybrid to play him.
The idea to make a Dickinson Killdeer comic came soon after. At first I wanted to do short “Mark Trail” style comic strips, but more insane, about Dickinson swinging from snakes, punching hawks out of the sky and taming raccoons and teaching them to carry him long distances as he slept on their backs. Who knows, maybe I will still do that some day.
Anthony used to also talk about how he wanted to write a song about a small town in the mountains where the bears one day just went nuts and started killing everyone. The government decided that they just had to decimate the entire town and wipe out every witness, because they feared if the general public knew that the bears were capable of such horror, mass panic would grip the nation. This was another idea I thought was awesome.
Both ideas swirled in my head and the idea for a similar story but with bears actually attacking a whole city developed in my brain, with Dickinson being mankind’s only hope. As I wrote it, however, it became abundantly clear that none of the outlines I came up with using Dickinson as the main character worked right. I decided to make him get stuck with a group of tree huggers, but I made the tree huggers side characters. Still didn’t work. From there I tried lots of other ideas. I eventually came to the idea you are now reading.
So, long story short, Bearmageddon would not exist without the influence of Anthony Munoz, and if it ever makes me a boatload of money I’m sure he’ll be reminding me of that, as he should. In such an instance I will gladly buy him something nice, like a tuxedo, or a pet tiger.
That’s the story of where Dicksinson Killdeer came from. And also, the first paragraph is about why the bear in this page gets hit in the face with an axe and just keeps roaring. Also, bears often stand when they are preparing to attack (I got that from the Edge, I don’t even know if that’s true) so that is why the bear stands, and DK smacks him to bring him back down to his level.
Alright, happy weekend!