The Battles at Fort Destruction

Cover art I created for a collection book of all of my big stories at the time. Notice the PG-13 rating!

The Battles at Fort Destruction was a mini-series I wrote as a follow-up to Stephen’s Wacky Maze, to explore where the character of Stephen was in his life after those events. Even though I intended it to be more of a comic series, I told each story through the lens of a diary, beginning and ending each story with an excerpt. It was a novel concept and one that I still believe in.

The first two stories were meant to establish the motives listed in the original entry. First, we see a common criminal trying to overtake the fort. In entry two, we see a man and his son trying to acquire the riches that lie hidden within the borders of the fort.

Episode three introduces two characters with names I cannot explain. I may have had some reason at the time, but it’s lost on me now. “Rags” Watterson and “Soap” Dial were the Vein Voodoo Team. They were named this because I wanted them to sound evil. I realize now that I could have done better, but here we are. Their goal was to take over the fort using their magic. Despite being easily dispatched, the duo would continue to be a thorn in Stephen’s side for years to come.

In episode four, I attempted to explain why a treasure trove of gold was initially hidden at the fort and introduced the Phantom Pirates led by Captain Iron Leg. It seems they had buried their treasure long ago in the area in which the fort stands and some folks got wise to it.

Episode five is important for many reasons. First, it brought back the Vein Voodoo Team who were out for revenge. To help them achieve that goal, they conjured forth Stephen’s second evil doppelganger: Mirror. Since Shadow was meant to be dead, the concept of Mirror came about to as a way to replace him. My goal for the character was to be even more vicious than his predecessor. A true threat to our hero. But over time, even those goals changed. Finally, this entry opened the door for another groundbreaking idea.

The events of the last story led to the Team-Up of the Century, which was my first crossover event. I was so excited about the prospect that I wanted to make it huge. It would not only be episode six of the Battle of Fort Destruction, but also episode 8 of the Adventures of Robo-Rabbit. Each episode matches almost panel to panel with certain variations to reflect the story more to one side. Looking back on it now, such an event should have been two-parter split between each series. Still, it’s an impressive feat for a twelve-year-old.

After the crossover, I believe I had stopped writing this series for a time for no other reason than the character of Stephen had moved on, which led to the series never having proper closure. Eventually I returned to end it all with episode seven that allowed three worlds to collide. It may not have been the greatest series ending, it was satisfactory enough.

While it may not have been the longest running series I’ve ever done, it is one of the most important, setting up so many ideas for future stories. I have always seen great potential in this idea and had considered a remake of the series that took it into a more grounded and even more serious approach. The concept would have centered on Stephen disappearing, reeling from grief after failing to save a child’s life. He finds himself in isolation in a remote location, choosing to abandon the hero life he once sought after his Wacky Maze adventures ended. But he soon realizes you can’t run from your destiny.

Concept art for a darker remake.

Perhaps I’ll find the time to tell a version of that story one day. Until then, I’ll look back on this series with fond memories of what it helped me create.