The Demon Priest (novel)
“The Demon Priest” is a novel in progress that takes place in one of the many worlds accessible from the Halflands—a world of pulp fiction and superheroes. While most of the action occurs in that world, the characters do visit Dream and Twilight, walk the Witch Paths and the Hidden Road, and sail the Blackwater and the Great Lake.
The Demon Priest started as a slip of the tongue. I was telling a friend about the character portraits that I had been creating for my superhero realm using the HeroMachine web app. When I got to the one that I called “the Demon Prince”, I tripped up and said “Demon Priest” rather than “Prince”. Having made the mistake once, I repeated it several times in the next few minutes. At one point, I commented that I’d clearly misspoken—the notion of a demon priest was obviously nonsensical.
Later that evening, I couldn’t get the image out of my head, so I created an illustration of the Demon Priest. Once I had that, the rest was almost inevitable. I had a picture of this obviously self-contradictory bit of nonsense, but what if it weren’t nonsensical? If a demon priest could exist, what would it be? How could it be?
It wasn’t long before Father Samuel Gregory started to emerge and take form. If he was going to be a priest, then there would have to be an unusual incident involving an unusual bishop. If he was going to be either a superhero or villain, then he’d need a lair, and what better lair, either way, than a desanctified church—it would have to be desanctified, right?
A church, even just considered as a building, even a building that was once a church, is a lot of work to maintain. It would need a sexton. It should be an old church, a church with a history, and with a suitable character. It wouldn’t do for a demon priest to live in just any old church. It should be one dedicated to a saint with a particular relationship to demons. And so, St. Michael’s and the Angels—former Episcopal church—came into being.
As I started writing stories set in my superhero world, Father Samuel Gregory, the Demon Priest, with his cast of supporting characters, his mission, and his backstory started to exert themselves. They wanted to be told. And so, I decided to listen and put it down in words. Soon someone named Lee was telling the story of how Father Gregory came to Saint Michael’s and the adventures that ensued.
The novel is still a work in progress—I'm still incorprating feedback from early readers—but, a teaser preview is available from IndyPlanet, as either a free PDF, or (once the CoViD-19 crisis is past) a print-on-demand 8 page comic. Either way, it presents the first few pages as both text and in 2-page comic book format. The PDF is free. The POD comic is available for printing and shipping costs.
While you're there, you might want to check out the G-Man Club Fanzine, which I edit, and the other items published by G-Man Comics. G-Man Comics is a micro-publisher whose own websit can be found at G-Man-Comics.com.