Now that the new Deep Sea Dawson tale, “The Marmoris Mystery” has been published in the next Atomic Gods and Monsters anthology, Tiger By the Tail, I can talk some about the story. I love to learn things and often the most fun I have in writing a tale is researching the story behind the story.
In the case of the “Marmoris Mystery,” I wanted the story to follow on the heels of the last adventure, yet move Dawson around the globe and explore more of his world. One thing that I had to cut out of the former story “The Castle in the Deep,” was his sidekick, the rescued and adopted seal Battler. Battler always appeared beside him in the old comics, but the danger of extreme radiation poisoning for the seal in the waters of Bikini Atoll following the nuclear bomb blasts in 1954 was too extreme. So I kept him safely out of the story. I definitely wanted a return of Battler, but I also wanted new scenery. So I decided Dawson should move to a new ocean for a wholly new adventure.
In looking around at seals, I discovered a fantastic seal colony off the coast of Namibia due to the Antarctic currents flowing by the coast. Also, there was the blood diamond trade out of South Africa. Plus, the stormy seas off the shore of the Namibian Desert creates a bleak coastline for hundreds of miles that is graveyard to hundreds of ships. It is so terrible and lifeless–with the decaying remnants of ships filling the waters and the beaches strewn with the sun-bleached white bones of victims– that the region is called the Skeleton Coast. Could there possibly be a better location for a thrilling adventure? Thus we ended up in the South Atlantic off the coast of Africa.
Once I knew where I was going I simply had to concoct a good mystery for Dawson to solve. I decide early on to have this one be a pure, stand alone adventure rather than another lost civilization or earth-shattering event, so that we could get a sense of Dawson’s day-to-day life. Dawson is a famous oceanographer and global adventurer and I wanted to clearly show that. I also wanted to show a wee bit of the humanity in this character, so I explored both sides of being a hero. On the one hand, he just wants to relax, take a vacation, and save some sea animals. On the other hand, when he uncovers injustice or stumbles upon a mystery, he cannot help himself and must act.
Being that this is a Deep Sea Dawson adventure, it can’t be as simple as saving animals from poachers and stopping some illegal diamond trade. Nope. So of course we kicked it up a notch. I wanted to introduce some villains, which I will return to in the future, and also “superfy” the villainy. So it’s not simple diamond smuggling or illegal trade. These are not your mother’s mafia. This is titanic technology and vile villainy on a global scale. I went the extra mile deep in the ocean and provided all the action you might desire with a Diamond Shark of a smile. I hope you enjoy.
But, all this action would kill the normal guy. I really feel for Deep Sea Dawson. The guy can take a real beating. Especially because this started out with him just needing a vacation. But, I wanted the lesson here to be the old saw, “If you get knocked down ten times, then get up eleven.” Dawson will never quit.
Dawson is like a force of nature. Just like the sea he admires, he is relentless. Once engaged he will not stop. Regardless of the danger or threat, he will rise to the task and keep fighting until the day is won. I wanted this story to show how his everyday life has a tendency to end up in the most amazing action. It’s exhausting being Dawson–but also extremely rewarding. He may always be one step from death in overwhelming odds–because he is just a man with no super powers–but he also gets to save men, women, and animals, to right some wrongs and balance the scales of justice every single day.
You can’t just beat that Deep Sea dynamic.