Danger Peak has been out for two months now, and a few people have already asked me if I’m going to write a sequel. Well, short answer: No. I feel I’ve already told the story (and fairly well, if I may pat myself on the back), and it had a clear beginning, middle, and end. As far as I’m concerned, this is the last you’ll ever hear of Robert Kin, his family, and his friends. (Incidentally, for those who are curious, I gave Robert the surname of “Kin” because the book is secretly a personal family story.)
Long answer: I already wrote a sequel to Danger Peak (two in fact), and it was terrible. If you don’t believe me, I’m going to post the details in this blog. This is back in the late ‘80s/early ‘90s when Danger Peak was a short story titled Action Bike. In 1990, I decided to take a stab at the continuing adventures of the Wild Boars, and they went to war. Literally. They grew up and became soldiers in World War III. Maybe I had World Wars on the brain because I was studying them at the time in junior high school, but talk about things that don’t go together: the whimsical, child-like, bike-riding adventures of a group of boys and (again) WORLD WAR III. Against robots. Yes, there were robots. Are you understanding now why I decided not to write another Danger Peak?
Anyway, Robert and his friends get drafted into the war against robots (I think I threw aliens in there too, because why not?), and everyone gets killed except him. Then he runs into a mad genius inventor, since I guess these kinds of stories always need one, like Dr. Howard in the first book, and they build another Action Bike out of the spare parts of the broken robots they destroyed. I suppose even then I realized that my characters were just kids and couldn’t invent things completely by themselves; they needed help either from an adult, a genius inventor, or both.
After putting the parts together and making the new bike (somehow that worked), they realized that they accidentally built the world’s first time machine (somehow that also worked). Robert realized he could go back in time to save his friends, which of course he does, and wouldn’t you know it? The time machine gets destroyed right after saving his last friend, but it doesn’t matter, because with the gang back together, they beat back the robot/alien menace and save the world. In other words, ripped from today’s headlines.
As usual, I illustrated the book with my own crude drawings (I used to want to be a cartoonist), and here they are, starting with the cover:
You might be thinking, “Wow, no idea can be worse for a Danger Peak sequel than that.” Well, hold onto your hats: How about the gang battling neo-Nazis and a newly resurrected Adolph Hitler? Yep, that’s what happens in the next (and, thankfully, last) book in the series, Action Bike (a.k.a. Danger Peak) 3. Again, I had World Wars on the brain from my studies at school (and also possibly the “Wolfenstein” videogame, though I’ve never played it).
At the start of the book (well, short story), we learn that the U.S. military has created a device called “Project Life Again,” which can resurrect the dead, but they only use it on soldiers to decrease the risk of war. The Action Bike gang, who are now veterans themselves, realizes the device could fall into the wrong hands, so, with the help of the government (again, they’re always getting help with these things), they build each of them the Action Bike 3, which is sleeker and looks like a hovercraft, to guard and protect the machine.
Eventually, the blueprint plans for the new Action Bikes and the Project Life Again machine are stolen by the KKK, and they resurrect Hitler in Germany. (I should’ve made them neo-Nazis, but I guess I thought they were all the same when I was younger.) Hitler and hundreds of his formerly dead Nazi soldiers storm across the Atlantic on the newly created Action Bikes to attack America, which sounds like an idea I stole from the movie “The Rocketeer.” Of course, our boys defeat the Nazi scourge with the help of their own bikes and a plan that, looking back, is somewhat ingenious, at least coming from the head of the teenager I was at the time. Of course, there’s a confusing and distracting subplot about springing Rinnie out of an insane asylum he gets mistakenly sent to, but I think I’ve covered enough of this story.
Being older, I had already abandoned the idea to become an artist and started focusing more on writing, which is why this “book” is written on actual ruled paper, not construction paper that’s more appropriate for doodling. Also, besides the cover, I only drew one picture inside: the plans for the new Action Bike.
Now you know why there will never be a Danger Peak sequel. . .unless someone throws a wheelbarrow of cash at me!
P.S.: I guess I was wrong when I said I’d never do another Danger Peak photo essay. Oops!
P.P.S.: Next week’s blog: “Stand By You” Music Video
P.P.P.S.: Danger Peak is now available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble: