Strong characters. They make a story fun to read, and fun to write as well. In developing the Dinosaur Wars series, I’ve tried continually to create and enhance the strength of character in the stories’ main personalities. Take Chase Armstrong, for example. He’s the lead male role in Dinosaur Wars. He shares many characteristics with Luke Skywalker of the Star Wars series, and not by accident. He’s by no means a copy of Luke, but like young heroes since the days of the Greek legends, he possesses certain hero qualities.
First off, he’s tall, dark and handsome. That always helps a hero appeal to young guys as a role model and to young women as a heartthrob. Luke was not bad looking, but he really left the heart palpitations to Han Solo. I think maybe Chase has an edge on Luke in that category.
Luke has the edge, perhaps, in special talents. His Jedi Knight heritage and ability to “use the force” get him some credit in the Harry Potter division. Chase doesn’t use magic powers but he’s possessed of uncanny abilities with weapons, thanks to his years of darting wildlife with a tranquilizer dart rifle, and an acquired ability to face down grizzly bears. This latter ability is put to use regularly, as when he stands off a T rex with nothing more than a stick or as shown above, bullfights a ceratopsian without flinching. Just look at the intensity of his stare. No fear!
And, lest you think Dinosaur Wars is all guy stuff, consider Kit Daniels. She’s the Princess Leia of this series and quite a looker, wouldn’t you agree? In addition to beauty, which is a requisite of all great heroines, she possesses some unique gifts herself. A rancher’s daughter who studies paleontology at college, she’s the right person to confront the difficult problem of living with dinosaurs when they return to her father’s Montana ranch lands. Sensitive to the ways of animals, Kit befriends a giant duckbilled dinosaur who in turn saves her life.
You’ll note, in the picture, Kit is packing an M-16. Like many modern female heroines, she’s not above sending out a spray of high-velocity bullets if one of her loved ones is in danger.
In the final analysis, Kit and Chase have qualities that are highly prized by us all these days: they are lovers and helpers of animals. Don’t we go on ecotours, don’t we support the preservation of wildlife, don’t we encourage the reintroduction of species that had been eliminated from parts of our modern world? Don’t we flock to whale watching tours and pet any sea creature that will let us? Don’t we look up to those folks who try to help wildlife recover and live safe from environmental disaster and society’s reckless expansion like some evil empire?
Yes, we do, most of us.
So there you have it: Chase vs Luke and Kit vs Leia, as defenders of the weak and resistors of empires. Similarities here, differences there but, all in all, heroes of the first magnitude. Might the day soon come when toystore shelves are stocked, not only with Luke and Leia action figures, but with Kit and Chase and Gar and Saurgon and a couple of Kra fighter-walkers thrown in for good measure? I think so.