Introducing THE ROOK
Ladies and gentlemen, please permit me to introduce to you my creation, my character, The Rook. I’ve gotten to know him well over the past three years. I’d like for the world at large to get to know him, too.
I had just finished watching the Roland West silent film masterpiece THE BAT (which, by the way, also inspired the creation of Batman) and reading the first novel in the series of adventures of the French supervillain Fantomas. I wanted a character of my own that embodied such traits. I combined the Bat’s sense for theatrics with Fantomas’s genius-level intellect and scheming and came up with The Rook. I intended for him to be a one-off. He appeared in a play that I had written and directed in 2015. (I played the part myself–that’s me in the Rook costume in the picture accompanying this article–and had a grand time doing it.) After that, I didn’t expect to see him again. But the guy refused to be forgotten. He kept coming to me in my dreams, haunting me, as if saying, “There are more stories left to tell. You will tell them.” And so I am.
The character has grown since his initial conceptualization, taken on different attributes, developed deeper nuances and personality quirks. Born in the first years of the 20th century into an impoverished agrarian culture, the character, whose real name is Judas Ackery (And let’s see how many DARK SHADOWS fans catch the reference. What reference, you ask? I’m not going to tell you. That would spoil the fun.), always knew he was destined for greater things. A flamboyant sociopath with a genius-level intellect, inspired by the silent movies he watched as a child, he eventually transformed himself into The Rook. And every person killed by The Rook along the way–and this is one of the things I came up with as the storyline developed–becomes a ghost forced to follow him around, bearing witness to his crimes. That list continues to grow, as The Rook refuses to relinquish his time in the spotlight.
Keep an eye out. You might be seeing The Rook yourself some day, in a theatre near you. I’d say it’s just a matter of time.