Every child, regardless of their upbringing, spends hours of each day thinking up stories to entertain themselves. Whether they're fighting pirates at the supermarket or chasing bank robbers in their backyard, children are masters of Imagination. Imagination, as any knowledgable Imaginationist would say, is a very powerful force indeed. However, two factors keep young children in check, so their Imagination doesn't run rampant across the world. First off, most children are pure of heart, and their creations are happy lands where the Hero always wins and the Villain, no matter how scary, always loses. When a child begins to grow up and think of darker things, his or her Imagination usually weakens, holding less sway in his or her own mind. By adulthood, true Imagination is hard to come by, as experience has dulled the mind into viewing everything as a reference to something else, making true creation nearly impossible. Secondly, no ordinary child can will his Imagination, no matter how powerful, into the real world. Only inside a child's head do his creations truly exist.
Yet every now and then comes a creative mind too mighty to let the angst-ridden teenage years destroy it. Steven Poe is one such mind. From the time he was six years old, he knew that he wanted to tell stories. Growing up in a lower-middle class household, taken care of by his mother and her brother, Steven didn't have the money for a computer to type up his ideas. However, that would not deter the boy, and he rummaged in the city dump every Saturday to find things to sell to pawn shops, saving up. One day, he stumbled upon an ancient typewriter. Rather than sell the antique, Steven kept it to practice with until he could buy a real computer. As it played out, the money never seemed to materialize, and the boy spent many hours slaving away at the little bronze machine.
With pushing from his mother and Uncle Thomas, Steven didn't go to college, instead working on graphic novels, painstakingly drawing each panel with meticulous care. Though he didn't use it any more, the antique typewriter became a comforting item after days of drawing. Eventually, nearly a year after he began, Steven finished his graphic novel, entitled 'Wasted Eyes'. Though not his best work by any measure, the story, about a Sorcerer who bartered his eyes away for demonic power, and then used that power to fight fiends, managed to get published. With the prestige that came with being a hot, new published author and artist, Steven found himself in demand.
The author/artist was invited to join a creative team that worked on an animated show about a heroic superhero. Though he didn't love the job, Steven took it for a steady cash-flow while he worked on his second graphic novel. He was put in charge of the villain team, and he worked nightly on sketching new villains for the show. Although he was only the art direction, Steven was fond of his little characters, and created his own stories for them, just like when he was a child. Eventually though, the strict confines of the program began to sap Steven's creative strength, and he found his number of ideas dwindling.
Hoping to find something of value in his past, Steven turned to his junior high and high school sketchbooks. Many of his older ideas were too macabre for a children's program, but the spark of creation was back, and Steven settled back into his routine. Interest in his past designs still lingered in the back of his mind, and he found his spare hours devoted not to his graphic novels, but to re-drawing his old characters. His old creations became more and more of a timesink, to the point where he was behind on work. Even after he was threatened with firing, he continued to work on perfecting his old doodles.
His lacking work ethic couldn't survive forever, and eventually Steven was fired. The event jolted him back to reality, and he looked upon his old drawings with scorn. He recalled an incident when he was 13 and had created a magical talking sword from Chicago that could fly, talk, and fought 1920's gangsters. He's been proud of the story and the drawing, but when he brought it to his uncle, the man frowned and informed Steven, as gently as possible, that not all ideas were good. There was a reason he'd never done anything important with his old drawings, and that's because they hadn't been good ideas. They were Bad Ideas. Eager to resume working on his better ideas, Steven burned his old sketchbooks, and the drawings he'd made of the characters within since.
Returning to work on his graphic novels, Steven quickly turned out two published stories, 'Gears' and 'Flight Over Mechanus', both set in a futuristic steampunk world of his design. The money he made from those novels allowed him to continue without needing a second job and he worked hard on his 4th story. Unfortunately, a severe case of writer's block impeded his progress, and the 4th graphic novel, 'Whitewings', about an Earth-bound Angel, was unfinished. Procrastinating, Steven returned to drawing new characters, justifying it by telling himself that he'd find a way to fit them into Whitewings.
He began to notice a trend. The "new" characters, the ones he'd been using to occupy his time, had become more and more like evolutions of his old characters. Irritated with himself, he burned the new drawings like the old. Hastily returning to his darkened room to finish Whitewings, Steven tried to forget about his old creations. But even after Whitewings was finished and shipped off to a publisher, the old characters still lingered in his mind. Finally, unable to deal with them anymore, Steven moved far away from his home, to a place called The Town, in hopes that his creative spirit would be nurtured there, and his Bad Ideas would leave for good.