Followers of the Lost Side of Suburbia, an online comic by Kory Merritt at www.gocomics.com, started a new story on January 17, 2011, “The Undoubtedly True Exploits of Derring-Do Dan the Adventure Man.” For a little over six months (until July 23) they thrilled as Derring-Do tried to kill a rat, rescued the queen of weasels, bested a hungry giant, thwarted a shape-shifting orca, and saved Princess Wunderdum from the clutches of Kommander Kroakula. The last feat was achieved mano a mano in a dramatic arm-wrestling match. As Derring-Do rolled up his sleeves for combat, readers clearly saw on his right forearm … a square-and-compasses tattoo … Derring-Do is Bro. Dan! It’s not often in the world of comic heroes that one finds a brother Mason.
The Scottish Rite Journal immediately contacted Mr. Kory Merritt to find out more about Bro. Derring-Do Dan.
SRJ: How did you decide to make Derring-do a Mason?
KM: Derring-Do Dan is not the hero he imagines himself to be, and other characters see him as a bumbling coot, similar to Don Quixote. However, I like to slip in little hints that there may be more to him than the others expect. Therefore, when he rolls up his sleeve to arm wrestle a villain, I drew some Masonic ink on his forearm.
SRJ: Are you a Mason or a DeMolay, or do you know any Masons?
KM: No. I’m a pretty boring person in real life. Maybe I need to make some more friends.
SRJ: How did you find out about Masonry?
KM: I don’t remember exactly, but I’ve been aware of Masonry for a while. I consider it a respectable and almost mystical organization, which is why I used it in the story.
SRJ: Do you have a “day job,” and how long have you been drawing comics?
KM: I’m a K-6 art teacher in Hammondsport, New York. I’ve been drawing cartoons since my sophomore year of college, in 2005. I started with political cartoons, but switched to illustrated stories aimed at young adults.
SRJ: Do you anticipate further adventures of Derring-Do? If so, might they feature his Masonic membership?
KM: I enjoyed writing and drawing the Derring-Do Dan story and plan to make him a recurring character. I hadn’t considered expanding on his Masonic membership, but it may lead to some fun possibilities.
SRJ: Are you working on any book deals for your comics?
KM: The stories on GoComics.com will soon be appearing on the popular kid’s site FunBrain.com, which launched Diary of a Wimpy Kid and “Poptropica.”
SRJ: Is there anything else our readers should know about you, Derring-Do or Lost Side of Suburbia?
KM: I try not to take The Lost Side of Suburbia too seriously, so I slip in all sorts of allusions to literature, science, movies, and anything of interest. I’m truly honored that my Mason reference is getting attention from such a renowned group. And it’s a good thing the Masons have a sense of humor, because I don’t think a bumbling character like Derring Dan is worthy of membership.