Once in a lifetime there comes along a story so eloquent, so poetic, and so gently expressed that it sweeps the world with its majesty; inspiring us to do good deeds, to help little old ladies cross the street, to call our parents, to give to the needy, and, to be so bold, inspires us to be better human beings.
This is not that story.
Romance for Men: Pandora’s Box is a raunchy tale, showcasing the antics and adventures of Jack Icefloe Jackson. Written in the first person, Jack narrates how he must save the world from a beautiful woman named Pandora, who has a ticking-time-bomb-black-hole-inducing…“box.”
Jack must sleep with Pandora before her 21st birthday, or else her “box” will create a black hole, and trigger the apocalypse. Icefloe expects her to throw herself upon him just as all other “woman-types” have done when approached by the presence of Jack Icefloe Jackson. But, Jack’s plans are foiled when Pandora proves she is not like those other girls. To woo her into submission Jack must go on a quest to be able to connect with Pandora on a spiritual, intellectual, and emotional level before they can do the deed, which is a seemingly impossible task for the one track-mind of The Great Icefloe.
The author is listed as Jack Icefloe Jackson, but it’s a not-at-all-well-kept-secret, that it was “also” written by Emmy-Nominated author Dean Lorey. (Dean wrote Friday the 13th: Jason Goes to Hell and Major Payne. He has also written for multiple seasons of the TV series “Arrested Development.”) We got the chance to chat with Dean about his new book, and to learn a little bit about the mind of Jack Icefloe Jackson.
Diabolique: While the novel is a piece of comedic genius, for the blood-soaked readers of Diabolique, how does Romance for Men: Pandora’s Box fit into the horror genre?
Dean Lorey: Well, horror has always been about pushing boundaries. And I think this book pushes about as many boundaries as you can find. It’s fundamentally about a psychopath. Jack Icefoe Jackson is the type of guy who when he gets aggravated at somebody, he Dynamites them to death. So, he is in fact a pure psychopath. He has a “license to kill” which makes it legal, but it still doesn’t make it morally right. And in addition to that (the book) has zombies, Nazis, and death.
Romance for Men is not for the weak willed, weak stomached, or weak witted. Ultra-conservative types may be so filled with rage and disgust upon reading Romance for Men that they may have no choice but to dynamite themselves. For anyone who has ever been to a live performance of The Rocky Horror Picture Show and listened to the Audience Participation call-lines, you may be familiar with the type of blatant, shocking, raunchy-for-raunchy-sake type of dialogue. Romance for Men makes the sexual, racist, and inappropriate commentary at The RHPS sound like story-time in a Kindergarten.
Diabolique: The book employs some really graphic imagery. Was there every any second-guessing of the extent to which the graphic nature would go? As in, was there ever any hesitation to use the “6th Inch of your talents?”
Lorey: There was a moment. I had finished a draft of the book and I went back and I read it and I thought ‘I don’t know, maybe I should cut back some of this.’ So then I started cutting it back, and when I started cutting it back I realized that it was hard to know where to stop. Like once I started it just seemed like I had to cut the whole book out. So I finally decided, God Hates a Coward, In for a Penny, In for a Pound, that’s the premise of the book, and it’s written by a lunatic. So I said let’s just do it! So I just committed.
The book was meant to capture the stereotypical men’s interpretation of the modern trashy romance novel. The Grocery Store Literature, which is usually just pre-packaged-word-porn for Housewives. While Romance for Men does not depict ALL men’s outlooks on romance, it is a rather refreshing change to hear the other side of the typical Fabio-riddled romance novel. In the realm of Romance for Men even a short, fat, bald, man like Jack Icefloe Jackson can be considered “A Fabio.” But Icefloe is far more effective in his romantic endeavors than Fabio could have ever dreamt of being. Icefloe has women, robots, nuns, witches, and all other sorts of females flinging themselves upon him.
Lorey: Oddly enough, if you look at the book there’s very little description of actual sex. It’s leading up to it and then afterward, but if you look at a romance novel, they are usually far more graphic than this novel because they concern themselves with the details of sex. This is really about the jokes. In a weird way it’s a remarkably chaste book for being so filthy. Because it’s not really about sex, it’s really just about “What would a romance novel written for men look like?” Which is, on one level, pornography, but if it’s not pornography, what are the million disgusting things that guys are into? And if you jam them all into a book and did a satire of it, that’s what Romance for Men is.
Diabolique: Dave McKenna’s illustrations do a fantastic job at providing visuals for the scenes in the book, without teetering into that pornographic end of the content. What was working with him on that process like?
Lorey: It took me forever to find an illustrator for this book, because as you can imagine, it’s a very hard needle to thread. Dave McKenna was a guy who I went to NYU with. He is an illustrator who does exactly this. The only real rules that I had were that I didn’t want to show any graphic sex. I was fine showing boobs, but not (male genitalia) with one exception, (a hand-drawn one). The other illustrations were done by Dave McKenna, but in that case this is Icefloe saying to the reader “Here’s an illustration that I did!” So, I sort of thought that one needed to be shitty. So, I did it myself.
Diabolique: Jack Icefloe Jackson is a living legend. He changed “dynamite” into a verb. Some might even say that Jack Icefloe Jackson is the new Chuck Norris. What is your response to this sentiment?
Lorey: Chuck Norris WISHES he was Jack Icefloe Jackson. Jack is the “perfect guy” I mean he’s disgusting, hes a pig, He’s a Neanderthal, and yet in spite of all of those disabilities, every woman on earth is desperate to be with him. He’s got a license to kill, and he continually saves the planet. I don’t think anybody can beat that.”
Diabolique: On the website there are some rather interesting looking recipes of Jack’s. Have you tried any of them yourself? And if so do you have any cool battle scars from dynamiting kangaroos and bears?
Lorey: I haven’t tried them because I always get hung up on the first ingredient: “dynamiting a bear or a kangaroo” I don’t know where to go to do that. I would have to talk to Icefloe about it. The recipes started because I put one recipe in the book, “Icefloe’s Dynamite Black Bear Chili” And it made me laugh so hard when I was writing it, that I just decided to just start writing more recipes for him, and somewhere in there I thought I should just do a whole book of just recipes written by Icefloe. They are all actual workable recipes, with the exception that you have to do something really stupid, like dynamite a kangaroo.
Diabolique: The book reads in a very cinematic way. Thus, it’s no surprise that there are rumors of the book being made into a TV series. What can you tell us about this next step?
Lorey: It’s in development at FX, with Adam Reed and myself. I have been a fan of Adam Reed, who does “Archer” for a long time, and we were trying to find a project to do together. I gave him the book, and he called me up, and said, “this is one of the funniest things I’ve ever read. Let’s do this show!” We brought it to FX. Their tagline at FX is ‘fearless”. So, I thought “Well, let’s put that to the test. Let’s see if they are truly fearless.” And they loved it! Right now I’m currently writing the pilot for the Romance for Men Animated Series. The idea is that each season of the show will cover one book. So, Season one will be Pandora’s Box, and season two will be Book 2, SUCKubus.
Diabolique: Can you tell us a little more about the concepts behind Book 2, SUCKubus?
Lorey: It’s kind of “James Bond” in a way. Everything is on the table. Book 2 is actually more of a horror novel. It’s Icefloe fighting Vampires, and ultimately the Devil. So, it’s really Icefloe vs. The Devil.
Diabolique: Do you see a little bit of yourself in the character of Jack Icefloe Jackson? And where did the inspiration for him come from?
Lorey: There are elements of myself in Jack. Like our height. That’s about it in terms of looking like him. But one quality that he has that I would say is similar to me, is that I often get really aggravated by stupid shit that people do, and I have for a long time wished that I could just kill them. So, I was in traffic, and LA has horrible traffic , I was thinking “What I wouldn’t give for a lit stick of dynamite right now just to fling at the car in front of me and blow it off the road.” And that’s when I thought, maybe Jack should do that? Maybe he should use dynamite as a weapon? But for Jack it’s legal because he has a license to kill. I guess that one part of Jack that I empathize with a little bit is that anybody who even just aggravates him, he dynamites. I certainly can’t condone it, but I get the impulse. It’s funny when you’re walking around living your life and you just imagine if you had several sticks of dynamite in your pocket, and I license to kill, how different things would be.
Diabolique: In a battle between Jack Icefloe Jackson, and Jason Voorhees, who do you think would win and why?
Lorey: Icefloe would win IF he got an opportunity to bang Jason in his hiney-hole. Using the 6th inch, nothing can survive the 6th inch. Not even Jason.
Diabolique: Do you think Jack Icefloe Jackson would have any advice for younger guys out there perhaps aspiring to be like the great Icefloe?
Lorey: I think his only advice would be “Good news! You don’t actually need more than 4 inches.” That should be a relief to guys everywhere.
Dean added, “If you sign up at the website (www.RomanceForMen.com), Icefloe sends you a Free Gift in your Inbox that is not to be missed. You won’t be disappointed. It’s suitable for framing. I recommend over your bed.”
Will Jack Icefloe Jackson do the impossible, and obtain the ability to connect with a woman on a spiritual, intellectual, and emotional level?! Will there be a “happy ending” to this tale?! Grab a copy of Romance for Men: Pandora’s Box to find out! Happy dynamiting!