Who is Poppa Finley?

Like me, 12-year-old Zack Finley found a lot of joy in his relationship with his grandfather before he inherited the mantle of Night Owl.

Don’t get me wrong. Zack Finley’s Poppa wasn’t a creampuff. He provided sternness for Zack when it was needed. But there was definitely a lot of disciplinary leeway too.

Grandfathers are cool like that. I had that kind of relationship with my grandfather, who I also called Poppa. My dad had the same kind of bond with his PePa.

But grandfathers aren’t meant to live forever. And when they pass away, the grandsons they leave behind feel like their worlds have been destroyed.

When Zack Finley’s Poppa was brutally murdered at the hands of a villain, he inherited strong shaman powers. But Zack’s world had come apart with the loss of his best friend. Zack would much rather have had his Poppa back alive again than any amount of power.

What you may not know is that I based Poppa Finley on MY grandfather Jack Tinsley, who died in 2004. There were complications from surgery after my Poppa suffered a ruptured aortic aneurysm. 

Like Zack Finley and his grandfather, my Poppa was my mentor and my closest friend. Poppa was my best friend. He made a huge impression on everyone he met.

My 6-year-old cousin Zach, who was only 1 when Poppa passed away, still remembers him with love and devotion.

 So, big surprise. Jack B. Tinsley and Mack Finley are basically the same person.

(Except that MY Poppa was a Texas journalist and NIGHT OWL’s Poppa was a superhero shaman.)

Like my grandfather’s memory does for me,  the memory of Poppa Finley will drive Night Owl to remember his responsibilities, use his powers wisely, help innocents and protect his family at all costs.
And there’s a lot of story still waiting to be told about Poppa Finley. His full name was Mack Finley. He was Earth Shaman, the most powerful shaman on the planet. He belonged to a superhero group but retired from both it and from active superhero duty in the 1960s to help people (covertly) through his civilian guise as a journalist. 

There is lots of cool stuff to be written about Poppa Finley. Excellent stories still waiting to be told.

And everytime I write about Zach Finley’s grandfather, I remember MY Poppa, Jack B. Tinsley, a little more strongly. 


~ by jaketinsley on June 23, 2009.

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