Friday, April 20, 2018

Cosplay Friday: Typhoid Mary

I've been very slowly working my way through the Ann Nocenti / John Romita Jr classic A Touch of Typhoid, the original appearances of Nocenti's greatest creation, Typhoid Mary. There's a decent amount of cosplays of the character out there these days, but so few of them focus on the classic Romita-designed costume which I still absolutely love. I don't know the identity of this cosplayer, but she nails the costume perfectly.

As always, you can check out a lot more great Cosplay pictures over on the Tumblr. And while you are admiring some great cosplay here, don’t forget to check out some of the other great stuff on Super Powered Fiction this week!

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Quadrant Handbook 4: The Claw

Art by Kent Archer.

Real Name: Zhou

Occupation: Dictator

Marital Status: Unknown

Known Relatives: None

Group Affiliation: none

Base of Operations: Riccapoor

History: The man that became known as The Claw was born as Zhou in a small monastery in the hidden city of Shambhala. Banished from the city for his unyielding rage and endless ambition, he was lost in the hills of Tibet when he was trapped in the impact zone of a meteor.

He awoke four years later inside the crater as something no longer human. Yellow-skinned and with large ear ridges and a gaping maw filled with fangs, he found his fingers ended with deadly claws. He would eventually travel back to his homeland, the tiny island nation of Riccapoor, where he carved out a place as the ruler of the southeast Asian city-state. 

In the earliest days of the second World War, his evil came to the attention of several costumed heroes. He would battle the likes of Silver Streak and Daredevil as he set out to conquer the world or just wreak vengeance upon his enemies. At some point during the war, he captured Lady Fairplay and worked out a way to siphon off her powers. He used this means to create the villainous figure he dubbed Lady Foulplay. 

As the war blossomed across the world, he apparently left for space and the origin of his powers. But sometime after the war he returned to Earth and secretly conquered Riccapoor. He allowed the reigning prince to serve as a figurehead, so as not to attract the attention of the heroes he once fought. Daredevil didn't fall for the ruse. Unfortunately, Daredevil surrounded himself with "wives" all with the Lady Foulplay abilities. Together, they were able to capture him. He would stay a prisoner beneath Riccapoor for decades, unaging. The Claw would frequently torture him just for entertainment, but as the years passed and Daredevil gave up hope of freedom, he lost interest.

His rule may have never been challenged if not for the arrival of the time-lost heroes dubbed the Living Legends. London, Atoman and Black Owl all found themselves on Riccapoor at the same time. They teamed with a new female Silver Streak and the freed Daredevil, now calling himself The Coward, in a final battle with the insane dictator. Ultimately Atoman lit himself up and seeming erased the villain in a concentrated atomic blast.

In the aftermath, The Coward swore his arch-enemy still lived and it would just be a matter time until his evil returned.

Height: Variable

Weight: Variable

Eyes: Green

Hair: None. The Claw's entire mutated body is hairless.

Strength level: At human size, The Claw possesses enhanced strength that allows him to lift approximately ten tons. As he grows, his strength levels also rise. The limits of his strength as he grows remains unknown.

Known superhuman abilities: The Claw's greatest ability is his size-changing. He can grow from a normal human size to thousands of feet in height, the upper limit of which is still unknown.

The claws responsible for his namesake are exceedingly sharp. They thicken as he grows and by the time his height reaches 25 feet are as hard as pressed steel.

The Claw possesses an unknown level of training in sorcery. He has used magic to various effect in multiple encounters, but often in combat will revert to his height, strength and claws to battle his enemies.

Other abilities: The Claw was a highly trained martial artist as a human. He still possesses excellent combat prowess, though he rarely uses it, depending on brute force instead.

Read the stories in: 

Monday, April 16, 2018

My number is up!

I'm still deep into Camp NaNoWriMo right now, but that doesn't mean I'm not thinking about the products I am working on and have already produced. As part of the focus on a more coherent Quadrant Universe, I have officially started the numbering of the novels in the Quadrant Universe series. Now anyone on Amazon will quickly know which novels are full-fledged releases.

Now just because the series is numbered does not mean the novels have to be read in a specific order. In fact, at least one upcoming novel will be set significantly before the other novels so far. But I wanted to make sure everyone could easily see the novels in order and pick them up as they see fit.

Check out the complete list in numerical order below:

  1. A Dangerous Place to Live
  2. Living Legends: Old Soldiers
  3. Lightweight: Senior Year
  4. Epsilon
  5. Walking Shadows Book One
  6. Walking Shadows Book Two
  7. Lightweight: Black Death
  8. Lightweight: Beyond
Eight full length novels, all of which are of course supported by several dozen short stories you can read about more in the annals of this blog. But those eight titles are the core of the Quadrant Universe so far and they are far from everything I have to come! 

Stay tuned for more news in the coming days!

Friday, April 13, 2018

Great art: Nightwing by John Romita Jr

It's rare that the great art feature covers any art that is super-recent, but this Nightwing variant cover by John Romita Jr is way too good not to share!

As always, you can check out a lot more Great Art over on the Tumblr. And after you're done admiring some great art here, don’t forget to check out some of the other great stuff on the site this week!

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Best Character Ever: Speedball

Busy times with Camp Nanowrimo and a few side projects, so the Quadrant Handbook will return next week. For now check out this classic post about a favorite teenage hero... that might have been some inspiration for other young heroes I've created.

A 2008 commission by Darick Robertson.

I think every long time comic reader has one: the character or series you read from the beginning and became fiercely loyal too. I’ve talked to others about it before, with books like Darkhawk, Suicide Squad or Aztek getting nods. But for me it will always be Speedball.

Created by legendary Spider-Man co-creator Steve Ditko with assistance from Roger Stern, the book was originally supposed to be the first expansion to the New Universe line. But when it became quickly clear that the New Universe didn’t have the sales to justify new books, Marvel decided to make the character part of the regular Marvel U. You wouldn’t know it from his ongoing series which was set outside New York and never featured another Marvel character, but his first appearance did come as a team-up with Spider-Man and Daredevil during “The Evolutionary War”. (Which is a series that deserves its own entry here at some point.)

Speedball was Robbie Baldwin, a mild mannered kid living in Springdale, Connecticut. His mother was a soap star (in the same series Mary Jane Watson-Parker worked on) and his father was a lawyer. He possessed a kinetic force field that could absorb and reflect all force directed against him. Early on, this amounted to him bouncing around like a pinball a lot, but later he would develop plenty of tricks to redirect it effectively. The field came with a transformation into his Speedball form, complete with a vocal change that allowed him to hide his identity from his parents.

I followed Robbie through all ten issues of his ongoing series, but halfway through it was clear no one was buying into Ditko’s classic hero tales. When the series was canceled, the character could have easily fallen into limbo, but Tom DeFalco and Ron Frenz saved him for a heroic teen team in the pages of Thor, the New Warriors. When the Warriors spun off into their own book, Speedball became a charter member, remaining one of only a few members to continue through multiple incarnations of the team.

Skottie Young's take on the classic team/
Robbie’s influence on Lightweight is obvious in the search to find a unique set of powers to give my young hero. Gravity manipulation might not be quite as off the wall (literally) as Speedball’s powers, but it certainly was out of the ordinary.

Speedball continues to lurk in the corners of the Marvel Universe, even after a terrible darker turn as Penance. He recently starred in a year long New Warriors series and it seems likely that he and his brethren will pop up in some way in the post-Secret Wars Marvel Universe. But for me, he will always be a young man struggling to find his place in the world and eventually finding it in a group of his peers.

Now if someone will finally get around to making the Speedball action figure happen...