Thursday, July 14, 2016

Designing a Hero 1: Lightweight

One of my favorite parts of creating Lightweight and the subsequent Kickstarter was finally seeing my creation brought to life in art. I started a search for a great artist that would both be affordable and provide the book with an awesome cover. Having interviewed and become online friends with Cynthia Celeste Miller and the folks at Spectrum Games, I found their regular cover artist.

The amazing Brent Sprecher was more than willing to work with me, even in the confines of a Kickstarter backed project. We came to an amenable price, but in order to get to the final cover, Brent had to do some design work.

We started with this:

Made with the HeroMachine program, it was the closest approximation I could make to the Lightweight living in my head. Clearly the logo was all wrong, but I'm pretty sure you can see hints of the basic design there.

Brent sent the first designs for Kevin's face a few days later.

He got the basic design of the collar and mask dead on from the first try, but the build for the character was too similar to the Hero Machine design instead of the lankier build. I left the lankier build bit only in one of the numerous documents I sent Brent, so it was an easily made mistake. From this point I actually gave him an actor to work from visually, The Secret Life of an American Teenager's Ken Baumann. (Baumann since retired from acting and is now an editor and writer of note, through his own Sator Press.)

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Help needed, books given! Introducing the Super Powered Fiction Bundle!

I am going to be honest. My family is still anything but financially well. While many folks have been incredibly generous, we still have a lot of bills waiting to be paid. In fact, while we sit at over 75% of our goal on the GoFundMe, the initial goal is at least $500 short of what we really need at this point.

So I'm going to sweeten the deal. Everyone that donates at least $20 will now get what I am calling the Super Powered Fiction Bundle. It contains all six of my published novels as well as an additional fifteen short stories, including the debut stories of both F.O.R.C.E. and Quadrant, all in the format of your choice. You can find the complete list at the bottom of this post.

All you have to do to pick up a copy is donate at least $20 to the GoFundMe. I'll send a link to the books within a day. Click the button below to donate.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Cosplay Friday: Cheetah

It always amazes me the work normal people can do on cosplays. Face paint and prosthetics are common place to some of the best costume makers out there, as can be seen by this amazing Cheetah, based on the Ame Comi version of the character.

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 this week!

Thursday, June 30, 2016

F.O.R.C.E. Files: Doc Tesla

When I created F.O.R.C.E., my goal was to play with the various archetypes that appear in super powered fiction. Legend combines a pair of tropes as I covered before, but the focus of the second chapter takes a look at the concept of the legacy hero. Doc Tesla is the great-granddaughter of the legendary inventor and the third generation of hero to use Nikola Tesla's technology to fight crime and serve those around her.

The legacy hero as a concept dates back to Lee Falk's The Phantom, but DC has numerous heroes that fit the category as well. Though many were written out of continuity by the New 52, they all appear to slowly be making their return now as part of DC Rebirth.

I'm not quite sure where I came up with the idea for a legacy hero framed around the legend of Tesla, but it dates back to the mid-2000s when I first started to embellish my old super-team into F.O.R.C.E. She was one of my earliest additions to the team after the core duo of Legend and Iron, characters that long predated the idea.

Despite her origins being much later than most of her teammates, Doc Tesla became one of my favorite characters on the team. She has a rather different origin than the rest of the team and remains new at using her equipment.

Her tale also adds some poignancy to the ongoing saga of F.O.R.C.E. I don't want to spoil anything, but both in the flashback and modern sections, our heroes face terrifying decisions.

Check out F.O.R.C.E.: Doc Tesla for only 99 cents at Amazon and Smashwords.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Worth Watching 1: Maverick

The Worth Watching feature is where I simply talk about a show I think deserves wider viewing from genre fans.

Maverick isn't exactly the first show you think of when I start a new column on a site called Super Powered Fiction. But in many ways Maverick gets by without falling into the obvious tropes of the Western setting. He's not a rampant gunman, but instead focuses his energies on outwitting his foes.

Started way back in 1957, the show ran for a healthy five seasons on ABC, but it was really only the first three seasons I ever cared to watch. James Garner as Bret Maverick was a lovable cardsharp and a con man. When I discovered the show as a child in the mid-1980s, I was fascinated by a Western hero that wasn’t all punching and shooting. Bret—as well as fellow Mavericks Bart, Beau and Brent—solved their problems with their head more often than at the barrel of a gun.

Bret was always my favorite though as James Garner brought a charisma to his character fellow actors Jack Kelly and Roger Moore never could quite match.

I’m not sure when exactly I regularly started following the series whenever it did appear on television. I was too young to watch Bret Maverick (the 80s rebirth of the show), but know I also caught it in reruns later in that decade. But I do know as I flipped through channels from those days until now, I would often stop when I saw James Garner in his familiar black hat.

And of course, Bret Maverick returned in the awesome 1994 film Maverick, both as James Garner and with the similarly named character played by the film’s lead Mel Gibson. I remember being greatly disappointed that a sequel never developed from the film.

To this day, any version of Bret Maverick is a character I will follow. James Garner is a classic face of film and television with a legacy that loomed over six decades. Though he’s gone now, his roles will continue to live on for decades to come.

If this article interested you at all, please pick up the first three seasons of Maverick, the single season of Bret Maverick and the film at the Super Powered Fiction estore.