Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Life's derailments, or a migraine a day... (WIP Wednesday)

It's been a tough week framed with the return of an old enemy: migraines. This has slowed my process quite a bit. 

Most of the work I've accomplished over the week has been on lunches and short stretches away from home and a computer, writing in a notebook. I've worked on much of Lightweight this way over the last few months. 

Outside of this, my focus has been mostly on trying to keep the headaches from derailing me completely. This has slowed my writing down a bit, but shouldn't impact the full roll out of the Patreon at the beginning of January. 

Beyond that, I've been playing quiet games and mostly just working to stay distracted from the pain as much as possible. It's been an up and down process, but usually my bouts with headaches leave me within a week or two arrival. 

While I'm busy recovering though, you can bring a bit of joy to my day. If you've been reading my work please head over to Amazon or Goodreads and give it a review! Every single review helps more readers find the work, and you will earn my unending gratitude and brighten my day just a bit more.

Today's image is a much more elegantly photographed image of a headache than I could ever produce, all thanks to the talented Matteo Vistocco on Unsplash. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Casting the MCU's Fantastic Four! (Tuesday Throwback)

I originally posted this article almost a year ago and we are still waiting for the Disney / Fox deal to close once and for all. With the MCU debut of Fantastic Four somewhere in our future, here's my choices again for the perfect FF cast. 

As I write this, the announcement was just made a few minutes ago. Disney is buying Fox and the X-Men and Fantastic Four properties will soon return to Marvel Studios. While a few folks are talking about what this means for the X-Men franchise, I'm personally far more interested in how it would effect the one property Marvel Studios desperately needs to handle, just to save it from the mediocrity it has suffered in three films so far.
    It is time for a great Fantastic Four film. 

    All they need is some matching spandex.
    Let's keep the premise simple and as close to the classic origin as possible. They fly into space, get exposed to some kind of galactic space goo / Negative Zone force / Dormammu spit / whatever and get super powers. They crash back on Earth and learn they have gained freakish abilities. Reed decides to use this in the best way his capitalist mind can think: by turning them into a business. 

    As they reach their first levels of success and fame, Reed's old rival Victor Von Doom resurfaces. The Eastern European aristocrat (hell, make him overlord of the remains Sokovia instead of Latveria now) has used his genius to replicate the technology of Tony Stark, but his time training under the Ancient One gives him a different perspective on the world of tech. He's still got a major hate on for Reed, who seems to have lucked into all the success Doom struggled to get. So he sets up to fight the heroes. He brings in one big MCU guest star as a dupe to ground and pound the team before the final battle between the heroes and him. 

    An end credit scene shows the impending arrival of the Silver Surfer and quite frankly set up a whole new phase of Marvel films. 

    It's far more simple a story than any other attempt to modernize the team for modern movies while delivering some room for laughs and character development. 

    Let's take a look at my cast, in the order I would expect to see them in the credits: 

    Eddie Redmayne as Victor Von Doom: Eddie may be swamped under by the next four Fantastic Beasts films, but he is spot on the guy that can play Doom to a tee. He can play down to earth, pathos and isn't unwilling to transform himself for a role. And if Jupiter Ascending proved anything, it is that he can go over the top as a villain with ease. 

    Saoirse Ronan as Susan Storm: Ronan is young, blonde and an infinitely better actress than the two women she replaces. While she's avoided blockbusters for the most part, she would be a spot on choice to build a more full fledged Invisible Woman than we've been given in the past. She's easily the most powerful member of the FF and it's time we're giving an actor and a movie that can show it.

    Armie Hammer as Ben Grimm: I'm not sure if Armie has given up on the "I need to be a thing" thing yet, but he'll probably never make it as a major leading man. But Hammer is a great player in his previous blockbuster attempts. He could make a great giant rock monster, whether or not the movie wants to go full CGI or use makeup effects. 

    Ross Lynch as Johnny Storm: The hothead of the Fantastic Four goes to a man most famous now for playing a serial killer in My Friend Dahmer. But as a veteran to the Disney Channel, Lynch is pretty much built to play a slightly smarmy but great looking guy that loves the spotlight. Kids love him and with about twenty pounds of muscle packed on, he could be Marvel's next hot young thing. 

    Zac Oyama as Reed Richards: The most unknown of the actors in my list, but the College Humor regular has acting chops plus the comedy talent to make the inherent silliness of stretching powers really work. Zac has played super smart and socially inept before during shorts, and that makes me think he's got what it takes to make a young Reed come to life. And if Kelly Marie Tran can make the leap from CH to Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Zac could do the same for the Marvel Universe.

    Matt Smith as the Silver Surfer: The only former Doctor (at the moment) not yet cast in a Marvel movie or show would be the perfect man to bring a quirky alien fascinated by humanity to life. While Surfer in many ways is an ultra-powerful version of the good Doctor, I suspect Smith could bring some interesting differences between the two and hopefully set himself up for an eventual spinoff film. 

    Introducing: ? as Alicia Masters: I have to cast an unknown as Alicia Masters, as I think it might be a great time for Disney/Fox/Marvel to show off their diversity creds by hiring an actually blind actress for the role. It might add a few headaches to the filming process, but would be worth it just for authenticity's sake. 

    Featuring: Mark Ruffalo as The Hulk: Oh, come on! We all want to see The Thing fight The Hulk on the silver screen. Doom could easily use the big guy as a tool in his plot setting up a big fight between the two while the rest of the FF have to deal with Doom himself. It could make for a great climax and set up another "puny god" style moment. 

    What do you think of this cast and plot? Who do you want to see in a MCU Fantastic Four? Let me know in the comments! 

    Monday, December 10, 2018

    The Spirit of America reborn! A few words on the star of 'A Dangerous Place to Live'

    Despite starring in the very first book released in the saga of the Quadrant Universe, Freedom Patton's origins actually come much later than many of my characters.

    I grew up in the 80s and 90s, but by the time I started to really start writing it was a post-9/11 world. I don't think those that were still young or not born yet on that day understand exactly how that shaped so many people's lives whether they were personally affected by the tragedy or not. By the time the attacks happened, I already started to develop the concept of what a modern day American hero might look like. Most patriotic heroes have their basis in the 40s. Even as much as I love Mark Gruenwald's work on Captain America, his attempts at 90s patriots in Jack Flag and Free Spirit were... limited. So I set out to create a disillusioned hero for a disillusioned America.

    After 9/11, the origins of the character came into perspective. The Quadrant Universe has a long line of patriotic heroes behind it, but Freedom is unique among them. He isn't a costumed superstar living on his family's legacy. He's an average American from a broken time and a broken world.

    By the time A Dangerous Place to Live starts, he's years into his story. He's suffered from betrayal, both his own and others. He's seen the country, both the best and the worst. But he always has the mission. Always has the voices of the people guiding him forward.

    If the Spirit of America is broken? What would it look like? That is the tale of Freedom Patton in a nutshell. It's heady stuff, but it all is wrapped in an action-packed tale filled with monsters and super-beings and a quest to carve out a kingdom in the heart of America. It's prescience only seems to have grown since I wrote the first draft over a decade ago.

    You can get a copy on Amazon or half a dozen other online retailers. Subscribers to the Super Powered newsletter also can get a copy for a bit lower price. (Free counts as a lower price right?) And if you do read it, please consider giving it even the briefest ranking or review on Amazon or Goodreads. Every review helps bring more readers to the work!

    Today's image is from Josh Johnson on Unsplash.