Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Kickstart the Week 14: HEATHEN

Alright, we are off to a bit of a late start kicking off the week here, but that doesn't mean we don't have a great project to showcase!

HEATHEN doesn't have any fancy video, but with art as good as Natasha Alterici provides, I am not sure it needs one. This story of a Viking girl, her horse and her Valkyrie ally on a quest to stop a power-mad Odin offers not only a cool new take on the Viking epic, but also some amazing art from Alterici.

Go check out more art and consider backing HEATHEN at Kickstarter.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

What's Up for April 26, 2015

So, it has been a hectic week without a ton of free time to accomplish any writing, let alone reading or watching, but that doesn##8217;t mean I have done nothing at all. I continue to slowly make my way through Netflix’s Daredevil and I also read a classic Marvel Comic for the very first time: Contest of Champions. I also checked out my first Scott County Wrestling event, but more on that elsewhere. So, here is what else I have been up to this week!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Best Character Ever Redux: Iceman

I started the Best Character Ever series on the reborn Super Powered Fiction just a few weeks ago with a look at Iceman, probably one of my favorite characters as a child, mostly due to his appearances as part of Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends. I talked a lot about how I felt he was a character that could develop into a major solo star at Marvel, but the company always seemed unwilling to pull that trigger.

Then this happened.

Frankly, I find this bit a bit insulting. And not just because this conversation pretty much makes Jean Grey the worst human being on the planet for outing him like this.

I have no problem at all with Iceman being interested in other men. Over the past thirty years, it certainly has been hinted and poked at, all the way back to the Cloud storyline way back in his New Defenders days. But I do have a problem with calling him gay. While the young Bobby presented here has not had the history of his older self, he is still supposedly the exact same man. And in fifty years of comic history, Iceman is very much a character with more than a passing interest in the ladies.

Champions made him unrelentingly attracted to Darkstar, complete with thoughts of his love for her. In Defenders he was completely confused for his attraction to Cloud, a being with both a male and female form.

Iceman is very clearly a bisexual man, somewhere definitely lower on the Kinsey Scale than a 6. But sadly modern fiction, especially modern comics, suffer from a distinct lack of nuance when it comes to sexuality. Multiple heroes have been created or outed as gay, but bisexual characters are few and far between. Only Mystique and Daken have really been presented as bi in the X-books, which seems to make bisexuality and status as an antihero equal.

Though Brian Michal Bendis is on record that he does not want to commit any level of bi-erasure with this move, as presented All-New X-Men 40 is completely that. Hopefully more nuanced writers will be able to build on this scene in the future in more appropriate ways for the character's history.

In a perfect world, Marvel would use this as a way to spinoff Iceman into his own series. Let the older X-Man finally go out on his own and accept the fact that he likes men and women. Heck, you could make him even more varied in his dating patterns than Spider-Man while finally giving the world a book interested in presenting a fascinating bisexual character, something comics have failed at for years.

Right now, I will wait and see whether this will lead to a bright or dismal future for Iceman. Either way though, it is great to see his name mentioned more than it has in years.

If you are interested in the full story check out the comic from your local shop or on Comixology.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Wrestling Wednesday 3: Killer Mike edition

This will actually be the last edition of Wrestling Wednesday to appear on this site in this form. Starting next week I plan to debut an official wrestling related blog to separate my wrestling commentary from my thoughts on superheroes and super powered fiction. But I thought it was time to go out with a bang—or at least a great song—so here is the official video for Killer Mike’s Ric Flair. FYI, the lyrics are anything but safe for work, but the song is freaking sweet.

Stay tuned for more details of the new site in the next few days.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Kickstart the Week 13: Waynesaw

Waynesaw takes the endless runner genre of games and gives it a whole new life through the power of wanton destruction. You play a friendly chainsaw unaware of the fact that you're incredibly deadly and naive enough to help people he probably shouldn't. This looks to be a great little satirical game from the makers of the delightfully awful Amazing Super Powers.

Give it a look at Kickstarter.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

What's Up for April 19, 2015

What I have really been doing this week is slowly working my way through Daredevil and Lucha Underground, but between that time, I have also been looking at these...

Friday, April 17, 2015

Best Character Ever 3: Captain America

Ron Garney is still the best Cap artist in my opinion. Image credit: Marvel Comics. 
I really am not sure where I first came across Captain America. It was most likely an episode of Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, but I could not tell you what episode or when it aired. It certainly didn’t leave a lasting impression. I’ve watched it within the last year or so and even now I cannot remember the details of the Cap episode.

That being said, I quickly fell in love with the character. After my love affair with G.I. Joe blossomed into a love for Firestorm and Uncanny X-Men, I branched out as I started to get older. Captain America was one of the characters I started to fall in love with very quickly.

I’m fairly sure I started with my brother’s issues. This was during the long Mark Gruenwald era in the 80s and early 90s, more specifically in the period where John Walker took the costume and Steve Rogers wore the black Captain costume. I instantly became hooked, not realizing that in many ways it was a better told rehashing of the previous Nomad arc of the 1970s. It didn’t matter to me, both the Captain and John Walker were awesome to my ten or eleven year old mind.

I followed the book through my brother for the next few years. I started buying the book for myself during what I still consider one of Gruenwald’s finest storylines “Streets of Poison”. To this day, that arc is one of the strongest six part stories I can remember just packed with action, great guest stars and gorgeous artwork by the always underrated Ron Lim. From there, Cap was always a favorite.

I read Cap off and on for the next several years, mostly based on artists, but I started back on the book full time just before Gruenwald’s final arc “Fighting Chance”. While I know a lot of folks have little good to say about that era, I still think it’s terribly awesome. The characters created in that arc could fuel an entire year of comics written by this guy. I still would love to write an Americop series for Marvel someday.

I call this look Captain Armorica.
Art by Dave Hoover.
But this column isn’t just about the greatness of Gruenwald’s era or the spectacular Waid/Garney era that followed, it is about the greatness of Captain America. And he truly is a great character. Steve Rogers is the ultimate personification of the American can-do spirit. He’s not invincible by any means. He’s often one of the weakest Avengers. But he never gives up even in the face of defeat.

Art by Ron Lim. 
The finest moment of Infinity Gauntlet is when Captain America alone stands up to the dark god Thanos despite having no hope for victory. That is Cap and that is why he can never truly be defeated, not by death and not even by bad writing.

Cap in many ways is the best part of the current Avengers cartoon franchises and Chris Evans has done a superb job breathing life to him in film. Whether it be comics, prose, television or film I always enjoy seeing more from Captain America. And yes, that even includes the 70s TV movies and that strange 1990 film starring J.D. Salinger’s son.

Cap at his best is about doing great things. Comics—and life—always needs more of that.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Pulpsploitation hits Pulp Fiction Reviews!

The always amazing writer and editor Ron Fortier recently took a look at Pulpsploitation for his reviews website!

He covers all five tales in the novel and raves about Gunmaster, The Black Bat, Tabu and E.A.G.L.E. as well, which makes me proud as an editor. But as a writer, I am always excited to see raves about my own work!

Ron gave a brief synopsis of the story on the site, then said that I am “a solid writer and he knows these golden age characters extremely well and we doubt seriously after reading through the obligatory “sex scene,” many of you will ever consider Davy Nelson a “boy” again.≵ That is great praise from a man with thirty years of writing experience behind him!

Read the full review of Pulpsploitation over at Pulp Fiction Reviews! Pick up Pulpsploitation at Amazon!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Kickstart the Week 12: The Pantheon Project

Super-powered teenagers put into danger by a path they never wanted! Sounds like my own Walking Shadows serial, but today I am talking about The Pantheon Project, a comic series now up at Kickstarter. Having read the first issue already, I can vouch that this is a great take on teenage heroes as the four leads get the super-powers they wished for as kids. Written by Erik Taylor and featuring art by Leila Del Luca (who has since moved on to Image’s Shutter with Joe Keatinge), this Kickstarter will fund the complete graphic novel of the series.

Though the creators chose to forego a video, help them make this great comic possible by backing them on Kickstarter now! I suspect you will be glad you did.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

What's Up for April 12, 2015

It has been a wild and woolly week in the Ahlhelm household, capped off with a nasty migraine that put me down for the count this weekend. But I always have a bit of time for some entertainment consumption and here is what I have been doing for the last few days!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Bringing Airboy into the future (or On Writing Airboy)

All three of these characters will play a
part in future Airboy stories.
He certainly isn’t a character that went without a revival in the 1980s. Chuck Dixon and Tim Truman created a rather amazing series at Eclipse (now being collected by IDW) with art by the likes of Stan Woch, Ben Dunn, Ron Randall and Tom Lyle.

But that series didn’t tell the story of the original Airboy. Instead it focused on Davy Nelson Jr., the son of the original character and his interaction with a mix of the original Air Fighters and new “ripped from the headlines” adventures. Despite being written by well known Republican writer Chuck Dixon, it was even famous for being the anti-Reagan comic. But while it offered great stories, it wasn’t the take on Airboy I wanted to see.

I wanted to go back to the original, I wanted to make him a fish out of water and I wanted to update the Air Fighters in a very different way. Pulpsploitation was the perfect way to accomplish both, as I could revive the classic figure in a unique light different from the Golden Age character, Dixon's version or subsequent takes on the character.

In my initial short story, Misery and the Airtomb play their part in the first story, but they are really a subplot as Airboy finds himself young and alive again in the early 1980s. He’s immediately thrust into a plot to stop the massive super-weapon that nearly killed him once before.

The tale will ultimately kickoff a new series of adventures starring the high-flying adventurer that I hope I can continue for years to come. Right now, a series of Pulpsploitation novels are in the planning changes with a launch on Kickstarter later this year.

Meanwhile, pick up the first volume of Pulpsploitation at Amazon.

This post original appeared in slight different form on the Pulpsploitation Kickstarter page.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

New at Pen & Cape Society: Helping Hud

The trades are out of print now, but I
highly recommend hunting down ESPers
I make no secret of my membership to the wonderful collection of writers known as the Pen & Cape Society. However I have not always been the best at regularly posting to their site.
Read about The Good Fight 2
& its charitable purpose at the
Pen & Cape Society.
That changes today as I talk a bit more about The Good Fight 2: Villains there as well as the importance to me of helping James Hudnall in his time of need. James Hudnall’s comic work inspired a lot of my outlook on super-writing, and I talk about that a bit more as well.

Read the whole Helping Hud post at Pen & Cape Society.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Writer's Update for April 7, 2015

Lightweight COLOR STUDY 2-ANot too much to report this time around as most of my writing time has actually been focused on a few overdue editing projects I have sitting on my virtual desk.

But I am always up to a little something. I have pretty much finalized my rough outline of Lightweight year two. I will be putting the full story to paper soon with a Kickstarter to follow shortly after the first couple chapters are completed.

And in case anyone out there is wondering, the new chapters of Lightweight will connect into the Times Past theme of 2015. I am not going to reveal how exactly, but fans will find out closer to publication.

Today’s image is sample art for Lightweight’s costume by Brent Sprecher.

Still to come in 2015:

  • More Walking Shadows, including that series own entry into Times Past

  • A pair of new pulp hero tales (more details soon)

  • A new chapter of Vengeance which takes the character around even more of the Quadrant Universe as he uncovers the secrets of his path.

  • Several new Metahuman Press anthologies including Modern Pulp Heroes Volume 2 and Horror Heroes 2.

  • Another later 30s era Metahuman Press anthology in collaboration with another author (yet to be announced).

  • Pulpsploitation: Airboy (alongside The Gunmaster and two other short novels.)

That's just a taste of my plans for the next year or so. We are in for an interesting ride as we barrel deeper into 2015. Here's hoping you will be along for the ride!

Order Lightweight: Senior Year at Amazon!


Monday, April 6, 2015

Kickstart the Week 11: The Strange

Superheroics, cyberpunk and future-tech do not get combined nearly enough. John Daniel Taylor IV and Francisco Menor hope to remedy that with The Strange. They are now funding the second issue of their comic series on Kickstarter, but the first issue is also available for anyone interested in backing what looks to be a great project with some amazing art.

Head over to Kickstarter to back The Strange now.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

CityNewsNet 125: The new Doc Tesla

F.O.R.C.E. readers already know about the new Doc Tesla as introduced in the pages of that series, but CityNewsNet’s coverage of her home region finally gets to her in the latest installment! For those who haven’t picked up the series, get your first introduction to the new super-steam powered heroine in a bite-size news broadcast!

Find out more details about the episode at the official page or listen to it here.