Monday, August 31, 2015

Kickstart the Week 27: Comare

Kickstarter certainly has opened the world to the return of older, less used genres to comics. One such genre that seemed dead up until the last year or two were romance comics, but Kickstarter has already given rise to Fresh Romance. Now a new project looks to follow in that footsteps, complete with a healthy noir vibe.



Comare: The Other Woman is a tale about a woman trying to end her affair after her boyfriend returns home from the Korean War. Set in Los Angeles in 1953, it looks to play up the infamous criminal ties of that era as our lead Amelia seeks to end her affair with Buster, even as Buster’s wife seeks revenge.

It looks like a crazy ride, one that will only be a sixth of the way done if it funds on Kickstarter. But the preview pages from writer Mario Candelaria and artist Ashley St. Lawrence are incredibly promising.

With just five days left it still isn't fully funded, so give it a look at Kickstarter and help make a successful romance comic for the 21st century!

Friday, August 28, 2015

Cosplay Friday: Jasmine

Cosplayer Yuna proves that Disney princesses turn out a bit sexier in real life this Cosplay Friday.

Remember, 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 here on SuperPoweredFiction.com! And don’t forget the Lightweight: Beyond Kickstarter!

Jasmine

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Great Art: Lazerman by OMG (Mario Gully)

Let's take some time away from the Lightweight Kickstarter, to look back at some art from a Kickstarter I backed.

I have backed a lot of Kickstarters (268 as I type this), but few were as much fun as the Hebert Brothers’ Lazerman. He is a great old school comic character played with tongue firmly in cheek. I went in high for them and got some great prints as a return. (I might feature the other one in a future installment.)

This one was easily the one most unlike anything the Hebert Brothers were doing on the project, but it also made it a bit more fun with Mario Gully's distinctive style. The version below is actually the one used as a cover for the book. The print comes without any text.



Anyone interest in reading more Lazerman can pick up the first trade at Amazon or Comixology.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Kaihime debuts at Walking Shadows!

Yesterday's new page for Walking Shadows debuted a new character critical to the series as it continues for the rest of 2015. As a character, Kaihime actually predates ever other hero in the series, with origins in a different young hero team from years back.

[caption id="attachment_649" align="alignright" width="164"]Scott Clark's cover to Allegra #1. Click for larger view.
Scott Clark’s cover to Allegra #1. Click for larger view.
[/caption]

I originally envisioned the character as a spinoff of the Lightweight series I designed as a teenager. At the time, I put Lightweight in a teen superhero team and the character that is now Kaihime was a member of that unit. Originally named Oenone, after the tragic Greek figure, her name change came recently when I wanted to divorce her from the Greek allusions in the wake of Cyrus’s origin story. I lifted the name of another legendary figure, the Japanese warrior women Kaihime, for the technically enhanced heroine from another plane of reality.

The character was actually originally inspired way back when by just one picture, the cover image for Allegra #1 by Scott Clark. I loved the idea of a heroine embedded with technology. Though it would be a decade before I actually read an issue of Allegra (and found the series woefully weak considering a solid creative team of Clark and Steve Seagle) I knew that the idea of a heroine embedded with technology was cool.

Later on, another inspiration helped shape the visual imagery of the character. That figure was Kerrigan from Starcraft, a figure I just featured in a great Cosplay Friday.

I have let Oenone / Kaihime float through my imagination for the past twenty years. She took shape over a few different incarnations in the years between as most of my oldest characters have, usually connected with one unit of young heroes or another. Now she finally sees her debut as part of the Walking Shadows cast.

Her mission and her adventures will continue in future updates to Walking Shadows, every Tuesday and Thursday.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Best Character Ever 9: Static

I’ve talked about some of my influences for Lightweight in the past, but one easily stands above the rest. And that character is Static.




Created in 1993 as one of the first four Milestone Comics comics, his title was the one I was least interested in of the original four. The character description and the forced in Malcolm X hat made him a complete pass for fourteen year old Nick. Instead I picked up Hardware, which I liked but wasn’t blown away by, and Icon, a book that instantly drew me in to the fascinating relationship between Augustus Freeman and Raquel Ervin. Blood Syndicate proved to be a great book in the hands of Ivan Velez and Chriscross. But it was Static that proved to be my favorite in the end.

I only tried the book because of how much I liked the previous three number ones. Virgil Hawkins proved to be a great character though as Dwayne McDuffie, Robert L. Washington III and John Paul Leon set out to basically update the original Spider-Man format. Virgil was a nerd, but even a nerd tried for acceptance. During a poorly thought out gang initiation, Virgil gets exposed to the Big Bang and empowered.

This cover was too controversial for DC to release
without an extra wrap around, all because of those
two small packets on the floor.
The comic quickly becomes a mix of teenage drama and superhero battles, even going so far as to end the first issue with the inexperienced hero getting his butt kicked. He would become much more adept with his abilities over forty-five issues. Unfortunately his series wouldn’t survive a price increase and the decline of the comic industry. It faded away with the rest of the Milestone line four years into its short life.

Dwayne McDuffie moved into animation. He ushered Static into animation with him, creating the television series Static Shock! It was never quite the Static I grew to love, but the show had just enough Milestone in it to keep my interest. Season two started to integrate Static into the DC Animated Universe, a move that would continue into episodes of Justice League Unlimited. It was very cool to see Static getting treated as every bit as important as Green Lantern, Superman or Flash.

Those goggles will never not look silly.
Static would rejoin the DC fold with new comics in the last few years. Initially they promised big things for the character, but he quickly was relegated to a cast member in the messy Teen Titans title post-Final Crisis. Even when he was given his own series at the start of the New 52, it seemed DC was more interested in marginalizing the character than using him well. Ultimately the Milestone heroes were never to get their due as part of the DC Universe. With Dwayne and Robert L. Washington now gone, it seems doubtful the character will ever match its original level of greatness, even with the announcement of the upcoming independent Milestone 2.0.

But I still have those forty-five issues. Static—much like his lost creators—will always remain an inspiration to me. The simple flow of adventure to adventure, always tied together by the trials and tribulations of Virgil's everyday life is something I tried to emulate in the first year of Lightweight's adventures. While I am not sure I always succeeded, I cannot overlook the importance of character in super powered storytelling, something Milestone first really made me realize all those years ago.

Thanks, Dwayne. Thanks, Robert. Let's hope Milestone 2.0 can be a lasting legacy to both of you.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Kickstart Lightweight 4: More from around the web!

I have already talked about the Wild West Horse Opera crossover promotion, but that isn’t the only place online where I have talked Lightweight in the last few days!

Nancy A. Hansen was kind enough to interview me for her great Writing From Home blog. We talked the trials and tribulations of being a working writer, the importance of passion and how important Lightweight is to yours truly!

I also stopped by Thomas Deja’s Nocturne Travel Agency and shared a few thoughts about the current project in an article called “Being Lightweight”. It covers the importance for any writer of finding their passion project among the dozens of ideas that will never see completion.

Of course, Lightweight still continues to trot along on Kickstarter. The project is nearing its end and without more support, the days of Lightweight might be numbered. But if the fans of previous books and folks that just love super powered fiction in general can rally, we can make the book happen. Make sure to get in your support before it is too late.

Kickstart the Week 26: Wild West Horse Opera RPG

Scaldcrow Games has produced some great work already with their Worlds of Pulp line, but their moving it into an exciting new direction with Wild West Horse Opera. The new game will bring traditional westerns to vivid life with the simple, effective stats system Scaldcrow makes work so well.



The initial set actually comes with three books: the game itself, an adventure and Six Gun Red, a novella by T. Glenn Bane. The novella also contains a short story by Ron Fortier and if both Wild West Horse Opera and Lightweight: Beyond prove successful I will also provide an original story to the book as well!

While Wild West Horse Opera has met its funding goal, it has tons of stretch goals to still be unlocked, so give it a look and help support the rebirth of the western!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Cosplay Friday: Kerrigan

I know very little about Tasha Cosplay, but she went all out to bring Starcraft's Kerrigan to life in all her half-human glory!

Remember, 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 here on SuperPoweredFiction.com! And don't forget the Lightweight: Beyond Kickstarter!

Kerrigan

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Lightweight Character Profile 3: Lightweight III

I talked before about the man that would take Kevin Mathis's place while he was lost in outer space. Now I am proud to reveal one more secret: the new Lightweight is none other than Lightweight's former friend Andy Case. Check out his profile below and remember to support Lightweight: Beyond on Kickstarter.

CHARACTER PROFILE: LIGHTWEIGHT III

Real Name: Andrew “Andy” Case

Occupation: Costumed Adventurer

Marital Status: Single

Known Relatives: Boyd (father, deceased), Twila (mother), Betram Finklestein (second cousin, deceased)

Group Affiliation: none

Base of Operations: Federation

History: After the tragedy at King’s Keep Tower, Andy Case found himself adrift. His father was dead, Lightweight  had vanished off the face of the Earth, and his friends wouldn’t talk to him. And while he suspected Kevin Mathis was alive, he knew that Lightweight was a legacy he couldn’t let rest.

With his mother in a coma and his friends moving on into college, Andy devoted himself to scrounging from the wreckage of King’s Keep a special set of equipment to emulate the natural abilities of Lightweight. A levitating board was easy to find, but the attractors and repulsors in his gloves took weeks of effort to make work. But within three months of Kevin’s disappearance, he was able to take his first night out as Lightweight.

Andy knows he doesn’t have the strength of character his former best friend did. He knows he barely possesses a fraction of Kevin’s powers as well. But he knows that Federation needs a hero until his friend returns. He will do anything in his power to live up to the legacy Kevin Mathis left behind.

Height: 6’ 1”

Weight: 170 lbs.

Eyes: Green

Hair: Reddish blonde

Strength level: Andy Case possesses the strength of a man of his age, height and build that participates in intensive exercise.

Known metahuman abilities: Since the age of ten, Andy has possessed the innate metahuman ability to become invisible. It is still unknown how his power works, although it appears to be non-psychic in nature as it works on any kind of machine and in multiple visual spectrums. He can expand the ability to anything he touches with a limit of about five feet from his body.

Other abilities: Andy is a trained hand to hand combatant and an expert marksman. He has a high level of stealth training in order to emphasize his metahuman abilities.

Equipment: Andy wears a specialized suit designed to blunt shots from small firearms. His left gauntlet when activated can send out a wave of force meant to push everything in its path away. His right gauntlet has the opposite effect as it creates a suction meant to pull things toward him. A special dial embedded inside the gauntlet’s thumbs allows him to select the width of the attraction and repulsion fields.

He also uses a specialized board approximately a meter long and a third of a meter wide as a flying implement. His boots lock into the base of the board to keep him steady as it uses similar attraction/repulsion technology to stay aloft.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

What's Up for August 19, 2015

This was meant to go up much earlier but I apparently forgot to slip it out of draft mode while writing up promotions for the Lightweight Kickstarter and putting time into some actual fiction.

I have had a lot of reading time of late thanks to the whole “recovering from surgery” bit and I have been using them to the best of my ability. I have been consuming a collection of some of the best comic book westerns ever written, reading a biography of one of my favorite wrestlers and catching up on past movies and games in the time in between.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Kickstart Lightweight 3: How you can help!

LightweightKScover

The last week has been very weak for supporters on the Lightweight: Beyond Kickstarter. We still are sitting at under 50%, not far from where we were a weak ago.

I am not giving up hope though. I recently did an interview with T. Mike McCurley to talk about the project. Feel free to share the interview around your social media.

I have started to go directly to previous backers to make sure they are aware of the project, but I would appreciate every share on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Tumblr or wherever. The more expansive the range of views on the project, the better we can do funding wise.

If you have any questions or concerns about the project, please let me know. Thanks for your support and let's make Lightweight: Beyond happen!

Kickstart the Week 25: Kai's Rage

I admit it: I'm a sucker for a good beat em up. Double DragonFinal FightStreets of Rage: all great games in my book. So anytime someone tries to bring back the format in interesting ways, I will take a look. Case in point: Kai's Rage: The System Saver Legend.



Produced by a Spanish game designer, Kai's Rage turns the genre into an action RPG with levels, stat boosts and character building. This allows players to make unique builds for each of the game's four characters.

While still early in production, the game looks very solid but desperately needs a shot of cash. Check it out on Kickstarter today.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Cosplay Friday: Poison Ivy

Envy Kitty brings a smoking hot version of Poison Ivy to life that probably would make Uma Thurman cry. I have seen a ton of Poison Ivy cosplays, but she is definitely near the top.

Remember, 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 here on SuperPoweredFiction.com!

poison_ivy_by_undercoverenvy

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Best Character Ever 8: Armor

So far this series of columns usually focused on characters I love because of my long history with them or because I came to understand their coolness as I grew up. Today, I’m going to focus on a character I love because of how little I knew of him for the first couple years I found him.

Even as a kid, I could notice when comics were different from the rest. I knew Marvel’s books. I knew DC books. But even in those heady days of buying comics at first Bostrom’s SuperValu in the tiny town of West Union, Iowa, and later at Newsland in Knoxville, I knew something different when I saw it. The first non-Big Two title I remember finding there was Green Hornet by Ron Fortier and Jeff Butler. An older friend had several early issues, but I had the misfortune of stepping on to the book with issue nine. Sadly it would be the last issue with the young female Kato that interested me enough to buy a title based on a character I only knew from old radio serials.

But it was Continuity Comics that really caught my attention. And specifically, it was a man named Armor. And more specifically, it was one issue of his title.

Armor #8.

[caption id="attachment_601" align="aligncenter" width="351"]Best. Costume. Ever. Best. Costume. Ever.[/caption]

While Jack Keaton, the man behind the alien suit of armor that gives him his name, usually hangs out with his brother Silver Streak and friend Megalith, Armor 8 gives him his first solo earth story. And it is the kind of thing twelve year old Nick loved.

Jack picks a fight in a bar and accidentally exposes that the “cola” vendors there are actually dealing the less legal kind of coke. Along with his currently not-costumed compatriots, he escapes the killers (and their machine guns) after leaving a few hurting.

But ol’ Jack is way wiser than his friends. He knows that these guys will mean business and that they’ve probably already figured out where Jack and friends live. When their boss calls and sets up a chat with them, Jack knows something is out of sorts.

So he stays home and sends his two super powered friends out. He does this knowing that the criminals will instead take their house and plan an ambush on the super-powered characters. Jack plans to stay home and take care of the problem himself.

Now let me point this out quick. Outside a gem eye that works like a real eye, Armor has no powers whatsoever, just lots of weapons. And he plans on taking on an army of thugs single-handedly.

This wouldn’t be a comic book if he didn’t succeed. Thirteen pages of the comic are spent with Jack beating the living daylights out of dozens of enemies, really showing off the insane arsenal of weapons he keeps hidden in his armor. It’s an amazing action sequence choreographed by an all star art team: Frank Springer, Kelley Jones and Neal Adams himself.

Armor was amazing in my mind. Unfortunately, it would be years before I found another issue of his title. Only a few appearances in Samuree gave me any other ideas about the character, but I knew he was cool.

Sadly, I’ve found the rest of Jack Keaton’s adventures were often far weaker than this issue, but I still can’t help but look at that amazing costume and not help but think about what could have been if the book survived the subsequent Deathwatch 2000 and Rise of Magic events.

Alas, we will probably never know. While Neal Adams still owns the character, the Continuity characters haven't appeared for almost 20 years with no signs of making a comeback.

The armored hero fighting out of his league trope though continues and will probably continue for years to come. A version of that concept even makes an appearance in Lightweight: Beyond, as I introduce the substitute Lightweight still trying to defend Federation from evil. I am not sure if you will ever see an illustrated version of the character, but he certainly won't have a costume half as cool as Armor.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Lightweight Character Profile 2: Millie

Millie-narrow

As the Lightweight: Beyond Kickstarter rolls on, here's the profile of our second lead in the ongoing saga. Millie anchors the Earth-based portions of the new book as she will have her own adventures and mysteries to solve. 

MILLIE

Real Name: Millicent Bryant

Occupation: High school Student

Marital Status: Single

Known Relatives: Jung-hee “June” (mother), Milton (father), Jeremiah (adopted brother)

Group Affiliation: none

Base of Operations: Federation

History: Millicent Bryant was a surprise. Her parents met in 1964 when Milton was a 19 year old G.I. stationed in Korea, where Jung-hee was a 17 year old enamored with soldiers. They would not marry for nearly a decade when the two met in the aftermath of the Vietnam War. Jung-hee moved to America after marrying Milton in a small Korean service. She would take the name June as they settled in to a life together.

Seemingly unable to bear a natural child, Milt and June instead focused on their educations. Both studied, earned Master’s degrees and became professors of history and Asian studies before adopting a baby boy, Cornelius, in 1981. It would be another fifteen years before they were faced with a surprise: 50 year old June was pregnant.

Millie Bryant was born in late 1997. She quickly proved to be a prodigy, aped on by parents obsessed with providing her every educational opportunity. She skipped kindergarten and quickly rose to the top of her class at Federation’s best private academies.

As a teenager, she fought to move to public school. Though a year younger, she entered high school at the same time as Kevin Mathis, new to the city. Along with Andy Case, they formed a strange triumvirate in a sea of strange characters.

She was already an expert hacker by her senior year in high school. She used her skills to help Kevin, even as she was one of the few confidants that knew his dual identity.

The tragedies of the second half of her senior year reshaped her life in many ways. Just barely eighteen and now in college, she's dedicated her free time to continuing to keep Federation safe from criminals, albeit through watchdog groups and internet activism rather than vigilantism. She continues her hunt for Kevin Mathis at the same time, sure that her friend is not another dead loved one, but instead is out there somewhere, lost and waiting to be found by her.

 

Height: 5’ 4”

Weight: 116 lbs.

Eyes: Brown

Hair: Black

Strength level: Millie possesses the normal human strength of a woman of her age, height and build that engages in regular exercise.

Known superhuman abilities: None.

Other abilities: Millie is an exceptional student with near photographic memory. Her intelligence is far beyond the normal levels of a eighteen year old.

In addition, she’s an expert with computers and wired systems. She has used this skill for amateur hacking, flirting with more free and less legal applications.

She has also trained in aikido since she was seven. Both her father and she have reached high levels in the martial art.   

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Kickstart Lightweight 2: A little help from our friends...

LightweightKScover

The Lightweight Kickstarter continues apace, albeit at a bit slower speed than I would like. As I said before, momentum means a lot for Kickstarters. If we are to reach our stretch goals and unlock more books, that means more support than it currently has. But with three weeks still ahead, the project has a lot of life to go.

This time around I wanted to focus some attention on some folks that have helped spread the word about Lightweight!

Check all those folks out and don't forget to head over to Kickstarter and give Lightweight: Beyond your support!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Kickstart the Week 24: Daring Comics RPG

As we continue to look for funds on Lightweight: Beyond, please check out this other Kickstarter featuring some great material.



I love super powered RPGs. If a role playing game lets me embody a hero of my choice and take him on huge adventures, I can definitely get into it. I probably own over a dozen superhero RPGs, but the Daring Comics RPG offers something a bit different: superheroes in the FATE system. FATE is an interesting, rather simple system designed for quick play which sometimes goes against the grain of a supers game, but the folks at Daring Entertainment understand that. The design team is working to blend the crunchier elements necessary for superheroes with the simple system of FATE. As the system runs Atomic Robo darn well, I suspect they will succeed admirably.

With less than a week to go, the Daring Comics RPG is still about a thousand dollars short of its glow, so give it your support if you can.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Cosplay Friday: Typhoid Mary

The Birds of Play are responsible for some amazing cosplay, but Phoenix here went out of her way to make an amazing Typhoid Mary, decked out in her Bendis/Maleev-era outfit.

Remember, 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 here on SuperPoweredFiction.com!


Thursday, August 6, 2015

Influential 6: Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends

I look back at some true influences on the ongoing adventures of Lightweight and the rest of the Quadrant Universe as the Lightweight: Beyond Kickstarter rolls along.

I freely admit that Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends is not the best piece of Saturday morning television ever produced. Even by early 80s standards it was a so-so venture, but when you’re three and four and just falling in love with superheroes, it doesn’t really matter.

Spider-Man_and_His_Amazing_Friends

But even now, I can sit back and enjoy old episodes of the series when I find them on television or online. Because Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends made me understand that a superhero universe offers more than the simple adventures I saw on the earlier Spider-Man series or the contemporary Incredible Hulk. While Spider-Man, Firestar and Iceman could have simple adventures based around their everyday lives, they could also have bigger adventures alongside amazing guest stars, many which were completely new to me. Captain America, Sunfire, Shanna, the X-Men and a dozen other Marvel characters were shown to me for the first time in the series. I learned that Spider-Man didn’t have to be contained to local tales, but could be as big or as small scale a hero as a given adventure entailed.

[caption id="attachment_583" align="aligncenter" width="369"]A particular favorite featuring a bevy of Marvel heroes. A particular favorite featuring a bevy of Marvel heroes.[/caption]

It was an important lesson that I never really embraced until I started to write Lightweight and Quadrant. With both, I set out to create down to earth heroes whose adventures could span the world and the universe. Quadrant started to expand its boundaries almost immediately, but for Lightweight, it really starts in a big way with the upcoming installment, Lightweight: Beyond. The new tale takes him into the wider Quadrant Universe and will reveal much of the inner workings of the galaxy that surrounds our tiny blue word.

Lightweight: Beyond offers one other big advantage over Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends: it will never convince a single young fan that Iceman and Firestar are way more important heroes than they actually are.

Watch Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends on Netflix streaming.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Best Character Ever 7: Speedball

As Lightweight continues on Kickstarter, I take a look back at a beloved character with an important role in my personal fandom of young heroes.

[caption id="attachment_577" align="aligncenter" width="510"]A 2008 sketch of Speedball by Darick Robertson. A 2008 sketch of Speedball by Darick Robertson.[/caption]

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.)

[caption id="attachment_576" align="aligncenter" width="193"]Click for larger view. Click for larger view.[/caption]

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.

[caption id="attachment_578" align="aligncenter" width="199"]Skottie Young's New Warriors collection cover. Click for larger view. Skottie Young's New Warriors collection cover. Click for larger view.[/caption]

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...

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Character Profile: Lightweight

This is a repost from earlier this year, but it seemed apt to return to Lightweight's profile as Lightweight: Beyond is funding on Kickstarter.

With the impending release of Lightweight: Black Death it seemed only fitting to travel back to this classic character profile I wrote up for the character on the old site. Learn a little bit more about Kevin Mathis and his costumed identity ahead of his second book’s release.

Lightweight COLOR STUDY 2-ALIGHTWEIGHT

Real Name: Kevin Mathis

Occupation: High school Student

Marital Status: Single

Known Relatives: Mary (mother), David (father), unnamed maternal aunt, unnamed cousins

Group Affiliation: none

Base of Operations: Federation

History: Kevin Mathis isn’t exactly superhero material.

Born and raised in southern Minnesota, he moved after his father’s business brought him down to the massive Midwest city of Federation. He joined his class in the ninth grade and immediately became friends with two people, Andy Case and Millie Bryant. They formed a strange group in the ever bustling world of Reagan High.

Each had their own diverse interests. Andy loved cars and weed. Millie focused on computers. Kevin loved video games and wanted nothing more than to play them. An average student, he certainly could score much higher with just a little bit of applying himself.

Then came the dreams. Every night, he received another vision of floating high above the city. And those dreams set him on a path that could make him the world’s greatest hero.

Or maybe the world’s greatest villain.

Height: 6’ 1”

Weight: 183 lbs.

Eyes: Blue

Hair: Dark Brown

Strength level: Lightweight possesses the normal human strength of a man of his age, height and build that engages in moderate exercise.

Known superhuman abilities: Kevin Mathis possesses the ability to manipulate the personal gravitometric field of any non-living object. He can use this ability to make things lighter or heavier. He can also use it to move objects through the air by manipulating their relationship to both other objects and the planet.

When Kevin exerts his powers, his body begins to expel light. At greater levels, this light actually becomes almost blinding.

With power over an essential force in the universe, Kevin’s abilities seem to have only brushed the most infinitesimal of their potential as he first dons the costume of Lightweight.

Other abilities: Kevin also has basic hand to hand combat training as well as a vast knowledge of video games with special expertise in obscure independent games.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Kickstart Lightweight 1: Beyond is here!

I was more than glad to shed some spotlight on eSpec Books’ own super powered project this morning, but it is not the only Kickstarter I have to talk about today. Because Lightweight is back and now funding on Kickstarter.



Lightweight: Beyond opens the second year of the adventures of Kevin Mathis. He finds himself on the alien world of Nill, divorced from everything he has ever known, and thrown into a cold war between dangerous forces in control of the world. Even while he must come to terms with the secrets of Nill, an even greater threat looms that could spell doom for him and the entire galaxy!

Please give Lightweight: Beyond your support. With your help we can fund not one, not two, but three more great novels that will bring the full epic story of Lightweight's second year in action!

Kickstart the Week 23: The Side of Good/The Side of Evil

Super powered fiction is clearly a growing field in publishing. Multiple young adult series every year now cover the field, independent authors are finding ways to live off the wages of their own series and even smaller publishers now see the light of making their own anthologies of super powered fiction.



The Side of Good/The Side of Evil from eSpec books fits the bill perfectly. A growing small press, eSpec has gathered a great list of recognizable sci fi and comic authors headlined by folks like Peter David, Janine Spendlove and Gail Z. Martin. The flipbook format on the print edition gives you a clear separation between stories following the forces of good and the forces of evil... as well as a snazzy second cover.

Check out The Side of Good/The Side of Evil on Kickstarter today.