Friday, October 30, 2015

Cosplay Friday: The Riddler

Dezi Desire makes an amazing Riddler in this Rule 63 cosplay. I have always been a huge fan of the Frank Gorshin take on the character and this seems look a perfect amalgamation of that look with Jim Carrey's Batman Forever version.

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!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Progress report for the end of October 2015

It's been awhile since I have updated folks reading this on what I am working on while I am also posting all these lovely blog entries. Considering the Kickstarter just funded a few short weeks ago, it should be no surprise I am working hard on Lightweight: Beyond.

While I am still working on the second chapter of that book, it is now a much longer chapter than in my previous plans. Since the second and third books for the next year failed to fund as part of the campaign, I actually changed my plans for where to leave off with Lightweight's third adventure to give a more satisfying conclusion to the readers. Without saying too much, this means I will actually be writing longer chapters for the second and third ones I originally planned to conclude Lightweight: Beyond. I will also add two more chapters after that in order to give a satisfying conclusion to Millie's time travel adventure and Kevin's battle to survive on Nill.

My current plan is to finish the bottom three quarters of Lightweight: Beyond as my NaNoWriMo project, coupled with the new ending I have planned for the Vengeance saga as mentioned a couple days ago. The two books will actually have a chapter that links the two corners of the Quadrant Universe as Vengeance's tale will find him leaving his home turf of New Salem for Lightweight's city of Federation. This should form some interesting connective tissue for folks interested in both books.

As I prep for NaNoWriMo, I am also hard at work at building a larger buffer for my online serial Walking Shadows. Regular readers know we moved into a bit more eerie territory in Hallo-week as Marilyn and Cyrus found themselves visited by strange shades. Today, the Casting Call feature debuted, featuring my thoughts on who would make a great Ian Page should a Walking Shadows movie ever be made.

Future chapters will develop Ian and Phoebe's friendship, reveal Kaihime's history and mission and introduce a new pair of super-villains to trouble our cast. I have more exciting news about Walking Shadows in the days ahead, so stay tuned for details on that in the near future.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Best Character Ever 13: Shotgun

Sometimes a character is awesome because of all the great stories he has been in. Sometimes a character is great because of all the potential he has. Sadly, Shotgun falls in to the latter.
J.R. Walker first appeared in the pages of Daredevil when the man was on his walkabout in the waning days of Ann Nocenti’s run. Created by artist John Romita Jr., Shotgun is presented as little more than a thug by Nocenti’s writing, albeit one with a sharp tongue. With a cool look and sporting the perfect early 90s load of giant guns (though these appearances were in 89, contemporary with Cable’s early appearances), it seemed like he would go somewhere.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

An end for "Out For Vengeance" and a new beginning

I have made the decision to pull the current version of Out For Vengeance, my modern update of the classic vigilante hero trope, from booksellers come November 1st.

The Black Terror is one of the inspirations for the
Vengeance character.
While I am proud of the work I've done with the novel, I feel that it isn't quite as complete as it should be. I originally planned to make a sequel volume that would conclude the main plot threads started in this first book, but as I have started that development, I've realized that the full story should fit into that one book and any sequel should pick up from that point.

Monday, October 26, 2015

What's up for the week of October 26, 2015

I have been on the grind getting things finished up so I can devote all my time to NaNoWriMo when it kicks in on November 1st. That has left a lot of my entertainment time by the wayside, but I did make sure to get one movie watched in the last week as a better day to do so couldn't be found. So here is what I have been up to in the last 7 days all in handy link form.

See something you like? Have recommendations? Leave them in the comments section!

Kickstart the Week 33: Paper Dreams 2

I am a big supporter of Ben Dunn's work. I regularly followed him on and off Ninja High School and Warrior Nun Areala as a kid and have remained a fan through the years, whether it was his short-lived Marvel Mangaverse run or more recent releases like the Antarctic Press incarnation of Airboy.

Over the years, he's created tons of great art in his familiar manga-influenced style. He collected a lot of this just a couple years ago in an artbook called Paper Dreams which he funded on Kickstarter. Now he is back on Kickstarter to fund its sequel, aptly titled Paper Dreams 2.

At an affordable fifteen bucks for a print edition, this is a great way for fans or just lovers of great art to get a look at Ben's art. I am not a huge anime or manga fan, but Dunn seems like one of the finest artists to combine that style with more western comic sensibilities. He truly is a skilled artist and a guy worth seeing more from on a regular basis.

Head over to Kickstarter and give Paper Dreams 2 your support.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Cosplay Friday: Freefall

Lena Isabel may be the perfect person to bring the Gen 13 member Freefall to life. I personally think it is a shame that the character has not been featured more in the post-New 52 era of DC.

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!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

The mining of our childhoods...

With Jem hitting theaters tomorrow I think it was important to re-post this.

Tens of thousands of words have floated through the nether of the internet over the last few years about the mining of the childhood of all of us kids from the 70s and 80s. Most of it find the idea bad, that remakes and decades past-sequels often just stomp on our images of our childhood.

Case in point, the newest talking point:

The upcoming Jem & the Holograms film clearly isn’t the original series. No Misfits, for one. Nor is synergy anything other than a buzz word they apparently say at the beginning of the show. And it looks like no actual holograms were hurt in the making of the film.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Sample "The Beach House", my contribution to Horror Heroes 2

I am current experimenting with a new social media platform called iAuthor. It has a set up to feature chapter samples, so through the power of embedding, here is a sample from my new story, "The Beach House", as our narrator Lynda first meets the mystery boy our story revolves around.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Horror Heroes are here!

As announced yesterday at the new Metahuman Press, Horror Heroes 2 debuted on Monday. The new book features three new tales of monsters turned heroes. Travis Hiltz and Darrin Albert anchor the book, but I am happy to have added my own contribution in the form of “The Beach House”.

My new story takes sea creature and fish man legends, wraps them together with the Deep Ones, and creates a bit of romance around all of that. It is a wild little story different from just about everything I have ever written and I think it definitely takes a different twist on tales of monsters and heroes in modern fiction.

My Deep One hero as visualized by John Davies.

The new story joins two other great tales by a pair of talented young authors. Travis opens the book with a tale of the Frankenstein monster and a strange batch of new allies as modern day crime fighters. Darrin delivers a novella introducing the world to Littlefoot, a sasquatch hero looking to bridge the gap between her people and humanity.

Horror Heroes 2 is now available at Amazon.

Monday, October 19, 2015

What's Up for the week of October 12, 2015

I have spent most of the last couple weeks working on Horror Heroes 2, which you will read a whole lot more about on this blog tomorrow. But I have made some time to get some reading and viewing in, mostly between bleary eyed editing, final proofing and layout approval. So here's what I have been up to in handy link form.

Kickstart the Week 32: Masks

One thing that has become interesting in the expanding world of pen and paper role playing games is the focus on certain sub-sections of genres. Games oriented around super powered beings haven't done this as much as other genres, but Masks: A New Generation looks to change that. Masks makes players into a group of teenage heroes in a city overflowing with superhumans both good and bad.

The concept limits the scope of the game compared to other systems like ICONS or Mutants & Masterminds, but it also allows a great way to get characters to start out at the same basic experience level. Everyone is new to the supers game, so everyone being balanced makes more sense.

But with a game world designed around one of the best modern RPG engines and a creator with a proven track record, Masks is definitely intriguing. Give it a look on Kickstarter.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Cosplay Friday: Nightwing

Linda Le is routinely one of my favorite cosplayers and she outdoes herself with her version of Nightwing.

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!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Meet Mad Maddie

I love mad scientists. Frankenstein and his creation have always intrigued me, but while the monster has found his way into the Quadrant Universe, I prefer to keep his creator long dead. That leaves plenty of room for his heirs though, as I just couldn't create a great universe of super powered fiction without a mad scientist or three.

Enter “Mad Maddie”. I wanted to create a mad scientist and let her tell her own story, even as we can quickly understand she isn't quite right in the head. Too often mad scientists are seen at a distance and I wanted to enter that madness just a bit as I brought her adventures to life in a Short Shot.

Now the Short Shots series was all about ultra-short stories, usually not quite short enough to be called flash fiction but still under 2500 words. Because of the brevity of the stories, while they are 99 cents on Amazon, readers can instead pay whatever they wish on Smashwords.

The story gives insight into both Maddie's past and her future, and introduces her long time rival, Ebony Edwards, agent of EAGLE. (Fans paying attention might recognize that organization from Pulpsploitation and several other stories as the gaps in the Quadrant Universe start to narrow.) If you ever found yourself rooting even a little for the crazy one, give “Mad Maddie” a chance.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Best Character Ever 12: Scarlet Witch

The modern writing of her has been so-so, but
Frank Cho certainly knows how to draw Wanda!
I don’t remember where exactly I first ran into the Scarlet Witch. Much like Wolverine, she was probably first introduced to me by the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition. Her illustration was by the legendary John Byrne and the pose showed a little more life than many of the character shots in the book. Her name and powers fascinated me. And like many young comic fans, I probably thought she was pretty hot in that skintight red costume.

When I finally started to read more Marvel books, West Coast Avengers immediately drew my attention. Wanda Maximoff and her husband Vision were on the team—much later I would find out they were just recent additions—and I instantly took to the split units under the pen of Steve Englehart and the pencils (for better or worse) of Al Milgrom. But it wouldn’t be long until John Byrne moved in to take over the book.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The Spirit Cop takes charge in today's Walking Shadows

The always beautiful Finch
Linden inspired Alli's last name.
Image credit: Aaron Durand.
A new (albeit shorter) chapter takes off again over at Walking Shadows this time centering around our resident Spirit Cop, Alli Finch. She's still stuck towing around the mysterious Kaihime who is being none too forthcoming about her origins as they seek out the rest of the crew.

One of my goals when I created the initial six members of the Walking Shadows cast was to give them all different powers and origins. In the process, Alli turned out to be the one that doesn't really have super powers at all, just a deep connection to the mystic. She can communicate with ghosts and see into their realm on occasion. It is a power I have only used sparingly in previous chapters of Walking Shadows, but it will come into greater play as Book Three continues. The mysteries surrounding the cast will take a decidedly supernatural twist as the back stories of two more of our cast come out in the weeks ahead.

I conceived of my Spirit Cop long before an all female Ghostbusters reboot was announced, but now she seems almost obvious. But Alli was also my take on a fully realized female lead able to stand on her own far more than the much more vulnerable Marilyn or Rosa. Inspired by a handful of punky females I have met over the years, her last name came from the gorgeous model Finch Linden, just one of several beautiful women that inspired my creation of Alli. I am sure I will cover several more in the weeks ahead, especially as I debut the Casting Call feature on Walking Shadows in the near future.

So go check out Alli at Walking Shadows, or if you haven't been reading, go back to the beginning and get started on the entire saga.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Not celebrating Columbus Day

Let's be honest. We don't agree on a lot of things in this country. But pretty much everyone that isn't a member of the Knights of Columbus can agree that Christoforo Colombo, the man we call Christopher Columbus, wasn't a nice man. He may have discovered the New World and opened it up for trade, but he also was a known murderer, a slaver and a man more than willing to bend Biblical verse to encourage his sick desires. He was a man with a love of money, but who could never quite find it or the magical realm of gold he believed existing on Haiti or the surrounding islands. But we still celebrate him, rhyme about how "in 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue". And we have a whole day devoted to him.

Now honestly, Columbus Day is pretty much an excuse to give state and federal employees a day off and for businesses to throw sales. But that doesn't mean it is a good thing that we celebrate it. But despite a ton of people really not liking Columbus, his day doesn't change and few cities and states have made any effort to change it. (Seattle is a noted exception with the awfully-named Indigenous Peoples Day.) A lot of this is probably the influence of the two million members of the Knights of Columbus worldwide. While I consider the Catholic organization a great giver of time and money to many amazing causes, I also dislike their unending need to protect the good name of a slaver and murderer.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

What's going on here?

You might notice the old site is now redirecting to a blogspot account. Otherwise, things look pretty similar, albeit with a few cosmetic changes. Why is this happening?

Well, it seems my host service got bought out by the same company that turned my last host service into incompetents. Those owners, the Endurance International Group, own about sixty different host providers now and they are all famous for being rather grossly incompetent at good service. It's a bit of a shame, as the host got great reviews when I first signed up with them. Those reviews have since been buried under a massive pile of negative ones.

Of course, I'm still contracted with my current host through January, even though they left me with an infected server with massive downtime issues. Instead of dealing with that any longer, I made the decision to move my sites over here. I do currently continue to have email server access to all my accounts outside the nick {at} account that was associated with this site. For now, the temporary email for communication with me is submissions {at} pulpempire {dot} com. This account is guaranteed to remain active until the changeover to a new server happens.

It's an annoying inconvenience and I greatly apologize to my long time readers for it. But I promise I will push through it and bring a better looking and more stable in the months ahead.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Cool Stuff: The New Brooklyn Universe

I'm a big fan of Dean Haspiel's Red Hook and though I'm not sure if the original story remains available online (I certainly couldn't find it anywhere), I'm incredibly excited that the character will make his return as a new web comic thanks to the LINE Web Toon site.

I'm equally excited that it makes its return as part of a new superhero universe centered around Dean Haspiel's home of Brooklyn. Simply titled New Brooklyn it surmises a world where Brooklyn becomes sentient and gets its heart broken, only to pull itself away from the rest of New York City and form its own country.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The Horror Heroes are back!

I am proud to announce the new edition of Horror Heroes is on its way with a planned release date of October 19. I am equally proud of my story contribution to the new book continues my fascination with H. P. Lovecraft’s Deep Ones as I continue to carve out a place for the undersea race in the pages of the Quadrant Universe.

While the new story does not have any connections with Dracula from Horror Heroes, it does continue my expansion of the darker side of the Quadrant Universe. Read the full press release from Metahuman Press below.

Monday, October 5, 2015

What's Up for the week of October 5, 2015

Writing and editing were the main focus of this week which kept me from reading and viewing nearly as much as I might with my free time. But I did work through a couple new interesting works and finally watched a film I've wanted to get to for months. (And Mad Max: Fury Road did not disappoint.) So here is what I have been reading in prose and comics as well as what I'm watching and listening to, all in handy link form.

Kickstart the Week 31: Belladonna

One of the smartest moves the modern Avatar Press has done was the creation of Boundless Comics. While they have turned their main line into a boutique publisher of controversial titles by name creators, some of the strange creations of their first ten to fifteen years in business have went by the wayside.

One such set of characters were Brian Pulido's creations when he moved from the defunct CrossGen to Avatar in the early 2000s. Along with Lady Death, he brought several other characters, one of which was a super-powered viking named Belladonna.

Now as part of the Boundless imprint, the character is returning in a new series written by Mike Costa and drawn by Ignacio Calero. While co-creator Brian Pulido's name isn't mentioned on the Kickstarter page, the new edition will come with remastered digital reprints of the seven previous Belladonna stories along with the new zero issue that will launch the new run.

I never read the original run personally, but the character was always visually interesting. And artist Ignacio Calero keeps that tradition alive in what looks like a gorgeous new series.

With a simple $10 buy in for all the issues digitally, it's one of the best deals I've seen in current comic book Kickstarters. Check it out before the Kickstarter ends in just over a week.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Cosplay Friday: Harley Quinn

Brazilian cosplayer Giulia Hellsing makes an exquisite Harley Quinn in this cosplay based on her New 52 look. And with all due respect to Margot Robbie, I'm not sure I've seen a hotter version of the DC Comics character than Ms. Hellsing. (Picture via Ms. Hellsing's Deviant Art.)

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!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Cool Stuff: Masters of the Universe

I love the Masters of the Universe film. It is far from a great movie, but I will never quite understand why fans of genre features hate on it so much. It’s a solid adaptation of the cartoon property that grows it up while also introducing some new ideas.

Part of it might be the budget. Director Gary Goddard did tons with the reported $22 million he had with the film, but it still seemed stretched to its limits at certain points. Or perhaps it’s the lack of some regular cartoon characters like Battle-Cat, Orko, Merman or Trapjaw. Whatever it is, I would argue that Masters of the Universe is one of the forgotten classics of the 1980s.