Thursday, December 31, 2015

Looking back on 2015

To say it has been a bumpy 2015 for myself and Super Powered Fiction is probably under-stating the issue. With two massive server failures from two different providers, I lost the original site that ran for years (including all its archives) and was forced to relaunch in January, only to have to move the contents of the site a few weeks back to a blogspot server after my second provider fell in with the same conglomerate of crappy service as the first one. With our new Blogspot home finding us more readers than ever before, the plan is to stick around here for awhile, but don't worry as SuperPoweredFiction.com will continue to point this way for years to come.

Hospital selfie.
Outside of server troubles, I have had my own issues with blocks and fumbles. My original plan for 2015 was to produce several books under the umbrella of Times Past but most of those plans fell by the wayside as I started to fight health issue after health issue. I started the year with a nearly debilitating case of the flu, followed by perhaps the worst bout of depression I ever faced and then a neck surgery that literally came out of nowhere at the beginning of July. That left me off of work for two months, but with limited time up and around I also had limited time writing until a few weeks after the surgery. Once I was up though, I was re-energized in my writing, producing a handful of new short stories and finally kicking off the third volume of Lightweight, which I would bring to Kickstarter a few weeks later.

But I still managed to get a few things out in the calendar year. Most of them were short stories, both in my own anthologies and a few compiled and published by other folks.

What's Up for the final week of 2015

It's been a crazy couple of weeks to end the year and with it has come a lot of time traveling and not so much time writing. This has given me plenty of time to read however and so that makes a year end edition of What's Up almost essential. On this final day of 2015, let's close out the year with a look at what I've been reading and watching.


Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Best Character Ever 16: Mace Windu


Why do I love Mace Windu? Isn’t it obvious? He’s clearly the baddest mofo in the galaxy.

The Star Wars prequels are far from perfect movies. Jar Jar’s annoying, Anakin is grating rather than sympathetic and the less said about the stupidity of Count Dooku, the better. But when it gets things right, it gets them very right. Case in point: casting Samuel L. Jackson to play the coolest Jedi Master ever.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Big Top Tales is coming!

With Legends of New Pulp Fiction out to end the year, it looks like I will have another short story make its release just after the first of the year. My first contribution to a Flinch Books anthology will appear as part of Big Top Tales, an anthology put together by Jim Beard and Jim Bruening focused on adventures around a circus in the 1950s.

Cover by Joe Beranato.
I wrote the story of the Trapeze Artist, a character I did a ton of research on in early 2014. And while I wouldn't count myself as any kind of expert on the artform, I think I created quite the little murder mystery for the flying star of the show, Lulabelle Rose Jensen, all wrapped around a stop in St. Louis.

I will talk more about my contribution after the first of the year, but the book is already looking excellent. With five other stories by the talented Frank Schildiner, John McColley, Ralph L Angelo Jr, Sam Gafford and Rocko Jerome, I feel like I'm in bright company for what should be a unique addition to my catalog of work.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Legends of New Pulp Fiction is here!

I think it seems apt that I started 2015 with my first DB Cooper story in the benefit anthology The Good Fight 2: Villains with the Pen & Cape Society and that I am ending 2015 with my second DB Cooper story in another benefit anthology, Legends of New Pulp Fiction from Airship 27.

Tommy Hancock is a lover of pulp fiction and a purveyor of great stories through his Pro Se Press. But health issues derailed much of his life in 2015 so friend and fellow publisher Ron Fortier started to assemble authors of pulpish fiction to contribute to a benefit anthology. What he got is certainly the biggest book I've ever been included in. With over 700 pages and 62 stories, this thing is a tome. And every dime of the profits for it will go to the medical expenses for Tommy.


Wrapped in a cover by the immensely talented Douglas Klauba, Legends of New Pulp Fiction contains my story "Miami Heist." The tale takes Coop out of the Keys as he is sent on a simple transport run that goes very wrong. Instead he finds himself in shoot-outs, high speed chases and battling threats he can't talk his way out of even with his psychic nudge.

Eagle eyed readers will also see several names familiar to Metahuman Press anthologies, such as Teel James Glenn, Terry Alexander, Jim Beard and Lisa M. Collins mixed in with talents like Richard Byers, Van Allen Plexico and Win Scott Eckert. Plus illustrations from dozens of great artists like Gary Kato, Ben Dunn, Mal Earl and Silvestre Szilagyi.

Check out the full press release from Airship 27 here. The book is currently available from Amazon in print and as a PDF direct from Airship 27. Make it a late holiday gift for yourself and help a good cause, won't you?

Friday, December 25, 2015

Cosplay Friday: Harley Quinn

It is Christmas Day and it only seemed right to ring it in with a Christmas cosplay. So here is Harley Quinn having some holiday cheer care of cosplayer Adami Langley.

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 more holiday cheer from SuperPoweredFiction.com!



Thursday, December 24, 2015

Ty Templeton's Christmas on Apokolips

One of my all time favorite Christmas comic tales comes from the second DC Universe Holiday Bash from way back in 1997. It is a very simple two page affair, but it is honestly just an amusing juxtaposition of Santa in the DC Universe.

Thankfully, it has been heavily re-posted online, even by artist/writer Ty Templeton himself. So as Santa readies for his long ride tonight, read the whole thing below.


Don't you miss the days when Darkseid could be used for comedic purposes and no one was bothered by it? I know I do.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Free holiday story: Claus vs. Kong

One of the things I want to start experimenting more with in the New Year is the expansion of some of my stories to Wattpad as ways to entice new readers into picking up new work from yours truly. The first step of that happens today, as I use the story reading application to present a story I wrote over ten years ago, a silly little bit about King Kong attacking the North Pole I call Claus vs. Kong. I even took some time to combine two classic public domain movie posters to bring the story to life!


I encourage everyone to head over to Wattpad and check the story out, free of charge, for a bit of holiday cheer in the final run up to Christmas! Or if you prefer, use the embedded reader below, although I find the experience on the site a bit easier.




Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Great Art: A Very Hulk Christmas by Ed McGuinness

This rather amusing portrayal of Hulk and Red Hulk on Christmas Day is years old, but I still love Ed McGuinness' attention to detail and great presentation. Check out more from his DeviantArt and pick up his and Joe Kelly's return to Deadpool with Spider-Man/Deadpool #1, in comic shops nationwide on January 6th.


Monday, December 21, 2015

Christmas, Claus and heroism

A few years back I conceived a simple one page concept called Doc Claus. It was a simple concept: take Santa Claus and wrap him into a classic pulp hero role. I even gave him his own group of sidekicks, The Holiday Patrol. I invited a wide variety of new pulp authors to contribute and Metahuman Press proudly released Doc Claus in December 2012.


Terry Alexander, Travis Hiltz, Greg Daniel, Robbie Lizhini and M.H. Norris outdid themselves with five stories of Doc's adventures. Wrapped in a cover by Teel James Glenn with a logo by yours truly, it remains available to this day and in my opinion, is criminally underpurchased by fans of great modern pulp fiction. So go get a copy already!

Friday, December 18, 2015

Cosplay Friday: Kidagakash

I have long held that Atlantis: The Lost Empire is under-rated by a lot of Disney fans. While it isn't the best animated movie from the studio ever, it has tons going for it with a great cast and an awesome premise. Perhaps it didn't provide all the thrills it could have, but it did create an amazing princess that somehow isn't an official Disney Princess. Kida may be one of the best designed Disney characters ever and cosplays such as this one by Aleu Moana.

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 from SuperPoweredFiction.com!


Thursday, December 17, 2015

Great Art: Yukio by Mike Maihack

No big post for today, but I had to share this amazing piece by the always great Mike Maihack (Cleopatra in Space) of the movie version of Yukio. For more on the character check out this week's Best Character Ever.



Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Reminder: enter the PCS Winter Giveaway!

I posted about the Pen & Cape Society Winter Giveaway just last week, but as the month hits its midway point, I just wanted to remind everyone to go over to the Pen & Cape Society site and make their entries!

The top prize is a ton of great books, ebooks and an Amazon gift card! Plus a bunch of other great prizes with ebooks, t-shirts and more. Get in on it before it's too late!

Get your entry in today!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Best Character Ever 15: Yukio

I grew up reading Uncanny X-Men. From about 10 onwards, I absolutely adored the monthly adventures of Storm, Wolverine, Havok, Dazzler, Longshot, Rogue, Colossus  and Psylocke. But even as I explored the Australian adventures of what could only be the coolest heroes ever, I also started to read tons of back issues acquired by my brother. Along with that, I also regularly read another seriesX-Men Classic. Through those books and numerous others, I started to learn the history of the characters and their allies
One of those characters was Yukio.
Yukio isn’t a character in comics that really became cool because of her past, or her awesome array of powers (she doesn’t have any). She is a character all about mystique—and I don’t mean the blue lady.
From her first appearance in Chris Claremont and Frank Miller’s Wolverine #1, Yukio comes off as the coolest girl in the world. She’s a fun loving ninja and free spirit that takes on dangerous jobs for the thrill far more than she does for any honor or glory. She forms an intimate bond with Wolverine almost instantly (though whether it was sexual or not is debatable).
In the issues of Uncanny X-Men that followed she also formed an instant friendship with Storm (a relationship of which fans still debate the sexual nature) that helped frame the now-powerless Ororo in a whole new light (and mohawk).
Since those two early, great appearances, Yukio’s role has often been a bit lackluster. An appearance in Wolverine: The Anime makes her very cool, but also very doomed. But outside that appearance, her comic roles often leave her injured. Her current status upon her last appearance was as a paraplegic, though in the world of comics that could be forgotten easily enough.
Rila Fukushima as Yukio in The Wolverine.
And of course, Rila Fukushima brings the character to life in gorgeous detail in the highly under-rated The Wolverine. Though the character went through several changes for the movie (the least of which was her transformation into a mutant), she worked beautifully as a foil and ally for Wolverine as he works his way through Japan. Unfortunately for all involved, the timeline of the film appears to have been erased entirely, making it pretty much an after-though in Bryan Singer's overly complicated new X-Men franchise. But Rila will always be Yukio to me. 

Monday, December 14, 2015

Kickstart the Week 38: The Specialists

World War II and superheroes go together like peanut butter and jelly. It's just a fact.


Shawn Gustafson and Al Fukalek clearly know that as they produce the weekly webcomic The Specialists. But like so many great web comics, it suffers from the need to make a profit. But like so many great webcomics, it also has the power of Patreon behind it now.

The Specialists tells the tale of the United States first gathered superteam, designed to stand against the Nazis in World War II. But it also delves into the racial and gender politics of the time period, with Jewish, black and female members of the team in prominent roles in the series.

Learn more about the great series at their Patreon site, or start reading the comic from the beginning and see why it deserves your support.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Cosplay Friday: Merida

Merida is one of my favorite Disney princesses, perhaps because the folks at Pixar put so much effort into crafting a story without the easy answers of most Disney tales. Or maybe it's just because I knew someone would take the great idea of making an adult Merida cosplay, complete with bear! Kudos to Tina Rybakova and photographer Dasha Kond for this one.

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 from SuperPoweredFiction.com!


Thursday, December 10, 2015

Gallur Gallery Challenge 2: Master of the Seas

It has been far too long since I presented the first Gallery Challenge back in September. But time does nothing but make the heart grow fonder. So, this holiday I proudly present the second edition of the event.

The basic premise is simple: I present a piece of art by a master of fantasy or science fiction art and then I encourage my readers to share a story premise based on that art. In two weeks, I will share the responses before sharing my own concept.

So far that artist has been the amazing Rafael Gallur, a Mexican artist known for his intense visuals and amazing work on lucha libre adventure novel covers. Last time around, I featured a cover featuring El Hijo Del Santo, the Son of the Saint. This time around, I feature the wrestler Atlantis, a piece called "Master of the Seas".

Image copyright Rafael Gallur.
What's happening here with our hero, the squid and the sexy lady? That is up to you, the readers and fans to decide. Leave your one paragraph synopsis as a comment below or on one of the social media links to this page!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Win the Lightweight books plus a whole lot more in the PCS Winter Giveaway!

I am a proud member of the Pen & Cape Society, the world's first (and maybe only) association of super powered fiction writers. The fine and astute members of the group have done wonderful things already to promote the ever burgeoning super powered fiction market, such as two great anthologies, The Good Fight (did I mention it's free?) and The Good Fight 2: Villains (did I mention it is for a great cause?)

Now the group has upped the ante with our next big event, the first ever Pen & Cape Society Winter Giveaway.

Click here to head to one amazing giveaway!
Over fifteen books, in both ebook and print format, t-shirts, an Amazon gift card and a bunch of other great prizes are all on the line as part of the giveaway. And I am definitely part of the giveaway with both volumes of Lightweight currently available, Lightweight: Senior Year and Lightweight: Black Death both free to the lucky winner!

So head over to Pen & Cape Society's official giveaway page for all the details on entering for your chance to win a ton of great sway.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Kickstart the Week 37: The Revenger

Charles Forsman isn't exactly your normal creator. He is one of those guys that has stayed independent in his years as a writer/artist doing whatever he wants to the way he wants to do it. Because of this, he never has had a huge name in comic books, but he's started to get a lot more notoriety of late due to The Revenger, his self-published and digital comic.


The book is a fascinating book basically designed to look like the dystopian future of numerous 80s movies and TV series. The lead is a woman named The Revenger who travels across the wasteland to fight evil with her sword, gun and relenting need to right wrongs. Now several issues in, it is set to be collected by Bergen Street Press, the same small house that is making the amazing Copra collections.

He also has a Patreon set up to allow his fans to directly support his work and get his books directly from him. It works as an elegant way to support a creator while also getting to read his new work, the perfect use for Patreon as a whole.

Revenger issue one.
If you have any questions about the project, you can learn more about Forsman and his work at RevengerKills.com. Or head over to the Patreon for more information on how you can support it.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Cosplay Friday: Snow White

Something about Steampunk concepts melded with Disney Princesses just appeals completely to me. I'm pretty sure that is fairly irrational, but I freely admit it. This cosplay by Amie Lynn and photographed by Alvin Johnson may be the absolute coolest Snow White ever has or ever will look.

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 from SuperPoweredFiction.com!


Thursday, December 3, 2015

Best Character Ever 14: Stardust the Super Wizard

Most of my focus on Best Character Ever so far has been on childhood favorites. This time I picked a character I only discovered in recent years, albeit one that existed nearly forty years before I was born.

He throws that head a bit later.
Stardust was known as The Super-Wizard, although creator Fletcher Hanks never really bothered to stop and explain why. Of course, Hanks rarely stopped to explain much of anything for his character. Instead Stardust is a crazed tale of a being from outer space come to Earth to unleash his own insane brand of justice to criminals. He often did so in ways that made the Spectre seem tame in comparison.

He really puts the squeeze on
criminals!
Stardust isn’t a character build around great character development or even competent storytelling. He’s a character built around pure, unadulterated insanity from an era where comics had little or no rules.

His adventures were collected in recent years by two Fantagraphics anthologies I Shall Destroy All The Civilized Planets!and You Shall Die By Your Own Evil Creation!, both of which come highly recommended for their entertainment value. Together they pretty much collect every Stardust story, alongside some of the other oddball creations Fletcher Hanks brought to comicdom. 

In the aftermath of their release, Stardust’s profile has certainly risen, just out of the character's sheer craziness. He may be the most well known independent Golden Age character in the modern era outside Black Terror and Daredevil.

Whatever the case, he’s a great character, one that will make an appearance in a future volume of Living Legends, late in the upcoming volume two.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Samurai Jack is coming back!

One thing I hope most people can agree upon is that Samurai Jack was one of the finest pieces of animation to come out of the Cartoon Cartoons era of Cartoon Network. Well, that greatness looks to continue in 2016 as the show will return as part of the Toonami block of Adult Swim. What this means for the content of the new season remains to be seen.


Of course the big questions for long term fans is whether Phil LaMarr will be back to voice the lead as well as who will replace the late Mako as the mighty Aku.

Expect those answers sometime next year.

(Personally I'm just giddy to see Aku back in action. He was long one of my favorite villains in animation. Hopefully we will get a worthy follow up to Mako's voice in the new show.)



Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Writing Update: NaNo-Complete!


I wrapped up my 50000 words for NaNoWriMo over the weekend. I actually worked on two novels over the period with Lightweight: Beyond being the main focus. But the expansion of Out For Vengeance also came into play as I start to put building blocks of the shared Quadrant Universe together in both stories. Expect a few tidbits in Vengeance’s tale that will come to play in future Lightweight stories.

Over the next couple weeks I will finish up the last chapter of Lightweight: Beyond and get the complete work off to be edited. Then I will throw myself into finishing the Vengeance expansion. But I have a pair of short stories that also need to get done this month, one to complete an anthology and one as a tie-in to T. Glenn Bane's upcoming Wild West Horse Opera RPG.

Suffice it to say, I will continue to have a busy writing schedule in December.

Thankfully all this writing won't come without a couple releases in the near future. Airship 27 has Legends of New Pulp near completion, which will feature my second tale in the "Second Life of DB Cooper". Then my 50s era circus tale will finally see the light of day as part of Flinch Books' Big Top Tales anthology. I'm definitely looking forward to seeing how the finished book comes together.

Links to those will be forthcoming once they are released. In the mean time, stay tuned for some great holiday features and super-discussion as December rolls on.