Thursday, March 22, 2018

Quadrant Handbook 1: Lightweight


Art by Brent Sprecher.
Real Name: Kevin Mathis

Occupation: Wanderer

Marital Status: Single

Known Relatives: Mary (mother), David (father), Andrew Case (distant cousin)

Group Affiliation: none

Base of Operations: Nill

History: Kevin Mathis never saw himself as 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.

He quickly donned the costumed identity of Lightweight, driven to be a hero despite his once laid-back ways. Over the course of the next several months, he fought threats such as Titan, Ronin, Carolyn Bates and Hellfire, he started to learn the secrets of his origins. With new allies like the Gray Man and Howl, he continued to fight crime as he sought answers about what the two factions wanted from him. He soon realized the ancient orders of the Eloi and the Morlocks wouldn't let him go without a fight. In a deciding battle with the villainous Black Death, both the hero and villain apparently perished under a destroyed skyscraper.

Instead, Kevin found himself transported to the strange world of Nill. A desert wasteland separated into a strict caste system, it was cut off from the rest of the galaxy due to an ancient interdict. Seen as a savior to the people of the world, he came into battle with the Grand Magister of the Trangalactic Congregation of the Brethren. The nefarious religious leader wanted the planet's savior dead, but a huge battle only left the planet more ravaged in its aftermath.

Kevin continues to live on Nill as he seeks a way back to his home planet and the life he lost.

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 gravimetric 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.

Equipment: Kevin earned the Sword of the Light Bringer upon his arrival on Nill. The weapon serves as a focus to his powers. Made of alloys not understood even in the most technologically advanced corners of the alien world, it is seemingly indestructible.

Read the stories in: 

Lightweight: Senior Year | Lightweight: Black Death | Lightweight: Beyond

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Tomorrow: Introducing the Quadrant Handbook!

I promised a couple weeks ago to introduce a new feature here at Super Powered Fiction. It makes its first appearance tomorrow as I introduce the world to the first entry in the Quadrant Handbook. 

Like many children of the nineteen eighties, I grew up on the likes of Who's Who in the DC Universe and the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe. Before I read many superheroes adventures I read summations of their adventures in these great books designed by talented folks like Peter Sanderson, Bob Greenberger and Mark Gruenwald. Over the years I learned a ton of information about characters well-known and obscure. 

I quickly gained interest in characters like Doctor Fate and The Demon or thought far more obscure books like Amethyst and Atari Force are far more important than they were.

While I preferred the comprehensiveness of DC's entry in the style, I really loved OHOTMU's layout inside far better. Characters were given as many pages as needed even if obscure players were left by the wayside.

Starting tomorrow, the Quadrant Handbook will introduce the world to the heroes of the Quadrant Universe in the same way these great books did years ago. The weekly feature will come out every Thursday and feature a new profile of each character as it continues. It will cover the spectrum of the characters I've created while also maybe even introducing a few in the process...

Stay tuned tomorrow for the first installment of our new feature! 

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

The Shape of... Horror?

The Shape of Water won four Oscars and a slew of other awards over the last few months. It deserved them; it's easily one of the best films of 2017. But it's far from the first piece of fiction to tell of the love between woman and fish-man.

Separated at birth? Left: The creature from Guillermo Del Toro's The Shape of Water.
Right: John Davie's illustration of the One from the Deep for Horror Heroes 2.
Two years before it even previewed, I released my own take on the love of a man from the depths of the ocean and a modern woman in a short story simply titled "The Beach House." As part of the anthology Horror Heroes 2, it told the story of a young woman named Lynda. Out on her own for the first time after a pampered childhood, she quickly finds herself in trouble when she moves into a beach house with several other students seeking freedom. But the strange boy that saves her one night on the sand quickly sends her life in a direction she could never imagine...

Perhaps it's nothing Oscar worthy, but "The Beach House" is a compelling entry in my writing history. It's well worth a check for anyone that wants to see more creatures from beneath the sea, or just want to see me write something a bit more romantic.

Horror Heroes 2 is an anthology of monsters turned heroes. It also features "Frankenstein & The Rejects" by Travis Hiltz and Darrin Albert's "Steamed,"  which features Bigfoot. It is now available in print and Kindle editions.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Great Art: Black Panther by Larry Stroman

My wife, children and I all greatly enjoyed Marvel's Black Panther greatly, as the MCU continues a streak of films that have seriously upped their game a decade into their shared universe. With that in mind, I chose this great piece of Black Panther art by a classic favorite of yours truly, the always unique Larry Stroman.

As always, you can check out a lot more Great Art over on the Tumblr. And after you're done admiring some great art here, don’t forget to check out some of the other great stuff on the site this week!

A new home for What's Up!

I have long used Friday mornings as a drop point for my What's Up column where I feature some of the novels, comics, movies, music or games I'm enjoying. I have officially ended that column as a regular blog post.

Now, it can be found on the main homepage as part of the continued blog presence. To the right of the screen on computers and at the bottom of the main page on tablets and phones, you can find all the links in a new What's Up widget just below the newsletter sign up form (which you should use if you haven't already!)

I have a new replacement weekly column in the works for the near future however, so stay tuned for news about that one!

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

The adventures of Epsilon... now on sale!

Epsilon is one of my oldest projects, the story of a super-team with gross deformities as they rebuild from their greatest tragedy. It was a unique tale that introduced an entire school of heroes. Its cast is one of the most diverse and entertaining I've ever created.

The regal Athena is trying to rebuild the team and the school.

The feral Bagheera seeks answers to his own past.

The ferrous Flint remains out of a sense of loyalty to a lost love as much as his own students.

Acid-skinned Beauty must deal with the return of power that she sees as a curse.

The winged Air Raid is trapped between his insecurities and desires.

Thief and Devil Boy are old friends whose relationship just became more complicated.

Rubicon wants nothing more but to overcome his long-standing rivals, but with his old foe dead and his own body restored to human form, he must face a future without the cause he raised for decades.

The complicated lives of our heroes and villains all come to an explosive head as a threat from the past rises and betrayal from inside might destroy the new school before it even has a chance to rebuild!

If you're interested in taking the plunge into the worldwide adventures of this unique super-team, it is now 25% off over at Smashwords during Read an Ebook Week!

Go grab a copy and let me know what you think! The sale ends March 10th.

Monday, March 5, 2018

In defense of Rob Liefeld

Let's talk about a truly controversial subject, the man that gave us these guys.

Rob Liefeld gets tons of flack from comic fans and it's not without reason. He has a history of criminal lateness, a seeming dislike for editors and a bit of a cantankerous streak that has ended a few too many projects. His creations have become the focal point of Fox's blockbuster Deadpool and its upcoming sequel. He's worked with some of the best writers in the business from Alan Moore and Robert Kirkman to Joe Casey and Jeph Loeb. And he does it all with the energy of an ADHD patient off his Ritalin.

No, he's not the best artist on the market today. He's anything but the fastest. Much of his work is built around high-intensity low plot storytelling. But he does something few other creators can offer. He brings a level of gonzo energy to his works that rival some of the all-time greats in comics. His creative forces have brought dozens of characters to life and often those characters are years ahead of their time. He's created legions of fans in the process as well, as can be viewed from the creative forces he combined for his arrival of the Extreme line in the last few years. Names like Warren Ellis, Sophie Campbell, Brandon Graham, Tim Seeley, Erik Larsen, Chad Bowers and Michel Fiffe have all contributed to various past and upcoming projects.

The creative fire Rob brings reminds this writer of the likes of Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, Jim Starlin or writer Steve Gerber. It's a sort of manic need to create, to share an undeniable vision of what comics should be. I can point out twenty carefully crafted comic series from spectacular talents on the market today, but few can match the love and power that goes into works by those greats or Liefeld. His raw creative energy might never be as carefully crafted as some, but he's not afraid to let a few warts show to bring his vision to life.

Robert Kirkman was a decided advocate of Rob's works, to the point that he helped bring Rob back to comics in a major way with The Infinite. Like so much of Rob's works it was never finished, but it shows exactly the level of tour de force energy I'm talking about.

Lately, Rob has been doing a lot fewer comics than he once did. While he has written and drawn a few back-ups for Chad Bowers & Jim Towe's excellent Youngblood revival and will be the inspiration for Michel Fiffe's upcoming Bloodstrike: Brutalists, he's drawn very little since the release of Deadpool: Bad Blood last year.

He remains an incredibly divisive figure, yet opinions of him online seem to slowly be turning to the positive. It's unlikely he'll ever be universally respected, but I remember a day and age in the 1980s when Jack Kirby was considered a hack by a lot of people. I think it's time to re-evaluate and look back at everything Rob Liefeld has given the world of comics. Let's celebrate it, warts and all.

He deserves it.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Cosplay Friday: Ramona Flowers

One of these days I will have to discuss the importance of Scott Pilgrim on my creative mind during the mid-aughts. I have a handful of Influential columns in various stages at that is certainly one of them. Ramona is easily the most visually appealing of the characters in my mind, and cosplayer Anastasia Komori brings her to wonderful life here.

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 on Super Powered Fiction this week!

What's up for March 2, 2018

What's Up is a simple post where I give you links to the books, comics, movies, games and/or music I have been enjoying as of late. Feel free to check them out if you would like to enjoy them as well or give your opinions of these works in the comments below (though do try to keep it spoiler free.)

I Am Salamander | Deathstroke: Twilight | James Bond: Eidolon |
Batman: Brave & The Bold Season 3 | Lindsey Stirling: Brave Enough