Wednesday, May 22, 2019

New Heroics 1: a look at new super powered fiction!

I've been quietly whiling away with my own works for years now, but with my focus on the Quadrant Universe, I've lost a lot of the places where I crossover with the other creators out there with superheroes in their fiction. To remedy that, I introduce New Heroics, a recurring column where I look at books coming in the wide world of stories out there. These are not meant as an endorsement of any writer's work, but a way to share new stuff from compatriots in the writing trenches.

Knightwatch: Invictus X is the first book in veteran scribe Mark Ellis's new superhero fiction series. With characters culled from the public domain, he uses the DC generational concept to form his own takes on several characters with familiar names. This one is actually on my Kindle right now and I can vouch that the adventures of Scarab, Magno, Lynx, Samson and Kismet get better with each page.

Friend of the site and all around swell guy Jeff Deischer is a writing machine. His latest novel is New World Order: Hero U.N.I.O.N. which focuses on a United Nations program to develop superhuman agents. With fifty years of history behind it, this looks like an interesting take on the classic THUNDER Agents concept, one which always needs more love.

I've known David Kachel for years, as the man helped me make the classic Metahuman Press site in the mid-aughts. He's since honed his craft and has released a collected edition of his Legacy: The Tale of the American Eagle. I can vouch for the quality of this one, so be sure to get out there and check it out.

Derek Borne is a name I've not yet read but he's been quickly releasing new works in his Ultimate Agent series over the last couple years. He's released a couple of shorts over the last few months featuring the Agent on the hunt for cryptids. His most recent is The Mothman Files, where if you haven't guessed, the Agent goes up against the legendary mothman.

Borne has been at it a couple years, but Yuri Jean-Baptiste just debuted his first book in January. He's got the right style down for modern publishing though, as five months later he's already got a prequel and a second book out in his Metamorphs series. The latest is the prequel, Legion's Gambit. The pull quote is a bit light on details but looks like it might set up the story of superhero students in the first volume of the series. It is free however, so anyone interested in checking out Yuri's work have no excuse not to do so.

The third book in the Chronicles of Fid series and David Reiss continues his story of the supervillain Doctor Fid in Starfall. Villains going to the light has been used as a story trope for years, but it remains a highly untapped concept for a long term superhero story. It should be interesting to see how Reiss plays it out in his series.

Michael C. Bailey is a name I've seen on the superhero fiction pages for years on Facebook. His Action Figures series has become a strong seller over the years. The eight book in the series shares a title with a fantastic Doom Patrol collection: Crawling From the Wreckage. The story picks up with our lead Carrie Hauser returning from eight months in space to find her life... a wreck. She's got to rebuild her purpose from the ground up. But two opposing teams of super-villains will make it a lot less easy in what sounds like an action packed continuance of this series!

That wraps up the first installment of New Heroics! If you're a superhero fiction writer that wants your book featured here drop me a line at nick{at}superpoweredfiction{dot}com with your new work and it just might appear in our next column!

Monday, May 20, 2019

Souls, slayers and tap dances? (Kickstart the Week 74)

It's been a bit too long since I perused the halls of Kickstarter to find some of the best super powered projects to share with you here on the blog. But this time around, I've got three books that continue series while also allowing new readers to hop on with ease.

Big Dog Ink was an indie that pumped out some superb comics over a couple year period. Finances eventually derailed it though and it seemed like its titles might be gone. But creator and writer Tom Hutchison has been bringing the material back slowly through Kickstarter over the last couple years. He's already funded a return of Critter, and now he's bringing out a new storyline that looks to move his Penny For Your Soul series forward.

I never read as much Penny as I did Critter, but it's a very solid supernatural thriller set against the backdrop of Las Vegas. This volume looks to move the series on in some major ways, but it also has levels designed for easy entry for those that haven't read the previous three volumes of this run or the first five issues of this one!

Harriet Tubman: Demon Slayer was a fun, unique project by an enthusiastic creator that now looks to bring his first arc to a conclusion. With some great artists onboard, David Crownson has made a compelling series here that looks great. It doesn't shy away from the hard facts of the Underground Railroad while also bringing in a decidedly different element with the demons Harriet faces. If history and monsters are in your wheelhouse, give this one a chance.

Ted Sikora created one of the most fascinating modern comics in my humble opinion with Apama the Undiscovered Animal. I've been a proud supporter of that title since it was an early Comixology indie title, through two successful Kickstarters and now as a bimonthly series. But his Hero Tomorrow line has a second title, Tap Dance Killer. It stars the same universe's top villain, a clown princess of crime, if you will. Sikora works with artist Nikolaus Harrison on this series. He's a stellar though relatively unknown artist. The collection of the first five issues of the series is now on tap and the Kickstarter is out to fund the publication of the book.

Go give those Kickstarters a look and I hope you'll give them some love as well! And if you have a project that you think should be featured in Kickstart the Week, be sure to shoot me an email or leave a comment below!

Friday, May 17, 2019

Cosplay Friday: Emma Frost

I wasn't much a fan of AVX at Marvel, but the one great thing to come out of it was the Phoenix Force imbued Emma Frost and her costume. It was simply an amazing character design.

The immensely talented costume designer RuffleButt made her own suit here and it's nothing short of amazing work. Go over to her DeviantArt and make sure to check out all her amazing work there.

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 yours truly this week!

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Influential: Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends

Patreon subscribers have now read the first two-thirds of Lightweight's return to Earth. Let's go back and look at a Saturday morning cartoon that influenced my style of superheroics. 

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.

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.

A particular favorite episode with an awesome group of heroes.
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.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Coming Continuing Comics 4: the League gets Hammered!

I like to peruse upcoming comic solicits in order to find new and interesting titles in the wings. This month's solicits are for comics coming in July and can be ordered by all reputable comic shops.

Jeff Lemire has been producing Black Hammer for a few years now and the series deserves all the acclaim it receives. But Lemire has also become an industry veteran at Valiant, Marvel and DC. Yet it still seems impressive that DC would let him run a crossover with their top tier heroes. Yet Black Hammer / Justice League is a reality. The story involves a stranger on Black Hammer farm and the coming of Starro to both realities, but details beyond that are vague.

Dark Horse is also smartly releasing the World of Black Hammer Encyclopedia the same month for anyone that is new to the characters before the crossover hits.

 I grew up on comics in the late 80s and 90s, so when I get to see new work appear from legendary creators of that era, I'm always intrigued. But when it is two of my absolute favorite of such creators doing so on one of my favorite teams, it becomes a must by. Now I freely admit I would like to see more of the Invaders on the cover to Captain America and the Invaders: The Bahamas Triangle, but when the creative team for the period piece is Roy Thomas and Jerry Ordway, I'm sold. Thomas created the 40s super-team decades ago, just as he and Ordway did similar work at DC on the All-Star Squadron. Both books are favorites, so I'm excited to see the team come back to work on an Invaders title where all Invaders titles should be: World War II. Sadly it's only a one-shot, but I hope Marvel continues with some of these anniversary stories going ahead.

Believe it or not this cover is the most tame of
the five variants for Vampirella 1.
Vampirella has some great runs as a comic character. Her early appearances are gorgeously rendered by a ton of amazing Filipino artists. Tom Sniegoski created a legendary run with the character in his Vengeance of Vampirella series, but it ended before it felt like he was ready. The same can be said about Grant Morrison and Mark Millar's run a few years later. Nancy A. Collins also did some great things with the character at her new home of Dynamite. But as she debuts with yet another new series, I haven't been this excited about this character in years. That's because of the writing talents of Christopher J. Priest aboard. His plug is to take a more real world take on the character as she has to live in a world that fetishizes her. It promises to have some meta commentary on media today, I suspect, but Priest has proven an able hand with such material many times over. I know nothing of artist Ergün Gündüz, but his sample pages are impressive.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Great Art: Ultraverse by Jerome K. Moore

I don't often share my love for several of the comic book universes that were created in the 1990s that sadly didn't manage to survive into the new millennium. Milestone. Defiant. Lightning. All offered some unique ideas to the comic medium. But none resonated with me quite as strongly as the Ultraverse.

With a bit of money behind it and a team of writers impressive by any standards, Malibu pulled out a lot of stops to make their universe shine. They used a lot of big name creators to design their characters, but one of the talents that often seems most linked with their style is the incredibly talented Jerome K. Moore. Probably known these days mostly for his photorealistic Star Trek comic covers. He did a ton of design and advertising work for the Ultraverse and recently he shared this promotional piece he drew featuring the second wave of characters for the universe. Barry Windsor Smith's Rune is probably the best remembered, but Wrath and Warstrike would both have several issues of their own series over the next couple years. I'm not sure if Masquerade ever appeared in Ultraverse Premiere as promised here though. I remember seeing the character once or twice, but only in promotions like this or the trading cards. If anyone remembers her from anywhere else in Ultraverse history, please let me know.

Jerome K. Moore continues to work, though mostly in character design work for animation and such. Check out his DeviantArt for more of his great art!

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 from me this week!

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

The past brings a new Second Life! The Good Fight 5: The Golden Age is here!

The Good Fight 5: The Golden Age came out last week. The book features stories with a pulp twist and set in the time period between the 1930s and 1950s. I was happy to be back for this one, though the nature of the book meant much like the third volume of the series, it didn't exactly work for a new story of The Second Life of D.B. Cooper, a character I always like to go back to in these volumes.

This time around though, it seemed like a great time to give a prequel to that series. Thus was born my story "The Second Life of Grigori Yefimovich Rasputin."

I thought about putting Mignola's Rasputin here,
but he looks nothing like the real thing. So here's
Riley Rossmo's version from an equally oddball
take on the character. 
Grigori popped up in the first of Coop's story back in The Good Fight 2: Villains. His connection to Coop has never really been made clear, but the legendary Mad Monk now gets to live his own second life in a story set in the late 30s.

Though he's probably best known these days as a character in Hellboy, Rasputin's place in Russian history is the stuff of legend. The stories of his powers are all over the place and the insanity surrounding his death makes it clear he's just the kind of guy to have another life after the Bolshevik Revolution. Now he's in America, on the trail of a mysterious threat in a small Washington town.

I've always loved the legend of Rasputin. Much like D.B. Cooper, his legend is larger than reality and that makes him a perfect figure for super powered fiction. Yet more often than not, he's played usually as a villain or at best, an enigmatic meddler. Yet history showed him to have some history in Russian democracy, which certainly seems a noble cause to any American. I built my take on Rasputin with that in mind. After twenty years traveling the world, he's a very different individual, a man with a noble heart but a willingness to do bad things for the good of all.

The story serves as a prequel to the three existing Coop stories, but it will also have ties to an upcoming project as well. But I'll talk more about that in a future column.

The story's appearance in this volume will now serve as something of a bittersweet point in my career. The volume features the first Pen & Cape Society story by James Hudnall, a true inspiration to me as a writer. Sadly, it will also be his last as he passed away last month at the far too young age of 61. I knew James only through a few brief encounters online, but his work on ESPers directly inspired the idea of a psychic D.B. Cooper. I will talk about the meaning of his work more in a future column, but his death leaves me heartbroken for what could have been.

You'll be missed, Hud.

Monday, May 6, 2019

May Patreon Preview! Will Cinder burn down ancient Egypt? Doctor Cosmic makes his debut!

May is shaping up to be a month where things get a bit different over at Patreon!

First up, the time traveling adventures of the Quadrant brothers kicks off with a tale of Cinder as he finds himself stuck in ancient Egypt, with the threat of unending war ahead of him! Gods and men walk together as he becomes embroiled in an important point in Quadrant Universe history!

Then the first installment of Doctor Cosmic Presents brings the first of many journeys into  new corners of the Quadrant Universe. But our first tale actually takes us into the near future and the first ever meeting between Lightweight and the Morgan brothers! It's Lightweight and Quadrant together in a crossover event, all brought to us by one of the most enigmatic figures in the galaxy! This is a can't miss piece of Quadrant Universe history.

The excitement keeps rolling in the months ahead at the Patreon. Remember that all previous chapters remain available to Patreon subscribers for at least one year, so you will never have to worry about hopping into a story midstream!

Head over to Patreon and help keep new stories flowing for many months to come! 

Friday, May 3, 2019

Gallur-y: KISS!

Over the last few years, Mexican artist Rafael Gallur has become a go to painter for action. A regular painter of amazing lucha libre magazine covers, he channels the energy of Frazetta into modern cover art, something very lacking on this side of the border. And since his art doesn't quite fit into the usual comic-oriented Great Art feature, I thought it was time to give him his own feature here at Super Powered Fiction. Few painters can match the power he brings.

The comic appearances of KISS have long been an inspiration in my writing as the mix of rock band and superheroes just hits the right notes for me. And while recent KISS comics have left me disappointed, this cover Gallur did for a study of KISS comics published in Mexico deserves a wider look from fans of both the band and painted superhero art in general!

Be sure to head over to Gallur's DeviantArt to check out more work by him and order some of his amazing work as prints. After you're done admiring his work, don’t forget to check out some of the other great stuff from me this week!

Monday, April 29, 2019

Goals achieved and worlds destroyed! My 7th Camp Nanowrimo is in the books!

Image by Javier Estaban via Unsplash.
Over the weekend, I hit my goal for my seventh Camp Nanowrimo event. The twice annual free-form writing event has always been a fun one for me, and while I developed some issues with my pacing midway through the month, it's been all engines forward for the last week or so.

The main focus was playing catch up on Quadrant and I managed that quite well. I'm fast working through the latter half of volume two, otherwise known as the time travel arc. I don't want to give away much on this one, but I will reassure everyone that it continues to prove how much fun developing new tales of the Morgan brothers is for me.

I'll have more on the future of Quadrant in updates very soon. Over the next year, I hope to make the brothers' saga as important as Lightweight currently is in my publishing schedule. With that in mind, I have big plans for the characters in the weeks and months ahead!

Before I wrap this blog up I wanted to remind everyone that The Good Fight 5: The Golden Age will be available to read as of tomorrow. Go get your copies pre-ordered now!

Friday, April 26, 2019

Cosplay Friday: Nebula

I have absolutely no idea who the cosplayer is behind this rendition of the modern Nebula (based on the classic 90s design by Ron Lim.) It's some dang fine costuming work though and seems like the perfect fit as Avengers: Endgame debuts and will likely break some records this weekend.

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 yours truly this week!

Monday, April 22, 2019

The first installment of Lightweight... free! Read "Dreams" right here, right now!

This story is already available for free from multiple sources. But I also wanted to make it free to everyone even a little curious about Lightweight. For an ebook edition, you can head over to Smashwords. To buy this story and the rest of Lightweight: Senior Year, head over to Amazon.

Lightweight: Senior Year
Nicholas Ahlhelm

I floated in the air. I was on my back, a pillow beneath me, but around me was the wide open sky. The wild blue yonder, my uncle in the Air Force used to talk about.
I knew it was a dream, but in some way that I can’t even begin to explain, I also knew it wasn’t. Like it was real and a dream all at the same time.
I could feel the cold air across my skin as I laid there, my eyes closed. My body was chilled like I was sitting in front of an air conditioner, but I knew I should be much colder. I wore only the boxers I normally stripped to before bed.  
I really didn’t want to, but I knew I needed to open my eyes. I knew this dream—or whatever it was—wouldn’t end until I did. I sat up gingerly. Even if this was a dream, I still couldn’t get over the fear of falling and like I said, I was on a cloud. I was a bit worried about that.
I slowly let my eyes crack open. The world rushed into my eyeballs with a blast of color. The sky was darkened and rusty colored, the kind of red sky that sailors apparently always go on about.
But it wasn’t the weird sky that really drew my attention in. It was the random objects floating around the cloud and me. A blender. A toaster oven. An old tire. A box of tattered Archie comics. A six pack of Mountain Dew. A ten speed bike. An M-16.
I looked over them with confusion as they slowly circled around me. I decided this had to be a dream. I couldn’t be flying and all these random things certainly couldn’t be making a slow rotation around my cloudy perch.
They were like a half dozen little moons all floating around me like a tiny planet.
Far below me, I could see the lights of Federation stretched out. Hundreds of them, tiny cars moving like tiny lighted insects. Five million men and women slept or did whatever people do in the middle of the night. Or they would be, if they were real.
I wanted down and out of there, but no matter how long I wished for the dream to end, it wasn’t going anywhere. Whoever said that dreams end when you tell yourself to wake up clearly never made it into this dream.
I tested the cloud again with my hands. It was soft, but supportive, not unlike the bed I wished I could reach from this dream.
Take me out of here, I thought. Just take me home.
The cloud suddenly shifted beneath me. It shot downwards. In seconds, I soared straight down, the darkened ground rushing towards me. I plummeted through the night sky, but I felt no fear. Somehow I knew I was safe. I was in control. This is what I was meant to do. It was as natural as walking. As breathing.
I was free.
“Kevin! Kevin! Are you awake?”
The pounding on his door forced Kevin Mathis to open his eyes. His mom’s voice echoed through his skull as he shook off the dream. He stared up at the ceiling of his room. Only it was far too close to him. He could reach out and touch it. But how—
Kevin dropped down out of the sky. He crashed back first on to the mattress of his bed. The sudden shock of pain took him by surprise, but it was nothing like the realization that he had been airborne.
It was just a dream, he thought. It could only be a dream.
His blankets were wrapped around him, almost knotted by his sudden—whatever that was. He worked them off his body and stumbled out of the bed.
His mother knocked again. “Kevin, are you all right in there? Do I need to get the key?”
“I’m fine, Mom. Just fell out of my bed.”
“You better hurry up and get ready. Your friends will be here in fifteen minutes.”
Kevin glanced at his clock. He cursed under his breath as he ran for the dresser.
Exactly thirteen minutes later he was showered (more or less), dressed and in the kitchen. As he grabbed a pop tart (always brown sugar and cinnamon) from the box, he heard the horn outside.
Mom sat at the kitchen table as he frantically put his breakfast together. She rolled her eyes as she sipped at her coffee. “You know you could tell your friends to stop in once in awhile. I don’t think I’ve seen Andy once since he got that Taurus.”
Kevin leaned down and planted a quick kiss on his mother’s cheek. “That’s because Andy doesn’t leave it unless someone makes him. He would take his classes in that thing if they would let him.”
He gave her a wave as he grabbed his bag and headed out the door. Andy was double-parked in front of the duplex. Millie was already walking down the street from the next house over.
“Hey, stranger,” she said. “Ready for one last year of this?”
“Ready for it to be over. Nine months and counting. Oh, I got one for you. What do high school and Lauryn Hill have in common?”
Millie rolled her eyes, even as she pushed her long black hair out of her eyes. “Fine, what?”
“Both will kill you softly.”
“Do you ever tell good jokes?”
“I only share the very finest humor.”
Andy honked again. Kevin and Millie both turned to see him waving them down towards the car.
“Let’s not keep our ride waiting,” Millie said. “He might leave us.”
“That would be less time in his precious. You and I both know he wouldn’t give that up.” Despite his words, Kevin joined Millie in the few short steps to Andy’s car. A moment later, they were on their way to their last first day of high school.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Great Art: Avengers by Eric Canete

Eric Canete is one of those artists that I just don't feel gets enough attention. He's got a unique style, one that he's brought to multiple outlets over the years. He's never stuck to one series for long either, as he doubles as an artist on numerous animated projects, many for Man of Action , where his frequent comics collaborator Joe Casey is one of the four forces that share the eponymous name. His take on the Avengers expands from his amazing work on Iron Man: Enter the Mandarin, in my mind still one of the best Iron Man stories ever. Find a ton more of his work at DeviantArt.

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 from me this week!

Monday, April 15, 2019

Kickstart the Week 73: The cat comes back! New Champions rise!

It's been awhile since we last checked in on Kickstarter. So it's time to check in on two current projects worth a look on the site!

Mike Grell has been producing great comics for four decades now. From Legion of Super-Heroes to Warlord to Jon Sable to Green Arrow and beyond, he's given the world tons of great comics (and even one really great novel.) Yet he left one series unfinished when comics plummeted into the abyss in the middle of the nineties. While meant to be an ongoing series, the empty market caused Maggie the Cat's cancellation after issue two in the middle of the first arc.Fast forward more than twenty years and Mike has moved to Kickstarter to finally bring Maggie the Cat.

Maggie's origins lay in the Jon Sable series and her own book followed events in that series and Shaman's Tears. The new book on Kickstarter will feature remastered versions of the two already published issues with extra remastered pages to streamline the story for new readers. It will be followed by a new issue sometime down the line where the arc finally comes to its finish!

Fans of great old school adventure should definitely check out Maggie the Cat on Kickstarter.


I'm always excited to see new superhero prose make its way onto Kickstarter. Blake Michael Nelson has been slowly building his own superhero universe over the last few years. The Signalverse takes its name from its main setting: Signal City. Nelson is now on Kickstarter looking to fund his sixth novel, Champions Weekly.

The new book revolves around a reporter for a news magazine of the same name. She's set out to uncover what happened to a hero that disappeared over a year ago, but she quickly falls into more trouble than she ever expected!

Nelson has even made the first chapter of the novel available for free. Go check that out and get a feel for his solid prose. After that, be sure to go support Champions Weekly on Kickstarter.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Cosplay Friday: Cammy White

As a teenager in the early 90s, Street Fighter is rarely far from my mind. It was an indelible part of the culture of my childhood. Fighting games and RPGs were my bread and butter, but nothing quite topped the finger ripping action of the Street Fighter franchise.

This week's featured cosplayer Vert Vixen is a jack of all trades. She recently joined Gamestop TV, but she also makes convention appearances in costume, content manages for Gunfire Games and is a pro wrestler in the making. She's also possibly the most perfect being to fill the costume of Cammy White, the game's resident amnesiac secret agent with a dark past.

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 yours truly this week!

Monday, April 8, 2019

Coming Continuing Comics 3: A crossover, rebirth and jumping on point, all in one!

One article, that is.

The April Previews does not show a lot of big debuts in the month of June. Or at least, not a lot of debuts I care a lick about anyway. Yet I still have a few picks worth taking a look at.

But first I wanted to give an honorable mention to Usagi Yojimbo. The book is coming back from IDW now with a new first issue (which makes this Usagi volume 4 I believe.) There's little to nothing super powered fiction about the character outside crossovers with the TMNT, but he's well worth a mention as the title is consistently one of the best comics on the market. Alright, on to our more superheroic fare, none of which comes from either of the big two this month!

Savage Dragon 247

It's about as far away from a number one as you can get, but Erik Larsen has consistently produced one of the most impressive superhero universes ever now for twenty-five plus years. I'm behind on the series by nearly a year right now, but this issue offers a "perfect jumping on point" for readers as Malcolm Dragon fights the Demon King as the run up to the next anniversary starts. If you're an old school comic fan and not reading Savage Dragon, I encourage you to seek out what you're missing and be surprised by one of the most impressive superhero sagas of all time.

The Crow / Hack Slash 1

Tim Seeley has come up with a winning formula for bringing back Cassie Hack and Vlad, the monster hunters of Hack Slash. He's just wrapping a crossover at Dynamite with the old Chaos Comics characters that embroils her in their entire new history at that publisher. As soon as that one wraps, it looks like she'll be right back into it, this time at IDW!

The story is a pretty basic setup. A new Crow rises, but his revenge spree is taken by Cassie and Vlad as the rise of a new slasher, the supernatural horrors they hunt! It's a superb concept to run a story about. More impressively, Seeley returns to pencils on the book for the first time in years, while he's inked by regular Crow artist Jim Terry. This one promises to bring the fun and violence!

Psi-Lords 1

Valiant has been dusting off old IPs with new versions for quite some time now, but they still haven't covered them all. The Psi-Lords are fondly remembered by anyone that read the book but this one doesn't look to have heavy ties to that concept. Still it looks like an intriguing book by artist Renato Guedes and the criminally under-rated Fred Van Lente.

The book takes four humans and drops them with amnesia into the middle of an intergalactic hotspot. And while it spins off from events in the current X-O Manowar book, it is meant to stand on its own. With a star creative team, this looks like a great new ongoing series in a universe filled with intriguing moves in 2019.

Do you have a new favorite coming soon to the comics world? Let me know in the comments below! 

Friday, April 5, 2019

Gallur-y: Cibernetico

Over the last few years, Mexican artist Rafael Gallur has become a go to painter for action. A regular painter of amazing lucha libre magazine covers, he channels the energy of Frazetta into modern cover art, something very lacking on this side of the border. And since his art doesn't quite fit into the usual comic-oriented Great Art feature, I thought it was time to give him his own feature here at Super Powered Fiction. Few painters can match the power he brings.

Cibernetico isn't as recognizable a luchador as some. He has been maskless since early in his career and never quite received the attention in America that many Mexican talents have over the years. But Gallur brings him to life with a true flare here and even presents quite a looming threat in the robot monster behind him!

Be sure to head over to Gallur's DeviantArt to check out more work by him and order some of his amazing work as prints. After you're done admiring his work, don’t forget to check out some of the other great stuff from me this week!

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

The Good Fight returns... to the past!

I've proudly been a member of the Pen and Cape Society for several years now as the group of superhero fiction writers have put together four great anthologies and worked together in all kinds of unique and fun ways. Now the fine folks at Local Hero Press have prepped the fifth edition of our shared anthology series The Good Fight and this one takes us back a few years. Previous themes have wrapped around villains, "the homefront" (supporting cast) and sidekicks. This time around, the series goes back a few years as the focus turns to "The Golden Age."

Twelve writers answered the call for new stories of World War II superheroes, pulp age adventurers and everything in between. For those that have followed my previous The Good Fight contributions, you know that I like to make my focus a new tale in my "The Second Life of D.B. Cooper" series of short stories.

How do I place a story about the later life of a 70s era plane hijackers into a thirties era setting? I will reveal that in a couple more weeks, but be reassured that the story's title does start with "The Second Life of."

And I'm not alone. I have a mega-talented eleven other creators in this book with me: Leonard Apa, Stephen T. Brophy, David Court, Jeff Deischer, Adrienne Dellwo, Psychopomp Gecko, Ian Thomas Healy, James Hudnall, T. Mike McCurley, Scott A. Story, and Tom Warin! If you're interested in supporting great new fiction, be sure to head over to Amazon or Smashwords and pre-order your copy! The book launches on April 30!

Monday, April 1, 2019

It's Camp Nanowrimo time!

Today is April 1st and while many will celebrate the fools of the world, I will instead be turning my focus to the twice-annual Camp Nanowrimo event. Unlike the 50,000 word sprint that is the November event, Camp Nanowrimo is far more free form with open project types and goals.

This year my effort is going into finishing up the current cycle of Quadrant stories, which have fallen behind the continued progress of Lightweight and Shockwave. If all goes as planned with this month and next, I should have pretty much every release I've got planned for 2019 done in the next two to three months

From there, I have more big plans for 2020. I'll write more about that soon though.

If anyone is interested in following along at Camp Nanowrimo, you can find my account here. And if you're a fellow writer of the super or heroic that's also participating in the event, let me know and I'll add you to our shared cabin!

The next month will feature weekly updates on the project as I work through first an editorial phase and then the completion of a year's worth of Quadrant tales. Those will hit every Wednesday, with other content already planned for Mondays and Fridays! So be sure to stay tuned into the blog as we get this show on the road!

Friday, March 29, 2019

Great Art: Catwoman and Batman by Terry Moore!

Earlier this week, I mentioned Terry Moore had an upcoming new series called Five Years, bringing all the series he's written and drawn over the last three decades together. But while Terry's indie credentials are strong, he's dabbled in mainstream comics more than once. And it seems he's more than willing to take commissions of the like as well.

He shared this piece of Catwoman overcoming the caped crusader on his blog a few weeks back, where you can find a higher res version of it for your own use and enjoyment.

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 from me this week!

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

April Patreon Preview! Shockwave and Lightweight incoming!

With Camp Nanowrimo coming in April, I've been working hard to make sure I've got a good head start on everything coming in that month. So far, I've been frequently putting finishing touches on editions of my works just days or hours before they go live on Patreon, tweaking covers or adding text pieces as I see fit.

This month, I'm ahead of that curve with the stories for the month already formatted for ebook and set for publication.

The two stories a month system will continue as I open the month's stories on April 9. Shockwave 2: Love is a Battlefield drops that day as the figures present in our second chapter come together for an epic and explosive confrontation!

Two weeks later on April 23, Lightweight 19: Fortress of Doom, delves into the back story of Zia as we learn her connections with the history of the Lightbringer long before she ever met Kevin!

These two action packed stories will hit Patreon first next month, with regular publication on multiple platforms seven months later. So if you want in on them before everyone else, make sure you join the party, starting at only two dollars a month for new chapters of Lightweight!

Patreon users get access to all the previous chapters of these stories as well, so you can show your support while also getting access to hundreds of pages of new fiction from yours truly! Plus exclusive blog entries looking into influences and ideas from each chapter.

I hope to see you there!

Monday, March 25, 2019

Coming Continuing Comics 2: a look at March 2019's most intriguing solicits

This one is a bit late, mostly because I didn't see a ton of stuff that really intrigued me in this month's catalog of stuff. But I do have the ends of two trilogies to talk about, plus another new comic that takes an existing universes in new and different directions.

Batman / Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III

James Tynion IV and Freddie Williams II have finally reached the volume of their crossover events that averages their own Roman numerals. But just as the announcement came that DC animation was working with Nickelodeon to produce the first volume of their series as an animated feature, they announced this concluding chapter to a series that in no way was planned to be a trilogy. The creative team has put together two great series. With the addition of Kevin Eastman on variant covers and apparently some interiors, this one could be the best yet.

Got to love that raw Eastman art with bonus Batman! 
X-Men Grand Design: X-Tinction

I know Ed Piskor's work isn't made for everyone. But I've absolutely loved the previous four issues of this series that covered the first twenty-five or so years of X-Men continuity. He streamlined the history to make things fit together without contradicting the established history. It's been really cool and the style he developed on Hip Hop Family Tree works wonders here.

The new run takes the team through the Australian years and into the Silvestri / Lee era of grand art. I expect the X-Tinction Agenda storyline to play a large role here, but the cover below makes it look like we will see plenty from the Reavers as well. Whatever the case, I'm ready to see two more superb over-sized issues of this series!

A simple design evokes the classic cover to Uncanny X-Men 251.
Five Years

Terry Moore has written for Marvel and DC among others before, but the Strangers in Paradise creator has often been known for his more nuanced down to Earth approach to comics, both in that seminal series and his later books like Echo and Rachel Rising. Following a year's return to his original title in Strangers in Paradise XXV (for the 25th anniversary of the property), he's now doing something other publishers have been doing for years: a crossover.

The story spins right out of the previous series but Moore promises it's a jumping on point for everyone. It does star every major character he's introduced so far from all those series above and his short-lived Motor Girl as well. All have played at least brief roles in the last year's storylines, so it will be interesting to see exactly how everything comes together for this one.

The one thing I can say for certain: with Moore on art it will be gorgeous.

That wraps up this month's comic picks. What upcoming books are you most anticipating? Let me know in the comments.

 As always, all cover images are copyright their respective owners. 

Friday, March 22, 2019

Cosplay Friday: Serpentor

In many ways, I am a slave to my childhood. G.I. Joe is a property that still holds a lot of sway on my brain. It's one that I often marvel at how little remains from the classic line. Hasbro hasn't produced new toys since the release of the last movie. The only exceptions are the collector's club figures, but I'm not one of the fans obsessive enough to spend $40 on a new 4 inch figure.

But the property still remains heavy on my mind. I have more than one half written Kindle Worlds stories that will now never be published. But I've also considered designing my own international defense force. I could wax on for many more paragraphs about that, I'm sure, but we all came here for Cosplay didn't we?

Drizzy Designs isn't a name I knew before I stumbled across this amazing costume on Pinterest. The alias of one Drisana Litke, she managed to make a Serpentor costume out of actual materials that doesn't look like it weighs a hundred pounds. Her page on Facebook has another half dozen pictures of this costume, plus a ton of other stuff, so be sure to check it out.

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 yours truly this week!

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

It's a marvelous life! (WIP Wednesday)

Over the last three weeks, I've fought two head colds but still managed to get a decent amount of work done on the ongoing projects that have been debuting as part of Patreon. I clocked about five thousand words in the last week on Shockwave and Lightweight. Lightweight is just about done while Shockwave currently sits at four chapters of a planned six in the first book.

Next month will be my twice annual Camp Nanowrimo month, where several of my writing friends and I get together and push each other forward on writing projects. My plan is to complete the next three chapters of Quadrant over that month of writing. That will bring me right up to the finishing line with that one as well.

My big goal is to wrap all three novels by the end of May and set out on the next writing journey, which will include a short story or two plus the next phase of Lightweight!

I'm also working on a new scheduling format for Patreon releases, one that will see all the ongoing books update about every six weeks. That one will depend a bit on how things go as I move into the second half of 2019 however.

I went with my wife and the youngest to see Captain Marvel over the weekend. The family and I loved the very different take on the mythos of Mar-Vell and Carol Danvers. A lot of the negative reaction is confusing to me, as I felt it was the best use of Carol since the Brian Reed Ms. Marvel series of the mid-2000s. It gets a thumbs up from me, yet another in a solid string of really great Marvel movies in the last two years.

Today's image is of Carol in costume, drawn by the always amazing Sana Takeda, taken from a variant cover of Life of Captain Marvel. Character owned by Marvel.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Don't sleep on Newer Gods!

While this site focuses much on my own writing and other areas of interest, I have other blogs out there to focus on expanded views of things outside the purview here. One such outlet is the nearly year old blog Newer Gods, where I am doing a week by week rundown of comics featuring every appearance of the New Gods after Jack Kirby's initial run.

Now seems like the perfect time to mention it, as I just reviewed the beautifully rendered Uncanny X-Men and New Teen Titans, where the two heroes from different universes suddenly exist in the same one to conveniently team up to fight Darkseid and a reborn Dark Phoenix. Written by Chris Claremont and drawn by Walter Simonson, it's just amazing to look at. The story is all kinds of crazy as well, so be sure to head over and check out both parts of this epic review.

A new update will debut on Thursday and every Thursday for the foreseeable future. (There's a lot of New Gods appearances to cover.) So strap in and be sure to follow the fun of Newer Gods.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Great Art: Boom Boom by Mike Maihack

I've been a huge fan of the work of Mike Maihack for quite some time. His prints are all over our house, including my personal favorite featuring Yukio. His work on Cleopatra in Space has brought one of the most fun series of all ages graphic novels to life and I recommend it to everyone, especially with Fallen Empires, the fifth volume, only a few days from release. Last year, he did a series of X-Men pieces and this one featuring Boom Boom in her original look is one of my favorites.

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 from me this week!

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Curious about Shockwave? Here's your chance to read it free!

I'm hugely proud of the fans that support my new work as its released. I'm doubly proud of the fine folks over at Patreon that continue to support and receive new fiction month by month. But I'm also honest that not everyone wants to take the plunge and support new works sight unseen. With that in mind, I wanted to give everyone out there a chance to read the first chapter of my new series Shockwave for the low, low cost of free.

How do you get such perfect benevolence? On Thursday, I send out my next newsletter. In it, fans will have a link to Shockwave 1: Destiny's Beginnings. All you have to do to get a copy is to subscribe to the newsletter. Already subscribed? You don't have to do anything! Then you will soon see the link whisk to your email box.

Now, I'm well aware everyone out there might not see this in the first twenty-four hours it is posted. However, rest assured that anyone that subscribes to the newsletter in the month of March will see the edition featuring the new story hit their email box!

If you're not yet familiar with the newest character in the Quadrant Universe, Shockwave is the tale of a young man named Noah Logan in the tiny city of Cedar Rapids, Iowa,. He suddenly finds himself under attack by intergalactic monsters! The attacks awaken his own nascent powers and starts a saga that will take him across the universe and back again!

So head on over to the newsletter or just enter your information in the handy subscription box below!

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Monday, March 11, 2019

Kickstart the Week 72: Flying the 1959 Hellride to Section Zero!

This time around I wanted to shine the light on a couple of Kickstarters that have both fully funded but that are excellent comic projects by some truly cool talents.

Jim Lawson has been a favorite artist of mine since the 90s when I first discovered him as a regular artist (and later writer/artist) on Mirage's original version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. He's got a unique but shockingly deep art style that I will always enjoy whether it's in black and white or color. He's produced a couple different books on Kickstarter, but right now he's got two new projects I'm excited about in one great Kickstarter.

The first is the complete edition of Dragonfly, the first part of which he funded on Kickstarter several years ago. It's the tale of a turtle like being, a woman, a dog and some aliens on a strange island where everything is pretty much not quite right. The first volume was fun and now this edition will finally bring the story to completion.

Hellride is the second title, and while Lawson is a bit more vague on the subject matter, it sure looks like the description is in the title. Our protagonist in on his motorcycle for a ride straight through Hell!

Both books look superb and you can help fund one or both at the same Kickstarter.

The second project of the day is the long awaited second volume of Karl Kesel and Tom Grummett's Section Zero. After funding the completed version of the original six issues as a book, they've got the new book on the market both as a Kickstarter exclusive and as an upcoming series at Image. (I'm enough of a fan that I'm supporting both.) Now they're going back in time with the series to explore the early days of Section Zero in Section Zero: 1959.

If you're wondering what it's about, think Challengers of the Unknown meet Area 51. I'm not trying to spoil anything else for me with this book though, so anymore details you will have to find at Kickstarter.

Kesel and Grummett are two of the finest comic creators still going. They've both been at it since the 80s and together are probably best known for creating the Kon-El Superboy. They had two amazing runs with the character in his original series and Section Zero is the continuance of one of the best creative pairs in comics. Head over to Kickstarter to support it!

Friday, March 8, 2019

Cosplay Friday: Cassie Hack

One of the delights of this year in comics has been the return of Tim Seeley to the world of Cassie Hack and Vlad in Hack / Slash vs. Chaos from Dynamite Comics. It's a series I could honestly read for months to come but alas it is just a limited series.

Yet even should it serve as a swan song to Cassie and company, Seeley and company built a strong legacy for the characters. That can be seen in several amazing cosplays of Cassie, with perhaps Tata-Chan1012's look here the best. Big ups to both her and photographer Laernu Sinatas for making this a reality.

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 yours truly this week!

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

The roller coaster ride of the writing life (WIP Wednesday)

February is done and March is here. It feels as though 2019 has flown by so far for this writer. I've published five stories so far with twenty plus still coming later this year. It's been good to bring new material out into the world once again, something I didn't do nearly enough of in the previous two years. I still have a lot of publishing ahead of me though, so other parts of the last month are a bit disappointing.

I managed just under 29,000 words for the month, shy for the second month in a row of my 35,000 word monthly target. It is still ahead of my January count however and probably would have came much closer to my goal if I had the three extra days of the previous month.

So I'm starting out March with a goal to pick up speed again. I've been working hard to start producing more content across the internet in the next few weeks as I start to stagger things a bit in the coming months. One of my goals is to make sure I'm releasing something new five days a week across my various sites. This site will remain an aggregate for where my current projects are coming and going however.

Right now, those projects include the final draft checks of Quadrant 7 and Lightweight 18 in preparation for their release later this month on Patreon. Like the previous stories, they will be up for pre-order at the same time with release dates about seven months from now.

I am also toying with a story idea to start out a new serial to be published on my Medium account. So far it has mostly been used as a hub for talking about the art of writing and deep dives into the world of comics. But I have a new narrative that I might test out as part of Medium's paid service, but more research will have to take place before a final decision is made on that one.

Sometimes the challenge feels like I'm staring up at a skyscraper that is the future. But much like King Kong, I'm going to make that climb.

So work remains in progress. I'm currently working on a future installment of Shockwave, one with major implications for the future of the series. Next up will be the final chapter of the current Lightweight saga plus the final three Quadrants for the next year. From there, I will start on some of the bonus stories I haven't even started to talk about for the second half of the Patreon in 2019...

Photo by Devon Divine on Unsplash.