Friday, February 15, 2019

Cosplay Friday: Widowmaker

Overwatch has a unique place in my mind. I think the world concept is interesting, the characters are fascinating and the design aesthetic is nothing short of amazing. But I have absolutely no interest in ever playing the game in its current form. First person shooters hold little interest for me. Squad-based online play holds literally no interest for me. But I still love those designs and much of the ancillary material tied into the game and its universe.

With that in mind, I really like the designs. Widowmaker is one of the most popular characters in the game and like everyone else, has an incredibly intricate look. So it's always impressive when a cosplayer can make the look work perfectly. CutiePieSensei does that here with her take on the character.

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, February 13, 2019

Are you ready to ride the SHOCKWAVE?

The ongoing adventures of my third series of serialized superheroes starts today over at Patreon. I started to develop the character nearly two years ago as I realized I wanted to build the idea of a hero in a small city just trying to do what's right. And what better place to set such a hero than my town of Cedar Rapids.

My corner of Eastern Iowa is slowly developing into a metroplex between Cedar Rapids and Iowa City, an area spread out over forty miles with a population of a quarter million people. It's not a small place by any stretch of the imagination, but it lacks the feel of scale that most superhero cities are built upon. After all, pretty much every superhero city whether in name or not is some variation of New York, Chicago or Los Angeles. I wanted to create something different with places that people in this area could recognize right away.

Yet Cedar Rapids doesn't face the same challenges of a larger metro area. Crime doesn't run rampant here. So what do I do for villains? What evils does a hero in such a city face?

And that's where another idea came into play. So I turned to Kirby.

Jack Kirby is a comics legend, one of the most brilliant creatives of any era. His style was anything but refined, yet his power and intensity generated universe after universe of characters. But it was his intergalactic heroes come to Earth that have always intrigued me most. The stories of the New Gods have intrigued me since I first saw Darkseid on The Legendary Super Powers Show as a six year old. They've been an integral part of my development as a reader and a writer. 

I've watched other creators experiment with the concepts in titles such as Gødland, The Myth of 8-Opus, Jersey Gods, God Complex and even new Kirby characters in Secret City Saga or the Dynamite revamps in Kirby: Genesis and Captain Victory and the Galactic Rangers. Kirby himself even seemed to pastiche himself in his final published work, Phantom Force, which continued for another year after his death in 1994 at the age of 76. 

I wanted to build on that idea, the melding of superheroes with cosmic events. Lightweight fans saw a bit of that in Lightweight: Beyond, but this takes a different tact as our lead ends up torn between his changing life on Earth and a destiny he never knew existed. 

Shockwave is different than any other series I've written. It involves more world building than I've done in years. It introduces an exciting new piece of the Quadrant Universe I've never unveiled before. I encourage everyone to head over to Patreon and support the new series as it is serialized. More importantly, I want to know what you think about it! If you read it, be sure to leave your thoughts here or at Patreon!

And for readers not interested in supporting on Patreon, the book is up for pre-order now through Smashwords.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Kickstart the Week 71: the Thrilling Adventures of Zorro and zombies!

It's been a couple months since the last Kickstart the Week feature on this blog. It's been a long-standing mainstay that I like to focus attention on great new works over at that site. So I'm bringing it back as a part of a rotating set of features on Monday designed to bring attention to super powered fiction of all varieties. With this change, we're also be focusing on multiple Kickstarters, all of which I think are worth a look.

Robert Greenberger is a name recognizable to long-time comics fans for his work as an editor for many years at DC Comics. He parlayed that success into a run as a Star Trek prose author and has since teamed with several alums of both comics and Trek to form Crazy 8 Press. Now he's producing a new anthology from that press that should make fans of superheroes and pulp adventure excited! It's called Thrilling Adventure Yarns.

The project looks to tell stories in the tradition of the pulps, although it seems to have its major focus on the heroic side of things. It features several names that should be familiar to comic and pulp fans like Paul Kupperberg, Michael Jan Friedman, Robert T. Jeschonek and Jim Beard. It apparently even will feature an unearthed tale from the legendary Shadow creator Lester Dent never published before this book. That's an impressive line-up and is only about half the contents!

Give it a look and get ready for some great adventure yarns in the future.

Speaking of pulp heroes with a superhero flair, the folks at Gallant Knight have set out to finally create the first full-fledged role playing game based around the hundred year old hero Zorro!

2019 is the character's anniversary, so it's great to see old Los Angeles being brought to life in all its glory using the classic West End D6 system well known to a lot of gamers.

The company has been sharing bits and pieces of the rules online for the last few weeks, so be sure to check out the Kickstarter for more details!

William Tucci most famously created Shi, one of my favorite all time characters. Now he's making a big comic comeback. First, he has a new series with Axe Cop creator Ethan Nicolle called Appalachian Apocalypse. Now he's mounting the finished version of a story he started a decade ago, about a samurai fighting the undead: Zombie-Sama!

I'm all for Tucci branching out to producer more great work. I'm equally excited to see the talented John Broglia continue to produce stupendous art for the series. But I'm probably most excited that the project offers an ashcan of the upcoming return of Shi, a character I've waited for decades to see more stories about.

Head over to the Kickstarter and check out all the fun of Zombie-Sama and throw some support to a talented creative team!

Friday, February 8, 2019

Great Art: Shi by William Tucci

I started following Tucci when his first name was still Billy, right around issue five of the ongoing Shi series. I knew of the book before that from ads in various magazines I could find on the newsstand, but it was around issue six that I started to make regular trips to a comic shop. Shi was high on my list of buys every time. The title was ahead of its time in a ton of ways and Tucci remains a gifted writer and artist, something that can't be said about everyone.

Tucci has more Shi coming sometime in the (hopefully) near future and this piece of art is a preview of what is to come.

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, February 6, 2019

Catching up is hard to do! (WIP Wednesday)

You might have noticed my complete disappearance from blogging in the second half of January. It was not without good reason as I struggled to get things up and running with Patreon stories through a seemingly never-ending fight with sickness and general malaise. I used the time to get closer to back on track with all my projects so that I hopefully can keep steady releases throughout 2019.

A lot of focus went into making sure the next month's stories are ready or close to ready to go for their impending release. The Patreon site now comes with a handy image to let everyone know the release dates for the next couple months and this will update once a month to keep the schedule out in front of me.

It's nothing fancy, but it does let everyone have the dates for the impending releases of the next two Lightweight chapters as well as the first stories in Shockwave and the second volume of Quadrant.

I also used that time to wrap up a story for the new Pen & Cape Society anthology due in just a few months. I'm not going to reveal the nature of the new anthology or the story until the book is officially announced, but I will say it continues to develop the Secret Life of D.B. Cooper series without featuring Coop himself.

Right now, I've got a couple super-secret projects in the works, one on a tight deadline I'm not sure I'll be able to finish and another long in production and looking to finish by the end of the month. Plus I'm continuing edits and writing on the upcoming Patreon stories as I work to keep well ahead new of my new biweekly schedule.

Hopefully, this blog will be back on a semi-regular schedule for the foreseeable future, so you don't miss out on what's happening out there in the fine fine world of the Quadrant Universe!

Monday, February 4, 2019

Coming Continuing Comics 1: a look at cool new super-comic solicits in February 2019

I've been reading comics for somewhere around a billion years now. And one of my favorite parts of buying weird and wonderful comics from a variety of publishers. This new feature will spin out from my own monthly adds to my pull list as I take a look and share comics I think look promising. These are comics I'm commenting upon with only covers and perhaps a few preview pages to look at. It does not serve as a full endorsement of anything, just a sampling of what I think looks interesting.

As a reminder, my definition of super powered fiction continues to cover a whole plethora of characters and stories, not just costumed superheroes. Be prepared to see several non-costumed characters with powers featured in these columns.

Punk Mambo

One of the best original creations of the modern Valiant is Punk Mambo, the voodoo practicing walker between the Louisiana bayou and the Shadowside. The character was already visually interesting but with Sixth Gun writer Cullen Bunn writing this new limited series, we can expect an amazing story with a major horror bent. With Adam Gorham on interiors, Dan Brereton absolutely kills it on the cover.

Brereton knocks this cover out of the park.