Friday, June 14, 2019

Great Art: Ninjak by Michel Fiffe

Michel Fiffe draws one of my favorite comics right now in Copra, but he doesn't do non-creator owned characters all that often. But this variant to the Valiant Ninjak book was totally worth the price of admission!

As always, you can check out a lot more Great Art in the Super Powered Fiction Facebook group!. 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, June 12, 2019

Influential 10: Batman Role-Playing Game

Sometimes I forget how important RPGs were to my foundation as a writer. While I haven't been in an active game for almost twenty years now, I still will use them now and then as a means to generate interesting and unique characters for my stories. This Influential, previously exclusive in slightly different form to my Patrons, looks back at those formative years of gaming, with one game in particular taking the lead.

From a childhood filled with toys and grand superhero adventures, I moved in to role playing games as a way to express my storytelling. My brother started me down this road with the Marvel Super Heroes role playing game. This was the TSR produced game better known these  days as FASERIP. While I found the game fun, my access was always limited to when I could borrow it from my brother. With that in mind, I set out to find my own game to own.

I started with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Other Strangeness. Anyone that's played a Palladium system knows exactly how old school they are, even in comparison to the mid-80s design of Jeff Grubb with the Marvel game. I loved a lot about it (and it helped cement my already supreme fandom for TMNT) but it didn't allow me to create the full range of superheroes brimming in my young skull.

That came with the Batman Role-Playing Game. The standalone book came out in 1989 just in time for the film, but it is 100% pure old school Batman (and other 80s era DC vigilantes like Ragman and The Question.) Though the cover can best be described as boring, when I found it a year or two after release, I immediately wanted it. Considering we were in a Ben Franklin (remember those?) for maybe 5 bucks, it proved an easy get.

It's a shock it sold so poorly with
such an amazing cover, right?
The Batman RPG can best be described as the DC Heroes Basic Game. Built around a 9 stat system now called MEGS, every action in the game runs off a single action table. Built on an exponential system where each rank doubles the last, it has become a favorite of math-oriented gamers for decades. But I loved just how well the mechanics worked for building anything from a world-class detective to a man of steel. (I also found bemusement in that it was the only licensed game I read that outright said someone playing it should be Batman.)

This was the first book that I discovered a point buy system for character building, something my previous two game experiences left by the wayside for random character generation. Never had I felt so empowered to generate a hero from the ground up. Though the math was a bit complicated (though nothing in comparison to some other point-buy games like Champions I would eventually learn) I worked my way through it and started to really build characters.

And it was with MEGS that I started building my own super-universe. Initially I built it upon a plethora of comic books, pretty traditional DC and TMNT characters, but often adapting many a Marvel hero from a What If story. (I distinctly remember building the entire X-Men corner of the universe from What if Wolverine was Lord of Vampires?) Soon, I started to let that slip away as I developed into my own narratives however.

Things started with the Crusader, a name I sometimes used when we also turned our toys into superheroes. He would develop over the years to become a character I'm still developing for his own book, but back then he was pretty much just a badass knight with a magic sword. Simple and none too original for an early 90s comic fan.

The true foundation that really started the founding of my own original comic universe was built around trying to come up with a new power set for a young hero. I went through both the Marvel game and the DC game searching for something not used by many heroes in either universe. The answer was gravity manipulation.

Twenty plus years later, Lightweight is still the cornerstone of the Quadrant Universe. While he's a dramatically different character than his earliest RPG incarnations, so much of his character was developed in those fledgling days of character creation and excitement for a universe of heroes.
Yet that universe has grown from quite different routes than either comic book universe from which my gaming days started. But the true formation of the Quadrant Universe is a story for the next installment!

Monday, June 10, 2019

Coming Continuing Comics 5: the one with a serial killer and a nun

Every month I peruse the comic solicits to see what I want to add to my subscription list. Triple C takes a look at the superhero books that most stand out to me or I think are well worth a wider look by everyone.

Of course, the first entry this month is pretty much guaranteed to get a ridiculously wide look. Absolute Carnage is the latest Marvel event. (Remember a year ago when they promised we wouldn't have endless events at the company? They lied.) But unlike so many other events currently running at the publisher, Absolute Carnage is a spinoff of one of the company's two best books, Venom. (If you're wondering, the finest title from them right now though is Immortal Hulk.) Venom took the symbiote concept to a cosmic backdrop and this new series continues in that vein as a powered up Carnage now seeks to kill everyone ever touched by an oozy sentient costume. With the same team that launched the current Venom, Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman, this one will likely be both mind-bending and gorgeous.

I will stand by Warrior Nun Araela as a solid, well written superhero narrative of the mid-nineties that subverted the bad girl trend to tell some great stories. Ben Dunn started it and current YA author Barry Lyga developed the character over the years into a great character with an expansive universe. But the Warrior Nun concept was eventually sold to Avatar where it wallowed for years until the announcement the property was picked up as a new series on Netflix. Now Grimm Fairy Tales veteran (and longtime novel tie in writer) Pat Shand is launching a new era of the series with Warrior Nun Dora. Aided by Uber: Invasion artist Daniel Gete (which might not be a good sign for that series finishing anytime soon ever), it looks like a darker take on the concept set deep in the 90s.

The final pick of this month is a dollar reprint, but one with a strange hybrid. Michel Fiffe has self-published Copra for several years now. A couple months back, he reprinted the trades for the series through Image. Now on the heels of the announcement that Image is the book's new home, it also gets the Image Firsts treatment. Copra #1 reprinted for only a dollar has me intrigued, especially to see how the format works with Fiffe's creative process, one that he's used a lot of matte non-glossy paper to publish. It's an intriguing proposal as the new series looms, and it will only take a dollar to find out the answer!

Over all, it's a sparse August. The month rarely has a ton of launches, as September and October are the dates when you can start debuting all your big San Diego announcements. But these three books at least are worth a read. Stop by your local comic shop or favorite online retailer and make sure you give them a pre-order!

Friday, June 7, 2019

Gallur-y: Super-Nenas!

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.

Unlike a lot of his work, Super Nena (or Supernena, as I've seen it written both ways) isn't an actual star of lucha libre. Created for the fiction magazine Sensacional Del Luchas, she allowed some female led stories with a whole lot of T and A. But because of her original nature, it sure looks like she was set up to be a bit more super than some of the other luchadors in the book. She definitely has a Catwoman vibe with her whip as a weapon. This cover seems to pit her against evil duplicates of herself, ones willing to use automatic weapons and murder wantonly. There's a great story there I suspect!

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, June 5, 2019

Have you joined The Good Fight yet?

I'm going to get real here. I talked about my story in The Good Fight 5: The Golden Age already, but apparently that's not brought quite enough readers to our amazing anthology. Our classic era super-heroics aren't attracting the level of readership for our previous four volumes of the Pen & Cape Society's premiere superhero anthology. Each volume features new stories from a variety of authors and superheroic worlds, and I'm proud to make this my fourth appearance in one of these books.

I could conjecture a hundred reasons as to why the book hasn't found success, but I know one thing that's definitely hurting it: lack of reviews! After just over a month out, it still only has one review on Amazon and none on Smashwords. The digital edition is $3.99, a steal for a book featuring twelve new stories by yours truly and a host of talented authors including the late great James Hudnall.

In order to encourage more reviews and in return, I have five digital copies available for reading and review. If you receive a copy, you must be willing to read it and give it a starred Amazon review within one month of receipt. I will give these away to the first five people that respond to this post here, on social media or by emailing me at nick {at} superpoweredfiction {dot} com.

If you have even a fraction of the love for super powered fiction that I have, I know this is a deal too good to pass up! And even if you don't get a free copy, please buy the book and review it when you're done. Every single review helps immensely. I know you see that a lot, but it is incredibly true.

The Good Fight 5: The Golden Age is now available on AmazonSmashwords and pretty much everywhere you buy books.

Monday, June 3, 2019

June Patreon Preview: Paradox revealed to Shockwave! Lightweight battles a group of old foes!

June on Patreon brings two new chapters of two of my ongoing serial novels! Here's the scoop on both issues!

Shockwave III: The City Above takes Noah Logan off of Earth for the first time to the strange world of Paradox and the Floating City. Tia meets a strange woman at the hospital while Sarah and Eighty-Six encounter The Hound. Answers are revealed, but they may just complicate things even more for our hero!

This story drops June 4th for all $5 and up Patrons!

Lightweight 20: Eye of the Beholder brings Kevin and Zia back to Federation, but it is anything but a homecoming for Kevin! With a sense of deja vu, he comes under attack at the airport and its battle designed with all his strengths and weaknesses in mind! Someone that knows him all too well wants him dead! Is it Ragnarok? Or is something more going on?

This story drops June 18 for all $2 and over Patrons.

Shockwave and Lightweight are two great heroes and I want to encourage everyone to go check them out. Everyone that supports on Patreon gets not only these two chapters when they launch but the entire back catalog of both series as well as Quadrant and Doctor Cosmic Presents. It's the cheapest, easiest way to support great new super powered fiction by yours truly. Check it all out at Patreon.