Art from SVCC 2019: Darth and Holly!

(From Silicon Valley Comic Con 2019) Here is art from Chunlin Zhao, a sweet young lady from China whom I asked to draw Darth Vader discovering that his light saber does not work on Super Holly Hansson. Okay, Chunlin drew two e-braclets where Holly has only one, but just look at Holly’s face! Chunin knows what Amanda Conners knows: it is all in the face.

And here is a quickie from Chuck Whelon (instagram). I showed him the Cal artwork where Cal has that glowing circle on his head, and how much I like that even though I am no sure yet what that does. Chuck has a quick mind for one panel cartoons.

My Artless Comic Books panel went well. It helped a lot that the others on the panel knew the subject matter.

More Silicon Valley Comic Con photos. Me at the table where I sold 5 books. Valerie Frankel pointed out that there is a Jewish book on one side on my book and a Nazis-won-the-war book on the other.

Me and a scruffy Ewok.

And someone who does justice to Red Sonja and the silliest supersuit of all time. I have started the story where I stuff Holly into one of those.

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I will be on two panels at Silicon Valley Comic Con

At Silicon Valley Comic Con, I will be on two panels. To see the panel descriptions, go here and search for David Strom.

Writing Artless Comic Books on Saturday August 17 10:30-11:30AM in Room 230A

I thought of this and I will moderate the panel. Here is the panel description. Hmm, I did not think of the children/teen/adult question, so I will try to discuss that too.

How do you write superheroes and superheroines (or supervillains for that matter) that aren’t comic books? Is this a growing market, or is it bottoming out? What are the challenges to making those stories really pop? Do they have to be written for children and teens, or is there an adult list? Come with your questions on reading and writing them and leave with a great list of titles and advice.

There are good people on this panel. Valerie Frankel (the writing machine!) has written over 60 books about pop culture, including superheroines. I was very impressed with her book Empowered: The Symbolism, Feminism, and Superheroism of Wonder Woman, which I beta-read for her.

David Reiss wrote a trilogy about alpha supervillain and all-around super-intelligent badass Doctor Fid (start buying and reading it here). I would dare to say Doctor Fid is a villain whose heart makes him take a hero’s journey. Doctor Fid has risen into the top 100 in superhero fantasy ebooks on Kindle. I have read this trilogy, and it is worth your time and money. Doctor Fid would give Super Holly a very tough fight.

Sarah Stegall is another local writer who covers pop culture, and has a story in X-Files, Vol. 2: The Truth Is Out There-Prose. Yes, she took television and turned it into prose.

Fourth Wave Feminism and Diverse Superheroines on Saturday August 17 4:30-5:30PM in Room 114

I signed up for this. I have seen several of the shows referred to in the description. I have definite ideas and opinions about these shows, such as the new She-Ra being a helluva improvement on the original. But I admit I have to look up what fourth wave means.

P.S. I believe I will also be at at a table with local authors, selling my book. My one little book. I need to publish more books. Sigh.

Amber artwork: Holly’s first kiss!

Holly’s first kiss in my commissioned artwork. This is from Amber Padilla (her Tumblr), who first drew Kittygirl. She was slightly delayed because life got in her way, so she went wonderfully above and beyond what I expected. I noted how TALL Holly was in the first sketch. I liked that, and I have decided that Cal should be my height: 5 foot 10 (instead of 5 foot eleven). Holly is 6 foot 1. Those are little telekinetic hearts around Holly’s head, and Cal’s Intellecta glow (from his first sketch). I like that glow, but I did not want his white underpants, so Amber went for that jet-black look to polish it off. Well done, Amber, well done!

P.S. Holly is taller, but Cal still wins their sparring matches because Holly’s super-strength cannot harm him (the superoower-soulmate connection). Also, he has exponentially combined every martial art on the planet into Intellecta-karate.

P.P.S. I showed this to my former open mic guy and still friend Casey Wickstrom (guitarist, singer, yoga master). He said, “I hate him.” Casey is a Super Holly fan. He LIKE likes her. I need to put Casey into a Super Holly story.

New art: Kittygirl is RIPPING!!!

At the Powerhouse Comic Con in Pleasanton, I had two pieces of art done, and found the artist who drew Holly gut-punching Trump a year ago. A good day for artwork!

I saw Louie Manny’s art and LIKE liked it! I thought out loud something he could draw, and thought that Kittygirl might want to sharpen her claws. He pointed out a piece of art he had with two superheroines, one sitting and the other in another pose. We talked for a minute. He said maybe Kittygirl could be sharpening her claws while Holly is sitting in a chair. I paid him for this. I have never seen Kittygirl so happy.

And Tobe Daranouvong of villain-comic.com drew a little Kittygirl piece.

Here are Tobe and his little girl. She is the right age and look to play Kittygirl in a movie. But her claws have not grown out yet. (I showed her some upcoming art of Holly and Cal and she made a face: superwoman and batty guy kissing, ew icky! She liked Kittygirl.)

Do you remember my old post from a year ago when Holly punched Trump right in his big fat breadbasket? I finally met the artist again, and got his name and website: Brendon Metcalf and metcalfillustrations.com. Cough it up, Stumpfinger!

Guest blog from Emerian Rich: Kill Switch!

Here is a guest blog post from horror author and FIEND, I mean FRIEND, Emerian Rich!

New book from HorrorAddicts.net Press: Kill Switch!!!

As technology takes over more of our lives, what will it mean to be human, and will we fear what we’ve created? What horrors will our technological hubris bring us in the future?

Join us as we walk the line between progressive convenience and the nightmares these advancements can breed. From faulty medical nanos and AI gone berserk to ghost-attracting audio-tech and one very ambitious Mow-Bot, we bring you tech horror that will keep you up at night. Will you reach the Kill Switch in time?

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A sneak peek inside…

REMS
by TIM O’NEAL

“Just sign the liability waiver and we’ll get started. This should be a quick painless procedure.” Dr. Charles E. Windygate depressed the plunger, dispensing morphine into his patient’s IV on top of the local anesthesia already administered to his burned lower extremities.

“I trust you. Let’s get this done.” The patient, Larry Dougherty, scribbled his signature and handed the clipboard back without glancing at the print. A simple gold wedding band gleamed on his ring finger. Well-defined muscles rippled in his arms, chest, and torso, but his legs were an oozing blackened mess.

Moments later, Larry gave a loopy grin. “Gosh, I feel better already, Doc.” A fireman by trade, Larry had raced into a burning house to save a toddler trapped on an upper floor. Just as he’d reached the girl, the wooden floor had given way. As they’d fallen, Dougherty had clutched her to his chest, using his body to cushion the impact. When he’d awoken in the hospital, he’d learned his squad had dragged them out. The kid was completely unharmed, but third-degree burns covered his own legs.

Word traveled fast in a hospital and so Dr. Windygate had quickly learned about the fireman’s traumatic burns. Immediately after the man was admitted, Windygate had popped in to ask if he wanted to participate in an experimental wound debridement procedure. Given the chance to stop the immense pain and perhaps save his charred legs, Dougherty had readily accepted.

Sterile white fluorescent light blazed down, harshly illuminating the operating theater. It gleamed off the stainless-steel tables and counters, sparkled off the tile walls, and glinted off sharp, clean, surgical instruments. The hospital smelled of disinfectant and gauzy bandages. Floor polish tickled the nose like an alcohol-soaked cotton ball.

Dr. Windygate ignored the two young medical students standing by to assist—a tall Latina and a rather short, geeky male. He didn’t know their names. He didn’t care. They were only present to comply with hospital research policy, but this was his project, dammit! He’d spent a decade developing this technology on his own. He would not share the glory with just anyone, let alone two upstart medical students. If they cared about their careers in medicine, they’d stay well away and keep their mouths shut.

Dr. Windygate’s hands shook with excitement as he accepted the clipboard from Mr. Dougherty. If this new procedure was successful, he would make medical history, cementing his name in medical texts alongside Linus Pauling, Louis Pasteur, and Edward Jenner. He smirked, adjusting his tiny spectacles. He could almost taste the fame. To conceal his anticipation, he coughed twice and headed to the tiny surgical sink.

“You all set, my good man?” he called, lathering his hands.

“Ready when you are, Doc.”

“There’s absolutely nothing to worry about. Nope, nothing at all.” Returning to the bedside, Windygate snapped on sterile blue latex gloves.

“Do anything. I don’t care. Just fix my legs.”

Windygate shrugged away a dribble of nervous perspiration. “Yes, of course. I went to Oxford Medical. I’ve been practicing for twenty years. I’m perfectly relaxed, well-rested, and prepared for this. You’ve absolutely nothing to fear.”

Dougherty’s brow furrowed. He chuckled uneasily. “You trying to convince me or yourself, Doc?”

Windygate inhaled a deep breath, swelling his body like a balloon. “I’m just excited. It’s not every day I get to test out a new surgical technique, is it?” Grinning, he toyed with a scalpel. It gleamed and flashed.

The fireman frowned, considering. “Wait. New? How new?”

“Actually…you’ll be the first human subject. The waiver gave your consent to test this new wound debridement procedure. You still okay with that?”

“I guess,” Dougherty said slowly. “It has been tested though, right? On animals or something?”

“Oh goodness, yes.” Windygate nodded. “Thoroughly tried and tested in the veterinary setting with startling successes. Works in both theory and practice. I perfected it myself. I can assure you, it’s completely safe.”

“Let’s get on with it.”

“I’ll be using new robot technology to debride those burns and accelerate the healing.”

Dougherty propped himself on his elbows. “Robots? Really! Why didn’t you say so? What could be more precise than robots? Seems today’s new technology makes everything safer.”

Windygate gently pressed him back down. “Yes, quite. But, as with any new technology, it still requires a spot of testing. Hence, you.”

He turned to his instrument tray and picked up a squat clear plastic container filled with several hundred, small, white, beads. Twisting the lid, he broke the seal and retrieved a handful of the tiny smooth spheres. Carefully, he extended his cupped gloved hand.

“Take a look, but do be careful, they cost a thousand dollars apiece. My research grant paid for them and I do hope to re-use them.”

Dougherty leaned over, craning his neck. “Huh. They’re tiny. Don’t look scary at all! What are they?”

“I call them: Remote-controlled Electronic Maggots. REMs for short.”

“Maggots, ugh!” Dougherty recoiled, making a face.

“Nominally only, for how they break down the dead tissue like maggots. But never you worry, they’re entirely controlled by this remote. See?”

Windygate plucked a gray rectangular object about the size of a cell phone from his instrument tray. Its hard rubber face had six smooth, raised buttons—four blue directional arrows, one red square, and one green circle. He passed it to Dougherty.

“A remote control, eh? Like something my boys might drive their toy cars with.” He handed it back.

“Yes, but in case you have any residual worries, my REMs have two built-in failsafe mechanisms,” Windygate bragged. “The red button kills their power, immediately stopping them. Second, they work by sensing inflammatory biomarkers near the wound. If they’re not in contact with necrotic skin, they won’t move. Prevents them from damaging any healthy tissue. See, here on my glove, it doesn’t move at all. There’s nothing for it to do. But, when I put it on your leg, it activates.”

******************************************************

EDITED BY:

DAN SHAURETTE & EMERIAN RICH

STORIES BY:

H.E. ROULO, TIM O’NEAL, JERRY J. DAVIS, EMERIAN RICH, BILL DAVIDSON, DANA HAMMER, NACHING T. KASSA, GARRETT ROWLAN, DAPHNE STRASERT, PHILLIP T. STEVENS, LAUREL ANNE HILL, CHANTAL BOUDREAU, GARTH VON BUCHHOLZ

Available on Amazon!

big cheer and tiny jeer: Sinister Sugar Rush and Supergirl 4 finale

First, I won first prize in the San Mateo County Fair Literary Arts audio story division with my story, “The Sinister Sugar Rush!” Another Kittygirl story involving evil cupcakes, and two of my favorite villains, the cafeteria lunch ladies (who first appeared in “The Malevolent Mystery Meat”). I will post the audio story online soon. It was fun.

And now, a little jeer. Just a little. I will start by saying I like the Supergirl show. (SPOILER ALERT, sorta,) Season 4 had a great Lex Luthor, the achy-breaky-heartbreak of Supergirl losing her sister, a Russian Supergirl with that kewl accent, Braniac 5 becoming a total badass, and chunks of the public being stomach-churningly Trumpy. It was a fun ride with plenty of rollercoaster up and down. But the finale episode wrapped everything up way too optimistically (optimism is great, I like happy endings, but not so darn FAST! Racists won’t give up their hate just because Kara Danvers published one itty-bitty little article. In my future civil war story, the Stumper characters will be shown irrefutable truth that my villain Stumpfinger is a stupid criminal and a pathological liar (gee, where did I get that idea?) and maybe I will steal from Family Guy and make him “cash poor,” and they will still cling to their racism. Bring on the storm troopers, round up those awful aliens, leopards will never eat my face said the guy who voted for the leopards eating people’s faces party. And Congress invoking the 25th amendment? Nancy Pelosi wouldn’t invoke a parking ticket. She won’t fight the Rethuglican Congress unless she thinks she will win, and that is why she and the old Democrat leaders fail to do the right thing, every frakin’ time. As Snagglepuss told Huckleberry Hound, you don’t fight battles because you think you can win…

Tim Conway: storyteller!

Tim Conway passed away today. Since he played a superhero (Barnacle Boy on SpongeBob Squarepants), and since I believe Tim was one of the funniest performers on this planet, I wanted to mention him on my blog. I loved his characters on the Carol Burnett Show: my faves were the dentist, the old man, and Mr. Tudball (I still think Mr. Tudball was Swedish!). But did you know Tim Conway was a storyteller? Tim did plenty of comedy writing in his long career.  As a writer (mostly self-pubbed, but that counts), I’d give a couple of internal organs to be able to create a story about Siamese elephants that fast.

Super Holly would have loved Tim: she’d have laughed loud at his crazy comedy, and then kissed him hard.