Cal “The Intellectual” Critbert: first artwork! And more Kittygirl!

It was Free Comic Book Day yesterday. At Comics Conspiracy in Sunnyvale, I got two new pieces of artwork!

I asked Dave Law, artist on The Space Odditorium, to draw Super Holly’s boyfriend and soulmate, Cal Critbert. Cal has never been drawn before. I gave Dave a description from my stories: black body armor (built-in six-pack abs), cowl and black cape, the letter I for the chest logo, and Cal’s main power is super intelligence (yes, that is rather vague). I asked Dave to use his artistic sense. Especially with the cowl, I was unsure how to show super intelligence without turning Cal’s head into a goofy balloon (like the Wizard of the early Frightful Four). That circle on the cowl is intriguing! (A manifestation of super-intelligence? A mental antenna?) And that grim glare and spooky posture, Super Holly would LIKE-like that.

Leann Hill drew Kittygirl sassing Thanos. If Thanos had ever hurt Super Holly, Kittygirl would have gone mommy-cat-crazy and would have had Thanos’s Infinity Gauntlet with the hand still inside it. MRRRROWL, HISSSS!!! (I asked for the fangs as well as the claws.)

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R.I.P. Batton Lash, Super Holly’s first artist

I just read that Batton Lash, the artist who drew the cover of Super Bad Hair Day, has passed away. Super Holly Hansson is crying herself to sleep tonight.

On my page of Batton’s Super Holly artwork, see the evolution of Batton’s Holly artwork. Batton was a great artist: smart, classy, professional, experienced, and a nice guy. Oh, and he was a great writer too. Read Supernatural Law. I am richer for knowing him, if only at comic cons, and through emails. Holly and I will miss him.

Harlan Ellison and Steve Ditko

The late Harlan Ellison (fantasy writer) and Steve Ditko (comic book artist) each deserve a little credit.

Harlan won Hugo and Nebula awards for his stories. Harland had opening lines like, “When they unscrewed the time capsule, preparatory to helping temponaut Enoch Mirren to disembark, they found him doing a disgusting thing with a disgusting thing.” Don’t tell me you can stop reading there.

But Harlan deserves more credit for his essays. If you can read only one Ellison essay, read “Somehow, I Don’t Think We’re In Kansas, Toto,” in the book “Stalking the Nightmare.” Harlan tells the story of his script, “Phoenix Without Ashes,” degraded into a TV series called The Starlost. Those of you close to my age might remember that awful TV series; it looked like it spent $1.56 on special effects. Harlan tells how his pilot script was renamed to “Voyage of Discovery.” (I guess the producers were afraid the audience would get confused reading the word “phoenix”), and how they made an episode about giant bees. Harlan’s pilot script is about humanity on a gigantic space ark fleeing Earth’s destruction, and the crew were killed in an accident, and one man discovers that the ark will fly into a star within five years unless he finds the ark’s control room and gets it back on course. Harlan is on the phone to the idiots making the show, and…

“You’re building the control room?” I said, aghast with confusion and disbelief. “But you won’t need that till the last segment of the series. Why are you building it now?”

“Because you had it in your bible,” he explained.

“That was intended to show how the series ended, for God’s sake!” I admit I was screaming at this point. “If they find it first time out, we can all pack our bags and play an hour of recorded organ music!”

“No, no,” Davidson argued, “they still have to find the backup computer, don’t they?”

“Aaaaarghh,” I aaaaarghhed. “Do you have even the faintest scintilla of an idea what a backup control is?”

“Uh, I’m not certain. Isn’t it the computer at the back of the ship?”

“It’s a fail-safe system, you drooling imbecile, it’s what they use if the primary fails. The primary is the control… oh to hell with it!” I hung up.

If you want to write for TV or movies, you must read this essay. Must as in not doing so would be one of the few capital crimes in the Star Trek universe.

Steve Ditko was one of the greatest comic book artists of all time. His art made Spider-Man a star (along with Stan Lee’s writing to make a flawed, problem-plagued teenager a hero). But Ditko deserves more credit as a writer. For me, his jewel was Shade the Changing Man, a brief but bright star. In 9 issues (its run was cancelled due to DC axing a huge number of comics all at once), Ditko made an oppressive world vs. the one hero framed for murder, a world with strong women at a time when that was NOT usual. The scene where Shade’s former fiancée (and a cop tracking Shade down) sees that Shade saved her from the Area of Madness (not a place where you want to take photos) shows how a strong tough woman can still have a heart. And the names! Rac Shade! Mellu Loron! Sude: the Supreme Decider! The  Meta-Zone! The Zero-Zone! The M-Vest (M for Miraco)! I wish this story could have lived longer. It deserves a movie and a resolution. If you want to read it, buy the Steve Ditko Omnibus Volume One.

P.S. I read that Ditko plotted it and drew it, but another guy wrote the dialog. The Marvel method? Well,  that is Steve Ditko being a Stan Lee, and so I still give Ditko big writing credit.

P.P.S I admit that Ditko’s artwork influenced how Super Holly’s telekinesis manifests.

P.P.P.S. Yeah, I am late with this post, Ditko and Harlan passed months ago. But WordPress just told me that my blog is getting a spike in traffic. So now’s a good time.

Kittygirl loves wasabi ice cream artwork!

At Campbell Con, I had Nelson Kuang (instagram: BurntGreenTea) draw Kittygirl enjoying an ice cream cone and saying her favorite ice cream flavor. (That is the ice cream that Kittygirl likes in my short story, “The Fiendish Brain Freezer,” in my Super Bad Hair Day book on Kindle. Super Holly likes strawberry.) Nelson put Super Holly in there also, that was nice of him. I love this anime look! Dig those Kittygirl claws!

I am updating Super Bad Hair Day: don’t buy right now

I decided that my CreateSpace book needed to be at least 130 pages so I could have a proper book spine. I got it up to 140 with more short stories, an audio script, and some Super Holly artwork. I submitted a new Word page interior and a new PDF cover with a REAL SUPER SPINE with a REAL TITLE AND AUTHOR NAME on it! Yay! CreateSpace is currently reviewing my changes.

I will also update the Kindle book. That will likely take a few days. I am working full time, so this weekend is most likely.

So if you are thinking of buying my book, hold off. Soon you will get twice the bang for your buck. The Kindle version will stay at 99 cents, but I had to raise the CreateSpace price by 50 cents to $6.50. At least now, if you buy the CreateSpace version, you will get more of a real book.

Kittygirl’s first sketch!

At the San Francisco Comic Con today, I had Amber Padilla (her Tumblr) draw Kittygirl and Super Holly. That little verbal sparring is in their stories. And yes, I stole Wolverine’s claw sound, Kittygirl can claw through steel also. Amber added Kittygirl’s fannypack (she said it would be like her hero Holly’s) and those cute kittycat shoes. Kittygirl wore kittycat ears the first time she met Holly. I bought a few comics from Amber: Old Man Malo, Sugar Coated, and a little 8-pager: The Rescue. I like how Kittygirl gets on tippy-toe.

Thank you, Amber! You grok Kittygirl!