A complete short story!

On Facebook’s Concellation 2020, there was a thread from a Michele McCullough who said, “So… I’m a fat girl and thought it would be funny to cosplay Katniss Everdeen as Fatniss Everdeen.” And in the discussion, I mentioned my plus-size superheroine: Teri Silver, The Smiling Samurai. And Michele said she’d like to read it. So I posted it under my upcoming stories. Or you can click the link below. Read and (hopefully) enjoy.

https://davemstrom.wordpress.com/the-snoring-sword/

Crossover: Super Holly and Squirrel Girl!

Squirrel Girl’s comic book run recently ended with issue #50. (Very small spoiler: with the best Deus Ex Machina EVER!!!) Hot-headed Super Holly could learn from Squirrel Girl. Squirrel Girl often talks and empathizes her way out of a jam, while Holly tends to punch first and talk later. Super Holly would envy Squirrel Girl’s sensible costume, which likely never rode up.

She started out like this (drawn by the amazing Steve Ditko).

But after that, and before her Squirrel Girl series, she looked a bit more, ahem, superheroiny.

Maybe this happened because of my Super Holly Hansson and Squirrel Girl crossover short story, which I am posting right here, right now. Enjoy.

THE CAPITAL CITY OF LATVERIA. DOCTOR DOOM’S ROYAL CASTLE. HIS MAIN LABORATORY. A FRIDAY. 7:32 P.M., LATVERIAN TIME.

“I am Victor Von Doom,” said the armored man in the green hood and cape. “I do not know you. But you have trespassed into my kingdom. I shall deal with you later.”

Super Holly Hansson’s neck muscles tensed at the most bloodcurdlingly threatening (yet polite) voice she had ever heard! But she was not going down without a fight, along with heroic superheroine battle banter! “When I’m at Starbucks having coffee with a delightful, lighthearted, and smart superheroine and computer geek, and she starts vanishing in a teleportation beam, did you not think that I would hug her to go along for the ride so I could punch out the jerk who kidnapped her?” Holly GRRED and SNARLED and ROWLED as she punched the walls of her telephone-booth size force-field cell: POW POW POW POW POW POW POW POW POW POW!!!

OW. Holly stopped punching, puffed steam out her nose, flexed her fingers, and watched her bloody knuckles do the fast-healing thing. She hadn’t made the slightest dent on the transparent force field. This Von Doom guy knew his business. All during Holly’s punching and snarling, Doom’s cold steely eyes behind his scary iron mask stayed locked on Holly’s. He hadn’t batted an eyelash.

His contempt bathed Holly’s soul in liquid nitrogen. “And did you not think that my teleporter would sense your presence, analyze your powers, and deposit you into an appropriate holding cell?” He turned his back on Holly and walked toward the laboratory table upon which Squirrel Girl was strapped with thick steel cuffs on her wrists, ankles, waist, and neck. Above her was a glowing panel as big as the lab table.

Holly had complemented Squirrel Girl on her sensible supersuit: green vest jacket, tan pants, boots, and shirt. And pockets. But no cape, spandex, exposed belly button, plunging neckline, or rising buttline. Squirrel Girl looked at Doom like a teacher looking at a willfully stupid student. “Victor, this is too mad scientist even for you. Do you want to talk about it?”

Doom’s armored hand grasped a large dial on the control panel. “Share your next bit of empathy carefully, Doreen Green, it will be your last.”

He slowly turned the dial clockwise. The panel bathed Squirrel Girl in pink light.

No, NO!!! Holly punch-punch-punched and kick-kick-kicked and headbutt-butt-butted the force field! “STOPPIT YOU FRAKIN’ BULLY, OR I’LL PEEL THAT TIN SUIT OFF YOU AND STUFF IT UP YOUR—”

“Super Holly Hansson,” Squirrel Girl yelled, “manage your anger!” Holly stopped punching and stared at her new friend. Doreen stared back with annoyance. “This light doesn’t hurt, it just tickles a little. Could you try talking instead of threatening?”

Holly growled, “Sorry. But once upon a time, a big bullying villain strapped ME to a table and bathed ME with green lutefisk radiation! I almost lost my lunch. And my life!”

Squirrel Girl smiled sweetly, her eyes seemed a little out of focus. “Aw! Did the big strong super lady get an upset tummy?”

What the FRAK was that? Then Holly saw it. Squirrel Girl’s sensible short pants were getting shorter, shorter. Her shirt’s neckline… Holly hissed! It was plunging downward! Holly screamed at Doctor Doom, “WHAT THE FRAK ARE YOU DOING TO HER?!?!”

Doctor Doom casually cast his gaze upon Holly. His iron mask matched his voice: dismissive contempt. “I am converting the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl,” he turned away from Holly and slowly turned the dial again, “to a standard superheroine that I can easily defeat. One that is… beatable.”

Holly stared in horror as Squirrel Girl’s shorts both crept up her hips and melded with her shirt, Doreen was gonna get supersuit wedgie! Squirrel Girl’s waist narrowed, her legs lengthened, her chest (more and more exposed because her spandex and fur supersuit’s V-neckline slowly crept toward her belly button) expanded and deepened into… NO! Holly remembered her favorite Batman t-shirt (signed by Adam West!) being ripped asunder when her superpowers first manifested, along with her former A-cups super-sizing into… Holly pounded her unstoppable fists on immovable force field again! “NO NO NO NO NOOOOOOO!!!”

A gasp like the coo of a winded dove: “Holly… stop.” Holly forced herself to stop punching. Squirrel Girl’s wonderful, sweet, smart, computer geek girl face was now pouty-pink-plump-lipped and high-cheek-boned and big-mascara-eyed and pixie-nosed! Lips that fanboys would long to smooch whispered, “Find… his… pain.”

Holly wanted with all her super heart to scream, FIND?!?! I WANNA GIVE HIM PAIN!!! But Squirrel Girl’s eyes pleaded so hard that Holly said, “Victor, why? Why destroy what she is? Why erase her essence?”

Doctor Doom let go of the dial. Squirrel Girl was still bathed in that horrible pink light, her face getting princess pretty. Doom turned to Holly, his green cape ominously fluttering. His unyielding stance, iron mask, and burning unblinking gaze focussed on her like a battleship gun. “I have beaten the Fantastic Four. The Avengers. The Silver Surfer. The world-devouring Galactus. I often battle the devil himself to a standstill. But Squirrel Girl beats me. Defeats me. That humiliates me. That I shall not allow.”

Holly kept her voice even. “You seem like an alpha villain. You even run a country. In my world, the most powerful supervillain does that. He was first motivated by hatred of the fanboys who humiliated him. But he came to see that his hate weakened him, so instead—”

Doom finished for her. “He loved and protected his country. As do I. As for Squirrel Girl, she will soon closely resemble you. Except for your prominent nose. Like you, Doreen will soon be more prominent… elsewhere.”

Holly forced herself not to flare up! “Do you kiss your mother with that mouth?”

“My mother,” said Doctor Doom, “is in Hell. Someday I shall free her. I do not battle the devil because I like the smell of brimstone.”

And Holly knew Doom’s pain, for she had the same pain in her heart. “I lost my mommy. But I try to honor her memory. And now you fight dirty, underhanded, and outright sexist, just to defeat an opponent. What would your mother say?”

It was not easy, staring down Doctor Doom. Holly dared not let her gaze flicker, even as the shadows on Doom’s iron mask made it a glowering skull of death, and his cape darkened into a green thundercloud, and his armored body seemed to restrain itself from hurling all his scientific and magical power at Holly in one galaxy-vaporizing bolt.

Seconds agonizingly crawled by.

Doctor Doom turned his back on Super Holly. He grasped the dial and turned it hard over, counter-clockwise.

The pink light stopped. Sexy Squirrel Girl and her skimpy supersuit morphed back to normal and practical. The metal bands strapping her to the lab table opened. She sat up, hopped off the table, hugged Doctor Doom, and said, “I’m sorry for your mom.”

Doom aimed his metal gauntlet at the pink light panel and blasted it into scrap. “I give you my word that I shall never do that again. When next we meet, Doreen,” and Holly could have sworn that Doom’s iron mask smiled, “I expect you to be unbeatable again.”

Squirrel Girl smiled at him. “You too, Victor.”

FIVE MINUTES LATER. A STARBUCKS NEAR DOREEN’S COLLEGE. A TABLE NEAR A WINDOW.

Holly took a big gulp of her yummy super-large banana iced mocha. “My supersuit isn’t tight, it’s snug. And I admit it, talking it out can work better than punching it out.”

Doreen smacked her lips after a swallow of peanut-butter mocha. “Yeah, but sometimes punching works too…” She sniff-sniff-sniffed. Her eyes widened. Her big bushy tail rose up and twitched. “Uh oh!”

Through the window, Super Holly saw a man marching toward the Starbucks and wearing a red high-collared cape, dull blue shirt and boots and swimsuit-shorts, and tight red pants. Hordes of young ladies marched behind him, gazing at him like he was THE Greek God of Hot Handsome Sexiness. His head was that of a chimpanzee (or was it gorilla?) with a huge-jawed sexist smile. He howled, “I, The Mandrill, need that tall, hot, sexy, blue-clad and red-caped buxom and leggy blonde babe to join my ferocious female fighters as my second-in-command, where she will lust for me with all her mind, soul, and incredibly super-stacked body!”

Holly put her elbows on the table and her head in her hands. “You know this guy?”

Squirrel Girl leaped to her feet. “Unfortunately I do! You got a gas mask in that yellow hip purse?”

Holly slowly stood from her chair, shook her slightly fuzzy head, and admired that ape guy. She sighed, “You know, for a guy with a lower primate cranium, that Mandrill isn’t bad looking.”

Squirrel Girl’s face got all up in Super Holly’s with a shout, “TAKE A DEEP BREATH AND HOLD IT! RIGHT NOW!!!

Holly did. Her head cleared. Okay, that monkey man looked a teeny bit hot, but he was a helluva lot more sexist!

Squirrel Girl turned toward that ape guy and put up her dukes. “The Mandrill has pheromones that can enslave females. I can counter that with my personal musk! Like this!” Her tail rubbed under her nose. “Holly, how long can you hold your breath?”

Holly grabbed a napkin, grabbed an autograph pen from her purse, and wrote, “15 minutes easy!”

Doreen smiled like a hungry boxer, her two big front teeth looking like they could gnaw through a battleship! “Plenty of time! I’ll do the battle banter.” She ran out of the Starbucks and toward the Mandrill and yelled, “Eat nuts and kick butts!”

Holly flew after her. Great catchphrase, so much shorter than my “Give up or get beaten up by a girl!”

P.S. I know you want this.

Story Critique: The Peril of the Purloined Powers, part 1!

I had fun with my Batman fan fiction (His Biggest Fan is finished, just needs a little editing). So I decided to write more fanfic. I can actually sell the story whose start I post below because the character I use is public domain. (I am working on The Comic Book Code novel also, stop hounding me! Well, someone could start hounding me and then stop.)

I took the start of my upcoming story, The Peril of the Purloined Powers, to my critique group last Saturday. I added their comments in [bold and in brackets]. I did not put my edits into the story posted here, but I did edit my original copy accordingly. Any of my blog readers are welcome to comment as well. I should mention that I value feedback from writers above all others.

SUPER HOLLY HANSSON IN: THE PERIL OF THE PURLOINED POWERS!

SHHHTHOOOOK! Again, the ear-popping sound of the dimensional portal spitting me out like a bad oyster [nice]. Sunny sky and buildings and streets kaleidoscoped around me like I was in a blender. [smiley face, nice image]

KERWHUMP!!! Again, I smacked hard on Terra Firma. I could take it, being super-strong, but I was gonna tell my super-intelligent boyfriend that I wanted softer landings.

Fifty feet directly above me in the bright sunny sky was a whirling multi-colored disk of light. I did not have to crane my neck to see it, since I was flat on my back. I thought a farewell as it vanished: See you in a week. [?]

Time to get my bearings. I tapped the FIND MOMMY app on my e-bracelet [throw-away—you’ve dropped this and left it without reaction to whatever it’s supposed to do] and stood up in the foot-deep crater I’d gouged into the dirt-paved [oxymoron?] road. The air was warm, dry, and dusty. Horses pulled carriages with a CLOP CLOP CLOP. Brick and mortar buildings lining the street were grey and sepia, like when TV shows show the audience, [perceptive] See, it’s the past, because everything is sepia! If it was the future, everything would be chrome!

[paragraph is good imagery and description] Dozens of sidewalk pedestrians ogled me. Their clothes were right out of Victorian London: brown tweedy suits and ties, itchy-looking shirts, suspenders, bowler hats, vests, and how did that woman stand wearing a hoop skirt that could house a family of four? One older man with a handlebar mustache craned his head toward me, his monocle popped out, and he blurted, “Aye, there, missy, yew’re showin’ way more ankle than is propah!” [He’s rich, so not the right accent or vocals.] A dozen dirty and ragged street kids pointed at me and laughed: “HAW HAW HAW, th’ circus is in town!” One mouth-breathing man’s eyes bugged at me until his girlfriend hooked his arm and yanked him down the street: “Come along, ‘erbert, and put yer bloomin’ eyes back in yer ‘ead!”

[over the top descriptions really work] Wow, those English accents would launch Henry Higgins’ head into orbit. My clothes were right out of a comic book: blue supersuit and red cape, why dress to blend in when I had no idea what parallel world I was going to visit? I guessed these people had never seen superheroine legs before, but at least they didn’t mention—

“WHEE-EEE-EEE-EEE!!! PUH PUH, P-P-PUHHHH!!!” Horse spittle splattered the side of my face, YUCK! I turned to face a snorting, snuffling, head-shaking beast that made a Clydesdale look like a pony. I stepped back, although that beast could not hurt my stronger-than-steel body. That horse was hitched to a wheeled giant safe of a carriage.

“Aye, yew or!” A gurgly gravelly bellow. I’d always felt horses had dinosaur brains, and the driver atop that carriage was a match for his steed: [good description] tall and wide, fatty muscle burly, bulbous broken nose, sweaty greasy face looking to do a beat-down to end all beat-downs. “Git yer balloony bosom offa dah street! I gotta delivery, YEW OR!” [Do they all have the same accent? Accents are all over the place. This guy sounds like a pirate and miner 49er. (the funniest comment yet! I did edit the accents, but I still kept some Cockney. And I love writing phonetically, but it must be done carefully, it can get out of control fast.)]

GRR, why does sexism have to spill into every dimension? And ‘or’ what— HEY! My blood boiled in a nanosecond! Steam blasted out my nose! I put my hands on my hips and bellowed back at the bully, “Take that back, you frickin’ frakin’ pile of rancid Yorkshire pudding!”

The driver’s face flushed red. Spittle flew from his big fat mouth: “Stomp ‘er, Nessie!”

“WHINNNYYY!!! PUH PUH PUH!!!” The horse reared up and bashed its hooves on me. That didn’t budge or hurt someone who could juggle army tanks, but it was annoying [cute!]. “Quit it, you dumb brute— GLUK!” BLEH, hoof in mouth!SPIT, SPLUT, what have you been stepping in?” STOMP, KICK, STOMP STOMP! “I said, QUIT IT!” STOMP, KICK KICK! “Okay, I warned you!” Screw PETA, I wound up my right-hook, and POW!

WHUMP! Just like in Blazing Saddles, the horse hit the street like a ton of horseburger. The driver scrambled off of his coach and to his unconscious engine. “OY! Giddup, Nessie! GIDDUP!” He kicked it. “OWWWWW!!!”

I thought about clobbering the thug who was hopping on one foot, but his attempt to waken his equestrian elephant had put more pain into him than I cared to inflict.

Men in old-time police uniforms and English Bobby helmets (right down to the front-and-center helmet badges) swarmed about me and the carriage. “Ello, ello, ello! Whut’s all this, then?”

One Bobby took a hard look at the carriage driver. “Aye, ‘arry! Stomping ladies ain’t legal!”

Another Bobby put his reassuring hand on my shoulder. I was happy to see his eyes firmly upon mine, his mind was all-business. “Are yew all right, Missy?”

I grasped his hand on my shoulder and turned that into a handshake. “I’m fine, thank you. Need any help?”

The Bobbies near the carriage were not doing so fine. “Oy! The door’s locked up tight!” “It’s thick steel!” “Whut contraband you draggin’ today, ‘arry?”

The thug’s thick lips curled as the Bobbies handcuffed him. “Nunna yer business.”

Well, as long as I was here… I walked over and gave the carriage door a yank. It flew off its hinges. I smiled at the Bobbies. “Remember, just what’s in plain sight.”

Bobbies scrambled inside. “We ‘it the jackpot!”

The Bobby whose hand I had shaken put his hands on his belly and laughed loud. “HAW HAW HAW!!! Inspector Lestrade will want to see yew!”

LESTRADE? I gawked at the street sign. BAKER STREET? I grabbed the Bobby’s shoulders. “Yes, I promise I’ll see him, I will I will! But…” I spotted a number on one of the buildings. The 200 block! YES! “I just gotta see HIM!”

With a slight frown, the Bobby followed my anxious eyes down the street. “Oh. ‘im. ‘E works with Lestrade sometimes. Run along, but see Lestrade soon.”

“Thanks!” My cape fluttered as I ran down the street and past gawkers! 201, a flower shop… 209, a bakery… 215, an accountant office… THERE! 221 Baker Street!

I twisted the doorknob, yanked the door open, strode inside, and slammed the door behind me: WHAMMMM!!!

Oops. I checked the door. No damage. I had to remember that the 18th century might be fragile. I looked up the stairway. I stepped once, twice, thrice… I CAN’T WAIT! I literally flew up the stairs, made sure to land gently, and knocked on the door emblazoned with a “B.”

An intellectual voice, perfect diction, sounded SO MUCH like Jeremy Britt! “Watson! Kindly open the door for the tall young woman with super-strength and the power of flight, and who works with law enforcement!”

The door opened to reveal, just like in A Study in Scarlett, a thirtyish man of the medical type, but the air of a military man. The apartment behind him was littered with chemistry tubes, stacks of books, and a bullet hole in the sofa. His eyes widened as he grinned at me. “My, my! Come in, young lady! You are?”

I strode in, grasped his hand, and pumped it. “Super Holly Hansson! Doctor John Watson, I presume? I’m a huge fan of…” I adjusted my thoughts to the proper author, Watson was real here! “YOUR writing!”

Watson patted my hand. “Thank you. But I suspect I am not the one you came to see. Holmes?”

The sight of Sherlock Holmes standing by a window and bathed in sunlight triple-somersaulted my fangirl heart! He scrutinized the street like a cat looking to pounce upon a crime. He had a couple of inches over my six-foot-one, but he was so lean that he seemed even taller. He turned and scanned me, his sharp eyes not at all unkind. His thin nose was bird-of-prey beaky, like mine. His hair, what showed under his deerstalker hat [why is he wearing a hat indoors?], was perfectly trimmed. He wore a long overcoat and comfy-looking shoes. His heroic chin was resolutely square. Basil Rathbone? Jeremy Britt? No, THE Sherlock Holmes nodded at me! “How may I help you?”

I wished I had a copy of The Hound of the Baskervilles that he and Watson could sign! But I’d love this: “Please, Mr. Holmes, tell me how you deduced all that about me!”

[Change to make the dialog more Holmesian.] Holmes chuckled to himself a moment. “Watson and I were observing the armored carriage from this window, when we glimpsed a disk of light in the sky from which you shot like a cannonball into the street. Then you stood up and casually brushed yourself off. Watson’s professional diagnosis was that you must be strong as steel. [show don’t tell] I heartily [Holmes usually doesn’t use felling words] agreed. Then you pulled the door off that armored carriage. [expand this, it’s interesting] The instinct of a civilian would be to step back and let the police do their business, but you helped them as though you were on the job. Then [then circled] you ran toward my address. The downstairs door slammed brutally. Then [then circled] a moment of silence, as though someone regretted overuse of strength. Then [then circled] three footsteps, then a pause of one second, then a knock upon my door. There are precisely seventeen steps leading up to my flat. Barring [would he use that word?] a superhuman leap up the staircase that would have resulted in a thud near my door, which did not occur, I theorize that in addition to your power of strength, you also have the power of flight. If you will indulge me?” [circled indulge, but I’m keeping it.]

I levitated a few inches off the floor. “How’s this?”

Watson clapped and laughed. “Bravo, Holmes!”

Holmes waved his hand dismissively. “Elementary, my dear Watson. My dear Holly, your trip through that other-worldly gateway must have been disorienting, or you would have attempted a softer landing.”

I landed on the hardwood floor and giggled. “You would not believe how dizzying dimension-hopping is, thank god I didn’t smash anyone on impact— HUH?!?!” My jaw dropped. “How did you guess that?”

Holmes’ eyes gleamed with steely impatience. [too easy] “I never guess. That gold band on your left wrist that projects an image of a woman twice your age? Your boots and hip purse, made of shiny tough substances neither cloth nor leather? Technologies too advanced for this world. Watson, the disk of light from which Holly fell, what did you observe on its other side?”

Watson’s eyebrows shot up and his eyes widened, giving his normally intelligent face an uncomfortable resemblance to Nigel Bruce. “Why, nothing!”

Holmes raised a long finger in triumph. “Quite so! But surely Holly came from somewhere. My friend Professor Challenger gave a lecture last year on the possibility of parallel worlds. I read his research.” His gaze intensified on me like an analytical cobra. “Fascinating.”

I was grinning like a schoolgirl with a crush on teacher. “Yes. You’re a fictional character in my world. But you are still called the world’s greatest detective.” I looked at the hologram above my e-bracelet and swallowed a lump in my throat. “Holmes, can you help me find my mommy?”

TO BE CONTINUED!

[Very enjoyable. Now I know how important it is to know all the characters in a fan fiction. You had eliminated a lot of the sound / noise and that made it easier for me to understand the plot.] (I think this means the sound effects I toss in, like POW and SKAPLATT and BTT-KER-THOOOM!!! I intend to keep them in my stories, but I agree they should be spices, not the main course.)

[From our fearless leader, who has read a lot of Holly stories: I think it is well-written, but admittedly the first-person POV (point-of-view) is throwing me, mostly because it is not as smooth as the normal narrator you have.] (I will still try for first-person in this story. I usually try for close third POV, but since Conan Doyle always wrote Watson in first person, I would like to do Holly that way as well for this story. I wrote one other Holly story in first person some years ago, and it worked well enough. I will see how the story goes, I can alway rewrite if need be.)

 

David Reiss’s Doctor Fid trilogy is complete! Buy it!

Fellow author and friend David Reiss has completed his trilogy about Doctor Fid, alpha-supervillain on a hero’s journey. I cannot recommend this trilogy highly enough. So I will pay it my highest compliment: a Doctor Fid and Super Holly crossover! (Written with David’s permission and his excellent advice, for he knows his villain better than anyone.) I set this crossover, which Doctor Fid left out of his personal log, in book 3, Starfall.

SEASIDE CITY, CALIFORNIA. THE SUPERHERO SCIENCE LAB. EARLY AUGUST. A FRIDAY. 11:22 A.M.

My fingers blurred on the dimensional control panel and my super-intelligent mind roiled like when I—Cal “The Intellectual” Critbert—had watched the recently discovered director’s cut of Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho; the first sentence of my resulting review was “Triple the tension, quadruple the suspense!” But now, my mind did not roil in a good way. On the control panel, a stretching progress bar assaulted my retinas with a bright red glow indicating an approaching unknown power that could level three city blocks… four blocks… five… six…

Twenty five feet away, a ten-foot-wide vortex kaleidoscoped faster and faster. In all the movies I have reviewed over the years, dimensional portals were never so showy. Or so nasty. When this vortex had popped into existence twenty two seconds ago, it had knocked out every guard and scientist in this lab. I was unhurt, thanks to my inky black, cowled and caped, built-in-six-pack-abs Intellecta-body armor. Excellent for my night job as a superhero, but no match for whatever would pop out of the portal in five point two seconds.

I checked my Intellecta-phone’s map app. A blue dot moved toward my black dot. Impact in one minute, nine point eight seconds. I drew my Intellecta-gun, set it to Harry-Headbutt-buster blaster, and frowned at the futility of that. I faced the portal and adjusted my stance to maximize my scary grimness.

With a flash like lightning and a sound of thunder—KRAKRRROOOOOOOMMM!!!—an eight-foot-tall super-armored man burst through the portal. His posture and balance were perfect. The blackness of that armor outdid my own, absorbing ambient light like a demonic black hole. The armor glowed red at the joints and was speckled with a thousand points of light. Stars? I did not recognize any constellations. But I did recognize the boomerang-blaster-back-to-its-source energy readings from that armor. I holstered my gun.

The armored man spoke, my Intellecta-hearing recognizing that the voice was computer-modulated for even-tempered intimidation frosted with contempt. “A hero. I should have known.” He turned slightly and—even though his helmet had no facial features whatsoever—I could somehow sense when his attention locked upon me. “My name is Doctor Fid and you have diverted me from my mission.”

I put Intellecta-speed into my finger-dancing on the control panel. “My apologies. Your passage through the portal created a overload. I must make immediate adjustments to prevent a multi-dimensional implosion.”

Eight feet of gleaming metal intimidation floated closer. “As my world’s smartest and greatest supervillain, I have far more experience in such matters. Step away from the control panel.” He pointed a glowing finger right between my eyes. “Your body armor is no match for my MK 47 heavy-combat armor.”

I glanced at my phone and back to Doctor Fid. I had to smile. “I don’t need combat armor. I have a Holly.”

Doctor Fid’s faceless head cocked curiously. “A Holly?”

BRAKKOOOOOOOW!!! A six-foot-one, blue-supersuited, blonde amazon meteored through a thick steel-and-concrete lab wall, leading with a super-strong right fist. That fist, surrounded by a six-foot-wide transparent telekinetic blue boxing glove, super-sledgehammered Doctor Fid. He hurtled across the lab and embedded two feet deep into yet another steel-and-concrete wall.

Super Holly Hansson alighted next to me and kissed my cheek, ah, her sweet strawberry scent. “Sorry I’m late. I had to dodge a couple of 747s.”

I typed faster. “Holly, Doctor Fid’s armor,” I nodded at the armored man, “badly affected the dimensional portal.”

Like a cat checking out a maybe-dead mouse for the slightest twitch, Super Holly scowled at Doctor Fid. “How bad can it be?”

The portal glowed brighter as its ominous hum slowly went up the scale. “Imagine it swallowing Seaside City and spitting it out halfway across the galaxy. Into another dimension. That is the best case scenario.”

KERRRRONK!!! Doctor Fid had flexed free of the wall’s rocky embrace. He thrust out his right hand. In that hand appeared a baseball-bat-size rod that had the same color scheme as his armor. He aimed the rod at Holly and floated toward me. “Last warning. Stand aside.”

My movie critic side surfaced. “The metaphor of that rod is unmistakable.”

Holly put her red-caped back to me. Her tall, super-strong body tensed into heavyweight boxer. “Cal, you know I hate those metaphors almost as much as I hate crucifix cliches. Stay behind me.” She inserted herself between the control panel and Doctor Fid. “As for you, tall, dark, and gruesome, come any closer and the mightiest super on Earth, namely me, will get a can opener and—”

KAAZOOOOOWWW!!! The rod’s blinding concussive force blast howitzered Holly through even yet another lab wall. Good thing I had designed this lab to stay standing even if seventy nine percent of it was pulverized. Doctor Fid walked toward me, the rod vanishing back to whatever little pocket dimension he had summoned it from. “We have fifty two seconds left.”

I sighed. “You shouldn’t have done that. It’ll just make her mad.”

ZOOM!!! A blonde and blue missile warheaded upon Doctor Fid and jackhammered punches and kicks. “YOU FRIKIN’ FRAKIN’ FRIKITY SON OF A FRIKIN’ FRAK!!!”

Doctor Fid blocked every blow with a skill to rival the Karate Queen. His moves were too quick, too precise. Probably his armor’s programming. He said, “I suppose I will have to hit you in your weak spot.”

The stars on the armor’s faceplate glowed brighter and swirled into a glittering, hypnotic rainbow that lighthouse-beamed onto Holly’s startled face. A deep thrumming emanated from the armor, matching the flashing faceplate.

Holly’s wide eyes magnetized at Doctor Fid’s faceplate. Her boxer-posed arms dropped and hung like noodles. Her eyelids slowly lowered, her mouth gaped open… and then she snarled, “STOPPIT,” and headbutted Doctor Fid: KLONK!!!

He crashed onto the floor next to me. He stood up, brushed himself off, and turned his faceless face to me. “Mental shields?”

I nodded. “Taught her myself.”

Doctor Fid nodded. “I’m impressed.” He placed a small black and red disc on the control panel. “This will fix your problem.” He glanced at Holly, who was shaking cobwebs out of her head with a “B-B-B-B-B-B-B-B!!!” He sighed. “Your portal problem, at least.”

“Thank you.” I shook his armored hand and sneaked a small disc of my own onto his armor. “Keep your guard up on your left.”

“So, great intellects do think alike,” he said, and floated toward Holly. His voice turned its alpha-supervillain contempt up to eleven. “Bah! I fixed your portal merely so that I can have yet another dimension to make my own!” His fists glowed red, but it was his voice that pushed Holly’s buttons. “Once I vanquish its mightiest hero, the rest will fall like dominoes!”

Holly faced Doctor Fid, her fists up, her teeth bared, her blue eyes ablaze, and I needed to lecture her about falling for melodramatic villainy. She spat out, “The FRAK you will! And mind control is fighting dirty!”

Doctor Fid hovered within boxing range of Holly. He put up his dukes. “That was more of a tranquilizer beam. Works best on soft minds. Have at thee?”

They went at it, their arms like super-jackhammers: POW POW POW POW POW POW POW POW POW POW POW POW POW POW POW POW POW POW POW POW!!!!!! I glanced down at the control panel. Well well, Fid’s disc did it! The control panel display showed that the portal was stabilizing nicely.

I glanced up at the super-heavyweight championship of two intersecting dimensions. I noted that this time, Doctor Fid’s moves were not computer generated, but very human. He seemed to relish the challenge of fighting the most powerful superhero in this dimension. He landed more blows than Holly, but she stubbornly did not yield a millimeter. POW POW POW POW POW POW POW POW POW POW POW POW POW POW POW POW POW POW POW POW!!!!!! My Intellecta-hearing easily picked up the snark in his battle banter: “Take that, hero! And that, and that! Ha ha, evil triumphs because good is clumsy!”

I glanced at my Intellecta-phone. As expected, the disc I had slipped onto Fid’s armor could not penetrate his armor’s firewalls. But it had gleaned a record of his recent actions, and his mini-biography, and his current mission… oh. OH!

I put Intellecta-authority into my yell: “Holly! Cease and desist! AT ONCE!!!”

“GRRRR!!!” said Holly as she wiped blood from her split lip. She shoved hard with both hands, and two five-foot-tall blue hands pushed Doctor Fid back. She gave me a look that made me grateful she did not have heat vision lest she drill a hole to the Earth’s core. She barked, “WHAT?!?!”

I held out my phone. “You really need to see this.”

Holly snapped at Doctor Fid, “You stay put!” She zoomed over to me, yanked the phone out of my hand, and grumbled, “What is so frakin’ important…” She blinked at the phone. “that I have to…” Her big blue eyes lost their fire, going soft and liquid. “to…” A tear ran down her cheek. “Oh.” She turned those big blues to Doctor Fid. “You poor thing!”

ZOOM! She flew to Doctor Fid. WHUMP! And engulfed him in a hug. She super-blubbered, “I have a dear little fangirl whom I love too! SOB!!!

Fascinating. Doctor Fid, mightiest supervillain of his world, super genius, fearless and arrogant, suddenly had no idea what to do. His hands fidgeted, his awkward discomfort was palpable. He must have realized that his goal here was accomplished and that we did not intend to hinder his progress, for he managed a pat to Holly’s back, a gesture like a toddler carefully shaping his first mud pie. “Apology accepted.”

They both floated over to land next to me. Holly broke the hug and forced her lower lip to stop trembling. Her eyes were two oceans of empathy. “Is there anything I can do to help?”

Doctor Fid’s faceplate betrayed no emotion. “You can be the superhero that your world needs.” His voice turned stern. “You are reckless!” And then respectful. “But you have the heart of a true hero.”

Holly wiped her eyes with her cape, and smiled warmly at Doctor Fid. “I am beginning to think the latter of you, mister scary supervillain.”

I could have sworn that a smile flitted across Doctor Fid’s faceplate. He grabbed my disc off his armor and handed it to me. “Trade you.”

I handed him the disc off the control panel. Doctor Fid floated up and backed into the completely stabilized portal. “Goodbye, Holly. Learn from him. I respect his intellect.” And Doctor Fid was gone.

Super Holly sighed deeply and gazed wistfully at the portal, which vanished. “Good luck, Doctor Fid.” Then a happy little pout pursed her lips. She turned to me. Her voice was a cat meowing for petting. “Cal? Have you thought about upgrading your armor?”

It was hard to keep from laughing. I reared up to Dracula posture. “I thought you liked the Batman look.”

She wrapped her arms around my neck. “I love it. But maybe a little blacker?” She pecked my lips with a quick kiss: “MMM-WAH! And some stars? MMM-WAH! And glowing joints? MMM-WAH!

I smirked at her. “And a big rod?”

Holly smirked back. “Ew.”

Sept 14 I will perform and sell/sign Super Holly books at Half Price Books

At Half Price Books, 39152 Fremont Hub, Fremont, CA, on Saturday Sept 14 2-4pm, I will be talking about my book, Super Holly Hansson in Super Bad Hair Day. I will perform a couple of stories, tell how all this nonsense evolved from The DaVinci Code, how Super Holly evolved into a superheroine, how Cal “The Intellectual” evolved into a movie critic, how I started at open mics, and so on. When I perform, I will play royalty free background music. Mostly classical.

I attach the flyer in PDF and JPG. If you are near Fremont this Saturday, come on by. I have 15 books to sell. (I wish I had more, even though I have never sold that many in one sitting. If I sell out, I can point them to my Kindle book.)

P.S. That’s right, I am an author. Now you gotta treat me with RESPECT!

FAW HPB Sept 2019 Dave Strom flyer <– download PDF

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!