RIP Stan Lee. Humans entertain, gods bore.

A bright light has gone out in the world. I was but a kid when Spider-Man and Fantastic Four were first published. Compared to DC Comics at the time, Stan’s characters were more flawed, more human, more fun. Super Holly Hansson is the Superman of my writing world, but she is not a perfect boy scout. She is a geek girl with a short fuse. Lesson learned.

John Trumbull ran an article a while ago that showcased Lee’s dialog when some of the jerkier fanboys would say it was ALL Kirby and ALL Ditko and Stan just took all the credit. In the article, John showed a panel from Fantastic Four, Lee’s writing and Kirby’s art.

And one from New Gods, Kirby’s writing and art.

Have I mentioned that one way to have Super Holly Hansson give you a fat lip is to call her a goddess? Putting “Gods” in a title puts me off. Fellow writers tell me that they like how Holly is “very human.”

On Stan Lee’s Fresh Air interview, he asked Terry Gross to imagine a monster: 12-feet tall, purple skin, breathing fire, two heads. In the 1960s, a typical superhero would have said, “A creature from another world – I’d better capture him before he destroys the city.” Spider-Man might say, “Who’s the nut in the Halloween costume?” Stan said he tried to do dialogue that represented the way real, flesh and blood, three-dimensional people would talk. What better writing advice can I get?

Stan loved making original sound effect words: “btkooom” (the third O is, of course, silent) and “PFZZAKT” (a bullet going through a wall). I have been a little lax with crazy original sound words lately, but I admit that I still love Harry Headbutt punching Super Holly and then she clobbers him with five: THOOM! POW POW POW POW POW!!! THOOM! POW POW POW POW POW!!!

Stan said he used those fun alliterative names (Peter Parker, Bruce Banner, Reed Richards, Sue Storm) because he had a bad memory. I use them too, I like their sound: Holly Hansson, Katsuko Kimura, Cal Critbert, and my favorite: Harry Headbutt! (Nice when the name says a bit about the character.)

P.S. I was going to have a Stan Lee type character in my stories: Dan Mann. But I already have three older men in Super Holly’s life: her Uncle Pops, Bennie the rubber cop, and Lash the barber. So I am gender-flipping Dan Mann into Fran Lee. When I FINALLY finish The Comic Book Code, Fran will be the head of a Marvel-type company who publishes Holly’s graphic novel, The Last Super. She will know comic book history. She’ll be Jewish. And she will have some of HERstorian and writer Trina Robbins in her soul.

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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!

Holly art: Joker Venom by Gazbot!

Another bit of Super Holly art that I had done at the Menlo Park comic con at the library. I had artist Gaz Gretsky (Gazbot) draw Super Holly shortly after she is gassed by Super Joker venom. (He said it should be gas rather than a squirted liquid, else it might look too suggestive. I agreed.) I once wrote a fanfic (as in, can’t sell it but I can post it) of Super Holly meeting Batman (“Buh, b-b-b… BATMAN! I’m your biggest fan!!!”) but I had to limit it to a puny 1500 words. When I rewrite it into a decent story, there will be a scene like this.

That face. Mad and happy together. Gaz groks Holly.

Had a GREAT open mic last night!

I was at Red Rock Coffee in Mountain View for the Monday open mic, and I read part of my current story starring Kittygirl (Katsuko Kimura, who has super kittycat powers, and who loves Super Holly Hansson, and Super Holly loves Katsuko every bit as much). In this story, an EEEEEVIL villain, whose voice I based on Simon Bar Sinister (I love doing his evil laugh!), hit Super Holly with a time gun and turned her into an eight year old girl. Holly did not have superpowers at that age, but she was still a spitfire and proved it by breaking the villain’s nose with one punch.

Anyway. The crowd really loved the reading, I got laughs (like when Little Holly did a taunting Cyrano-type speech to distract a big-nosed, gun-toting henchwoman), and appreciative cheers (like “Ooo!” when Kittygirl knocked out said henchwoman).

When the open mic ended, I thanked a few guys at a nearby table for being a great audience. One guy said he would by recording of my stories, so I guess I should put some on sale someday. They asked me about the sound effects in my reading, like echoing. Turns out the sound guy added sound effects to my reading: echoing voice and the like. I thanked him too. And a lady gave me a quick drawing she did of Kittygirl. Actually, I do not envision Kittygirl with a tail or kitty ears, but it was nice of her to draw Kittygirl. (I have thought about giving Kittygirl slightly pointy, elf-like ears.)

I am a writer, and I am a performer. Expect more audio files. I love open mics!

P.S. At a writer gathering this evening, one of the writers read a pirate character, and did a great job. He said I had inspired him with my readings. I think I want a pirate-type character in a Super Holly story. Not sure about hero or villain, or even male or female. But I love reading pirate characters, like I did for Sulu’s Gay Trek.