Tag Archives: Comics

Serpent’s Sacrifice

Superheroes? Check.

Kick ass women? Check.

First of a trilogy? Check.

99 cents? Only until January 31st.

Check out Trish Heinrich’s new novel Serpent’s Sacrifice, on sale now!

When a brilliant psychopath terrorizes the innocent, an untried hero is their only hope.

Alice was never one to back down from a fight. So, when her beloved aunt is brutally murdered, she vows to bring the killer to justice.

Even if it means becoming the legendary vigilante, Serpent.

But being a hero is harder than it looks. And with one mistake, Alice unleashes a nightmare on the city.

Can Alice protect the innocent without losing everything? Or will the city fall, and she with it?

Serpent’s Sacrifice is the first book in a bold new superhero series. If you like brave heroines, chilling villains, and fast-paced action, then you’ll love Trish Heinrich’s thrilling tale!

Get your copy of Serpent’s Sacrifice today and suit up for the superhero adventure you’ve been looking for!

Books2read link

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How the prose do it

I’ve often described my new novel CRITERION as a ‘Grimdark superhero’ story. I did not set out to chase a certain tone or style, it merely followed from the concept – ‘When a super hero is murdered, what happens to his sidekicks?”

I’d like to share and review some of my influences to celebrate the release of my upcoming book CRITERION.


Enough with the picture books, what about prose? Comic books had their resurgence and then flamed out so badly that it was difficult to find a comic book store, let alone a prose novel, but in 1995 John Varley put out an anthology of short stories called SUPERHEROES. The fact that the title was available illustrates how unsaturated the market was.

Superheroes-edited-by-John-Varley-and-Ricia-Mainhardt

I borrowed the book from a friend. We had grown up pondering ‘what would you do if you had superpowers?’ or ‘what is the worst superpower?’ This book played with these topics and lead me to consider more.

I can’t list specific stories, but certain scenes are still vivid in my memory. One superhero confronting another who has turned his powers on his unfaithful wife. A villainess breaking a hero’s heart on a tropical beach. The most provocative was the story of a hero from another world with a determined fan who learns too late that his human appearance is only skin deep.

The anthology was edited by John Varley (who wrote the excellent sci-fi epic DEMON) and Ricia Mainhardt with stories from genre veterans including Roger Zelazny, Alan Dean Foster, Laurell K. Hamilton,  Mike Resnick, Richard Lee Byers and Michael A. Stackpole.

How dark? Contents include: skeletonized victims, arson, secret alien supermen, child murder and publicists.

Have a favorite dark comic book you think people should know about? Drop a comment and let me know.

CRITERION is available now from Crossroad Press in print and digital at

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Google Play

Smashwords

iTunes

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Evil Mr. Potato Head

I’ve often described my new novel CRITERION as a ‘Grimdark superhero’ story. I did not set out to chase a certain tone or style, it merely followed from the concept – ‘When a super hero is murdered, what happens to his sidekicks?”

I’d like to share and review some of my influences to celebrate the release of my new book CRITERION.


 

Before we stop making mine Marvel, let’s go out on a high note with Terror, Inc.

Terror_Inc_01_cover

Coldsteel, is that you?

Terror, aka Shreck, is a whiskered green ghoul with the ability to rip off limbs and attach them to his own rotting body. An accomplished DIY body hacker, he has lived for over a thousand years and crossed from the Epic Comics imprint to the Marvel main stage.

Terror-Inc CU

He kept a cache of special limbs in freezers to customize his body as each mission required, and in the heat of battle often scavenged what was necessary. Along with each borrowed part came memory and personality traits. Body Parts, the movie about a man who receives an evil transplant from a serial killer came out around the same time. Coincidence?

potato headterrorsh3

He worked as a hitman for the mob as well as a freelancer, teaming up with surprisingly vanilla heroes like Spidey, Wolverine and the Punisher as well as small timers like Luke Cage, Silver Sable and (ugh) Darkhawk. His rogues gallery was packed full of freaks like Piranha Jones and (ahem) Priapus.

The books ran on gore, body horror and dark humor. Sometimes Terror wore a spiffy trench coat and fedora, sometimes he dressed up like Santa Claus and laughed as he burned people alive.

TerrorInc08-Santa

How dark? Contents include: dismemberment, body horror, demons and impersonating Santa to commit murder.

Have a favorite dark comic book you think people should know about? Drop a comment and let me know.

CRITERION is available now from Crossroad Press in print and digital at

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Google Play

Smashwords

iTunes

P.S.: It’s fitting that terror was one of the first and most obscure modded action figures I ever saw.

terror figure

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Don’t forget to burn

I’ve often described my new novel CRITERION as a ‘Grimdark superhero’ story. I did not set out to chase a certain tone or style, it merely followed from the concept – ‘When a super hero is murdered, what happens to his sidekicks?”

I’d like to share some of my influences to celebrate the release of my upcoming book CRITERION.


Spider-Man had me wrapped up in Marvel’s web for a long time, especially with the alien symbiote saga and its creepy crazy villain Venom. I asked my father to photocopy pictures of Venom so I could put them around my room. I was in deep. What’s better than Spider-Man? An evil Spider-Man that wants to EAT Spider-Man!

Perhaps Kraven’s Last Hunt affected me more than I realized.

But like all great villains he outshined (over shadowed?) the hero, and by the arcane rules of capitalism and the comics code authority, had to be promoted in his own spin offs and cross over events, remade as a hero. A ‘lethal protector’, if you will. It was the heel-face turn that ended my obsession with Marvel comics.

Vrrroooommmm Vrrooooommmmm

What’s that, Marvel? Got something cool and edgy to woo me back? I kinda doubt…

ghost rider.jpg

Holy Crap!

Ghost rider was the perfect guide into the dark corners of the Marvel universe. A spirit of vengeance, it possessed a young man to hunt bad guys with a spiked fist, a chain and a bitchin’ hellfire powered motorcycle. His enemies included assassins, ninjas and demons and he crossed paths with the freaky horror characters of the 70s, like Morbius the Living Vampire and my beloved Blade the dhampir. With the Midnight Sons, he fought an evil little person unleashing hell with the Darkhold, Marvel’s own Lovecraftian grimoire. I heart you, Ghost Rider.

How dark? Sometimes it was literally hard to see! Penciler Javier Saltares, Inker Mark Texeira and Colourist Gregory Wright bathed everything in black. Contents include: Demonic possession, face melting immolation, hell fire, flaming skulls, vengeance, suicide and murder.

Ghost_Rider_1990_0016-interior-19

Who needs to change in a phone booth when you have innocent blood and a skull wreathed in hellfire?

Have a favorite dark comic book you think people should know about? Drop a comment and let me know.

CRITERION is now available from Crossroad Press in print and digital

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Google Play

Smashwords

iTunes

P.S. : James O’Barr’s The Crow preceded the Ghost Rider reboot, but I didn’t find that spirit of vengeance until I had access to better comic book shops. I loved the book, movie and soundtrack. Imagine my surprise when I heard this Henry Rollins song:

 

 

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Memoirs from the Dark Age

I’ve often described my new novel CRITERION as a ‘Grimdark superhero’ story. I did not set out to chase a certain tone or style, it merely followed from the concept – ‘When a super hero is murdered, what happens to his sidekicks?”

If I had to dissect the influences that lead me to the idea, the bloody trail would probably lead back to the comic book explosion of the 1990s. Funny book weren’t just for kids anymore. They became brooding, dark and edgy, and thus irresistible to a teenage mind (plus a metric ton of vampire novels, but I digress).

It was a great and terrible time of crossover events, special collector’s edition foil stamped variant covers (I still have my glow-in-the-dark Ghost Riders) and a plague of unnecessary FIRST! issues. This bloat and excess eventually collapsed like bloated things do, with the ‘tryhard’ edge-lord comics devolving into self-parody.

edgelord 2

Okay, maybe not this bad

Still, my unholy appetite was whetted and I eventually found my way to masterpieces like Alan Moore’s WATCHMEN and Frank Miller’s THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS. I’ll always love Spidey, but I like my fiction like my coffee and chocolate: DARK.

Over the next few days I’m going to review some noteworthy influences to celebrate the release of my new book CRITERION.

Marvel delivered some entertaining stuff, like the rebooted Ghost Rider, Thanos’ quest for the Infinity Gauntlet and the demonic crossover event ‘Inferno’.

The arc with the most impact for me, personally, was ‘Kraven’s Last Hunt’. It was a real shock to see my favorite hero Spidey get out-smarted and outgunned by a minor villain with a rifle and a flair for leopard skin vests. The hero and villain were both rendered as flawed human beings, struggling with their own mortality and identity.

Kraven's_Last_Hunt

by J.M. DeMatteis, Mike Zeck and Bob McLeod

How dark? Contents include: gorging on spiders, live burial, drug induced mania and suicide.

kraven chomp

He’s Kraven some spiders.

Have a favorite dark comic book you think people should know about? Drop a comment and let me know.

CRITERION is available now from Crossroad Press in print and digital

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Google Play

Smashwords

iTunes

P.S. : Liefeld is in on the joke now. pouchWe love you Rob, keep rockin’ those pre-ripped, acid washed 501 jeans.

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Comikaze 2012: Bouncy House of Terror

I had a great time at Comikaze this year.  This is only the second year for Los Angeles’ very own convention and it’s growing fast.  There were many more exhibitors and activities this year but still plenty of breathing and elbow room.  It feels good to know that my money is going to Stan Lee, too.

My friend and I took the L.A. public rail system to the convention center, which is always a treat in itself.  Between the Con and the train it feels like our city is finally catching up with some of the other great cities around the country.

I skipped the Zombie Maze at this year’s San Diego Comic Con because it was really pricey, and I was prepared to skip the new zombie experience at Comikaze for the same reason.  I found out that Activision had decided to sponsor the Comikaze Zombie maze and give everyone discounted tickets.  We got our tickets immediately and rushed inside.

We were interrogated by some small children wearing headsets about whether or not we had signed liability waivers.  That was a bit odd.  They were doing a fine job, but I do wish they had suggested I take off my backpack.  Before I knew it we were inside and sprinting, full tilt boogie, through the zombie maze.

I saw a large collection of inflatable castles and bouncy houses.  Bouncy Houses?  I was a bit crestfallen, hoping for something more challenging and scary.  I’m training for the RUN FOR YOUR LIVES 5K after all.

These were not your ordinary inflatable castles.

First, I was wearing a large backpack and had my pockets full of phone-keys-wallet-tickets-sunglasses etc.  This made crawling through, under, over, up and down a lot more difficult.  It also reminded me that in the upcoming zompocalypse we won’t have storage lockers handy when it’s time to lay tracks.

Second, there was smeared blood inside the bouncy castles.  I hope I never see that again.

Third, there were zombies chasing us through the bouncy castles and up and down the inflatable slides.

Fourth, running and jumping and diving across inflatable vinyl non-stop is like sprinting through deep sand.  It is really exhausting, and of course there are zombies waiting at the bottom of each slide.

My friend and I were both soaked in sweat at the end and will never look at bouncy castles the same way.  Maybe turning into a sweaty, blood smeared geek 20 minutes into the convention was not the best way to start the day, but I have no regrets.

"Ni!"

That herring may actually prove sufficient for the task.

We saw a lot of the usual Con fare, including some nice spacious areas for FX makeup, gaming tables and even an indoor Quidditch match.

Elvira’s ride

Plenty of trunk space

I would like to see more publishers, authors and editors there, and I expect I will in the years to come.  Thanks Stan!

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Nerd Prom 2012

Another year, another Comic Con.  This year, however, was different.  I was there as a PROFESSIONAL.

not a professional dentist

Per usual I skipped the panels and screenings and focused on the booth displays, cosplayers and creators in attendance.

Pro Writer – Comic Con Exclusive!

Fortunately I had plenty of bubble gum

The Walking Dead Super Zombie mobile – so awesome that it does not appear in the comic or the show

This car would also be very useful during the zompocalypse

A giant display with almost every Marvel action figure in an epic brawl – a direct look into the brain  of my 13 year old self.

I had a clear agenda for this convention.

1) Get my photo at the Walking Dead booth with Michonne and her pet zombies…

2) Meet other writers.

It was a terrific success on both counts.  My friends and I had a nice dinner with Alice Henderson and then we met up for drinks with Nathan Long, Mike Lee, Alix Carter, Chelsea Monroe-Cassel, Ed Erdelac and Sariann Lehrer.  This year was very different from the usual fan experience, but in a wonderful way.  It was exhausting and overwhelming as always but I returned home inspired and invigorated.   Looking forward to next year!

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