Tag Archives: superhero

Gods of Wrath

Hey superhero fans,

It’s going to be a while until the next movie hits the big screen, One Punch Man is on hiatus, even My Hero Academia is on break until the Rugby World Cup is over.

That’s good, because you’ll have time to catch up on The Pantheon Saga from C.C. Ekeke! Right now you can jump in with book 1 (on sale for 99 cents!) and work up to book 4, Gods of Wrath, which is now a #1 new release!

 

Not all heroes wear capes and uniforms…
…or see themselves becoming the villain.

As his sophomore year wraps up, Hugo Malalou—aka Aegis—is living his best life. He’s working with Lady Liberty to protect San Miguel, acing all his classes, and casually dating three insanely hot girls.

Until one routine night patrol nearly gets him killed.

Before long, he’s pulled into a dangerous pursuit that isolates him from his friends, while his list of enemies keeps growing. And when he becomes the city’s last defense against an all-powerful adversary, he’ll find himself in the fight of his life.

Quinn partners with Hugo to expose Paxton-Brandt’s unethical research on superhumans. But the multinational’s scorched-earth response leaves everyone she loves caught in the blast radius. Can she prevail and topple Paxton-Brandt or is this another example of Too Big To Fail?

Meanwhile, Greyson begins his crusade to purge the world of superheroes. But his first target proves to be more than his match in power and purpose. And when a specter from his past makes their presence felt, Greyson’s mission might end before it even starts.

Grab your copy of Gods of Wrath, Book Four of The Pantheon Saga!

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Me and The Boys

I wrote a superhero book.

Then I watched The Boys.

My first reaction: not happy.

billy-and-the-kid.jpg

There was a lot in common between the two, and The Boys was definitely the 800 pound gorilla of the pair.

My second reaction: joy!

billy butcher smile 2

I’ve had a hard time describing my book, settling on the phrase ‘Grimdark Superhero’. Now I know that there is an audience for this. Do you like The Boys? Then you will like my novel CRITERION.

The Boys feels bold and innovative, not just for its brutality and shock value, but because it takes its premise seriously. The heroes and villains are more complicated than they seem. The relationships are messy, and the consequences are real. Those are the stories I am interested in, and that’s what you will find in my book.


Criterion is the world’s mightiest hero.

His sidekicks just found his body.

When the Criterion Cadets are shattered by the death of their idol, they drop their brave and plucky façade and become consumed by strife and jealousy.

The only thing keeping them together is terror. Once protected from on high, they are now vulnerable and alone. Can they cover up Criterion’s death and avoid a global meltdown? What hope do they have against an enemy that can kill anyone?

Who killed Criterion? Who will die next?

CRITERION cover Edited

Try the first 10 chapters free

Hear an audio excerpt and notes on the book here

and buy it here

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Post-Endgame Syndrome

Feeling empty, listless, bored?

You may be suffering from Post-Endgame Syndrome.

If you need more exciting superhero content, check out this list of 18 original superhero titles from Michael C. Bailey

Action Figures by Michael C. Bailey (series, young adult)

Join the action with the Amazon best-selling YA superhero series!

The worst summer of Carrie Hauser’s life began with her parents’ divorce and ended with her receiving superhuman abilities from a dying alien. Now Carrie is trying to put her life back together, and all that stands in her way are an insane artificial intelligence, the mercenary known as Manticore, and a mysterious organization that wants to claim her power for itself.

Save the day? Sure — as soon as school lets out.

Imperium Academy by Rebecca Bosevski (series, young adult)

Superheroes aren’t born. They’re moulded by government academies.

Ellen doesn’t remember much about her parents, they died when she was four. Raised by her aunt she’s envied for years the homo-magis children called on to be tested and subsequently enrolled in one of the five academy’s for heroes.

Ellen isn’t a homo-magis.

Or so she thought. Her parents were two of the first Superheroes, their lives sacrificed to stop Novaside and save their only child.

Ecstatic, yet a little nervous to finally be a part of the world she’d dreamed of, Ellen is off to Imperium Academy.

But her classing doesn’t go as expected. Instead of joining the ranks of the illustrious Star Heroes, Ellen is regulated to the role of Sidekick, after all, night vision is barely a superpower.
Many have begun to question the need for Sidekicks, some teachers even suggesting they would be better suited to other employment.

But with Novaside getting bolder, and her latest attack hitting too close to home, Ellen is determined to stay at the academy and prove them wrong.

After all, where better to learn to be a hero than a school full of supers?

Criterion by Jeff C. Carter (standalone, grimdark)

Criterion is the world’s mightiest hero. His sidekicks just found his body.

Who killed Criterion? Who will die next?

 

 

 

 

The Heirs of Babylon by Eugene W. Cundiff (series/science fiction, kindle unlimited)

In the dying world of 2027, there’s no place worse than Babylon.

The fallen city once known as New York is now ruled by feudal gangs and plagued by doomsday cultists. No sane soul ventures there willingly, but former childhood friends Morgan Whitechapel and Kurt Petrovich have no choice.

Fate once separated the compassionate, streetwise survivor and the brooding son of privilege. But the dangerous attentions their newly-manifested superhuman powers bring force them from their homes and reunite them on the savage streets. Their only hope for survival lies with each other – and with a pair of strange nomads who possess powers of their own. Against all odds, these extraordinary young people will fight to make a new home for themselves in the bones of the Big Apple.

Together, they might just stand a chance…

Bounty by JD Cunegan (series, mystery)

Jill Andersen is one of Baltimore’s best and brightest detectives, but she harbors a dark secret — a secret that threatens to come out when the body of Dr. Trent Roberts is pulled out of the Chesapeake Bay. Dr. Roberts’ connection to Jill reveals a past that involves a tour in Iraq, a secretive cybernetic experiment, and a conspiracy that involves a native son.

Can Jill solve the case while still keeping her secret? Will her partners at the Seventh Precinct find out what she’s so desperate to hide? What was Dr. Roberts looking into that led to his murder? And perhaps the biggest question of all…

Who is Bounty?

Vanguard by Percival Constantine (series, science fiction, kindle unlimited)

After a mysterious phenomenon called The Event, superhumans—called specials—now walk among us. And the potential danger these untested and powerful beings warrants a way to keep them in check. Enter Vanguard, a government-sanctioned team of superheroes designed to deal with rogue specials.

Battlecry by Emerald Dodge (series, urban fantasy, kindle unlimited)

For one superhero, the good guys can be deadlier than the bad guys.

Jillian Johnson, known as the mighty Battlecry, was born into a superhero cult. She craves a life of freedom, far away from her violent and abusive team leader, Patrick. With no education, no money, and no future to speak of, she’s stuck in the dangerous life…until she meets the mysterious and compelling Benjamin, a civilian with superpowers. When Patrick confronts her, she fights back–and then runs for her life. One by one, her ex-teammates join her until a new team has formed.

But Patrick will not let his upstart teammates get away so easily. Humiliated and hellbent on vengeance, he waits for his chance to strike back and kill the new team, and he is happy to murder superheroes and civilians alike. On top of that, Benjamin has joined Jillian and her comrades, angering his own lethal family. Jillian’s enemies begin to close in from all sides.

Desperate and in hiding, Jillian must shed everything she thinks she knows about what it means to lead. Can she rise up to the challenge of defeating Patrick? Can she save Benjamin from his family? Or will she die like every other superhero who’s dared to challenge the cult?

Serpent’s Sacrifice by Trish Heinrich (series, urban fantasy)

She never backs down from a fight.

When Alice’s aunt is murdered, she must take justice into her own hands to make it right. But becoming the vigilante Serpent doesn’t come with a guidebook, and with one mistake, Alice unleashes a nightmare upon Jet City.

Now the innocent are being turned into maniacal puppets, and time is running out. Seeking other vigilantes, Alice discovers her past might hold the key to unlikely allies.

As Phantasm tightens the noose, Alice vows to end this fight. But is her determination enough to protect the city or will defeating the Phantasm demand a hero’s sacrifice?

Serpent’s Sacrifice is the first book in The Phantasm Trilogy, a twist on the popular superhero mythos. If you like brave heroines, chilling villains, and nail-biting action, then you’ll love the thrilling emergence of the Serpent!

The Spec Set by Taya Okerlund (series, young adult, kindle unlimited)

Copernicus Science camp looks harmless enough on the surface, at least no one will tell you otherwise, least of all Max McKenzie, who doesn’t speak at all. He can’t even defend himself when he’s implicated in a high stakes chemical theft from the camp lab. Or can he?

His brother Emile is desperate to help, but he’s waking up to his own problems–chief among them the fact that he’s developed an incredible (and incredibly dangerous) new ability. He doesn’t know how to control his awesome new power, and turns to the one person he’s loathe to ask: Lilly Fang.

Lilly has everything under control, including other people’s biochemistry. (Or is Emile really that crazy about her?) Either way, she’s hiding a boat-load of secrets (and secret powers).

Lilly assembles a team of friends like none Emile’s ever dreamed of to help Max. There’s Fetu, a near giant, whose presence alone seems to suck the air out of the room. Or does he do that literally?

And Danika, who’s so shy she seems to fade right into the background. Or does she actually become invisible?

And Eliza, who never lifts a finger–but is that because she lifts things with her mind?

The Spec Set will need all of their combined strengths (and their weaknesses) to combat a threat reaching all the way go to another universe.

Red and Black by Nancy O’Toole Meservier (series, kindle unlimited)

Dawn Takahashai knows all about superheroes.

She’s been a fan of them for years. So when she’s granted an impressive powerset of her own, she dives right in, eager to prove herself as Bailey City’s first superhero: Miss Red and Black.
Her first challenge is Faultline. He’s powerful, smart and, as a henchman for Bailey City’s first supervillain, standing right in her way. But that’s not the real problem. The real problem is that under the mask, Faultline is Alex Gage, a working-class guy trying to scrounge together enough money to help support his younger sisters.

Dawn has no idea that the charming and seemingly straightforward Alex is Faultline. Alex has no idea that the adorably awkward Dawn is the superhero he clashes with at night.

And Dawn and Alex have a date next week.

Awakening by NK Quinn (series, young adult, kindle unlimited)

A below-average underdog. A supercharged crime-fighter. Their shared secret could transform the world.

Kalum Walker lives in the shadow of his athletic older brother. Scrawny and prone to panic attacks, he’s a far cry from the superheroes he doodles in his notebook. When his brother steals his meds to help calm his game time nerves, he doesn’t put up a fight. After all, the fate of his family rides on his brother’s performance. But without his pills, Kalum’s blackouts begin getting worse… and a disturbing voice inside his head starts urging him into some dangerous situations.

When a blackout-related encounter with bullies puts him in a hospital bed, he starts to notice mysterious bruises all over his body. As he learns of a masked crusader serving up a new kind of justice outside the Corporation compound, he realizes the vigilante bears a striking resemblance to his superheroic sketches. Locked in a battle with the voice inside his head, Kalum must solve the mystery of the infamous Steel Falcon and save his brother before he loses control for good.

Awakening is the first fast-paced novel in the Steel Falcon YA sci-fi superhero series. If you like immersive future worlds, family drama, and edge-of-your-seat twists, then you’ll love N.K. Quinn’s action-packed coming-of-age tale. Buy Awakening to unmask an electrifying sci-fi superhero adventure today!

Catalyst CM Raymond and LE Barbant (series, urban fantasy, kindle unlimited)

How far would you go to save the city you love?

A mad scientist fighting the laws of man and nature.

A demon-monster of mythical proportions.

A corporate conspiracy that goes back more than a century.

The Steel City is in desperate need of a hero.

Willa Weil has a secret–she comes from a long line of magicians trained to unlock the power hidden within poetry. This skill requires discipline, and the Guild demands obedience. Willa has long kept her power to herself, but when a molten metal creature threatens to consume her friends, she can no longer remain on the sidelines.

History professor Elijah Branton moved to Pittsburgh for the job of a lifetime, researching the family history of one of the nation’s wealthiest and most attractive CEOs. But not everything is as it seems in the Steel City. The historian soon unearths a deadly conspiracy that threatens to unravel his world.

Can they save their city, or will they lose themselves in the process?

Catalyst is Daredevil meets The Dresden Files, a gritty and gripping superhero/urban fantasy story for the 21st century. With magic and monsters, science and secrets, Catalyst pushes readers to consider their own path and the ethical compromises we all make–heroes and villains alike.

Welcome to The Steel City.

Fid’s Crusade by David Reiss (series, science fiction, kindle unlimited)

For more than two decades, the sight of Doctor Fid’s powered armor has struck terror into the hearts of superhero and civilian alike. But when a personal tragedy motivates Doctor Fid to investigate a crime, a plot is uncovered so horrific that even he is taken aback.

Haunted by painful memories and profound guilt, the veteran supervillain must race against time if he is to have any hope of confronting the approaching threat. Every battle takes its toll…but the stakes are too high for retreat to be an option.

In the end, it may take a villain to save the world from those entrusted with the world’s protection.

The Secret Lives of Superhero Wives by Joynell Schultz(comedy, humor, kindle unlimited)

What happens after the superhero gets the girl? Find out in this romantic paranormal mystery.

 

 

 

 

The Kota by Sunshine Somerville (series, science fiction)

Mankind is stricken. Brought to its knees by a devastating virus, the world is further crushed by the Dominion tyranny. Humanity struggles to survive this apocalyptic nightmare, and there’s only one hope – the ancient promise of an annihilated people.

“By the Bearers brought into time, fulfillment shall come in a Mark, and hope in four children born. Evil will flee Earth before the four Marked.” – The Mark Prophecy of the Kota.

Troy Kandoya remembers the world before all this came to pass. He saw the beginning of global war, genetic manipulation, and viral plague. Now called Trok, the immortal Kota Interceder, he must fulfill the prophecies he once rejected.

After 500 years, the four Marked saviors are born. However, nothing about these heroes is what Trok expected. Loree is a master assassin who can disappear without a trace. Zaak grew up exiled on an alien planet. Alex is a telepath traumatized by an inexplicable, missing year of her life. Ryu, the final Warrior, has incredible mutate-genes of strength.

With Trok’s guidance, the Warriors join Earth’s rebels and fight the Dominion – but this isn’t going to be easy.

Super Starrella by Aurora Springer (series, romance)

Teen superhero, Starrella, and her flying horse combat vicious killers in the skies of Atalanta.

The quiet summer before her freshman year turns frighteningly weird after Estelle Wright trespasses onto an Army base. Blown into the air and knocked unconscious, she wakes with a nascent superpower. Not to mention a winged horse with a snarky attitude and a mind of her own.

Back home in Atalanta, a serial killer is targeting the students at Goldman University. Before long she must juggle college classes with sneaking out of the house after dark to battle alien monsters. Estelle’s life is in danger, but who can she trust: handsome Mark Copper from military intelligence, or hunky Toby, the tough gangster with a motorbike? Both men have secret agendas, but falling in love is not in their plans.

Young adult superheroes, quirky animal sidekicks, and a dash of romance enliven this thrilling adventure. Book 1 of the Secret Supers.

The Just Cause Universe by Ian Thomas Healy (series)

The Just Cause Universe is the original superhero universe created by Ian Thomas Healy and published by Local Hero Press. It focuses on diverse, complex characters in a gritty, realistic setting despite their fanciful abilities.

 

 

 

 

Burden of Solace: Book One of the Starforce Saga by Richard L. Wright (series, romance)

Cassie Whelan can heal any wound, but the price is too much to bear. The government wants to control her. So does the sadistic killer that’s behind an epidemic of murder, madness and suicides in her city. She may be the only one immune to his power, the only one that can stop him. There’s only one man she trusts, but if he betrays her it could destroy everything. Because the only thing she can’t heal is her own heart.

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Take me down to Astro City

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.


Any comics fan knows not to judge a book by it cover, because we’ve all been hooked by amazing cover art with subpar writing and illustration inside. It’s especially bad with comic books that promise action or plot on the cover that never materializes. I eventually became so jaded I assumed the better the cover the worse the book.

Then I saw this:

steeljack1

Steeljack, a retired supervillain trying to go straight.

I gravitated to Alex Ross’ breathtaking cover. Inside I expected to find flat art and characters. What I found was the rich, fantastical world of Astro City. Kurt Busiek’s complex people and Brent Anderson’s solid artwork practically popped off the page.

The events and organizations on display are as surreal and corny as anything you’d find in a four color funny book from the golden age, yet all of it is balanced and nuanced so well you’ll believe there is a real person under every mask. It has won a million awards, but don’t take the experts and fans word for it. Just look at it!

Astro_City_JITB

I don’t want to reveal any of the brilliant twists and turns of these books, so I will simply put this picture of The Confessor here to commemorate one of my favorite moments in comics.

Confessor_Astro_City_4

“Well done.”

How dark? Contents include: Eldritch horrors, betrayal, spooks and murder.

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

CRITERION is available now in print and digital at

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Google Play

Smashwords

iTunes

Kobo

Crossroad Press

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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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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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Bang!

My story “From the Barrel of a Gun” has been accepted into SUPER, an anthology of super hero fiction from Static Movement Press.

This story was adapted from a screenplay I wrote in film school about a city over run by brawling super heroes and villains and the group of determined snipers who fight back.  One of my many strange mantras is that “A gun is the ultimate super power.”  I had a lot of fun doing the research for this story, and I think it shows.  I’ll share more when the book comes out.

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