Spectacular Steampunk Short Stories

Interested in traveling back in time and across dimensions? Good, because I’ve got a collection of steampunk short fiction to transport you to other worlds. The steam and clockwork-powered robots in these stories range from evil to enchanting, from sentient beings to human-piloted machines of mass destruction. The one thing they all have in common is being highly entertaining.

The Mark V Eleganté by Nelson Stanley

The Mark V Eleganté is a fantastic audio short over at Gallery of Curiosities. It’s set around an insanely dangerous race of massive steampunk contraptions where the only rule is that anything goes, and stuff gets smashed up worse than when the Hulk comes to town. The main character has a memorable voice, and the narrator fits him so perfectly that I can’t imagine anyone else reading it. The story manages to be both super fun and really tragic at the same time, and you should definitely give it a listen.

If you like podcasts and steampunk in general, Gallery of Curiosities is a delightful little corner of the internet, and you won’t regret checking out the other stories they’ve published. Continue reading Spectacular Steampunk Short Stories

If I were in charge of the DCEU…

…I’d probably lose the company a lot of money, because I’m terrible at predicting what will be popular. Seriously, I’m the worst. But every nerd likes to dream, so if I somehow became a Hollywood executive, scriptwriter, or [insert name of important job here], these are the DC movies I’d push to make. And sure, one reason is because I’d hope they’d be popular moneymakers, but I’d also just really, really want to watch them.

Batman Beyond

Batman Beyond

At one point, another Batman movie was on the list of upcoming DC projects, though I’m not seeing it on more recent forecasts. But we’ve had seven Batman movies already, so I think DC should accept they peaked at The Dark Knight and move on… to Gotham’s cyberpunk future.

If you never watched the Batman Beyond cartoon back in the day, then friend, you are missing out. Actually, stop reading this blog post and go get the DVDs to binge watch. I won’t be offended.

In an old ‘Ask Chris’ column, Chris Sims once described the show as “What If Batman Was Spider-Man,” which I think is perfect. It takes all the high school drama and teenage shenanigans that made Spider-Man: Homecoming fun and puts it in the gothic and twisted setting of Gotham that we all know and love.

Grumpy old man Bruce Wayne is just the best, and Terry McGinnis, the new younger Batman, is relatable and very much his own character rather than being Bruce 2.0. Their multifaceted mentor/mentee relationship is the core of the show and full of just so much snark. Continue reading If I were in charge of the DCEU…

A Reading List of Superhero Romance

Ah, superhero romance. Back in the old days, it meant a man in a cape rescuing a distressed damsel and going to great lengths to hide his secret identity from the woman he supposedly loves. And you’ll still see that sometimes, but for the most part, romance in the genre has gotten a bit more complex over the years.

Pretty much every superhero movie and TV show has a romantic subplot and love interest these day. Some of them are great. Some of them are… let’s just say they’re not very well developed.

Doctors Strange and Palmer Gif
Remember this touching romance? Yeah, me neither.

But for those of you who want a little more love with your crime-fighting exploits, there’s a whole subgenre of superhero romance novels. Granted, there’s not a lot of them. You won’t find a shelf dedicated to it at your local library, and most online retailers don’t have a category for it, but if you’re willing to search a bit, you can find some good ones.

So get ready to save the world and fall in love (or at least read about it). Here’s a short list of superhero romance novels I’ve read and enjoyed. Continue reading A Reading List of Superhero Romance

Even More Sensational Superhero Short Stories

Superheroine image

It’s that time again: time for another edition of the best superhero short fiction from around the web. While I haven’t committed to doing a second season of Fight Crime! (A Love Story) and am still bouncing around ideas, I don’t want to leave you guys without some awesome superhero reading material. So here are four free short stories to kick off your week with. (And if you like these, catch up on my first and second lists.)

La Gorda and the City of Silver

Written by Sabrina Vourvoulias and narrated by Sandra Espinoza, La Gorda and the City of Silver is a brilliant story about luchador vigilantes in Guatemala. Though it ventures into some dark territory, it’s heart-warming and uplifting overall, and there’s a lot of humor in the main character’s voice. You can read it at Podcastle, but I recommend listening to the audio version in the podcast on the same page, because the narrator is absolutely perfect. This is one of those stories that stayed with me after finishing it, so I whole-heartedly recommend giving it a try.

Last Stand for Lucifer’s Legion

Last Stand for Lucifer’s Legion by D.K. Latta is about superheroes in WWII and feels like it was ripped straight from an old pulp magazine. I liked the mix of American and Canadian superheroes on the team, and overall, it’s just a good action/adventure story. Fans of golden age comics should definitely check it out at Crimson Streets.

Lazarus and the Amazing Kid Phoenix

This story by Jennifer Giesbrecht features people getting superpowers after near-death experiences (or after dying and coming back, depending on your interpretation). It’s well-written and poignant, and the POV is so excellent that you can hear the main character talking even if you don’t listen to the audio version. It’s not a feel-good story, though, and it left me with a melancholy feeling at the end. But it does this really cool thing interspacing comic scripts between the main story and addresses a lot of deep questions and themes. You can find it in Issue 86 of Apex Magazine.

When the Devil Drives

Written by Melinda Snodgrass (and edited by George R. R. Martin of Game of Thrones fame), When the Devil Drives is set in the Wild Cards universe, which means it automatically has amazing world-building and a wealth of cool concepts to play with. A mystery where the protagonist has to clear his own name when he’s suspected of murder, it stars a morally gray main character who stays likable through his dry humor and relationship with his family. The whole thing can be read at Tor.com.

More Sensational Superhero Short Stories

Superheroine image

Fight Crime! (A Love Story) is taking a break between episodes this week, but that doesn’t matter, because you’re reading Almost Invincible, right? 😉 For you voracious readers who finished the novel already and need more stories to consume, here’s a selection of free superhero short fiction from around the web.

You should all read Amanda G. Helms’s short story, Starr Striker Should Remain Capitol City’s Resident Superhero, by Keisha Cole, 10th Grade Student. Written in the form of a civics essay by a tenth grader, it’s clever, topical, and biting in its humor.

Coffee Shop Crisis by Dale Ivan Smith is a light, fun story about an almost-retired supervillain picking a fight to save her favorite coffee shop.

If you’re in the mood for something more serious, Clemency by Chantal Boudreau is a superhero short story that deals with issues of abuse.

Do superheroes get vacation days? The Day Off by Martin Von Cannon tackles that question, and the answer will make you chuckle.

Still want more? Check out my first list of free superhero short fiction here.

Sensational Superhero Short Stories

Sci-Fi Superheroine running at super-speed

Hey, guys! Fight Crime (A Love Story) is taking a break between episodes this week, but I don’t want to leave you without reading material. Here are four excellent superhero short stories to brighten your Monday.

Falling by Susan Jane Bigelow is a short story in Bigelow’s Extrahuman Union universe, but you don’t need to read the other books in the series to enjoy it. Instead of following the superhero, this story is from the point of view of the cool old lady who nurses the injured hero back to health and inspires him to get back in the fight. The futuristic and slightly dystopian setting hints at an awesomely bigger narrative, but this self-contained short story will leave you entertained and inspired. You can read it at the Book Smugglers.

Doctor was a Madman, Family Man by Paul Blonsky is a very short, very funny story written in the style of an obituary for a supervillain. It’ll take less than five minutes of your time and will leave you laughing. Check it out at Daily Science Fiction.

I tweeted about The Terrible by John Wiswell a few months ago, but if you haven’t read it yet, it’s a great, punchy little story about a supervillain who learns his nemesis was never quite at his mercy like things appeared. There’s a fantastic twist at the beginning, lots of hilarious dialogue, and a wonderfully uplifting ending. Read it at Flash Fiction Online.

The Ways Out by Sam J Miller is another one I mentioned on Twitter. It’s a moving story about a crapsack world where people with superpowers are second-class citizens closely monitored by the government. It has a fantastically creative format, presented as surveillance clips summarized by the agent spying on two superpowered subjects. I won’t spoil the twist at the end, but it’s great, and there’s a beautiful theme of resistance throughout the story. You can find it at Clarkesworld Magazine.

ETA: If you liked these stories, don’t miss my lists of More Sensational Superhero Short Stories and Even More Sensational Superhero Short Stories.

Top 5 Wonder Woman Comics You Need to Read

Wonder Woman is awesome. You know it; I know it. But when it comes to looking through her seventy-plus years of comic history for a book to read, it can be hard to know where to begin. Hundreds of writers and artists have worked on her over the years. Some of their stories are excellent, but simple probability states that some are… well, some are pretty awful.

You don’t want to read the awful ones, but don’t worry. I’m here to help with a list of Wonder Woman comics that are–incoming pun–absolutely wonderful. This isn’t meant to be a universal list but just my personal favorites. If you loved the movie and are looking for more stories about Diana, Princess of Themyscira, these are great places to start.

5. Wonder Woman by George Perez

Wonder Woman Cover

Honestly, this one could make the list based on art alone. Perez’s art is stunning, even if you don’t read the words—and you should definitely read the words, because the stories are great, too. There are so many good ones, so I’ve linked to Vol. 1 for simplicity’s sake. It’s got the origin of the Amazons (or make that one of the many, many origins the comics have gone through over the years), our favorite god of war, and the supervillain Cheetah—who might be Diana’s greatest foe. Well, her or Circe. Both are great.

Perez’s run on Wonder Woman is a classic, and there’s a reason for that. Check it out on Amazon here.

 4. Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman

Sensations Comics Cover

Sensation Comics is a collection of short Wonder Woman stories by different writers and artists. There are good ones, great ones, and some that are pretty meh, but overall it’s a wonderful collection (pun intended). My favorite is Brace Yourself by Jason Bischoff in Issue #2. It’s about a young Diana’s quest to defeat her mother in combat and earn her Amazon bracelet, and it’s heart-warming and adorable. It you enjoyed little Diana on Themyscira in the first part of the movie, you’ll love this story.

There’s a huge variety of stories from silly to serious, but they all have something to offer. You can download it here.

3. Wonder Woman: Eyes of the Gorgon by Greg Rucka

Eyes of the Gorgon Cover

There’s only so much I can say about this storyline without spoilers: the richly developed supporting cast (Ferdinand is the best!), the fantastically-written Diana, the mix of myth and modern-day. But I need to spoil you to really sell it, so don’t click on if you want to be surprised. Continue reading Top 5 Wonder Woman Comics You Need to Read