Anyone Else Notice Some Parallels?

•June 9, 2018 • Leave a Comment

WARNING: THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR AND EARLIER MARVEL FILMS

As I mentioned in an earlier blog post, the relationship between Frank Douglas/Black Harrier and Sawyer Vincent/Red Raptor was never meant to mirror Batman/Bruce Wayne and Robin/Tim Drake (or Dick Grayson, or Jason Todd, or Damian Wayne), as many readers assume. A closer template to Frank was Tony Stark, and to Sawyer was Peter Parker. And, at the time I wrote Sidekick in 2014, the relationship between those two characters wasn’t a very important one in the comics. In fact, it still isn’t.

Despite knowing each other for forty years (in real time), Spidey and Iron Man hadn’t spent much time together except for the few years in the early 2000s when they were both Avengers, until they eventually ended up on opposite sides in the comics version of Civil War. Also, by that time, Peter was a fully-grown adult in the comics. So, for me, exploring a relationship between an older Tony Stark-like character and a teenage Peter Parker-type was new territory and I thought it was an interesting dynamic with which to work.

Then Captain America: Civil War was released shortly after Sidekick came out in 2016, and we got a brief glimpse of the relationship between Tony and Peter, which most fans really seemed to like. Fast forward to Spider-Man: Homecoming a year later, and the relationship was being more fully developed…and started to remind me a lot of the one between Frank and Sawyer. [Please note that I am NOT, in any way, shape, or form, suggesting that anyone who had anything to do with those films was copying or had even read my book. It was just an interesting parallel.]

Now that Avengers: Infinity War is in theaters, fans really seem to be enjoying the evolving relationship between Tony and Peter, and the ending appears to be one of most viewers’ favorite/least favorite parts. Of all the deaths in the movie, that one seems to be the one that really gets to people and tugs at their heartstrings. And it’s certainly better than any relationship between Batman and Robin that has ever been depicted in film or television.

I guess what I’m trying to say is: I think I made the right call.

 

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Best of Beyond the Stars!

•April 4, 2018 • Leave a Comment
I’m so excited to announce the release of BEST OF BEYOND THE STARS. With an absolutely amazing cover by award-winning artist Julie Dillon Art, curated by Patrice Fitzgerald and edited by Ellen Campbell, the new anthology includes the best short stories from previous BEYOND THE STARS – Space Opera Anthology Series editions, as well as several brand new stories.

I’m proud to have my story, “Just an Old-Fashioned Lust Story,” selected for this “best of” anthology. BoBtS includes 14 more short stories by many of the best indie sci-fi writers: Dave Monk Fraser AdamsMichael AnderleSM BloodingDavid BrunsAnn ChristyMichael EzellPatrice FitzgeraldJoseph LewisSamuel PeraltaSusan Kaye Quinn,Jeff SeymourGS JensenNick Endi Webb, and Jen Foehner Wells.

Grab it for the special release price of $2.99 today:
Amazon
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07BRVC8NL

Nook
https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1128317664

Kobo
https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/best-of-beyond-the-stars

Apple
https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1367692417

Google Play
https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=RdtTDwAAQBAJ

 

Chronicle Worlds: B-Movie

•October 30, 2017 • Leave a Comment

CW BMovie final cover

I’m proud to announce that I have a story in a Future Chronicles anthology! My story, “Gorillabot vs. Killer Mermaids from Neptune,” appears alongside some amazing stories from some fantastic authors.

*** CHRONICLE WORLDS: B-MOVIE ***

Mummies and giant robots. Werewolves and monster koalas. Plague creatures and demonic clowns…. They’re coming! They’re hungry! And they’re not human-intolerant!

Enter the forbidden valley with nine of the most imaginative authors writing today. They’ve twisted their craft to tackle the most irreverent and unlikely stories they can muster under the influence of alcohol and various over-the-counter hallucinogens… No apologies, no prisoners, just a 100% pure off-Hollywood thrill-ride.

Get ready for the drive-in of your life. Get ready for ‘Chronicle Worlds: B-Movie.’

—–
‘Chronicle Worlds: B-Movie’ is
Matthew StottStefan BolzDaniel Arthur SmithEamon AmbroseJessica West, S. S Elliot BrandisChristopher ValinForbes West, and Artie Cabrera. Art by Ron Joseph, illustrator, and Jesse Heagy, colorist. Edited by Ellen Campbell. B-Movie concept by Artie Cabrera. Chronicle Worlds series editor Samuel Peralta.


Promo

Superteam is Finally Here!

•September 18, 2017 • Leave a Comment

 

SUPERTEAM: The Red Raptor Files – Part 2 is finally here! And it’s at a special launch price of only 99 cents! And if you didn’t read Part 1, SIDEKICK, don’t worry–because it’s FREE this week! Each book has an amazing cover by Teen Titans and Spawn artist, Jonboy Meyers. Don’t miss out on this deal…two books for 99 cents!

Interview on Author Stories Podcast

•August 19, 2017 • Leave a Comment

author stories

I’m honored to have had the opportunity to be interviewed by one of my favorite podcasters, Hank Garner, on his Author Stories Podcast. Hank’s a great interviewer, and gives his guests a chance to go in to great detail in their answers. Check it out HERE!

 

Formidable hits #1 in its category!

•July 28, 2017 • Leave a Comment

My Legacy Fleet book, Formidable, is number one in the Kindle Worlds Science Fiction and Fantasy category! And for the next couple of days, you can get it for only 99 cents! This popular series has been compared to both Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica, but I tried to give it a bit of a Guardians of the Galaxy vibe as well. Even those who haven’t read Nick Webb’s Legacy Fleet series are telling me they have no trouble following and enjoying the story, so check it out HERE!

Number One in Category

So, About Sidekick…

•May 27, 2017 • Leave a Comment

I can’t tell you how long I’ve been a Batman fan. Literally. I usually tell people it started when I was about three, but the truth is, I don’t know. Because when I try to remember back to a time when I wasn’t a fan of the Caped Crusader, my memory won’t go back that far.

I do know that repeats of the old ‘60s Adam West TV series were among the first shows I ever remember watching, and that I would get really excited and happy when they came on. I know that I remember having Batman action figures, but I have no idea how old (young) I was when I got them. And I know that when I think back to when I first started reading, I remember having some Batman comics (especially a particular giant-sized treasury edition reprint book) and coloring books.

The point of all of this is to say that, if I’m going to write about superheroes, it’d probably be impossible for me not to be influenced by Batman. But here’s the thing: Although Batman has been my favorite character in all of pop culture for my whole life (sure, I’ve gone through phases where I was into other characters, but it always goes back to the Bat), my favorite comic books have almost universally been Marvel. Why?

First, let me say that things have changed a lot over the years, especially in more recent times, as the industry has matured and there’s been so much cross-pollination between creators. But looking back to when I was a kid and first got into comics, there was something about Marvel that I preferred, but could never quite put my finger on. It wasn’t just that they used real locations that you could actually go to (mostly New York City) rather than imaginary places that you could only visit in your imagination. There was a certain gravitas to the stories that just didn’t exist in most DC stories. It’s harder to care about the fate of Metropolis when you know Metropolis doesn’t really exist.

I think what it may boil down to is this: DC comics were about superheroes who happened to have secret identities so that they could live normal lives when they weren’t fighting crime. Marvel comics were about “real” people—powered or not—who happened to dress up in a costume to fight crime. Things started to change in the 1980s, especially with Batman and the Teen Titans, where you’d see more about their lives outside of beating up bad guys, but growing up in the ‘70s, I remember seeing very little of the lives of the men and women behind the mask.

Which brings me to the point of this whole essay. When I set out to write my own superhero novel, I knew it was going to be influenced by Batman. Rather than fight it, I just went with it. In fact, when my friends and beta readers read the early drafts of Sidekick, that was usually their favorite part of it, and they wanted even more analogies to the Batman/DC mythos, even making suggestions themselves. And, truthfully, in wanting to give readers what they seemed to want, I may have gone a little too far in that direction.

Although I’ve gotten nearly all positive reviews, some of them have suggested that the homage to the Dark Knight was even bordering on fan fiction. I have to say that, after publishing and thinking about what I’d produced, I was expecting even more than I got of those types of reviews. But here’s the thing: It isn’t just an homage to (or fan fiction for) Batman.

First, I wanted there to be a certain familiarity of the characters to sort of lull the readers into thinking they knew what was going on and what to expect, and then use that expectation to heighten the effect of some of the curve balls that I threw their way. I don’t want to give any spoilers, but I hope I succeeded in doing that.

And, second, my original intent was not to write my own version of Batman. Remember when I said that I always preferred Marvel to DC, despite being such a huge Batman fan? Well, this was my chance to write a Marvel-style version of a Batman-type character.

So, with that in mind, here’s the exercise I began with (although it’s not set in stone, and I definitely went off on tangents): What if Tony Stark was Batman? What if Peter Parker was Robin? Or Steve Rogers had become Superman instead of Captain America? And what if the Joker had started out as Wilson Fisk?

The results were Black Harrier, an armored superhero with no powers; Red Raptor, his sidekick, a teenager with lots of problems; Eaglestar, the most powerful hero in the world, created during World War II; and Pierrot, an evil clown crimelord whose physical stature is as menacing as his insanity is frightening.

The other thing I decided to do was to make the main character the sidekick instead of the Batman character. This was for a number of reasons, including the fact that I thought it would make for a more interesting point of view, that many of my readers would probably be teens and young adults, and that I had been an awkward teen myself and could still remember things from back then…but I had never been a billionaire.

I don’t know how successful I was at what I was trying to do, but either way, it seems like most readers are enjoying it. And if you haven’t read it, I hope you enjoy it, too.