Non-Superhero Comics: What’s Worth Reading?

Non-Superhero Comics

Every time you turn around, there’s another superhero movie playing at the local multiplex: Back Panther, Avengers, Thor, Deadpool, Justice League, etc. They’re all based on comic books. More specifically, superhero comic books.

But…what if you’re not into superheroes? Or what if you like them just fine, but you’d like to try a different ice cream flavor (so to speak)? Are there non-superhero comics that are worth reading?

Yes. Yes, there are. I moderated a panel at Balticon this past weekend called “Non-Superhero Comics” that addressed that very question. With, of course, the fine advice of fellow panelists Andrew Fox, Devin Jackson Randall and Michael R. Underwood.

For the panel, I’d compiled a handout of some of the most entertaining comics I could find, based on my long-time interest in non-traditional comics. I’ve since added all the additional recommendations mentioned during the panel itself. I also thought it would be fun to post the handout in PDF on my web site. There’s a lot of good reading on the list, so get to it!.

Download the PDF right now!

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Post-Apocalyptic Stories: What Comes After the End?

After the Apocalypse

Everybody loves a good apocalypse. And there are lots of post-apocalyptic stories that are worth your attention. For the “Post-Apocalpytic Fiction” panel at Balticon, I compiled a list of some of the most memorable books, and a few movies, that deal with the topic.

I gave the list away as a handout to all of the attendees. I also thought it would be fun to post it on my web site. There’s a lot of good reading on the list, featuring all sorts of apocalyptic disasters.

Download the PDF right now! You won’t be sorry.

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Author Chow: Bangers and Mash

Bangers and Mash

If you want your favorite authors to keep pumping out those stories, they gotta be fed properly. That’s what these Author Chow entries are all about.

This is a meal called “bangers and mash” from the Rose & Crown Restaurant in Disney’s Epcot park in Florida. It’s basically English-style sausages with mashed potatoes and gravy.

This is actually an Americanized version of the dish. In Scotland, they put the sausages in a bowl with mashed potatoes on top. Then they cook the entrée until the mashed potatoes have been slightly browned on top. The next time I’m, in Scotland, I’ll post a picture of the true version of this dish.

This is also a meal that’s featured in my story, “Road Trip,” which was published in the anthology, Reliquary. When Rocco Fitch, a down and out military vet, and his irascible neighbor find themselves in London by magical means, Rocco insists that his friend try a local dish. That story, by the way, is being published as a standalone in September.

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New Time Travel Story

The Witness Paradox I’m working on a story for a new time travel anthology called The Witness Paradox. It’s edited by Martin Wilsey and will be published by Tannhauser Press.

My story features a teenager named Alex Nelson who is caught in a temporal vortex when a physics experiment at the nearby collider facility goes terribly wrong. It’s a story of narrow escapes, disaster, time travel and dinosaurs.

What more could you want?

Did I mention that it’s got dinosaurs?

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This Means War!

Avengers: Infinity War

I’m a movie buff, as are a number of my friends. We’ve formed a sort of informal Move Premiere Posse (MPP) that goes and sees movies, especially the purported blockbusters, at the earliest possible premiere show. For many of the blockbusters, previews start on Thursday, as with Infinity War, or sometimes Wednesdays, as was true of Ready Player One.

Yes, we all contributed to Infinity War’s monster 39 million dollar Thursday take.

The first thing you need to know about the movie is that it’s Part 1 of a two-parter, as exemplified by Marvel’s original advertising for the movie (see the above image). Since then, they’d gone silent on the idea of a two-parter, and announced that they’d decided not to tell anyone the name of the fourth Avengers film, saying that the title would be a spoiler.

Well, the movie borrows some major beats from the original comic book source material, and it does, indeed, end in a cliffhanger. Just accept that, and move on. Because what Marvel has delivered is a sprawling, fun, action-filled extravaganza powered by a villain that’s a true and worthy opponent for the Avengers. All of them.

It’s not a perfect movie, but it mostly works just fine. There are some interesting sets of heroes working together, and that mostly works, too. All of the characters get a few good lines, even if some obviously get more screen time than others. The science is wonky, but then, it was in the original comic books, as well. It’s all fast-paced enough and fun enough that it’s a smooth ride the whole way.

If you like superheroes, go see it. If you like Marvel, go see it. It’s well worth your time.

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Author Chow: Burning Love Burger

Burning Love Burger

I was at an event with a co-worker from my Day Job, the one that actually pays my bills. For lunch, we managed to escape for a while and get a good meal from Red Robin, a burger chain.

This is their Burnin’ Love Burger, which features a half-pound hamburger patty topped with jalapeño coins (fried, breaded jalapeño slices), salsa, pepperjack cheese, lettuce, tomatoes and chipolte aioli on a jalapeno-cornmeal kaiser roll. With a grilled jalapeño on top, to boot, which I cut up and put on my burger, too.

Yum.

Oh, and that’s their Smoke & Pepper ketchup with the fries, which is sort of a tangy sauce that makes a nice change.

THIS is the kind of food that keeps that word count going. Remember, always keep your local author well fed.

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George G. Moore Signing

Music of Mars by George G. Moore My friend George Moore is having a signing for his new book, The Music of Mars on Saturday, April 21, from 11 AM to 2 PM. It’s being held at Comic Logic Books and Artwork, located at: 44031 Ashburn Shopping Plz, # 281, Ashburn, Virginia 20147.

Come check out the event and help give one of our local authors a boost!

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Author Chow: Señor Ramon Taqueria

Author Chow: Señor Ramon Taqueria

Help feed all of the poor, starving authors out there in, well, wherever. Authors tend to be solitary critters, although they do gather in small herds (er, writing groups) sometimes. Still, somebody’s got to make sure they get fed, or the stories will dry up.

Here’s a meal from the newly opened Señor Ramone Taqueria in Chantilly, VA, featuring two deluxe tacos, accompanied by chips and salsa. On the left, the Ghost Taco, with Chicken Tinga, Cotija chess, shaved onions, sweet peppers, cilantro and ghost pepper cream. On the right, the Gado Taco, with skirt steak, caramelized onions, guacamole, jalepenos and Cotija cheese.

Good stuff. High recommended. Will definitely keep your favorite authors’ daily word count cranking along.

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What Is Dave Working On?

Coming Soon

One of the most common questions writers get is:

What are you working on?

For most writers, that’s an easy question to answer. They just start talking about their current Work-In-Progress, or WIP.

From my day job in the Information Technology world, I’m used to multi-tasking. Due to years of on-the-job training, I find that I multi-task the same way as a writer, which most of my fellow authors in my writing group find bizarre. Or maybe it’s a peculiar form of ADHD. I dunno.

I work on a pipeline of stories at the same time, with different stories in stages like Concept, Outline, First Draft, Second Draft or Beta. Movement of a story from one stage to the next is usually driven by factors like deadlines, anthology schedules, marketing considerations, or, sometimes, I just need to work on this story right now.

I’ve sometimes confused my blog readers by mentioning stories further down in the pipeline before they’re even close to publication-ready. To add some transparency to my (unorthodox) process, I’ve now got a Coming Soon page that shows my entire pipeline and what’s in each stage.

You’ll see that I’m starting to roll some SF into the mix, as well as some Steampunk. There are also sequels to some of my existing stories on the way.

And no, I didn’t compile all this information just special for this new page. As a software developer, I use agile sprint management software to track all of my writing activities (it’s OK if you don’t know what that means). So I had all of that information already. I hope you find it interesting.

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Second Round: Cover Art Reveal

Second Round: Cover Art

This is the cover art for the upcoming anthology, Second Round: A Return to the Ur-Bar. This fabulous picture was created by Justin Adams of Varia Studios.

The anthology features stories set in a mystical bar that appears at different times and places throughout history, with Gilgamesh cursed to be its eternal bartender. My story, “The Whispering Voice,” will appear in this book, since editors Joshua Palmatier and Patricia Bray were kind enough to accept my story.

The anthology will be published in August by Zombies Need Brains. Preorders can be purchased here.

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