AROW80 Check-in for 12/4/2013 + Gem City snippets!

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I got sidetracked from Defcon: Fade Out by Gem City stuff, plus a massive sinus headache on Monday that just kicked my butt.  So, I did what any red-blooded true believer would do and read comic books instead of writing anything Monday night.  Luckily, my local library has a ginormous selection of comics so I was able to go in and grab a stack to take to work. I found a couple great series Irredeemable and Incorruptible that are both about what happens when a person tries to change. Irredeemable is about what happens when the world’s greatest superhero, in this case, the Plutonian, chucks it all in and becomes the world’s greatest supervillain.  Not in the muwahahaha sense but in the “I have the power of a god and you people are all a bunch of ungrateful monkeys and the micro-aggressions and the annoyances and the ingratitude I’m getting from you have just become too much to take so, y’know what? Have a little fire, scarecrow” sense.  As someone who works in customer service, while I don’t exactly condone the wholesale slaughter that the Plutonian (the hero-turned-villain) engages in but there are days that I can understand the impulse.  Personally, the first person I’d go after would be whoever said “the customer is always right” because…yeah…no they’re not.

Incorruptible, on the other hand, follows the opposite course: what if the world’s greatest supervillain tried to go straight?  Incorruptible takes place in the same universe as Irredeemable and the supervillain, Max Damage, has his change of heart after seeing the Plutonian wipe out a city in front of him.  Max escapes being killed and disappears for about a month. When he resurfaces, he turns his old gang in to the cops — except for his sidekick/girlfriend who escapes the police sting Max set up — and proceeds to divest himself of all of his tainted belongings. Including setting fire to 4.5 million dollars of what he calls ‘blood money.’  Max also dumps — or at least tries to cool things off — with his girlfriend Jailbait (she’s sixteen; Max is…considerably older).

I greatly enjoyed these series but I would caution that they are not for everybody. They’re dark, especially Irredeemable and definitely not for younger readers. If they were movies, I’d put them at an R rating — though oddly enough, I’d rate Incorruptible slightly lower than Irredeemable because there’s less violence/adult situations in it.

Tuesday was more or less a bust because we went Xmas shopping and managed to get most of it done. So, yay on that!

Today, we got a late start but I did manage to write up the Semi-Quasi-Mostly Official Handbook to the Gem City Universe.  I’m still working on a couple short stories set in the Gem City ‘verse, neither one of which are close to being finished, but here’s a couple snippets:

Snippet One: 

Who watches the watchmen? I do. I get fifty bucks a day, plus expenses – reasonable or otherwise.  I realize this doesn’t sound like much, especially in today’s economy, but then I don’t do this for the money.  I do this as a labor of love and as a public service.  And because repossessing a hovercar is quite possibly the most fun a guy can have while keeping his pants on.  My reward is the sense of satisfaction that I get from the knowledge of a job well done – and the look on SuperSchmuck’s face in the rearview as I’m flying off in his hovercar.  No better feeling, I’m telling you.

Snippet Two: Couldn’t get the formatting to work the way I wanted, so here it is:

“You are so lucky your parents are dead, Will.” Kylie flopped down on my couch and let out a huge, long-suffering sigh as she flipped the cap off her beer with her thumb. “I mean, seriously, so lucky.”

“Yeah, not so sure I’d go with ‘lucky’ so much as ‘psychologically scarred,’” I said, pulling out my own beer from the fridge. “But, yeah, we can agree to disagree on that, huh?”

I do not argue with Kylie often, for two reasons: first, it’s pointless since she cannot and will not be swayed from a course of action she considers correct and second, she can punch through the engine block of a car.

“Oh, come on! You were like, eight when they died. It’s been over twenty years; you are over it,” Kylie said, waving a dismissive hand at me, shooing away my years of trauma as if they were insignificant. “You have no idea how frustrating living parents can be.”

Admittedly, she did have something of a point – I miss my folks, I miss them terribly but yeah, I don’t exactly feel the need to visit the place where they were shot down every year and leave a rose in remembrance of them. And, on the other hand, I never have to worry about them telling embarrassing stories to girlfriends or pestering me about grandchildren.

Still, it does not pay to let Kylie think you are a pushover. I shrugged and popped the cap off of my beer. “Suppose not,” I said. “I mean, there your dad is, going around killing people right at the height of the party season. Howler’s arrest must be putting a real damper on your social calendar, huh?”

Kylie sat up, her lips pulling back to show her fangs – which are ceramic fakes she had cemented on and not the result of her briefly ‘devolving’ to a more feral form like she tells the papers but they are still sharp and scary as hell. “Pop-Pop did not kill anybody! He wouldn’t!!” Her nostrils flared, then she must’ve caught the skeptical look in my eye. “Okay, okay, so he has killed people before and he would totally kill somebody – but he didn’t murder Titan.”

“I’m sure that’ll hold up in court.” I chugged from my beer. Say what you will about the Voivode Dire’s oppressive and iron-fisted rule of Longeria, but his people know how to brew a fine, quality beer. The threat of death for failure probably helps. “Your honor, ‘Pop-Pop’ would kill and has killed, but not this time!”

“Shut up!” Kylie flopped back on the couch, crossing her arms over her chest and glowering at me. “It’s just not possible that Pop-Pop murdered Titan! They’re blaming him because of who he is and because that lets them close the case that much faster! He’s being framed, Will!”

“And you know this because…” I motioned with my bottle, trying to nudge her toward the point. Kylie, for all her bubble-headed bimbo party-girl posturing is not stupid. Nor is she naïve enough to pretend her dads, even her beloved Pop-Pop, aren’t capable of killing in all its hot, cold and warm-blooded forms.

“Two ‘becauses,’ you jerk.” Kylie held up a finger – and not the middle one, which gave me an idea of just how serious she really was. “One: Pop-Pop was warm for Titan’s form. I know the papers are always speculating that he wants Prodigy and that’s why he’s always giving Titan a hard time but it’s not true.”

“Ok, but your dad has repeatedly tried to remove Smilidon’s head in public and they were all but married,” I reminded her.

“Daddy can heal from that,” Kylie said. “And Pop-Pop knows it. Titan is not as durable as Daddy is. Pop-Pop wouldn’t want to hurt him. It’s kind of sweet, really.”

“Yeah, sure,” I said. “Okay, what’s the second reason?”

“The second reason is that you’ve got to remember who we’re talking about here. I mean, yeah, Pop-Pop is a lot more level-headed than Daddy is, but that’s really not saying much. They taught me a lot of things but anger management and impulse control were not among them.”

“True, true,” I said. “I remember sophomore year. But what exactly does that prove?”

Kylie sighed and threw up her hands. “God! Will, think about it! If my Pop-Pop had killed Titan, then he would have had to have been in a rage to do it and if he’d been in a rage where he was mad enough to kill a guy he was schoolgirl crushing on, then they’d still be squeegeeing whatever was left of Titan off the walls of the Crusader’s Mansion.”

# # # # #

As for other goals for this week:

  • Finish Chapter Six of Defcon: Fade Out
  • Finish first Gem City short story — the “serving divorce papers on the Thing’ story.
  • Work on more of the ‘Murder of Titan’ story showcased above. 
  • Read more of Irredeemable and Incorruptible — checked out books 2-5 of Irredeemable out of the library today;
  • Watch first season of Human Target (2010 series) — checked out from the library today, watching the pilot episode right now.  Guerrero, squee!  Also, Chi McBride is just awesome regardless of what he’s in.
  • Read more comics. Thankfully, I have library cards for both the city libraries near me. Mwahahahaha.
  • Get a copy of Of Mice and Men, since I promised the girlfriend’s niece that I would read it along with her.  She’s having to read it for school and I feel kinda bad that I’ve never read it.
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15 thoughts on “AROW80 Check-in for 12/4/2013 + Gem City snippets!

  1. I had to stop by and return the favor. 🙂 I like your Gem City excerpts! I would like to read these stories. And your brief descriptions of ‘Irredeemable’ and ‘Incorruptible’ also sound very interesting. Are they in any way related to your excerpts? My brother is working on a story set in a gaming world that is open to new writers; I’m wondering if these are likewise in such a shared world open to new writers.

    • Thank you!

      I believe Irredeemable and Incorruptible are both series that have come to an end. They were originally published by Boom! Studios and checking their website, it does look like those are closed world series that have ended.

      Neither is related to Gem City, except in the fact that I’m also writing about a world with superheroes and villains. Though, they’re both something I wish I had written!

  2. I love a good comic that pushes the limits of what is good and what is evil.

    Nice excerpts. I especially liked the short piece with the reclamation man/woman. 🙂

    I get a feeling that Kylie and our narrator in the second piece have a very detailed history going on. And that I’d like to know more.

    • Me too; in addition to Irredeemable and Incorruptible, I’m also a fan of the Powers series, George R. R. Martin’s Wild Card books, the Exiles series from Marvel (which also ties in with my love of alternate universes). Also, I’m a big fan of Jeffery R. DeRego’s Union Dues series that’s run on the Escape Pod podcast. (http://escapepod.org/tag/jeffrey-derego/)

      I’m glad you liked the excerpts. You’ve given me some fuel for thought.

      • I confess, I haven’t read many comics lately. I was a huge Grimjack fan, enjoyed Badger (yes, yes, I’m dating myself) and Interference. Breed was looking promising too, but I didn’t follow it past the first issue.

        I have that curse of a lot of fandom. I love characters and series; I want to read lots and lots of stories all about the same characters… :-/

        But I’ll definitely look up some these you listed.

        • Oh my gosh! I loved Grimjack and Badger back in the day! I get away from comics for a while but then I come back. The fact that both of my local libraries have great honking stocks of graphic novels helps a lot, since I can go in and check out a huge stack, then take them back and do the same thing all over again. My main problem with comics, especially single issues, is that I read them too dang fast; at least with graphic novels I can get an entire storyline at once.

          • Yeah, that definitely is an issue with single issue comics. Do you use a comic reader on your PC? My hubby got me the whole Grimjack series in electronic form (I have all but one issue in plastic w/cardstock). Not quite as touchie-feelie as the real thing, but an electronic version definitely takes up a lot less space.

            • I usually check out comics from the library or buy them in graphic novel form but I have read a few comics using a comics reader. I mainly read comics at work and I can’t bring electronic devices on the call floor, so I tend to stick to dead tree editions, but being able to get an entire series in e-format sounds awesome! Are there good readers available for tablets/iPods?

              • I can’t tell you whether there are good tablet readers, sorry. I think you’d have to shop around for one. I get the work issue though. Sometimes dead trees are the only way to go.

                • Yeah, I’ll have to look around. I hit up the library tonight and checked out a bunch of graphic novels — and the upshot of that is that now I think I am a fan of the Flash’s Rogue’s Gallery. There’s just something about Captain Cold…

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