Posts Tagged ‘superhero’

Quantum Prophecy: The Gathering

August 11th, 2008

I have an advanced reading copy of The Gathering by Michael Carroll and at first I didn’t realize that it was book two in a series (yes, I see the giant “2” on the cover. Whatever.). I’ll definitely go back to read book 1, but I was able to follow along alright. 

10 years ago the superheroes were the rescuers of the human race. The supervillain Ragnarok created a device to strip the heroes of their powers. Now, the children of the heroes are finding out that they inherited some powers. 

If you like shows like Heroes or enjoyed the giant list of superhero movies this summer, you’ll like this book. Just like in TIM where I needed a part of the city stepped on by page 30, in The Gathering I needed to see a super brawl. Expectations met.

This book definitely feels like X-Men or Hancock, where it’s a little grittier, so I don’t recommend it for elementary grades (but that’s not its target audience). Lots of action, lots of comic book necessities: a hero’s reputation being tainted, a superforce targeting the superhero headquarters, government conspiracies.

This book is Alex Rider if Alex Rider could shoot lightning out of his hands.

Heroes are defined by their villains

December 8th, 2007

Ever since my recent Heroes conversation with my friends, I’ve been feeling quite Joseph Campbell/Carl Jung-ish.

  1. In James Patterson’s Maximum Ride, the mysterious whitecoats and labs are cool. They add intrigue and mystery to Max and her flock. Where the series really develops, though, is when specific whitecoats rise to fight them. The high action and, frankly, one of the reasons the series is successful, revolves around the conflict with the Erasers. But if the Erasers remained faceless/nameless, they’d just be Stormtroopers. Ari, on the other hand, builds a connection for you, makes you almost sympathetic for a villain, and makes Max’s choices all the more catching. Her virtue blossoms around Ari the villain.
  2. In Superman comics and movies, Superman does amazing things (almost super things). He races missiles, lifts helicopters, and even turns back time (and returns from the dead). But Supes is at his best when fighting Luthor. Luthor, epitome of brains and conniving, always pushes Superman to his limits, sometimes even forcing Superman to choose who to save. Sure, you’ll have your alien/experimental threat that is basically a test of super power levels, but Luthor has staying power. The original Action Comics portray Superman as kindof, well, a jerk. (I’m thinking of one instance where the secretary won’t let Superman see the mayor…so he busts down the door.) Superman needs chances to vent his superness. If not, he’s just a bully.
  3. Do you remember Odysseus shooting the suitors through the throat or do you remember Circe and the Cyclops? (If you’re Devin, you answer, “Yes.” to both.) The mega-villains are memorable. How about Hercules? When I say ‘Hercules’, do you think ‘Hydra’ and the gods standing in his way or do you think ‘cleaning uber-stables’? What makes The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan stand out is Percy’s reactions to Ares, Zeus, and Medusa and his choice to not stoop to their level.
  4. Villains are not always the exact obvious opposite, like Luthor and Superman. Moriarty is just as smart as Sherlock Holmes. That’s what makes him deadly and helps us to sympathize with what would have become just another pretentious violin playing detective. What was the most memorable Sherlock Holmes scene? Yeah, you’ve got the hound, but true fans can remember the sword duel atop the waterfalls.
  5. The original Mario Bros. was pipes with crabs and turtles. But want it Super? You’ve got castles and a fire-breathing dragon/dinosaur/gecko. Bowser made it personal by kidnapping the princess, as well as other taunts that grow throughout the series of games.
  6. But it’s not just the villains. Heroes are always joined by foils, like Robin is to Batman or Horatio is to Hamlet. In one of the first fiction epics, Gilgamesh is joined by Enkidu the Wild Man. Humbaba the Tree Giant is a great villain, mainly because Enkidu and Gilgamesh have to team up to win. The villain demonstrates the connection between the super team.
  7. By fighting darkness, the hero stands out. Han Solo is awesome, and would overshadow Luke as the hero, if not for Darth Vader. Such a cool villain makes the hero even cooler just by being around. If not for Vader, Luke would still be hanging around Tashi Station looking for power converters. Ben Kenobi and Yoda train Luke not for a confrontation with the Emperor but for Vader. Vader can only be beat by love. The Emperor can be beat by elevator shafts.

In conclusion, I am stoked for Volume 3 of Heroes.

Writing Process Comics

November 19th, 2007

In an effort that would make Stan the Man proud, we will be creating comic books about the different steps of the writing process. Each comic needs to have:

  1. A hero that has the step of the writing process in his/her name
  2. A power/ability/device that demonstrates the specific 6 Trait of Writing that goes with that step of the writing process
  3. Three examples of dialogue that demonstrate a knowledge of the details of that part of the writing process
  4. Use two of the three templates for pages:
    Page 1
    Page 2
    Page 3

We will use the following sites for inspiration:

Hero Generator

Chip Designer

Rock Star

Soldier Generator

  1. To save the background layout image, Control + Click on the image to save it.
  2. In Word, select Insert->Watermark. When your options come up, select  ‘Picture’ and then make your options look like this:
    Now you’ll have more than just your usual Word layout!
  3. Design your hero using the links above. You’ll now need a screenshot.
  4. Press Apple + Control + Shift + 4 to get the screenshot cursor. Draw your box and then paste what you copied into Word.
  5. Click on the picture. In your formatting palette (View->Formatting Palette), select Wrapping (the picture needs to be selected for wrapping to show up). Change ‘Wrap To’ to ‘None’ and change ‘Style’ to ‘In Front of Text’. For each picture you’ll need to change the wrapping.
  6. Move and resize your pictures using the squares (handlebars).
    You can even flip images by resizing to the opposite side.
  7. To add dialogue, in your formatting palette select Add Objects. Click on the tab with the green square and the yellow circle (the AutoShapes).
  8. Click and drag whatever object you want onto the page.
  9. You can also add WordArt (the shiny ‘W’ in Add Objects) to give your comic that extra BAM/KAPOW!

Witness the awesome power of The Editor, wielding the Ring of Conventions.