Random Thursday Drabble: What makes a hero?

“I keep hearing people talk about how Superman’s the best super hero or Batman’s better or how great Wonder Woman or Oracle is — and they compare their muscles or their powers or their smarts like it all came down to the stats printed on the back of the cards their action figures came on.”

“But that’s not it?”

“No. That’s not it. None of that’s it. None of those heroes are better or worse than each other, regardless of powers, because there’s only one measure that counts.”

“And that is?”

“When everyone else is running away, super heroes run toward.”

Justice Wing: Interviewing Leather — the Arrival Page

Interviewing Leather!Hey all!

A lot of folks have asked for a quicker, easier way to read the fourteen parts of Interviewing Leather. That makes sense — it would be, after all, quicker and easier. The obvious thing to do would be to create a single PDF, with everything laid out quickly, simply, with maximum convenience.

Yeah, I’m not going to be doing that.

Well, at least not yet. Will Leather get the consolidation treatment? Unquestionably. However, it will involve additional material, some filling out, perhaps a backup story or two and, Paragon willing, will let me make at least a little bit of money. More news on that as events warrant.

However, I know that just going to the tag page gives people two pages of links, which are in inverted order. It’s an artifact of WordPress, and I’m sorry for it. HOWEVER, to make things easier for people who want to jump in — we now present this page. Behind the link, you will find things in an easy to read and access linear fashion.

Tell your friends! Wake your children! Read a story… um… again. Whatever — just enjoy!

Interviewing Trey #2

This entry is part 2 of 12 in the series Interviewing Trey

Part two of Interviewing Trey, and the first part where we really get to know the Jack O’Knaves.

For those who’ve read Interviewing Leather, there’s one significant difference that will become apparent in this post. Leather was a thief, pure and simple. She didn’t just avoid killing, she went out of her way to not kill.

The Jack O’Knaves is under no such restriction, and this is very apparent starting… now.

Notes on this will follow, of course.

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Justice Wing: Legacies of the Past

The Lieutenant Comic Panel So, every so often things don’t work out quite as you expected them to.

That’s not too surprising at this point. When you’re a writer, sometimes the stories take unexpected turns. Which is what happened to me this time. You see, I finished the Prosperina myth, and figured I was going back into normal production. Prosperina was long for a story, so I had a certain amount of ‘flex’ before I had to get into the regular schedule, but I was pretty sure I’d write a Justice Wing story, then write or post something for Storytelling, then do a myth for the following week.

For whatever reason, I didn’t want to do the next part of Vilify 5 next. I wanted to write something self contained. I thought about writing the very old school story of the time Lady Velvet used Paragon as a weapon against Nightstick and Cudgel, but that story wasn’t quite ready.

And then I thought “hey — why don’t I tell an origin story! That’s nicely comic bookish!” And for whatever reason, the Lieutenant was the character that sprung to mind. I even came up with a good framing device for it — a book Barbara Babcock (Lois Lane to Paragon’s Superman) would write about what Champions would call the Dependent Non Player Characters in a superhero’s life.

In other words, a book about Lois, Jimmy Olson, Perry White, Alfred Pennyworth, Aunt May, Mary Jane Watson, Gwen Stacy, Steve Trevor, and all the rest of the happy people who were turned into monkeys or killed and stuffed into refrigerators. That would do it!


Over twelve thousand words later, here we are. I thought about breaking it up into parts, but I don’t think this story would support it. So here’s a whole chapter of Barbara’s book for you. And this is why I didn’t get anything else done since then.

One thing I like is neither Barbara nor her interviewee sound like Todd Chapman, from “Interviewing Leather.” At least, within the bounds of me actually writing everyone involved.

The picture isn’t fan art, per se. That’s actually mine. Sort of. See, I started with a posted City of Heroes character based on the Lieutenant, and then I did the photoshop shuffle. The result was meant to look like a comic book panel from 1938 or so, and damn if it didn’t come out right (right down to suspect registration errors and slightly heavy blacks on the lines).

I hope you like “Legacies of the Past.”

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JW: Vilify 5, Part 2

It’s always interesting to go from “the plan” to the execution. Scenes you think will be long and drawn out turn out to be perfunctory. Scenes you figured wouldn’t go anywhere will recast your series in an entirely new light. The characters in your notes come to life and start making noises at you. Sometimes, you doubt your sanity.

Someone asked me the difference between Leather and Lady Velvet. Well, there are a few. For one, Lady Velvet started out wanting to be a villain.

But the major difference between the pair is something close to twenty years. There are times age doesn’t matter at all. I have a lot of friends who weren’t even alive when I was their age. They’re fun and funny and sometimes a lot smarter than I am.

And sometimes, it matters. More than you might like to admit, it matters.

We haven’t had a chance to see any more of the good old days just yet, but that’s on the horizon. For now, though — please enjoy today’s chapter of Vilify 5.

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Justice Wing: Vilify 5, Part One

One of the interesting things about writing something like Justice Wing is the kind of story you get to write. It’s hard to convince a publisher to let you write a comic book about this guy who interviews a supervillain for a week, with very little in the way of action scenes, for example. Not if you’re not already Kurt Busiek, Warren Ellis or Garth Ennis.

And, in case you haven’t figured it out, I’m not any of those people. Nor do I have much hope of ever becoming any of them.

But, when you’re writing full on fiction, without pictures… you can write human stories about superhumans. For example, this one.

This story actually predates “Interviewing Leather” in short story form. This is an expansion of said short story, to better fit the mosaic novel style thing I seem to be building. And it follows out of last week’s prologue in ways that should be obvious.

This is a story about supervillains and superculture, sure. But it’s also a story about fans, cons, con culture, and whatever else seemed to fit. It tells a story (I hope) and sets up a few other stories (I hope), and I hope you like it.

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Justice Wing: Prologue

As promised, this is the first official Justice Wing post, appropriately named “Prologue.” It sets up a few things, gives you some better idea of who the players are and how long they’ve been at this, and… well, gives us something to go from.

Which is, in the end, what a prologue is supposed to do.

I hope you like it.

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Interviewing Leather, Part Fourteen

This entry is part 14 of 14 in the series Interviewing Leather

And this is it. The conclusion of “Interviewing Leather.” And I have to admit, I feel pretty good about it.

Todd Chapman, in the story, is writing an article called ‘Interviewing Leather.’ The subject of that article is the so-named supervillain Leather, who he has been hired to interview. But the novella/serial “Interviewing Leather,” by E. A. Burns, is about Todd Chapman, who finds himself stuck in a situation and learns a few things along the way.

In one sense, this is the end of that story. Todd Chapman isn’t the same person who drove up to Meridian City in part one. In another sense, this is the beginning of Chapman’s story, and I suspect somewhere along the line he’s going to show up again.

I like this ending. I like this story. I’m glad it came out the way it did. And I hope you like it too.

I have no idea what I’m going to do next week.

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The Home Front: Homecoming Part Three

A bit late, but here’s the third part of “Homecoming,” here in The Home Front. This particular file got corrupted, so I didn’t have any choice but to rewrite about half of it, which put things off a bit. And here we are!

Of course, it occurs to me that Greg Fishbone, my former editor, children’s author, and man about town, might well have a copy of the file sitting on a zip disk somewhere. On the other hand, I think he has better ways to spend his time than coming up with my old crap for these purposes.

Anyway, here then is the third chapter in our story. I hope you like it. And yeah, I know full well there’ll be theories on what the All American Lad could have done differently. Just keep it to 1946 technology, if you will. ;)

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Interviewing Leather, Part Thirteen

This entry is part 13 of 14 in the series Interviewing Leather

Part thirteen of “Interviewing Leather.” This is, if anything, denouement and epilogue, and a chance for some voices on the other side of the fence to chime in on a few of the points Leather herself made. It also sets up the last part, which should come out next week. God knows what we’ll replace Leather with.

In the end, if there’s one thing that I think has come clear in this series, it’s that Leather isn’t quite as simple as she appears on the surface.

Regardless, when it’s over I’m going to miss Todd, Leather, Marco and the gang. We’ll have to see what comes next.


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