Archive for June, 2008

Jun 30 2008

100 Years Since Tunuska!

Published by under News

I provide advice about how to write novels, comic books and graphic novels. Most of my content applies to fiction-writing in general, but I also provide articles specifically about superhero stories.

Given that Superhero Nation suggests that “the Tunuska event” was not a meteor hitting the Earth but actually a botched alien invasion, we should probably note that it hit Siberia 100 years ago today. Excellently, that gives us 6 years of empty space to fill in what the aliens were doing before they started WWI.

After 1908, 1912 is probably my favorite year. The US finally adds a 48th state (Arizona), the Titanic sinks, the Red Sox beat New York to win the World Series in what may be the finest game of baseball ever played, the Marines land on Cuba, and a “meteor” hits Holbrook, Arizona. If you don’t see the sinister connections between these events, don’t worry! It took us a book to parse our way through the web of lies.

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Jun 29 2008

And now, a message from the Navy

I found this list of Navy slang pretty funny. Here are some choice Navy phrases…

  • Bullet Sponge: U.S. Marine.
  • Cleaning Stations: Hour-long field day evolution where everyone drops what they’re doing and cleans their spaces. See “XO’s Happy Hour.”
  • Corpsman Candy: Sore-throat lozenges handed out at sick bay in lieu of any substantive treatment. Sometimes accompanied by two aspirin. Continue Reading »

One response so far

Jun 29 2008

Webcomic Issue #2: The Civilian’s Guide to Messy Business



Comic Rank

3 responses so far

Jun 28 2008

Five More Mistakes of First-Time Novelists (#11-15)

This short article will help beginning novelists avoid another five common mistakes that might cause a publisher to throw out a manuscript.

You can see the first two articles in this series here and here.
Continue Reading »

37 responses so far

Jun 27 2008

Webcomic Issue #1: Ability to Work Well with Mutated Alligators a Plus

Published by under Comedy,Comic Books,Webcomic



UPDATE: I forgot to leave an artist’s tag, but the drawings of Agent Black and Agent Orange were done by Polawat Darapong.
Comic Rank

10 responses so far

Jun 26 2008

5 More Mistakes of First-Time Novelists (#6-10)

This short article will help beginning novelists avoid another five common mistakes that will usually cause publishers to throw out a manuscript.

This article is a sequel to “Five Mistakes of First-Time Novelists,” which you can read here.

Continue Reading »

6 responses so far

Jun 26 2008

Another thought on superheroes

I don’t trust anyone that calls himself a “superhero.” The only difference between a “superhero” and a “supervillain” is that the villain’s been caught.


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Jun 25 2008

5 Common Mistakes for First-Time Novelists

This short article will help beginning novel-writers avoid five common mistakes that will usually cause publishers to throw out a manuscript.

Continue Reading »

29 responses so far

Jun 25 2008

Superhero Nation Webcomic set to begin on Friday

Published by under Webcomic

We had originally planned to launch it today, but unfortunately Paypal is stalling us. Rather than sit around waiting, I’ve drawn up scripts for our first five comics and the initial reviews have been very favorable.

I’m new to this sort of writing, but I’ve read through all the entries for “Your Webcomic is Bad and You Should Feel Bad” to help avoid common mistakes. On the plus side, I think we’ve already gotten past problem #1: terrible art.

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Jun 22 2008

Reading Survey

Published by under Uncategorized

Andrew Burt, one of the leaders of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, is offering a survey on reading habits.  Please do writers a favor and give us 5-10 minutes of your time.  Thanks!

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Jun 21 2008

Another job you’re glad you don’t have…

Published by under Comedy,News

Discovery Channel covered the discovery of a cave full of ancient Egyptian shipping cords.

Amazingly, these ropes were stored in the same way as nowadays sailors store their shipping cords — just coiling and tighting them in the middle,” archaeologist and rope analyst Andre Veldmeijer told Discovery News.

I imagine that his kids somehow fake illness to get out of Take Your Kids to Work Day.

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Jun 21 2008

Writing Without Gimmicks

Published by under Writing Articles

This article will help you identify and eliminate potential gimmicks in your writing. For example, Gadsby was written without the letter ‘E.’ This is the ultimate gimmick, an attempt by an author to try something new that ends up rubbing readers the wrong way. Remember, you’re writing a book, not playing Scrabble.
Continue Reading »

17 responses so far

Jun 21 2008

What the world needs: another web-comic!

Published by under Comedy

Within a week, Superhero Nation will launch a trial run at a Monday-Wednesday-Friday webcomic.   We may offer observations about web-comic writing and design, but probably not often.

No responses yet

Jun 18 2008

Adopt a Gator

Agent Orange, everybody’s favorite mutated alligator, offers this comparison of dogs and gators as pets.

Why should you buy a gator? For the same reasons that buying a dog makes you look foolish and weak.

When a human buys a Chihuahua, he is saying “I value the company of small and conspicuously useless mammals.” Not surprisingly, his friends will quickly surmise that he thinks of them as small and useless. This is why Chihuahua-owners rarely have friends. Conversely, anyone who befriends a gator boldly declares that his taste and judgment are impeccable.  That is why even walking a gator down to the park will garner the respect and awe of nearby humans. Also, everybody loves gator parties.

Anyone who does not like gators is probably an idiot, a Louisianan or a drug dealer. Since you do not want to meet any of those people, a “Beware of Gator” sign is sure to make your home a friendlier and happier place. In fact, the only better thing for your home is a “Beware of Gators” sign. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

In addition to drug dealers and Louisianans, gators will protect you from squirrels. These predatory vagrant-mammals lurk in public areas, hoping that their bushy tails will distract you long enough to attack. Too often, this ruse is successful. That’s why violent crime rates are highest in cities, the areas typically hardest hit by squirrels. Fortunately, gators are wise to the squirrel threat. This is why squirrels will never approach a gator.

Gators will also protect humans from their worst instinct: playing golf. Golf-playing may stem from the mammalian affinity for holes (also demonstrated by the obsessive digging tendencies of gophers, squirrels and Boston). However, it is a peculiarly human trait to see a hole and think that it would be enjoyable to hit a golfball into it. Fortunately, gators are a natural and 100% effective cure for this defect.   This is why the presence of an alligator on a golf course immediately causes all play to cease. This also explains why golf course owners hate gators so much.

4 responses so far

Jun 18 2008

Demotivational Mewtwo

Step 1:  Kill Lucario.

I’m tempted to add some snarky comment about unemployment causing Mewtwo to cling to guns…

Picture taken from Path-e-tech-graphics.

No responses yet

Jun 16 2008

The Luck of the IRS? (Or: Eat Pennies!)

Agent Orange: Greetings, Mammal-Black! I require your expertise.

Agent Black: Tax trouble again?

Agent Orange: Indeed. Your former colleagues at the IRS persist in their shameless schemes to extort me.

Agent Black: And did this vendetta against you begin before or after you insisted on paying your income taxes in pennies?

Agent Orange: That wouldn’t have seemed unreasonable if they hadn’t demanded so much money!

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Jun 14 2008

Wii Fit: Zombie Edition

Published by under Writing Articles

Nintendo needs to make a Wii Fit zombie game.  It would mix hand exercises (hacking at zombies with a fire-ax) with aerobics (RUN!).  Plus, the game could work in Eternal Darkness’s insanity effects by having the Wii Fit board wobble to simulate the world going funky on you.

–Cadet Davis

No responses yet

Jun 14 2008

An amusing observation

Published by under Superhero Nation

Agent Orange, the mutated alligator, sought to name himself and was deliberating between Gain and Accumulation. Agent Black not so subtly steers him away from the latter. I was reminded of that exchange when I learned that “Increase” was actually the name of a prominent American reverend in colonial times. Go figure!

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Jun 14 2008

Iron-Man, Hulk, Hellboy 2, Punisher: one of these is not like the others…

Published by under Comic Books,Movie Review

I would venture to say that Iron-Man is the only Marvel movie released this year that approaches watchable. (I liked Iron-Man, but I found its action scenes disappointing).

Speaking of the new Punisher movie, you can see its trailer below. It looks like it will be beyond bad. I’m not adverse to wanton, cybernoir violence (The Matrix!) but the concept should have translated to film much better than it did in the 2004 Punisher film…

The last trailer I’ve seen that was this bad was Vantage Point. If the movie is really as loaded with goofy stunts and groan-inducing lines as the trailer is, comparisons to Elektra, Nick Fury: Agent of SHIELD, and perhaps even the 1990 Captain America “movie” may be in order.

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Jun 12 2008

What’s in a name? Not certain death (usually)

Published by under Comedy

Agent Orange: Greetings, Mammal-Black! I have been erroneously removed from the payroll and this has made me surly. Agent White has claimed that my entry cannot be replaced unless I have a first name distinct from my rank, which has doubly besurlied me.

Agent Black: Well, you do have a first name besides “Agent,” right?

Agent Orange: …

[awkward silence]

Agent Black: Err… do you have a given name? Maybe something other reptiles call you?

Agent Orange: Indeed, Mammal-Black! I am [hiss-hiss-hissssss].

Agent Black: I don’t know if we’ll be able to type that in for your name. I’m not sure how to translate those sounds into English letters.

Agent Orange: It would have a lot of s’s, I imagine.

Agent Black: Does your given name happen to translate into any English words?

Agent Orange: Depending on the context, it can mean either an “accumulation” (as in an addition, prosperity or flowering) or “certain death” (such as an unavoidable mangling or other violent demise).

Agent Black: Here, let me use a thesaurus. Some synonyms for “accumulation” are gain, boon, and benediction. As names, any of those words would be eccentric but definitely workable. Do you like any of them?

Agent Orange: I see. And what are the synonyms for “certain death?”

Agent Black: Uhh… under “certain death”, I see only gain, boon and benedict.

Agent Orange: Most curious! That is surely a sign that the Gator Gods want me to pick one of those three. But what was wrong with “accumulation?” That strikes me as a perfectly acceptable name.

Agent Black: I wouldn’t argue with the Gator Gods on this one.

Agent Orange: Of course not, Mammal-Black! Although I am disappointed that the Gator Gods do not appear to have smiled upon “Accumulation,” or “Mangler” or “Chompy” either, I must admit a certain fondness for “Gain.” There is now only one outstanding problem. Our agency employs two mammals named Gary. Won’t co-workers get confused if our names are similar?

Agent Black: I think our agents will be able to keep track of what every agent brings to the team. When you need a mutated alligator, you need a mutated alligator and not just someone whose name sounds like a mutated alligator’s.

Agent Orange: I find your mammalian logic impeccable.

No responses yet

Jun 10 2008

Interagency Cooperation: NSA-OSI

Agent Orange: Greetings, Mammal-Black! The National Security Agency has leased us a new agent, someone I surmise to be an inordinately skilled assassin.

Agent Black: You surmise that he’s an assassin?

Agent Orange: When I asked about his experience, he wouldn’t say anything more than “implementing informational synergies and synthesizing data management systems.”

Agent Black: That doesn’t sound like killing people.

Agent Orange: The NSA is top-secret, so I don’t blame him for not spelling out the details of what “data management” entailed. Perhaps if you were charged with the stealthy disposal of compromised personnel in the middle of the night, Mammal-Black, you too would appreciate discretion.

Agent Black: He probably handled hard drive backups or something.

Agent Orange: The hell he did! I bet the NSA let him go for killing a surly underling that doubted his credentials.

No responses yet

Jun 07 2008

A Quip About Ulysses

Ulysses is a totally incomprehensible book. Understanding it is like machine-gunning a pack of unicorns. Anyone that claims to have done either is lying, but should be institutionalized anyway.”

–Cadet Davis

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Jun 06 2008

Quote of the Day

Published by under Agent Orange,Comedy

Agent Orange: The British are delightfully odd. They all buy cars that run on “petrol,” which works just as well as gasoline but costs thrice twice as much. And they think they’re smarter than us.

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Jun 05 2008

A different kind of mission statement

“When you kill one person, it’s a tragedy. When you kill a thousand people, it’s a statistic. When you kill a million people, you’re in.” — The Supervillain Hall of Fame

2 responses so far

Jun 05 2008

Creating Interesting Characters: Characterization by Trait

This article will help you create and develop characters.
Continue Reading »

273 responses so far

Jun 04 2008

A List of Character Traits

This list of words used to define and describe people will help you design characters for novels and other stories.

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180 responses so far

Jun 04 2008

Featured Quote: My Career Aspirations

Published by under Comedy,Quote of the Day

“When I was a third grader, I wanted to be a President, a pilot or a ninja. Unfortunately, I’m too clumsy to be a ninja, too blind to be a pilot, and too moral to run for President.”

–B. Mac

No responses yet

Jun 03 2008

Featured Quote: Catastrophe the Problem Gambler

Catastrophe: “I don’t have a gambling problem. I win.”

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Jun 03 2008

The Squirrel Conspiracy

Published by under Comedy,Reptile Humor

Agent Black and everyone’s favorite mutated alligator, Agent Orange, discuss the problem of squirrels.

Continue Reading »

No responses yet

Jun 02 2008

Featured: A brief comparison of crime in two US cities…

Published by under Comedy,Uncategorized

“In New York City, criminals chase the dragon. In Surf City, the dragon chases back.”

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