Crimson Son

ON SALE NOW!

ONLY .99 CENTS?!?

Sales have been good since the June launch but my goal is to share stories. To turbo charge this I’ve gone nuts and done two things. First, I setup FREE purchases for libraries through Smashwords – ’cause libraries rock. Second, I’ve dropped the price of the eBook to less than a buck.  If June was a soft launch, this is the VIAGRA launch. Hurry! This special price will only be good through 10-29-14! If it lasts longer than that, I’ll need to call my doctor…

Crimson by Russ Linton - a superhero novel

Sample Chapter – Chapter One

Available at:

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Description:

Nineteen-year-old Spencer Harrington is the son of the Crimson Mask, the world’s most powerful superhero. Since witnessing his mother’s abduction two years ago, he’s been confined to his father’s arctic bunker. When the “Icehole” comes under attack by a rampaging robot, Spencer is forced to launch into his father’s dangerous world of weaponized human beings known as Augments.

With no powers of his own save a multi-tool, a quick wit and a boatload of emotional trauma, Spencer seeks to uncover his mother’s fate and confront his absentee father. As he stumbles through a web of conspiracies and top secret facilities, he rallies a team of everyday people and cast-off Augments. But Spencer soon discovers that the Black Beetle isn’t his only enemy, nor his worst.

Reviews for Crimson Son:

“Crimson Son is a strong, rite-of-passage piece, examining the bonds of father and son and the impact each can have on the other, set against the worlds of augmented super-beings and shadowy government conspiracies. It shouldn’t work as well as it does, but it does. In spades.”
- Fanboy Comics – 5 stars

“This bright, quirky fantasy, gives “superhero” a whole new meaning… The world Russ creates is so real, so believable, that you’re left wanting more of this character driven, action packed book.”
The Author Visits – 5 stars

Crimson Son is a 5-star book. Fast paced, engaging, character-driven, and a fun voice I love to read. As far as non-traditional Superhero books go, Crimson Son blows Steelheart out of the water.
Laura Masiano – Hidden Corner of the Interwebz – 5 stars

“More than just a “superhero” novel, it has emotional subplots that touch on coming of age, seeing your parents as other adults, trusting friends, and the triumph of the human spirit. “
Bookie Monster – 5 stars

The Ancient Art of Miàn duì Gōngjí

Over the weekend I manifested a new superpower to be added to the growing list alongside Making Shit Up and Where’s Waldo Echolocation. No, not invisibility. It would be useless anyway because I’d give myself away with the clacking on the keyboard. And no adamantium bones, which is fine. I don’t want to get the grope-down by setting off airport metal detectors every time I board a plane.

It was seven a.m. on a Sunday when I was forewarned of this development.  An annoying buzzing infiltrated my sleep, rattling my brain a bit. Spidey sense, one of the many other powers I’ve picked up over the years. That or…

When my wife Maaike’s phone stopped vibrating, she jabbed me in the face (which I totally didn’t see coming. The Spidey sense is weird like that) and said “It’s time”. Little did I know, this was only a warmup for the day ahead.

With my birthday approaching, she must have sensed the coming changes as well and maybe figured it was best if we were out of the house in case I maybe turned into living flame like the Human Torch. I really never understood how he lived a normal life. Does he clear out the station before pumping gas? Does he have an Emergency Plan set up with Sue? Okay, if I ever “flame on” in my sleep, we’ll meet at the fire hydrant out front.

Anyway, turns out my power was none of these. It was something better and to master it I had to learn an ancient Chinese martial art known as Miàn duì Gōngjí which is only practiced by a secretive, inbred tong. Most of them are missing their teeth and their noses have long since been pulped to their face like Voldemort, but this did not deter me. Though, in retrospect, it probably should have.

Turns out, attacking things with your face is pretty rough but effective. I mean nobody, not even you, sees it coming. The ultimate in sneak attacks.

After several repetitions, my red-suited sensei stopped laughing long enough to tell me that I was ready to unleash my new abilities. A power I’d been waiting for ever since these mutant abilities started to display themselves. The power of flight.

This was a singularly weird experience. It was like learning to swim but being told not to move or else the water will smash you against the side of the pool. Microscopic movements would shoot you across the width of the giant blender (clear walls for the entertainment of your “loved” ones) and trying to figure out which offending muscles had caused the incident was sorta like isolating which individual hair on your head itched.

When we finished, Maaike then decided to share some ancient Eastern wisdom she must have picked up from my sensei. She felt this gift was exactly what someone had meant when they mentioned a writer needed to “live their life outside their head as much as inside”. And that very wise person was right. All those experiences become fuel for the fiction. Add rich layers to the story and maintain the illusion.

I can’t wait until the next power rears it’s head.

I’ll have a helmet on standby and probably a face of steel by that point. But most importantly, I’ll have a new gift to pass on to the people that bother to stop and pick up my books or short stories. A gift of made up stuff tempered by a few reality checks against the inside of the blender.

Don’t leave me hanging (groan) check out the blog tour – dates are on the sidebar to the right. And don’t forget the SALE. .99 for the Crimson Son eBook!

Uncanny Sale – Crimson Son eBook for .99!

As all good mutations do, the Uncanny Blog Tour has morphed. Produced a new strain. Found its FINAL FORM.

Now announcing the AMAZING. The ASTONISHING. The STUPENDOUS. The UNCANNY Sale.

For a limited time, the Crimson Son eBook will be available for .99 cents.

Yep. You heard right. Less than a buck.

I can’t cram anymore badassery into an eBook for anything less. Well, unless you’re a public library. I love libraries – you guys can HAVE the book (I’ve set the eBook price for library purchases through Smashwords to FREE).

RIGHT NOW, you can find it on Amazon for .99 Other distributors seem to have their own time table for pricing updates which is somewhere between the Flash and Professor X speeds, but I’ll let everyone know when the major players have decided to honor my insanity.  For now, feel free to feed 30 billion pound gorilla that is Amazon – just keep your hands outside the cage.

Uncanny Blog Tour Day One

Behold! The insanity between my ears!

Savor! The increasingly convoluted answers to the question “why did you become a writer?”

Feel! No, on second thought, please look but don’t touch anything…keep your hands inside the car at all times.

Amazing! Astonishing! Uncanny!

I never quite got why comic books would throw fancy adjectives in front of their titles like they were trying to get someone to enter the tent with the jarred pig fetus at the county fair.

We’ll say it has to do with marketing and maybe the legendary P.T. Barnum. Since I know next to nothing about marketing and I’m desperate to sell books, I’ll borrow a page from his manual. I’m an X-Men fan (since way before all this new-fangled talking picture stuff…) so I’m calling this the Uncanny Blog Tour. ‘Cause it’s mysterious. And strange. And potentially unsettling (I mean who let THIS GUY pretend to be interesting anyway?)

We kick off today with a double dose of insanity at Kit ‘N Kabookle and Coffee Books and Art where I get serious with some interview questions. I get to explain why you shouldn’t punch people in the face when they say “I could write a book” and why you never ride an eight-man canoe down a snow-covered hill…

Follow along! Post and harass! Win fabulous prizes!

Crimson Son – Excerpt

I’m busy answering interview question this week so for Free Fiction Friday, here’s an excerpt from Crimson Son… This flashback comes early – end of Chapter Two. No spoilers here, but this is the pivotal event that changed Spencer’s life.

###

Crimson Son

Black Beetle kidnaps Spencer’s Mom

Home. I was seventeen. After years of moving, Mom put her foot down and we’d been in the San Francisco area for three years. She’d found a rental in an older neighborhood overlooking San Pedro Valley Park, one of those stucco homes with a tile roof. Mom loved the place. I did too.

Mom sighs as she tries to feed a page into the fax machine.

“Spencer, honey, do you have any idea how this works? I think I might’ve broken it,” she speaks without looking up and tucks a lock of dark hair behind her ear. She does that when she’s frustrated. That mostly includes any time she’s faced with gears, transistors, chips, batteries or so much as a stray piece of copper wire. She refers to herself as “technologically challenged.” Really, she wants an excuse to get me to help.

I eye the aging fax machine with contempt. “I could figure it out. But, what about your phone?”

She looks puzzled as she asks, “What about it?”

“The phone takes pictures, right? I can take pictures of the papers and send those to Dad.”

She smiles. My favorite part of this dream, nightmare, memory—whatever it is. I always try to stay at this point. Stop time. Freeze her face and burn it into my brain so I can see that expression, always.

“Honey, that’s a great idea. You want to take over here?”

I’ve lived through this so many times, I know what she’s thinking at this very moment. Nothing to do with sending papers, she’s watching me work. She knows I’m happy with a new gadget. She gets me, even if she doesn’t understand what I do. I miss that the most.

“What’s this for?”

“Paperwork for the house.”

“Are we finally going to buy it?”

“No, I don’t think so.” She turns away, busying herself with the fax machine again. The room empties without her smile.

I take the phone and spread the papers on the floor. More rental paperwork.

“I don’t understand why we don’t just buy the place. Didn’t you say the owner wanted to sell?” I ask. She shrugs.

With careful motions I start snapping away, attaching the pictures to an email. I’m not sure where Dad is going to print these, but wherever he found a fax machine, chances are they’ll have what he needs. I hit send. An hourglass pops up, followed by “Connection Lost”.

This part always comes so fast.

I hand the phone back to Mom. “You’ll need to send later, I guess. The signal dropped. Should be in your outbox ready to go.”

As she takes the phone, the wall of the room explodes.

Here. Dream becomes nightmare. For a moment, I feel I can make it stand still, but why would I? Events unfold with the emptiness of the bunker gnawing at my insides. I can identify every stray chunk of plaster and splinter of wood in this time-robbed moment.

Fragments of home spray like a swarm of locusts. Mom screams and the world spins under her protective dive. I struggle to see through a haze of dust. Glimpses of the valley filter past a humanoid silhouette. A long, pincered arm lashes out. The arm clamps tightly around Mom’s waist and retracts, drawing us closer.

“Release the boy and he will live,” the Black Beetle speaks with an unnatural vibration. “He can relay a message for your husband.”

Mom squeezes tighter but her screaming stops.

I search her face, knowing what I’ll find, all the while scrambling to find an anchor as we slide across the room. She’s bleeding from a gash on her forehead and the pincer cinches tighter. Her eyes are full of fear, but focused. She’s calculating, deliberating. A hundred times? A thousand? It always hurts.

“No, Mom, please!” I throw my hands around the leg of a toppled chair which drags uselessly behind us. Countless trips through this nightmare, I know I can’t keep us here, but I reach out anyway. And always, she lets go.

I grab her arm, trying to pull her back, cursing my stunted size, my weak limbs, my feeble grip. Sweaty hands slip as the pincer continues to retract. Her trembling lips form a final smile and she watches me with a sad but determined expression. She mouths the words, “I love you.”

“Mom!” I glance at the lifeless phone, shrouded in dust. The screen is dark and covered in spidery cracks.

“Tell your father it is time to turn himself in,” the Black Beetle says. “Is that clear?”

With a pneumatic hiss the ebony battle armor backs into the afternoon sun. Blinding light floods in. The armor takes flight on a column of flame and the deafening roar rattles our battered home. I rush to the opening. She’s an angel, floating away, the shadowy beast burning behind her. All I can do is stare and cry.

Only this time, the tears don’t come.

Every time this nightmare strikes, I stand there, clinging to that last glimpse as she’s torn away. But this time, on her face, a different expression quivers through the waves of heat and exhaust. All of her fear is erased. Her eyes search mine as though she’s seeing me for the first time.

I continue watching the brilliant rocket flares long after they dissolve into a sunless sky. Then, the points of light burst outward into the bright edges of an eclipsed sun. A ring of light that seems so close, yet so far from home.

###

Crimson Son is available in paperback and eBook formats at all major retailers. Thanks for reading!

October – The Month of ME!

VBT Crimson Son Tour Banner copyMumble-blather-mumble years ago, I was born on the 21st day of this month to two stunned, bewildered and freaked out parents. They had expected one giant baby. Instead, they got two medium babies.

This was not a particularly high point for the universe, but having been crammed in a womb with another being, it was a high point for little baby me. Space to roam. To Stretch. The removal of an elbow from my abdomen.

Unfortunately, my twin sister gets older this month. I, on the other hand, get more distinguished.

With all my new refinement and fanci-tude, I want to take the time to tell everyone about little ‘ol me. Starting next week, I’ll be going on a virtual tour of the internet. No, nothing you’ll need your private browser on for, just a few great book blog sites that have burning questions about me, my book, and the meaning of life.

I will answer all of these questions, but you have to stay tuned here to get the details. (Especially for the last one…)

Did I mention I’m bribing you?

Along the way, there will be a chance to win an Amazon gift card. A wise person would of course buy their second copy of Crimson Son, but since I have no way of knowing what you buy, well, I guess you can get whatever you want.

So be there. Virtually. October 13th we will kick off with Kit N’ Kabookle and Coffee, Books and Art. The blog tour will run through the 30th, well past the day I  scrambled from the womb and later decided to torture people with my babblings.

Domestic Dispute – Part 3

This is the third and final part of Domestic DisputeRead Part 2 here

###

The two-leg’s lair was a smaller mound surrounded by trees and fields of green grass far from the pulsing hive. Charax waited patiently outside as the little two-legs retrieved a key and then led him to a door in the side of a hill which opened into a long tunnel. It was a bit of construction Charax finally understood. Perhaps this two-legs shared a little more than a spark of the inferno that burned in the chest of dragon-kind.

“You’ll need a name,” said Charax.

“But I do have one,” replied the two-leg.

“I shall call you Dustmaw,” said Charax. At this, the two-leg only nodded.

The tunnel descended to an enormous door about the size of Charax’s head and composed of the densest metals . The surface of the door was covered in rods and with a large knobby wheel mounted in the center. Dustmaw leaned forward and wiggled his fingers next to the door. After a series of high-pitched squeals, the thick hatch swung outward.

Inside was mana from the heavens. Stacks of stardust, refined and condensed into perfectly overlapping blocks to form a very pleasing geometric symmetry. Piles of gems reflected the light from their sharp angles and spread streaks of color around the room. Dustmaw appeared larger as he bathed in the dapple glow of the horde.

“How?” Charax gasped.

“What do you mean, my friend?” Gently, the confident two-leg waved a hand and Charax felt compelled to move aside. “How did I acquire all this…Stardust?”

“Yes,” Charax said breathlessly. As the two-leg sealed the vault door, the bridge of Charax’s nose twitched and something felt wrong, but if only Kirya were here to see such a sight, it might wake her from her slumber.

“The other two-legs – is that what you called us? The others give me their treasures and I make them grow.”

Despite himself, Charax’s eyes widened. “Grow? Trees grow. So do slime-borns. But Stardust? That’s nonsense.”

“Forgive me. A figure of speech in our limited language. The others entrust their treasures to me and I make things called investments. It’s a value placed on a group of two-legs engaged in enterprise. When they succeed in their endeavors, I get more money back and share.”

Charax scratched his chin. The vault door was impressive, but hardly a challenge. He could rip it off the hinges right now and carry away the contents.

But the idea of getting even more of the precious treasure was irresistible.

“What do you say, Mr. Charax? Want to see your fortune grow?”

Charax eyed the tiny two-leg. He was an insect. A slime-born. A bag of water and bone to be crushed beneath a heel. But if this one wanted to serve him, so be it.

“Yes. I’d like to see that,” Charax said.

Under Dustmaw’s watchful gaze, Charax took flight. If anything went wrong he’d pluck tiny Dustmaw’s arms off and maybe hold him beneath a particularly clear piece of quartz under a blazing sun. But, if the little two-leg could actually lure more stardust, Charax would be pleased. Maybe Kirya would welcome a pet? She’d have to be the one to cleanup after it though. They were such messy beasts.

###

When Charax arrived at his lair, Kirya was nothing but a gilded island amid the sludge. With delicate motions, he scooped her up and gathered rocks to make a raised bed. As he worked, the cavern rumbled and the jet of fetid water ceased, but the air remained dense with fumes.

“Kirya? Can you hear me?”

No answer came except the rise and fall of her flanks.

“Kirya, I’m going to bring us more shiny things than you’ve ever seen.” Charax spoke as he gathered their horde by the cavern entrance. “You wouldn’t believe how the two-legs have spread. The things they can do. Beautiful things with stardust and crystals. I…I don’t understand.” His voice trailed off and he paused with a claw full of treasure before diving back into his work. “I’ve met this two-leg who speaks. Dustmaw is his name. He can collect stardust from the two-legs. We use our treasure as a trap of sorts. It draws them like flies to dung. He must be a sort of hive leader.”

Charax bent low next to Kirya’s ear and whispered, “But once I see how his scheme works, I’ll take everything. I’ll bring it all, for you. So much treasure, it will raise you up above the waters. Glitter in your eyes.” He traced a talon on her slack cheeks.

Horde in tow, Charax left Kirya to her dreaming.

###

Dustmaw had been talking for hours. Again. Pointing at a rapidly changing array of colorful pictures and scribblings. Again. Every day the two-legs would scurry into his chamber, sit around a plank of wood, and project light on the wall.

Charax yawned a mighty yawn of dragon-breath that choked even the unflappable Dustmaw. The other two-legs around the table looked accusingly at each other and Charax pulled his head away from the office window. No one had been able to see him besides his temporary “business partner”, so drawn were they to the glowing screen, but at times, they would be alerted to his presence. A primordial echo – like when the four-legs ran or cowered. A deeply rooted fear of dragon-kind, mused Charax exultantly, that even all their lights and stone walls and cacophony of buzzing and whirring hadn’t been able to completely erase.

None of Dustmaw’s jabbering made sense to Charax other than the fact that many times, the two-legs would trade with Dustmaw to shut him up. Most often they seemed to trade in paper. A promise they had treasures, Dustmaw told him – they were much too weak to carry stardust with them.

On this went, month after two-leg month, year after year. It was the blink of a dragon’s eye, but those eyelids were becoming heavier and heavier. To stay awake, Charax tried peering into the other windows of the building.

Dustmaw’s lair was atop the highest mound in the hive and the floors below always buzzed with activity during the day. But the two-legs were far from interesting.

In the morning, they would flood in on their metal beasts and infest the mound in knots which would slowly disperse. They’d then sit. And sit.

They’d stare at light, chitter into the air, until finally they’d all flood out of the mound like someone had pulled a plug at the base. Then their tall hives would sit bright and empty, fighting back the night which had once shown even the furthest stars. Next, the sun would rise and the annoying creatures would do it all again.

His eyelids drooped further, then blinked. He shook his head into the dimming sunlight and climbed back up to Dustmaw’s office, ready to demand his treasures. He needed to return to Kirya before he too drifted back into dreams.

Dustmaw’s office sat empty. The chamber with the slab of wood remained quiet and unused. The adjacent little hives were vacant. Curious, Charax flew to Dustmaw’s private mound.

The mound had grown since his last visit. An enormous tiled pool filled the backyard surrounded by polished stones. A stone path led from there to a new structure. Charax pried back the top to peer inside and saw rows of polished metal beasts but no Dustmaw. He returned to the central mound and began calling in the windows.

“Dustmaw? Dustmaw! I demand you come out of there!” Tilting his massive head, he placed an ear against the cool, flat surface and listened. Not a sound.

Sending out a curl of smoke from his nostrils, Charax stomped toward the only other place to look: the vault. There or not, he’d take his share and then some of the little two-leg’s horde and return to Kirya.

A huff, a snort, and a flick of his claw and the vault door split. The immense piles of treasure beyond glittered and shimmered, making golden tattoos of light across his scales as his talon passed through the doorway. His mouth split into an eager grin.

Then, that same feeling of wrongness struck. Across his toes, up his chest, winding it’s way along the length of his neck and finally to his twitching nostrils. That same feeling he’d cast aside on his first visit.

There was no scent of stardust.

Frantic, Charax thrust his head into the vault and the entire scene parted like a curtain of silk. He whirled to look behind him. A flat, lifeless veil depicting a treasure-filled vault hung in the air. Exactly like the light Dustmaw would cast on his office wall. The vault held no treasure, only illusion.

He wanted to roar and rage. He wanted to flatten the two-leg world with a swipe of his tail. Melt their metal and stone empire with his burning breath. But as the realization sunk in that his treasures were gone, his dear Kirya lost to dreams, a tired weight settled on his shoulders that threatened to pin him to the earth.

Charax shook off the deepening slumber and took drunkenly to the skies, winging his way toward his lair. Careening into the mountain, he tumbled to the cave and slithered down the long tunnel. The air was thick and stifling. He roared in defiance and clawed his way to Kirya’s listless form.

Her breath was slow and wheezing. Charax parted the sludge that had built up around her. He groomed her earth-toned scales and picked away debris. He stared at her shuttered eyes, willing them to open, watching for the slightest twitch.

Gently, he gathered her in his arms and slunk up the tunnel and into the night. From atop their mountain, the stars fought back the chemical glow of the two-leg’s hives in the valley below. It had been a long time since Charax’s eyes had looked upward and now he stared out and beyond.

The stars turned along the invisible wheel of the sky, their sparks multiplying as twilight ran its dying course. Swaths of dust were soon visible, stretched for vast distances between glowing points.

Dust. Stardust.

Charax looked down at the slumbering Kirya. Her head swayed like a blade of grass in the wind as her neck arched across his forearm. Her tail was drawn out across the Earth, marking their passage from the cave. The dragging had left a deep furrow, though in his arms, she felt weightless, an extension of his own body. Without a thought to the place he once called home, Charax bore her toward the glittering lights of the heavens.

Hazmat_suit_c1918

News from the HAZMAT Tent

Over the weekend I attended #Fencon as a fan, maybe for the last time. Not that I won’t go back – it was great fun and I got to catch up with old friends and make new ones – but next time I’ll be on the other side of the table. Signing, selling, maybe a panel, who knows?

My efforts at pimping Crimson Son were rewarded with not only some great new connections and opportunities but also a horrific bout of Con Plague.

No, this is not Con Crud. “Crud” is entirely insufficient a descriptor. My stomach was so terribly cramped that when I finally popped, I spent several minutes soaking in a bathtub, rocking back and forth saying, “thank you Baby Jesus.”

And Baby Jesus said, “Wait, you’re not on my speed dial. How about I give you something else to think about?” Then my head expanded the next morning and I lay around in a pool of sweat for a day or so.

Assuming the carrier survived, I’m going to hunt him down and kick his ass for this Plague. With gloves on. And a face shield. And that teal-colored body condom thing.

So I really need your help.

No, not medically. And no, not to track down the unfortunate soul that gave me whatever the hell that was. I need your help to spread the virus that is Crimson Son. You can do this in a couple different ways:

Shake a hand. Spray some words – “Crimson” and “Son” in that order – and hide the sanitizer.

Or head over to Amazon or Goodreads, or wherever you geek about books, and leave a rating and review. (That is if you’ve read the book.) Nothing overly long or complicated is necessary. Just a few sentences about what you liked (or didn’t like) is fine.

Look, I’ll face down whatever weaponized geek-slaying infection I need to in order to make this book succeed. I’ll be fearlessly wading into even more mortal danger with appearances at next year’s #ConDFW and #Comicpalooza. I’m lining up local signings before the holidays hit. Plus I’ll be hitting a bunch of blogs leading up to Christmas all so you can get to know little ‘ol me and my book. (Yes, even then, I’ll be dodging click-bait viruses as I spiral into the depths of the ‘net…)

In the meantime, until I shake this Con Plague off and sanitize my entire office with a gallon of bleach, I’ll be hunkered down here, writing and plotting a Crimson epidemic of my own.

Why does Radiation, Ancient Sorcery, or Cosmic Rays cause an Increase in Bust Size?

Opposite-of-white-BeetleSeveral weeks ago, I backed a Kickstarter for Kill the Freshman, an awesome looking graphic novel written and headed up by my friend, Alex Langley. (You may know him from his successful and ultra geeky, Geek Handbook or the follow-up Geek Lust.) As a reward, his brother and project artist, Nick Langley sketched a hella-cool White Beetle, Black beetle’s own bizarro world mirror character.

They sent it scanned upside-down because they’re badass like that.

One reason I wanted to mention this worthy project is because of the recent flap about an alternate Spider Woman cover. I realize this has faded a bit from the news, but in case you missed the debate you can read up here.

Essentially, an alternate cover for Spider Woman came out that was more porn star than superhero.

Of course, anyone who buys comics is probably scratching their head and wondering “what’s new”?

Comics have a long history of sexualizing women. Wonder Woman, who first released in 1942, found herself bound and chained every other issue in her (what was then) racy outfit. Her creator, William Marston, always claimed this had roots in feminism and mirrored the frequent representation of chained women in posters and literature for that burgeoning movement. Whether or not that was the case, it can’t be denied the result was to give young male readers of the time some “go-to” fapper material aside from naked aboriginals in National Geographic.

Nearly seventy years later, we’re looking at a shot of Spiderwoman “assuming the position” on a rooftop and still wondering why that’s a necessary component of comic book literature.

Before he launched the Kickstarter, Alex shopped Kill the Freshman around to several publishers. While he received quite a bit of positive feedback, one thing he heard was that the main character wasn’t sexy enough. Apparently, a high school freshman needs D cups, I suppose, to fit into today’s comic book world.

So when Alex turned to Kickstarter, I was more than happy to offer a donation.

If you’ve read Crimson Son, you probably can tell that I like my heroes to be weak, broken, and sometimes even unlikable. You know, human. That goes for physical characteristics as well.

And while I understand the desire to present the female (and male) form in as idealized a state as possible for these super-powered, super-strong heroines (and heroes), I’m not so clear about the highly sexualized imagery. Fine, give a few of your heroines in the line-up a deific figure. Hell, put ‘em in spandex if you must. But at least present them with a bit of grace.

The defense that “oh, this was an alternate cover and wasn’t meant for mainstream” is bogus. Pick up an issue of nearly any comic and you’ll see ass-shots at angles apparently referenced from the Kama Sutra and titanic boobs suffocating in their spandex (luckily many have handy breathing holes cut out around the cleavage).

There is nothing wrong with sexuality. It simply doesn’t need to be the overriding factor in the display of female heroines.

Besides, human bodies as art are beautiful. But they aren’t beautiful in one, singular form. They are beautiful for the variety and individuality that our crazy mish-mash of genetics can provide. The creators use all kinds of creativity concepting these characters’ origins, powers, other backstory, why not apply the same creativity to physical appearance? Why are the artists leashed to a singular ideal?

Yes, I realize not all comic book characters are represented this way, but the vast majority are. I for one am looking forward to a shake up of that tired imagery. I like to think we’ve all grown up as a society. It’s about time comic books grew up along with us.