Wednesday Warren – Send Lawyers, Guns, and Money

I love the little story Warren tells right before launching into the song…

Hallmark Gets Its Heroes Wrong


There I was the other day, innocently perusing the greeting card racks of my local convenience store, when I happened upon a card showing the Justice League. It was a “Happy Birthday, Dad! You’re my hero!” sort of thing, and just as quickly as it pinged my Geek Pleasure Center, it also fired up my Geek Outrage Projector. Because, people, the card is Just Wrong.

Here it is (click to enlarge, if you like, but we’ll be walking through it in a moment…)

Card outside

So, let’s take these one at a time, shall we?

First up, Superman:

Superman close-up

Not too bad. A nice enough sentiment. And Superman does, in fact, both fly and fight crime whilst caped. Bravo, Hallmark.

Next up, a certain well-known Caped Crusader:

Batman close-up

Er… Here’s where things begin to go off the rails. Batman isn’t particularly known for breaking through brick walls. I mean, sure, some drywall. Batman could totally punch his way through drywall if he had to. And maybe stucco. And I guess if he absolutely had to, he could blow up a brick wall with something handy in his utility belt, but that sort of unsubtlety is at odds with his world-renowned ninja-esque sneakery. Plus, if you blow up a brick wall to help someone on the other side, the odds are you’re going to do some sort of damage to the very person you’re trying to help. Even a bat-shaped C4 charge can’t guide shrapnel around innocents. Bad call, Hallmark. But it’s about to get worse.

Green Lantern close-up

Um… Does this guy look like Spider-Man to you? Me, neither. That’s Green Frickin’ Lantern. He has no business climbing any towers, whether the world’s tallest or shortest. The Batman bit of doggerel is sort of cluelessly dangerous, but this part is just stupid. And yet… It gets worse:

Flash close-up

“Just under two hours?” Really? “Just under two hours???”

The Flash can move at the speed of light. That’s 186,000 miles per second, for those of you who slept through physics in high school. “Coast to coast” is 3,000 miles. Double that to be charitable and the fact of the matter is this: On his worst day, Flash can run from New York to LA and back in — get this — 0.0322 seconds. Give or take a few millionths of a second.

That ain’t “just under two hours.” And I’m on record as saying that Flash is my favorite super-hero, so don’t mess with the Flash, Hallmark!

Hallmark does get schmaltz points (go figure) and a few class points for a nice little pop-up when you open the card, though:

Inner card

Next time, though, Hallmark, think before you write! This is the seriously important business of super-heroes!

Win “The Mad Mask” Early!

“Has Kyle finally met his match?”

That’s the question posed in Book II of the Archvillain series: The Mad Mask! There’s a new supervillain in town — can Kyle juggle both this new guy and his old nemesis, Mighty Mike?

The book will hit stores in January 2012, but if you want to read it early, I have a limited number of ARCs to give away. How can you win one? It’s easy…

Readers of the first book will have noticed that there are many, many people in Kyle’s life with the initials “M.M.” There’s best friend Mairi MacTaggert, Sheriff Maxwell Monroe, guidance counselor Melissa Masterton, and many others including, of course, Mighty Mike. To say nothing of the newcomer, the Mad Mask!

Your task: Come up with a cool, fun superhero (or supervillain!) name using the initials M.M.! Post it in the comments below. Five winners will get advance copies of the book. You have until December 9, so start posting!

(The contest is over. To see the original entries, click here.)

Memory Monday – Explain this Clone Thing Again…?

You’d think that readers of a science-fiction-y super-hero comic would understand what a clone was. Even in 1976. So I am amused that the editor of this particular comic felt it imperative to add a footnote…


Legion clones


(From Superboy #218, July 1976. Story by Cary Bates. Art by Mike Grell.)

This Week in Rejection!: Neotrope

Even though the personal note in this rejection letter refers to a previous story of mine, I have no recollection of having submitted an earlier story to Neotrope. Maybe I’ll come across that rejection letter as I continue to troll through my archive of rejection letters.

This one, of course, stands out not only for the personal note, but also because it clearly indicates the title of the rejected story — “Bobby” — making it one of the few cases where I can identify the precise story rejected AND one of the few cases where the story actually ended up in public somewhere! You can read “Bobby” at right here:

If you can’t read that note, it says:

“–Thanks for writing again; sorry we can’t help out. This one was pretty close, but not quite what we’re after. I remember your other story, though, and I think this one was a lot better, so keep going in this direction. Note our new address below; good luck finding the right spot for this story–”

Wow. That was huge for me. Really. Encouraging and confident. It made me feel like I wasn’t just spinning my wheels, churning out crap to be rejected over and over again — I was making progress. Getting better. Anyone who ever tells you that there’s no gold in a rejection letter, tell ’em they’re nuts!