Oh, so that’s why I don’t do these more often.
There were 145 entries for the Superheroic Scene Challenge, and some of them were looooong. Printed out, they totaled 406 pages. Going side-by-side shrunk it to a still-ridiculous 203.
My assistant Matt and I read every one. We have a lot of honorable mentions.
Favorite hero names include Trilobyte, Mighty Mandi, The Level, Harico Ver, and The Endurist.
I enjoyed seeing the wide range of possible interpretations on villain Brickhouse. Given the name, there were a slew of German/Austrian variants, but it was nice to see the occasional Victorian spin, the blaxpoitation vixen, and the villain who could become the entire building. (Appropriately, his nemesis was Breckin Wall, a.k.a. Wreckin’ Ball.)
The challenge was to write an action scene, so I couldn’t give the gold medal to entries that were more talk than walk. But I enjoyed the non-action of this diner conversation, this con game, and this riff on nanotechnology and bio-bots.
And you can’t get more non-action than an excellent Buddhist superhero.
Finally, there were some that made the short list. Nima (he made Scrippets!) combined robots with a Buffy-esque heroine. The Divide combined robots with golems. Chip Street kept the action tight, as did Bill K.. Ryan Jackson explored the implications of Dora’s magic backpack, while DougJ went the teddy bear route.
The winner actually came quite early in the stack: #7 by Spenturion, in which hero Azure battles Brickhouse while coaching a group of pre-teens in proper quips. It’s light on action, but keeps a nice tempo. And it’s short, which is no small victory.
EXT. CITY MUSEUM OF UBIQUITIES – NIGHT
Our hero, AZURE stands patiently waiting on the large marble front steps. Dressed in bright blue body kevlar and donning a pair of goggles on his head.
Around him stand three boys ages 9-13: a FAT BOY, a SHORT BOY and a NERDY BOY. They are all wearing matching blue t-shirts, and a cheap knock-off goggles.
All right. Brickhouse is going to be coming through that door at any moment.
Right on cue, CRASH!
BRICKHOUSE comes tumbling through a solid brick wall, about 15 yards from the door. He stands tall, at about eight feet and built like his namesake implies.
He’s carrying a golden jeweled STAFF in his right hand. It looks like a pencil proportionately.
Remember what we talked about?
Open the fight with witty banter.
That’s right. Ok, I’ll take him on, you guys do like we practiced.
Brickhouse lets out a deep bellied laugh, and begins to run toward the group. He runs like a toddler, throwing his weight in to it with no fear, ready to topple at any moment.
Azure? God you’ve let yourself go. You a camp counselor?
Azure takes off running towards the man, at an impossible speed.
That’s what she said.
Azure takes a flying leap, landing on the oaf’s back. He grips Brickhouse by the hair and begins PUNCHING him in the face.
That’s not really so much banter... more importantly it didn’t make sense.
Get off of me!
Brickhouse tries to swat him away like a fly, all the while still barrelling towards the group of boys. Azure covers Brickhouse’s eyes.
You’re momma’s so fat--
The short boy stops mid sentence as Brickhouse TRIPS, launching himself and Azure along with him, in to the air.
What follows is nothing short of beautiful: 600 pounds of muscle hits the ground, hard, tearing through the marble of the steps like tissue.
Azure rides the man like a surfboard.
They end up too close for comfort for the costumed boys, who all take a few steps back.
We went over this!
Brickhouse struggles as he’s pinned down.
The bigger they are--
Don’t even finish that...
(holds up staff)
Do you know what this is? I’ve got the Staff of Ptelomy! Do you know how long I’ve waited to get my hands on this staff?
That’s what she said!
Better! Still not what I’m after.
How do you put up with this?
You better put up or shut up!
Again, not making sense.
The Nerdy boy begins to speak up, but cuts himself short and takes a step back.
Azure catches this and makes direct eye contact, punching Brickhouse instinctually.
Come on... you can do it. Can’t be much worse than what we’ve had so far.
When we’re done with you, they’ll call you Pile-of-bricks.
WHACK! Azure lands a final heavy punch.
Brickhouse is beyond limp.
Azure grabs Brickhouse and THROWS him in to a nearby lightpole.
The metal pole bends around his weight and collapses. Azure approaches, takes the bar and wraps it around Brickhouse’s body, forming an impromptu straight jacket.
Red and blue lights flash as tires screech to a halt nearby.
Out of the eyesight from the children, Azure drops his heroic facade and lights up a cigarette.
What a bunch of wash-ups. How’d you get stuck training wannabes?
Court ordered. I might have destroyed an orphanage fighting Gigantathorn.
I hate orphans.
Congrats to Spenturion, and to all the entrants for making the Best Challenge Ever. The next one will be limited to three sentences.