Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Velveteen vs. The Junior Super Patriots by Seanan McGuire

I first discovered Velma Martinez aka Velveteen about the same time as I discovered her creator Seanan McGuire.

Seanan, in addition to writing 3 book series (urban fantasies October Daye, InCryptid and the zombie apocalypse trilogy Newsflesh under the pseudonym Mira Grant), also decided to put her love of comic books (most specifically The X-Men) into print in the form of an homage and parody that she called Velveteen vs. Seanan made, and still does as far as I know, the stories free on her Livejournal and website for anyone to enjoy, and it's hard not to enjoy them.

From the time I read the first Velveteen story (Velveteen vs. The Isley Crawfish Festival) on the author's website I was convinced that it would make a great graphic novel or comic book. The first 9 Velveteen stories have been collected in book format with IsFic's limited edition (1,000 copies only were printed and signed individually by the author) Velveteen vs. The Junior Super Patriots. Reading them in this format is a pleasure and more satisfying than in their original online format.

I've been a long time reader of comics, to a certain extent my love of fantasy was probably formed by the comics I read in my pre-teen and teen years. Comic books are a form of fantasy and more and more authors are recognising that. Superhero books are forming a subgenre of their own these days and even Myke Cole's debut Shadow Ops: Control Point owes as much to The X-Men as it does to the more traditional epic or urban fantasy works that helped to inspire it. Velveteen vs. was the sort of thing I always dreamed of reading in book form back in those days and I could never understand why no one did it. No one until now.

Velma 'Velveteen' Martinez had the ability to animate toys (usually teddy bears) for as long as she could remember, but it did not become public until she managed to animate the dinosaurs in the Natural History wing of her local museum during a school field trip. An incident that brought Velma to the attention of the Marketing Department who controlled most of the licensed super heroes in the U.S. They were looking to create a junior branch of their star team The Super Patriots and a twelve year old who could animate toys was an ideal candidate.

The only problem was that Velma didn't want to be owned and she didn't want her life controlled by the Marketing Department's robot like executives. So when she was legally old enough she took off. The Marketing Department don't like anyone to escape their clutches and they're going to make life hell for Velma until she either agrees to return or dies trying to get away...unless she can make it to Oregon where the Marketing Department have no power.

Through the adventures of Velveteen vs. The Junior Super Patriots readers are introduced to Velma and her former team mates: David 'The Claw' Mickelstein; a boy fused with the body of a lobster by his mad scientist father, Action Dude, the all American dream with flight, super strength and invulnerability and Sparkle Bright with her flight, photon manipulation and photonic camouflage abilities. There's also Velma's other allies: Jackie Frost and The Princess, as well as prospective boyfriend Tag. Seanan really let her imagination go wild with Jackie and The Princess. They're not even really from this world, but they're great friends and powerful allies for Velveteen.

The 9 stories are all a true delight and any comic lover will adore them. Seanan is still writing  Velveteen vs. stories and making them available on her website, and IsFic plan the second installment of her adventures Velveteen vs. The Multiverse in August of 2013.

1 comment:

  1. These stories are just brilliant, and I was really pleased they were released in a book-form. And am anxiously awaiting the sequel in August-ish, even though I'm reading each installment in her website when she makes them available.

    I wasn't a comic-book reader when younger (still aren't really, except Fables), so I don't have quite the same connection as you do to them. But that hasn't stopped me from loving the stories as they are anywya.