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Posted on June 25, 2017

The Powers That Flee is finally here! My great American superhero novel that takes place in the eighties is out as an e-book. The print version will be released near the end of July.

Here's a little post teasing the project and giving you some choice excerpts.

The Powers That Flee is a wish fulfillment novel that any comic book geek and pop culture nerd who grew up in the eighties will love.

It's Dial H For Hero mixed with Back to the Future and sprinkled with John Hughes goodness.

The book is heavily based on my experience of being a sci-fi geek and comic book nerd existing on the fringe of high school social acceptance in 1985. TPTF is filled with references that will put a smile on comic book fans from then and now.

Below are just a few excerpts to show you how relevant comic book references are to the story.

"Rachel snatched up The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and walked into the kitchen. Clutching the book she'd read three time before, she fetched an RC Cola from the fridge and plopped down on the sofa. Read first and shower later, she thought. Several chapters of Arthur Dent's escapades would help her relax.

Five minutes into her book, in the middle of Arthur's confrontation with Mister Prosser and an imminent bulldozing, the doorbell rang."


"He straddled the brick wall, spending more time with his eyes trained on his copy of ROM Spaceknight than on his classmates hanging out in the lunch courtyard around him. He'd opted to eat alone today, bury his head in a comic book, not that this particular issue was very engaging. The adventures of his favorite spaceknight had lost a lot of charm since the stellar inking team of Akin and Garvey had left. Steve Ditko's pencils on the title just weren't that impressive. He may have created Spider-Man, but something about his work here just didn't do anything for him."

"A trip to the Inner Harbor was a real treat. Darin saved up for it. They went about every three months to Baltimore's reinvigorated downtown area because his dad loved ordering crab cakes at Phillip's Seafood in one of the modern shopping pavilions overlooking the water.

It also meant a chance to secure any missing issues of his favorite independent comics at the Geppi's Comic World on the second floor―he kept up with his Marvel and DC titles by combing the spinner racks in the local used bookstores and various convenience stores in nearby Frederick. He was big into Pacific Comics along with American Flagg! and Grim Jack from First Comics. If he didn't break down and purchase Marvel Fanfare #1―the elusive back issue with Michael Golden art was still too pricey―he'd come home with quite a haul. Despite its jacked-up price, he always checked to see if they had copies. Maybe today he would pull the trigger and spend more than cover price for it. With most comics hovering around a dollar, he had enough allowance and lunch money socked away to cover almost thirty books if he didn't break down and buy the Marvel Fanfare.

He stared at the cover of the Star Wars comic, willing the single crease down its middle to magically heal itself. He received three comics by mail each month: Star Wars, The Micronauts, and Ka-zar the Savage. None of them arrived in good condition thanks to their small mailbox. He still tried to sway his dad to get a bigger mailbox so the books would lie flat, but he never budged. Just the same, he loved the thrill of receiving comics by mail even if they were sent in a flimsy brown paper sleeve and often arrived damaged. It was something to look forward to three times a month."


"He found nothing he actually wanted to buy on the racks. He'd almost gotten an issue of Daredevil, but held off. The book hadn't been the same since Frank Miller's last issue, #191.

Darin had no desire to run into any of his classmates. He knew their likely haunts, the food court and the seating area down by the Arthur Treacher's. He wandered into Waldenbooks, knowing it was a teenage-free haven most of the time. He steered clear of all the other sections and landed in the Science Fiction/Fantasy corner. He thumbed through some Andre Norton and Piers Anthony books as his mind wandered.

His mom and dad continued to apply pressure on him to establish even a hint of a social life. They both felt putting himself out there would turn his rut of a life into a John Hughes film. Totally deluded thinking. Darin was realistic. The quirky, sensitive guy got the girl on the big screen and in the comfy confines of a Beta tape, but he knew better. He couldn't deny his nerdom nor did he want to. If some soft and squishy girl wanted to be with him, they had to be fine with his geek status. In fact, he had a list of the minimal requirements for any suitors. They had to acknowledge the genius of Lucas and Spielberg, appreciate Red Dawn and War Games, favor Marvel over DC, and be fine with displaying action figures on the fireplace mantle of any future home. Actually, he'd amended that criteria recently. His toy collection would be sequestered on bookshelves, thus sparing it the extreme heat variances associated with hanging out near a possibly ravaging open flame.

He liked the girl-next-door look. Give him an Ally Sheedy over a Demi Moore, a Lea Thompson over just about anyone else.

Darin flipped through the latest issue of Starlog. He skimmed an article about Gremlins before sliding it back on the shelf and leaving the bookstore.

He moved quickly, avoiding eye contact with several pretty girls his age. None went to his school, but better to give them a wide berth. He got tongue-tied with girls he saw in class every day; a complete stranger would be even worse.

He walked into Aladdin's Castle without looking over at the entrance to the movie theater opposite the arcade. He'd likely see couples in line there and didn't need any further reminders of his single status."


"He walked past his dad sprawled out on the couch watching Airwolf and went upstairs. To drown out his sister's music, he flicked on the radio, settling on the American Top 40. He flopped onto his bed and grabbed a Micronauts comic. He studied the cover, entranced by Golden's depiction of his second favorite swamp creature, the Man-Thing.

He idly pulled the token from his pocket and placed it on his chest as he began reading. His shirt kept it away from his skin. Neither Craig nor Rachel had told him how to bond with the idea engine. Had she slapped it hard on her upper arm and smushed it into place? He didn't have the nerve to do that just yet.

A few pages in, right when the Time Travelers put in an appearance, the coin, seemingly of its own accord, hopped several inches in the air. It landed farther down his chest. Had he shifted without knowing and jostled the coin? He didn't think so. Darin stowed the comic on his drawing table and sat up slowly, afraid to dislodge the device. He was almost vertical, and it hadn't fallen free.

He didn't move for a full minute, devoting all attention to it.

This is crazy. It's just a dumb arcade token. It doesn't do anything. To prove his point, he concentrated on the 'idea engine,' mentally imploring it to hop onto his skin and graft itself nice and snug. C'mon, little guy. Hit me with your good stuff.

Even with his shirt as a barrier, it warmed slightly, but nothing else happened.

It's a dud. Or, I'm the dud. Either way, willing the idea engine to work its magic wasn't panning out.

Darin pried it free from his shirt, surprised how stubbornly it clung to him. He set the coin on the dresser at the foot of his bed, next to his old black-and-white TV.

His father had allowed him to have a television in the room. While it wasn't color and didn't get many channels―unless he fiddled with the rabbit ears―it was better than nothing. So what if most of his classmates had nice color TVs with cable in their bedrooms? He was the king of UHF. The old television could get Channel 20 and 45 pretty well, which was just swell in his book. They ran programs like Ultraman and Johnny Socko and his Flying Robot along with numerous creature features. That and a steady diet of the Adam West Batman and Get Smart reruns suited him just fine. Although, he still had a fondness for Gilligan's Island, but that boiled down to the Mary Ann factor rather than a desire to witness tropical pratfalls or any of the Professor's silly island contraptions.

He returned to reading about his miniature heroes. He peeked at the idea engine twice from over the comic, but it didn't hop around like a Mexican jumping bean again. He stored away the finished comic in his closet and grabbed the next back issue. Micronauts #8 touted the first appearance of Captain Universe, a cosmic hero with not the best looking costume.

As he plopped back on his bed, he glanced at the token to see it was gone. He sat up and crawled across his mattress. The coin was nowhere to be found. Thinking he had bumped it from its perch, Darin searched in between the bed and the dresser and through every inch of carpet to no avail."


Throughout the novel, Darin must deal with a myriad of strange powers and abilities as he attempts to defeat a power-hungry villain dead set on hijacking his newfound superpowers.

Junk food and the Izod alligator also play pivotal roles in the story too. Witness a delicious battle in a cereal aisle where the mascots of numerous sugary cereals jump in to lend a hand. And don't even get me started on the unique way Otter Pops are worked into the narrative.

My goal was to fashion a love letter to being a nerd in the eighties. I hope you'll grab The Powers That Flee and discover a treasure trove of remembrances from your own childhood or, for those who didn't grow up in the eighties, some insights into a generation that lived and breathed their pop culture.


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