June ’13 Appearances

June is shaping up to be a kickass month for me in terms of appearances, which is a good thing since in early August I’m ripping out for a year in Korea. So…if you’re interested in having me for a July event, and you’re in the Southeast and/or have a budget for guests’ travel expenses, hit me up ASAP ’cause as of right now, these are my last Stateside appearances until at least September 2014:

June 1st — 1st Annual Road Party for NECCO in Augusta, Georgia with the Road Knights of Augusta RC and the Knights of Inferno. I’ll be here from 9-12 selling/signing books. Come out and buy some shit, ’cause I’m donating 1/2 the proceeds to NECCO, an organization that places, mentors and deals with troubled, abused, neglected, abandoned & drug dependent children aged from 1 month to 18 years old.

June 6th — M.A.D. Studios Open Mic in Augusta, Georgia. Starts at 7:30 with a $5 cover. I’m the featured guest, but there’ll be local poets and musicians performing in an open-mic format beforehand. I’ll be reading the story of a ghostly bank robber’s last heist and talking about promotion and obtaining reviews for creative works. Five dollar cover. I’ll be signing books after.

June 13-16th — Bram Stoker Awards™ Weekend/World Horror Convention at the Hotel Monteleone in New Orleans, Louisiana. You can view the complete schedule of events here, but if you’re looking for me specifically, check the bar (naturally), or come to one of these:

Friday, 14 June @ 4.30pm, Reading, ORLEANS ROOM

Friday, 14 June @ 7:oo, MASS SIGNING – ROYAL ROOM. Unlike panels, readings, etc., this is open to the public. You don’t have to be a paid con attendee to come see me. I’ll only be there until 8pm, though, due to space considerations, so if you come late…find me at the bar. I will have books for sale, and you can also BYOB.

Sunday, 16 June @ 10am, Panel: DIALOGUE THAT CRACKLES –ORLEANS ROOM. Moderator: Lincoln Crisler. Panelists: Brian Pinkerton, John F. D. Taff, Tim Waggoner, Scott A. Johnson

Celebrate CORRUPTS? Week with Gef Fox! (UPDATED)

Author and genre enthusiast Gef Fox has devoted this entire week to my intense anthology of dark superhero fiction, CORRUPTS ABSOLUTELY? Gef’s coverage includes a review of the book, an interview with me, and a three-day long panel interview with many of the anthology’s amazing contributors.

Of course, if you still haven’t picked up a copy, you can fix that right here.

Day 1’s Review:

I found it really intriguing to read about these characters, because their own pettiness, jealousies, and frailties shine through in a relentless way. If you always thought Superman was too much of a boy scout, then you need to read this anthology, because the Boy Scouts of America are nowhere to be found in its pages.

Day 2’s Interview:

In the real world, Batman would have killed the Joker the first time he murdered a bunch of people. In the comic industry, that’s a waste of a revenue-generating character the company spent months, years or decades of time and money getting the readers to care about. In a novel, a skilled author can make you care about the character in the space of a few chapters, then run them through a realistic scenario without worrying about how he’s going to sell you action figures, the next issue of the comic, etc. Same thing in a short story, scaled down for space, of course.

Multi-author Panel, Day 3:

Ed Erdelac: Superheroes are a new religion. Tell somebody in a Captain America t-shirt you didn’t care for The Avengers movie and you’ll see what I mean. They become rabid. Actually I would say pop culture is a religion. Comic book fans are like Pentacostals (music nerds are Catholics – pretty laid back until you say you hate the Beatles, then it’s like you don’t believe in the Virgin Mary). They want everybody to know what comics they read. They plaster it on their vehicles, on their bodies, on their children, and they’ll go on forever about the minutae. It’s become a monthly scripture to them.

Multi-author Panel, Day 4:

Jeff Strand: I always felt that Underdog should have been angrier at the injustice suffered by house pets. He never seemed to care that much that dogs were on humiliating leashes and forced to eat the same gross food every day. I’m not sure this completely addresses the question you asked, but everybody else took the good answers.

Multi-author Panel, Day 5:

Tim Marquitz: I think being able to burst into flames like the Human Torch is kind of a reject power. I mean, flying would be great, but honestly, I can set crap on fire without burning through my underwear.

I also don’t think there’s a foolproof power, but some are more subtle than others and that’s a bonus. Having the telepathic/mind control powers of someone like Professor X would be cool. You could get away with pretty much anything as long as you never got too carried away.

CORRUPTS ABSOLUTELY? Virtual Panel: Meta-Mentality

This is the last of five virtual panels that I’ll host this month in support of CORRUPTS ABSOLUTELY? You can see the full schedule here. Today, I have William Todd Rose, Andrew Bourelle, Karina Fabian, Lee Mather and Joe McKinney, five of the anthology’s contributors, here to discuss what it might be like to have superhuman mental abilities.

Lincoln Crisler: Is writing an exciting, engaging story about a character with mental (or mind-related) powers more difficult than writing about someone with physical, action-oriented powers?

William Todd Rose: I don’t know if I can honestly answer that.  “Mental Man” was actually my first foray into the metahuman universe, so I’ve never actually tried to write about someone with physical powers.  I had the basic idea for the story about six months earlier, but it was one of those things which got pushed into the back of my subconscious filing cabinet.  When I saw the call for submissions, I realized that this book would be perfect for the story I had in mind and literally stayed up all night banging out the first draft.

Andrew Bourelle: My story “Max and Rose” is about a person with mental and physical powers. I think both are difficult to convey in a character. In fiction, you are always striving to create characters that are believable within the context of the story. Whether the premise of the story is fantastic, satiric, or completely realistic, you try to make characters that audiences find “real” in the story’s world. In comic books, with the visual component to the storytelling, it could actually be easier to show physical powers than the use of mental powers. Comic book readers can see the illustrations of a character punching through a wall or picking up a car. In a comic book, it might be harder to appreciate the power of someone with mental telepathy. Visually, mental powers seem so much more boring than someone flying or shooting beams of energy. But when you’re reading text-based fiction, you’re relying on your imagination to see and comprehend the powers, whether they’re physical or mental. There might actually be more of an opportunity in fiction to convey how engaging mental powers can be.

Karina Fabian: I tend to be more of a emotional/verbal thinker than a visual one, so writing about telepathic powers is easier for me than physical powers, where I have to visualize and choreograph a fight scene, for example. That’s what I loved about “Illusion”: I could really get into the mental and emotional torture…er…aspects (yeah, aspects!) of having uncontrolled psychic powers. I get into them more deeply in the novel, Mind Over Mind, and had some super fun when I put two strong psychics together in Mind Over Psyche. There are some fun physical scenes in those as well, but they are harder for me to write.

Lee Mather: I guess the challenge comes from the ‘show don’t tell’ ethos. It is relatively straightforward to write about any sort of physical action because the character affects his physical world and this can be ‘shown’ easily. With anything involving the mind then it is more difficult to ‘show’ rather than ‘tell’. One of the things I concentrated on in Crooked was how my main character’s powers manifest. Although his power is a mental one, it shows itself to the reader by the way it influences his physical world. As a writer, once you have a plan, then the technical process of writing mental as opposed to physical is fairly similar (action verbs, short sentences etc.).

Joe McKinney: I don’t think so. In fact, I don’t think one type of story is any harder to write than the other. You see, whenever you’re dealing with superpowers, be they mind powers or physical powers, they tend to define the character who has them and how he or she interacts with his or her world. And for me, a protagonist really defines the kind of story I’m going to tell. I find the process to be organic in that way. A character with a superpower tends to think in terms of using that power. So, when I imagine a story that showcases that power, and that presents challenges for that power, the story almost builds itself. It’s a strange alchemy, I know, and not altogether that easy to break down into a step by step process, but I guess it boils down to character. That’s about as clear as I can make it.

LC: If you woke up with some sort of mind powers, how do you think you’d spend the next month? 

WTR:I think I’d probably spend the next month being very, very careful.  It’s not as bad as it used to be, but at times I can be something of a klutz.  When I go into bumbly mode, it’s bad enough trying to be aware of my physical body and any precarious objects in close proximity.  I can’t imagine how dangerous I’d be if I could reach out with my mind on top of that.  I’d probably spend the entire month alone, in a locked room, with nothing but a bed:  thus making the world safe for law-abiding citizens and fulfilling my responsibilities as a super being.

AB: Four words: World Series of Poker.

KF: Depends on the mind power, but to be totally frank and completely boring, I’d probably be spending time trying to figure out how to use them to get more stuff done. Also, this is assuming I am not spending the whole time fighting to learn to control them.
I’d love to have telekinesis or enhanced brain function. I do not want telepathy. My stories about poor Deryl have totally disabused me of the idea that telepathy would be a cool power.

LM:I would manipulate a way to bring the world’s economy out of recession. I would find a cure for cancer. I would soothe the tensions in the Middle East and I would bring plentiful supplies of food to the Third World. Right, my wife should have stopped reading by now… I reckon I’d wake up with a stinking hangover, on a big pile of cash, surrounded by naked supermodels.

JM: Great question! I imagine it would be a lot like winning the lottery, you know? You’d start out trying to hold on to the normalness of your existence. Like the lottery winner, you might even be tempted to keep your job. At least for a little while. But after that, after the reality and scope of your new powers took hold on you, you would almost certainly begin to disconnect with what used to be important. I would like to think that I’d use my new power for good, and I probably would most of the time, but a certain amount of self-interest would almost certainly apply. For example, if I had the power to predict cards or the throw of the dice, I’d definitely be on the first plane to Vegas. But what if it was some other power, like the ability to read minds? In that sense, I imagine the hardest thing to do would be to keep from reading the minds of those closest to me. Could love really stay love if you had the power to look into the minds of others? A healthy dose of isolation is necessary if one wants to achieve true togetherness. But no matter what the power, it would be a constant battle to use that power for good over self-interest.

LC: What’s your favorite story (comic or prose) involving superhuman mental abilities?

WTR:I’m not really sure if this qualifies as superhuman since the ability comes from implants, but I really dig Riviera’s abilities in William Gibson’s Neuromancer.  His character is a complete psycho, but they way he makes other people see what he imagines is a pretty awesome trick.

AB:I’ve always loved the X-Men comic books, and Professor X is one of my favorite characters. When it comes down to it, I think Professor X is as powerful as almost any superhero. He can not only read your thoughts but also control your actions. In the wrong hands, that’s a frightening and invasive form of victimization. I think that’s one reason why Marvel made Professor X such a moral person. He is wise and intelligent, and he uses his powers ethically. He tries to help the world, not himself. If someone were going to have those powers, you would want a person like Charles Xavier to have them. In my story “Max and Rose,” the main character is really only beginning to understand and use his powers. In fact, his powers still seem to be developing. But it was fun to write about someone who is kind of the opposite of Professor X—he isn’t giving too much consideration to ethics or morals as he uses his powers for his own benefit.

KF: Got to go back to my childhood favorite: Wrinkle in Time, and Charles Wallace. I loved how natural the supernatural powers were for him, and Madeleine L’Engle’s gentle touch. Another favorite is the Valdemar series by Mercedes Lackey. Here, the heralds have gifts and also training and support. I love the variety of talents and the wonderful logic of their manifestation and use.

LM: This will probably by regarded as an easy option… but I love the graphic novel Watchmen by Alan Moore – the superhuman mental abilities come from Dr. Manhattan. He is a character who has everything – the physical and the mental. He is superhuman in every sense of the word and yet his flaw is his humanity. It is his emotions that allow us as readers to relate, even to someone so alien. I love the noir elements and the style of Watchmen but most of all I love the fact that Alan Moore creates a believable world of flawed, embittered superheroes. The protagonists are meglomaniacs, rapists, adulterers, the products of child abuse – people corrupted by life. Despite this, each of them, in their own way, is trying to do the right thing. That’s what motivated me to write Crooked for Corrupts Absolutely? What would real people do with superpowers? It’s a fascinating concept because as beautiful as we are, we all have our flaws…

JM: Mine would have to be Cyril M. Kornbluth’s “The Marching Morons.” It takes place hundreds of years in the future. Over the intervening years, smart people have slowed down their breeding, but the stupid people haven’t. A man from the past awakens in this world and uses his skills as a con man to come up with a solution to the population problem. Kornbluth’s story was published in the early 50s, and I believe they made a movie out of this premise just a few years ago, but I don’t remember the name of that movie. When I first read the story many years ago I remember having a strange reaction. The story immediately welcomes you into the world of the technocrats, making you feel as though you’re one of them. I don’t think any of us can read the story without making this connection, and without feeling like we’re one of the smart ones, the technocrats, while everyone else is a moron. There’s something soothing about that self-identification. But the beauty of Kornbluth’s story is that he pulls the rug out from under for believing that. He leaves you with the sobering moral that you should never believe your own press, because there’s always somebody out there smarter than you. That’s why I love that story.

World Horror Schedule

As you may already know, the World Horror Convention takes place this coming Thursday though Sunday at the Radisson Hotel in Salt Lake City, Utah. Here is my schedule of events. I’d love to meet all of my readers who may be in attendance, and anyone to whom I simply look interesting, even if they don’t know me.

I come to these things specifically to meet people, and I promise to be a completely normal specimen unless you do something insane like following me into the bathroom. Even then, I’ll autograph your book–you just might not be as pleased with the result as if you had waited before or after my latrine visit.

When I’m not at these functions, look for me at the Black Bed Sheet Books and Damnation Books tables, at various panels and, of course, the bar and smoking area. And of course I’ll have video, photos and a writeup soon after my return!

Thursday, March 29th — 3 PM Social Networking Panel.  How blogs, facebook, twitter and other social media can help you network with others. (Loren Rhoads (M), Lawrence C. Connolly, Lincoln Crisler, Derek Clendening, Gabrielle Faust)

Friday, March 30th — 8-10 PM Mass signing. I’ll be there with most of the authors in attendance, kissing hands, shaking babies and, of course, selling and signing books. I’m pretty sure it’s open to the public, so stop in even if you don’t want to pony up the money for a weekend convention. I will have copies of Magick & Misery, Wild and Corrupts Absolutely? and while I can’t vouch for their presence at the signing, I do know that Corrupts? contributors Weston Ochse, Jeff Strand, Joe McKinney, Ed Erdelac and Tim Marquitz all plan on attending the con (and Karina Fabian may join me at my table during the signing), so if you want a copy signed by roughly a third of the crew–this’d be your chance. I might also have an advance copy or two of IDWs ZOMBIES VS. ROBOTS: THIS MEANS WAR! though it does depend on whether they sell out of the dealer’s room beforehand.

Friday, March 30th — 10:30 PM CORRUPTS ABSOLUTELY? Launch Party. We’re sharing our time with the Haunted Mansion anthology, also from Damnation Books, so the joint should be jumpin’ with readings, food, drinks and possibly a giveaway or two. This would be your other perfect chance to get a copy of the book signed by a large portion of the roster.

Saturday, March 31st — 4 PM I’ll be reading my ZOMBIES VS. ROBOTS short story, most likely in its entirety.


CORRUPTS ABSOLUTELY? Virtual Panel: Meta-Might

This is the fourth of five virtual panels that I’ll host this month in support of CORRUPTS ABSOLUTELY? You can see the full schedule here. Today, I have Tim Marquitz, Ani Fox, Jeremy Hepler and Kris Ashton, four of the anthology’s contributors, here to discuss what it might be like to have too much power.

Lincoln Crisler: What do you think draws readers to stories about people with uncanny power?

Tim Marquitz: For me, it’s the idea of being able to do something so far-fetched, so far out there in comparison to the rest of the world. The idea allows for a unique case of individuality and freedom. We’re all human: we can each do what the others do, at least to some degree, but slipping into the idea of superhuman abilities, suddenly a person isn’t defined as everyone else.

A.S. Fox: There’s a certain amount of wish fulfillment in any story about magic, mutation or other incredible powers. Mythology and religion abound with miracle stories because people want to believe power beyond human limits. It explains the chaotic and dangerous nature of life, it allows for an outlet to our hope and fear and when it crosses into fiction it allows catharsis through cathexis, which is a pompous way of saying, it lets us release our inner conflicts via a little obsessive suspension of disbelief.

My story, Ozymandias Revisited, covers two of my favorite ideas – the Christian Apocalypse and the enduring notion of Hubris from Greek Tragedy. In a way, great power exaggerates and amplifies the story much like opera intensifies the theatrical nature of song. It allows the reader to explore an idea taken to an extreme and if done well is almost Socratic in its inquiry into life, nature and whatever ethical dilemma the author decides to tackle. Done wrong it’s guys in tights smashing the Nazis while babes in titanium bikinis reaffirm every sexist trope they can stuff under fan service. That’s a different kind of catharsis.

Jeremy Hepler: I believe a majority of people are drawn because these stories typically operate under the naive principle that the person with uncanny abilities has an altruistic nature and will always intervene in domestic and global disputes with a benevolent, selfless intent. After decades of repeated themes and stereotypical characters, readers have been led to believe that any character given (or chosen to have) powers will embody what we believe to be the best in ourselves, and that these characters are static, permanent, stable—something which feels comforting to anyone living in a reality where they are confronted by the same worries, pressures, and dangers on a daily basis with little or no hope of change. I believe other people are drawn simply because the possibility that there is a magical plane hidden within our science-governed world that certain chosen people are allowed (or have been forced to) tap into is exciting and hopeful.

The reasons above and their general good-heartedness is exactly why Corrupts Absolutely? appealed to me so much as a writer and reader. Lincoln said let’s strip away these hopeful stereotypes and be honest this time. Let’s give the readers something different. Let’s read about how people would probably really use uncanny powers. I think that any superhero, meta-human, supernatural, sci-fi, or supernatural fan will find this concept extremely entertaining and insightful. It encourages people to look not at what they hope they would do if given unique power, but deep down inside, if they’re honest with themself, what they would do.

Kris Ashton:I think it’s because we so often feel powerless in our own lives. When we’re small children, our parents control our destiny. In school, bullies make us feel weak. Then, when we join the workforce, it only takes one bad boss to make us feel powerless. To my mind, the best stories about people with uncanny powers provide some sort of catharsis for these deep-seated feelings, which are often closely related to rage and desire for revenge. Would your boss dare to question your intelligence in front of your colleagues if you could make his head explode ala Scanners? Beyond all that, I think the human race has always been fascinated with beings that transcend mortal limitations. As soon as people could communicate, they started sharing stories about those who were faster, stronger and smarter than any human ever could be. You see it again and again in every culture all over the world.

LC: Do you think power, super- or otherwise, comes with strings attached?

TM: Most definitely. Each case of power, each person wielding it, comes with a different set of responsibilities. You can’t do something without there being a reaction. While a person might not care that someone else is killed or hurt in the use of their power, someone else will, and eventually something will circle back around. We’re all interconnected as people and the misuse and abuse of any will ultimately create waves that affect everything. With my character in Retribution, he’s given the power to revenge himself upon the people who killed his family. For him, there are definitely strings. He finds himself part and parcel of the government and has to undergo a number of changes in order to reach the point where he can exact his revenge. In doing so, he inherits a number of masters and controls he didn’t have before the power.

AF: I have a teenage daughter and we try to teach her that power, responsibility and accountability should be equal and interlocking. That’s my ethical view. Historically that’s also rare and the idealized fantasy of power. Power comes in a lot of forms and extreme power should be the rare and idealized fantasy but does exist in our here and now life. Genocide, fascism, suppression of women, all sorts of really nasty forms of man’s inhumanity to man require super-powers to act upon a society and with ugly consequences. I’m a pessimist when it comes to cultures and power: I believe that while a person may be inherently good, power with its brass knuckle effectiveness, allows even the best of us to cut corners. From there it’s tempting and human to make your annoying neighbor’s Chihuahua disappear or get some much deserved revenge on that jerk that got you fired.

Power without accountable consequences creates an addictive thirst and unless you’ve been born with a will iron and the strength of ten pure souls, you will go down the deeply satisfying road towards gritty, smelly human evil. Now cook into that something like Superman’s powers and you have a recipe for terror. Why do we admire heroes? Because they can hurt others and choose for a variety of reasons to take responsibility and become accountable even though they don’t have to and are often penalized for doing so. There are strings attached if you believe in the soul, karma or a hereafter. If you’re existentialist then frankly let’s hope you are not the one bitten by a radioactive spider.

JH: Of course. Every form of power, whether it’s the power over your children as a parent, or over your co-workers as a boss, or the power to override the laws of nature with some supernatural ability, has strings attached. And the stronger the power, the larger the number of strings, and the harder they tug. In The Real Church, my story appearing in Corrupts Absolutely?, my protagonist Owen’s inner conflict is based on this exact issue. He is forced to decide whether or not the strings attached to his power are too horrific and immoral for him to continue using the power for his desired purpose. Initially unsure, he sets up several tests to see if the consequences of his strings are going to be too tough to endure, tests that could be catastrophic for those involved. He, like anyone given unique powers or power, struggles to find a balance between the pull of the strings attached to him and the benefit of the power. This is what makes the power powerful—the magnitude of the rewards and consequences that come with it.

KA: Always, and it has been one of the great themes in literature. Whether you’re team leader at McDonald’s, CEO of a company, or president of the United States, you have the ability to affect other people’s lives, perhaps even change them irrevocably. That’s fertile ground for drama and tragedy. No one ever said it better than Stan Lee in Spider-Man: with great power comes great responsibility. Every story ever written about meta-humans has touched on this theme in some way. Even characters like Hellboy and the Punisher, who operate on the shady fringe between good and evil, are forced to confront the toll their actions have taken on others.

Actually, thinking about that theme helped me create my story ‘Threshold’. The concept of a pain-driven vigilante excited me, but for a long time I couldn’t figure out how to make it work in the context of a story. Trying to weave a surprising or suspenseful plotline around a largely fatalistic character is tough going, let me tell you. I’d just about given it up for dead when I was commissioned to edit a one-shot movie magazine called Celluloid Superheroes. It really got me into the headspace, and I started thinking, ‘What if the protagonist’s power somehow turned against him? How could it create drama?’ After that, the entire narrative fell into my head.

LC: What power would you have if you could choose one? Why? What would you do with it? TM: While my mentality has always been the “Hulk smash!” kind, and I would love to have the raw physicality of the classic brick, I think I would prefer a more subtle power. I would love to be able to manipulate people mentally and emotionally. As for what I would do with the power: I’d get in trouble. Lots and lots of it…or not, as no one would know. Then again, I’d probably only use the power to make my life less frustrating. I’ve always found interacting with people difficult (the general populace) as I’ve gone about my daily life, and it would be great to be able to circumvent that annoyance. I’d love to go to a bar and have a drink and enjoy the evening without getting into a fight. I’d love to drive down the road and not have some idiot try to kill me and my family because they need to shave two seconds off their trip. I would love to get my order correct at the drive-thru and not have to spend twenty minutes explaining basic math or the difference between BBQ sauce and sweet & sour.

AF: I’d like to grant wishes. Of course it’s a corny thing and a bit altruistic to say so, but I’m being terribly selfish. Any power I get for myself I am responsible for and what happens when I lose my temper and fry the aforementioned dog next door? Warping reality would be awesome and having some control over who gets what allows me a certain buffer between the dehumanizing temptations of power and the reality of wanting cool stuff, good luck and a healthy happy life. It would let me help friends and family without unduly screwing up the universe. They make the wish, I get to decide if and how it gets fulfilled. Of course I implicitly trust my wife to ask for awesome things and this would allow us to work together to make positive changes in our life and the world. I was raised by hippies, believe in giving peace a chance and really would like to see every person on the planet eat 3 square meals a day, go to school and have basic human freedoms. I’m also pretty sure that given the chance I could screw up a two horse parade and should not be trusted with unlimited power – I think people are mildly horrible which is why I like writing about them. So I’d go with a superpower that in theory lets me evade the obvious pitfalls of being human. I’m also convinced I’d be the life of the party at any genie themed event.

JH: If I’m honest, like Lincoln asked authors to be with their characters in this anthology, I wouldn’t choose a power that demands great responsibility. I wouldn’t want that many strings attached. I’m a pretty introverted guy. If given a choice, I would choose the ability to fly. I would use the ability first and foremost for my own pleasure. I have struggled with addictions to various physical pleasures since a teen and this would be something that I could get thrills out of with the fewest strings attached (as long as I put forth the effort to keep the ability secret, which I think would become harder and harder due to my addictive nature). After enjoying the sensation of free flight for a while, I would then soar around the world to see all the places and things I’d probably never be able to afford to see otherwise. I would take my wife and five year old son on the rollercoaster rides of their lives. I would also use the ability to do household chores that I would otherwise have to pay someone to do, like trim the giant elm tree in the backyard, or paint the awkward eaves above the garage. I would help people in need if I came across them just like I would now, but I don’t think I would fly around searching for hero situations and notoriety.

KA: Ever since I was three or four years old, when I first watched The Incredible Hulk on TV, I have wanted to be him. It’s not just the super-strength thing – being Superman doesn’t interest me – it’s also the idea that the power has to be triggered. There’s a pervading sense of karmic justice around the Hulk: do something bad to David (or Bruce in the comics) Banner and something bad is going to happen to you. I also think it would be intoxicating to be seven feet of pure, invincible, irradiated muscle. And at a basic level, the Hulk speaks to the enraged child inside me, the one who just wants to SMASH everything when life takes a bad turn. Hmm, revenge, intoxication and smashing stuff. Looks like I’d make a very selfish superhero.