Superheroing on a Budget

 It seems I'm on something of a Jim Bernheimer kick.  It's really not my fault; I blame those freaking unicorn stories.  I also blame his breezy writing style that lets me tear through his books so quickly.

Anyway, today we have Confessions of a D-List Supervillain and Origins of a D-List Supervillain.  Both tell the story of Calvin Stringel, the aforementioned d-list supervillain.  They're both told in first person, and Confessions is written much like a tell-all memoir, while Origins reads more like your standard first person narrative.

Confessions, written first, tells the story of how Cal, literally, saved the world, while Origins is a prequel, fleshing out Calvin's back-story and telling tales of when he was just a lowly rent-a-thug.  While Origins is chronologically earlier, it really should be read second, as many of the little jokes and... call aheads (what's a precognitive callback?) won't make any sense otherwise.

I quite like the world Bernheimer has created here.  There are superhero teams, classifications of superhero (and villain), and lots and lots of villains and heroes populating his world.  It's about as densely packed as the Marvel universe, even to the point of having a multi-branch hero organization much like the Avengers.

He's also taking the time (mostly in Origins) to get into the down and dirty, day-to-day minutiae of the villain lifestyle.  Concerns about your clients being willing to kill you on a whim, worrying about where you'll get enough money to fix damaged equipment, laundering said money, all sorts of stuff.  In other words, Origins humanizes the low-level supervillain, which makes them look good, while Confessions is more about humanizing superheroes, which is far less flattering.

Like the Spirals of Destiny series, this is a quick paced bit of summer reading.  Also like Spirals of Destiny, there's supposed to be another book coming (so says the Also By page in Origins).  Unlike Spirals, I'm not entirely sure where he's going to go from here.  He can't really do another prequel unless he plans to spend a couple hundred pages on Cal's college days, and the story was pretty much wrapped up at the end of Confessions.  But I suppose he could always do an alien invasion of the return of The Overlord.  Superhero worlds are good for never running out of fodder.


  1. Thanks for the nice words about my novels. I shared this on my facebook page.

    1. My pleasure, Jim! Thanks for writing such entertaining work.

  2. I enjoy Jim Bernheimer's novels too, especially those with Mechani-Cal. The action laced with humor, and storylines keep make them a fun read.