Barflies by Frank Byrns


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Post March 14, 2005, 11:13:12 PM

Barflies by Frank Byrns

This is a great little superhero story. The beginning grabbed me right off, but then, I am a sucker for superheros. The prose was clean and well-paced for the scenes and overall mood. <br><br>My only nitpick is this: How did Shane expect to control the car after shooting the cabbie? Both the reader and, of course, the author knew Adonis would survive the shot, but Shane seemed to know as well, at least in a thematic sense. And why didn't the cab crash anyway, since Adonis was faking dead and not paying attention to the road? Also, the girl tossed the gun out of the cab, and yet later Adonis is said to have "kept" it. I guess he went back and got it out of the street.<br><br>I thought the imagery in this story was great. I liked the little things like the two pinched twenties Shane had in his pocket and the girl's micro-skirt. Of course some of the terms like metahumans have been around forever (most recently in the Static Shock cartoon on cartoon network), along with the idea of superheros among the common folk (the Incredibles). But Mr. Byrns played these old standbys well. I'm afraid those stock themes might keep this story from publishing in a pay-zine. But that didn't stop me from enjoying the tale.<br><br>-- david j.
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Post March 15, 2005, 12:54:02 AM

Re: Barflies by Frank Byrns

Excellent story, well paced with some good humor. It seemed professionally written. I could see the story unfold in my mind; it was like watching a television show. Now that's definitely indicative of some great imagery.<br><br>As David said, nothing about the story is particularly original, but the way it's weaved together gives it a distinct feel.<br><br>Mr. Byrns had graced the e-zine before with his story from November 2004: Hollywood Ending. Same protagonist, but not as dark. In my humble opinion, this one is much better, although I also enjoyed the previous one.<br><br>Good work, Frank.
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Post March 15, 2005, 12:59:04 AM

Re: Barflies by Frank Byrns

I haven't much to say about this story. Pretty well executed, and I like the metas and particularly Adonis.<br><br>If I have a gripe, it's that the tale was a bit episodic & ultimately not satisfying. The setting and metas are worthy of a longer piece. I want to spend time at the bar and get to know the denizens there, and I want to see Adonis struggle day to day.<br><br>So then maybe that's the mark of a good story--I'll be back to see Adonis' next adventure.<br><br>Dan E.
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Post March 17, 2005, 03:59:55 PM

Re: Barflies by Frank Byrns

Loved it too!<br><br>And I want more! I want the "pre-quel" stories of what happened before that nite...and much much more on the heroes themselves. <br><br>Gosh it read so very well, I was totally in that cab...and the feeling I get when I think about Adonis...is well, like I used to feel about getting the latest Batman comic and running to my room to close the door and read it cover to cover. He's a hero allright? But I wanna know more about Willis and others too... Also would have liked spending a bit more time at the bar, or at the wrapup learning more...<br><br>But hey, that just means I'll wait for the next one!<br><br>Nicely done Frank! <br><br>Jim
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Post March 19, 2005, 08:06:00 PM

Re: Barflies by Frank Byrns

Woah! Great stuff! Wonderful grasp of the shorthand style of the comic-book metahuman story. Nothing was telegraphed except that the girl was going to have some sort of adventure.<br>You ever thought of trolling the artists that read Aphelion for a creative partner for your scripting, Frank? I think that with a wider canvas, you could give the big names a run for their money.<br>I want to read more. Text or toon, but soon.<br>Dan<br>
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Post March 26, 2005, 05:31:25 PM

Re: Barflies by Frank Byrns

Another gritty look at the world of metahumans. Adonis rides again, but this time in a taxi.<br><br>I can't say that there's any more description here than there was in "Hollywood Ending." Kyptonite again. :) I did, however, love the invisible guy playing dominoes. (Where is the supervillain bar, or is this neutral turf, like churches in the Highlander series?)<br><br>Good opening. A bit more abrupt that I'm used to, but definitely caught my attention.<br><br>I liked Adonis trying to be a hero who keeps it under wraps, but I guessed it would be a meta as soon as the cab appeared. Something that makes him seem vulnerable before the story gets rolling (instead of after) would help his appeal. <br><br>Based on her comments on the ballplayer and lawyer bars, I assumed Fran was looking for notches in her bedposts. Regardless of her motive, her conflict was that she wanted to be hooked up with a meta. To that end, she didn't do much to reach her goal. She was scared, that's true, but if she was really as shallow as she seemed, wouldn't she have played up the vulnerable and frightened angle to get Adonis between the sheets? <br><br>Just a thought, but what if she was a supervillain herself, and the vixen line was just her way of ensnaring heroes?<br><br>Why would the bartender keep all the trophy guns under the bar? Not a good way to keep it a secret the next time he has an inspection by fire marshals or health inspectors. Given the state of his establishment, I would have thought he'd pawn them or at least try to get their value as scrap metal.<br><br>Structurally, I wasn't crazy about switching point of view. I think that after you go that long with Fran, you need to finish with her. Either that, or shift to Adonis earlier to establish precedent.<br><br>All in all, a decent job, Frank. Next time, I'd suggest filling in some more description and adding some more work on motivation vs. resolution.<br><br>Nate<br><br>P.S. I did read all those stories you sent me notices on, but I already spend too much reviewing other people's work. I drew the line for myself at only commenting on stories that appeared here.
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