“And now,” Pretty Dynamo snarled as she spun her shining spear, “I’m gonna waste that turkey!”
It was late fall, and the air was turning cold. Strong winds sent red oak leaves skittering across frost-slicked sidewalks. Overhead, the sky was a sheet of gray steel. The last remnants of a broken and beaten humanity huddled together in their one surviving city as a chill north wind threatened the onset of winter. Slavering monsters full of malice brooded just outside their borders, and only the vigilant magical girls, man’s last hope, could keep the forces of evil at bay. But hope was waning, for the monsters were innumerable, the girls were few, and winter would be cold.
Meanwhile, Jake was in fifth grade. He didn’t belong there, not exactly: his fifteenth birthday was coming soon, and he was supposed to be in his first year of high school, but a computer glitch had erased part of his elementary transcript, and the school system had a rather inflexible way of dealing with such unexpected contingencies.
If there was one thing his return to fifth grade had taught him, it was to hate holidays. Jake had already suffered through a childish Halloween party full of junk food and screaming kids, and now he had to suffer through Thanksgiving. He tried to remember the first time he went through elementary: had he really spent so little time spelling and doing sums, and so much time tracing his hand on construction paper and decorating it to look like a turkey? It was a wonder he was literate. Continue reading “Jake and the Dynamo’s Thanksgiving Parade of Awesomesauce (Part 1)”
Monday: Getting waterboarded by a magical girl is just another day in the life of Jake Blatowski!
JAKE AND THE DYNAMO
CHAPTER 27: MONDAY
Dana put on her uniform, complete with the safety pins in her collar, the pen in her pocket, and the untied tie. While she stood sullenly by the front door, Mil gave her several kisses and tousled her ratty hair. She endured it with a silent scowl.
“Oh dear, Mommy didn’t get to make your lunch today,” Mil said, tutting. “I guess you’ll have to eat the school lunch … well, I suppose it’s all right. It’s only one day.”
Mil bit her lip. “Just … I don’t know, just try not to eat anything that looks over-processed.”
Dana made a faint growling noise.
“Like, no ketchup. It’s full of corn syrup. And no chicken nuggets or anything. There’s no part of a chicken called the ‘nugget.’”
Dana rolled her eyes. “Can I go now?”
“Of course, sweetie. Walk with Jake, okay?”
Dana grumbled again. Continue reading “JAKE AND THE DYNAMO Chapter 27”
The Morning After: Jake’s in the doghouse after Pretty Dynamo catches him with Sukeban Tsubasa!
JAKE AND THE DYNAMO
CHAPTER 26: THE MORNING AFTER
After changing back into her magical form, Tsubasa left by the window. Jake had to press himself into the corner at the foot of his bed so she could—with her eyes squeezed shut—dash past him and leap to what she considered safety. Soon after she was gone, he closed the window, finished undressing, climbed into his pajamas, and lay down.
After all the commotion, the room seemed strangely quiet. His heart thudded in his ears, the only sound.
He tossed back and forth for several minutes, but no position felt comfortable. He had been having trouble sleeping for the last few months. Over the previous week, whenever he had slept, he had slept soundly from sheer exhaustion, but now that he had spent a weekend without anything trying to kill him, his insomnia was back.
The bed with its disarrayed and rumpled bedclothes felt desolate and empty. Thanks to Dana, he didn’t even have his Triceratops toy—not that he actually slept with the thing anyway; he just set it on his pillow on the rare occasions when he made the bed. Most of the time, it was buried somewhere under the covers or squeezed between the mattress and the wall.
He rolled over onto his stomach. In an ill-defined way, he had an inkling of why he couldn’t sleep. Now that he had come firmly and irrevocably into his adolescent years, going to bed alone at night had grown into a crushing, almost intolerable burden. It was worse now because he had tackled a girl in this very bed only a half hour earlier, an event that had provoked a bizarre mixture of fear and desire, leaving his nerves frazzled. He could still smell Tsubasa in his bedclothes: she smelled like roses and sweat—heady, salty, and exciting. The scent made his stomach ache. Continue reading “JAKE AND THE DYNAMO Chapter 26”
Wake Up Call: Finding a girl in your bedroom is an unpleasant experience when you’re Jake Blatowski!
JAKE AND THE DYNAMO
CHAPTER 25: WAKE UP CALL
Jake spun around. There in the corner next to the door sat a girl, curled up in a ball with her knees against her chest. She must have been hiding behind the door when he came in. She had her right arm pointed at him, her hand bunched into a fist. That hand was shaking.
With a loud clatter like tumbling kitchen utensils, several objects jumped out of her wrist: white knobs, spheres, and lozenges, all with long, gray tubes attached to them. The tubes pointed at him.
Tears ran down the girl’s face. She shuddered and ducked her head. “I’m … I’m r-really s-sorry—”
So dumbfounded was he that it took him several seconds to realize she had a dozen guns trained on him, enough time for her to shoot him several times over. Continue reading “JAKE AND THE DYNAMO Chapter 25”
Revenge is sweet, but obligatory Valentine’s Day chocolate is sweeter still.
Jake and Dana’s St. Valentine’s Day Extravaganza
It was late afternoon on St. Valentine’s Day. Now that school was out, Jake and Ralph sat on the floor in front of the couch and played a video game.
The game, specifically, was a port of Magical Girl Rumble for the Nintendo Ultimate. Although not a bad fighting game, it didn’t compare to the arcade version: it had only twenty playable girls instead of thousands, and somebody had decided not to bother taking advantage of the Ultimate’s motion sensor technology, so they had to play the old-fashioned way with handheld controllers.
“Boom!” Ralph shouted as he executed a devastating triple combo with Razor Urchin’s monomolecular filament. “You’re dead, dude. Just a few more hits, and—”
Jake mashed buttons until his Pretty Dynamo avatar jabbed and slashed with her spear, finally pinning Razor Urchin against a bombed-out building. Once Urchin’s health bar slid down to zero, she bounced into the air in slow motion before slamming hard into the pavement.
Jake dropped his controller. “Thank you, thank you. I’m here all night.”
“Ah, you got lucky! Where’s your stash?”
Jake reached behind himself, grabbed a plastic grocery bag off the sofa, and tossed it into Ralph’s lap.
“Ya gotta admit,” Ralph said as he dug through the bag’s contents, “going back to fifth grade has its perks.”
“Easy for you to say.”
“Are you kiddin’? Just look at this haul. I haven’t seen this much obligatory chocolate since—”
“Since fifth grade?” Continue reading “Jake and Dana’s St. Valentine’s Day Extravaganza”
Bitter Tears: Does Dana Volt’s dark secret conceal a deadly threat?
JAKE AND THE DYNAMO
CHAPTER 24: BITTER TEARS
Jake sat on the sofa with his parents and fidgeted. He swallowed hard, took a deep breath, and tried to steel himself for what was likely to be the most awkward meeting of his life.
“Don’t mention Pretty Dynamo,” his mother said for the hundredth time as she patted his shoulder. “Just don’t mention her.”
He ran a hand through his hair. “I won’t, Mom—”
“And if you go out with Pretty Dynamo again, maybe you should wear a mask,” she added. “And if you talk to any reporters or anything, change your voice.”
“Change my voice? How?”
“I don’t know. Pretend you have a smoker’s cough. Like Batman.”
“Mom, Batman is fictional. I’m running around with magical girls, not cartoon characters.” Continue reading “JAKE AND THE DYNAMO Chapter 24”
Featured image: “Jake and Dana” by Roffles Lowell.
I asked Roffles if he’d be willing to draw Jake and Dana together, and he came through. Looks like Jake finally got Dana that juice box he owes her, though from the design on the box, it looks like he didn’t find strawberry milk. That’s probably why she’s pouting. Of course, she’d pout anyway. I like the big brother/little sister vibe he’s captured in this drawing. Three different artists have produced interpretations of the characters now, but I believe this is our first picture of Dana in her non-magical form.
Roffles doesn’t like the way I dress Dana and has told me so, so he went his own route with her clothes. But the joke’s on him: she’d probably be perfectly comfortable in ripped jeans and sneakers.
For the record, Dana’s canonical couture is based on Jake and the Dynamo‘s inspiration. Before I went to bed and had the dream about Jake and Dana that eventually became the serial novel, I was watching the anime adaptation of Shugo Chara, an influential and successful magical girl title from the beginning of this millennium, created by the two-woman manga-ka team Peach-Pit (who are probably best known, at least in the U.S., for Rozen Maiden, which has a substantial internet cult following).
Anyway, the protagonist of Shugo Chara is a fifth-grader whose mode of dress is described in-universe as “Goth-punk.” I attempted to mimic the look, more or less, with Dana’s wardrobe.
JAKE AND THE DYNAMO
CHAPTER 22: FATED
For reasons unclear to him, Jake didn’t want to go home.
After he left the arcade, he wandered around Juban. He watched the people bustling in and out of the shops, watering their lawns, pushing their children in baby strollers. At times, a curve in the road would wind around the shoulder of a hill, where he could look down over the rooftops toward the deep city. He saw stretches of rubble. Columns of smoke rose into the sky and spread into anvils as they reached some change in the atmosphere. Helicopters hovered around the tall skyscrapers in the financial district. The howitzers atop the towers pointed upwards, their barrels silent but vigilant. A submarine sat in port in the distant bay, presumably restocking before returning to the endless patrol of the watery western perimeter where the ocean gun turrets squatted atop their massive concrete pylons. Continue reading “JAKE AND THE DYNAMO Chapter 22”