By Michael Fry
Read by Nate Begle
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This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around May 1, 2018. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.
A sequel has never been this good . . . at being bad! Victor Spoil hates the Junior Super Academy. It makes him cranky — and his parents couldn’t be prouder, because supervillains aren’t meant to be nice. Until Victor confesses he wants to leave and become a librarian. The horror!
But when superheroes and villains — including his parents — start disappearing, only a dedicated do-gooder like Victor can track them down. He discovers that the supers are being captured to square off against aliens in gladiator-like shows. And unlike the scripted fights that the supers usually sign up for, these battles are to the death!
Victor and his fellow super students must join together and harness their super powers to battle this dastardly mega-villain. But to be a hero, Victor finally has to embrace his inner villain. Will he be able to stoop that low?
So, you want to be a supervillain?
Let’s start with the basics. Let’s start with the costume.
A good supervillain costume is comfortable yet intimidating. In other words, never too saggy in the butt.
Inflatable muscles are allowed, but be careful not to overinflate.
Capes are fine. Just make sure they’re not too long.
Next up is the action pose. Every supervillain has a signature action pose. An action pose demonstrates strength and determination.
Don’t forget your evil laugh. It’s got to be scary. And creepy. But not too creepy.
Supervillains with allergies, lung conditions, or over fifty should avoid the evil laugh.
After you’ve got your action pose and your evil laugh down, it’s time to work on your supervillain monologue. A monologue is a long-winded speech about how you’re so evil, how you’re going to take over the world, and what exactly you’re going to do to the superhero.
The monologue should be long, but not too long.
Last, but not least, is your superpower. There are cool superpowers.
And there are lame superpowers.
That’s it! You now have all the tools to take over the world as a Serious, Truly Evil, Thoroughly Bad, Absolutely Rotten Supervillain.
Just like me!
I should explain.
It’s good to be bad.
No. Seriously. It is.
That’s what I learned when I defeated Dr. Deplorable and saved the world.
Yeah. That happened.
I, Victor Spoil, a junior supervillain from a long line of supervillains, six months ago SAVED THE WORLD!
Which is a good deed. Done by a bad kid. Confused? Me too.
You see, this whole good vs. evil thing is just a show we supers put on for the public. We dress up in tights and capes and pretend to battle.
Why do we pretend? Because years ago things got way out of hand (destruction, mayhem, using buses as dodge balls)…
… and we all agreed to cool it. Or, more accurately, the Authority made us cool it. The Authority has real power, the power to shoot a super into space if he/she doesn’t toe the line.
This arrangement worked. For a while. At least until Dr. Deplorable decided he wanted to be a real supervillain and take over the world.
But I stopped him. With some help from my parents, the Spoil Sports, and my mentor, the Smear.
So when it really counted and lives were at stake, the whole good vs. evil thing broke down. And someone had to do the right thing. And that someone was me.
Yeah. I’m the Tickler. I know, pretty lame. But hey, it worked!
But that was six months ago. Six months is a long time in the super business. Things change. People forget.
People get mean.
Meet Niles. He’s the big (dumb) kid on campus here at Junior Super Academy. But he thinks he’s God’s gift to junior superheroes.
Ever since I started at JSA he’s been a pain in my spleen. So far, I’ve been able to ignore him. I mean, he’s never really been any competition. Until now…
How can Octavia like him? She was there when I took down Dr. Deplorable. She had my back. I had her back. We were back backers from way back. And here she was giggling and smiling at this… this… this… superjerk.
How could she?
“Mr. Spoil?” asked a distant nasal drone. “Mr. Spoil, are you with us?”
“Huh?” I said, as I slowly turned from staring at Octavia and Niles to my Trash-Talking 101 instructor, Mr. Stupendous.
Crap! I hadn’t done the reading. Well, I’d done lots of other reading. I’d read all about toads. Super interesting. I’d read How to Build an Igloo. Trickier than you’d think. I’d read a biography of Nikola Tesla. Edison gets all the attention, but Tesla was the real genius. I’d read lots of stuff. I love to read.
But I hadn’t done the class reading.
So I had no idea what the number one most important principle in trash-talking was.
I ventured, “Never let them see you pee your pants?”
The class laughed. Hey, it was a good guess.
“No,” said Mr. Stupendous. “Anyone else?”
Niles raised his hand. “When they go low, you go subterranean.”
Mr. Stupendous smiled. “Yes. Excellent. Thank you, Niles.”
Niles shot me a bask-in-my-glorious-presence-you-dull-hopeless-loser-you grin.
I shot him back an eat-hot-death-you-miserable-loathsome-butt-hat grin.
Mr. Stupendous continued, “The key to trash-talking is to get your opponents off balance. To get in their heads. To make them hesitate. Doubt. Stumble. Make a mistake. And the way to do that is to go low, really low, so low that they have to look up to look down.
“This is more than insults, people. You’re looking for a permanent stain on their souls. It’s not enough to say, ‘Your mother wears last season’s nonstandard arch-supported corrective insoles that she buys at the Dollar Store from the five-for-a-dollar bin.’ That’s a pinprick. A mosquito bite. You need to go deeper. You need to rip and tear. You need to make it hurt. You need to go full Komodo dragon on their butts.”
Komodo dragons? Are they even known for their vicious insults? I wasn’t sure. Maybe. Still, was I the only one who thought this was all a tad excessive? I looked around. I caught Octavia’s rolling eyes. Cool. I wasn’t alone.
Mr. Stupendous continued, “Who would like to come to the front of the class and demonstrate? Niles? Mr. Spoil?”
Groan. I hate going to the front of the class. There’s just too much at risk. Your fly could be down. You could have a third-eye-sized zit in the middle of your forehead. You might fart. It’s not the trash-talking. I can do that. It’s the potential global humiliation that comes with putting your twelve-year-old not-ready-for-prime-time self out there for all the world to mock.
Mr. Stupendous stared at us. “Gentlemen?”
Niles and I got up and approached the front of the class. Niles was grinning. He thought he had me. He thought he could out-insult me.
He was wrong.
“What was that?” cried Mr. Stupendous.
“Sorry,” I muttered.
Niles pointed at me. “That kid is dangerous! He almost…”
“I wouldn’t…” I said.
Mr. Stupendous stared hard at me. “You almost did.”
“I just tickled him,” I said.
Niles sat up. “… TO DEATH!”
I rolled my eyes. “You’re fine.”
I looked around the room. All the kids looked scared.…
“He’s fine,” I said. “Things just got a little, you know, out of hand.”
Niles stood up. “You’re a menace, Spoil! You’re not a supervillain. You’re not a superhero. You’re just a jerk!”
I looked around the class again. Octavia was staring at me. She slowly shook her head.
I tried to explain. “Look, it was an accident. It won’t happen again. I promise. I wouldn’t ever hurt anyone. Well, I mean, anyone who didn’t deserve it. Sure, Niles is annoying. You all know that. He insulted me. He…”
“Got in your head,” said Mr. Stupendous. “He got you to make a mistake. He got you to lose your cool. He got you to…”
“Forget who I am,” I said, as Niles grinned his snot-eating grin.
Mr. Stupendous pointed. “To the Penalty Cave, Spoil!”
“No!” I protested. “Not the Penalty Cave!”
I hate the Penalty Cave. It’s got bugs. And bats. And it smells like old supersocks.
“Now!” yelled Mr. Stupendous.
I slunk off. Out of the corner of my eye I could see Octavia. She looked worried. Or maybe it was just pity. Hard to tell the difference when you’re feeling sorry for yourself.
The Penalty Cave is across from the Cafetorium, next to the garbage cans and the recycling. The walk to the Penalty Cave is a walk of shame. It goes past all the classrooms. Everyone can see you. Everyone can see you screwed up big-time. Everyone feels comfort in the fact that it’s me walking to the Penalty Cave—and not them.
You’re welcome, everyone.
I entered the Penalty Cave and sat down. A bug skittered up a rock. I swear it looked at me and said…
Hero to zero in six short months. Must be some kind of record. Fortunately, back in my room, I had just the book to look that up.
Nope. Can’t even manage that.
I put the book away with all my other books (did I mention I like to read?) and lay back on my bed.
“What am I going to do?” I asked the ceiling.
But the ceiling didn’t answer. It never does. Stupid ceiling.
The door opened and a large shadow fell over me.
It was my roommate, Javy. Javy has issues judging personal space. As in, he doesn’t bother.
“Javy, what did we talk about?” I said.
“What? Too close?” asked Javy.
“Way too close.”
I pointed to his bed. “Sit over there, Javy.”
He nodded. “Right.”
Javy is a good kid. Weird, but good. Sweet, even. He’s a junior superhero. His power is reading minds. Kind of. Sort of. Not really. He’s working on it.
“You’re thinking you blew it with Octavia today,” said Javy.
Maybe he’s getting better.
“Yes. But no. I’m thinking what’s the point of this whole supercircus?”
“There’s more to life than free costumes, Javy.”
“We’re training to be entertainers. We make civilians happy.”
“As they watch us fake-beat the snot out of each other.”
“It wasn’t fake when you took down Dr. Deplorable.”
“That was a onetime thing. It’ll never happen again. Basically, we supers are useless.”
“Hey, I’m not useless.”
“Of course not. I didn’t mean…”
“There was that one time I read Patty’s mind and I knew right away she wouldn’t go to the dance with me. That’s not useless.”
“You have a useful power, Javy,” I said. “Me? I tickle people.”
“You make people laugh.”
“Completely against their will. And until they think they’re going to explode.”
“Niles needed to laugh.”
“Not that hard.”
The door burst open.
Groan. I completely forgot it was Parents Weekend.
I sighed. “Hi, Mom and Dad.”
“What’s this?” said Mom. “Is this some attitude I’m seeing?”
Dad nodded. “He’s not happy to see us. He looks super irritated.”
Mom looked at Dad. Dad looked at Mom. Then they both looked at me. And smiled. Sort of. As I’ve explained in the past, they don’t use those muscles very often.
“He gets that from me,” said Mom.
“I’m so proud,” added Dad.
I rolled over and faced the wall. “Please go away,” I said.
“He’s snubbing us!” said Dad.
“Wait till I tell the girls at CrossFit!” said Mom.
“Wait till I tell the guys at the Donut Palace!” said Dad.
Mom glared at Dad.
Dad said, “Did I say that out loud?”
“If you put half the energy you spend eating donuts toward exercising, you could tie your own shoes,” said Mom.
I moaned. “Mom? Please?”
“I like it when you tie my shoes,” said Dad. “You do the loops just right. They never come untied.”
“Dad, c’mon!” I cried.
Mom eyed Dad. “One of these days, I’m going to tie them in triple knots and then I’m going to run off to Fiji and you’ll never get them untied!”
“Fiji?” said Dad. “Gee, who has a secret lair in Fiji? Could it be the Prince of Pandemonium?”
“Guys!” I shouted.
Mom rolled her eyes. “We’re just friends. When are you going to let that go?”
“Friends,” said Dad. “Ha! I saw the way you touched his cheek at VillainCon last year.”
“There was acid on his cheek!” yelled Mom. “He bumped into that leaky Sulfuric Boy. He could have been badly burned!”
“A likely story,” snorted Dad.
“ENOUGH!” I screamed. “GO! AWAY! NOW!”
My parents stared at me.
“I like the bad attitude,” said Dad.
Mom added, “Yes. But save it for the festivities. Tomorrow’s a big day. Don’t go to bed too early.”
“Yes,” said Dad. “And don’t forget to forget to floss.”
And then, finally, they left.
“Who can tell me the factors that led to the Super Revolution of 1957?” asked Dr. Comet Head.
It was the next day and I was in Super World History class. Or, as I like to call it, Advanced Snoozefest.
I bolted awake. “Wait? What?”
The class laughed.
Not with me.
Dr. Comet Head glared. “Now that you’re so well rested perhaps you can elucidate us all with your vast knowledge of the causes of the Super Revolution of 1957, including, but not limited to, taxation, regulation, and the rise of the Authority.”
I yawned. “The Super Revolution of 1957 came about after a long period of super frustration with civilian authority over superbattle taxes and unnecessary overregulation of superpowers. The resulting superprotest decimated downtown Pittsburgh and led to the Truce and joint super/civilian governing Authority we have today. Which led to fake, scripted battles, blah, blah, blah, and fake superheroes and supervillains, blah, blah, blah.”
See. I know stuff.
“You’re the only fake super around here,” said Niles from the back of the class.
“Ooooooooooh!” taunted the class.
“Settle down,” said Dr. Comet Head.
I stood up and turned around. Niles and Octavia were sitting at the back of the class next to each other.
I said, “You’re absolutely right, Niles. I’m a fake junior super. The only difference between you and me is that I know it and you don’t.”
The class let loose with another, “Ooooooooooh!”
Niles stood up, raised his arm, and…
A plasma blast seems pretty dangerous, but it’s not. Annoying? Sure. Kind of like being hit in the chest by a seagull. Unpleasant and kinda itchy, but really no big deal. Nothing compared to my tickle power.
“Boys!” yelled Dr. Comet Head. “No battling in class! You know the rules!”
“Get up, freak!” yelled Niles. “I can take you. Not like last time when you surprised me!”
Despite my superpower advantage, I just lay there.
This was so getting old. I realized that I just didn’t care that much. I didn’t care about battling Niles. I didn’t care about Super World History. I didn’t care about Trash-Talking 101. I really didn’t care about Parents Weekend. The only thing I did care about was…
“What?” said Niles.
“I don’t want to be a super anymore.”
The class gasped.
Praise for How to Be a Supervillain: Born to Be Good:A Parents' Choice Awards (R) winner!
- "With fun comic panel illustrations throughout, this sequel is sure to be a hit with fans of humorous illustrated novels."—Booklist
- Praise for How to Be a Supervillain:An IndieBound National Bestseller!
- "The irreverent humor that middle graders relish will go a long way to capturing their interest. Superhero fans will enjoy this tongue-in-cheek take on the genre."—School Library Journal
- "In this clever world, Over the Hedge comic-strip author Fry achieves an ideal balance of humor, poignancy, and zippy superhero/bad guy action, punctuated with frequent amusing black and white illustrations."—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
- "Fry has written a hilarious story about an unlikely hero and masterfully incorporates the illustrations into the narrative. Victor's story is sure to be a hit among reluctant readers and fans of illustrated novels."—Booklist
- "This riotous story about heroes and villains will leave kids howling for more!"—Lincoln Peirce, New York Times bestselling author of the BIG NATE series
- "Being bad at being bad has never been such good fun!"—Chris Grabenstein, NYT Bestselling author of Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library
- "Part novel, part comic, Michael Fry's humor shines in Victor Spoil's journey to discovering his true self!"—Dan Santat, Caldecott-medal-winning author of The Adventures of Beekle and illustrator of the Mighty Robot series with Dav Pilkey
- On Sale
- May 1, 2018
- Hachette Audio