By Alex Binkley
Ottawa author Bruno Lombardi displays a quiet wit and an appreciation for the odd and quirky. It’s the same when you chat with him. He has published one novel, has a second one in the offing, and has contributed stories to seven anthologies.
His latest shortie is "Mr. Cuddles," which is part of the anthology We Were Heroes edited by Martin Ingham. The hero of the story, Brian, treasures his childhood teddy bear, Mr. Cuddles. Years later, the bear, which was Brian's best pal during an unhappy childhood, talks him into becoming a super hero. Even when being a champion for justice leads Brian into trouble with the law, Mr. Cuddles is there for him.
Lombardi’s story is a bit out of step, but hardly out of place, with the other pieces in the anthology, a collection of amusing and poignant stories about the struggles of men and women whose super powers have faded in their senior years. The characters in these stories are reluctant superheroes, often trying to forget the heroics that once made them famous. But that doesn’t stop them from being dragged into adventures they’re no longer fit for. In most cases, the final years of our superheroes are full of the same pains, illnesses and loneliness that many seniors suffer. Picture Superman or Catwoman shuffling about with a cane or a walker, their trademark costumes bulging in all the wrong places.
Lombardi's other published short stories appear in seven anthologies, including The Temporal Element, The Temporal Element II, To Hell With Dante, Yarr: A Space Pirate Anthology and The Best of Martinus Publishing. His novel, Snake Oil, published in 2014 by Daverana Enterprises, is a comedy about extraterrestrials who offer Earth a business deal that turns out to be of dubious value.
We Were Heroes is published by Martinus Publishing.