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Confessions of a D-List Supervillain

(D-List Supervillain #1)

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  4,181 ratings  ·  332 reviews
“Being a supervillain means never having to say you’re sorry … Unless it’s to the judge or the parole board. Even then, you don’t really have to. It’s not like it’s going to change the outcome or anything.”

Those are the words of Calvin Matthew Stringel, better known as Mechani-Cal. He’s a sarcastic, down on his luck armored villain. Follow his exploits as he gets swept up
Paperback, 164 pages
Published April 10th 2011 by Createspace Independent Publishing Platform (first published April 1st 2011)
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Kevin P. McBrearty I read this book first, and I really don't think I miss anything. It was clearly written as the first book, so the world-building is good here, and he…moreI read this book first, and I really don't think I miss anything. It was clearly written as the first book, so the world-building is good here, and he more or less gives his origins during the narrative. I'm assuming the prequel fleshes those out, but you won't lose anything by starting here, IMHO.(less)

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Average rating 4.15  · 
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Start your review of Confessions of a D-List Supervillain (D-List Supervillain, #1)
So….Superhero fiction. This offering was fun and some time was pleasantly diverted but I still can’t help but feel a somber lack of fulfillment in the end product. I keep hoping some smooth writing word-smither will come along and write a costumed hero story that really “gets it.” To date, this is a small but growing sub-genre of speculative fiction (thanks to the successful movie franchises) that has not yet translated well into the ungraphic novel form, at least the several examples that I ...more
Oct 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
This was a fun superhero story. It was packed with action, humor, and interesting characters. It also had plenty of cool superpowers and sci-fi technology. The world was a fun one and the story itself was engaging.

We followed the story of Cal Stringel, a D-list supervillain going by the name Mani-Cals, as he finally catches a break. The world is about to fall to the hive mind after the Evil Overlord's latest attempt at world domination hit a snag. He released a bunch of bugs that mind control
A book I want to talk about. I have been neglectful of this site and downright lazy when it comes to writing reviews but in all honesty, most everything I have read lately has not aroused my need to record how I felt. I read alot of books, a great deal more than I remember to list here, which sucks, as at times I forget if I have read something, something by a particular author, or how I felt about a book which might be continuing as a series. In those cases, I pop on here and glance at one of ...more
Oct 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: novel, superheroes
I am so glad my husband suggested I read this one. Once upon a time Calvin Stringel was a promising young mechanical engineer. After getting burned by employer, and several bad decisions and years later he is now known as the modest supervillian MechaniCAL. Only now the world finds itself being taken over by parasitic mind-controlling bugs and because of his metal suit, Cal seems to be one of the few people unaffected. After managing to save an A-list superheroine and enough of her friends to ...more
Jun 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: super-hero
It's books like this that made me get back into writing.

A day later and my mind is still running through the story. I'm still riding the emotional high off this book and can't stop talking and thinking about it. Bernheimer has created something amazing here with this book.

The characters are believeable, frustratingly so in some cases. Each character behaves as you expect them too and no one ever goes outside their character. They all evolve over the story, and their interactions drive the story
Apr 15, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: thriller
So even though this book is listed as #2--it's actually the first book (published in 2011), so I read it first based on that, and then I read the 2nd book, really the first after that--the "prequel." I know it's confusing and for a moment I thought I read them out of order, which I didn't but sort of did as well.

Annnnyways, this one shows it's "first" book colors in the sense that it feels like a rough draft in parts and is not as polished as what came after. Besides being the weaker of the two
Thomas Taylor
Sep 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011-read
When Jim Bernheimer, the author, approached me for a review of this book, I wasn’t all that interested. I was more interested in his short story book Horror, Heroes and Humor (cause it had zombie stories!). So, I read the Horror, Heroes and Humor book first, which incidentally, had a novella titled “Confessions of a D-Class Supervillain”. That novella was great great great. After finishing the novella, I hurried to the “Confessions” book. Bernheimer made a few changes to the end of the novella ...more
Erin Penn
Sep 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Best Superhero Book Available Right Now
I bought the hardback book direct from the author at the CarolinaCon a couple years back for the boyfriend. Read it before handing it over just to make certain it was good. Story has stuck with me and I borrowed it back last year to reread.

And I just bought the Kindle version and reread it this year.

I have been reading through a lot of the superhero stories on the market recently. Jim's story is by far the best, and I believe was the story which reactivated
J.H. Kingsley
Oct 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jim Bernheimer has constructed a marvelously demented reality in Confessions of a D-List Supervillian. This is a world where Bugs have taken over human will, the Olympian Gods are superheroes, and one snarky, somewhat geeky villain is the only person left to save the world. Calvin Stringer, a.k.a “Mechani-Cal” is a villain on the level of Joss Whedon’s Dr. Horrible. Everything he does seems to work…almost. At odds with a super hero named Ultraweapon, Cal takes on the Olympians, the bugs, a ...more
C.T. Phipps
Oct 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
Damn, we need more independent fiction like this.

That's my summary of this work. I put it up there with Soon I will be Invincible for 'best superhero fiction I've read.' I even put it above Brian Clevinger's The Atomic Age, which was funnier just left a sour taste in my mouth towards the end. Confessions of a D-List Supervillain is, by contrast, remarkably upbeat for a story about a career criminal.

There's some flaws in the book, don't get me wrong. I'm not a big fan of the cover and there's
Vincent Bernhardt
Well, he's not Batman...

Then again, Cal isn't a good guy either. Not that Batman is a totally good guy... Hey, I'm not dissing one of DC's favorite sons, but Batman has his issues, doesn't he? Sorry. This isn't about Batman.
The fact that I am comparing the anti-hero of this book to Batman should say something, though.

Cal is a bad guy. He isn't very good at it, though. Sadly, he's worse at being a good guy. Yet when the chips are down and you're the guy in the metal suit that has to save the
Holden Attradies
Funny, fast paced, had a plot that kept up the surprises and was both true to the superhero genre yet totally unpredictable. The plot twists that the story throw at you come silently and slowly upon the reader. The final one was the best, and it makes the end of the book REALLY good, even on later reads, because you can then see the little hints that are thrown out.

The pacing for the book was incredible. It was written so that you just jump right into the story and find out about their world as
Robert Freeman
Nov 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's the end of the world, and the only person left to save it is cut-rate supervillain Calvin Stringel, a.k.a. Mechani-Cal, a bad guy so inept that his list of failures include a botched bank job that landed him in prison and a failed invasion of Branson, Missouri.

Fortunately, he's much better at being a savior than a bad guy, perhaps because he's a survivor. More likely, it's because the Rube Goldberg machine that begins with his low self-esteem -- keeping him in his suit and thus unwittingly
May 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
I got an e-copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. This book is an expansion of a novella included in Horror, Humor, and Heroes by Jim Bernheimer. The first part of the book is that same story, but it is expanded to look at events that take place after the end of the original novella.

MechaniCAL was a bottom of the barrel supervillain until evil mind-controlling bugs took over the world. Now he seems to be one of the only people with uncontrolled thoughts and is stuck
May 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
I'm stepped out of my usual romance genre and decided to read something different. Maybe I'm on a high after seeing "The Avengers" this weekend, but I really enjoyed delving into a world of superheroes and villains. What I liked most about this book: the hero was an ass. He knew this, didn't apologize for it, nor did he let anyone really change him from who he was. While other characters hem-hawed around him, he kept true to himself. He is like other genius artist I've met--don't bother me ...more
Jan 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book was not what I expected. I was thinking I would find something funny and probably a little dumb. What I got was a hilarious story with non-stop action and great characters.

Calvin Stengel had high hopes for his life. He is a brilliant mechanical engineer, had a great job with a superhero's company and things were looking until. Until they fired him, stole his designs and blackballed him from the industry. His only option then was to turn to a life of crime. Calvin becomes Mechani-CAL, a
Aug 21, 2012 rated it it was ok
I'd be lying if I said I didn't enjoy this. And although I'm frequently glad the Goodreads rating system says "I liked it" rather than "I thought it was good", here's a book that I have trouble admitting I enjoyed.

The protagonist is a criminally misunderstood anti-hero who's a mechanical genius, more moral than his heroic colleagues and manages to get none other than the modern incarnation of the Goddess of Love to fall in love with him (technically more than once).

It's puerile, it's overly
Edward Becerra
Sep 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I found this book to be hilarious!

The "let's see things from the bad guy's point of view" has been done before, as well as the "POV of a low-level mook." But this combination of the two is unexpectedly humorous, and the casting of "UltraWeapon" (to my eyes, a parody of Tony Stark/Iron Man) as a back-stabbing, womanizing, jealous glory-hound of a billionaire really made me smile.

There's a very entertaining "film noir" sound to this book, and it's one of the books I'll be happy to keep on my shelf
Jul 26, 2018 rated it it was ok
I really went outside of my comfort zone here, and I felt like a fish out of water.

This is told from the male protagonist's POV, had almost zero romance and, other than the superhero fights, read like a telenovela.

The hero is mind controlled into sleeping with one of his hero teammates (who is also mind controlled), she ends up pregnant and he later fakes his own death, but then his ex-girlfriend Aphrodite figures out he's still alive and gets her memories back after being mind-wiped and she
Sep 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The best part about the book was the quips which Mechani-CAL gave throughout. The action sequences and the fighting style reminded me of Bartimaeus.

Highly recommended for fans of superhero genre esp. Iron Man. Can't wait for more books from Jim.
Feb 22, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: urban-fantasy, lendle
This book was really fun, the author must have had a blast writing it.
Apr 11, 2019 rated it liked it
If you're a fan of superheroes, comic books, and Comic-Con you’ll like this book.

The book is a pulp novel-length comic book grounded in the Marvel/DC universes trope(s) of superhero teams: Avengers, Justice League, etc.. It’s a little more ironic than the pictorial stories, shading more toward Marvel in how dysfunctional these teams and superheroes ought to be. The author likely put his tongue through his cheek while writing this. It’s a superhero meets super girl during Apocalypse, super boy
Calvin Stringel, aka "Mechani-Cal," is, as the title of his autobiography indicates, a D-list supervillain. He's that guy you barely remember who took up about 4 pages in issue #277 six years ago. Spider-Man beat him up once, and maybe he was part of a gang that got flattened by the Avengers during an ill-conceived plan to raid Fort Knox.

Mechani-Cal is basically, as he is repeatedly reminded, a cheap knockoff of Ultraweapon, who is this universe's Iron Man. As the story starts, however, the
Heather Faville
Jun 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Technically 4.5, but rounding up for this one.

Calvin Matthew Stringel, or Mechani-CAL, is a villain who is down on his luck. He was on the bottom rung of the supervillain ladder and didn't seem to be heading upward anytime soon. That is until evil mind controlling bugs began to take over the world. Now this armored supervillain just might be the world's only hope against these superbugs set on world domination. But the question remains, will CAL remain the villain he longs to become or will the
Brian Foster
Jan 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
In Confessions of a D-List Supervillain, Mr. Bernheimer tells the story of Calvin Stringel, an electrical engineer who makes bad choices. After a employment dispute with one of the heavyweight superheroes, he decides to turn to crime, but he’s not very good at it. The world, as it’s wont to do, becomes endangered, and all the do-gooders have been converted to the dark side. It’s up to Mechani-Cal to save the day.

Why to buy this book: This novel is entertaining from start to finish, a true joy to
Oct 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: digital, audible
This book was much shorter than my typical books, but was a compact book of excitement, world building and fun. The premise is the world has been accidently been taken over by a Supervillain's brain control worms (explosion at the supervillain's base causes the uncontrolled release of the worms). All that is left is a few folks who haven't been turned. One of which is Mechani-Cal, a self-proclaimed D-List supervillain in a power suit (think Lex Luthor) who ends up teaming with the most beautiful ...more
Chris Cline
Sep 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
Again with the Superhero novel? This was a late pickup for my pile of Superhero novels, one I only approached after reading another blog's review. The novel takes place in a world with lots of Superheros and Supervillians. However in this novel, the world finally decides to go to hell. An accident by either a Supervillian, or other unleashes an small apocalypse on the world, one were all the Superheroes get taken over, leaving one lone minor level Supervillian, trying to decide whether to save ...more
Sep 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Funny. Ending was a little too perfect.
Feb 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
Are you a hero if you fail as villain?

MechaniCal or just Cal is a villain. A poor, downtrodden, semi-retired D-list villain, but a supervillain all the same... And now he wishes he was anything or anywhere else. Pursued by the word's premier superhero team "The Olympians". In his old and battered battle armour he has to figure out what is going on, how to get out of there and stay alive while doing that.... Ohh and the entire world, (including the hero's) are being mind controlled.

In short this
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Jim lives in Chesapeake, Virginia with his wife Kim, and daughters Laura and Marissa. By day, he works as a Systems Administrator on a government contract and runs his own side Information Technology consulting firm, EJB Networking, which can be found at

Blessed (or cursed depending on your point of view) with an overactive imagination, Jim has long been a fan of Science

Other books in the series

D-List Supervillain (5 books)
  • Origins of a D-List Supervillain (D-List Supervillain, #0.5)
  • Secrets of a D-List Supervillain (D-List Supervillain, #2)
  • Rise of a D-List Supervillain (D-List Supervillain, #3)
  • Fall of a D-List Supervillain (D-List Supervillain, #4)
“I suppose settling an argument with tear gas is poor sportsmanship” 8 likes
“I suppose settling an argument with tear gas is poor sportsmanship, but Athena and her ilk consider me a warm body, good for shit like this.” 2 likes
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