''Velveteen Vs'' (2000) is a short story series by Creator/SeananMcGuire about a former superheroine named Velma "Velveteen" Martinez who was one of the young heroes "adopted" by The Super Patriots, Inc. On reaching legal adulthood she decided to walk away from the superhero life, but the Marketing Department wants her back, and are willing to do a great many things to get her.

The series is available to be read off [[http://seananmcguire.com/velhome.php the author's site]] as well as more recent updates on her LiveJournal. There are also three published compilations, ''Velveteen vs the Junior Super Patriots'', ''Velveteen vs the Multiverse'', and ''Velveteen vs. the Seasons''.
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!! This series contains examples of:

* AdultsAreUseless: From Velma's point of view, the adults are either borderline abusive, or Marketing.
* AlcoholInducedIdiocy: The official power level scale was invented by a group of government workers while on a drinking binge, and has never been revised. This makes some of the key classification criteria rather vague.
* AlternateUniverse: Velveteen finds herself in an alternate universe where her rival quit the Super Patriots and she co-leads the team. She also gets a close look at what happens in other [=AUs=].
* AlmightyJanitor: In ''Velveteen vs. The Junior Super Patriots, West Coast Division'', it's pointed out that Velma is ranked as a support hero "at best" (on the official "power level" scale, she is apparently rated at 2 out of 5). [[spoiler:This does not stop her from wiping the floor with the nine-hero team sent at her, a whole three of which officially rank at the highest power level, 5. Elsewhere in the same chapter, the narration states that her real demonstrated power level would be 4, and that she had yet to fully reach her limits. Some have even theorized that if somebody managed to put a large enough pair of googly eye glasses on it, she could ''shift the orbit of the moon''.]]
* AmplifiedAnimalAptitude: in Princess' case, her animal companions can do anything a Disney princess' can do, and more.
-->'''Princess:''' I can have a team of [=SWAT=] trained raccoons here in under a minute.
* AnIcePerson: Jackie Frost.
* AndTheAdventureContinues: [[spoiler: Inverted. The second book ends with Princess declaring that the story DOES end here. And then the sequel came out.]]
* AnimalThemedSuperbeing: Claw, of the animal abilities sub-variety.
** TheBeastmaster: One of Claw's powers is to command the loyalty of crustaceasns.
* AnimateDead: The power of Roadkill, an AlternateUniverse version of Velma who went full supervillain.
** Velveteen herself is also capable of the same trick, as seen [[spoiler: with her keeping Tag alive after his death]].
* AnthropomorphicPersonification: Several, including many associated with seasonal holidays.
* AnxietyDreams: Of forgetting to be Velma
* AppliedPhlebotinum: Starting with irradiated maple syrup and going from there with one bizarre origin story after another. Velveteen's powers came from a latent mutation that was activated when she slept with a radioactive bunny plushy while suffering from an exotic strain of chicken pox.
* ArmouredClosetGay: [[spoiler: Sparkle Bright]]. The alternate universe version [[spoiler: Polychrome]] is out of the closet.
* ArtAttacker / ArtInitiatesLife: Tag's power is to give his pictures form and solidity.
* BackFromTheDead: [[spoiler: Jory]]. [[spoiler: Victory Anna]] and [[spoiler: possibly Tag, at some point in the future]].
* BaconAddiction: Jackie loves bacon. She loves teasing Yelena (Who can't eat bacon for fear of not being able to fit into her costume anymore) about the bacon even more.
* BeardOfEvil: The villain in the first story.
* BigBad: [[spoiler:Supermodel]], CEO of Super Patriots, Inc.
* BluebirdOfHappiness: Trained in salon styling and cosmetology, courtesy of the Princess.
* {{Brainwashed}}: All the people in SPI with mind control powers are used to brainwash the official heroes of SPI during their "counseling sessions". Velveteen managed to break free because her trips to the worlds of Autumn and Winter with Hailey and Jackie, and the fact that time flows differently there, meant that she spent more time between sessions than SPI's higher ups thought, so it wore off. Tag broke free because he kept creating graffiti doppelgangers to attend the sessions for him.
* BunnyTropes: While she is not an actual rabbit, Velveteen, due to her costume being setup with bunny ears and cotton tail, ends up heir to several of the tropes.
** BunniesForCuteness: Part of why Marketing set up Velma as Velveteen. She was a little girl who could bring toys to life.
** HairRaisingHare: Near the end of the series, Velveteen shows that rabbits can be fierce.
** PlayboyBunny: Some of Velveteen's grown-up costumes approach or riff off this.
** RighteousRabbit: Velveteen is the center of the eventual battle against Super Patriots, Inc., at which time people realize they're not the wholesome and unimpeachable force for good they present themselves.
* CameBackWrong: Alternate universe Marionette. [[spoiler:Also Tag.]]
** [[spoiler: An interesting example, in that they are MENTALLY fine...they just need energy.]]
* CastFromHitPoints: How Velveteen's powers work; sustaining an animation takes energy from Vel. A little for things like animating a plush toy to get her a Diet Coke from the fridge, a LOT for [[spoiler:reanimating her boyfriend for two months solid.]]
* CatchPhrase: Marketing helps heroes working for them come up with memorable ones.
** Velveteen has one that's pretty much only muttered to herself: "Fucked up times (number)."
*** Escalatingly increasing number, in the chronological order chapters. She hits Infinity at the end of book one, and doesn't go down till the second chapter of Book two.
* CelebCrush: Marketing encourages these.
* ChildrenAreInnocent: The downside of fighting the Junior Super Patriots when you aren't really a villain.
* ChildSoldiers: All of the Junior Super Patriots. It is also shown that the Super Patriots deliberately recruit kids young so that they will be more controllable.
* CleavageWindow: Velveteen's costume shows a lot of cleavage. Superheroines often do this as a way of keeping people from paying to much attention to their faces.
* ComesGreatResponsibility: Alluded to while discussing her origin.
* ConservationOfNinjitsu: Apparently applies to animus supers, so [[spoiler:Supermodel]] murdering every animus other than Vel and Tag in their generation is part of the reason why Vel is so powerful.
* ContractualGenreBlindness: SPI offers classes in "Advanced Going Into the Big Spooky House at the Top of the Hill" to young superheroes: "you had to study to be that pig-headedly stupid."
* CorporateSponsoredSuperhero / HeroesRUs: Super Patriots Inc straddles the line between the two.
* CrushBlush: When Aaron first spoke to Velma.
** Yelena blushes bright blue when asked if she has a crush; it's revealed later that the crush is on [[spoiler:Velma]].
* CureYourGays: What Super Patriots Inc promised [[spoiler: Yelena's]] parents they would do.
* CynicismCatalyst: The Governor of Oregon had an older sister who was taken in by Super Patriots Inc and died fighting a supervillain she was nowhere near ready to fight... at the age of twelve. This is why she's willing to grant sanctuary to supers who try to break away from SPI.
* DealWithTheDevil: [[spoiler: Vel makes one with Santa Claus...a rare sentence.]]
* DeepSleep: One night at a motel, for Velma.
* DetectEvil: Or rather, naughty.
* DominoMask: Part of the superhero costume in many cases, starting with Velma/Velveteen's costume.
* EarlyInstallmentWeirdness: The first couple of stories imply that Velma and Yelena never got along; after that it's made clear that they were close friends before their Marketing-engineered blowup in their late teens.
* EmergencyTransformation: Claw's father changed him into what he is now to save his life from an unspecified illness.
* EverythingsBetterWithPrincesses: How the Princess gets her powers.
* EverythingsBetterWithRainbows: Yelena's powers.
* EverythingsBetterWithSparkles: One of Princess' Powers
* FaceHeelTurn: Played straight, subverted, playing with. . . .
* {{Flashback}}: sometimes told in the form of DreamSequence.
* FlyingBrick: One of the more common power sets, apparently caused by a batch of irradiated maple syrup (just go with it). Given examples include Majesty, Action Dude, and Super Cool.
* AFriendInNeed: Velma to Yelena, as children.
* FrivolousLawsuit: Vel's parents sue her for financial support. A lawyer provided by the Governor of Oregon gets the case thrown out, stating that the contract (Which was made when Vel was eleven, and thus not old enough to sign legally binding contracts) specified that her family was entitled to a percentage of her income while she worked for SPI, not while she was a superhero, and Velveteen now worked for the State of Oregon, not Super Patriots, Incorporated.
* GenreSavvy: Several characters exhibit this:
** Velveteen, extremely so. She realizes early on in her career that a lot of the stock drama and superhero tropes around her are actively engineered by Marketing. And, in a nice meta example, she closely follows fan forums for inspiration (and possible strategies) on how to use her powers effectively.
** Scaredy Cat coaching Velma in Halloween.
* GondorCallsForAid: Velveteen builds up an army of people who have been screwed over by Super Patriots, Inc. and their Marketing department.
* HeroicBuild: Action Dude
* HeroicSacrifice: How alter-Velveteen ended up causing Velveteen-prime to reality hop.
* HeroWithBadPublicity: Velveteen, and pretty much anyone who leaves SPI under bad terms, is declared either a washout or a super-villain by SPI, and therefore, by the media as well.
* HideYourGays: Subverted in some cases, and an in-universe case played straight with [[spoiler: Sparkle Bright]].
* HospitalityForHeroes: A mechanic doesn't take Vel's money after she saves his town from a cult of evil baristas.
* IncompatibleOrientation: Velma and [[spoiler: Yelena]]
* InfantImmortality: Averted, roughly half of all Junior Super Patriots don't live to get an offer to become full Super Patriots (who have an average lifespan of 35). Part of the reason Vel wanted out was having to attend the funerals of half a dozen teammates.
* InformedJudaism: Action Dude was raised Jewish before developing FlyingBrick powers, but Marketing decided that he'd look better to the public as a Christian, so they forced him to not do any culturally Jewish actions while in public.
* KilledOffForReal: [[spoiler: Subverted with Tag.]]
* LastOfHisKind:
** Vel and Tag are the only supers with animus powers in their generation, because [[spoiler:Supermodel]] murdered all the others. They were spared because the inherit limits to their powers (Vel can only control inanimate objects that have faces, Tag can only create objects from things he painted) made them appear too weak to be a threat.
** Victory Anna (a refugee from a distant and now-destroyed alternate universe) has no multi-verse counterparts. When the team walks through the Hall of Mirrors, while everyone else sees the people they could have been had their lives turned out differently in the mirrors, she just sees her reflection.
* LightEmUp: Sparkle Bright's base power.
* MadScientist: Many, including Dr Darwin and Victory Anna.
* MakingASplash: Lake Ponchartrain and Mississippi Queen, for starters.
* MaybeEverAfter: [[spoiler:Vel does NOT revive Tad in the ending, though she makes it clear she'll try when she feels she's able to.]]
* MarionetteMaster: Velveteen's power
* MegaCorp: Super Patriots Inc, crossing over into LawEnforcementInc.
* MenDontCry: Aaron carefully waits for Velma to leave before he wipes his eyes.
* MerchandiseDriven: SPI
* MinorInjuryOverreaction: [[spoiler:Supermodel]]'s StartOfDarkness. [[spoiler:She]] had spent years as the super who represented the embodiment of physical beauty, so acquiring a barely noticeable facial scar caused [[spoiler:her]] to snap.
* MutantDraftBoard: SPI
* NiceToTheWaiter: Velveteen looks for toys that volunteer.
* NoMoreForMe: Something a river rat would swear after seeing amassed crayfish.
* OhCrapThereAreFanficsOfUs: Velveteen is disgusted by some of hers.
-->''"After the fifth piece of pornographic fan art and the real-person slash fanfic novella where she liked to "do it like a rabbit," she figured the strategy tips were sort of like protection money: as long as they stayed semi-useful, she wouldn't feel compelled to wipe them off the face of the planet."''
** LesYay: A lot of that porn paired her with her teammate Sparkle Bright, [[spoiler:who actually is gay and really did have a crush on Vel when they were teammates.]]
* PaintedOnPants: The costumes designed by Marketing tend to be form-fitting, forcing the people who wear them to adhere to strict diets.
* ParentalAbandonment:
** Velveteen's parents were abusive when she lived with them, and only cared about her as a meal ticket once her powers manifested.
** Velveteen's team of the Junior Super Patriots West Coast Division was, except for the Claw, composed of kids who were sold by their parents to Super Patriots Inc.
** The Princess was forced into it; once her powers manifested, the universe insisted that she not have parents, so she cut all ties with them rather than see them have an "accident".
** [[spoiler:After Jackie got hit with a Cosmic RetCon that turned her into Jack Claus, her parents retroactively decided that they weren't capable of caring for a child, and gave her to Santa for adoption when she was an infant.]]
* {{Pirate}}: Jolly Roger's power
* ThePowerOfLove: Princess can invoke it at will, with her fairy tale powers.
* PowersAsPrograms: The [[AllThereInTheManual character profiles in the book]] state that Super Patriots Inc. tried to switch Velveteen and Sparkle Bright's powers to "stabilize" the team, but it didn't work.
* ThePromise: Scaredy Cat warns Velma about the importance of getting this.
* PropagandaMachine: Marketing
* RagTagBunchOfMisfits: Team Velveteen is composed of Velveteen herself (declared a supervillain by SPI), Tag (who washed out of training), Victory Anna (trans-dimensional refugee), Princess (untouchable by SPI due to other contractual obligations), Jackie Frost (the naughty daughter of Winter).
* RetGone: [[spoiler:Jackie acts against her nature to help Vel survive her year of service in Winter, and ends up getting rewritten, becoming Jacqueline Claus, adopted daughter of Santa.]]
* SecondLove: [[spoiler:Tag for Velveteen. Also Sparkle Bright and Victory Anna for each other.]]
* SecretIdentity: One of Super Patriots Inc's few redeeming qualities is its thorough protection of its under-age superheroes' identities.
** Also a part of superhero courtship, since so many start in-costume.
* SecretTestOfCharacter: Velveteen's first experience with an AlternateUniverse was one set up by [[spoiler:Santa Claus]]. She was shown a world where she had the life she had dreamed of back when she was a Junior Super Patriot, and all she had to do in order to keep it was write off an old friend who she had thought of as an enemy for years. But she insisted on finding her way back to her home reality.
* SelfFulfillingProphecy: SPI claims that people with non-trivial powers who don't have "proper guidance" (Which in most places can only be provided by SPI) tend to go supervillain. They try not to mention that most of their examples only qualify because SPI harassed them until they were DrivenToVillainy in self-defense.
* SlasherMovie: One of the enemies Velveteen faces can generate the thematic for a slasher flick as his powerset.
* SlaveToPR: SPI forces their heroes to live their lives to maximize their marketability. Thus Action Dude was forced to hide his faith because Marketing didn't think a Jewish superhero would sell action figures. [[spoiler:Yelena]] was forced to pretend to a different sexuality for similar reasons, and Velveteen was forced to break up with her first boyfriend because Marketing ruled that support heroes weren't allowed to date front-liners.
* SpotOfTea: Victory Anna as part of her quasi-Victorian thing.
* {{Steampunk}}: Victory Anna's whole motif.
* StevenUlyssesPerhero: Several of the characters in the series, starting with ''Vel''ma Mar''tin''ez herself.
* StockSuperpowers
* {{Subject 101}}: Heroing 101
* SuperRegistrationAct: After SPI's leadership is taken down, the government passes a law requiring all supers with animus powers to register, claiming that SPI's CEO being an animus is why the company was able to get away with its criminal actions for so long. Nobody objected because there were only three known animus supers, one of whom was dead and the other two missing. Then the government slowly started expanding the legal definition of an animus...
* TapOnTheHead: In the first story -- though it only knocks her down.
* {{Technopath}}: Mechamation.
** Velma's powers can touch on technopathy. Her specific power is to animate anything that looks like a lifelike representation, and that includes things like animatronic dinosaurs as well as plush animals.
* TheOneGuy: Tag is the only guy on Vel's team.
* ThemeNaming: Chapters are usually named "Velveteen vs. ", unless she doesn't appear in that chapter, in which case the name is "Velveteen Presents vs. ".
* ThouShaltNotKill: Played with. Heroes will kill if absolutely necessary, but they generally only do so if the villains escalate things to the point where lethal force is necessary first. SPI loses the moral high ground during the climax of the second book when they use lethal force first.
* TimeyWimeyBall: [[spoiler:After learning that spending three years repaying her debt to the seasons, Vel returns to discover that the government was taking over all of America's supers, and it was too late to stop them. So she finds a way to contact some supers in an alternate dimension with the power to alter time to rewrite history so that those three years in Season Country only lasted six days in Calendar Country, so she could try to stop it when it first began.]]
* TorchesAndPitchforks: The amassed crayfish have the mood, if not the objects.
* {{Transgender}}: When asked their real names, one of Velveteen's friends announces the name their parents called them is differently genderered from the one by which we currently know them.
* TrueLovesKiss: [[spoiler: What will wake Tad from his enchanted sleep; Vel just isn't sure if she qualifies.]]
* TrustPassword: Teams are required to come up with one to check if they've ended up in an alternate dimension. [[spoiler:Then Action Dude ends up in one where his counterpart isn't allergic to blueberries, and thus his wife in that dimension didn't understand that his asking for some was a password.]]
* UndercoverAsLovers[=/=]TheBeard: [[spoiler: Action Dude and Sparkle Bright]].
* UpToEleven: The superhero power scale goes from one to five. Time control is level '''ten'''.
* WhatHappenedToTheMouse: We never learn what job Velma wanted to interview for in Portland, after she misses her interview.
* WhenTheClockStrikesTwelve: The Midnight Coffee Society
* WickedWitch: How Halloween's problems started.
* WithGreatPowerComesGreatPerks: Some supers have abilities that are mainly only of use in mundane tasks, like being impossibly good bakers and gardeners, and as such are able to pass unnoticed by SPI.
* WithUsOrAgainstUs: SPI has managed to get virtually every non-SPI super classified as a supervillain, often for no grounds other than the fact that they don't work for SPI.
* WorldOfPun: Many of the cast have names that fall into pun territory: Jack O'Lope, Victory Anna and Dairy Keen, for starters. It wouldn't be so bad, if some of these were people who are NOT named by Marketing.
* VitriolicBestBuds: Princess, Jackie, and Velveteen.
* YearInsideHourOutside: Time in Seasons Country doesn't always flow the same way as in Calendar Country (i.e. the normal world).
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