Saturday, May 14, 2005

The Bride of This 'N That!

Okay, rather than doing each of these topics as a separate post, I'm doing one of my "This 'N That" colums to deal with a bunch of stuff!

FRANKENSTEIN: THE LEGACY COLLECTION - Well, it took me a week and a half, but I finally got around to watching all the movies on this two disc DVD set (disc 2 is two-sided). Yeah, I never got around to mentioning that I'd started, or was in progress. This collection includes the Universal Pictures versions of FRANKENSTEIN, BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN, SON OF FRANKENSTEIN, GHOST OF FRANKENSTEIN, and HOUSE OF FRANKENSTEIN... plus a bunch of extras, not all of which I've gotten around to watching yet.

Now, I love these movies... I have since I was a kid. Even as a kid, I knew there were some plotholes so big you couldn't plug them with Castle Frankenstein... But they're still fun movies to watch anyway. It was interesting watching the Monster be portrayed first by Karloff (for the first three movies), then Lon Chaney Jr., then Lugosi, and finally Glenn Strange... and noting the differences between them. Yeah, Karloff was the best, but let's face it... he wasn't as young as he used to be by the time the last few movies came around.

And yes, conspicuous in its absense was FRANKENSTEIN MEETS THE WOLFMAN, which would've fit between GHOST and HOUSE... and I know that one was included in the WOLF MAN LEGACY COLLECTION, along with THE WOLF MAN, WEREWOLF OF LONDON, and SHE-WOLF OF LONDON... the latter of which I don't think I've ever even read anything about before, and I've read a lot of books about classic (and not-so-classic) horror movies. OK, maybe I did read about it, but I don't remember it!

Anyway... it's an excellent buy, as are the other LEGACY COLLECTION DVDs, I'm sure (which also include THE MUMMY, DRACULA, INVISIBLE MAN and CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON... too bad we can't see a KING KONG LEGACY COLLECTION, which would include KONG, SON OF KONG, MIGHTY JOE YOUNG, and THE LOST WORLD!).

COMICS MINI-REVIEWS -- Yeah, I should get around to doing those sometime late Sunday, I think... I have read this biweekly stack, just haven't gotten around to 'em!

GARAGE SALE -- Jessi and I kind of threw together a garage sale for today, and considering the weather, plus the fact that we didn't get any signs posted until late Friday, and didn't advertise in the paper, we did okay. We'll be advertising for next Saturday's garage sale, for sure. Anyone looking for some good deals on comic book and Beatles posters who lives in the Olympia, WA area should check us out, because I'll be selling those there, along with a bunch of kitchen stuff, books, and other housewares.

WAL-MART -- So, after the garage sale was over, and we took down all our signs, we headed to Wal-Mart...but not the one relatively near the house, here in Lacey... nope, we went down to Centralia (about a half-hour drive via I-5) to the Super Wal-Mart there, because we'd heard that certain Weight Watchers branded items were available there that weren't for sale anywhere in the Olympia/Lacey/Tumwater area...

Hoo-boy... not only did they have the snack cakes we were looking for, they also had the widest variety of WEIGHT WATCHERS SMART ONES microwavable meals we've seen! Having gone to the website, I knew there were a lot nobody around here carried, but this was insane! Naturally, we kind of stocked up... strangely, of the three varieties of WW pizza, they only had pepperoni and veggie deluxe... no regular deluxe at all, which I can usually find around here. I prefer the deluxe, while Jessi prefers pepperoni (if they made a Hawaiian style WW pizza, that would be my favorite, I'm sure). We also found a number of other snacks there that were very low in points, so I think we'll be making that trek at least once a month to stock up, until we can get the local Safeway, Albertson's, Mega Foods, or Top Food & Drug to carry these items!

BIKE RIDE -- On Sunday morning, at 9 a.m. (probably before most of you reading this, but I'm writing this at... let's see, it's 10:49 pm as I type this sentence), Jessi, some friends of hers, and I will be going on a 20 mile bike ride. This will be the first bike ride I've gone on since I was in high school... and to be honest, I'm a bit nervous about it. We're taking the Chehalis Western Trail from near the house to Tenino... we don't know if we'll be riding back or not, which would be another 20 mile ride.

So, basically, I'm expecting to return from that feeling sore in places I'm not used to feeling sore! Hopefully, I'm worrying over nothing.

SMALLVILLE -- Finally watched last Wednesday's episode... and I feel like I missed something... last week, Lionel had Genevieve Teague by the metaphorical shorthairs... and suddenly, this week, Lionel, and then Lex, are captured by the Teagues?!? I almost feel like there was supposed to be another episode in there, and I hope a stop at Kryptonsite will sort it all out.

I always find myself feeling sorry for Chloe, whom I've always thought was the more interesting and fascinating when compared to Lana... she's long had a crush on Clark, and yet she has to constantly deal with her best friend being the one Clark has eyes for... plus her cousin, Lois Lane, will be the one to end up with him! Add to that the fact that she's the only person other than the Kents who knows of Clark's powers... that's an awful heavy burden to carry. I do hope that in the next season, the writers give her a love interest who will help her drop the torch she carries for Clark, and find happiness.

Anyway... the freak of the week was kind of intersting... although I do find myself wondering how in the heck does one not only learn they can turn anybody into a human waxwork, but also learn they can change people back again? And why is it that it's never consistent whether or not FOTW powers will work on Clark? Sometimes they do, sometimes they don't... although this is the first time I was aware of Clark, when attacked, somehow bouncing the power back at the FOTW.

I really find myself curious as to where Smallville will go next season, too. Will it really be that interesting having Clark going to college, while Lana stays in Smallville, and Chloe's off at Met U (I think that's where she's supposed to be going to). Lois is supposed to be back next season, too... maybe she'll go back to college, and find herself further inspired to go into journalism? It'd be a nice bit of stunt casting if they could get Teri Hatcher (who played Lois on Lois & Clark) to appear as, perhaps, one of Lois' journalism instructors or something like that.

FINALE -- That's about it for this edition of This 'N That... but like I said, Sunday night I hope to post mini-reviews... and maybe I'll even fill you guys in on how the bike trip went!


Friday, May 13, 2005

Vietnam Super-Soldiers!

Originally uploaded by waffyjon.
This'll be the last of these posts for a while... mainly because I hit my upload limit on Flickr for the month, and have o wait until June to upload the last of my drawings that I've scanned!


Back in the early 80s or so, when I started getting serious about the idea of publishing my own comics (not that it went anywhere, mind you), Mark Grochowicz and I were the best of friends. Between us, we had our "Big Three" heroes, as I've said before... I had LaserAvenger and Avian (and yes, this is your first look at him, but like all these guys, pretty much, the costume's been radically revamped) and Mark had Electron!

Well, we were thinking of their whole backstory, and how they would have met before... and we came up with the idea of a Vietnam Super-Soldiers group, which could also include Titan and Micron, twin brothers who had the ability to grow and shrink (as if you couldn't guess). Basically, the idea was that the military, looking for ways to end the conflict in 'Nam with less bloodshed, drafted these neo-superheroes to be a special ops team.

Yeah, I know... the idea was about as lame as you could get... plus it tied all their origins to a specific point in history, and as the years went by, it was obvious this whole idea had to be dropped!

So I did. But I had created some new characters for this group, as you can see!

The guy in the front of the group, with the funky wristbands, is Samson. The wristbands he wears amplify his normal strength (which is already great to begin with), and when clashed together, double that strength for a short period of time. Yes, these wristbands are comprised of the same mystic metal that you saw in prior posts, such as with Dynamite.

The guy rendered in outlines is Null, whose powers are that of invisibility and intangibility.

Barely visible above Null is Bombshell, or Bombburst, or something like that (dammit, I used to remember that!). He was kind of like Marvel's Cannonball, in that he could generate a field around him that allowed him to fly... the catch was that anything non-organic (that's not comprised of living matter, or manufactured from living matter) would explode on contact with this field. At least, stuff on the outside!

So he could fly into a wall, and his field would cause the wall to explode. He could grab a person while flying, and that person would be okay, unless they were wearing any man-made clothing items or something else non-organic that touched the field.

Aside from a few sketches of Null and Bombshell, though, I think that this drawing is it of the abandoned Vietnam Supers idea.

Oh, and you're probably confused about the "HC" logo on this cover mock-up... having seen how much I like the name "Parsec" in previous posts. Well, for a while I was thinking "Parsec" doesn't sound like a comic-book company name... so I tried to come up with something else, and since Hyperion was the name of one of the Greek Titans, I used that for a while!

But I ended up going back to Parsec.


Shortest Blog Entry... Ever

Originally uploaded by waffyjon.
Here's the Terror. This is what he looks like. Now you know as much about him as I do!


Solar and Sunspot

Originally uploaded by waffyjon.
Here's an anomoly for you... a pair of characters I created to play in a Champons scenario that never happened!

Yet I still have this drawing to share.

Let me step back a bit, and clear up some confusion I may have been causing because I wasn't completely clear on a few fronts.

The Champions group I used to GM (mostly, I should say... we rotated between Game Masters, so everyone who wanted to could run a scenario, and everyone could play a player character regularlly, too) started off pretty much with just one continuing super-team (although the membership would rotate, as some players decided a particular character wasn't working out like they expected, or they had an idea for a different character they wanted to try out).

Then we did a spin-off game... the one that I played Blaze in (and later, Nibelung, a Captain Marvel Jr. clone, and yes, this is the first time I mentioned it). The super-team was Vanguard, and the first spin-off was Vanguard Generation 2, which was teenage super-heroes.

The "rule" for spin-offs was, whoever came up with the idea got to have the exclusive on running those scenarios. My buddy Glenn King came up with the V2 idea, so all the scenarios were his (although I got to use those characters in that Japanese monster thing as a crossover).

The second spin-off was a "Dark Champions," more street-level, grim-and-gritty kind of stuff, with heroes who had an edge to them. That was the game Glenn and I played Nemesis and Bane in.

There were two other spin-offs planned that never happened, however!

The first was a future heroes one, sort of a Vanguard 2099 if you will. This would have been all mine, and believe it or not, spun out of the Death of Paragon storyline! Remember the bit about how some history was lost to the future civilization? The reason for that was Earth was attacked by a race of advanced aliens in our near future, and a new generation of heroes had to rise up to free the Earth.

I don't recall most of the player characters generated for that run that, unfortunately, never happened... but I do know that one of the players was planning on playing LaserAvenger II, the next person to take that identity!

And finally, there was going to be a Golden Age/World War II Champions spin-off (or would that be prequel?). And that's what Solar and Sunspot were created for.

Given that, I'm sure you realized these two were a tribute to the original Human Torch and Toro... save that S&S were a father and son team. I seem to recall their origin involved aliens in some way.

Of course, I don't even know if the words solar and sunspot would've been used at all way back when (when I considered the idea of creating a Golden Age LaserAvenger, I was thwarted when I learned that the term "laser" was only coined around 1961-62, and couldn't come up with a name that would work in its place).

Somewhere, I have a page of handwritten notes about these two, if not actual Champions character write-ups!


Thursday, May 12, 2005

The Mad Mage!

Originally uploaded by waffyjon.
OK, this is kind of an unusual situation here... for I'm presenting the arch-foe of a character I can't find any drawings of!

Erik Kronin is a mystic of major power levels... but he manages to stay under the radar of the mystical forces for good, for the most part as he gathers greater and greater powers.

His only opposition is Lady Kismet, a young woman of mystical talent, and possessor of a mystic cloak which amplifies her abilities.

Kronin and Kismet's history goes back quite a long ways, as the Mad Mage is her father! The Mad Mage knew that in order to reach even greater power levels, he needed to appease certain Elder Gods by offering up his firstborn child. To that end, he used his powers to seduce a woman to bear said child... but didn't count on her hiding the child from him.

Kronin knew that according to ancient prophecies, if he couldn't offer up his child as a sacrifice, his child would grow up and be the one who destroyed him.


Doctor Mind!

Originally uploaded by waffyjon.
Doctor Mind is one of my favorite characters that I haven't done that much with. He was created to be a Golden Age hero, although not a member of the WWII super-group I've mentioned before.

As you can guess, Doctor Mind has a range of psychic abilities... However, despite the giveaway with his name, Doctor Mind tends to act as though his powers are magical in nature, acting very grim and frightening. Most evil-doers who face off against him would rather give up than fight, fearing they might be banished to the netherworld!

Of course, he fought his share of powerful villains as well, particularlly those serving the Axis.

After World War II ended, Doctor Mind pretty much vanished from the scene... and nobody knew what became of him.

However, just a few years ago, a young man who owned an occult bookstore received a shipment of mystic artifacts, and inside it, he found the cloak and hood of the original Doctor Mind. Somehow, the cloak and hood were ingrained with the powers and personality of Doctor Mind, and upon donning them, the bookstore owner became the new Doctor Mind.

It is unknown if the current Doctor Mind is possessed by the original, or if the original's psyche is somehow trapped in the cloak and hood, and guiding the new Doctor Mind.


Wednesday, May 11, 2005


Originally uploaded by waffyjon.
Here's a page of panel-by-panel continuity I did long ago... actually, this is the second version of this page! The first version I tried was, well... boring as heck!

So, I went through my battered copy of "How to Draw Comics The Marvel Way" and reimagined the page... making it much more dynamic... and you can see the results here!


The Man Called... Nova!

Originally uploaded by waffyjon.
Nova has been one of my favorite characters, ever since I picked up issue #1 from the newsstand.

This drawing is based on the cover of that first issue, with some nifty effects added to it from those pre-computer days, when one had to get preprinted adhesive to do this kind of thing!


Batgirl Reimagined

Originally uploaded by waffyjon.
So, anyone remember way back when Barbara Gordon was still Batgirl, and DC was promising they were going to do something with her, even though she'd hardly appeared since CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS, when she was particuarlly whiny?

Before the Joker shot and paralyzed her in THE KILLING JOKE?

Well, that's when this picture dates from... the pose is a swipe from somewhere, I don't remember what, but I was kind of going for a cross between the standard Batgirl costume and the Huntress' costume (since the Huntress seemed to be more popular, although they killed her off in CRISIS).

Somewhere, I have a colorized version of this drawing (this was the second time I'd scanned it), but I'm completely stumped as to where it's stored!

Anyway... I drew this when I thought that a new costume and a new attitude might give some direction to Batgirl... but I never did more than this drawing before THE KILLING JOKE was announced.


The All-Star Squadron!

Originally uploaded by waffyjon.
As mentioned before, this was a cover for another Parsec Panels installment in YHAPA... and it was a group effort to ink the whole thing! Basically, two friends of mine, Henry Elling and Mark Grochowicz, took turns with me, each of us inking one character before turning it over to the next one.

I don't recall how long it took me to pencil this thing, but I was trying to squeeze in every hero who had appeared in All-Star Squadron (one of my favorite comics of all time) up to that point!

If you know the characters, you'll be able to ID them all... if not, well... take a guess anyway, because I'm not sure how I could reasonably do a key to this drawing in this format!


Teen Titans Go!

Originally uploaded by waffyjon.
Well, even if you're just a fan of the Titans cartoon, you should at least guess who these characters are, save Wonder Girl.

So you'll recall that I used to be in the Young Heroes APA... well, one issue, we were all supposed to do something with the Titans. I figured I'd do a drawing in my usual style... but every attempt I made was just plain looking awful, and not worthy of being photocopied and shown.

Now, I used to do a lot more cartooning than I have done recently... using a style similar to Hembeck's, but expanding upon it, so as to make it halfway between, say, Hembeck's cartoon style and Sal Buscema's comics style.

So, I just used that style for this, as a last resort... and you know, it really looks tons better than the "serious" versions I'd tried doing!

Explain that if you will!


Coming Distractions!

OK, unless things get weird (and they usually do), this post should appear at the top, with the two Starbursts being below it in sequence... if not, well, things have gotten weird!

I've been posting a lot of stuff here lately, I know... what other blog gives you so much content so much of the time, eh?

Anyway... here's some stuff that'll be coming up... later today, I'll be posting some drawings of mine of DC and Marvel characters... first up will be a cartoony version of the New Teen Titans from back in my fanzine days, followed by a huge All-Star Squadron drawing that was group-inked by myself, Mark Grochowicz, and Henry Elling, which also dates to my fanzine days. Following that will be a Batgirl costume redesign (when DC was still trying to figure out what to do with Barbara Gordon... this was done before Killing Joke was even announced... and don't I have a talent for coming up with ideas for characters just before they're either brought back or reconfigured? Remind me sometime to tell you about my Nova concept).

After that, there'll be a Parsec Panels cover with Nova (hey, he's one of my favorite characters), after which will be an X-Men page I did way back when... and that'll be it for other companies' characters here for a while. I'll likely get most of those, if not all of them, posted later today.

Following those, I'm back to posting my own characters, and you'll meet Doctor Mind, The Mad Mage, Solar and Sunspot, The Terror, and then we'll go way back and meet the Vietnam Super-Soldiers, a concept that's been abandoned.

That will do it for the drawings posts until June, because I've used all my upload space on the host server for photos... so you'll get a break for a few weeks from that!

Of course, tomorrow is my bi-weekly trip to the comics shop, and over the weekend I'll be doing my mini-reviews of the latest stuff I bought, as I did two weeks back.

You can also look forward to my thoughts on tonight's episode of "Smallville" as we head towards the season finale, and also my thoughts on "Troq," the latest episode of Teen Titans on Cartoon Network (which I taped Monday, but haven't seen yet).

I'm sure there'll be other things I'll be here to talk about, as well! And hey, if you're new to reading this blog... there's been a lot of stuff posted since I started it, so do yourself a favor and read through the entire archive... it's free, and will provide you with a lot of reading (plus, you won't get lost when I refer back to previous posts)!


Starburst II

Starburst II
Originally uploaded by waffyjon.
And here's Starburst II, who was visually inspired by Wildfire of the Legion of Super-Heroes as well as by Klaw, Master of Sound.

As I said in the previous post, I created two villains named Starburst... and I still can't believe I did that... but at least I have fun with it!

The energy projectors on this Starburst's hands aren't prosthetics... that would make it difficult for him to perform the most simple of daily tasks, wouldn't it? Nope, he puts his hands into them, and squeezes the triggers inside to fire them.

The energy bursts from his weapons seem to be at least somewhat kinetic in nature... he can aim them behind him and fire them to fly for limited distances, although manueverability is an issue. More often, he just uses them to blast at his foes. It seems that he is able to control just how much thrust these provide, and it could well be the energy discharge and thrust are two individual components of his weapons.

His effectiveness in committing crimes tends to be better when he's working with a group of villains... when he works alone, he tends to make a mess of things... but the power of his weapons makes him a handy villain when you're going to be facing a super-team in battle!

It is unknown if he invented the Starburst Gauntlets, or if they were provided by Death's Head... there is some connection between the two, but it's possible DH just pays him for his services.


Starburst I

Starburst I
Originally uploaded by waffyjon.
Presenting Starburst! Or at least, the first one.

I think when I revised the design for her, I was considering adding her to the Posse, hence the western-inspired wear.

But I digress. Back in my high school days, I'd often do sketches of villains, and give them names, and then not do too much else with them. Well, a few years of this, and I started drawing up a continuity page in which many of my villains met up for the first time... so I went through my drawings for reference... and discovered I had two villians named Starburst! One of them was this woman here (whose original outfit was very different, although her attitude wasn't), and the second was a male villain, whom you'll see in the next post.

This Starburst has powers kind of similar to Thunderblow from the Five-Card Draw... except that her power isn't electrical. The energy focused around her fists is released when she strikes a target. Her own natural strength isn't much above average, however... it's the starburst energy that does the most damage.

This Starburst is very quick-tempered, and has a perpetual mad-on for the second Starburst for copying her name, and causing confusion (super-villains hate it when someone else gets credit for what they do).



Slipstream Scan
Originally uploaded by waffyjon.
Slipstream was a speedster that I created for the Champions game, as a character for me to play... and as you can see from the illustration here, Carmine Infantino (or any other artist known for their prowess at rendering speedsters) has nothing to worry from me!

Slipstream's powers are not natural, but rather provided from his speedsuit, which appears to use the same basic technology as Cyclone's (although Slipstream seems to have no problem breathing at super-speed). Slipstream's talents are more focused than Cyclone's... Cyclone is perfectly happy to use his speed to ram into targets, or throw things at super-speed, or even punch a target hundreds of times in a few seconds. Slipstream's not as fast as Cyclone, but has honed his superspeed tricks better... he can vibrate through solid objects, or even run past a target and pull it into his own slipstream, dragging the target with him.

One of his favorite superspeed stunts when facing a large group of attackers is to speed past one target, pull him into his slipstream, then run right into the next target... vibrating through it, and causing the two to slam into each other.

Slipstream didn't invent his suit... and in fact, he's kind of a professional super-hero in many ways... his suit was provided by a top-secret government agency who call upon him to take care of certain tasks from time to time, but when he's between assignments, he's free to use the speedsuit to do his own independent crimefighting.



Originally uploaded by waffyjon.
Psi-Borg is another of my older villains... and he has a pretty basic back-story... he was a famous psychic, making predictions, helping police find missing persons, etc... he was the real deal, with real powers, although sometimes he seemed to promise more than he could deliver.

While taking a flight cross-country for a TV appearance, his plane crashed, and nobody survived, except him... but no one knew that at the time, as his badly-injured body was found by agents of Death's Head! Using the highest technology available, the psychic was rebuilt into the imposing figure you see here, his psychic abilities amplified as well as his physical strength. In addition, the cybernetic parts gave him other capabilities, as well... the replacement eye, for example, can fire a burst of coherant energy.

It seems that the accident and cybernetic implants changed his personality severely, and Psi-Borg seems perfectly content to be a villain, although he is known to occasionally complain about being a freak, not able to live a normal life.


Random Thought Round-Up!

As I mentioned before, I'm not overly fond of most of today's revisionist comic books... you know, the ones where the entire dynamic of a title is changed to reflect somebody's idea of how to make a book more popular.

The biggest case-in-point I can come up with is THE NEW AVENGERS. Now, this may well be the best-written comic book out on the market right now... but I can't get myself to even try it out... when I think of The Avengers, I tend to think of the "classic" line-up... which for me is defined as the members who appeared in the title from the debut issue to somewhere in the mid-70s or so.

My idea Avengers line-up pretty much needs to include most -- if not all -- of the following: Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Scarlet Witch, Hawkeye... I think you get the idea. I have no problem with trying out new members... when Busiek was on the book, I enjoyed having Justice and Firestar in it, for example. But Wolverine? I don't think he belongs in a team book without an "X" in the title.

Fortunately, I still have the ESSENTIAL AVENGERS and other trade paperbacks when I want to read *real* Avengers stories.

No, I'm not going to say that Marvel *has* to publish an Avengers book that meets my standards... nope, they don't have to do that... unless they want me to buy the book.

The whole "House of M" storyline, likewise, has no interest for me. I know that Peter David's HULK run will tie into it at some point, and since I love PAD's work, I'll buy those issues, and count on him to fill me in enough on what I need to know to understand what's happening. To be honest, I was beginning to wonder when that whole thing would spread and affect books that I *do* buy... after all, that's what used to happen all the time in the 80s, and it seems Marvel is going back in that direction again in many ways.

Having said all that... well... I do have to admit that DC's whole INFINITE CRISIS thing definitely has me interested. DC does have a lot of characters that I'm fond of that are very underused, and many of them are getting new exposure thanks to all the prelude books.

It's kind of amusing to me... I mean, at my local comics shop, Olympic Comics & Cards, I'm pretty much thought of as a DC guy, because most of the new books I buy are DC titles -- yet, just a casual glance at my bookshelves show many more Marvel TPBs than DC (thanks to the ESSENTIALS).

So yeah, I am in many ways very old-school when it comes to my comics reading... but if someone can do a compelling book using characters I'm interested in -- even if they're going to rethink what the character is about (without throwing out the baby with the bathwater), I'll usually give it a chance.

On another topic... I'm finding myself having a hard time getting a full night's sleep lately, and I'm not sure why. I'm getting to sleep at the same time most nights, but the last few mornings, I'm waking up as much as an hour and a half before the alarm is due to go off. Yesterday, the reason seemed to be the dogs making too much noise, but today it was due to a most bizarre dream I had waking me up (the dogs were sound asleep on the bed next to me). Hopefully, this won't continue!

Onward... I see that the weekend after this will see the release of STAR WARS EPISODE III... and to be honest, I'm having a hard time being really excited about it. Maybe it's because Episodes I and II were so disappointing in so many ways, or maybe it's just that it's been such a long wait with so few teases that it just isn't thrilling me as much as it used to. Make no mistake, I'll still go and see it... just probably not opening weekend (I am hoping on seeing HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE this weekend, if we get a chance), and definitely not at the special midnight showing next Thursday night.

Latest news on the house... the yard work has been on hold for a few days, as the money ran out again. Tomorrow's payday for me, plus I have my deposit from my last place due to arrive sometime in the next week, but both of those are mostly all earmarked for paying some bills... starting up in a house can be expensive, y'know! But hopefully, all that money won't go too quickly, and I can get some Weed & Feed, a mower, and a few other things for the yard... and when I go grocery shopping, I absolutely have to stock up more on Diet Mountain Dew (I need my caffeine!).

The TV's on while I'm typing this, waiting for today's episode of Krypto the Superdog, which I'm anticipating will be a rerun (it seems new episodes air on Mondays, with Tuesday through Friday being reruns... which is okay, I did miss a few eps already)... and WHAT'S NEW, SCOOBY-DOO? is on... and while I'm not paying that much attention to it, it does seem this episode is doing a little bit of a tribute to WILLY WONKA AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY... but unlike shows like FUTURAMA and FAMILY GUY, they're not doing any songs, but rather keeping to the standard show format.

So while I'm at it, does anyone else know of shows that did tributes/parodies of Willy Wonka?

Coming up on my personal schedule over the next few weeks... this weekend will be my nephew RJ's 18th birthday, which is tentatively planned to be held in Tacoma at Titlow Beach Park... assuming the weather will be decent! If that's the case, KO and Krypto will go with us, although they'll need to stay on leash. We won't have to hold on to them for very long, I'm sure... my nieces will no doubt be happy to walk them for us while we're there!

The weekend after that (same weekend as Episode III's release) is when we're having our garage sale... although we may do a smaller one this weekend (it all depends on whether or not we can get enough stuff priced out). It'll mostly be duplicate household goods for sale, but there is other stuff, too... videos, a few DVDs, some CDs, posters, and so on.

And the weekend after that being Memorial Day weekend, we haven't got much of anything planned, believe it or not, aside from running over to Shelton that weekend to check out the new swap meet out there.

The first weekend in June we're finally having our housewarming party... and the Friday after that is Jessi's graduation from college! Looking even further ahead, we have a vacation in July, and we're planning on going to Seaside, Oregon for a few days.

Somewhere in all that, we may go to Enchanted Parks, the local Six Flags park.

Busy times, eh?


Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Reign of the Paragons!

paragons This group of four characters came out of my old Champions campaign, and I'll warn you in advance, this'll probably be a rather lengthy post!

When running Champions games, sometimes the player characters would get some bad breaks in combat runs, and come very close to being defeated... or even seriously injured or killed off! (For the uninitiated, in role-playing games, dice are used to determine the results of combat... and bad rolls can turn the tide of the game very quickly)

Well, that's no fun... I mean, as a game master, one can create villains as powerful as one likes, right?

But no matter how experienced you are, sometimes you'll create a villain who's just too much for the players to handle.

So what to do, what to do? Well, I created the non-player character of Paragon!

Paragon was basically my version of Superman, and he had pretty much all the Superman powers, as well as the Superman cast -- including the female reporter and the cub reporter pal!

Paragon was too busy with his own responsibilities to join the hero team, but promised he'd help out when he was needed... which would be when the player characters were being beaten badly, and the scenario notes didn't have any plans for what happens if the villains won!

Of course, after I created him, I didn't need him. But in the context of the game, I still made mention of his current activities.

And then, I was starting a new multi-part scenario involving a villainess I'd created called the Witch, who was the single most powerful villain ever... she was a multiple personality, and in her everyday persona, she was an average housewife... but when she said or sang anything resembling magic words (i.e., "abracadabra," or whatever, she's transform to her other persona, the Witch, a sexy blonde in a miniskirted version of traditional witch's wear.

The Witch was devoted to causing fear and terror... and when she first came forth, her plan was to transform normal people into monsters, and let them loose... the heroes would be busy fighting the monsters without trying to hurt them (because they were really innocents, y'know), she'd hang around to watch the mayhem, then fly off to perform other mischief.

The first meeting with the Witch, I prepared extensive notes... because the first time around, she turned a dozen people into werewolves! I didn't know for sure which characters the players would choose for that scenario, but I knew some of them had vulnerabilities to the werewolves' attacks... so I worked out what would happen if they were so badly injured that they fled...

...I figured how long the heroes' airship would take to get from the scene of battle to their headquarters, and then I figured if they had to flee, Paragon would show up to try to clean up the mess.

Of course, Paragon, being like Superman, was vulnerable to magic-based attacks... and werewolves created by the Witch's magic qualified! So I ran through the entire battle... and Paragon actually lasted longer than I figured he would. Thanks to my notes, and a play-by-play announcing what was happening the heroes could listen to on the radio as they ran, I knew if they waited too long... they'd be too far away to get back in time to help, and then Paragon would be dead, dead, dead!

I also worked out notes for the remaining chapters of the scenario, in which the Witch transformed people into vampires, zombies, and golems! The final chapter, even after the Witch was defeated, was a situation where a running B-plot involving a Godzilla movie festival from a previous scenario became an A-plot, as the heroes had to battle somewhat scaled-down versions of Godzilla, Gamera, King Ghidora, Mothra, and Rodan!

With all those notes prepared, I started the scenario... and wouldn't you know it? The players picked characters who could deal with standard super-villain attacks, but not with dextrous werewolves with sharp claws and pointy fangs!

Two of the heroes were injured badly, and another was knocked out... the last of the heroes gathered his teammates up, and fled!

And as they fled, and the heroes regained consciousness, they heard of Paragon's arrival on the scene... and the subsequent battle...

...and they never turned back to help.

Paragon died!!!!!

What to do? What to do?

Well, if you're going to run Champions scenarios, it really, REALLY helps if you're a major comic book geek.

So I decided, since I had "The Death of Paragon," I'd take my cue from "The Death of Superman," and add that as a continuing subplot!

The following week, I created new characters, reworked my notes, and added new sections... and when we reconvened, it was for the Funeral of Paragon!

I think the characters were begining to take over, because I had a few supervillain groups try to cause trouble at the funeral (LaserAvenger was one of the pallbearers... he and Paragon had a friendship already established). The Falcon Force (remember them?) showed up at one point and killed off my version of Jimmy Olsen before the heroes took them out!

It was after the funeral that things really began to take off... first, the heroes met up with Kid Paragon (the guy at the lower left), although I forget which monsters he helped them with. Kid Paragon was all attitude... and he claimed to be a clone of Paragon... but what the players never found out was that he was a clone created by Rex Ruthless, Paragon's arch foe (and imagine my surprise when reading SUPERMAN/BATMAN a number of months ago when it was revealed that Lex Luthor was a partial donor to Superboy's DNA!)!

There was also Paragon the Avenger, the guy in the lower right. He claimed he was Paragon reborn, and was as ruthless as his inspiration.

Another battle with the Witch's monsters (I think it was the golems) led them to meet up with Lady Paragon, whose powers were psionic in nature (like the Matrix version of Supergirl), but she had no memory of who she was, or where she came from, other than knowing she was Lady Paragon! Lady Paragon's the woman at the upper left.

The final battle with the Witch came when she created vampires, and joining the heroes for this battle was Paragirl, the teenager in the upper right! Paragirl had been around for a while, operating as Paragon's secret weapon, her existence a secret from everyone but Paragon and LaserAvenger.

Paragirl had the same powers as her cousin, and since her powers were solar-derived, that made her abilities very effective against the vampires!

And no, there was no equivalent of Steel in this scenario... I just couldn't come up with a good look for a character, so never created him!

The Witch defeated, it was time for the wrap-up of the entire storyline... remember the Japanese monsters from before? Well, they appeared all over the Puget Sound area, and different groups of heroes had to battle them, with the Paragon Family helping them out (although I don't remember who helped them fight who... I remember the teenage hero team that Blaze was a part of fought Mothra, and I think Kid Paragon helped them... or it might've been Paragirl).

The heroes managed to defeat the half-sized Kaiju easily enough... until the battle with King Ghidora, who emerged from underneath Lake Washington!

The heroes who met up with the three-headed monster were very much outclassed... but suddenly, there was a burst of energy... and in the midst of the battle, from the energy came...

...wait for it...

...Paragon, alive and well!

With his help, Ghidorah was defeated.

So, how did Paragon survive his death? Where did Lady Paragon come from, as well as Paragon the Avenger and Kid Paragon?

Well... like I said, it helps to be a comics geek! A situaton like that is easy to resolve!

You see, in the not-too-distant future, Paragon is revered, and his descendants help keep the peace of the future world. Thanks to breeding with humans and other super-people, not all the descendants of Paragon had the same powers as he did.

Take for example the case of his great-grandson and his great-granddaughter. His great-grandson had the same powers as Paragon did, and even looked like him, while his sister, Lady Paragon, had psionic abilities.

Going through historical archives, the current Paragon read of the death of his great-grandfather's death in the past... there was a big gap in the history, thanks to an event that remained a mystery, but the current Paragon decided that something had to be done... there was a paradox to be resolved!

Using an experimental time travel device, the current Paragon traveled back in time, sending his great-grandfather to the future, so he could take his place... so it was Paragon's great-grandson who had actually died!

But in the future, since their current Paragon had not returned from the past, his sister went after him... despite the warnings that if the machine didn't have enough time for proper calibration, there could be side-effects of the trip... in this case, amnesia!

By the time the machine could be properly re-calibrated so Paragon could return to his own time, enough relative time had passed that he didn't return for some weeks after his "death."

Paragon had no idea where Kid Paragon came from, as he didn't know where the cells could have come from... and Paragon the Avenger was another mystery, although he had his suspicions. Lady Paragon would return to her own time soon.

Whew! As long as this entry was, you can imagine how many pages long the detailed notes were!

As a postscript to this... after this scenario was done, one of the players in the group was short of characters that he was happy to play, and we tried to get him to take over playing Kid Paragon (who had been written up so that he could be a player character). The Kid's personality would've been easy for that player, Anthony, to play... because their personalities were so similar to begin with!

The scenario was a lot of fun to run... and I was very pleased with myself for taking what could've been a bad situation, and make it appear as if I'd planned this thing all along!


Another Nightstar

Originally uploaded by waffyjon.
This one is a vast improvement over the other drawing, no?

I think I was trying to work on a more stylized version of my normal drawing style when I did this one... after all, I did draw her much more slender than I typically do!



Originally uploaded by waffyjon.
Here's a Nightstar drawing which, to be honest, is kind of a poor effort... the hair's all wrong, and the energy buildup effect isn't right, either (not enough Kirby Krackle).

So, even after Jan Duursema's drawing, I still had problems at times!


Another Nightighter

Originally uploaded by waffyjon.
I think this is the last of the Nightfighter drawings from my archives... at least, the last one that's suitable for scanning and sharing!

There are at least two or three other drawings that exist in pencil form... or only partially inked form. One of these days, I'll likely get around to inking and scanning those.


A Nightfighter Fanzine Cover!

Originally uploaded by waffyjon.
OK, the next few posts are of my own Nightfighter drawings... at least, those that I inked!

This drawing previously appeared as the cover to a "Parsec Panels," which was my portion of YHAPA, the Young Heroes Amateur Press Association. Actually, I think one other drawing before this was also a cover for Parsec Panels... and doubtless there'll be others from my YHAPA days coming up!

Ah, I just checked, and the first of the Firefox drawings was a back cover for a Parsec Panels!

So why did I call it "Parsec Panels"? Well, my intent was to someday publish my own comic books under the name "Parsec Comics"... it actually was a "real" business for a few years, back during my comics convention selling days in the Tacoma-Seattle area about 10-15 years ago.


The Harpy

Originally uploaded by waffyjon.
Here we have the Harpy, who's definitely *not* happy-go-lucky!

The Harpy is a woman who feels that all her life, men have been responsible for her unhappiness and her inability to succeed at anything. Feeling that the world would be better off with women in charge, she adopted the identity of the Harpy and recruited other female villains to battle the Guardians... and also to commit crimes directed against men.

The wings on her costume give her excellent manueverability in the air. It is unknown exactly how she manages to get any lift... although the theory is that she may actually be a mutant who can alter her own density... thus, reducing it to gain lift, or increasing it when she wants to power dive.

The gloves of her costume are tipped with razor-sharp claws, easily able to penetrate most human and animal flesh under normal circumstances... and when she's in a power dive, the added velocity give her claws even greater puncture abilities.

As you may have guessed, her arch-foe is Avian (whom you haven't seen here yet, but has been mentioned). She sees him as her rival for supremacy in the air (even though there are plenty of other flying super-heroes).


Readers of this Blog, speak up!

Greetings, friends!

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank you all for checking out my blog, and would also invite you to take a few minutes and let me know what you think, and what you'd like to see here...

So... what posts of mine have you enjoyed the most? Should I start posting more "Comics They Never Made" (even though those will be appearing in that column I've mentioned a few times, which still has yet to start running at WF Comics)? Are you enjoying the posts of my own created characters? Do you want to see more detailed pictures of my collection of stuff? More reviews of current comics? More rants?

And what stuff have I posted are you just not enjoying that much? Are you sick and tired of my drawings? Would you be perfectly happy if I never posted another picture of Krypto? If I mention Weight Watchers one more time, will you never check this blog out again?

I'd love to know what you think... even if you just want to tell me I shouldn't change a thing!

And hey, if you want to tell some of your friends about this blog and have 'em check it out (and hoo-boy, anyone just starting to read this has a lot of stuff to read, don't they?), that would be cool, too!

You can either post your comments via the comments here, or email them to me at -- either way is good for me!

Thanks in advance!



Originally uploaded by waffyjon.
Here's Futurian, and this'll be a quick post. Futurian was a wacko who was convinced that all the super-heroes were secretly aliens who assumed those identities as part of a plan to take over the world for their alien masters!

To thwart this "invasion," he went out and stole all the high-tech gear he could find... from energy beam guns to a jetpack to whatever else he could dig up!

So obsessed is he with his theory, he doesn't even realize that on those occasions where he's teamed with super-villains to attack the Guardians that the Daemon really *is* an evil alien!


Firefox (2 of 2)

Originally uploaded by waffyjon.
Here's a colorized drawing of Firefox!

Anyway, more on her... you may recall that Flashpoint and Blaze were created for a Champions scenario I used to participate in. Well, one day, I decided to create a scenario in which the heroes of the game traveled into an alternate reality where things were different -- in fact, in that universe (which was mostly populated with the characters I created, some of which had counterparts in the game universe), one of the heroes' counterparts was a villain... the NuClone was intelligent enough to speak... and Blaze's counterpart there was... Firefox!

So... now I'm not really sure what to do in regards to Firefox and Blaze... I like both characters, and I suppose I could kind of merge them together, with Blaze using that name for her teenage years, and later on changing to Firefox... or keep them as separate characters... or just drop one of them!

And yes, if you look at the two drawings, I always had a hard time remembering which arm and leg were bare... maybe Firefox herself couldn't decide which version she liked best, and alternated!


Firefox (1 of 2)

Originally uploaded by waffyjon.
Sometimes, things happen that one doesn't expect to have happen when one's been developing their characters for 25+ years.

Here's Firefox, a red-haired beauty whose fire-based powers are due to her being a mutant. I'd created her years and years before creating Flashpoint and Blaze... but bizarrely enough, when going through my files *after* creating Blaze, I came upon a drawing I did where Firefox's powers went out of control, increasing to a greater level, and subsequently, she changed her codename to... Blaze!

So somehow, when creating Blaze as Flashpoint's sister, there was some kind of subconscious connection to Firefox already!

More in the next post!

Oh, by the way... this drawing was a swipe... I think maybe from a Frazetta book.


The Enigma!

Originally uploaded by waffyjon.
Ironically enough, for a character called the Enigma, I can tell you more about him than most of the other characters you'll see!

His origins go way back to the Salem Witch Trials... he was one of the judges condemming suspected witches, although as in history, they weren't really witches.

Well, one of them was... and before she died, she cursed him with eternal life so he could experience the same shunning that she and her kind did. He didn't take the curse seriously, naturally... until years passed, and he didn't age! His fellow townspeople were convinced he'd made a pact with the devil to keep his youth, and realizing that staying meant possible death, he fled... spending the next hundred or so years moving from place to place, assuming new identities, and trying to figure out a way to end his curse.

His search for a cure led him to learn about magic and how to use it... and eventually, he realized that he could turn this curse into a gift. He added to his knowledge not only of magic, but also of science, history, literature... all the works of man.

Eventually, he more or less withdrew from society, looking for ways to utilize his learned skills and abilities to benefit man. From his isolated fortress, hidden from man, he would look over the world, looking for crises which required his attention, but more and more looking into events of cosmic importance.

What he didn't know for years was that at one point during his long life, he had fathered twin sons with a lover, twin sons who inherited his long life.

Each of his sons, upon learning that they were immortal (or nearly so, anyway), took very different paths. One son also pursued the study of magic (known as the Mage, although I'd like to come up with a better name than that), while the other sought a way to figure out how to change his life to a normal lifespan.

He eventually learned that Professor Bronson (the father of Battlestar) had invented a machine that would permanently increase the metabolism of any living thing... for example, a plant exposed to its energies would grow from a seed to full maturity in a matter of hours. When testing the machine on animals, he discovered that the effects were far from temporary, as a lab rat exposed died of old age in a few hours.

The Enigma's son convinced Bronson to use the machine on him, having proved his lifespan was much, much longer than a normal human's. The machine had an unusual effect on him, however... giving him super-speed! Taking the code-name Tornado, he became a super-hero... but he's still not sure whether or not his lifespan will end up being that of a "normal" human after exposure to the energies of the ray or not.



Originally uploaded by waffyjon.
This'll give you an idea of how obsessed I was with giving my superhero universe a history... here's AquAvenger, the British member of the WWII supergroup I came up with (and for which I never really came up with a better name than Super-Allies).

I figured the British member of the group would be aquatic in nature, as Great Britain was known for its navy.

Other members of the group included the American member, who was, naturally, a Captain America type (and anther character I couldn't come up with a satisfactory name... I think I quit trying after realizing Peacemaker was already used at Charlton), the Russian Soviet Supreme (the counterpart to the American character), the French Skyglider, and the Jewish woman Lightning.

I always figured I'd use these characters whenever a story called for showing that superheroes weren't a recent phenomenon... or if any of the modern-day characters were going to travel in time, natch!

Oh, and yes, there would have been a Canadian member, as well, once I came up with a better name than Captain Canada!


Monday, May 09, 2005

Shazam! (Part 5)

Originally uploaded by waffyjon.
And this would've possibly been the cover of the third issue, in which the Squadron of Justice faces off for the first time with the Monster Society of Evil!

Yeah, I don't show any of the MSE here... because I wanted to leave some surprises (plus, I was still trying to think of who else would be in it... someone once suggested Mr. Atom, the giant robot, but I didn't recall reading any stories with him... plus I wanted more freaky DC villains).

As I said with the first posting of this series, I came up with all of this stuff before the Ordway graphic novel was announced... and once I heard about that, I pretty much set this all aside, save for when I posted my plots for the first two or three issues on some newsgroup back when I was on AOL.

I did, naturally, buy the Ordway graphic novel and later series... just as I plan on buying any other Shazam! title DC produces! I loved the Ordway series... but still... sometimes I wish I'd had my shot with this one.

Next, I'll go back to posting some of the stuff of my own characters again, with some possible stuff in-between them!


Shazam! Part 4

Originally uploaded by waffyjon.
This and the next post will be the last of my Shazam! posts... these were my concepts for the covers of the second and third issues... this one being for the second one, in which the new Squadron of Justice (since I couldn't really use "Marvel Family") is all gathered together...

...and yes, that's Plastic Man, Blue Devil, and the Creeper along for the ride! I figured they'd fit in well with the complete freakiness that I had planned for this miniseries, plus DC wasn't using any of 'em at the time.

And yeah... the cover is a homage to "Giant-Size X-Men" #1... hey, if it would help sales of the second issue, I figured, "Why not?"

I'm pretty happy with the way this looked, especially after coloring it!


Shazam! (Part 3)

Originally uploaded by waffyjon.
So... here's my re-envisioned Mr. Mind! Remember at the end of "Shazam: The New Beginning," Sivana was in a bar drinking tequila, and looking at the worm in the bottle? I figured that was a hint, y'know? So, the Lord of Chaos, Otobek, approaches Sivana and offers him the chance to get revenge on Captain Marvel... all he needs is the proper allies! A quick ZAP! and the pickled tequila worm is transformed, and gains new life... as well as the whole range of psychic abilities, such as telepathy, telekinesis, and so on!

Sivana realizes that Mr. Mind will challenge his leadership all too soon, but knows he'll have to be careful, or the worm will read his mind!

The next ally they get is Ibac, although I don't recall how I refigured his origin.

As a bonus, they also recruit some other allies... such as the Shaggy Man, one of my favorite freaky JLA villains!

There were a few other characters from the DCU I planned on bringing into the new Monster Society of Evil (which Mr. Mind would rename their cadre after kicking Sivana out of it!), but unfortunately, I don't remember who else was in it!


Shazam! (Part 2)

Originally uploaded by waffyjon.
If you haven't read part 1 of this series of posts, scroll down and read it first.

Go ahead, I'll wait... dum de dum de dum...

Oh, caught up? Cool.

So, feeling a bit put off that Freddy didn't become the Captain Marvel Jr. that he was hoping for, Cap and Kid Marvel go off to find Billy Batson's long-lost sister, Mary.

Somewhere along the way, they pick up company (although I can't remember who they meet first, and who they met before or after recruiting Mary). They sort of recruit a few new members for the new "Family," but I think I won't mention them quite yet (although odds are, that's been spoiled for most of you anyway by the time you read this).

So... Cap and Kid Marvel arrive at the Bromfield mansion, and change back to Billy and Freddy before knocking on the door (because, y'know, even if you're a superhero, you don't just go knocking on doors asking to speak to someone's teenage daughter... well, Superman could probably get away with it, but Cap's not *that* well-known in the DCU).

Billy explains he has something to tell Mary about her real family, and somehow manages to get permission to talk to Mary. The three kids talk by themselves, as Billy reveals that he's her long-lost brother, and that he's also Captain Marvel, and Freddy is Kid Marvel ("Who?")

Now, I should admit that Mary is also not quite like what Billy expected... she's a little scatterbrained, and seems to care a bit more about clothes than anything else. But she is basically a nice girl. Billy decides he likes her anyway.

So, he tells Mary that when she says the magic word, she'll become Mary Marvel.

"Mary Marvel? Won't that kind of give away my secret identity?"

"Fine, fine... just say this magic word... Shazam!"

Of course, when Billy says the word, he changes to Captain Marvel. Mary says the word, and transforms as well... and like Billy, she becomes an adult woman when she transforms... but wearing the traditional costume with the miniskirt.

"A mini-skirt? Not too practical for flying, isn't it?" she says.

"I don't have a problem with that," Kid Marvel snarks. "Besides, you're not stuck with it... say the word two more times, but think about what you'd rather wear! It worked for me!"

"You mean you chose that costume? Well, I like the boots... Shazam! Shazam!"

And Mary appears in the costume you see.

So, since she doesn't want to call herself Mary Marvel, she has to come up with a new name with "Marvel" as part of it. A running gag through the series is that every name she thinks of, she's informed that someone else has used that name before... "Ms. Marvel," "Marvel Girl," etc.


Shazam! (Part 1)

Originally uploaded by waffyjon.
OK, this next group of items I'll be posting over the next day or so go back quite a while back...

Everyone remember "Shazam! A New Beginning," the mini-series by Roy Thomas and Tom Mandrake, providing a post-Crisis origin for Captain Marvel? This was more or less followed up with an "Action Comics Weekly" story or two... and yet, DC didn't go with a new Shazam series after that.

Well, given the fanboy geek that I am, when it seemed like this new direction for Cap wasn't going to fly, I thought maybe I could come up with something that would spin off from what Roy started that might appeal to then-modern comics fans.

And so, I came up with my concept: "Shazam! The Lighter Side of Order & Chaos," a four-issue miniseries that would bring a lighter touch to Cap and the gang (other than Cap, Sivana, the wizard and Dudley, I don't think any other characters from the old days were re-introduced. Oh, wait, Captain Nazi was brought back in ACW).

The first issue had Billy changing to Cap and going to see the wizard because he was concerned about his role on earth, what with all the other super-heroes around already. However, he was distracted when he got to Shazam's cave, and realized there was more to it than he noticed the last time he was there. In fact, in one alcove, he found... all the original Captain Marvel comic books, plus the Shazam! revival of the 70s! (so that's how Shazam remembered what was before the Crisis!)

Cap reads a few stories, and sees some stories with Captain Marvel Jr. and Mary Marvel, and decides he'd like his own Marvel family... and Freddy Freeman and Mary Bromfield/Batson must exist somewhere out there!

The wizard warns him that because of cosmic events, they won't be as he read about them, but when Cap insists, he points out where he can find Freddy Freeman.

In the meantime, we learn that Shazam is one of those Lords of Order, and with Captain Marvel being sent out to add more agents of Order, the balance has to be maintained... so a Lord of Chaos, by the name of Otobek, comes to Earth to recruit new agents of Chaos. He finds Dr. Sivana in a bar in Mexico, where Sivana has just finished another bottle of tequila, but didn't drink the worm. (more on that in a later post!)

Cap finds Freddy Freeman, who isn't a crippled newsboy at all in this post-Crisis universe. Instead, Freddy is trying to be the coolest guy in his school, but not succeeding. Cap tells him that he's able to make Freddy into a super-hero when Freddy says his name. Freddy says, "You mean Captain Marvel?" Lightning strikes, and Freddy becomes Captain Marvel Jr., and Captain Marvel tells him that'll be his name.

"Captain Marvel Jr.?!?" he exclaims... and lightning strikes again, turning him back. "OK, Cap... this is stupid! If I call myself Captain Marv... er... what you said, I can't even introduce myself without changing! And that costume... ugh! Can't you do something about that? I've got a better name in mind... Captain Marvel..." (BOOM!) " Kid Marvel!"

And Freddy appears decked out as you see him in this picture... sunglasses and all.

Apparently, I wasn't the only one who thought that the Marvels should be able to change their costume when they transform... as witness the later Ordway "Power of Shazam!" series.

It was the announcement of POS that caused me to abandon further development of this idea.

I did post my plots for the first two or three issues on a newsgroup a loooooong time back... probably one of the DC newsgroups, but I don't recall which one, and have no idea if those postings are even archived somewhere or not. I don't have my original plots anywhere, either, so I could be misremembering some of this stuff!


Diana Trammel... from The Ace!

Originally uploaded by waffyjon.
OK, you may recall seeing the name "Diana Trammel" from my blog entry on the Ace... well, here's how I picture her!

You can really see the Sal Buscema influence on my art style in this picture, can't you?



Originally uploaded by waffyjon.
This'll be a short one... Siryn is another of those villains that I created that I didn't put a lot of development into. As you probably guessed from her name, she's got powers relating to sound... namely, she can use her voice to hypnotically affect others, or use it as a weapon, stunning or deafening her targets.

One of these days, I should at least pull up the old Champions character sheets I wrote up on all of these characters so I can see how much I forgot about these guys' real names, powers, etc!


The NuClone

Originally uploaded by waffyjon.
OK, for the first of today's posts... here's the most dangerous creature alive... the NuClone!

Rumors had persisted for years about what kind of experimentation were going at BNT Research... the letters not being explained on the building's logo only helped keep the mystery going! What it actually stood for was Bio-Nuclear Technology, and the research facility was involved with the illegal cloning of human beings.

The purpose of this cloning was to create perfect organ donors for rich clients... and using applied radiation to speed the growth of the clones to a mature age so that they'd be fully-grown in time to be used for organ transplants. The project was funded by a cadre of wealthy men and women who were paranoically concerned about their continuing health. These clones were not allowed to become aware, but were rather kept in large tanks filled with an oxygen-rich nutrient fluid.

However, the fortunes of this company changed one stormy night. It was almost as if God or Mother Nature were outraged at what kind of experimentation was going on at BNT, as the most severe lightning storm in history rolled in to the skies above. The building was supposed to be completely insulated and protected from normal lightning strikes... but the designer had no way of guessing that there'd be so many multiple strikes all at once.

The power flooded the entire complex, killing everyone inside and destroying the clones... all save one, the most developed of the bunch. Somehow, the electricity caused the radiation levels to increase, mutating the one remaining clone into a monster, and giving it some small amount of awareness.

The beast was freed, and forced its way out of the complex, roaming free.

The NuClone is in most respects, a wild animal... he has a very high rage level at nearly all times, and seems to revel in destruction and mayhem. There appears to be no reasoning with the NuClone... he's unable to speak, only roar, and doesn't seem to understand any language.

The only person who seems to be able to "control" the NuClone is the oft-referenced Death's Head... and it appears that rather than influencing the beast directly, he simply teleports it wherever he wants mayhem to ensue.

The NuClone is amazingly strong and tough... able to stand up to conventional weapondry easily. In addition, it seems the NuClone possesses a special adaptive survival ability... When he is hit by any attack that he has not experienced before, he mutates further to become even stronger and tougher than before, meaning that nearly any time the Guardians of Justice deal with him, he's even more difficult to handle.

The first time Nightstar joined the Guardians of Justice in battle, it was in the midst of a battle with the NuClone. While the Guardians had realized the NuClone's adaptive power, and had developed a strategy for defeating him at that power level, Nightstar flew onto the scene and blasted the creature with every form of energy she could use... helping the NuClone to leap to a greater power level instantly. Since then, the Guardians have gone to great lengths to ensure that any new members facing the NuClone don't use any form of attack they haven't logged as being used before.

It is unknown whether or not the NuClone will ever develop intelligence... for if he did, he'd become an even more dangerous foe than he currently is.

(c) 2005 Jon B. Knutson

Sunday, May 08, 2005

BUSY Weekend!

Wow, this has been a busy weekend... and the remainder of the month looks equally busy!

Saturday morning, naturally, began with the weekly Weight Watchers meeting -- I've lost 60 lbs in the last four months! Huzzah! After the meeting, as is our custom, Jessi and I headed back to the house to pick up Krypto and KO to take them for a walk.

After that, it was housework time... at least, I think that's what we started off doing, anyway! Didn't get that much done... Jessi had decided to ride her bike to work and back on Friday, so she was still pretty tired, and needed a nap in the early afternoon.

2:30 found us hitting the road to Des Moines, WA for my brother Jeff's 40th birthday party. I'll be the first to admit that we kind of went a bit crazy, food-wise, there... we really should've eaten less fattening stuff and more veggies... but we do have the rest of the week to make up for our "transgressions." Upon returning home from that, we ended up watching "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" on ABC so we could check out previews for the next Harry movie. Honestly, I'm looking forward to "Star Wars Episode 3" and "Fantastic Four" much more than HP!

Oh, I forgot to mention... my brother Karl, the youngest of the five of us, was visiting from New York (getting his plane tickets to fly out here for Jeff's 40th birthday was my family's present for Jeff... although I did give Jeff a copy of "Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker Uncut" DVD!

Sunday (today, as I'm writing this), we'd negotiated a visit at the house from Karl and my parents for brunch... Karl hadn't ever seen the house, of course, nor had he met KO and Krypto. Jessi took the dogs for their walk while I prepared a breakfast of strawberry-bran muffins, scrambled egg beaters, potatoes O'Brien, and Morningstar Farms veggie sausage links. Breakfast was enjoyed by all -- Karl told me if I hadn't told him the sausage was veggie sausage, he wouldn't have known! We also gave my mom a hydrangea (I think I misspelled that badly) plant as a mother's day present. We showed off how well the house has come together, and Karl played with both the dogs (KO in particular took a shine to him... Karl used to have a boxer himself a long time ago).

After breakfast (which ended up being more brunch than anything else), Karl and my parents headed back to Tacoma while we cleaned up from breakfast, then we made a quick stop to our friends Larry and Sibyl... who have become Jessi's "surrogate parents" in many ways since she moved to Washington. Sibyl got another hydrangea, and Larry was napping the entire time we were there (they're a neat couple... Larry reminds me a lot of Stan Lee, even though they don't resemble each other at all).

After that, we headed to Tacoma ourselves to spend more of Mother's Day with my family. We had some leftovers from Jeff's party, and I grilled the burgers, hot dogs and chicken for dinner. Jessi was still tired (and part of that, too, is the fact that she has two college classes a week that she doesn't get home from until 10 pm, and she gets up at 5:15 am for work!), so we kind of left early, getting back home in time for "America's Funniest Home Videos" and "Extreme Makover: Home Edition" before Jessi went to bed... and since then, I've been doing my posts to the DC History list, doing the posts you'll see elsewhere on this page of some of my old artwork... watching "Duck Dodgers" on Cartoon Network, and cleaning out my old briefcase, in which I found my resume and samples CD, which had a file on there I've added to the backlog of stuff I'll be sharing here eventually!

Now, it's time for "Adult Swim" on Cartoon Network... which I'll be watching at least through "Robot Chicken" (and so much about what's on that show is just so very wrong... and yet so very funny... at least, to me!).


The Falcon Force!

Originally uploaded by waffyjon.
OK, here's a group of villains from the Champions days... but as a "bonus," I'm going to talk about a second villain group that I can't find any drawings of.

When you run a weekly Champions game, sometimes you just want to come up with a new villain group for the good guys to battle with that won't be that much work to create... and one of the easiest ways to do that is to create a team where the members are all identical, power-wise... or at least, nearly so.

But trying to come up with a "hook" for the team can be a challenge.

Fortunately, there are inspirations all around. I still have no idea what inspired me to create the Posse (I'm not real big on western movies and tv shows, but maybe I had bought some old western comics, who knows?). But the Falcon Force and a second team, the Rocket Rangers, are easy to acknowledge.

First, the Rocket Rangers. Like many adults, I found the Power Rangers immensely annoying... and the fact that the kids just loved 'em to pieces, and the toys were taking up shelf space that could be used to put up more of the toys I wanted to collect didn't help!

So, as part of my urge to rid myself of the annoyance, I created the Rocket Rangers... thinly-disguised versions of the Power Rangers. When running scenarios with them, I tried to role-play them as over-the-top as their inspirations were on TV... and I have to admit, the players seemed to really enjoy beating the crap out of them!

The Falcon Force, on the other hand, weren't inspired by something annoying, but rather, something I enjoyed... G-Force, aka Battle of the Planets. When Cartoon Network started up, they'd run G-Force (which was probably closer to the original anime than BotP was) Monday through Friday, and since I was freelancing at the time, my TV was always on that channel every day when it came on.

So, I created the Falcon Force. Yeah, there should've been a female member, and they should've had some different skills... but I took the easy way out.

Neither group will likely ever see any publication outside this blog!



Originally uploaded by waffyjon.
Note the spelling with a "c" instead of a "k"... this is obviously not the Marvel character created by Frank Miller in Daredevil!

Nope, this is Electra, who was originally created as the arch-foe of Electron, the character created by Mark Grochowicz, a friend of mine from long ago (hey Mark, you checking this blog out yet?).

You see... I was real big on taking what we saw as the "big three" characters of ours (LaserAvenger, Electron, and Avian -- and you haven't seen Avian yet, but you will!) and giving them villainesses that would be appropriate for them. In this case, Electra was an electrically-powered super-villainess opposing the good electric guy. Avian had the Harpy to contend with (and there is a Harpy pic coming down the line), while LaserAvenger had Midnight, whose powers of darkness were an opposite to Lase's light-based powers.

Well, after Mark and I kind of drifted apart, interest-wise, and I felt it was best to omit Electron from my hero universe, I kind of had to re-think what Electra's role would be (I also re-thought her costume... I like this one much better than the original design).

Since I'd created a new electrical hero, Dynamo, I figured there had to be some kind of connection between the new hero and the revised villainess... and what do you know, there is! But what the heck is that connection? Well... um... that would be telling.

Yeah, the odds of ever getting these characters published are very low unless I win the lottery (and since I haven't even so much as bought a ticket in years, that probably won't happen)... but just in case, I don't want to be throwing all kinds of spoilers out there for plots I plan on using (yeah, I pretty much spelled out the Ace's origin, and maybe that was an error, but other things I definitely left out!).

So this is pretty much what you get for now!



Originally uploaded by waffyjon.
Don't worry... I'll have a non-character posting shortly (actually, most of you will probably see it before this, given the order of blog entries!).

This is Dynamite... or rather, a redesign of her that I did for the Champions group. Dynamite (whose real first name is Dinah, natch, but I forget her last name) is basically a big strong woman who's rather violent. The original design I had for her (which you'll see sometime in the coming weeks) just didn't really fit her personality.

What's the source of her great strength? Well... since the redesign, I'm thinking it might be those metallic bands on her upper arms and thighs... just because it would fit in with something that you'll see much later on.

As with so many of my villains, she often works for Death's Head.