Friday, May 31, 2019

The City of Clocks


The City of Clocks

It all began one sweltering summer afternoon in Major City. Paul Mann and Shelly Ericson were enjoying a relaxing day off downtown, taking in the sights and sounds of that historic district. They came across an unfamiliar antique shop, which was puzzling since they had passed the address countless times and never noticed it. What was even stranger, the shop itself looked positively ancient.

Paul and Shelly entered the store to investigate and were greeted by an odd grandfatherly type intent on fussing over their every move. Evidently the owner, he was relentless in pushing a certain vintage clock on his customers. Though Shelly had no interest whatsoever in such a thing, she inspected the relic to humor the old man. Suddenly, a beam shot out of the timepiece's face and Shelly disappeared in a puff of smoke!

Paul Mann activated his Digital Changer just in time for Captain Satellite to be caught in the clock's beam, too. As Cap also winked away, the wizened shopkeeper cackled fiendishly. Light shifted around him and he stood revealed as none other than Hugo Beaumont!

Hugo's plan was insidiously clever. He had exiled both of his foes into that weird limbo known only as the Unknown Zone. Even worse, they had been dropped into the portion of the Zone called the City of Clocks. The City of Clocks was a region governed by innumerable floating clocks, but none of them were in sync. The time shift which occurred there as a result meant two people could be right by one another and yet forever separated by the passage of just a few minutes.

This was the dilemma of Captain Satellite and Shelly Ericson. Even though they were at times only inches apart, each was trapped in a different moment away from the other. If they couldn't work together, there was no hope for escape.

Finally, after conferring with Shelly via notes left in one time period to be discovered in another, Cap adjusted the frequency of his digital powersuit. He "phased" out of his own plane and kept turning the dial until he could find the one where Shelly was trapped. Their reunion was joyful, but there was still the small problem of being stuck in the City of Clocks and the Unknown Zone.

Hugo Beaumont had seen enough on his Trans-Dimensional Tube Set. He had not schemed so carefully to be denied by technological trickery! He arrived in the City of Clocks, Bombastic Blunderbuss in hand. Alas, his indiscriminate shooting proved to be his final undoing. He accidentally destroyed the only clock still controlling Cap and Shelly's movements, and by default, sent them tumbling back home. Hugo could easily free himself from the Unknown Zone with his Chronal Belt, but that was beside the point. He'd been outwitted again!

Back on Earth, Captain Satellite and Shelly Ericson stood in front of the spot where the antique shop had been. It was now just an abandoned building, with no evidence of Hugo Beaumont's meddling. They had only been gone a matter of hours, but it felt more like weeks after all the warping of time they had endured. They headed back to March Mansion, eager for an evening where they didn't have to worry what time it might be.


THE END


*EDITOR'S NOTE: Based on a title by Wandering Kotka. This picture uses this free antique clock clip art from Vintage Printables and the following free clip art from The Graphics Fairy: Antique Clock Image, Vintage Clip Art – Fancy Alarm Clock – Steampunk, Vintage Clip Art – Cute Small Alarm Clock, Vintage Clip Art – Classic Alarm Clock – Steampunk, and Antique Image – Fancy Old Clock.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

The Stone Gods


The Stone Gods

Wester Island (named for Horatio Wester, the English buccaneer who "discovered" it) is a small volcanic island in the southeastern Pacific Ocean. Much like its more famous neighbor Easter Island, Wester Island is the home to large monumental statues called moai. Though the origins of the Easter Island moai are understood by scholars today, those on the long-uninhabited Wester Island were unexplained until recently.

Due to its remoteness, Wester Island seemed like an ideal spot for some much-needed R&R to the Invincible Alliance. After securing the proper authorizations for their getaway, the quirky quintet piled into one of their Zip Jets and made the trek to what they hoped would be a quiet vacation. Fate, however, had other plans for our intrepid heroes.

The IA had scarcely settled in on the beach for what was intended as a week of tranquility when the tremors began. Suddenly, there was a roar from a nearby volcano! By sheer chance, or just dumb luck (?), the Invincible Alliance happened to be on the very isle where a Volcano Monster was emerging from the earth. They collectively groaned, though all of them prepared to do their duty and stop any rampages.

This particular Volcano Monster was a shaman who produced a sacred torch Blue Behemoth derisively dubbed "his lava lamp." There were no jokes when the witch doctor shook the torch and eerie vibrations emanated from the flames. To the disbelieving eyes of the Invincible Alliance, the giant stone heads of Wester Island came to life and pulled themselves from the ground, revealing powerful bodies beneath them. These moai were the ancient Stone Gods of the Volcano Monsters, and they had just been awakened from their deep slumber!

The Invincible Alliance sprang into action. Blue Behemoth and Firegirl tackled what seemed to be the biggest of all the monoliths and held it at bay as best they could. Drone Man and Ultimate American chose another, though Ulti having DM drop him onto their opponent's head did nothing when the goliath shrugged him off like he was an insect. Only Elektroid held back. There were too many other Stone Gods to fight, and the odds of his team beating back all of them seemed slim. They needed to address this problem at its source.

As stealthily as a robot can manage, Elektroid navigated a mine field of rock giants to get closer and closer to his target - the Volcano Monster shaman. When he was finally as near as he dared, he unleashed one of the devastating electrical bolts from his artificial brain. The sacred torch was shattered! With the last residual magic left in the air, the Stone Gods clambered to their original resting places and were restored as mere inert idols. The Volcano Monster retreated into the depths of liquid magma that was the home of his race. The world (and the Invincible Alliance's vacation) was saved!

His teammates were very grateful to Elektroid for winning the day. Firegirl made a point of cooing over him after she had changed into her bikini, and Blue Behemoth couldn't even find it within himself to be jealous. Drone Man and Ultimate American lavished praise on the metal man for his quick thinking. As he soaked it all in, Elektroid's mechanical heart swelled with pride. For a robot who wasn't even sure if he belonged in the human world, Wester Island had turned into the best vacation ever.


THE END


*EDITOR'S NOTE: Based on a title by Wandering Kotka. This public domain photo at Wikimedia Commons was used in the creation of this picture.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Off Topic: Star Anise on Patrol


We interrupt your regularly-scheduled programming to bring you this piece of fan art for Wandering Kotka to celebrate her birthday!

“Star Anise on Patrol” (December 2014) depicts Wandering Kotka's bunny girl vice cop (yes) Star Anise looking for bad guys to nab. Stock photo is Narrow Street in Czech STOCK by SiljaErgSTOCK, which is no longer active. Star Anise © Wandering Kotka.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, KOTKA!

We now return you to your regularly-scheduled dose of the Owariverse, already in progress.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Killer Invisible


Killer Invisible

Bogey Robiere was a notoriously foul-tempered clerk and self-described smut peddler at Grampy's Newsstand, the most famous adult bookstore in all of Major City. He was also stabbed to death three years ago during a bar fight at Ron's Barn, a watering hole not far from Grampy's. So how is the new super villain Killer Invisible a dead ringer for Bogey Robiere?

The simple answer is Killer Invisible is a clone of Bogey Robiere. It turns out Bogey was a Third World agent all along, and that subversive group maintains DNA samples of all its members in case of emergency. After creating a copy of Bogey during the testing of a new cloning apparatus, Third World was left with what to do with the doppelganger. He was given the codename Killer Invisible and instructed to test the experimental Zero Suit, a stealth uniform which grants its wearer total invisibility.

Killer Invisible rather brazenly posted a list of 33 (!) planned targets for robbery on the front door of the Major City Police Department headquarters. He also promised he would bump off Captain Satellite at the conclusion of his crime spree. Well, Killer Invisible only made it through the first three items on his list before Cap apprehended him. Killer Invisible did try to make good on his promise and live up to his name with a concealed knife, but a right hook from Shelly Ericson spelled the end of that and the villain's evening in general.

Killer Invisible is incarcerated at Phipps Prison as the courts try to figure out how to deal with a person who doesn't actually exist. The Zero Suit is in storage there along with other super villain paraphernalia. Oh, and Third World? The cloning apparatus blew up during its next test and took out its inventor Armand Zella in the process. No more clones for them.

Monday, May 27, 2019

The Sun Men


The Sun Men

The Sun Men are a high council of aliens based on the faraway Planet G. They are dedicated to maintaining peace and opposing evil in whatever form it takes. Collectively, the Sun Men are one of the greatest forces for good in the known universe. They are also one of its biggest enigmas.

Virtually everything about the Sun Men is shrouded in secrecy. The origin of their benevolent order is a mystery, as is how and when they established their headquarters on Planet G. Even their exact number of members is open to conjecture. In fact, other than the general location of their base, the only thing known with certainty about the Sun Men...is that they exist.

As a rule, the Sun Men do not directly involve themselves in the affairs of individual civilizations. They are usually content to act through specially-chosen agents who are given their own powers. However, the Sun Men will intervene in extreme cases, such as overthrowing the planet Goomador's warlord Girago to head off his plans of galactic conquest. Given their stated mission, it seems likely the Sun Men are closely monitoring the activities of the Astro-Giants wherever they appear.

The Sun Men have until recently seen no reason to recruit an agent on Earth. This changed when they granted Atsushi Anzai the ability to become the superhero Red Taiyo. Red Taiyo has been charged with stopping Dai San Sekai, a Japanese branch of Third World. The fact that Dai San Sekai garnered the attention of the Sun Men may indicate some degree of otherworldly involvement in the subversive organization.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Hellbat


Hellbat

Hellbat (ヘルバット Herubatto), also known as Jigoku Kōmori (地獄コウモリ), is the top lieutenant in Third World's Japan Branch Dai San Sekai (第三世界). His origins are unknown, though he is apparently not one of the creatures cooked up in Dai San Sekai's laboratories. There is speculation he may be an alien, and could possibly even be a renegade connected to the mysterious group known as the Sun Men (サンメン). This might explain the Sun Men getting involved in the battle against Dai San Sekai by granting Atsushi Anzai (安西敦士 Anzai Atsushi) the powers to become the superhero Red Taiyo (レッド太陽 Reddo Taiyo).

Contrary to appearances, Hellbat is not a vampire. Though his fangs are absolutely authentic and not just for show, he has no need to drink blood to survive. Similarly, Hellbat has demonstrated none of the supernatural abilities or weaknesses commonly associated with vampirism. His powers seem to only be super strength, flight, and nocturnal vision, with a limited degree of imperviousness to injury thrown in for good measure. Hellbat can often be found lurking in the shadows, but this is strictly a matter of preference rather than out of necessity. He can operate just fine during the day, but feels he does his best (or is that worst?) work under a cloak of darkness.

The most famous case involving Hellbat was the time Dai San Sekai unleashed a horde of artificially-created "hellbats" (bright red and fiery hot) under his command. While Hellbat engaged Red Taiyo in a fierce duel, the Science Brigade (科学旅団 Kagaku Ryodan) obliterated his winged underlings with their giant Sparkolight Lens (スパーコライトレンズ) after photographer Kenta Chiba (千羽健太 Chiba Kenta) inadvertently uncovered the hellbats' vulnerability to high-intensity light. Red Taiyo vanquished Hellbat in their showdown, but the monstrous malefactor slipped away to fight another day.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Kenta Chiba


Kenta Chiba

Kenta Chiba (千羽健太 Chiba Kenta) is a freelance photographer based in Japan. He's not exactly what you would call successful. Why? Well, to be honest, he's a bit of a bumbling buffoon. No matter how good he might be with a camera, that little problem has adversely affected his career advancement.

By virtue of being in the right place at the right time, Kenta Chiba has often been an eyewitness to fights between superhero Red Taiyo (レッド太陽 Reddo Taiyo) and monsters from the evil organization Dai San Sekai (第三世界; "Third World"). Chiba's pictures of these incidents have fetched him a tidy profit for the first time in his life. So naturally, he is motivated to tail Red Taiyo in the hopes of getting more valuable shots...oh, and assisting the hero, of course! Chiba sometimes even manages to be helpful, and the patient Red Taiyo considers him more of a friend than a nuisance.

In his shadowing of Red Taiyo, Kenta Chiba has also crossed paths many times with the Science Brigade (科学旅団 Kagaku Ryodan). Brigade commander Captain Makoto Yamada (山田誠隊長 Yamada Makoto Taichō) thinks Chiba is an idiot and not even a useful one, but tolerates him because his daughter Miharu Yamada (山田美晴 Yamada Miharu) has a soft spot for "Kenta-san." Chiba did assist the Brigade against Hellbat (ヘルバット Herubatto) when he accidentally discovered the villain's underling hellbats were vulnerable to high-intensity light. That's a point in his favor.

It is still unclear whether Kenta Chiba will be a hindrance or an asset in Red Taiyo's crusade against Dai San Sekai. When he's not out chasing heroes and monsters (and sometimes when he is), Chiba can be found snacking on assorted goodies purchased from street vendors. He is especially fond of corn on the cob.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

The Science Brigade


The Science Brigade

In response to the rise of the Third World division Dai San Sekai (第三世界; "Third World") in their country, the Japanese government has established the Science Brigade (科学旅団 Kagaku Ryodan) as a countermeasure. The Science Brigade is an elite task force of top-flight specialists from a wide range of fields. Their mission is to investigate and, if necessary, take decisive action in cases involving "unorthodox" incidents - especially those connected to Dai San Sekai.

Due to their shared goals of smashing Dai San Sekai, the Science Brigade often finds itself crossing paths with the superhero Red Taiyo (レッド太陽 Reddo Taiyo). They have assisted each other for the common good, but there is an understandable rivalry between the team and the hero. There are also doubts among segments of the Brigade about Red Taiyo's intentions. Obviously, the Science Brigade is unaware of Red Taiyo's true identity or his origin as the chosen champion of the mysterious Sun Men (サンメン). All they know is that it was pretty coincidental he showed up to fight Dai San Sekai just as it appeared, wasn't it?

Though the Science Brigade is a relatively new agency, it already has a large number of operatives scattered throughout Japan. As a result, not every member participates on every case. However, there is an "inner circle" which has a hand in most Brigade business. It is composed of the following members:
  • Captain Makoto Yamada (山田誠隊長 Yamada Makoto Taichō) - Captain Makoto Yamada is the gruff, no-nonsense commander of the Science Brigade. A veteran of dealing with the unusual both at home and abroad, he is absolutely dedicated to both his duty and his daughter Miharu. His admiration for Red Taiyo is the main reason the hero hasn't found himself targeted by some Brigade members.
  • Miharu Yamada (山田美晴 Yamada Miharu) - Miharu Yamada is the communications director of Science Brigade headquarters, though she sometimes agitates her way into field work, too. She is the daughter of Captain Makoto Yamada and his late wife, and the Captain is quite protective of his only child. Miharu shares an attraction with college astronomy lecturer Atsushi Anzai (安西敦士 Anzai Atsushi), little suspecting he is secretly Red Taiyo.
  • Dr. Saburo Mikami (見上佐武郎博士 Mikami Saburō Hakase) - Dr. Saburo Mikami is the Science Brigade's special consultant and seems to have a vast body of knowledge across multiple disciplines. He is also a quiet, withdrawn man haunted by a dark past. The only clues he offers to his difficult history are the cybernetic right hand and deep facial scar that dominate his appearance.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Third World Japan Branch


Third World Japan Branch

In a bid to expand their influence throughout Asia, Third World has founded a Japan Branch called Dai San Sekai (第三世界; "Third World"). Unlike other divisions of Third World, Dai San Sekai has its own distinct identity separate from the rest of the organization. Its henchmen, known as Dai Sannin (第三人; "Third Men"), wear uniforms unique in the Third World hierarchy. They are, however, just as effective as any other Third World agent.

Dai San Sekai's stock-in-trade is the creation of non-living monsters designated Sekai Kaibutsu (世界怪物; "World Monsters"). These Sekai Kaibutsu are key components of most Dai San Sekai schemes. They are churned out with such regularity that no one even bothered to pursue the Sekai Kaibutsu named the Burger-Meister (バーガーマイスター; Bāgāmaisutā) when he fled to America. Unfortunately for Dai San Sekai, no Sekai Kaibutsu would ever be mistaken for a genius.

No one is quite sure who is in charge of Dai San Sekai, even within the group itself. Ostensibly the commander is Dai San Leader (第三リーダー; Dai San Rīdā), but the catch is that no one has ever actually seen him. He communicates with his subordinates via remote voice transmission from an undisclosed location. There are rumors Dai San Sekai is controlled by extraterrestrial interests, which might explain Dai San Leader's elusiveness even among his own lackeys.

The rise of Dai San Sekai has not gone unnoticed outside of Japan. Both Captain Satellite and C.H.I.E.F. are monitoring the situation closely, but have chosen to leave the battle in the hands of homegrown heroes Red Taiyo (レッド太陽 Reddo Taiyo) and the Science Brigade (科学旅団 Kagaku Ryodan) unless their assistance is requested. Interestingly, the main office of Third World is also watching Dai San Sekai warily. There is a fear among Third World's ranks that their very independent subsidiary will break away and establish itself as a dangerous rival.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Red Taiyo


Red Taiyo

Red Taiyo (レッド太陽 Reddo Taiyo) is secretly Atsushi Anzai (安西敦士 Anzai Atsushi), an associate lecturer of astronomy at Japan’s Jonan University (城南大学 Jōnan Daigaku). Returning home late one night, Anzai's motorcycle disappeared into a burst of light. He found himself in another dimension and was greeted by three mysterious beings who introduced themselves as the Sun Men (サンメン). The Sun Men, emissaries of the peaceful Planet G (プラネットG), bestowed upon Atsushi Anzai both a henshin (変身; "transformation") belt and a mission: fight for his homeland and the entire world against a force of darkness on the horizon.

Restored to the normal plane of existence, Anzai took his newfound purpose to heart and created the identity of Red Taiyo (“Red Sun”) with his henshin belt. He uses the innate powers of the belt to transmute his standard bike into a sleek machine dubbed Solarflare (ソーラーフレア). Red Taiyo utilizes Solarflare and his enhanced strength, reflexes, and agility to fulfill his promise to the Sun Men. He is unsure why he was chosen by his extraterrestrial benefactors, but Red Taiyo is determined not to fail.

The "force of darkness" predicted by the benevolent Sun Men soon became apparent when a newly-formed Japan branch of the subversive organization Third World emerged. Dubbed Dai San Sekai (第三世界; "Third World"), this group has an apparent army of monsters at their disposal. Fortunately, Dai San Sekai has so far been as effective as their Western counterparts. Also similar to the main office, no one is quite sure who is in charge. Though a few of their lieutenants have opposed Red Taiyo, the brains of the operation has proven to be nebulous.

The Japanese government, not content to entrust their country's safety to the untested Red Taiyo or outside forces like C.H.I.E.F. and American superheroes, has recently formed an elite task force to combat Dai San Sekai and other paranormal threats. Designated the Science Brigade (科学旅団 Kagaku Ryodan), this task force commanded by Captain Makoto Yamada (山田誠隊長 Yamada Makoto Taichō) is comprised of highly-qualified specialists in a wide range of fields. The Science Brigade has assisted Red Taiyo in battling Dai San Sekai, but there is an understandable rivalry between them and the hero. Complicating matters somewhat is the mutual attraction between Atsushi Anzai and Science Brigade member (and the Captain's daughter) Miharu Yamada (山田美晴 Yamada Miharu).

Red Taiyo is trailed in his ongoing crusade against Dai San Sekai by Kenta Chiba (千羽健太 Chiba Kenta), a bumbling freelance photographer. Chiba does his best to be helpful, and sometimes even succeeds. Whether he will prove to be a hindrance or an asset in Red Taiyo’s mission has yet to be determined.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Off Topic: Golden Age Hawkgirl


The Golden Age/Earth-Two Hawkgirl (Shiera Sanders).

Art by SeanRM. December 2011.

Character © DC Entertainment, Inc./DC Comics, Inc.

Friday, May 17, 2019

The Human Owl


The Human Owl

The legend began in 1940, on the Parallel Earth where Thunder Man had reappeared to the world the year prior. A cult of masked men styling themselves the Parliament of Owls was hunting down and killing known criminals on the streets. Private investigator Abel Wyler, falling for the pleas of a young woman whose older brother had worked as a bookie before being gunned down by the Parliament, was on the trail of the group when he confronted one of its members and subdued him after a vicious fistfight. Stealing his opponent's owl mask, Abel Wyler infiltrated the Parliament of Owls and brought an end to their reign of terror from within their very ranks.

At the conclusion of the case, Abel Wyler was musing over his newfound owl mask. Though they had gone entirely too far, there was something to be said about the Parliament of Owls' methods in pursuing justice. What if...what if he continued to wear the mask in a crusade against crime? He could trade on the Parliament's deadly reputation while using non-lethal means to catch those wrongdoers who were just out of reach of the law. On that day, the Human Owl was born.

Of course, there was the small matter of the Human Owl being wanted for murder due to his co-opting of the guise worn by the Parliament of Owls. Those charges were finally dropped when Abel Wyler took Inspector Leon Adwell into his confidence and explained his origin in detail. From that day forward, the Human Owl was a valuable and trusted ally of the police.

Over the ensuing decades, the mantle of the Human owl has been passed down from one generation of Wylers to the next. The current Human Owl is Phineas Wyler III, and to say he didn't see that coming is quite the understatement. He literally had no idea his father Phineas Wyler Jr. even was the Human Owl until relatively recently! Phineas Jr. had kept the secret hidden because he had no confidence in his artist son's ability to carry on the tradition and was holding out hope of finding a worthier successor. That unfortunately didn't happen before Phineas Wyler Jr. came down with a fatal case of the croup. His deathbed confession to Phineas Wyler III ensured that the Human Owl will fight another day. The question is, just how effective can he be if his own father couldn't believe in him?

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Professor Craneo


Professor Craneo

The subversive organization Third World has a deep commitment to super science in their quest for global domination. It hasn't helped them accomplish their goal yet, but they're optimistic. Helmut Krondorf was once the brightest light in the Third World Science Division. Then things got weird.

Krondorf invented a computerized helmet he dubbed the Craneo Cap. The Craneo Cap boosted Krondorf's intellect considerably, and he was already a genius in the first place. There were only two drawbacks to the Craneo Cap - 1) it was very tall, making doorways a problem sometimes, and 2) it eventually fused itself directly to Krondorf's head, effectively making him a cyborg.

In honor of his newfound cerebral prowess, Helmut Krondorf rechristened himself Professor Craneo. His ambition quickly grew to taking over command of Third World. This might have gained traction if not for the fact that the Craneo Cap was turning him into something just as much machine as man. The transformation sufficiently creeped out even the members of Third World enough that Craneo was soon ousted from the group.

Professor Craneo thereafter embarked on a solo career of evil, but was impeded by his increasing instability due to the Craneo Cap's influence. He is probably best-known for his ill-fated attack on Major City's Maximilian International Airport. Joe Truman just happened to be at "The Max" that day to catch a flight to Bulgaria and foiled Professor Craneo, turning the captured villain over to C.H.I.E.F. for safekeeping.

Professor Craneo deteriorated in custody as the Craneo Cap wiped most traces of humanity from his mind. C.H.I.E.F. placed him in suspended animation in their special Cyborg Refrigeration Unit in the hopes of saving his life and possibly finding a cure for his condition. He is still there to this day, and it's likely he will remain there for the foreseeable future.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Lord Zaur


Lord Zaur

It is not commonly known that there is an eighth continent not found on any map and not accessible by normal means. This continent, referred to as Pangaea by those aware of its existence, occupies an other-dimensional plane and can only be reached by a mystic gateway in the Andes. In Pangaea, dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals roam side by side with cavemen in a wild and untamed environment. The more civilized humans native to this mysterious land refer to it as "The Hidden Empire."

Lord Zaur was King of the Zaurians, a tribe of humanoid dinosaurs dwelling in the jungles of the Hidden Empire. He first learned of our world decades ago when a group of hapless mountain climbers stumbled across the Andean gateway and became lost in the Hidden Empire. It fell to Tex Truman to find the men, and Lord Zaur did not take kindly to Truman's intrusion. He swore revenge on the intrepid cowboy for somehow pulling off a daring and ingenious rescue of the imprisoned climbers.

Soon enough, Lord Zaur discovered the gateway to enter our world. What began as a desire for vengeance soon expanded to designs for conquest as he led a cadre of trusted Zaurian warriors on a campaign against modern mankind. Tex Truman thwarted this effort in a series of showdowns which left Lord Zaur the only surviving member of the Zaurian war party. The two opponents met in a final battle in Antarctica that ended when Lord Zaur was trapped in an iceberg in its frigid waters.

Lord Zaur is still cooling his heels within his frozen tomb, but the possibility always exists he might one day escape. The magic totem the dinosaur man wears around his neck ensures he will live in suspended animation for as long as he is encased in the ice of the South Pole. Oh, and there's also the little matter that no one is quite sure exactly where Lord Zaur is in the ice floe at this late date.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Titan Khan


Titan Khan

It still stands as one of the most harrowing cases in the long and illustrious careers of Tex Truman and Gabrielle "Jinx" Fitzgerald, even years later. The beginning was inauspicious enough, with C.H.I.E.F. agent Rollo Yee (余宗道 Yu Chung-tao) receiving a communiqué from his connections in China. However, the message contained an ominous warning to Tex and Jinx - Third World had taken out a contract on their lives. To prove they really meant business, the subversive organization had hired one of the most feared names in the Far East - Titan Khan.

Titan Khan (提坦可汗) had a reputation as the deadliest assassin in all of Asia. He was also a mysterious figure, wielding an unconventional Flame Sword and concealing his true identity behind a bronze mask. He had demonstrated fluency in over a dozen languages, but his “voice” in each was different and clearly mechanically-processed. Jinx would later observe he sounded like he was “badly dubbed.”

The cat-and-mouse game began almost as soon as Titan Khan arrived in Major City via Third World transport plane. He traced Tex and Jinx to The Beige Buffalo steakhouse where they were eating dinner and confronted his targets there. The chase criss-crossed town, with neither hunter nor prey getting an upper hand, until they finally arrived at Lake Grand. After a fierce showdown, Tex and Jinx emerged victorious and claimed Titan Khan's Flame Sword as a prize.

Titan Khan somehow escaped following his defeat at the hands of Tex Truman and Jinx Fitzgerald, but the failure effectively put an end to his legend. He vanished without a trace, and not even his confederates were able to track him down. His current whereabouts and activities, if he is still alive, are unknown.

Monday, May 13, 2019

The Masked Menace


The Masked Menace

The Masked Menace first appeared in 1941 as a foreign saboteur who fought Thunder Man on the Parallel Earth they both call home. Though his initial scheme to blow up American dams was foiled, the Masked Menace quickly established himself as Thunder Man's arch-foe in the minds of virtually everyone by sheer persistence. When the United States officially entered World War II, he began to more blatantly express his allegiance to the Axis powers - particularly the Third Reich.

The true identity of the Masked Menace was a matter of considerable interest to the U.S. government due to his fifth columnist activities. Suspicions eventually zeroed in on Wilhelm Krupp, a member of the German American Bund. However, as federal agents sought the Bundist for questioning, they discovered him murdered in his apartment. That evening, Thunder Man caught the Masked Menace planting TNT at a munitions factory.

The end of WWII did not mark the end of the Masked Menace. His anti-American rhetoric faded away, to be replaced almost entirely with a focus on crime. The Masked Menace continued in this vein until 1948 when he was gunned down by his own gang. That seemed to spell curtains for the infamous villain.

Somewhat inexplicably, the Masked Menace returned in 1954, claiming to be the original and refusing to explain his resurrection. He briefly espoused a belief in Communist doctrines quite at odds with his wartime views, but later became intent on elevating himself to a position of power. Seemingly killed two additional times, he eventually challenged Thunder Man to a “final” battle in 1984 that concluded when he accidentally stabbed himself with his own knife and plummeted from the top of a skyscraper. His body was not recovered afterward.

The Masked Menace has not made a comeback since his most recent apparent death. If history is any indication, though, it is only a matter of time. Thunder Man remains vigilant, always prepared to meet his perpetual enemy again.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

OWARI Girls


"OWARI Girls" (May 18, 2010). Gift art for my friend SyntheticPlatypus (formerly Sarapuu).

Featuring Shelly Ericson, Firegirl, Amazing Girl, and Muscle Woman.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Break-Up, Team-Up


“Break-Up, Team-Up” by Wandering Kotka. December 2010-January 2011.

Featuring Captain Satellite and Firegirl.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Pat August (Portrait)


“Pat August (Portrait)” by Wandering Kotka. November 2010.

Featuring Pat August. Character design by Wandering Kotka.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Basil Whittaker (Portrait)


“Basil Whittaker (Portrait)” by Wandering Kotka. November 2010.

Featuring Basil Whittaker. Character design by Wandering Kotka.

Monday, May 6, 2019

Karma Bando (Portrait)


“Karma Bando (Portrait)” by Wandering Kotka. October 2010.

Featuring Karma Bando. Character design by Wandering Kotka.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

History of Captain Satellite - Part 3

History of Captain Satellite - Part 3

When we last left this series, it was April 2007. I had just created a massive multi-character picture which incorporated many Captain Satellite-related heroes and villains. So naturally, the next appearance of Cap in my DeviantArt gallery was...August 2007?!??


So...what happened? Well, I suppose I should first explain the title and rationale for the piece seen here. "Passing the Torch" was posted on August 12, 2007. Its original intent was to signal a transition in my gallery. You see, since that crowd scene from last time, I had been concentrating heavily on my childhood characters. By August, I was finally ready to get to the Captain Satellite-themed crew.

I say "original intent" because this picture took on a greater significance as time passed. Though they occupied me a lot during the summer of 2007, my "Legion" characters from elementary school faded into the background from this point forward. They never quite went away, but this was the last time they ever took center stage in my imagination.

As it turned out, August was optimistic about the Captain Satellite era beginning. I didn't start posting individual characters until October 2007. There were a total of sixteen pieces uploaded through December of that year. Many of them had proto- versions of the profiles, but I was just as likely to give no background at all besides explaining the creative process. It was still the early stages of this enterprise.

And then...silence. Sorta. I was still heavily involved in Return of Jetman during this period, so I turned my attention back to it in the hopes of completing the story still in progress. That didn't happen until 2010, and it's probably not a coincidence that was the same year Cap and company came roaring back to life.

I didn't forget Captain Satellite during 2008 and 2009, even though I had a lot of other things on my mind. There were a couple of projects which were planned, but never materialized. There's not much in the way of tangible evidence of them today, but trust me, they were real and could have been great. It's just that life had other plans...

Which takes us to 2010. This very blog had been in existence for a year, and I was looking for fresh content. I decided my superhero universe would be a good candidate for inclusion, and I began trotting out the 2007 stuff with a few tweaks here and there. This led to people asking me if I had something in mind for the characters now that I had dusted them off. Truthfully, I did not at the time, but the level of interest got me thinking.

What followed was some commissioned artwork, which led to another commission. Then I wrote the first prose story featuring Captain Satellite, conceived and completed in a single day. Before I knew it, I was writing more profiles and creating new characters and commissioning more art from extremely talented people. In a few months, the project was an actual project and even had a name coined in the comments of a blog entry - "the Owariverse."


(You can read the original entry, and these comments in their current formatting, at this link.)

This more or less wraps up the "history" portion of the Owariverse chronicles. Expect to see my vintage Owariverse art (2007-2012) in the months ahead. Meanwhile, just because this series has concluded, that doesn't mean there won't still be behind-the-scenes tales to tell.

THE END

Friday, May 3, 2019

Viking Star


Viking Star

Bjørn Stargård is a burly, bellowing braggart and brawler. He is also one of the most notorious cosmic raiders in the known universe. That reputation has earned him the name Viking Star in his travels through space.

Viking Star hails from Nordex, the frosty northern polar region of the planet Oraygion. As Nordex is a land of ice and snow, its residents are specially adapted to the rigors of life there. The striking superficial similarities between Nordexians and the historical Vikings of Earth remain unexplained to this day.

Though he is technically a pirate, Viking Star tries to limit the spaceships he boards to those of belligerent, warlike groups such as the Neptoids. He might be a scoundrel, but he does have a bit of a conscience. Quite frankly, he's more interested in gorging on food, drinking mead, and carousing than looting anyway.

Viking Star plies the spaceways in a fully-armed vessel christened The Galactic Drakkar, which looks uncannily like an Earthly Viking ship. It even has a dragon head on the prow. The Galactic Drakkar contains an arsenal of weapons Viking Star can use in his plundering. The Stellar Spear is probably his favorite, and he is rarely seen without it. Like all of his armaments, the Stellar Spear is powered by "Jadoo," the mysterious force no one outside the planet Oraygion can understand.

Earth would have been of no consequence to Viking Star, except for the fact that Princess Nikatonia has found her way here on more than one occasion. Viking Star harbors an enormous crush on the princess, and is forever trying to win her affection. For her part, Nikatonia has spurned his overtures, going so far as referring to Viking Star as a "drunken oaf!" This has done little to dim the ardor of the pillaging powerhouse as he continues his pursuit of her.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Princess Nikatonia


Princess Nikatonia

Princess Nikatonia is alien royalty from the planet Oraygion. By most accounts, she is the black sheep of the Oraygion Imperial Family and has absolutely zero chance of ascending to the throne as her world's ruler - no matter what she says to the contrary. Ambition coupled with an ingrained wanderlust conspired to send her out into the vastness of outer space.

Somehow, Princess Nikatonia's journey through the cosmos brought her to Earth. Her purpose now that she's arrived is to abduct women and return with them to her homeworld. Her reasons for this undertaking are unclear. Some have speculated it is to perform a weird ritual on them and convert them into "Miniskirt Minions" who will help overthrow Oraygion's current monarch. Whether that's the case or not, Princess Nikatonia has expressed her preference for the company of females, and considers them clearly superior to males.

Princess Nikatonia wields the Stellar Staff, a powerful weapon she uses to channel a mysterious force dubbed "Jadoo." The Stellar Staff allows her to fly through space unprotected and blast her opponents with a dynamic light ray. The princess also insists the enigmatic Jadoo is the source of her strength in battle. However, no one beyond the planet Oraygion is sure exactly what Jadoo is supposed to be.

Predictably, Princess Nikatonia's periodic forays onto Earth have brought her into conflict with Captain Satellite and Shelly Ericson. Somewhat less predictably, these battles have led her to conclude that Shelly would be an ideal subject for her objective. This has added an underlying tension to their encounters which makes Shelly profoundly uncomfortable and Nikatonia uncommonly enthusiastic.

When not chasing after Shelly and other Earth women, Princess Nikatonia navigates the universe in The Lunar Galleon, her star cruiser which looks suspiciously like a Spanish galleon. In fact, this and other similarities between Earth and Oraygion would seem to go farther than just sheer coincidence. If there is indeed an underlying connection between the two worlds, it has yet to be explored in any meaningful way.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Doppelgirl


Doppelgirl

Judy Katz was a highly decorated C.H.I.E.F. agent specializing in disguise and linguistics. Then, in a shocking turn of events, she went renegade and switched sides to become a costumed criminal. No motive for this abrupt shift in philosophy has ever been established.

Katz first surfaced in super villain circles as Spookette, "hench-wench" to the Phantom Rogue, during an attempted robbery of The Monkey's Banana bookstore and record shop in Major City. Spookette's main contribution to that job was garnering the attention of Roxanne Prize, who changed into her Firegirl uniform and prevented the bandits from stealing a single thing. The Phantom Rogue fled in his Spookcopter, but he abandoned Spookette to be taken into custody.

Weeks later, a Third World battalion led by the mysterious masked Madame Troika stormed the Major National Bank and demanded cash. Alas, they picked a day Shelly Ericson was there to make a deposit, and Shelly mopped the floor with the subversives without even breaking a sweat. It later came out the Third World agents were all wannabes - petty thieves who had been tricked by Madame Troika into thinking they were joining the real Third World. Third World was so indignant they issued an actual press release denying responsibility for the hold-up and labeling Madame Troika "a complete fraud." Though she had slipped away while Shelly made short work of her ersatz charges, surveillance footage revealed Madame Troika was undoubtedly also Judy Katz.

Judy Katz has since concentrated on her current alter ego of Doppelgirl. Her M.O. is to learn about planned heists through the grapevine, show up in one of her many disguises, and interfere so she can grab the loot herself. She has never succeeded in actually making off with any ill-gotten gains, but she has disrupted a lot of wrongdoing just by her very presence.

Doppelgirl's roster of fake identities is long and impressively varied. On the female side, she has played such roles as vocalist Melody Singer, fashion model Chili Brees, and chef Cookie Doe. Perhaps even more uncanny are her male personae like auto racer Red Carr, oil tycoon Burl E. Hoss, and "Donut King" Duncan Coffey. As you may have noticed, Doppelgirl has a penchant for puns. That may be her worst crime.

Truth be told, there are clues Doppelgirl might not be a criminal at all. She has never profited from her actions, yet seems to get along fine despite no visible means of support. On those rare occasions when she is caught, like her stint as Spookette, she only spends a few hours behind bars before she "disappears" in the system and subsequently turns up scot-free. There's something suspicious about Doppelgirl's career of infamy. Is she really a deep cover agent infiltrating the underworld to take it down from the inside?