Thursday, February 28, 2019

The Albino Ant

The Albino Ant

Rip Witchell is a former officer for the Major City Police Department who was busted for corruption. Ousted from the MCPD and incarcerated for his crimes, he broke out of Phipps Prison through his ingenuity and connections. Witchell then disappeared into the shadows of the underworld to plot his next move.

The Albino Ant is the result of Rip Witchell’s scheming. Donning the guise of a super villain, Witchell has set for himself the goal of nothing less than taking control of organized crime in Major City. Neither the authorities nor the current top gangland bosses find the Albino Ant’s plan particularly appealing.

Given the nature of his ambitions, the Albino Ant has clashed with both law enforcement and rival gangsters. Though the crooks are more ruthless in their desire to maintain a grip on the town's rackets, they have met with repeated failures in trying to rub him out. The cops have been more successful in breaking up the activities of the Albino Ant's syndicate, such as the gang's attmpted extortion of protection money from every location of Heller's Department Store in the city. However, the police can only do so much if they are unable to catch the top dog.

The Albino Ant has so far wisely avoided confrontation with Captain Satellite, Urban Nightmare, or any of the other heroes of Major City. It seems inevitable he will have to deal with them sooner or later to realize his ultimate objective. It may turn out to be "sooner" given the Albino Ant's recent threats to topple the Kooba Corporation, manufacturer of Kooba Cola and other popular soft drinks. The reason for his vendetta against Kooba is unknown, though there is conjecture it stems from shady dealings with Kooba president Vittorio Wolfe during his time on the police force.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019



She's bad. She's ambiguously European. She's famous for being infamous. She's Sultura, and she's a constant thorn in the side of those who fight for justice.

Sultura is a safecracker, burglar, smuggler, counterfeiter - the list is seemingly endless. The most consistent trait in her career is her vanity. Her motto “I make being bad look damn good!” is not just a catchphrase, but her goal in life. Most people would not go so far as to print up fake money with their own picture on it, but most people aren't Sultura. She may end up redefining narcissism, if anyone ever discovers what the limit of hers actually is.

As you might expect, Sultura's ego tempted her into seeking conflict with Captain Satellite. After all, what could be more high profile than being chased by a superhero? Her first crime aimed specifically at grabbing Cap's attention was targeting Major City's famous Kurtzberg Museum of Art. Other memorable stunts include her attempt to kidnap obnoxious playboy Dick Major right out from under Cap's nose and breaking into the hero's own March Mansion just to take a bubble bath.

Sultura has particularly earned the wrath of Shelly Ericson for taunting her as Captain Satellite's “concubine” during one especially brazen heist. Shelly has promised that there will be payback each and every time she gets her hands on the femme fatale. And Shelly isn't the sort to make such a promise and not fulfill it.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Mr. Metal

Mr. Metal

It's a story we've all heard countless times. Two business rivals compete in the same arena. One of them is far more successful in his endeavors. The other lags behind and declares bankruptcy. Usually, the results aren't worth discussing. The case of Paul Mann and Louis Schmidt is the exception.

Louis Schmidt losing out to Paul Mann had nothing to do with a lack of skill on Schmidt's part. It also wasn't due to any unethical behavior on Mann's behalf, but Schmidt saw it differently. He felt Mann's gains had to be because he was cheating. To Schmidt, there could be no other explanation. He was clearly superior to Paul Mann in every way - at least in his own mind.

Especially galling to Louis Schmidt was Paul Mann's career as Captain Satellite. Schmidt complained loudly and often that reporting the Captain's exploits constituted free advertising for Paul Mann's business interests. He demanded equal time, but was rebuffed at every turn. This did not sit well with him.

Bankruptcy for his company Schmidt Industries was the last straw for Louis Schmidt, and the end of anything passing as reasonable behavior. Whether he snapped completely or just was consumed with a lust for revenge is academic. Schmidt used his failed company's resources to create the armor that would make him into a super villain. Now known as Mr. Metal, he swore he would destroy Paul Mann just the way he believed Paul Mann had destroyed him.

Mr. Metal's armor is kitbashed from bits and pieces Schmidt had lying around his factory. It is comprised of a remarkably resilient alloy that can withstand considerable punishment. The gauntlets are armed with powerful industrial-strength lasers. For transport, the boots are equipped with propulsive air jets that enable the wearer to fly.

Mr. Metal has never quite achieved his stated goal of destroying Captain Satellite, but he has continued his vendetta unabated. He has been known to form a team-up of convenience from time to time with fellow felon and former cellmate Disco Ball. Neither is very happy with that arrangement, for differing reasons.

Monday, February 25, 2019

Disco Ball

Disco Ball

Disco never died! That's the premise of Disco Ball, the super villain who supplies his own theme song. Not-so-secretly Vance McGuire (one-time producer/engineer for popular soul music acts like the Ratios and Billy Popcorn on Major City's Gold Bar Records label), Disco Ball is on a crusade to discover the evil possibilities of disco. Which are legion, as you might imagine.

Utilizing weapons powered by his Discotech System, Disco Ball has racked up some impressive criminal credentials. He first made headlines with his takeover of Major City's famous dance club Studio 69, declaring that he would turn it into “Studio 86” if he wasn't paid off extravagantly. He has also threatened to convert legendary disc jockey Curt Koorey into sound waves (Disco Ball holds a grudge because Koorey refused to play his personal compositions on the radio) and brainwashed iconic rock singer Flint Nickell into performing disco tunes on live television (with sinister subliminal messages added for the hapless viewing audience). Though often ingenious, his schemes have been repeatedly foiled by Captain Satellite and Shelly Ericson.

Disco Ball has soldiered on in spite of his setbacks. He usually works solo, but has occasionally teamed with Mr. Metal after the two met while sharing a jail cell at Phipps Prison. This pairing of opposites has proven to be...combustible at best. Disco Ball prefers to employ henchmen he insists on calling the Boogie Knights if he needs added muscle on a job. These henchmen are why he carries a swagger stick. And yes, it's a “swagger stick.” Not a pimp cane.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

1986: Urban Nightmare

1986: Urban Nightmare

You can consider this a sidenote to the "History of Captain Satellite" series. Our subject today is Urban Nightmare. While there seems to be precious little art of the Nightmare prior to 2007, I do still possess his very first appearance.

The truly remarkable thing about this artifact is that I can put a date on it. You see, the full sheet of paper also includes a reference to the Steve Winwood song "Freedom Overspill" which was receiving radio airplay at the time. Since "Freedom Overspill" was released as a single in 1986, that surely places the Urban Nightmare's creation during that year, too.

Friday, February 22, 2019

Blue Behemoth's Bulletin Board

(Click to enlarge to see all the details!)

“Blue Behemoth's Bulletin Board” by Wandering Kotka. July 2010.

The conceit here was to do a commission which told a story about a character (in this case, Blue Behemoth) without actually showing him. The inspiration was a non-Captain Satellite piece Kotka did for me that used a bulletin board motif, but this is way more involved than that earlier picture. This is still one of our more memorable commissions just for how unorthodox it is.

Featuring (in a roundabout fashion) Blue Behemoth, Pat August, Drone Man, the Scary Metal People, Firegirl, Elektroid, Ultimate American, Cat-Man, and the Invincible Alliance.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Satellite of Love

“Satellite of Love” by Wandering Kotka (inspired by the song by Lou Reed). June 2010.

Featuring Captain Satellite and Shelly Ericson.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Firegirl vs. The Tantalizing Tentacles

“Firegirl vs. the Tantalizing Tentacles of Terror!” by Wandering Kotka. March-April 2010.

Featuring Firegirl, Hugo Beaumont, and the Phantom Rogue.

Monday, February 18, 2019

A Rumble On The Rooftops

“A Rumble On The Rooftops!” by Wandering Kotka. February-March 2010.

This was not the first piece of outside art ever done of Captain Satellite and company. Heck, it’s not even the first piece by Kotka! However, this commission was one of the pivotal moments in the evolution of the Owariverse. It may have been the beginning of the idea that I could turn Cap’s world into a “proper” fictional universe. It seems only fitting that we kick off our "guest art" category and Kotka's place in it with this key work.

Featuring Captain Satellite and Shelly Ericson.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Hero Machine: Shelly Ericson

As I mentioned during the on-going "History of Captain Satellite" series, tracing the evolution of my characters is not exactly a nice and neat straight line. Tonight, we're going to look at an almost-forgotten interlude in the development of Shelly Ericson. It didn't really have any impact on her character, but it demonstrates how long I had entertained certain ideas about her.

In 2001, I downloaded the "classic version" of Hero Machine. I played around with it for awhile and then lost interest. However, I never deleted it, and it was still sitting on a CD-R when I began to transfer all my old files to flash drive in late 2012/early 2013. Hiding within my Hero Machine folder was a sub-folder labeled "Characters" and among the files were a couple of early prototypes of Shelly Ericson!

(What of Captain Satellite? Good question. There was nothing for him in the sub-folder. I guess Hero Machine was deemed inadequate in visualizing Cap!)

I recreated the Shelly prototypes and then took screenshots of them so I could share them with the world. I'm compelled to mention that there were three, but Number Three looks to be the exact same Shelly as Number One so it has been omitted. What's truly amazing about these is that by August 28-29, 2001 (when these were originally done), I already had a clear concept of who I wanted Shelly to be and how I wanted her to look. It just took a few years and some helpful pointers from a couple of friends to get MY version of Shelly Ericson out in the world.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

The Making of "Shelly's Story"

The Making of "Shelly's Story"

The following is slightly revised from the original written on April 13, 2010.

And now, a few words about this particular change of pace.

I think I was in high school when I first decided that "Shelly's Story" would be a fun thing to do with Captain Satellite. The tale of Cap and Shelly's first meeting, and Shelly's subsequent job offer, are also elements which have been in my head for years. I even tried to set it down on paper once in college. But, it never clicked.

You can blame/credit [Wandering Kotka] for some of my inspiration. Since I started revisiting the Captain Satellite universe on my blog in January [2010], she has inquired a couple of times whether this was leading up to something. Well, in all honesty, no, it wasn't. I have commissioned her a couple of times with regards to that set of characters, but mostly, I was just looking for content for the blog. My little set of characters seemed like good fodder for that.

Still, I couldn't get the thought out of my head that maybe I should do something beyond the profiles (which are hilarious fun, don't get me wrong). On April 12, 2010, this story essentially wrote itself in my head at work. I had to take notes to make sure I hit the high points. This was one of those times when I couldn't get in front of the computer fast enough.

Personally, I'm proud of how this turned out. It took some fine-tuning, but I got it where I wanted it. I think it is true to the characters, and hits just the right balance in my approach. I attempted to write it in Shelly's "voice," and that was a challenge on a couple of levels.

This is sort of weird and vaguely surreal for me. After over 20 years, I've finally written an honest to goodness story with Captain Satellite and Shelly Ericson. As I've implied over the last couple of years, it's written from Shelly's perspective because she is the anchor to reality in Cap's world. But it's the origin of both of them, finally set down.


Friday, February 15, 2019

Shelly's Story - Part 5

Shelly's Story - Part 5

Paul Mann, my boss and the guy I had been sort of falling for, was designing a powersuit that would make his “Captain Satellite” nickname come true and turn him into a superhero. I shook my head to clear the cobwebs. It was a lot to put together at four o'clock in the morning.

The way Paul explained it, he'd come up with the idea the day that lunatic had attacked him - the day I'd saved him. Turns out the guy was an agent of some group called Third World, and they had threatened Paul in the past. That incident hadn't been the first time they had tried to carry out one of their threats, and Paul was sure it wouldn't be the last. He'd hired me partially because he needed someone to prepare him for the action side of superheroing, since he had the science part mastered.

“Partially? Why else did you hire me?” I asked.

“Because you're the first person in a long time I thought I could trust,” he replied. “I didn't tell you about this because it sounded too insane.”

He was right about that. But still, it did make a certain kind of sense. Kinda. I agreed to help Paul make his Captain Satellite dream come true. Only now, I was fully in on the secret. We worked harder than ever, totally dedicated to making it happen. Weeks later, Paul activated his Digital Changer (imagine a really cool watch) and it transmitted the uniform directly onto his body. I held my breath as he calmly stepped out his third story window and shot into the sky.

After ten minutes, the new Captain Satellite returned from his first test flight. I swear, I don't think I've ever seen a bigger smile than Paul's when he pulled off that mask. He took me into his arms and hugged me. It was the first time he'd ever let his guard down enough to even manage something as simple as a hug.

Captain Satellite soon made his official debut battling a Third World squadron holding hostages. Paul was even more in demand than ever, and the people who had made fun of him weren't talking anymore. He kept asking me if I wanted my own powersuit, but I always turned him down. I'd go along with this Captain Satellite business, but I wasn't about to wear a costume. I like to handle problems a little more realistically.

That was what Paul - what Captain Satellite - needed. He needed someone to connect him to reality, someone who wasn't hopelessly caught up in out-of-this-world craziness. He needed someone to watch his back, because he still wasn't where he needed to be as a fighter. He needed...well, me. I was still his bodyguard, and I was going to make sure I earned that title.

Everything changed all over again when we found ourselves held captive in a flying saucer somewhere in the neighborhood of Neptune. Don't even ask how that happened. What you need to know is that Cap had been zapped by some sort of beam that had drained his suit's power and knocked him for a loop. As he lay on the cold floor of the spaceship, he crawled over to me. I can't remember a spot where it all felt so desperate and hopeless as it did at that moment.

“Shelly,” he gasped as I dragged him up. “If we don't make it out of this, I just want you to know...I love you.”

I responded to this by punching him. I wouldn't exactly call it one of my finest hours.

“Why did you wait until now?” I screamed. “And we are getting out of this! You aren't giving up!”

We did get out of it, of course. I mean, I'm telling you about it today. And when we got home, I yanked that silly mask of his off and kissed Paul Mann for the very first time. It was worth the wait.

If you had told me when I was on that plane flying from Texas to Major City that someday I was going to be a superhero's partner, and an action hero in my own right, I would have told you that you had lost your mind. If you had added that I'd wind up with a boyfriend who was one of the richest and most intelligent men on Earth, I would have laughed in your face. It all sounds way too unbelievable. But it happened.

Excitement? Adventure? I've gotten them in spades. I wouldn't trade this life for anything.


Thursday, February 14, 2019

Shelly's Story - Part 4

Shelly's Story - Part 4

Working for Paul - he insisted I drop the “Mr. Mann” business - was definitely different. For one, his estate is beautiful and ridiculous. He has peculiar tastes, and you can see it in his huge mansion. I'm still not sure I've been in every room of it.

For the first few months, I stopped by after classes when I had the chance. I'd help him out in his lab if he needed a hand, but more often than not, we'd end up in his gym or on the firing range. That was where I did my best to teach him how to fight, how to shoot, and lot of other physical activities he'd never even tried. He told me that he'd always gotten by with his intellect, and that wasn't hard to believe after I'd seen how he held a gun and threw a punch before I got to him.

I decided that I should live up to the “bodyguard” part of my job description when my schedule allowed, and accompany Paul to some of his engagements. I always made sure I was in front of him or discreetly behind him back then - we were never seen side by side, or God forbid, holding hands. It wasn't like that at all.

And it wasn't. I kept half-expecting Paul to make a pass at me, but he never did. I would have been out the door if he had, but he always held true to his word. Eventually, I just took it for granted he'd always be straight with me. He has never disappointed me either, though there are still things he keeps to himself.

Honestly, as the months passed, I found myself growing really fond of the guy. Yeah, he was rich and intelligent; I knew that before I met him. I also knew he was really handsome, because I'd seen his picture enough. But there was something about that boyish charm and the wide-eyed way he viewed the world that was appealing. I felt a twinge of regret from time to time that, apparently, he had shut off “those” feelings entirely when Roxanne Prize had hurt him.

I graduated from MCU in record time, thank you very much, and used that as an excuse to hang around the mansion a lot more. I hung onto my own apartment, but many a night, I slept over after marathon research or training sessions. In my own room, of course. Paul was nothing if not proper.

One particular evening, I was dozing off in front of the TV in the main living room when the mansion was rocked by an explosion. Jarred awake, I rushed through the halls, calling for Paul to make sure he was all right. What I ended up finding was nothing like what I expected.

Paul was fine...except covered in soot. One of his little projects had gone haywire and blown up. That was nothing new, even though they usually weren't so loud. The only difference was I found him in a secret underground lab when I accidentally triggered a doorway through the grandfather clock.

It turned out there was a whole complex beneath the mansion. It was like something out of a sci-fi movie. Boy, if I had only known then. I'd never seen Paul look so embarrassed, and I think he was really afraid I was going to quit right there. I was confused, but not really angry. What was all this about?

That was when Paul explained to me he intended to become a superhero.

Oh. Really?


Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Shelly's Story - Part 3

Shelly's Story - Part 3

I kept that appointment, even though it was a little weird. OK, a lot weird. Still, Chez Café was a public place. What could it hurt?

When I got there, the cafe was one of those intimate little restaurants, which was kind of a surprise. I figured someone with Mr. Mann's money would go for the bigger and fancier places to eat. I just didn't realize how much he valued his privacy.

I was escorted to Mr. Mann's table, and we had a pleasant enough chat. He asked about me and my opinions on a lot of things, and actually listened to my answers. That was rare. I was impressed by what he had to say, especially since he made a point to look at my FACE while we were talking.

Finally, he leaned over and said, “Shelly, I'd like to make you an offer.”

Oh boy, I thought, here it comes. I knew this was too good to be true.

“I want to hire you as my personal assistant. But really, you'd...”

Uh huh, right, “personal assistant.” I knew the code. Thanks, but no thanks.

“ my bodyguard.”

Huh? That wasn't how I'd seen that sentence ending. I grilled Mr. Mann as to why he didn't already have regular bodyguards or personal assistants or in fact anybody. He claimed that they “hindered his work.” I asked him what that meant. He clammed up.

So, what were the terms? Freedom to come and go as I pleased. Set my own hours. I didn't even have to follow him everywhere all the time. All he needed me to do was assist him with his research, and give him pointers in self-defense when I was available. Bodyguard duties would be at my discretion. I'd be on the payroll for a lot of money, and free to decide what my job description involved.

No hanky panky? “None.”

What about his personal life? “I don't have one.”

That was a surprise, too. I knew he'd been involved with that reporter Roxanne Prize for a couple of years, but that had ended badly. He'd sort of withdrawn socially since then, and some jerks in the media had even dubbed him “Captain Satellite.” They said it was because his mind was always in orbit, instead of on Earth. Creeps.

It was my turn to look into Paul Mann's eyes, and what I saw was a sincerity that would have been hard to fake. Plus, he sure came across as really damn innocent for someone who was one of the richest people in the world. I chose to trust him, until he gave me a reason to hit the road. Maybe it was all a put-on, but I wanted to find out for myself. Besides, if this was real, it would be the sweetest job ever.

“Mr. Mann, you've got a deal,” I said, and we shook hands.


Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Shelly's Story - Part 2

Shelly's Story - Part 2

Major City University was a bit of an eye-opener for me. I'd always prided myself on my discipline, even when my priorities hadn't matched the priorities everyone else had for me. But in college, I was solely responsible for myself. I hadn't even had that in the Air Force. It took some adjustment.

One day, I happened to spot a flier posted outside one of my classrooms. It was for a scheduled speaking appearance on campus by Paul Mann. Paul Mann? Wow! He was world famous as the self-made millionaire inventor. He wasn't that much older than me! I ripped that flier down as I headed to class, just to make sure I wouldn't forget the date.

I made it into the front row of the auditorium as the crowd filed in for Mr. Mann's talk. I say “crowd,” but it wasn't much of one. I didn't get it. This guy had hit the big time because of his brains, and done it before he even turned 30. Why wouldn't you want to hear what he had to say?

The speech was a good one, as far as we got into it. About halfway through, a man seated in the middle of the auditorium jumped up and pulled out a laser gun. “Three for victory!” he shouted as he threw up a three-fingered salute and fired at Mr. Mann. He ducked that shot, but the wildman bounded over people headed to the stage.

I guess training and instinct took over at that point. I don't exactly remember thinking that I had to cut off that guy and disarm him before he reached Paul Mann. I just did it. Next thing I knew, I had him on the floor, twisting his arm behind his back while I drove a knee into his neck. Security took it from there, but I had been the one who did the hard stuff.

Everything was hectic and confused after that, so I didn't notice until I made it back to my apartment that a business card had been shoved into my pocket. I pulled it out, and it was for Mann Creations - Paul Mann's company. On the back was a note written in pen: “Meet me @ Chez Café Wed @ 6 - Thx, P.” in Paul Mann? He wanted to meet me? To thank me? Over dinner?


Monday, February 11, 2019

Shelly's Story - Part 1

Shelly's Story - Part 1

I don't know why my hometown is called Boonland, but it's the perfect name for the place. If you want to see a classic example of the boondocks, it's Boonland, Texas.

Hi. My name is Shelly Ericson. This is my story. It's a little unusual.

I can't complain about my childhood. My parents made a nice life for me, and I was a good student in school. Notice I said “good,” not “great.” It's not that I'm not smart, but my mind was usually on other things. Beer, boys, and late night drives in my pick-up truck seemed more important than studying at the time. And even that stuff wasn't much better.

Yep, Boonland was a safe, peaceful place to grow up. It was also boring as hell.

My escape from the monotony was learning how to take care of myself. I started taking self-defense classes as a little girl, and never stopped developing those skills. My daddy taught me how to shoot a gun when I was 12. While the other girls were going gaga over the teen idol flavor of the week, I was practicing throwing knives at a tree in the backyard.

I signed up for the Air Force after graduation, because I thought it would be the quickest ticket out of Boonland. I'll admit it - I had visions of excitement and adventure in my head, too. Well, the Air Force was fine, but it didn't turn out to be what I wanted after all. I didn't re-enlist when the time came, and I suddenly found myself...back in Boonland.

I needed something, but I didn't know what it was. I had been taking classes while I was in the USAF, so college looked like a good option. I applied all over the country, not really caring where I ended up as long as it was somewhere else. The waiting felt like it dragged on forever, but then I got one letter of admittance in particular that changed everything.

One month later, I said good-bye to Mom and Dad and boarded a plane bound for Major City.


Saturday, February 9, 2019

History of Captain Satellite - Part 2

History of Captain Satellite - Part 2

I became a regular on the internet in February 2001, but this meant very little to Captain Satellite. I was busy with other things for those first few years, like Return of Jetman. The only true glimmer of activity with Cap was my use of his name as an alter ego for Livejournal. My LJ carried the title "Captain Satellite's Fun Fun Central" for most of its existence. At least I stopped signing the entries "Cap" after awhile...

The decision to have Captain Satellite proper make his public debut was not as momentous as it might seem like it should have been. I signed up for a DeviantArt account in 2004, but had no intention of posting art there. I changed my mind when some graphics I had posted were deleted. Rather than slinking off and forgetting about the whole thing, I chose instead to use my artwork as a form of trolling. I'm still posting it almost 15 years later, so my reasoning has evolved over time. But I suppose I'm getting ahead of myself.

My very first submission to DA under this new philosophy was an image of Captain Satellite on November 19, 2004. A smaller version of it was turned into an icon, and it served as my DA avatar until sometime in 2014. It is singularly unmemorable.

If you're at all familiar with my art, you're probably thinking, "That doesn't look like one of yours." Well, yes and no. I did draw it, but it's not done in my style. It's a swipe of a Gil Kane Spider-Man from What If? #24 (December 1980). I did a lot of blatant and obvious swipes from 2004-2007 because I was treating my art as kind of a joke and also because I still had very little confidence in my own ability.

My change of direction on DeviantArt did not immediately lead to a renaissance for Captain Satellite. My gallery was mostly random odds and ends. However, Cap did play a role in two key pieces from those early years of my posting art online.

Friday, February 8, 2019

Invincible Alliance

Invincible Alliance

It was the day when it seemed Captain Satellite would surely lose. Third World had launched their most outrageous and potentially devastating attack of all time. A trio of mammoth Macro Warriors landed throughout Major City and threatened to tear the hero's home base apart. Against one or even two of the giant robots, the Captain might have stood a chance. But three? While Captain Satellite and Shelly Ericson unhesitatingly leapt into the fray, they knew their chances of survival, much less winning, were slim.

But just as Third World found strength in numbers, so too did the forces of good. From out of Major City's neighborhood called the Minors came Urban Nightmare. From the campus of Major Technological Institute came Blue Behemoth and Drone Man. From the room at the Majestic Hotel where she was living out of a suitcase on a dwindling expense account for The Sleuth Gazette came Firegirl. And from our nation's capital in Federalton, the government dispatched Ultimate American on his very first mission. Gathered as a united front, these seven heroes defeated the Macro Warriors, and dealt a severe blow to Third World's plans for global domination.

After the dust had settled, a proposal was put forth by Drone Man. Why couldn't the seven of them join together on a full-time basis as a team? His partners Blue Behemoth and Firegirl agreed that they would be on board with such a venture, and Ultimate American allowed that the idea had some merit. The others, however, weren't quite so sure. Captain Satellite endorsed the concept, but cautioned that he was too busy to make any commitments (neatly avoiding the fact that one of his potential teammates would be his ex-girlfriend). Shelly Ericson, on the other hand, flatly declined to be part of what she termed their "glorified pajama party."

And Urban Nightmare? He merely cryptically muttered that he would call them if he ever needed them before slipping away.

Despite a shaky start, the Invincible Alliance was officially formed at this impromptu meeting. A week later, the quartet of heroes who would form its nucleus gathered at the MTI laboratories to hammer out a few formalities. Blue Behemoth and Drone Man passed out signal devices that would permit all of them to communicate securely. Captain Satellite and Urban Nightmare were voted in as honorary members, with signal devices available to them (and Shelly Ericson) if they chose. And finally, Ultimate American was elected leader - much to his dismay. He reluctantly accepted the honor, even though he was the newbie of the bunch.

Although he turned down being part of it, Captain Satellite has been the Invincible Alliance's primary benefactor since its founding. As Paul Mann, he set up the non-profit Invincible Alliance Trust that finances their operations and pays each member a generous salary. He was also instrumental in securing the spacious brownstone in the heart of Major City that serves as Invincible Alliance Headquarters. Cap was even responsible for introducing them to Elektroid, the robot man who would become the fifth name on their roll call when he joined the group.

The development of the Invincible Alliance into a true team has not been without growing pains. There have been numerous conflicts and challenges in trying to get such different personalities to mesh as a unit. The most damaging of these was the revelation that Ultimate American had been under orders to report on the other members. This came out when Ulti became appalled at the situation and forcefully rejected the directive. His comrades were understandably hurt, but also impressed at how he stood up for them - even threatening to resign his alter ego entirely rather than continue as an informant. They believed his pledge of loyalty to them, but an uneasy pall fell over their relationship with the government.

Enter Tex Truman. Ultimate American's father had stepped in to work out a compromise in the schism between Ulti and his superiors (the hero was honorably discharged and permitted to retain his masked identity as his own), and was therefore the logical choice to rebuild trust between the IA and the feds. He was tapped as C.H.I.E.F. liaison to the team, given his intimate knowledge of both the agency and out-of-the-ordinary adventures. Tex also had a hand in the United Nations granting the Invincible Alliance a unique charter as a global troubleshooting task force. Though he is content to stay in the background, Tex has been a big part of the Invincible Alliance being recognized as a serious endeavor.

The Invincible Alliance is second only to Captain Satellite himself in terms of acclaim for superheroics. They are just as frequently called on for missions as Cap, and may be even more accessible. Individual members are often seen tooling around Major City in Air Cars, specially-adapted hovercraft designed and built for them by Karma Bando's Lightning Cars garage. For longer hauls, they pile into their Zip Jet housed in a hangar owned by Paul Mann. But whatever their mode of transportation, the citizens of the world can rely on the Invincible Alliance to be on the case!

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Macro Warriors

Macro Warriors

Macro Warriors are giant robots created by Third World, and are the crowning technological achievement of that subversive organization. Of course, that doesn't mean they aren't a little buggy from time to time. After all, this is Third World we're talking about here.

A Macro Warrior is controlled by a pilot stationed in the command module of the robot's head. Its primary weapon is its tremendous size and bulk. However, Macro Warriors are equipped with the ability to fire their fists as projectiles. Called the Fist Shooter, this mechanism includes a homing beacon that locks the fist back into place after impact with its target. Macro Warriors are also capable of flight via rocket-powered Boot Boosters located in their feet.

The Macro Warriors made a very public debut when Third World launched a full-scale attack on Major City with a trio of the metallic monoliths. This brazen strike united many heroes to combat the Macro Warriors in an epic battle, and led directly to the formation of the Invincible Alliance. Is this another example of Third World's exceedingly bad planning, or just their streak of bad luck continuing unabated? Really, take your pick.

The fates of all three Macro Warriors have been documented. One was demolished during the fight in Major City and reduced to scrap. A second currently occupies an underground silo on Paul (Captain Satellite) Mann's estate as a sort of trophy. The third was taken into C.H.I.E.F. custody and initially stored at their central offices in Pongo, Virginia. This Macro Warrior was stolen by renegade C.H.I.E.F. operative Bo Nagy, and the giant gorilla Gargantua Maximus had to be coaxed into vanquishing it. It was subsequently returned to C.H.I.E.F., dented but intact, and moved to a facility in an undisclosed location.

Third World has not unleashed Macro Warriors since their unsuccessful Major City offensive. It's entirely probable they only had three anyway. No one knows if they've gone back to the drawing board for a second series of the robots or if they've junked the whole line as a waste of time and resources.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Thunder Man

Thunder Man

“HE'S THUNDERRIFIC!” the newspaper headlines proclaimed in 1939. That was when archaeologist Ray Bancroft announced he had discovered a survivor of the lost continent of Atlantis in a tomb nestled in ruins that had recently surfaced from the ocean floor. This survivor was Thunder Man, a super-powered champion who had been unable to prevent the Atlantean disaster. Seeking to atone for this failure, Thunder Man pledged to protect modern mankind as he had his ancient homeland. Thunder Man's amazing deeds would go on to become the stuff of legends.

At least, that's how it went somewhere else.

Thunder Man is the greatest hero of a Parallel Earth, different from the Earth Captain Satellite calls home. He uses his powers of super strength, invulnerability, flight, swiftness, and heightened senses to fulfill his vow to protect the world of today. He is also apparently immortal, as he has not aged noticeably in the decades since his awakening. Because of this, Thunder Man does not maintain an alter ego, but lives on an artificial island named Magnifica located off the east coast of the United States.

Thunder Man and Captain Satellite first crossed paths when Hugo Beaumont hijacked Thunder Man from his proper universe and mesmerized him with the Hyper Hypno Coin. Captain Satellite and Thunder Man were then forced to engage in battle until the Captain unwittingly uncovered the truth and freed his adversary from Beaumont's manipulation. The duo then teamed up to foil Beaumont's scheme.

Thunder Man repaid Captain Satellite months later when he used his Volt Vimana craft to rescue Cap after he had been stranded in the Unknown Zone. Since that day, the two heroes have become true cross-dimensional allies. Captain Satellite is fascinated by Thunder Man's lengthy and storied career, and occasionally looks to the veteran hero for advice via a special channel on his Multi-Viewer.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Dr. Sandor Varkoff

Dr. Sandor Varkoff

Mad science is still not a recognized discipline, but if it ever is, Dr. Sandor Varkoff would be an excellent candidate for accreditation in the field. Varkoff has a vast body of knowledge in a wide range of specialties, and is unquestionably a genius. Unfortunately, this brilliant man is also extremely twisted, and has a penchant for hatching plans that can only be called “crackpot.”

Dr. Varkoff's career path as a mad scientist has led him to butt heads with Captain Satellite and Shelly Ericson on several occasions. He has never been particularly successful in any of these clashes, but he's persistent. You have probably heard the popular wisdom on doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

Mad science doesn't pay the bills (yet), so Sandor Varkoff frequently sells his services to other criminals when he's not pursuing schemes of his own. Third World is a repeat customer, but he will design and build any gadget for any crook with the money. There have been a few who have welshed on deals, but most understand the folly of ripping off someone capable of pulling out a death ray at a moment's notice.

Dr. Sandor Varkoff's chief claim to fame is being the creator of Elektroid, the robot which rebelled against him and later joined the heroes of the Invincible Alliance. Varkoff was also responsible for unleashing the size-changing gorilla Gargantua Maximus on an unsuspecting world before losing control of the beast. Notice a pattern here?

Monday, February 4, 2019

Enemy Alien

Enemy Alien

In the months following Captain Satellite's debut, Major City was abuzz with sightings of an unidentified flying object. Some witnesses even reported spying an extraterrestrial wearing a spacesuit and rocket pack in Kisch Forest outside of the city. Sensational and paranoid news accounts of this flap labeled the alleged visitor "Enemy Alien," and the name stuck.

In truth, Enemy Alien was Raeyear, an explorer from the planet Muranos sent to learn about Captain Satellite. Armed only with a single laser gun for self-defense, Raeyear's mission was to find out whether this "Captain Satellite" was peaceful or not. If deemed friendly, Raeyear was to offer Cap a mutual aid pact in the event of a hostile invasion of Earth. Unfortunately, "Bulldog" Buddy Rockwell and his gang crossed paths with the alien astronaut first. They extorted him into working for them by threatening to blow up his starship with crates of explosives looted from a local ammo dump.

Therefore, Captain Satellite and Enemy Alien first encountered one another as opponents rather than allies. This deplorable situation was quickly resolved, and the gangsters were collared in the resulting fracas without Enemy Alien's ship being blown to smithereens. Misunderstandings were explained, friendships were made, and Enemy Alien departed Earth with the pledge that the resources of Muranos were available to Captain Satellite should he ever need them.

Years later, Enemy Alien seemingly resurfaced to steal rare gems from Cathcart Jewelers in Major City. The Invincible Alliance investigated the case, and were skeptical of Captain Satellite's contention that his old friend was innocent. Even contacting Raeyear via the Multi-Viewer did little to quell their doubts. When Enemy Alien was finally captured, he stood revealed as..."Bulldog" Buddy Rockwell in a facsimile of the spacesuit that he'd contracted Dr. Sandor Varkoff to create (and then swiped without payment).

Buddy Rockwell is once again incarcerated for his various and sundry crimes. The Enemy Alien replica spacesuit is currently in storage at a secret C.H.I.E.F. facility. It seems unlikely at this point that Rockwell or anyone else will wear it as a spurious Enemy Alien in the future, but anything is possible.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Off Topic: Hembeck - Bunny Ears

“Bunny Ears” by Fred Hembeck. August 2003.

A Return of Jetman commission depicting Jet Phoenix and Green Wyvern. Jet Phoenix & Green Wyvern © Lewis Smith. Based on characters from Chōjin Sentai Jetman (© TV Asahi/Toei Advertising, Ltd./Toei Company, Ltd.).

Friday, February 1, 2019



Mad scientist Dr. Sandor Varkoff had the best plan of his life. He had created an electronic android - an “Elektroid” in his terminology - that was powered by its own mini-generator. He would use his Elektroid to disrupt DeKalb Studios in retribution for their refusal to pay him off, and then demand an even more sizable sum of money to prevent further such incidents. Yes, this was his best plan ever. We told you he was "mad," didn't we?

Unfortunately for Dr. Varkoff, his plan hit a series of snags:
  1. His decision to interrupt a live broadcast featuring Captain Satellite was a winner from an attention standpoint, but almost guaranteed Elektroid would be challenged by Cap and Shelly Ericson.
  2. Elektroid had a design flaw which caused it to short-circuit. This did not disable it, but instead allowed the machine to discharge excess power from its generator via its computer brain. This development would have been advantageous if not for...
  3. The short-circuit and subsequent power bursts irreparably altered Elektroid's computer brain. When the robot cornered actress Kimber Rachelle, it did not attack her as ordered. It instead realized it was being used for evil purposes and permanently broke its original programming.

Elektroid joined forces with Captain Satellite and Shelly Ericson to capture Sandor Varkoff. In the aftermath, everyone quickly realized there was a problem. Elektroid had developed free will, faulty artificial brain and all, but he had nowhere to go now that he had rebelled against his creator.

Captain Satellite's solution was to introduce Elektroid to the Invincible Alliance and recommend the robot replace him in the roster spot he had never found time to fill. Although Blue Behemoth grumbled a little that Cap was using the IA to babysit the mechanical man, the entire group welcomed the addition to their ranks with open arms. Someone like Elektroid could be a valuable asset to their team.

The Invincible Alliance's confidence in Elektroid has been well-placed. He has served with honor, and his talents have come in handy many times. For starters, Elektroid is the only IA member who is bulletproof. In fact, his alloyed body is nigh-invulnerable against most conventional weapons, and many unconventional ones, too. That's an absolute boon in his current line of work.

Of course, Elektroid's inherent indestructibility isn't his only power. He is also exceptionally strong, though not particularly fast. And then, there's the ability that earned him the nickname "The Robot With The Exploding Brain!" from the sensationalist press. Elektroid tries to be judicious in his deployment of what amounts to lightning bolts shooting from his head. It's an effective offensive maneuver, but also a potentially dangerous one for everyone in the vicinity.

Gradually, the public has come to accept Elektroid due to his association with the respected Alliance. He resides and recharges his mini-generator at Invincible Alliance headquarters, and rarely ventures out unless he's on a mission. The exception is when Kimber Rachelle insists on taking him for a social call. She has grown attached to the electronic man since their less-than-ideal meeting, and is doing her best to help him fit into society. It remains to be seen if Elektroid will ever truly feel like he belongs in a world never meant for the likes of him.