Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Muscle Woman

Muscle Woman

Elisabeth Huerta (“Beth” to her friends) was an excellent student and promising athlete on full scholarship at El Oceano State University when she gave it all up at the age of 19. Why would she do such a thing? So she could run off and marry Len Gordon, the backup quarterback of the El Oceano Dons pro football team and a man 12 years her senior.

Unfortunately for Beth, throwing caution to the wind didn’t exactly work out, and she wound up being another divorce statistic by 21. Attempting to piece her life back together, she re-enrolled at EOSU (only now via student loans) and set about the business of graduating. She retained the married name Beth Gordon both out of convenience and as a reminder not to stray from the task at hand again.

What Beth Gordon could never have anticipated was being kidnapped by Third World agents and subjected to a process they hoped would make her a weapon in their quest for global domination. Remarkably, Beth did not die after being dosed with a number of chemical potions and bombarded by several different rays. Instead, she found she had gained strength and endurance far greater than possible by normal means.

Third World’s brainwashing techniques were just as efficient as usual (i.e., not very), and Beth soon broke free from her captors with her super strength. Retreating to her grandparents' house nearby, she threw together a costume from spare wrestling gear left there by her grappler uncle Raoul Huerta. Determined not to let Third World get away with their nefariousness, Beth returned to the scene of the crime and single-handedly broke up the branch office that had abducted her. She coined the name “Muscle Woman” for herself during this episode.

Muscle Woman has continued to fight crime and injustice and garnered considerable fame in El Oceano. At first, she tried to keep her alter ego a secret, but the temptation to hire Muscle Woman's services out to raise money to cover her tuition was just too great. She is, however, steadfast in her conviction not to compromise her ideals just for a quick buck.

With her potent combination of brawn and beauty, Muscle Woman has become the toast of the west coast, and the hottest thing in El Oceano since Roberto Planta and Jamie Pagina founded the place in the 18th century. One of her goals is to travel to Major City someday and meet the heroes there. Not for a social call, but with the objective of crushing Third World once and for all.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Amazing Girl

Amazing Girl

Kendal Rose is by all appearances an average, normal young woman. She grew up in a comfortable middle-class home in the suburbs of Middleburg with her parents Melvin and Priscilla Rose and her younger brother Rylan Rose. She is a student attending Eastern Midwest University with a concentration in psychology. She works part-time as a bag girl at an outlet of the Major Foods grocery store chain. Yes, Kendal seems pretty typical. But Kendal has a secret.

Early in life, Kendal discovered she had telekinesis – the ability to influence objects using only her mind. It was limited at first to moving or lifting small objects. As she matured, Kendal's telekinetic powers developed as well. She eventually found she could move and lift much larger objects, and even project so-called “thought beams” that caused impact. All the while, she kept her practicing well-hidden, fearful of the repercussions if her schoolmates learned she was different.

Kendal Rose was still a teenager when the Superhero Boom precipitated by Captain Satellite was happening, culminating in the formation of the Invincible Alliance. She came to idolize Firegirl, and resolved to use her powers to help others the way Firegirl did. Kendal created the identity of "Amazing Girl" for herself, and went about preparing for the day she would make her public debut.

That day came when a battalion of Third World agents announced a takeover of the EMU campus. None of them suspected that an innocent-looking co-ed in the crowd at the quad would slip away and reappear a short time later as their undoing. Despite being a rookie, Amazing Girl handled the badly-outmatched Third World agents with ease as her fellow undergrads cheered.

Since that event, Amazing Girl has continued her crusade to protect the city of Middleburg. This has proven to be mostly low-key, as Middleburg is not exactly a hotbed of super villain activity. Recently, she has extended her telekinetic abilities even further to include levitation, allowing her to fly. It is as yet unclear what limits there might be on her powers.

Amazing Girl's dream is to journey to Major City after graduation to meet Firegirl and the rest of that city's famous heroes. Nothing is stopping her from going to meet them right now, but she feels very shy and self-conscious about the idea. She is afraid she won't measure up to the heroes who inspired her. So she keeps putting it off, rationalizing that she'll go when she knows she's ready to stand alongside them.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Ninja Chief

Ninja Chief

(aka: 忍者vs殭屍 - "Ninja vs. Gyonshi")

Ocelot Tombs, an American mercenary trained in ninjutsu, had embarked on a reign of terror in Taiwan. Besides the band of renegade ninjas at his command, he had gained control of a gyonshi (Chinese hopping vampire). Director of C.H.I.E.F. Rudy Boemer knew there was only one man up to the job of trouncing both ninjas and monsters in a far-off land - private investigator and freelance operative Joe Truman.

Ninja Chief is the story of how Joe Truman infiltrated the ranks of Ocelot Tombs' ninjas and destroyed them from within. Joined in the fight by Chinese-American C.H.I.E.F. agent Agatha Pao, the two warriors decisively ended the threat of the gyonshi and brought Ocelot Tombs to justice once and for all. Ninja Chief is an adventure of extraordinary magnitude featuring thrills, chills, and a toy robot!

...Wait, what? A toy robot?!?!!?? Yes, a toy robot. Just go with it.

Ninja Chief! A heart-pounding trip into a world of combat, intrigue, and horror! Coming to this screen!

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Joe Truman

Joe Truman

The brief marriage of Tex and Anna Truman only produced one child, a son named Joseph or "Joe," before Tex filed for divorce. Though Tex offered to help Anna raise Joe, Anna's bitterness led her to cut Tex off entirely. Since Anna's wealthy parents Byron and Claire Malone had not approved of Tex in the first place, they were happy to help her in any way possible. So Joe Truman grew up idolizing his father from afar and resenting him for leaving his family.

Joe Truman was recruited by C.H.I.E.F. while still in college at Bell State University, and considered joining the organization after earning his degree. He ultimately chose not to sign up, making the excuse that working for the government would be too stifling. His real reason? Tex Truman was the executive director of C.H.I.E.F. at that time, and Joe chafed at the very idea of taking orders from his father.

Striking out on his own as a freelance operative, Joe Truman found fame and fortune selling his services to the highest bidder (which ironically sometimes included C.H.I.E.F.) and selling himself in the media. He became a successful author simply by penning engrossing and lurid accounts of his many colorful adventures. He had plenty of material for his books, too. He encountered everything from ninjas to monsters during his career, with more than his fair share of clashes with Third World thrown into the mix.

Despite his privileged upbringing, Joe Truman was unpretentious almost to a fault. Perhaps nothing was more emblematic of this than his decision to make his home base in the gritty, blue collar city of Tungsten rather than a more glamorous locale. Joe had first set foot in Tungsten when he'd been called on by Hart Baccarat of Gold Bar Records to rescue the vocal group the Tungs-Tones ("The Sound of Tungsten") from kidnappers who were holding them for ransom. Joe had fallen in love with Tungsten by the triumphant conclusion of the case, calling it his kind of town.

Things took a turn for the worse for Joe Truman when his mother died of pneumonia at the age of 60. He began drinking heavily, and his habit of smoking Viscount Cigarettes went from one pack a day to four. He weighed reaching out to his father to maybe build a real relationship with him. When he looked into the situation, Joe realized Tex was involved with much younger woman - younger, in fact, than his own son. Joe figured the old man couldn't be bothered with him and discarded the notion of getting in touch.

Twenty-five years ago, Joe Truman drove his brown IMC Goblin compact car into Major City to drop off a manuscript at his publisher Lieber Books. He stopped at a Burger Chief fast food joint for a lunch of a burger, fries, and vanilla shake before hitting the road back to Tungsten. He never made it home. Joe Truman vanished without a trace that day. His disappearance is an enduring mystery, and no evidence has ever turned up to offer even a hint as to what happened.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Debbie Truman

Debbie Truman

Let's get one thing straight about Debbie Truman - she's not unhappy. She gets good grades in school. She has friends. She has a great relationship with her family. If you asked her, she'd tell you life is pretty sweet. But that's all she'd say, because Debbie is very quiet and prefers to keep to herself.

The trouble with being an introvert in a clan of extroverts is everyone wonders if there's something wrong with you. Debbie's parents, Tex Truman and Gabrielle Fitzgerald, are a pair of famous and quirky former C.H.I.E.F. agents. Joe Truman, the half-brother who disappeared before she was born, was equally well-known as both a freelance man of adventure and author of lively accounts of his exploits. Even Debbie's big brother Dean Truman, whose personality is most in line with hers, leads the superhero group the Invincible Alliance as the colorfully-costumed Ultimate American. So Debbie often feels like the apple that fell very, very far from the tree.

It's no surprise Tex and Gabrielle worry about their daughter. Tex's instinct is to cajole her into being more outgoing, but fortunately, he has Gabrielle to keep him in check. Gabrielle contends they should let Debbie mature and find out who she is at her own pace. If and when she comes out of her shell, it will be when she's ready. In his heart, Tex knows Gabrielle is right, but it's still difficult for him to let Debbie sit in solitude as much as she does.

What's interesting is that Debbie Truman has a little secret. Oh, her Mom has been with her when Debbie has bought the scrapbooking supplies, but Gabrielle just assumes her daughter is assembling tributes to the bands whose music reverberates through the house. In reality, Debbie is pasting together collections of news clippings, past and present, of her celebrated relatives that she has copied from every library in town. Because you see, Debbie really is fascinated by the family "business" as it were, but it's something she just can't bring herself to admit. At least, not yet.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Gabrielle Fitzgerald

Gabrielle Fitzgerald

Gabrielle Fitzgerald was a top C.H.I.E.F. agent with a specialty as a codebreaker. Highly-skilled in the martial arts, Gabrielle was not bashful about doing whatever it took to accomplish her mission. Her tenacity earned her the nickname "Jinx" because it was bad luck for anyone to cross her.

Jinx wasn't looking for love when she joined C.H.I.E.F., but she found it when she met up with Tex Truman. The mutual attraction between them was obvious despite their considerable age difference (offset by Tex’s youthful appearance & vitality), and they flirted shamelessly almost from the moment they laid eyes on one another. Tex was so smitten with Jinx that he resigned his post as C.H.I.E.F. executive director so he could become her partner in the field and her partner in romance. How do you like that?

The team of Tex and Jinx was celebrated in their era for getting the job done and having a lot of laughs in the process. Eventually, they got careless in their personal lives and Jinx unexpectedly became pregnant. The soon-to-be parents were delighted by the news regardless of the circumstances, and nine months later, a baby boy they would name Dean Truman was born.

Pregnancy and motherhood brought an end to Gabrielle Fitzgerald's C.H.I.E.F. career, as she retired to spend her time raising Dean. It didn't end her love affair with Tex though, and the two found time to tie the knot when Tex stepped away from C.H.I.E.F. active duty himself. As Dean grew older, they decided to have a second child, and daughter Debbie was added to the household about a year later.

Time has been kind to Gabrielle Fitzgerald (she never did change her name when she got married). In fact, she looks younger now than when she first hooked up with Tex. Whether the cowboy shared his secret of longevity with her or if it just rubbed off naturally is a matter of conjecture. It certainly wouldn't be polite to ask the lady.

Today, Gabrielle keeps fit by working out and chasing after Tex when he's not off serving as C.H.I.E.F. liaison to the Invincible Alliance. Speaking of the IA, Dean is the leader of the group as the superhero Ultimate American, and Tex and Gabrielle are very proud of him. Young Debbie still lives at home, and while also the source of considerable pride, she worries her parents a little too because she is so quiet and reserved. Gabrielle has convinced Tex to leave the girl alone and let her develop at her own pace. If and when Debbie comes out of her shell, it will be when she is ready.

As shocking as it seems, the fun-loving and mischievous Jinx appears to be quite content with the life of a housewife. Just don't ever say Tex tamed her or domesticated her. She will correct you forcefully that she was the one who chose to settle down. And don't you forget it.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Tex Truman

Tex Truman

Tex Truman is a larger-than-life cowboy hailing from the plains of west Texas. The real story of his early years has been lost amid the numerous tall tales Tex has told ever since that time. There are no records that even confirm "Tex Truman" is his birth name like he says, and not just a catchy moniker he gave himself. You can be certain of one thing - all the misdirection and confusion is 100% deliberate on Tex's part.

The first independently-verifiable information available on Tex Truman comes from 70 years ago, when he joined C.H.I.E.F. as a special agent. He soon became one of C.H.I.E.F.'s top operatives, despite the fact many in the organization considered him an oddball. After all, most agents weren't going into action with a ten gallon hat on their head and a pair of shooting irons holstered to their belt the way Tex was.

Shortly after his C.H.I.E.F. recruitment, Tex married a young heiress named Anna Malone. It is assumed this was Tex and Anna doing "the right thing" since baby Joseph was born within 6 months. However, Tex quickly came to realize he was not cut out for a home and family, and filed for divorce after only about a year of marriage. Hoping to spare Anna further heartache, he promised to take full responsibility in helping her with Joe. Anna refused this offer, saying she wanted nothing more to do with Tex and telling him to stay away from her and their son in no uncertain terms. As a result, Joe Truman grew up idolizing his father for his exploits and resenting him for his absence.

While his personal life was a disaster of his own making, Tex Truman could at least take solace that his C.H.I.E.F. career was on the rise. Indeed, after numerous decorations for meritorious service, Tex Truman found himself nominated for the position of director of the organization. It was a bit of a minor upset when he actually got the appointment, but it brought on a new resolve in the crazy cowpoke. Tex Truman honorably served as C.H.I.E.F. executive director for many years, and totally dedicated himself to his job. That is, until the moment Gabrielle Fitzgerald crossed his path.

When Gabrielle "Jinx" Fitzgerald first enlisted in C.H.I.E.F. as a codebreaker, she and Tex did their best to keep things professional. Trouble was, it was glaringly obvious to everyone that there was an almost electric attraction between them. Finally, not wanting to compromise the integrity of their agency but also not wanting to lose the woman he was falling for, Tex Truman resigned his post as director and applied to be reinstated as an agent. His buddy Rudy Boemer was installed as his replacement, and Boemer's first act as director was to grant Tex's application and make him Jinx's partner in the field.

Tex and Jinx became almost inseparable as a team and as a couple thereafter. Their free-wheeling, fun-loving adventures are the stuff of legend. It sort of came to an end (albeit a happy one) when Jinx became pregnant with their son Dean and elected to retire from service to raise the child. However, she urged Tex to continue working with C.H.I.E.F. because she knew how much the agency meant to him.

Then came the awful day when Rudy Boemer was assassinated by Third World double agents who had infiltrated the C.H.I.E.F. ranks. Tex teamed with Rex Coronado and other loyal C.H.I.E.F. operatives to track down and personally capture each and every traitor responsible for Boemer's murder. Coronado was subsequently named the new director (with a recommendation from Tex), but C.H.I.E.F. was shaken to its very core by the incident. It also led to Tex Truman re-evaluating his priorities.

Tex reflected on the tragedies that had hit so close to his heart - Joe's disappearance, Anna losing her life to pneumonia, and the senseless killing of Rudy Boemer. Meanwhile, he had a girlfriend who loved him dearly and a son who deserved a father who was there for him. About a week later, Tex Truman sidled up to his pal Rex and handed him an envelope with a letter announcing his retirement from C.H.I.E.F. active duty. Then he went home and asked Gabrielle if she would marry an ornery ol' outlaw so they could spend the rest of their lives together.

Tex Truman currently stays involved in the adventure game by serving as C.H.I.E.F. liaison to the Invincible Alliance – the very group his son Dean leads as the Ultimate American. Otherwise, he helps his wife Gabrielle raise their young daughter Debbie. He is uncannily spry for being 96 years old. Perhaps that time 60 years ago when he vanished in the mountains of Tibet for a month has something to do with it?

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Off Topic: Frankie Goes to Hollywood

“Frankie Goes to Hollywood”

“Frankie Goes to Hollywood” is an April 2010 piece, but its origins go back many more years. The idea of the Frankenstein monster riffing on the band Frankie Goes to Hollywood was born in one of my high school notebooks, when it was actually topical! I loved the image so much that I knew I had to resurrect it for my modern day gallery.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Altered Egos: Bonus Paper

“Altered Egos: Bonus Paper” by Wandering Kotka. September-October 2010. Previously unreleased? (I can't remember anymore...)

Featuring Firegirl, Urban Nightmare, Shelly Ericson, and Captain Satellite.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Monday, April 15, 2019

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Same Cat-Time, Same Cat-Channel!

"Same Cat-Time, Same Cat-Channel!"

Featuring Cat-Man and Kitten
Created January 2019 with the Analogue TV Effect by PhotoFunia.
Image source: Cat-Man Comics #32 (Continental Magazines, August 1946). Art by L.B. Cole.


Friday, April 12, 2019

WrestleMayhem - Part 3

WrestleMayhem - Part 3

Blue Behemoth and Mondo Style careened out of the ring and crashed into the Spanish announcer's table, breaking it in half. The Deacon, a known shooter, confronted Devil Dynamite and tried to take him down. Alas, human skills were no match for artificial strength, and the Deacon was swatted aside almost effortlessly. Devil Dynamite vaulted over the ropes, stole the microphone from a baffled Baxter Sweet, and returned to the squared circle to speak.

It was a surreal moment as a notorious super villain stood in the middle of a wrestling ring and berated Huey Bartek and the GWO for not booking him on the biggest wrestling show in history. He bragged about his undefeated streak as a luchador and claimed that no one had drawn more money in the annals of Mexican lucha libre. As he belittled the talent competing at WrestleMayhem, Devil Dynamite did not notice Mondo Style had recovered enough to sneak up behind him. But Mondo had not returned alone and whacked the baddie with a steel chair. He then put the boots to Devil Dynamite as the villain lay on the mat, solidifying Style's reputation as being utterly fearless and more than a little bonkers.

Fortunately for Mondo, Blue Behemoth was hot on his heels, and he was in no mood to pull punches with Devil Dynamite. He lifted the felon onto his shoulders and delivered an airplane spin that left everyone who saw it dizzy. BB unceremoniously dumped Devil Dynamite onto the canvas and he and Mondo delivered simultaneous elbow drops on their unconscious enemy. As both champ and hero covered the red-suited rogue, the Deacon crawled over, counted three on Devil Dynamite, and called for the bell as he raised the hands of both Blue Behemoth and Mondo Style in victory.

Officially, the bout would be ruled a no-contest. But everyone who saw it knew it was far bigger than what the final result might indicate. In helping Blue Behemoth subdue a super villain, Mondo Style had gotten a better rub than even beating the hero would have earned him. As the two combatants expressed their "new" respect for one another in post-match interviews, Devil Dynamite was carted off by the authorities. Later that evening, he would escape from custody via unknown means, but he chose to make a getaway rather than pursue his differences with the GWO.

WrestleMayhem was the turning point that proved the Global Wrestling Organization could succeed on a national and even international stage. It propelled Mondo Style to the pinnacle of stardom, and got everyone talking about pro wrestling in a positive light (for once). Huey Bartek kicked back and smiled. He had done it.

As for Blue Behemoth, once was enough in fulfilling his wrestling daydreams and he retired from active competition after the single match. He did get a lot of mileage out of kidding his teammates afterward for not coming to his aid when Devil Dynamite attacked. "Come on BB!" they protested. "We thought it was part of the act!"


New Moon Garden, Major City
Presented by the Global Wrestling Organization (GWO) - Huey Bartek, Promoter
Commentators: Reese Bower and Baxter Sweet
Ring Announcer: Boyce Pierson

Match Results:

* Raoul Huerta defeated The Okapi Kid with a flying body press (3:56)

* Ned Debussy won by submission over Ben McNeil using the figure-four leglock (2:12)

* "Bad Dog" Leroy Edwards pinned Werner Koslowski following a powerslam (8:43)

* "Dangerous" Don Jackson and Dr. Zono wrestled to a time limit draw in a scientific match (20:00)

(Don Jackson was recognized as GJPW Super Great Champion at the time. According to contractual stipulation, the match was non-title because it was sanctioned only by the GWO.)

* "Gorgeous" Glen Starr won by disqualification over Man Mountain Muldoon (10:05)

(After referee Bart Roland was knocked out by a collision with Starr and Muldoon, Starr grabbed Muldoon's horseshoe from the timekeeper's table and hit his opponent with it twice. Muldoon overpowered Starr to retrieve his horseshoe just as Roland regained consciousness. Roland called for the bell and an automatic DQ when Muldoon clobbered Starr with the horseshoe and tossed him over the top rope.)

* Leah Kalani defeated GWO Women's Champion Winnie Reilly by reversing a small package to win the title (7:37)

(Leah Kalani was a special challenger booked through Global Japan Pro Wrestling. This was her debut in a GWO ring.)

* GWO Tag Team Champions "Wild" Bill Jackson & "Hotshot" Johnny Flash retained their championship by defeating the Lasers. (22:24)

(Lasers manager G.B. Hicks distracted referee Jerry Fleischer while Laser I loaded his mask with a foreign object to headbutt Bill Jackson. Jackson ducked out of the way and Laser II took the headbutt instead. Jackson rolled up Laser I for the pinfall while Johnny Flash prevented a woozy Laser II from making the save.)

* GWO World Champion Mondo Style vs. Blue Behemoth (special referee: the Deacon) ended in a no-contest when Devil Dynamite interfered and attacked all three participants. (18:49)

Thursday, April 11, 2019

WrestleMayhem - Part 2

WrestleMayhem - Part 2

Public interest in the spectacle of Blue Behemoth meeting Mondo Style in the ring ended up far surpassing everyone's expectations. It was a given it would get coverage in the usual magazines, such as The Sleuth Gazette and Wrestling Prevue. But who could have anticipated stories from important newspapers like The Major City Courier, The Major City Meteor-News, and The El Oceano Endeavor? DeKalb promoting it was no surprise, but their primary competitors MBS and UBC got in on the party, too. Even the Worldwide Press International (WPI) wire service assigned a special correspondent. It was the most attention professional wrestling had received in decades, and Huey Bartek loved every minute of it.

There was a capacity crowd in the New Moon Garden at bell time for WrestleMayhem. A number of famous faces were among the spectators, and the GWO made a point of showing them on-screen for their closed-circuit TV customers watching at home. The Invincible Alliance was there to cheer on their teammate, though they attended in civilian clothes (not that this mattered much for Elektroid). A nonplussed Whitney DeKalb was seated with several other DeKalb Network executives, and tried her best to look interested. Playboy Dick Major and his wife Fanny couldn't even manage that - they were just there for the photo op. Avant-garde actor Alan Norby, on the other hand, could barely contain his enthusiasm. He suggested to a ringside interviewer he might challenge the winner of the feature bout. Thankfully for the scrawny Norby, he thought better of this damn fool notion.

WrestleMayhem's undercard definitely lived up to the promotional hype. There were seven matches in all prior to the main event, and several were colorful enough to have toplined any arena in the world. Highlights included a continuation of the feud between "Gorgeous" Glen Starr and Man Mountain Muldoon and a tag team title showdown between champions "Wild" Bill Jackson and "Hotshot" Johnny Flash and the mysterious masked Lasers. Perhaps the most thrilling and controversial bout was GWO Women's Champion Winnie Reilly losing her belt to an unheralded challenger from Hawaii named Leah Kalani.

After the preliminaries were completed, it was time for the feature attraction of the evening. Both Blue Behemoth and Mondo Style made their way to the ring amid much pomp and fanfare. The Deacon, looking smart in his white mask and striped referee's shirt, gave instructions to the two adversaries after introductions and asked them to shake hands. They declined in a pointed display of mutual (feigned) disdain. The bell rang and it was time to lock up!

It only took a couple of minutes for Mondo to realize he had a serious problem. Though BB was both a fan and very cooperative, he had never worked an actual match before. Mondo could usually carry an inexperienced opponent, but Blue Behemoth was no ordinary foe. The size differential between them was huge, yet BB's offense looked weak and unconvincing as he pulled his punches so as not to stiff his human rival. Make no mistake, Mondo appreciated his cohort not killing him. It was just that their match was going to die quickly at this rate.

In the dressing room, the rest of the boys (and girls) watched the monitors and could sense something was wrong. This was likely their biggest payday ever, and if the main tanked, well...no one wanted to think about the consequences. Only Huey Bartek, of all people, was calm, cool, and collected as the match played out. His confidence would have been reassuring had it not seemed so disconnected from reality.

Mondo Style knew it was his responsibility as the veteran and the one calling the match to jazz things up. Besides, if he was as good a worker as he thought, surely he could salvage the situation. He whispered to Blue Behemoth to follow his lead and then unleashed a flurry of punches that sent his opponent "reeling." Since BB was worried about hurting him, he would dominate the action as much as he could and let the superhero react accordingly. Possibly getting booed for being so "vicious" to a beloved do-gooder was a small price to pay if it brought the people to their feet.

Suddenly, there was a disturbance in the crowd as a man raced down and jumped onto the ring apron. Mondo was busy holding BB in a headlock, and they could not break fast enough as H.O. Godfrey climbed through the ropes and trasmuted into his bootleg powersuit. The villainous Devil Dynamite then threw both wrestler and hero out of the ring. This was blatant outside interference, which would have been a fine addition to the show...except it was a total surprise to everyone and not part of the plan.


Wednesday, April 10, 2019

WrestleMayhem - Part 1

WrestleMayhem - Part 1

Promoter Huey Bartek's Global Wrestling Organization (GWO) scored a major coup when it landed a weekly primetime slot on the DeKalb Television Network. For Whitney DeKalb, it was a move aimed solely at increasing DeKalb's ratings to something approaching respectability. For the GWO, it was a rare opportunity for national exposure after years of being restricted to Major City's WMC and their own regional syndicated affiliates (not all of which were even DeKalb stations).

The GWO made the most of its big chance by improving its product considerably. There was talk among wrestling fans that the company had embarked on a new era of greatness with their TV deal. But even with all the gains, Huey Bartek was still not satisfied. He saw the potential to reach unprecedented levels with the GWO. He just needed the right angle to put it over the top.

The pivotal moment for the GWO began as just another TV taping at Major City's McDougal Auditorium. Yet this was an evening with a difference, because the superhero Blue Behemoth was a noticeable part of the crowd. He was quite gleeful in mugging for the cameras, and seemed more interested in playing to the audience than watching the action.

That all changed when GWO World Champion Mondo Style stepped into the ring. Style was facing Kit Katsaboulas and began to demolish the hapless jobber in short order. This finally caught Blue Behemoth's attention, and the ape man loudly heckled the champ. He even went to so far as tossing popcorn at Mondo's head.

Style did not take kindly to the insults hurled by BB. After gaining a quick pinfall over his opponent, he remained in the ring and motioned announcer Reese Bower to join him with his microphone. When Bower agreed, Mondo cut a devastating promo on Blue Behemoth right in front of him and everyone else in attendance, plus all the people watching the program. The upshot was when Mondo Style challenged BB to meet him in a match with the GWO title on the line.

Blue Behemoth was undaunted by the brazen words of Mondo Style, but his answer would have to wait another week. The GWO show opened its next installment with a prerecorded interview conducted at Invincible Alliance HQ between BB and Roxanne (Firegirl) Prize. In it, the hirsute hero accepted Style's challenge and said he would meet him whenever and wherever the GWO wanted. This was followed by the stunning announcement by Huey Bartek that the Behemoth/Style match would headline a "super card" dubbed WrestleMayhem at Major City's New Moon Garden.

News of WrestleMayhem spread throughout the wrestling industry. With such an enticing feature attraction, it looked like a lock to break all box office records. Bartek worked with his associate offices in Japan and Mexico, GJPW (Global Japan Pro Wrestling) and GMLL (Global Mexicana de Lucha Libre) respectively, to sign the best grapplers possible for the extravaganza. Considering the amount of money he was pouring into the enterprise, and the potential windfall it represented, he wanted to ensure he put on a stacked card that would draw from top to bottom.

Part of this careful planning involved bringing Blue Behemoth in for the top secret meeting to lay out his match. BB had been the one who suggested the angle in the first place when he had run into Mondo Style at a kosher deli. No matter what he said in public, Blue Behemoth was an unabashed fan of pro wrestling, and also smart to the business. He figured capitalizing off his crimefighting fame could do nothing but help the GWO and Mondo.

The booking meeting, however, was difficult at best. The dilemma for BB, Style, Bartek, booker Baxter Sweet (retired wrestler & heel TV analyst), and actor/wrestler Reed Ganza ("appointed" special referee in his masked identity as the Deacon) was how to have the match play out in such a way as to be both satisfying and believable for the fans. After all, Mondo might have been a peak-conditioned athlete, but Blue Behemoth was a massive, beast-like superhero. Suspension of disbelief could only take them so far.

Finally, after much discussion, the plan was to have Mondo hoist BB into a gorilla press (no symbolism there!) at around the thirty minute mark. The (gimmicked) ring would then collapse under the strain of their titanic battle and both participants would be counted out due to being unable to continue. This stalemate would enable both of them to claim they hadn't lost and still look strong.

Reed Ganza objected to this plan on the logical grounds that you can't be counted out if the ring is gone. No one was really satisfied with the ending, but there was a dearth of better ideas for what would be the centerpiece of the night. Huey Bartek ended the meeting with the calm assurance to everyone that the plan was fine, and he'd left them know if there were any changes necessary.


Tuesday, April 9, 2019

The Scarys

The Scarys

The Scarys are an English rock group and one of the richest and most esteemed such combos in history. Unsurprisingly, they are also a bunch of nutters. What, you expected them to be respectable, upstanding citizens? They can't even spell the name of the band correctly!

Arthur Cudlip (vocals/lead guitar) is the de facto leader of the Scarys since he's the one to blame for their formation. He was a scruffy hooligan working as a bootblack on the city streets of Londinium, and busking during his off-hours to make ends meet. Noticing he was earning 20 quid per day more singing for spare change, Cudlip figured he might have a future in the music business. But he probably needed a band to make it happen.

Cudlip went on the prowl for fellow lowlifes who could play instruments, and soon recruited Smythe Niblett (rhythm guitar), Geoffrey Toober (bass), and Nigel Null (drums). This quartet dubbed themselves “The Scarys” for reasons which are lost in a drunken haze, and were soon wreaking havoc in the pubs around town. Quickly signed to Magnetic Records, they recorded their debut LP The Scary Album in no time flat. The first single, "Shine Your Shoes (For Tuppence)", was a savage dig at Cudlip's old job and a smash hit that zoomed to the top of the charts. "Shine Your Shoes (For Tuppence)" and the rest of The Scary Album cemented the Scarys' reputation for catchy tunes and loutish lyrics.

During the sessions for the group's follow-up, I Have A Hat, they crossed paths with Zoragaza the Mystic. The nature of the relationship between Zoragaza and the Scarys is still unclear and open to conjecture - especially since neither are what one would term reliable sources. What is known is that Zoragaza performed in-show illusions during the Scarys' subsequent concert dates. This culminated in his appearance on the sleeve of the Scarys' third album, the thoroughly puzzling progressive rock effort Forest of the Sinister Mind.

Zoragaza the Mystic and the Scarys soon parted ways amid much mutual acrimony. The massive failure of Forest of the Sinister Mind at the cash register may or may not have led to this falling out. Suffice to say, the Scarys' hastily released fourth album was entitled ...Ooops? and marked a return to both the sound and the sales that made them so notable.

The Scarys (gleefully declared “The World's Most Obnoxious Band” by the rock press) have continued to make records because they have somehow managed to survive their often peculiar life choices. It was touch and go one evening at Major City's New Moon Garden though, when their old chum Zoragaza the Mystic disrupted the final leg of their tour with his newfound authentic magical powers. Fortunately, the Blue Behemoth was attending the show and subdued the mad magus with the aid of his allies in the Invincible Alliance. Grateful for the save, the Scarys invited the Alliance to appear on-stage with them two months later at a benefit show at Miles Major Memorial Stadium. Blue Behemoth (trumpet), Drone Man (synthesizer), Ultimate American (cowbell), Firegirl (tambourine), and Elektroid (triangle) accompanied the Scarys on “Wizards Are Wankers” - a brand-new song Cudlip wrote especially for the performance.

Most recently, Arthur Cudlip has abandoned his bandmates and turned his limited attention span to a side project he christened "The Scary Metal People" for some unfathomable reason. The SMP is a power trio consisting of Cudlip, bassist Ian Overham of Wee Reptile and drummer Angus Tingley of Thwack. The idea is apparently to pursue a "heavier" sound. The Scary Metal People have been playing gigs at smaller venues like Major City's Indigo Mollusk and are planning to release an album entitled Wampeter For Trouble. Where it goes from there is anyone's guess, but it seems inevitable that the classic lineup of the Scarys will eventually have a reunion. It would be too profitable not to happen.

Monday, April 8, 2019

Howard Fein

Howard Fein

Howard Fein is a real estate mogul who lives in (and owns a fair chunk of) Major City. His prized property is the famous amusement park and tourist trap Feinworld. While the merry-go-round, bumper cars, and roller coasters are all cool, the main attraction of Feinworld is Sky Point - an imposing observation tower which offers one of the best unimpeded views of Major City. Sky Point keeps the turnstiles turning for Feinworld even in the off-season, and that makes Howard Fein a very happy entrepreneur.

The Superhero Boom has not passed unnoticed by Howard Fein. He is keenly interested in promoting superheroes, though whether his motive is idealism or pure profit is something only he knows for certain. It was Fein who convinced Captain Satellite to appear for a special Feinworld charity extravaganza, but the advertising for that jamboree ballyhooed Cap's participation even over the actual cause. Though he said nothing, Cap was more than a little annoyed by this turn of events. As for Howard Fein, the publicity left him eager to find a full-time Feinworld superhero.

To his credit, there have never been any serious accusations of impropriety brought against Howard Fein despite his position of considerable power. There are those cynics who claim he cannot possibly be as pristine as the image he portrays. Surely a man of his wealth and influence must have some skeletons in his closet? Well, no one has ever managed to dig anything up, and it hasn't been for a lack of trying. It's an open secret that lifelong bachelor Fein is involved in a relationship with his much younger secretary Bria Plotnik, though this hardly counts as scandalous in modern society. Perhaps Howard Fein really is that squeaky clean?

Friday, April 5, 2019

Ivan Walters

Ivan Walters

When he was the director of sales for Xenorama Pictures, Ltd., Ivan Walters saw firsthand how much profit they brought in through the distribution of sci-fi movies like I Was A Teenage Crustacean. Ivan formed his own Wham Films, Inc. production company because he wanted a piece of that action for himself. He eventually found his success, but it came via a somewhat more roundabout path than he planned.

The Blue Ooze was Ivan's first feature, and it was a modest hit upon initial release (it later earned cult fave status after becoming a late-night TV staple). During the shoot, Ivan happened to discover some old Cat-Man comic books while waiting at the barber shop. Returning to the studio later that day and chatting with screenwriter Phil Banger, Ivan was surprised to learn that Banger had scripted Cat-Man for many years. Ivan asked Banger if he thought Cat-Man had any potential for the silver screen. Banger suggested that a television show might be better than a movie, at least at first, and a legend was born (and Phil Banger earned a sweet development deal that set him up for life).

Cat-Man was nothing short of a phenomenon when it bowed on the DeKalb Network. However, like all TV series, it ran its course after awhile and left the airwaves. The Deacon, a companion program starring another comic book hero, had only lasted a single unsuccessful season. Ivan continued to toil in television for a few years, producing shows such as Lomac! and Duke Palone, Private Eye for DeKalb for decent ratings. But Ivan was biding his time, because he had shrewdly retained the film rights to Cat-Man and he was waiting for nostalgia to kick in for it.

Ivan Walters' patience paid off beautifully. The Cat-Man film series has cranked out one blockbuster after another since its inception. The introduction of Black Widow and the carefully interwoven Cat-Man Cinematic World are just two aspects that keep people buying tickets. Though he was already doing well, Ivan Walters has become a very wealthy man thanks to Cat-Man.

One of the few frustrations of Ivan Walters' career is the nagging feeling that, while he's facilitated plenty of creativity, he has created very little himself. He has taken steps to scratch that itch by signing with Royal Deal Features Syndicate to write a graphic novel of their iconic Dirk Dixon property. Ivan promises that his updated take on Dirk Dixon, Gayle Allen, Dr. Zabor, and company will remain true to the spirit of the vintage comic strips. There are misgivings in some quarters as to how Ivan will handle the overt racism of the original concept of stereotypical "Mongols" as the villains. However, Ivan's longtime happy marriage to B-movie scream queen Lonnie Yee suggests he will be sensitive to the subject.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Black Widow

Black Widow

Black Widow is a fictional superheroine whose exploits are published by SR Enterprises under their Leader Comics imprint. She made her first appearance decades ago in Cat-Man Comics, the same comic book that debuted Cat-Man and the Deacon. Though she has never really been considered a "first-string" character, she is nevertheless a mainstay on the stands and spinner racks for SR Enterprises.

Due to the limited availability of Eve East to reprise her role as Kitten for the Cat-Man film series, producer Ivan Walters instructed screenwriter Fernando Santelli and director George Lime to bring Black Widow into the mix for the most recent installments. What's more, he cast a legitimate star for the part when he signed Amber Sigurdsson to be Black Widow. The contentious interplay between Sigurdsson's Black Widow and Bruce Chase's Cat-Man has added a whole new dimension to the venerable Cat-Man franchise.

Needless to say, the addition of Black Widow to the Cat-Man Cinematic World has caused her popularity to skyrocket. There is even clamoring among a segment of the fandom for her to receive her own solo movie. Both Ivan Walters and Amber Sigurdsson have thus far been non-committal about the idea. However, it is worth remembering that Walters didn't become a big shot media mogul by ignoring the demands of his audience.

*EDITOR'S NOTE: Black Widow is based on a public domain character whose authentic history differs from this fictional account. This picture utilizes patterns from 13 Fishnet Patterns by chaos-flare.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Dr. Macabre

Dr. Macabre

He is the Maestro of Mesmerism! Dr. Macabre is a criminal hypnotist, and the arch-nemesis of Cat-Man and Kitten in their four color exploits. He first appeared during the Golden Age of Comic Books, and is one of the most popular characters owned by SR Enterprises. Yes, even though he's a villain, Dr. Macabre has his share of fans.

Alan Norby is most commonly recognized by the public at large for portraying Dr. Macabre on a recurring basis in the Cat-Man TV series. He got the role after co-starring as the unhinged astronaut who causes all the trouble in the sci-fi film The Blue Ooze for producer Ivan Walters. Norby agreed to guest star on "that funny book deal" for Walters as a favor. Who had any idea it would be the biggest thing of Alan Norby's career? Certainly not Norby, who would have running screaming into the night if he had known.

Alan Norby has always been a bit odd even by actor standards. He practices a very unusual form of method acting that causes him to sometimes get too caught up in the parts he plays. Being the bad guy on-screen can make him quite unmanageable in real life. Still, there is money to be made as Dr. Macabre in the new Cat-Man movies, so he does his best to cope with the effect the performance has on his psyche.

*EDITOR'S NOTE: Dr. Macabre is based on a public domain character whose authentic history differs from this fictional account.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

The Deacon & Mickey Matthews

The Deacon & Mickey Matthews

He's a deeply religious masked wrestler. She's a spunky redheaded firebrand. Together, they fight crime! That's the high concept behind the pairing of the Deacon and Mickey Matthews, a team which originated in comic books and later made it to television.

Ivan Walters produced The Deacon for the DeKalb Network as a companion series to his successful Cat-Man show. Alas, lightning didn't strike twice, and The Deacon was cancelled due to low ratings after a single season despite the endorsement of it as "wholesome family entertainment" by several prominent church groups. Even if it was a flop, the program is still fondly remembered by a devoted clutch of aficionados.

Reed Ganza starred on TV as the Deacon, with the gimmick that he never removed his mask on-screen. Ganza, an Olympic caliber amateur wrestler, hoped to use the show as a launching pad for leading man roles, but that hasn't worked out for the most part. Instead, he has donned the mask of the Deacon (with the permission of copyright holders SR Enterprises) to compete in Huey Bartek's Global Wrestling Organization (GWO) - the nation's top pro wrestling association. The Deacon has made numerous appearances alongside such grapplers as "Wild" Bill Jackson, "Hotshot" Johnny Flash, "Gorgeous" Glen Starr, Mondo Style, and Man Mountain Muldoon on cards at Major City's New Moon Garden and other arenas around the country. That pays the bills and keeps Reed Ganza in groceries between auditions.

It's been a totally different story for Leigh Adams after her stint as TV's Mickey Matthews, the sharp-tongued young rascal with a heart of gold. Adams was mainly known at the time as a stand-up comedian. She had a small role as a nurse in The Blue Ooze, and so impressed Ivan Walters that he cast her as Mickey. Since then, she has gone on to become one of the most respected thespians of her generation. Equally adept at comic and dramatic parts, she has received countless accolades and awards for her performances, and her name is considered a top box office draw.

*EDITOR'S NOTE: The Deacon and Mickey Matthews are reimagined versions of public domain characters whose authentic histories differ from this fictional account.

Monday, April 1, 2019

Cat-Man & Kitten

Cat-Man & Kitten

Cat-Man is a superhero with the outlandish origin of having been raised by tigers in the wild. Returning to America as an adult, he took up the mantle of Cat-Man to wage war on the criminals who preyed on the innocent. Joined by his partner Kitten, Cat-Man is a force to be reckoned with in the never-ending battle against evil.

Cat-Man and Kitten are two of the most popular comic book characters in the world. They are owned by SR Enterprises, which also counts such luminaries as the Deacon and Black Widow in its stable. The Dandy Duo date back to the 1940s, and have been featured in a trendsetting TV series on the DeKalb Network and a subsequent string of blockbuster films.

Ivan Walters is the producer responsible for bringing Cat-Man to the screen. He credited the idea as coming to him when he found some old Cat-Man comic books in his local barber shop. Previously best known for the cult sci-fi film The Blue Ooze, Cat-Man quickly became the hit that would define his career. This popularity persisted even after the television version ran its course, and Walters shrewdly retained production rights for what turned out to be a top-grossing movie series.

Bruce Chase played the titular hero in the Cat-Man TV show. Noted for his exaggerated and overdramatic delivery, he was perfect for the part, and that landmark program made him a star. Though he went on to success as the title character Chip Lomac in the cop show Lomac! (also aired on DeKalb) for several seasons, recognition as a serious actor - what he really desires - has eluded Bruce. He is still doggedly optimistic, and convinced that all he needs is the right project - such as portraying Captain Satellite in a film adaptation of that hero's life story. In the meantime, he continues to cash in by reprising the Cat-Man role for movies, commercials, trade shows, and basically anywhere that will have him.

Eve East co-starred on the TV series Cat-Man as the hero's daring and delightful sidekick Kitten. After headlining as "Laverne Stevens" in the motion picture No Matter Where, she left acting behind and entered the arena of politics. Despite having recently been elected mayor of El Oceano, California (the largest city on the west coast, and entertainment capital of the world), she has come out of retirement for the gaudy paychecks of the Cat-Man films. In deference to her new responsibilities, her involvement is somewhat reduced - much to the discontent of fans everywhere. She is proud of her time as Kitten, but a little nonplussed when it’s all people want to talk about when they meet her.

*EDITOR'S NOTE: Cat-Man and Kitten are based on public domain characters whose authentic histories differ from this fictional account.