Digression Comics Group: Mr. Fantastic

Well, since nobody played the Comics Oscars Game…

First of two ordered-up memes: from Harvey Jerkwater, a suggestion for a Marvelized Tangent Universe, only to the EXTREEEEEME…!

Quoth Harvey:

“In 1997, Dan Jurgens had a snazzy idea. The birth of the Silver Age brought about a ton of new characters who bore the names of unused Golden Age characters. Some hewed closely to their namesakes, such as the Flash. Others were quite similar in the basics but wildly different in background and genre, like Hawkman. And still others were totally different except for the name, such as the Atom. Jurgens thought it would be fun to take this approach and try it all over again.

Out of this notion came “Tangent Comics.” DC put out a collection of one-shots for a universe they never intended to follow up with, and stocked them with characters of similar names and radically different types. “The Metal Men” was a war comic. “The Joker” was a female vigilante and anarchist. “Nightwing” was a shadowy organization with evil intentions. And so forth. Supporting characters in the stories were similar. “Aquaman” was a villain, a water elemental. “Captain Boomerang” was a pilot and the leader of a flight team in the mold of Blackhawk.

DC went so far as to create an alternate history for that world. In the “Tangent Universe,” the Cuban Missile Crisis had a tragic ending. Cuba and Florida were destroyed by nuclear missiles, and Atlanta became a coastal city, now dubbed “New Atlantis.” The Soviets invasion of Czechlosovakia in 1968 led to an American military response and WW3. Things were, in short, quite different.

Nifty. It also begs for the obvious: Marvel’s response. I call it “Digression Comics.”

Suggested rules:

–The title of the series as well as its star(s) must recycle the name of Marvel Universe characters or organizations. Supporting characters and villains should as well.

–A brief series pitch for the comic, explaining the book’s appeal. Why would a reader want to try it?

Suggestions for Awesomeness:

–The bigger a departure from the original concepts, the better. Recasting the Hulk as a variation on Man-Thing isn’t a departure. Recasting the Hulk as a rusted-out, haunted oil tanker that floats around the north Pacific and serves as the basis for a horror anthology comic is a departure. This isn’t the Ultimate Universe, which is “Marvel with a Twist.” This is, to use a nauseating Hollywood term, a “re-imagining from the ground up.”

Now say what you will about Harvey, but he’s a man with a plan. The Incredible Hulk as EC-style horror comic about an abandoned freighter? Ohhhh, YASSSSSSSS…but Harvey, where should we start?

Imagine taking these names and building whole new concepts around ‘em: Mister Fantastic, Ghost Rider, Deathlok, Beta Ray Bill, Blade, Ka-Zar, Elektra, Martinex, Rogue, Quasar…”

Well, okay…

But Sean W., weren’t you just telling me about a Marvel version of this that did exist?

But okay!

“Mister Fantastic” — nobody knows how, and nobody knows why, but here’s a man who can not only bilocate, not only can multilocate, but he can’t stop himself from multilocating! He’s in every English town, every English city…for all we know he’s in foreign towns and cities as well. And every day there’s more of him. Mild-mannered, understanding, he’s everybody’s best friend for ten years…and then there’s even more of him. His eye is even on the sparrow. He’s like Jesus, only with a double chin, and dirty glasses, and you don’t need faith to believe. He doesn’t even get older. He’s just always there.

Humour mag: Death Note flipped on its side to become a smiley-faced emoticon. He’s a great guy, this Mister Fantastic…but there’s only so much room on the Earth, and the more of him there is, the more it becomes a problem. Eventually he needs to be put to work. He becomes like a technology: need to haul a barge out of the bay? Well, you could use a winch, but why not use Mr.-Fucking-Fantastic? It’s not like we’re gonna run out of him…

Need to make a pile out of something?

Mister Fan-Fucking-Tastic!

But, admonitions from mothers and fathers notwithstanding, there are always girls who are attracted to both his put-upon nature, and his mysterious multiplicity. He’s both exotic and homely; both a farmer and a lawyer and a sort of king and a sort of mute dumb equipment that will stand there and serve sandwiches; in a word, he’s English cultural bullshit personified.

In about the year 1897, a Chestertonian anarchist is jilted for a Mister Fantastic, and tries to get him tried in court as a bigamist. But the case can’t be proved; in fact though Mister Fantastic confesses, he does not confess to bigamy but to polygamy…which is quite against the law, but not the crime he was charged with, and so (with the help of a skilful advocate) he goes free.

Our Chestertonian anarchist then conceives, in a fit of rage and inspiration, the following incredibly correct plan: if he can just find the real Mister Fantastic, the original from whom all these multiple instances emanate, and if he can kill him…

Well then; problem solved. No more Mister Fantastics, they’ll probably puff away into smoke, and then he can marry his girl. Why it’ll be like an annulment. Yes: a cosmically-just annulment.

He’s our main character. Let’s call him Gil Bloodpenny. A strapping young genius, who can pick up a full-grown Holstein and hurl it two feet…and that’s a lot, I couldn’t toss a carton of milk much more than four feet, and this man can hurl a cow. Can hurl a cow. Cuchullain reborn. Cow-hurler. The man is simply Demetrious. The flat bronze blade smashes the interloper’s nose into seventeen ugly, crusty shards…the thick drops of blood spill out, to the glory of Apollo…

Anyway: he conceives, with his razor-sharp brain, this, um, crystalline plan. And then he goes out across the country to raise an army of brilliant and Herculean jilted lovers like himself. He forms a vast spy network of these geniuses and physical marvels. He secures the assent of the Government in his plan, too: they’re quite concerned that the sheer weight of Mister Fantastics will sink the glorious Island Nation. So, he slaughters hundreds of Mister Fantastics. But more and more are constantly popping into view. In the pulpit. Down the local pub. Suddenly there’s one sitting having dinner with you. Driving the bus. They’re everywhere. And it’s all the same man! Who seems a little embarrassed by it all. “I say…I really do understand your frustration…” Chop! Kick! Beat! Sever! And then you go to your hotel, and he greets you as a doorman: “Truly, I feel awfully bad about it…” Yes, yes. Honestly I’m worn out with killing you. Can’t you just tell me where the original of you is? “Well, the truth is I can hardly remember…I know one of me is kneeling down somewhere…”

“What?” The minor Hercules feels his bow…I mean, his hat…drop from numb fingers. “You’re kneeling?” He laughs, lustily. Well, he never laughs any other way. “Of course,” he says. “Of course…”

Pardon me; gotta go to bed. Should I finish the story later, or…?

Anyway: that’s my version of Mister Fantastic.

Advertisements

48 responses to “Digression Comics Group: Mr. Fantastic

  1. So, Pillock – this is actually a comic I’d really, really love to read. And, you know, the thing about it is that it doesn’t actually have to use a name trademarked by Marvel at all, when the concept is so far removed from the original character… What I’m saying – and I’m sure I won’t be the only commenter saying this! – is that you should get this written out and find yourself an artist, because there is a great, solid story in this little bit that you’ve shared that just needs to be seen through to the end.

  2. Pingback: “I don’t care if you think I’m racist, I just care that you think I’m thin.” « supervillain·

  3. Well Marvel had a project called “Timeslip”. Just a quick google search shows that Siskoid has a few of them up here: http://siskoid.blogspot.com/search/label/Timeslip

    They started off as simple costume redesigns,but after a while it was just like Tangent. Whatever the hell Jim Krueger and the artist felt like doing with the name. They were filler for the back of Marvel Age or something and eventually got put out as big one-shot. Some of them were pretty damn mind-blowing, like Paul Pope’s Mandarin and Jeff Smith’s Silver Surfer.

    Also just taking the name and repurposing for something completely different is where a lot of the great new comics come from. Like Nextwave.

    Another thing – the first Tangent: Green Lantern book is one of my favorite comics all-time. James Robinson and JH Williams just doing an old-school horror anthology combined with Jurgens’ alternate history. With both Robinson and Williams playing style-chameleon to great heights.

    Now is there anything I can think of that would be awesome? Maybe Bishop? The Wolf Pack?

  4. I’m working on a pitch for “Alpha Flight,” and a few other possibles. such as “Power Man,” “The Impossible Man,” and “The Mighty Thor.”

    And maybe the dashing, incorruptible, and heroic “Mister Sinister?”

    Mister Sinister: The Left-Handed Avenger!

    Okay, maybe not that one.

  5. Penguin: Hey, thanks! Hmm, I don’t know…

    Maybe!

    Sean: Ah, that’s what it is! I remember thinking that Mandarin thing was cool…”Bishop” sounds like a freakin’ great candidate for this, so many places to go…although The Wolf Pack reminds me mostly of this.

  6. Beta Ray Bill would be hardest. He’s incredibly awesome, badder assed than THOR, and underused. It’s hard to not feel you’re disappointing his name….

    Hmmm, Ghost Rider could be fun. A loose knit organization of stuntmen, daredevils, and just plain nutjobs, as a kind of flash-mob thing, do insane stunts in identical cars across the country in isolated locations to… well, freaking people out was the initial goal, but things get out of hand. Could go somewhere somewhat interesting

  7. I have a few.

    A bunch of inner-city gifted kids (including some of the best young scholars, artists, musicians and athletes around) who have lost loved ones to gang violence decide to band together in their own gang to fight back against them. They call themselves The Avengers.

    A group of Canadian scientists discover that the American and Soviet space programs have been producing nothing but propaganda about the true nature of outer space. They put together their own spacecraft and send a team out to discover what the superpowers are really up to in the swamps of the Moon, the arcades of the asteroid belt, and the haunted labyrinths of the Crab Nebula. Project Alpha Flight will face all the dangers of the universe… but the real threat comes from their own kind! (I see the characters here as Captain Heather Hudson of the spaceship Guardian, Sgt. Langkowski, operator of the Sasquatch battlesuit, Lt. Mackenzie, pilot of the Snowbird fighter/shuttle… you get the idea.)

    Peter Parker is an escaped slave who fought in Nat Turner’s rebellion and now works with the Underground Railroad. He’s seen the futility of fighting slavery by force, and has resolved to do so by guile instead. He’s trained himself to become a master of disguise, trickery, sleight-of-hand and acrobatics, and in honour of the trickster god Anansi, helps slaves escape to Canada as the Amazing Spider-Man.

    A quartet of young English children spend their hols camping on the moors, eating tinned pineapple and tongue, and fighting nameless monsters from the mists. Join Reed, John, Susan, Benjy, and Herbert the dog in the Blyton-meets-Lovecraft adventures of the Fantastic Four.

    Yes?

  8. Ha! As usual, Matthew, I’m reading along and then something you say suddenly brings it all crystal-clear in my head, genre-wise. This time it was “Sgt. Langkowski, operator of the Sasquatch battle-suit”…

    I once made up a sort of Can-Con Dr. Who/Blake’s 7 cross — back in the days when I imagined I could tolerate Biz. Wrote about half the scripts. This strikes me as kind of like that, only more 80’s!

    Fantastic!

    Also pretty jazzed about your Spider-Man and (of course!) FF…your Avengers doesn’t quite hook me as much, but maybe that’s because I haven’t given it time to settle.

    For God’s sake, Lt. MacKenzie, pilot of the Snowbird fighter/shuttle?

    You see, non-Canadians, I swear to you…if we had a space porogram like Matthew describes here, that’s exactly what those things would all be called! Hysterical. Also you can never fail to get me on your side when you copy the rhythms of Ted Knight’s opening voiceover for the Fantastic Voyage cartoon…

  9. By the way, Bret, the Ghost Rider flashmob thing…that sounds cool!

    Also it reassures me to know that some things in this world remain constant, e.g. your devotion to everybody’s favourite Canadian icon, Horse-Face Thor.

    I don’t know, good Beta Ray Bill name-repurposings are just not coming to me, for some reason…

  10. I wasn’t even going to do this because everyone else’s ideas are so freaking good…but you had to go and say there was one name you couldn’t crack. So:

    Thor Havisson, a heavyset redheaded Norwegian archaeologist with a booming laugh and an equally formidable temper, travels the world with his science consultant, the mild-mannered particle physicist William “Beta Ray Bill” Korbin, searching for ancient mysteries, lost civilizations, and barroom brawls. But in the first issue, Thor may have gotten a bigger fight than he bargained for when the pair uncover a lost platoon of Nazi werewolves, the Howling Commandos…

    Aaaaaaand that’s why I wasn’t going to do this.

  11. Now I am the only blogger left alive who hasn’t mentioned Nazi werewolves at some point.

    Ulp!

    Now, see, I like that: it’s sort of like The Tick if it were written by Fritz Leiber, or possibly Poul Anderson. Wait, which comments thread am I in again…? Anyway, how can you not like that, you’d have to have a heart made of stone. Personally I’d have Bill Korbin write papers about what they discover, only to have the world consider them science fiction. I mean if ’twere done, you know…well, best ’twere done whole hog, is all I can say.

    Great! Little bit of “Without A Clue” in there too, perhaps. My. I do believe I’d read that.

  12. Pingback: “Yellowjacket” « supervillain·

  13. Ah, Yellowjacket! Lovely stuff, there.

    Just another word about Matthew’s Alpha Flight — it sort of rehabilitates the aggravatingly stereotypical Canadian super-handles, see? To have Sasquatch and Snowbird in the comics is…well, it’s…it’s a bit of a strain, sometimes. But as official Government-of-Canada names, wow! Suddenly it all seems so much more supportable, if only from a marketing perspective. And thus, you can pack even more crap on it in the same vein. The Snowbird may be of highly-experimental design, and Lt. MacKenzie really the only one who’s had the necessary training, or has the necessary skill, to really fly it. Borrowing from the song, then, she could be a person with some clinical depression or bipolar issues, which she’s taken great pains to keep secret from her superiors. I know — it’s a little blasphemous. But you could pack that stuff on. You could make a whole great meal of such things.

    I think I want to do another one. I mean, another one besides the “Quasar” thing I’ve got waiting in the garage being tuned up by Harvey…

    Let’s see…

  14. You know, I really liked the first go-round of Tangent books.

    Here’s a few ideas for a Marvel equivalent …

    Spider-Man: a virtual terrorist able to pierce the computer system of any organization in the world, dedicated to the downfall of the military-industrial complex. The “web-spinner’s” identity is unknown and all efforts to either stop his well-publicized assaults have failed utterly. In response, a special task force is formed led by the most brilliant detective in the world – a quadriplegic kept alive by an iron lung. His codename? You guessed it … Iron Man!

    Mighty Thor – Tall, blond and ripped like you wouldn’t believe, Mighty Thor is the most popular professional wrestler on the planet Earth. Yet he also leads a secret life as an agent of ODIN – a covert agency dedicated to stopping threats to humanity that are too immense – and bizarre – for normal governmental bodies to handle. Typical menaces encountered on his travels include robotic vampires, sentient clouds that spit acid rain and a scheme to plunge the U.S. economy into shambles by addicting young pop divas and actresses to a will-sapping drug known as Vibe-Brainium.

    Ouch.

  15. Agghhh … I can’t stop.

    Rogue could be a War War II fighter pilot who lost every man in his company and now fights a lonely battle taking suicide missions that, by all rights, should end his life but instead usually result in spectacular victories for the Allied forces.

    OK, that’s it!

  16. Okay, I’m in love with the whole idea of this Mighty Thor! I mean I like your Spider-Man, too, but the Thor idea is like the WWF-sploitation that Marvel never did! Beautiful, Keeper.

  17. Here’s another one. A no-prize for the person who can guess just what Marvel name I’m building this around before I actually reveal it.

    Anthony deLongpre, daring hero of the American Revolution, needs a job to take him overseas, now that the fledgling nation of the United States is getting up and running. Not that he wouldn’t like to stay home, but his crippled (but very bright!) older brother William is a Loyalist, and William’s life would remain in jeopardy if he remained in the U.S.A. So Anthony wangles a position as ambassador to the land of Faerie, where he will be stationed in their capital city of Ys.

    Anthony, William, William’s eleven-year-old daughter Georgina, Anthony’s slave Bayard, and Anthony’s bodyguard Diarmuid Fitzpatrick will all face intrigue, adventure and danger in this unearthly setting. But it’s Anthony who’s responsible for them all, Anthony who has to represent his country’s interests, Anthony who will find love with the enigmatic Shenaniga, and Anthony whose exploits will become legend among the various tribes and species of fey, despite their prejudice and contempt for humanity. Over time, they’ll have many names for him, but the one that will be remembered most is the one given him by the smallest pixies of Ys: (name revealed in next comment)

  18. What as the last thing you saw?

    [ Illustrated by Steve Ditko … in my dreams! The crook under interrogation is terribly disturbed – wide-eyed, sweating, garishly lighted – you know the drill.]

    A woman! With shiny eyes – skin like a snake’s – hair as red as the fires of hell! She had sort of a gun …

    [ A magazine lies open. Most of the text below is visible, but parts are obscured by broken fragments of glass tubes and splattered with blood. ]

    Remote Nerve Induction
    Doctor’s dream … or instrument of torture?

    If you’re looking for a real mystery, here’s one as close as the fingers with which you’re turning these pages. Just how do your nerves convey the sensation of touch to your brain? How do they transmit your intentions, and your unconscious reflexes, to your muscles? What makes the difference between the pain of an injury and its relief?

    Doctor Charles Connor believes he is close to the answer. In his research at the U. Cal. Parnassus Medical School, he has investigated the dynamic structures of the peripheral nervous system on a scale finer than ever before.

    “Our nerves are like tiny electric batteries, long but very thin.” he explains. “When the inner and outer poles connect, a minute pulse of current flows across. There are thousands of these cells in every inch of skin, all working together with exquisite timing. We see evidence that the rhythms of the pulses are like an orchestra, stirring up deep feelings in us; with our brain being both the audience and the conductor.”

    But what if this orchestra went on the air? Or could receive another conductor’s directions over the radio?

    “In the moment a nerve fiber becomes a conductor, it also becomes an antenna” says Dr Connor. “And if we could just catch the right fibers at the receptive moment, it’s possible that we could over-ride the commands and sensations they convey. We might be able to close down the pain system, or to induce relaxation, even unconsciousness. It would be the perfect anaesthetic, without the dangers of the drugs we use at present.”

    It is an alluring vision; but couldn’t a means of relieving pain also produce it? “This is why we will need years of testing before we can put the method into practice, even assuming that our research here is successful. Remember, the Hippocratic Oath commands all physicians, firstly to do no harm.”

    [ Caption: Popular Science, August 1928. ]

    [ Text panel, jarred from the vertical: ]

    That was the clue Jack Fury needed to the crime war that was ripping Los Angeles apart … but he didn’t know it!

    That was the edge Timon Fisk wanted … a control and terror machine that left no evidence … so he took it!

    And that was the first thing Lena Hammond saw when she entered the lab at 6:03 a.m. that morning …

    Okay, that’s as far as I dare to go with it just yet. And it’s all to kick off some fast-paced Real Crime Action in L.A., 1929, featuring Lena as …

    Madame Medusa, woman of mystery with a paralyzer pistol.

    It’s supposed to be kinda naive, at least Lena is. Naive enough to think she can (a) get employment in post-Crash L.A. (b) complete Doc Connor’s research (c) bring the killer to justice. Thing is, she’s an exceptional technician, she’s been typing up Connor’s work, so she has all the working notes, as well as processing all the snake and gerbil skin samples that the nerve research as been using. Before long she has a lab in back of a taxidermist’s, where she’d thought to look for work, and she has a job making custom wigs for a Hollywood studio. That girl sure knows skin. But it’s by sheer luck that she survives her first inept tries at detective work. She’s really just a kid, and her first reaction to being questioned by Jack Fury is like, “Boy he could lock me up for keeps – if it was at his place!” But she keeps her cool, and pretty soon Jack is getting scooped on all the crime scenes, and finding infuriating notes signed, “Your femme fatale – Madame Medusa”

    It’s a start.

  19. Charles Xavier is London’s foremost consulting detective. His brilliant deductive talents have allowed the police to in bring in impressive list of felons, such as the arsonist St. John Allerdyce, the fraudulent identical Madrox brothers, and the thieving scourge of the dockyards, Christopher Summers. Nothing, however, has prepared him for the sheer horrific brutality that his current case brings to bear. Victims of terrible mutilations have popped up all around London. Each and every one has survived, which, considering that the attacks cost them the majority of what constitutes human bodies, is a fate worse than death. To leave them breathing after such utter savagery is obviously the work of a brilliant surgical mind, yet the police have not found a single credible suspect among the city’s doctors. With the whole of London in a panic and victims appearing almost daily, can Xavier turn the tide in the manhunt for the torturer the papers are calling The Beast?

  20. Oh, Penguin, I didn’t see you there…

    And, wow again!

    That’s frickin’ gorgeous. You could even call it “X-Men” — police slang based on the standing orders from up top that no one disturb the bodies until Xavier gets there to examine them closely with his Holmesian methods. “No, we don’t touch these ones…don’t you know they’re bloody X-Men?

  21. Warning: Breathless Purple Prose Below.

    The greatest hunter of the tribe was kidnapped by the gods, never to return. That’s what the legends say.

    The truth was very different.

    Science criminal Doctor Strange reached back 130,000 years to kidnap the first truly impressive Homo Sapiens specimen from the African grasslands he could find. Victor Von Strange had a theory about human evolution, and he needed the First Man upon whom to test it.

    Quark chargers, lepton inverters, and sub-tachyon generators reshaped the First Man’s body…into that of the Next Man.

    His brain accelerated beyond even Doctor Strange’s control, the Hunter escaped his tormentor and into a land beyond his imagination: the world his descendents have made, the world of today.

    The Hunter’s confusion at this new world was short-lived. His accelerated brain grasped the truth in moments. And he knew what he must do.

    His expanded mind and strength now aid him in carrying on what he’s always done, what he was born to do. In the distant past, he protected his tribe and his children. In the modern world, every single person is his descendant. His tribe is the human race.

    During the day, the brilliant and secretly psychic Adam DuBois rules from a boardroom, using a fortune he built overnight to improve the world.

    During the night, the Hunter stalks those who would harm his countless children.

    Beware the Next Man. Beware the Hunter.

    Beware…Sabretooth!

  22. Shy, mild-mannered teenager Brian Braddock has two big problems. One is his nascent superpowers. The other is his complete incompetence at spelling. Casting aside those tiresome restrictions of conventional grammar and not using adjectives as monikers, he takes the name Britanic.

    Now he fights evil dictionary fascists alongside fellow anti-literacy fighters Cunaidean, Ummerican, Jirman and Frensh.

  23. I.

    As America rejoiced at the end of World War II, Victor von Doom had a vision. If free-thinking nations could unite to defeat the worst evil known to man, they could pool their resources and manpower to journey to the stars. The courageous, handsome scientist spearheads a movement for peace through scientific achievement, and leads mankind to spaceflight in 1949. The first beeps of the satelite Starhawk is heard ’round the world…

    II.

    Our arm of the Milky Way is a frontier thought uninhabited, ripe for colonization. Indeed, various planets and moons have already become populated by an alien empire. Of course, the people of Earth don’t know that. Just as they don’t know that their first foray into the final frontier has brought them to the attention of the Iron Fist.

    III.

    No native born human can remember what life was like before the Iron Fist conquered Earth almost sixty years ago. They know that Batroc (son of some minor galactic lord) is the overlord of their planet. They know that worship of the god Morbius is mandated, and those caught worshiping other gods are “enlightened” by the much-feared inquisitor Bishop. They know that half their families are taken from them and transformed into Ex-Men, shock troops for the Iron Fist’s seemingly endless wars. And they know that somewhere, somehow, a group of secret Defenders works to free the planet.

    IV.

    Victor von Doom became an outcast for his role in bringing the Iron Fist to Earth. He was given the derisive nickname “Dr. Doom,” and forced to go underground. Of course, his guerilla network knows this. They also know he is the only hope for humanity. No one knows how big the Defenders are, or if they have a hope in hell. All they know is Dr. Doom sends his orders through Cable, a young woman who seems to be everywhere at once, but nowhere at all.

    V.

    Batroc knows about the Defenders. After all, they’ve caused him no end of grief. He is aware of Tony Stark, the one Ex-Man who broke through his programming and became known as the Iron Man, living symbol of humanity’s strength of will. He knows about the so-called “Invisible Woman,” an expert saboteur who can not be caught. He knows that no human is allowed to pilot an aerial vehicle, but the souped-up fighter jet (called “Justice”) of the Daredevil has sent many of his fleet to their death. He also knows that these Defenders are minor annoyances, fleas really, and their antics are of no real consequence. And yet…

    VI.

    Humankind is allowed its bread and circuses, of course. One must throw ones dogs a bone, after all. Batroc has allowed Thad “Thunderbolt” Ross to ascend to football supremacy. Of course, the favors his prowess earns him go straight to von Doom. Drug use is publically outlawed, but privately encouraged. Everyone in New York knows “anarchemist” Dr. Druid has the best stuff. What they don’t know is that he has been using his psychotropics to set Ex-Men free, and plans to introduce his unique chemicals into the city’s water supply. Just to see what happens.

    VII.

    Dr. Doom, the oldest man on Earth, has seen more joy and disappointment than any man alive. The grey world the Iron Fist has made of Earth is hell. He misses freedom, human achievement, family and friends, and the peace he’s been denied for sixty years. He’s close to the end of his life, seemingly surviving on sheer will. He can’t die yet, oh no. Not until humanity can come out from the Iron Fist’s rule, and he sees the creativity and spirit he loves in his fellow man come into the light. Dr. Doom won’t die until he gets his goddamned science back.

  24. Aww, time to get all sentimental:

    Last night, every sleeping person in this city had the same dream. It was a home movie of a trip my family took to the beach when I was young, the first of many wonderful memories that I have committed to that perfect medium, The Great Video. Sun and warmth and waves, all broadcast in perfect vivid clarity to the sleeping minds of New York. The kind of dream that, by its unsettling beauty, sticks in the mind all day. By now, talk around the water coolers, break rooms and diners has begun to make people aware of this strange coincidental dream. Tonight, I will be serving up another selection from this fortunate, beautiful life that I have documented for you all. Perhaps a dream of love, or of days in the verdant countryside, or of children’s games on rainy days. After luck and fate gifted me with this long and amazing life, this in return is my gift to you. By night I will show you scenes of joy and love and beauty, and by day I will venture out among you to witness the pleasant changes in all of you firsthand.

    I realize that some may see this as an intrusion, no matter how nice the imagery is, and may wish to put an end to my work, but my great dream machines are well hidden so as to keep the despoilers of beauty and the scampering, scheming agents of the kings of the shadow away. In the event that they do find me out, I assure you that despite my advanced age I will fight to my last to keep these dreams alive in you all.

    I am Dr. Henry Pym, and I hope that you all enjoy what I have to share. The culmination of a life well-lived. The chance to see beauty flowing freely in a world where it’s all too rare. The Vision.

  25. Ha! I was just trying “Martinex” on, but guess what? You simply can’t beat a human variant from the far-future, suddenly arrived in our time, who’s a Crystal Man. Seriously, how in the world can you beat that? I think there’s a Highest And Best Use thing operating here…all these comments/ideas of yours, you folk, meet the standard of being at least as good, and frequently better, that the original application. But Martinex, the Crystal Man? I wish the original application of this name had been a giant world-controlling super-computer, or something, because then I would say “what if he was a far-future Crystal Man instead??? Check me out!!!”, and you would all say “ooooooh, Great Creepy Christ, you’re one smart guy”.

    So I’m just gonna have to ruminate on Martinex (great-grandson of Malcolmex?) a bit more.

    But in the meantime…

    Oh, wait a second, I have something important I have to attend to. One hour, please, Bloggers!

  26. Sasquatch!

    He’s a member of an American neo-Nazi group, a dumb little bastard with no education and less sense who’s raised in the highly cultish environment of his grandfather’s twelfth-splinter KKK organization. One day, just the very day after he’s returned from his honeymooon as a young lad of 21 (marrying rather late, there — and an amazingly big fella, the kind of big you only get with inbreeding, one generation before everything falls apart in the worst way) to stay a night in his parents’ house before the Group (really just his old bastard grandfather) buys him a place of his own, and inducts him into Knight status (only married men can be Knights)…the real Klan comes around and burns down the house. And everybody dies. Except our young delusional idiot, here.

    And somehow over the course of the next few months of recovering from horrible burns, of camping out in secret down by the river (his father’s place was ironically (at least his father thought so) in a very liberal neighbourhood, and so he’s hiding from kindness as much as he’s hiding from himself…)

    Over the course of this time, he puts together the various whack-job genetic theories of his family with what he assumes is his own Chosen One status, and determines that God has sent him, the Sasquatch, here to preserve the true homo sapiens blood from incursion by the hidden alter-sapiens that you and I just don’t have the wit to see around us…

    Not blacks. Not Jews. That ground’s covered. Sasquatch would never touch a black man or a Jewish woman, or vice versa. Because that isn’t his purpose; that would be disrespectful to God.

    One night he finds a target: an alterhuman (read: Bad White Man) who’d cut him off in traffic earlier that evening, and had then gone to a nearby casino. The guy comes out; the Sasquatch has donned his costume and battle-armour, and is ready to annihilate the dude.

    But then the guy starts talking. And he’s such a good talker that Sasquatch comes to believe he’s looking at, not the alterhuman, but the Ultrahuman…the prophesied next stage of human evolution (and maybe the guy puts this idea in Sasquatch’s head?), the Really Really White Guy who is destined to haul humanity up from confusion with the lower species of hominids.

    So he doesn’t kill the guy.

    And the guy thinks he’s escaped.

    But then the Sasquatch starts re-encountering the slick-talking guy all over the place. He arranges to leave him messages. He calls him. He shows up in restaurants wearing the full-on suit, sitting at another table, acting cool and inconspicuous. Eventually he gets face to face with Captain Victory (as he calls him) once again, and gets a chance to abjectly pledge his allegiance. Which the good Captain accepts.

    And then, next day…Cap’s off to fucking Europe.

    An idiot might stay, and try to use Sasquatch as a tool. Cap’s a bit more of a survivor than that, though; he knows a deeply-damaged situation when he sees it. So he goes.

    And this is where the comic starts: Sasquatch follows him. To Europe.

    He doesn’t know what country Captain Victory is in. He kind of just thought all of Europe was London, England. He kind of thought London was the capital of Europe. He figured Europe was about twenty miles square. He always thought China was just a story they told to scare little kids. He is *unprepared*. And he is never going to find “Captain Victory”.

    And he just doesn’t understand this Feench, English, German, Italian thing. It’s a whole world of extreme, exotic alterhumans. Dressing different. Buying different consumer products. He can’t possibly kill them all. He wouldn’t know where to start. They all drink this “wine” stuff, for God’s sake!

    So he becomes a rootless (he has no money — doesn’t understand “their” money), restless, helpless feeb. Basically he’s The Maxx. He’s befreinded by a girl. He finds a place to stay, and a small usefulness. But he’s always bound to wander on, endlessly looking for Captain Victory. And his life is awful, but he stupidly perseveres.

    Once a year, there’s a Sasquatch Annual — the back-up feature is always a Captain Victory strip showing the guy lazily happy on Greek islands, or travelling on a train, or skiing in the Chamonix…always without word-balloons or captions, always gorgeous stuff by the best artists, he always has a woman, he’s always the most well-beloved guy anyone’s ever seen…

    And meanwhile Sasquatch is in Hell, every day.

    Hmm, not what I was going to write…but I’ll take it.

    Whaddaya think?

  27. Another one I’ve sort of been toying with.

    It’s sometime in the 1860s. That was a pretty active decade: Civil War, Confederation, Indian Mutiny, Alice in Wonderland… lots of stuff going on. One of the things that’s happening is that Russia is again trying to reduce British influence in Asia, in the Great Game. To do so they’re trying to reempower the Thuggee cult, and by establishing branches of it all over the world, in cities and in out-of-the-way places. There’s even a mystic prophecy associated with it, involving the Koh-I-Noor jewel… but is that for real or is it just some nonsense the Russians cooked up to rally the Thugs?

    There’s one man who may have the answers, a supercargo officer from a British East India clipper. He knows that the Thugs are a threat, but he doesn’t know how or why he knows. He’s lost almost all of his recent memories. But he’ll travel around the world, doing what he can to fight the Thugs and to try to remember the details of this danger to civilization. Until he does, though, all he knows of himself is that he’s Lieutenant Howard of HMS Duck.

  28. Loads of good stuff here. I didn’t get round to congratulating Matthew on his first four; something about his Alpha Flight sent a tingle down my spine. Harvey’s Sabertooth too; defender of his tribe … but what other tribes are out there?

    Congrats all round! Hope I’m fully on line before long.

  29. My shy offerings.

    ***
    The world is full of mysteries, marvels, miracles and magic, not all of it good. When things go wrong and innocents are hurt an organization almost as old as time, sends out agents to be army, spies, medics, counselors and more.

    They are Gambit. They battle the forces against nature; the living dead, monsters of chaos, rips between dimensions.

    And they do it all knowing each time one of their number will die, because that is the price Gambit pays for saving the world.

    ***

    In 2012, within the physical location of the area known as the Bermuda Triangle a portal opens up and hundreds upon hundreds of individuals pour out. To everyone watching on the news, it’s as if magic is happening. To the world’s governments it’s a nightmare and the first public step of a secret deal they’ve made with higher alien powers.

    This is the first day of the rest of their lives for Exiles, political problems of a far off Space Empire. With a new regime in place everyone from the prior Princess to Celestial Guards to The Royal Cook has been cast into the furtherest reaches of uncivilized space.

    Earth.

    It is now their home. Human beings? Millions upon millions of guards.

    Can the Exiles and Earth ever find a way to change this situation? Will they be content? Or has Earth just made the biggest mistake possible and given over everything to these few hundred aliens.

    ***

    New York City never sleeps, but when the sun sets and alley-ways fill with shadows, a guardian walks its rooftops, listening, watching, protecting. The island of Manhattan is the domain of The Amazing Nightcrawler.

    But this dark vigilante, this wielder of shadow magic is more than just an individual’s answer to crime, injustice and pain. He is a spirit curse wielded jointly by the Family Wagner of Wagner’s Coffee & Books; Grandmother, son and granddaughter; Raven, Kurt and Talia. They are three generations touched by magic, trying to use it for good.

  30. Ah! Very nice, Willow — especially, I would be totally prepared to read that Nightcrawler series — a little bit Sexy Vampire, a little bit Psychic Princess, and a little bit Spider-Man. Lovely. Exiles I like too, but it’s disturbingly close to my Quasar idea, damn you! Oh well, this is practically a sub-subgenre now though, isn’t it? Sounds good to me. Finally, the extradimensional saviors who know that one of their number won’t be coming back, every time?

    Sign me up! Uh, to read it, of course…

    Great!

    I didn’t really want to make a new post, because I’m still looking forward to reading more of these — I always get the best meme-respondents, man…

  31. Have you considered, for Martinex, that one way of approaching it would be to break the name down into ‘Martine X’?

    Here’s another:

    Anton Knight was larger than life. He built a giant multidimensional trading empire and an equally huge fortune from nothing, and was famous for his vision, his generosity, and his unimpeachable integrity. Anton Knight died at the age of 89, mourned by many, leaving behind seventeen children by four different wives. It had always been Knight’s dream for his children to surpass his own achievements, and so he ensured they all had the finest educations and were raised with all the love and support that any child could ask for.

    The first sixteen of Knight’s sons and daughters were anything but a disappointment. They were, all of them, talented and wildly successful in their chosen fields (politics, business, the arts, medicine, science, the military, dimensional exploring…). They all became famous for great humanitarian works. They all added to the Knight family fortune and the sum total of human knowledge. They cheerfully entangled themselves in the wildest scandals, and emerged from them with their reputations attractively seasoned. If there was one thing they could be criticized for, it was the somewhat condescending spirit of noblesse oblige that hovered almost undetectibly around them at all times–they held themselves to higher standards because they were Anton Knight’s children.

    This is the story of the seventeenth child, the youngest daughter, the one who would someday exceed all her brothers and sisters in fame and accomplishment. After graduation, she decided to travel to Heliotropolis, the dimensional crossroads city, and open her own private investigation bureau. Named after herself, of course: Moon Knight Investigations.

  32. Pingback: Digression Comics Group: Mr. Fantastic « A Trout In The Milk | UniqueComic.Com·

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s