Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Watching the 20th Century

I had previously started a similar project, but with books, a full 10 years ago; the project was to read 1 book from 1901, 2 books from 1902, 3 books from 1903, etc. The problem was, I ran out of books from 1906 I was interested in reading.

I'm having better luck, so far, with doing the same thing with movies.


Barbe-Bleue (Bluebeard)


Le Voyage Dans Le Lune (A Trip to the Moon),p0,d1

Le voyage de Gulliver à Lilliput et chez les géants (Gullver’s Travels to Lilliput and the Giants’ Home)


Le Royaume Des Fes (The Kingdom of the Fairies)

Everyone should watch at least one Melies movie in their lives. Visionary in his use of special effects and strong visual effects, the French George Melies was a generation ahead of his competitors. For proof of such, compare to the other “classic” film of this time, “The Great Train Robbery”, which has a stronger narrative, and yet still manages to be boring in comparison.

The Great Train Robbery


Alice in Wonderland

It looks promising; I wish more of it still existed.


La Sirène (The Siren)

Le Juif Errant (The Wandering Jew)

Le Thaumaturge Chinois (The Chinese Conjurer)

Le Voyage à travers l'Impossible (The Impossible Voyage)

More of Melies' impressive camera trickery.


The Little Train Robbery

Rescued by Rover

The Night Before Christmas

The Nihilist

How Jones Lost His Roll

1905 produced mostly forgettable fare. As in, I just watched all these days ago, and I already remember hardly anything from them.


A Trip Down Market Street Before the Fire

San Francisco Earthquake

Watching these back to back is really remarkable. The “before” film shows a happy town of playing children and industrious people. The “after” film is like a post-Apocalypse movie, full of buildings that we just watched 10 minutes ago in the previous film, now piles of rubble, the children conspicuously missing, and those once industrious people just milling about idly in the street with nothing to do. Like I said, a remarkable recording of living history.

Dream of a Rarebit Fiend

This was by the same Edwin Porter who directed “The Great Train Robbery”, and you can already see that he’s learned a lot from Melies between movies. I still can’t figure out how they made the bed spin without any wires being visible.

Aladdin and His Magic Lamp

This was fun to watch, mainly to compare and contrast against later versions. I’d love to see somebody superimpose dialogue and songs from the Disney version over this.

The Black Hand

The first movie about urban crime -- but what was really ugly were the contents of a butcher shop circa 1906.

The Story of the Kelly Gang

Don’t remember a thing.



If I didn’t already know the plot from the Charleton Heston version, I would never have figured it out from this 10 minutes of people in costume waving their arms around.

Fight of Nations

Occasionally humorous, but mostly just a strange series of vignettes of marginal conflict, identified by the folk costumes worn by the participants.

Trial Marriages

I’m glad I watched this and the previous film in this order, as it makes the more realistic fight scenes between domestic partners in this film all the funnier. The dichotomy between pre-marital bliss and then what married life is really like seems spot-on -- I can personally attest to two of these vignettes! This is the first really good movie I’ve seen in this project since the Melies films.

Deux Cent Milles sous les Mers ou le Cauchemar du Pêcheur (20,000 Leagues under the Sea or Under the Seas)

I haven’t watched any Melies in awhile, so this was a treat.. This is surely just a surviving clip, as the beginning and end seem severely abrupt. The whole clip runs almost 10 minutes and, other than maybe 2 minutes of padding, flows well. Its centerpiece is one genuinely funny scene in the middle.

Sous Manche Cauchemar Franco-Anglais (Tunneling the English Channel)

The first half is blurry and hard to watch, but the second seven minutes has held up well. Like Trial Marriages, it’s a prescient film. What I can’t figure out, though, is whether this could be understood at the time as political satire, or only fantasy. I suspect there’s some poking fun at the pomp and ceremony of both England and France going on here by that sly Melies.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Fantastic Four Comics

By 1961, there were few anthology titles left and none of them were 64 pages long like they were in the Golden Age. So, for fun, I thought I'd try rolling for content randomly (from what was published in that month) and see what would have comprised a Fantastic Four Comics anthology title at the larger page count. Thus, I give you -

Fantastic Four Comics #1 (November 1961)
Fantastic Four: "The Fantastic Four: Part I" (13 pages)
Millie the Model: "Millie's Big Moment" (2 pages)
Suspense: "The Creature from Krogarr" (7 pages)
Linda Carter: no title (4 pages)
Romance: "Too Young" (6 pages)
Suspense: "Midnight in the Wax Museum" (6 pages)
Love: "To Embrace a Dream" (5 pages)
Millie the Model: "Beauty at the Beach" (5 pages)
Suspense: "The Mechanical Men" (5 pages)
Suspense: "Forever Is a Long Time" (5 pages)
Love: "An Older Man" (6 pages)

Fantastic Four Comics #2 (December 1961)
Fantastic Four: "The Fantastic Four: Part II" (12 pages)
Suspense: "Something Lurks in the Fog" (5 pages)
Suspense:  "Why Won't They Believe Me?" (5 pages)
Kathy: "The Smartest Artist" (4 pages)
Suspense: "The Warning" (5 pages)
Millie the Model:  "Millie and the Martian" (5 pages)
Patsy Walker: untitled (2 pages)
Suspense: "Journey's End" (5 pages)
Patsy Walker: untitled (5 pages)
Western: "The Man Who Robbed the Express" (5 pages)
Suspense: "The Coming of the Giants" (6 pages)
Suspense: "Dream World" (5 pages)

Fantastic Four Comics #3 (January 1962)
Fantastic Four: "The Skrulls from Outer Space: Part I" (12 pages)
Suspense: "The Man in the Ant Hill" (7 pages)
Kid Colt: "The Wall of Doom" (8 pages)
Love: "Little Girl" (7 pages)
Suspense: "The Man Who Shrunk the World" (6 pages)
Millie the Model: "The Keys to the Car" (3 pages)
Suspense: "Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall" (6 pages)
Suspense: "The Enchanted Paint" (5 pages)
Suspense: "Somewhere Sits a Lama" (5 pages)
Linda Carter: no title (5 pages)

Fantastic Four Comics #4 (February 1962)
Fantastic Four: "The Skrulls from Outer Space: Part II" (12 pages)
Suspense: "The Scheme" (5 pages)
Suspense: "Midnight on Haunted Hill" (6 pages)
Patsy Walker: untitled (5 pages)
Patsy Walker: untitled (3 pages)
Suspense: "The Wax People" (5 pages)
Suspense: "I Come from the Black Void" (3 pages)
Patsy Walker: untitled (5 pages)
Suspense: "When Aliens Walk the Earth" (5 pages)
Suspense: "They Were Only Scarecrows" (5 pages)
Patsy Walker: untitled (5 pages)
Suspense: "The Spirit of Swami River" (5 pages)

Fantastic Four Comics #5 (March 1962)
Fantastic Four: "The Menace of the Miracle Man: Part I" (12 pages)
Western: "Hoofbeats of Doom" (5 pages)
Suspense: "Monsters on Mercury" (5 pages)
Linda Carter: untitled (4 pages)
Suspense: "He Came from Nowhere" (5 pages)
Suspense: "Save Me from the Weed" (6 pages)
Linda Carter: untitled (5 pages)
Western: "The Toledo Kid" (5 pages)
Love: "Lover's Quarrel" (5 pages)
Love: "My Lips Are Yours" (5 pages)
Suspense: "When the Space-Beasts Attack" (7 pages)

Fantastic Four Comics #6 (April 1962)
Fantastic Four: "The Menace of the Miracle Man: Part II" (11 pages)
Suspense: "The Secret of the Universe" (3 pages)
Suspense: "The Midnight Monster" (7 pages)
Millie the Model: "Millie vs. Marilyn Mansfield" (4 pages)
Patsy Walker: untitled (4 pages)
Suspense: "The Speed Demon" (5 pages)
Patsy Walker: untitled (4 pages)
Suspense: "The Return of the Gorilla-Man" (7 pages)
Patsy Walker: untitled (5 pages)
Kathy: "There Ain't Nothing Like a Teen" (4 pages)
Patsy Walker: untitled (5 pages)
Suspense: "The Cave of Shaggdoor" (5 pages)

Sunday, July 5, 2015

The Audience for the Small Press RPG Publisher

This started out as a Facebook post, but when someone asked me to link to it, I decided it belonged somewhere more permanent, and needed to be expanded as well.

 A little background: there are still people out there, like me, publishing pen-and-paper RolePlaying Games (RPGs), similar to Dungeons & Dragons, but about superheroes or comic books in general. These indie/small press publishers, like me, make use of public domain heroes in two ways: a cheap source of art (instead of paying for new art) and a cheap source of characters (instead of paying to license more famous characters, or just inventing our own that no one will have heard of). I do both, some might do one but not the other.

Ideally, there would be a healthy, growing audience for this material, eager to see any new material enter the market, even if the new material is only different in nuance from material that has come before.

 At issue is that this sub-niche of the RPG market, and the audience that it serves, is in reality very small. Even taking "Golden Age" and "public domain" out of the equation, the number of people still buying any type of superhero-themed RPGs is small. When new games come into that market, it can fracture the fan base for each of the existing games even smaller. The chance of a new game growing the market -- perhaps because it is innovative, or looks really slick and polished -- is slim. There is just too much competition from other sources of entertainment.

There are other dangers inherent in the new guy coming along and producing a new superhero RPG that is only different from previous attempts in nuance -- that is, trying to reinvent the wheel. There may be nothing wrong with earlier versions of the wheel, but because of limited ability to advertise, older versions may be quickly forgotten once the new version of the wheel is released. There is also the danger of over-saturating the market -- fans getting tired of seeing new games that seem just like the old games and being misled into thinking the market has nothing new for them and moving on.

What a new RPG should be doing, then, is trying to coordinate with and complement the existing games rather than directly compete with them.

A perfect example is my Hideouts & Hoodlums and Steve Miller's Nuelow Games. When I discovered Steve's work, I saw that, whereas I was mostly publishing a RPG that included Golden Age public domain work, he was mostly publishing Golden Age public domain work that included some RPG. The two complemented each other perfectly, so much so that we've even tried some cooperative ventures, like Nuelow products with H&H stats in them.

Another way to complement preexisting RPGs would be to stake a claim in some area not directly competing with any one of them. Like, a RPG that took public domain superheroes, but re-imagined them in an urban fantasy setting. Or one that imagined all 1950s public domain heroes as actually being Commie spies.

Another way to stand out by using game mechanics substantially different from what else is out there. Game mechanics can affect not just game play, but what players choose the game for. When it comes to abstract combat, almost nothing beats the old 1984 Marvel Super Heroes roleplaying game. When it comes to adding more calculations and number-crunching to your combat, your go-to game should be Champions. If you want really abstract campaign play and aren't interested so much in battles, then Superheroes 2044 might be your thing. If you want a strong, campaign-focused game where heroes level up and get more powerful over time, then Hideouts & Hoodlums might be your game. What about your game mechanics will make your game stand out? What will distinguish it and make players choose it over so many other options?

Now, my rant has been RPG-focused because that's my area of concern, but those making comic books might feel the same way. Every time someone new tries to revive the Black Terror, for example, those already using the character are at risk from the issues I've described above. There are only so many people in the world left who both a) know who the Black Terror is and b) care, and those people likely have a limited budget for multiple iterations of the same character. 

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Chronology of Fanfiction: Bronze Age

5/17/71 - Inhumans
"You Never Saw the Real Me" (or here)
Medusa returns to Italy for revenge on Count Nefaria.

5/17/71 - Fantastic Four
"One from Four Leaves Three"
Thing, Human Torch, and Sub-Mariner vs. Annihilus.  A re-imagined FF #110.

5/24/71 - Black Widow
"This Is No Time for Clowning Around!"
Black Widow has to catch the Clown before an important dinner date with Hawkeye.

6/14/71 - Black Widow
"Find a Reason to Believe"
Black Widow meets the Astrologer, who gives her a lead on Zodiac.

6/71 - Ka-Zar
"This Savage Land"
Young Kevin Rand is out playing with his prehistoric friends, the tiger-like Zabu, the ape-like Tongoo, and the rhino-like Indro and is late for dinner. Only in the Savage Land could that be dangerous.

6/71 - Inhumans
"You or Me" (or here)
The Titanium Man is after someone -- but is it Medusa or the Countess de la Spirosa?

6/22/71 - Fantastic Four
"The Thing Amok"
The Thing's cure causes some serious mood swing issues. A re-imagined FF #111.

7/4/71 - Fantastic Four
"Battle of the Behemoths"
To get the Thing under control, the FF need a plan that might involve the Hulk. A re-imagined FF #112.

7/71 - Inhumans
"Frenzy in Florence" (or here)
Medusa and the Countess look for help in Florence, but the Titanium Man is tracking them.

7/20/71 - Black Widow
"What's Going On"
Taurus and Zodiac show up with an ultimatum for Black Widow she dare not refuse.

8/7/71 - Black Widow
"Knock Three Times"
Black Widow is a prisoner of Watchlord.

8/12/71 - Fantastic Four
"The Power of the Over-Mind"
Slowly, everyone everywhere begins to succumb to the Over-Mind.  A re-imagined FF #113.

8/71 - Inhumans
"Answers Writ in Titanium" (or here)
Karnak accompanies Medusa to Yugoslavia to find out what the Titanium Man is after.

9/9/71 - Black Widow
"My Dinner with Gwen" 
Black Widow and Gwen Parker talk over dinner.

9/71 - Inhumans
"What Lies Within" (or here)
Triton's rendezvous with Medusa and Karnak en route to Greece is ambushed by men sent by Kang the Conqueror.

9/19/71 - Fantastic Four
"But Who Will Stop the Over-Mind?"
Alicia Grimm and Agatha Harkness will need allies -- for the Over-Mind has arrived.  A re-imagined FF #114.

10/2/71 - Inhumans
"Return of the King" (or here)
Black Bolt rejoins the Royal Family in Greece, only to meet another member of royalty.

10/5/71 - Fantastic Four
"The Secret of the Eternals"
Alicia vs. Sub-Mariner, as Dr. Doom and Silver Surfer take note of the Over-Mind. A re-imagined FF #115.

10/28/71 - Black Widow
"Smiling Faces Sometimes" 
Aftermath of the Zodiac adventure.

11/1/71 - Inhumans
"A Day for Reckoning" (or here)
Black Bolt vs. Dr. Doom.

11/6/71 - Iron Man
Iron Man vs. Earthson, with Marriane's life on the line. A re-imagined Iron Man #43.

11/13/71 - Black Widow
"If You Could Read My Mind"
The Mad Thinker has a plan for the Black Widow.

11/14/71 - Fantastic Four
"The Alien, the Ally, and Armageddon"
FF vs. Dr. Doom vs. Silver Surfer vs. Over-Mind, with the Earth at stake.  A re-imagined FF #116.

11-12/71 - Fantastic Four
"The Flame and the Quest"
The Torch goes looking for Crystal in Honduras, but finds Diablo instead. A re-imagined FF #117.

12/5/71 - Inhumans
"My Future, My Destiny" (or here)
The Royal Family invades Latvia for a rematch with Doom -- and Kang! The end of the Time Box Saga.

12/11/71 - Black Widow
"Behold the Mandroids - At My Baby Shower"
Black Widow's baby shower at Avengers Mansion.  Behind the scenes of Avengers #94.

12/27/71 - Thor
"This Fatal Fury"
Don and Jane lead a ragtag band of rebels against Loki, for the throne of Asgard. A re-imagined Thor #194.

1/2-3/72 - Fantastic Four
"Thunder among the Ruins"
When the Human Torch and Crystal are reunited, Diablo's payback comes due. A re-imagined FF #118.

1/7/72 - Black Widow
"Joy to the World"
Black Widow's baby will be born only if Mr. Kline has nothing to say about it.

1/20/72 - Inhumans
"Suddenly -- the Super Skrull!" (or here)
The Kree-Skrull War crossover begins.  Some events re-imagined from Avengers #95.

2/12/72 - Inhumans
"Homecoming" (or here)
Crystal comes back to Attilan, and Maximus schemes.

2/20/72 - Fantastic Four
"Three Stood Together"
Thing and Sub-Mariner go to South Africa to help the Black Panther. A re-imagined FF #119.

2/26/72 - Black Widow
"All Things Must Pass"
A hero dies at the end of the Kree-Skrull War. Some scenes re-imagined from Avengers #96.

2/26/72 - Inhumans
"Attacks at Home and Abroad" (or here)
The Kree attack Earth and only the Inhumans and some allies stand in their way.

2-3/72 - Inhumans
"Operation: Medusa" (or here)
A new Frightful Four is loose in Attilan, and Maximus has sicced them on Medusa.

3/15/72 - Fantastic Four
"The Horror that Walks on Air"
A reunited FF are unveiling their new New Jersey HQ when Prester John tells them they must go to Jerusalem in the name of God. A re-imagined FF #120.

n/a - Black Widow
"Don't Say You Don't Remember"
Black Widow meets Daredevil in Limbo.

4/5/72 - Fantastic Four
“The Mysterious Mind-Blowing Secret of Gabriel”
Ben and Alicia's child is born, and the Angel Gabriel tells the FF who they must stop to avert the End of Days.  A re-imagined FF #121.

4/18/72 - Black Widow
"Nice to Be with You"
A happy ending for Black Widow?

5/12/72 - Fantastic Four
"Galactus Unleashed"
The FF head to the planet Mars for a confrontation with Galactus' army of angels. A re-imagined FF #122.

5/18/72 - Inhumans
"Return to Attilan"
Karnak and Gorgon track the Frightful Four down to Tunisia to rescue Medusa.

5/25/72 - Fantastic Four
"This World Enslaved"
FF vs. Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse vs. Galactus on Mars. A re-imagined FF #123.

6-7/72 - Inhumans
"In the Castle of the Mandarin"
Maximus visits the Mandarin and Gorgon fights Leonus, as public opinion turns against the Royal Family.

7/72 - Fantastic Four
"Return of the Monster" (planned)
NASA contacts the FF to ask for help – Apollo 16 was 2 weeks away from reaching Mars when it encountered and was captured by an alien spaceship. Namor, Ben, John, and Reed agree to delay returning to Earth to investigate.

7/27-30/72 - Inhumans
"If You Go Carrying Pictures of...Chairman Mao"
The Dalai Lama makes a request of the Royal Family, who then explore the Ruins of the Temple of Yin, while Mao makes plans that will impact the Inhumans.

8/6-12/72 - Inhumans
"Now Shalt Thou Gather Thyself in Troops"
Medusa raids a Chinese base to learn their plans, while Karnak explores Avalon with Prester John.

8/72 - Fantastic Four
"The Monster's Secret" (planned)
Following the abductors back to Mars, the FF make landfall and come into battle with an alien covered in an environmental suit just like the FF are. Namor and Ben make short work of the alien, as strong as he is, and bring him back to their ship to unmask him as the "Monster of the Lost Lagoon". Once they can communicate with him, he explains how he needs help administering medicine to his sick mate and abducted the Apollo crew to do it for him.

8/17/72 - Black Widow
"Baby Don't Get Hooked on Me"
A baby and a house guest don't stop Black Widow from trying to repair her relationship with Hawkeye.

8/27/72 - Inhumans
Plot threads begin to come together as the Mandarin and his robots attack Attilan.

9/6/72 - Captain America
"Captain America - Hero or Hoax?"
While in West Germany, fighting terrorists, Falcon, Bucky, and Sharon question if anything is wrong with Cap.

9/72 - Fantastic Four
"The Way It Began" (planned)
Ben and Alicia are trying to get their baby girl, Jill, to sleep and tell fairytale versions of the FF's earliest adventures to her. John, Crystal, and even Namor show up to help tell them.

9/23/72 - Black Widow
"I'll Take You There"
Black Widow meets the X-Men to learn more about Sentinels.

9/72 - Inhumans
"The Third Option" (planned)
Maximus shows up in Attilan and asks that he be allowed to see the forcefield generator that saved Attilan from the Super-Skrull’s warship during the Kree-Skrull War.  Black Bolt refuses and has Maximus put under house arrest, but allows him access to some machinery to work on a different failsafe plan for Attilan.  Meanwhile, in Tibet, a crackdown on dissidents is interrupted by Karnak and some Inhuman guardsmen.

10/72 - Fantastic Four
"Where the Sun Dares Not Shine" (planned)
The Impossible Man has come back after being away from Earth for almost a decade, having finally figured out the trick Reed used to send him away. He wants a rematch with the FF and goads Namor and Ben into fighting him. Because the Impossible Man has trouble telling humans apart, he thinks Namor is Reed and Alicia is Sue. When John and Alicia convince him that this is not so, the Impossible Man demands a rematch with the original FF. Namor lies and says Reed is on the moon, talking to the Watcher, and the Impossible Man heads there.

Two weeks later, the Watcher whisks all of the FF, including Crystal to the moon because he's had enough of the Impossible Man bugging him. This is their issue, he tells them, not his.

10/72 - Black Widow
"Natasha's Outback Adventure" (planned)
Black Widow leads a Sentinel away from civilization into the Outback where she must find a way to stop it.

10/72 - Inhumans
"Betrayer, My Brother" (planned)
Inhumans loyal to Maximus spring the Mandarin, which only serves as a diversion while Maximus seals off just the royal palace in a forcefield.  Then the Royal Family gets the news that China is moving more troops into Tibet to tighten control there.

11/72 - Fantastic Four
"Death in a Dark and Lonely Place" (planned)
On the moon, Namor, Ben, and John fight the Impossible Man, while the Watcher lets Alicia and Crystal stay in his house. Crystal begins to deliver and Alicia talks the Watcher into helping with the delivery. The Watcher interrupts long enough to tell the fighters outside that a baby girl has been born and John asks the Impossible Man for a truce to see his baby. The Impossible Man, misunderstanding how long John needs, leaves the moon vowing to come
back in a few years.

11/72 - Inhumans
"Surprise Is the Deadliest Weapon" (planned)
Maximus and his rebels are surprised by Lockjaw, who finally managed to breach the anti-teleport barrier around the palace.  Lockjawk and Maximus square off with each other, but after a pitched battle Maximus defeats and captures Lockjaw.  Meanwhile, Black Bolt meets with the Dalai Lama alone, but the Dalai Lama turns out to be a disguised Super-Skrull who defeats Black Bolt.

12/72 - Fantastic Four
"The Frightful Four - Plus One" (planned)
The FF return home to the new FF Building in Queens to rest after their battle with the Impossible Man. Namor leaves at once to attend to matters in Atlantis. Johnny and Crystal call up Lockjaw to transport them and their baby girl to Attilan for a visit. Alicia asks Ben to go with her to pick up Jill from Agatha, but Ben tells her to go alone. Alicia complains that Ben takes her ability to handle herself for granted now. Ben apologizes, saying he was merely excited about going out and buying presents for Jill's first birthday party. While Ben is out shopping, he is attacked by the Frightful Four – Plantman, Eel, Rabble-Rouser, and Captain Barracuda – but only to lead Thundra to the Thing for a fight.

12/72 - Inhumans
"You Say You Want a Revolution" (planned)
The Super-Skrull delivers a bound Black Bolt to the Mandarin’s abandoned castle only to be met by Maximus.  Maximus explains how his new ally will, while posing as the Dalai Lama, will rally Tibetans in a futile gesture of resistance against the invading Chinese. Meanwhile, Gorgon and Triton lead a unit of Attilan guardsmen each attacking the Chinese army guerilla-style.

1/73 - Inhumans
"My Ally - My Enemy" (planned)
Attilan’s forces withdraw deeper into Tibet, hard-pressed by the overwhelming numbers of the Chinese.  The Royal Family stumbles across the false Dalai Lama telling Tibetans to fight and rally to protect him.

2/73 - Inhumans
"Liberty Is to the Soul of Man" (planned)
The real Dalai Lama comes and frees Black Bolt.  Meanwhile, Medusa and Triton lead their own assaults on Chinese troops, alongside inadequate Tibetan forces, until Medusa realizes the Dalai Lama with her is false. The Super-Skrull decides to shed his disguise and join the slaughter, but then Black Bolt appears, drives the Super-Skrull away, and rallies the defenders back towards Attilan.

3/73 - Inhumans 
"Endgame" (planned)
Black Bolt has the royal family and all the guardsmen loyal to him when he returns to Attilan and retakes the royal palace.  Black Bolt faces Maximus alone, but Maximus was waiting for this to use a teleporter on Black Bolt.  Black Bolt is teleported into the very middle of the Chinese army and can see that they just reached the pass that leads to Attilan through Tibet.

"With a Word, All Made Silent" (planned)
Maximus teleports to Black Bolt’s side so he can taunt his brother.  Black Bolt now knows that Maximus has engineered these events, not so the Chinese army will attack Attilan, but to put Black Bolt in the position where he has no choice left but to use his power on the Chinese army.  After Maximus teleports away, Black Bolt speaks.  His word, “peace,” strikes the army around him like an atomic bomb, ripping through their ranks and killing just about everyone.  Black Bolt sinks to his knees in the midst of the carnage he has wrought and weeps silent tears.

Meanwhile, a universe away, on Apocalips, Darkseid announces he has discovered the Anti-Life Equation.

5/73 - Inhumans
"Momentous Day" (planned)
All of Attilan rejoices at the news that Black Bolt and Medusa's wedding will be in one year.  So speedy by Inhuman standards!  But the rush to prepare is interrupted by news of intruders in the city.  Gorgon encounters Mr. Miracle, Big Bertha, and Shilo Norman.  Gorgon is easily bested by Big Bertha, but before reinforcements can arrive, the three intruders escape.

6/73 - Inhumans
"Where Stalks Stallior" (planned)
Eclipsing the happy news of the wedding is the newer, unhappy news of the prison break in Attilan. Maximus' treasonous allies are escaping with Maximus, though he seems to be their prisoner rather than their leader.  Only Stallior is captured, revealing to Black Bolt that he feels compelled to escape, but doesn't know why.  Shilo watches from the shadows.

7/73 - Inhumans
"Enter: Baron Mordo" (planned)
The escapees meet with Baron Mordo, who bathes them in a spell that increases all their powers.  Maximus thinks Mordo means to be his ally, but Mordo orders Maximus thrown into a cell.  Back in Attilan, Karnak tracks down Mr. Miracle and the two of them spar.  Finally, Medusa intervenes and she and Mr. Miracle call a truce.

8/73 - Inhumans
"The Long Way Home" (planned)
Mr. Miracle explains to the Royal Family about New Genesis and about Apokolips.  Mr. Miracle tries to use Mother Box and Lockjaw together to transport him and his friends back home, but he shows up back here instead.  At the same time, Baron Mordo is contacted by Darkseid and reports that to his new master that all is going according to plan.

9/73 - Inhumans
"Madness Is in the Eye of the Beholder" (planned)
Mr. Miracle and Shilo are modifying an Inhuman skycraft for a trip to the moon when reports of a new disturbance reaches the palace.  Every Inhuman who responds is overcome by hallucinations until Medusa and Big Barda find Madame Evil-Eyes and defeat her before she can mesmerize them. Meanwhile, Mordo's minions attack Black Bolt and subdue him.

10/73 - Inhumans
"Prisoner of Darkseid" (planned)
Black Bolt is brought before Darkseid.  Darkseid slaps Black Bolt around, trying to force him to use his full power.  When Black Bolt resists, Darkseid flings Black Bolt out of a palace surrounded by hi-tech-armed yeti elsewhere in the Himalayas.  Black Bolt flees from the yeti while Darkseid watches and smirks.

11/73 - Inhumans
"Darkseid of the Moon" (planned)
Mr. Miracle and friends reach the Blue Area of the Moon, intent on getting answers to how and why they became trapped here from the Watcher.  But they are shocked by who they encounter instead.  Meanwhile, the Inhumans launch a raid on the palace Black Bolt had escaped from last month.  All the rebel Inhumans except for Leonus are captured and Mordo, waiting for help from Darkseid that doesn't come, is caught.  Maximus is missing from his cell, though.

12/73 - Inhumans
"I Shall Wreak a Terrible Vengeance" (planned)
Darkseid reappears and, still sure that Black Bolt hides the anti-life equation within him, makes one more attempt to goad him into unleashing his power.  He fires his Omega Beams into the air and they race to a distant target.  Shortly thereafter, the Silver Surfer spots the alien energy and, curious, follows.  He follows the beams all the way to Attilan and sees them about to strike Medusa when he whisks her away.  The beams follow them all over the Earth and even the Surfer can't elude them.  Medusa talks him into returning her home to face whatever happens at Black Bolt's side.  The beams are about to strike her when Mr. Miracle returns with Metron.  Mr. Miracle throws Mother Box into the path of the beams and weakens them so that Medusa is not killed, but only gravely injured.

1/74 - Inhumans
"The Terrible Secret" (planned)
Metron is explaining how he transported Mr. Miracle and friends here after foreseeing Darkseid's interest in this Earth.  Metron's scheme was to convince all New Gods present to act together by sealing them off from New Genesis and Apocalips, as an incentive for them to work towards mutual peace.  But he has not been telling all this to the Inhumans – he is telling it to Darkseid himself to distract him.  Baron Mordo has been a double agent working for Metron all along and, working in tandem with Lockjaw, they transport everyone present -- the Inhuman Royal Family, Mr. Miracle, Orion, Lightray, the Female Furies, and Darkseid into a pocket dimension where the Omega Beams will not function. Darkseid seems unconcerned and, as they all attempt to subdue him, they all find their free will abandon them one by one until only Black Bolt confronts Darkseid.  Darkseid stands triumphant, having finally wrested the anti-life equation from Maximus' mind, where it was all along. But before Darkseid can kill Black Bolt, Metron whisks him away.

2/74 - Inhumans
"Interlude with the Forever People" (planned)
Metron and Black Bolt are in the paradise of the Forever People.  Beautiful Dreamer reads Black Bolt's mind and learns of the danger on his Earth.  The Forever People offer Black Bolt a place in paradise and he turns it down to return and save his world.  His courage inspires the Forever People to summon once more the Infinity Man.  The Infinity Man takes one look at Black Bolt and sees what even Metron missed – that Black Bolt had the power to set things right all along.

3/74 - Inhumans
"With All Life in the Balance" (planned)
Darkseid has seized absolute control of our Earth with the anti-life equation when Black Bolt returns. Darkseid confronts him, but is beaten back by the sudden appearance of the Infinity Man.  With Darkseid pinned down, Black Bolt is free to use his true power – the life equation within him.  Now, when he speaks, his voice is no longer destructive but life-affirming.  Free will spreads everywhere his voice reaches.  He flies over the world, freeing everyone until he reaches Maximus and even frees his brother in an act of forgiveness.  Metron agrees with the Infinity Man that it is time to end this scheme and everyone from the Fourth World (and Shilo Norman) disappears.

4/74 - Inhumans
"Wedding Day" (planned)
Black Bolt and a recovered Medusa have their wedding.  Every good guy who guest-starred in this title for its first two  years comes to the wedding.  And now, thanks to the Infinity Man's training, Black Bolt is able to say “I love you” to his bride.  And everyone lives happily ever after.  

1996 (out of order) - Mister Miracle
"The Gilded Cage" (planned)
Scott Free wakes up in the year 1996 to find he is living a mundane life as an office clerk, married to a woman named Ann Bergen, and has apparently never been Mr. Miracle. Though Scott likes Ann, he knows none of this is real and he finds his Mr. Miracle costume hidden in a locked trunk and activates a Boom Tube to escape.

5/74 - Mister Miracle
"Mr. Alexander's Story" (planned)
Scott returns to 1974, but finds himself disoriented and in the home of a man named Mr. Alexander. As Mr. Alexander talks, Scott slowly learns that Alexander is a writer who was hired by Granny Goodness to write a future fantasy for Scott to live out.  Now Alexander has been charged with trapping Scott and alerting Granny.  He has been bombarding Scott with a hidden ultrasonic weapon to keep him disoriented and locks Scott in a room where he is bombarded further.  But Scott escapes and captures Alexander before he can call Granny.

6/74 - Mister Miracle
"Hijacked" (planned)
A busload of kids being driven to Mr. Miracle’s stage show is hijacked by a costumed man calling himself Sagittarius who plans to hold the kids for ransom.  Mr. Miracle comes on board the bus and convinces Sagittarius to let all of the kids out and just pick one to continue using as a hostage.  The boy Sagittarius picks, though, is actually Oberon disguised by Mother Box.  Sagittarius is startled enough that Mr. Miracle can disarm him and capture him.

7/74 - Mister Miracle
"The Return of Dr. Bedlam" (planned)
Scott is trapped in the skyscraper trap of Dr. Bedlam and finds the Paranoid Pill has even affected Mother Box. He tries to revive her in a science lab he finds in the building, but finds himself evading technicians armed with improvised hi-tech weapons.

8/74 - Mister Miracle
"Big Barda's Other Life" (planned)
Flashback to Apokalips shows Big Barda was previously married.  When her husband died, she found solace with Scott.

9/74 - Mister Miracle
"Bedlam Strikes Twice" (planned)
Scott and Big Barda go to police HQ to explain what had happened in the skyscraper that day and that no criminal charges should be put on an Earthling.  This is when Dr. Bedlam uses two more Paranoid Pills, one in police HQ and the other on an elevated train across town.  Big Barda subdues the police while Scott saves the train.

10/74 - Mister Miracle
"Mister Miracle Meets Power-Boy" (planned)
Scott is performing in a show that involves him being fired into the air in a rocket and escaping while being televised.  The rocket was only supposed to go up so high and then explode, but Dr. Vundabar has turned the rocket into an interplanetary rocket. Scott is transported to the planetoid Juno where resident Superboy-like hero Power-Boy (now 16) has been informed that the rocket is part of an incoming invasion and destroys the rocket.  Scott escapes the rocket, but finds himself trapped on Juno because of a mystery interference keeping Mother Box from communicating with him.  Mr. Miracle deduces that Power-Boy’s powers are the interference and flees from him.  After explaining the problem to him long distance, Power-Boy stays away long enough for Mr. Miracle to get back home via Boom Tube.

11/74 - Mister Miracle
"Christmas on Earth" (planned)
Mr. Miracle is back on Earth in time to join Barda and Oberon on the road, but are caught in a Christmas blizzard and seek shelter in a normal family’s home.  They all share Christmas together, and even Metron stops by for a brief visit.

12/74 - Mister Miracle
"To Take Down Steelfist" (planned)
Mr. Miracle and Oberon are in court to testify in the trial of Steelfist, but Intergang stages a daring courtroom jailbreak, Oberon is taken captive, but Mr. Miracle trades himself as a prisoner in Oberon’s stead.  An Intergang goon slaps a device onto Mr. Miracle that makes him look like Steelfist and he is taken into custody in the confusion.

1/75 - Mister Miracle
"In the Big Joint" (planned)
Mr. Miracle defers from escaping from jail and uses his disguise to find out more about Intergang’s operations from prison, but Barda and Oberon come and break him out, inadvertently freeing a bunch of Intergang convicts too that have to be recaught.

2/75 - Mister Miracle
"The Revenge of Funky Flashman" (planned)
Funky Flashman hires a mad inventor (who resembles Jack Kirby) to kill Mr. Miracle, but the inventor’s inventions wind up chasing Funky away instead.

3/75 - Mister Miracle
"The Lady Is for Singing" (planned)
Barda tries to become a jazz singer, but the Female Furies crash her debut performance and need to be stopped by Mr. Miracle and Big Barda.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Chronology of Fanfiction: The Silver Age

March 1965 - Medusa
"The Frightful Four"
A re-imagined intro to Fantastic Four #36 (also available here)

July-August 1965 - Fantastic Four, Iron Man, Thor, Spider-Man, Hulk, Giant Ape and Monkey
"Bedlam at the Baxter Building"
A re-imagining of Fantastic Four Annual #1 (also available here)

May 1970 - Spider-Man
"The Specialist and the Schemer" 
A re-imagining of Amazing Spider-Man #84, mixed with the animated series.

June 1970 - Hulk
"The Brute that Shouted Love at the Heart of the Atom"
A re-imagining of The Incredible Hulk #140.

November 1970 - Spider-Man
"And Death Shall Come"
A re-imagining of Amazing Spider-Man #90.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Chronology of Fanfiction: The Atomic Age

April-May 1955 - Captain Comet, Scotty (Johnny) Thunder, Captain America
"Superland: Prologue"
Walt Disney unveils the plans for an even more ambitious Disneyland City -- a theme park merged with the city of Anaheim, made into a 'world of tomorrow' with tech donated from alien refugees. Captain Comet comes to investigate the aliens, while Scotty and Cap move there for more personal reasons.
(Available in the files section of the Superland Yahoo!Group, under the name "Prologue"; membership required for access)

July 1955 - Captain Comet, Scotty (Johnny) Thunder, Dynamic Man, Kid/Dr. Eternity, Batman II
"The Conscience of Colu" (incomplete)
While Scotty is tempted by a coworker, Dr. Eternity settles into Disneyland City, an adult Dick Grayson now serving as Batman investigates in Long Beach, and Captain Comet and Dynamic Man are transported to an alien world, where they learn of the coming threat of Braniac.

"The Saint Is Plane Crazy"
The Saint meets Mickey Mouse.

August 1955 - Captain Comet, Scotty (Johnny) Thunder, Dynamic Man, Kid/Dr. Eternity, Mr. Terrific
"The Superhero Clubhouse"(incomplete)
Capt. Comet's road trip from Chicago, Dr. Eternity vs. the Red Skull, and everyone in the Superhero Clubhouse vs. the Crime Candle's wave of arson.

September 1955 - Captain Comet, Kid/Dr. Eternity, Superman, Wonder Man
"Diaspora from the Clubhouse" (incomplete)
Captain Comet vs. Shiwan Khan, Dr. Eternity vs. Moriarty, Superman vs. Baron Zemo, and Wonder Man vs. drug smugglers in Nepal.

"The Gallopin' Shadow"
The Shadow meets Mickey Mouse.

October 1955 - Captain Comet, Kid/Dr. Eternity
"The Final Problems" (incomplete)
Captain Comet and other heroes fly off with Spacehawk to confront Braniac at last, while Dr. Eternity and his allies finally solve the mystery of Moriarty.

(The adventures from July-October summarize the events of the Superland play-by-post campaign)

"The Savage Dance"
Doc Savage Meets Mickey Mouse.

November 1955
"The Mandrake House"
Mandrake the Magician meets Mickey Mouse.

December 1955
"When the Superheroes Are Away"
Phantom and Sheena vs. Cat Nipp

January 1956
"The Battle for Mickey Mouse"
The Justice Society of America and the Guardians of Disneyland City meet to discuss what to do with a living Mickey Mouse.

(The Mickey Mouse series was written to introduce the characters from Disney cartoons into the shared universe of comic strip/book heroes)

Friday, May 22, 2015

Chronology of Fanfiction - The Golden Age

Below is a list of links to fanfiction I have written (some of it uses pastiche characters as substitutions), in order of when the stories occur, with notes for which stories have yet to be finished or written.  Work in progress!

6/36 - Lone Marshal
"The Lone Marshal" (printed in The Trophy Case v. 2 no. 2)
The trail of some rustlers lead to the Cordell Ranch.

9/36 - Dr. Mystic
Dr. Mystic lies dying on the sands of Egypt during the final battle with Koth, but he has one more favor to ask of Zator.

6/38 - Superman
"Superman and the Comic Book"
After reading about comic book adventures, Superman reflects on what he can do to change the world.

7/38 - Superman
"Superman vs. Walter"
Clark has a jealous rival at the Daily Star and decides to do something about it.

8/38 - Superman
"Superman and the Radio Show"
Mutual tries to put Superman on the air.

9/38 - Superman
"Superman vs. Curly"
Clark takes care of the prankster on the Daily Star staff. 

(All four Superman stories above can be found on the Superland Yahoo!Group, in the files section, collated in a document called "Superman 1938"; membership required to access)

10/38 - Superman
“Superman’s Race”
(also available here)
When Superman tries to help a man in need, it leads to a race Superman may not be able to win.

11/38 - Superman
Superman meets the true crime genre as he confronts Eliot Ness and tackles the mystery of the Torso Killer.

3/39 - Superman
Superman intervenes in the Spanish Civil War and makes a difficult decision with unexpected help. 

12/39 - Batman
"Curse of the Ruby Idol" (unfinished)

1/40 - Superman
“The Chase”
(also available here)
Superman thinks this is the final battle with the Ultra-Humanite, but Ultra has other plans, if the Japanese Navy will help him.

2/40 - Superman
Terry Curtis is the bait -- but for Superman's trap or the Ultra-Humanite's?

3/40 - Superman
“The Dover Affair” 
(also available here)
Old friends try to help Lois and Clark escape spies in England. Guest-starring Black X!

4/40 - Superman
Superman is trying to help liberate Norway when an old thorn in his side turns up again...

5/40 - Superman
“The Path” (unfinished)
6/40 - Superman
“Superman in the Hidden Valley of Yu-Atlanchi” (planned)
7/40 - Superman
“Superman and Adana” (planned)
8/40 - Superman
“Superman at the Face in the Abyss” (planned)
9/40 - Superman
“Superman in the Cavern of the Lost Wisdom (planned)
10/40 - Superman
“Superman in Colombia” (planned)
11/40 - Dr. Occult, Sandy Kean of Radio Squad
"Dr. Occult -- Wanted for Murder" (planned)

1/41 - Sub-Mariner
When Namor the Sub-Mariner doesn't think you're watching his back, he shows up to tell you off!

3/41 - Sub-Mariner
“Sub-Mariner vs. a Stroll through Manhattan”
Namor and Betty Dean take a walk to discuss some things.

5/41 - Sub-Mariner
“Sub-Mariner vs. Sub”
Namor wrecks a German U-Boat, just because he can.

6/41 - Captain Marvel/Major Magus
“Invasion of the Scorpions from Space” (published in The Trophy Case v. 2, no. 3)
The first alien spaceship since Superman's rocket appears over Earth in modern times!

7/41 - Sub-Mariner
“Sub-Mariner vs. the Killer”
Betty gets abducted while on the job. Namor to the rescue!

8/41 - Captain Marvel/Major Magus
“Skala’s Paralyzing Gas” (published in The Trophy Case v. 2, no. 4)
Skala's adult children have returned from the Moon, one intent on revenge and the other intent on romance.

8/41 - Sub-Mariner
"The Sub-Mariner and the Jeep" (planned)
Namor interviews a U.S. Army Colonel about coordinating Atlantis’ relief efforts for Europe with America’s.  While there, Namor sees a prototype jeep for the first time and wants one so he just takes it.

9/41 - Sub-Mariner
"Namor's Flying Jeep" (planned)
Namor has taken the jeep back to Atlantis and had it modified into a flying jeep.  Flying into Montenegro to help freedom fighters there, Namor is enraged when his jeep is shot down and he tears into Nazi occupiers, failing to notice the urgent summons for him from Atlantis on the jeep’s still-functioning radio.

10/41 - Captain Marvel/Major Magus
“The Question of Hitler” (published in The Trophy Case v. 2, no. 5)
The Mysterious Stranger summons Major Magus, Prince Inaros, and Yarko the Great to discuss what they should do about Hitler. Also guest-starring Spyhunter! (Inaros and Spyhunter stand-in for Ibis and Spy Smasher respectively)

12/41 - Major Magus
“The Volcano King” (published in The Trophy Case v. 2, no. 6, costs 50 cents)
Major Magus and other heroes have responded to the Pearl Harbor attack, but now must deal with an even more insidious attempt to erupt volcanoes on the U.S. mainland.  Guest-starring Sterling Steel and Sir Destiny!

1/42 - Major Magus
“Boolevi the Unseen” (published in The Trophy Case v. 2 no. 7, costs 50 cents)
A radio show host with a grudge against Bobby Bauer summons ghosts with an agenda of their own.

2/42 - Major Magus
“Major Magus and the White Room” (published in The Trophy Case no. 8, costs 50 cents)

3/42 - Major Magus
“The Curse of Rath Debo” (published in The Trophy Case no. 9, costs 50 cents)
Freed from the White Room, the spirits of evil men form a champion to combat Major Magus.

4/42 - Major Magus
“In the State of Japan” (published in The Trophy Case no. 10, costs 50 cents)
Major Magus goes toe-to-toe with the Japanese Emperor in single combat, but not all is as it appears.

5/42 - Flame & Samson
untitled (planned)
6/42 -Dr. Fate
"The Wax Museum Killers" (planned)
7/42 - Dr. Fate
"The Deadly Designs of Mr. Who" (planned)
8/42 - Dr. Fate
"The Octopus" (planned)
9/42 - Dr. Fate
"Hall of Lost Heirs" (planned)
10/42 - Dr. Fate
"Luck for Sale" (planned)
11/42 - Dr. Fate
"The Two Fates" (planned)

12/42 - Ibis the Invincible & Dr. Fate
"Murgh the Merciless" (planned)

1/43 - Spacehawk
untitled (planned) 
2/43 - Justice Society of America
"The Man Who Created Images" (planned)
4/43 - Superman, Lois Lane/Superwoman, USA, Spacehawk
“Lois Lane - Superwoman” (incomplete)

6/43 - Justice Society of America
"Brain Wave Goes Berserk" (planned)
9/43 - Justice Society of America
"Insects Turn to Crime" (planned)
12/43 - Justice Society of America
"The Crimes Set to Music" (planned)

1/44 - Black X, Jane Arden, Joe Palooka
untitled (planned)
3/44 - Plastic Man & Spirit
untitled (planned)
4/44 - Captain America, Human Torch, Sub-Mariner, and Young Allies
“Battle of Central Henan” (planned)
5/44 - Shock Gibson & Black Cat
“Battle of Terni” (fictional, planned)
6/44 - Sandman
“The Tough Guy”
7/44 - Black Terror
untitled (planned)
8/44 - Sandman
“Sleep for Sale” (incomplete)
9/44 - Scribbly, Red Tornado, Mr. Weed, J. Worthington Blimp
“The Return of Mr. Weed” (planned)
10/44 - Sandman
"Reincarnation for a Rogue" (planned)
12/44 - Sandman
"Sandman - Prisoner of Emperor" (planned)

2/45 - Sandman 
"Invasion Plan of U.S." (planned)
4/45 - Sandman
"Scientist Warns of Invasion from Space" (planned)