Or – “It’s An Old-School Hero History! That Is To Say, Several Weeks Later Than I Intended To Put It Up…” As with any project, there are inherent problems when one undertakes a Hero History. The utilization of images on paper, some decades old, causes one to spend a lot of time balancing colors, adjusting white levels, saturation and blah blah blahs. With today’s entrants, an additional question arose, debating whether or not I needed to try and colorize their original black and white adventures. I tried a couple of things, none entirely successful, before deciding that it’s actually cooler
Or – “WAAAUUUUUGH!” Of all the heroes of the various comic book universes, I find myself drawn to those who are the most human in their makeup. I’m not talking about “Batman Doesn’t Have Any Powers” human, but the characters who are able to express real human emotions in a way that I find relatable. Honestly, normal humans don’t lose a parent and then vow to spend their entire life fighting crime, they usually descend into booze, drugs, and unhealthy relationships which leave them scarred for life. I appreciate Bouncing Boy’s struggle to fit in with the cool, thin kids.
Or – “Okay, This Time It’s CLEARLY A Protagonist History…” It’s a proven fact that comic book names are recycled with regularity, as Ms. Marvel becomes Warbird becomes Captain Marvel becomes Ms. Marvel again, while a new Captain Marvel comes to the forth, only to end up being called Marvel Boy while Marvel Boy becomes The Uranian… But what some might not realize is that today’s entrants come from an old heroic tradition as well even as none of the groups to use the name (save for an alternate reality that we shan’t be going into today) are actually comprised of
Or – “The Capstone To Our Major Spoilers Star-Spangled Weekend™!” The Hero History project is a strange and nebulous beastie, and has plumbed the depths of several corners of the Silver, Bronze and modern ages, as well as the depths of space and the mind of Jack Kirby. But one thing we’ve NEVER done before is troll through the Golden Age itself, that far-flung lost realm filled with Nazis, Fifth Columnists, guys named “Scooop,” “Hop,” and “Stripesy,” as well as the prototypical heroes that started this whole soopa-dupin’ thing in the first place. Though predated by MLJ/Archie comics The Shield (the
Or – “Maybe This One Is More Of A Protagonist History?” Many years ago, I gathered all my belongings into a Pontiac Gran Prix (borrowed from my mom, mind you) and took off for the wilds of Western Kansas for college. I learned a great many things in those ensuing 7 years: The smell of anti-freeze can be bad. Buffalo don’t like it when you taunt them with hamburgers. Vampires make terrible roommates. Always date a cougar, and a cougar from another country is a plus. But I apparently taught a few things as well, as when I rekindled the
Or – “Is The Man Half-Machine, Or Is The Machine Half-Man?” There have been literally thousands of heroes created since Jerry and Joe had their brainstorm in the late 30’s, from the ridiculous to the sublime, any and all of which have at least something awesome that makes them unique. Heck, even Shaft from Youngblood is SOMEBODY’S favorite character. (That somebody’s name is Robert Liefeld.) But when you think about the genesis of today’s entrant, there’s a real sense of amazement at his pedigree. Originally written by SF titan Arthur C. Clarke, 2001: A Space Odyssey was turned into a
Or – “Hero Of Many Roles: Scientist… Superspy… Android… Island…” The history of the T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents began with a scientist murdered in his lab, but Emil Jenkins wasn’t alone in his development of super-weapons for the United Nations Defense Enforcement arm. Other men worked tirelessly to create weapons of democracy for use in the brave new world of terrorist cells and metahuman threats to liberty, including today’s history entrant. The eldest and wisest of the Agents, his nature is unique among not only T.H.U.N.D.E.R. but among heroes in general. It is fitting that the man who was so key in
Or – “Think “Mission: Impossible” Only With Awesome Red Blazers and No Peter Graves…” The various inventions of Professor Emil Jennings allowed The Higher United Nations Defense Enforement Reserves to empower their agents with super-abilities for the new era of spycraft, but even before they branched out into supers, T.H.U.N.D.E.R. was overthrowing tinpot dictators and defending liberty around the world. Once Dynamo, Lightning and their ilk arrived, there were still old-school agents doing their thing, and the Best of the Best of the Best (HOO-AH!) was the elite T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Squad, the team who went in when all other options had failed.
Or “He Needs Either A Tambourine Or A Locker!” The one universal truth about government agencies is that there are always subdivisions, sub-contractors and related departments whose jobs remain unexplained to all but the most knowledgeable of operatives. So it is with T.H.U.N.D.E.R. The job of Defense Enlistment Reservations (or is that Enlisting Reserved Defenses) takes on many forms and many guises, and even consummate professionals like Dynamo, Lightning and The Raven can’t be everywhere at once. Thus was formed U.N.D.E.R.S.E.A., the United Nations Department of Experiment and Research Systems Established at Atlantis. Where T.H.U.N.D.E.R. handles trouble on land, U.N.D.E.R.S.E.A.
Or – “James Bond With Wings…” These days, it seems every super-team has a little bit of formula to its makeup. A leader, a tech guy, an airhead, a quipster, a loner, and fill in with your favorite other guys. Back in the day, though, there weren’t any such things as “the loner character” (mostly because there wasn’t a whole lot of character to be found in many superteams.) The T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents set a number of precedents with their team, foreshadowing the modern tendency for heroes with feet of clay, the fascination with spycraft and intelligence work, and even the
Or – “Who Is This Allen Person, Again?” Professor Emil Jennings was a man ahead of his time, finding technological ways to capture the powers that took Gamma bombs, alien rockets, special serums and more in the hands of others. From Dynamo’s Thunderbelt, with it’s ability to make you nigh-invulnerable, to Menthor’s helmet and it’s full-spectrum psionic abilities to the mysterious cloak that accompanies them (a long story that I’ll be getting to soon enough) Jennings was pretty much a full-service superpower clearing house. But, it should be noted that not ALL the scientific accomplishments used by T.H.U.N.D.E.R.’s eponymous agents
Or – “Fresh And Full Of Life!” In the grand scheme of things, there are only a limited number of really good ideas in the universe. The old cliche of movie producers explaining something as “X Meets Y” is a cliche for a reason, after all. (Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull = Han Solo + Lizzie McGuire / Nostagia.) So, when defining today’s Hero History entrant, you find yourself explaining that he kind of looks like the Silver Age Atom, but has the abilities of Professor X, with a touch of Ilya Kiriakin for seasoning. But even that explanation
Or – “Not Bird, Nor Plane, Nor Even Frog…” The 1960’s featured a proliferation of spy organizations, from Nick Fury’s SHIELD, to Derek Flint’s ZOWIE, even Napoleon Solo’s UNCLE. In fact, for a time it seemed that the only thing more plentiful in the mid-60’s than intelligence operatives were superheroes, so it was natural that, eventually, SOMEBODY would discover a way to combine the two. The T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents were created in response to a dangerous world, working as operatives of the United Nations to combat threats that your average super-friend wouldn’t have the reach or resources to combat, and foremost
Or – “???” Maniacal laughter from inside the Matthew-Cave seems to indicate that something auspicious is happening.Â I managed to capture this image with my thermo-sensors before the emergency shields came down.Â All that is certain is thatÂ you meatbags continue to confuse me…