Friday, February 29, 2008

Z-Man (2 Issues, cancelled)

Z-Man Issue 1

Back in the 5th grade I drew this comicbook called "Z-Man," a rather cheap Superman knock-off wearing wrap-around sunglasses.1 I don't even remember what actually happened in the 1st issue2, but I do (clearly) remember that the 2nd issue was nothing less than the Death of Z-Man (or Zed, as he preferred to be called in private).

His death was engineered, for reasons still unknown, by a mysterious suit at a table, who instructed the then young and impressionable H-Man ("Hydrogen-Man", as in "Man with the Power of a Hydrogen Bomb") to Take Zed Down.

Therein followed the sort of frantic I-can't-draw-this-fast-enough battle royal only the mind of a 11 or 12 year old can produce. They flew. They punched. They zapped. They tossed each other through mountains. Then, each them beaten and bloodied, Z seemed unbeatable, H-dude maybe thinking of begging off, fightin' 'nother day.

Then, the True Power of HydrogenBombMan Unleashed.

Z-Man Issue 2

Flash of Light.

Mushroom Cloud.

Z-Man is No More.3

I recall only character designs from thereon out. H-Man, some power-twins pair w/ positive and negative charges, a Cap. America knockoff, all together in some sort of super team (which was formed by the gov't to counter too-powerful rogues like Z). One thing for sure, I re-imagined Thor as younger and sleeker and put him on the team, too. Fun times. However, big problem: no villains. No villians means no story, basically. No story means no new issue. Thus the end the first run of the long and troubled history of Dauntless Comics.

Duantless Comics logo - image hosted by Blogger

But the seeds of the Versiverse were veryily sowed!! A Universe of Versions, populated by every character ever featured in a Dauntless publication: from Niveck thee Ever-Bleeding to the alien soldier-priests of the Char'r Empire to the samurai who died seeking his princess to El Humidor the Smoke Mentalist Sky Pirate to that survey team from the future that got eaten by a dinosaur in the center of the earth to the whole gang that hangs out at the Buttery Toast Bowling Alley and Lounge.

Many versions of many questions have yet to be answered: WHY is the Rose here, in the present, and what does it have to do with the liberation of earth 150 years from now? WHO did order the death of Z-man? WHY is the Buttery Toast the center of a "confluencing of improbable imagined histories"? WHO really is bounty hunter and airship captain Jonias Spicer, and why is he so protective of the monkey-girl Taroh?

Will the Versiverse reveal its secrets (at last)?


1 It was 1987 or so, after all.
2 8.5"x11", stapled, no spine.
3 Thing is, no one went to the funeral...

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Introducing... the Heroically Mediocre!

In the quiet suburbs of inner southeast Portland, justice has a hard time paying the bills. And in this squalid, turn-of-the-century craftsman home, four mediocre self-styled superheroes split the rent.

Acca-Decca, master of static electricity!

El Humidor, smoke-mentalist of the sky pirates!

Mudman, friend of the world's detris!

Gerry Rig, furniture roboticist!

This is… super hero shared housing!1


1 As originally conceived, there's this dilapidated Portland craftsman home (c.1905 or so) that has all these rejects from Portland's crimefighting cadres. I suppose you'd maybe see them everywhere but you'd be most likely to talk to them at the the public house down the street, or cursing at them as they lay hungover on the couch on their porch. A few of these super-wannabes are usually either at the bar, nursing the cheapest thing on tap and/or a coffee, generally recovering from last nights "patrol" (i.e., driving that p.o.s. van one of them brought of his mom around the block a couple of times, if that, before parking behind the bar and ending up stumbling home at 2:30, then staying up til dawn). Still, they're nice people, at heart, and I suppose they do have "super powers" although their neither anything "super" or "powerful" about them. This not-so-fantastic four was conceptualized and named by myself and Chris Colllision several years ago in a rather delirious spurt of creativity over a few pints. It lay around abandoned, sorta, ever since, 'til recently. I started drawering again, and Chris started collaborating on a different comic project, in which the SHSH crew was (somewhat) reimagined and incorporated into (cool, multiple continuities already, and not a single issue printed!). I wouldn't bet on me actually doing any real sequential art on the topic, but for now I'm digging around in my memory and rooting out every single comic-character I've every imagined, going wayyy back to like 1987 when I was in the 5th grade. In short. More to come.