Boomslang (Icons Writeup)

Boomslang
Boomslang of the Serpent Society (Marvel Comics)

Prowess 3
Coordination 4
Strength 3
Intellect 3
Awareness 3
Willpower 3

Stamina 7

Powers
*Serpent-Rangs (serpent-shaped throwing sticks) 4

Specialties
Weapons – Serpent-Rangs (Expert +2 bonus)

Qualities
*“Dream on, myte! If there’s any wreckin’ t’be done ’ereabouts, it’ll be me serpent-rangs what do it!”
*Very unlucky
*EXTREMELY Australian

Background

Boomslang is a former agent of the Viper (Ophelia Sarkissian). He then became a Serpent Society operative. But even among the Serpent Society, he’s a third-stringer.

He also seems rather unlucky. Boomslang generally gets knocked out as a background detail, and is likely to end up wounded. A fight with Wolverine ended in a swift defeat and a broken arm. Later, when fleeing from Captain America, he ran into a street gang that immediately opened fire and gravely wounded him.

Blackwing (Icons Writeup)

Blackwing (Charley Bullock) over a white background

Blackwing
aka Charley Bullock

Prowess 5
Coordination 4
Strength 4
Intellect 5
Awareness 4
Willpower 4

Stamina 8

Powers
*Costume – Damage Resistance 2, Gliding 4
*Utility Belt – Gadgets 3

Specialties
Aerial Combat (+1 bonus), Athletics (+1 bonus), Investigation (+1 bonus), Law (Expert +2 bonus), Martial Arts (Expert +2 bonus), Stealth (+1 bonus), Technology (+1 bonus)

Qualities
*Wants to inspire others
*Trained by Wildcat

Background

This DC Comics character appeared in 1981, and was seen but briefly. He existed on Earth-Two.This means that in his world, Batman had been a Golden Age  hero who had since grown old and retired. His daughter the Huntress (Helena Wayne) had succeeded Bruce as a vigilante.

This continuity ceased to exist with the Crisis on Infinite Earths but it could be intriguing to have another version of Blackwing exist somewhere in the multiverse.

Charley Bullock grew up as a kid on the streets of Gotham City. He was searching for a direction in life in a city where the Batman was seemingly everywhere. During his teenage years, he met Ted “Wildcat” Grant, and the two subdued some local troublemakers.

Ted, as is usual for him, invited Charley to join him at his new gym, and became his unofficial mentor. This, along with growing up watching the exploits of Gotham’s premier crime fighter in his early years, greatly impressed young Charley.

These influences gave Charley’s life a purpose : helping the less fortunate. The clincher came when Charley defended a local store owner from some extorting thugs. When the owner asked Charley what could be done, particularly without Batman, it all clicked for the young man.

Attending law school, he was soon accepted as a junior partner (and top-notch researcher) to the law firm of Cranston, Grayson and Wayne. Here, he met Helena Wayne and, soon, would come into contact with the Huntress.

When the criminal named Karnage broke into the office, looking for Charley’s boss Arthur Cranston, this motivated him to pursue even loftier goals. When a shopkeeper that Charley knew was attacked by gang members of the crime boss named the Boa, Charley proceeded to make a costume and a whole new life as the costumed crusader known as Blackwing.

Unfortunately, his first (and only recorded) case proved unsuccessful. One thug ripped his glider harness with his belt and Bullock was taken captive by the Boa’s gang. However, he later freed the Huntress from the deadly embrace of one of Boa’s snakes, and had the presence of mind to record evidence that could be used against the Boa and his men.

Iron Fist (Icons Writeup)

Iron Fist
aka Unknown

Prowess 4
Coordination 3
Strength 4
Intellect 3
Awareness 3
Willpower 3

Stamina 7

Powers
*Iron Fist 6
*Flight 3
*Protective Suit – Damage Resistance 3

Specialties
Weapon – Iron Fist (Expert +2 bonus)

Qualities
*He has an iron fist
*Likes to break things

Background

Iron Fist has a hand made of iron and the ability to fly. He fought the Web. That’s it, really.

Lara Croft (Icons Writeup)

Lara Croft
aka Tomb Raider

Prowess 4
Coordination 5
Strength 4
Intellect 5
Awareness 5
Willpower 5

Stamina 9

Powers
*Hunting Knife 4
*Handguns 4
*Machine Gun 5 (Extra: Burst)
*Climbing Rope and Grapple 4
*Gadgets 4

Specialties
Athletics (Master +3), Business (+1 bonus), Drive (Expert +2 bonus), Investigation (Expert +2 bonus), Linguistics (Expert +2 bonus), Martial Arts (Expert +2 bonus), Medicine – First Aid (+1 bonus), Mental Resistance (+1 bonus), Pilot (+1 bonus), Sleight of Hand (Expert +2 bonus), Stealth (Master +3 bonus), Underwater Combat (Expert +2 bonus), Wrestling (Expert +2 bonus), Weapons – Hand-to-Hand (Expert +2 bonus), Weapons – Ranged (Master + 3 bonus)

Qualities
*Aristocratic Upbringing
*Prefers to Work Alone
*Addicted to Danger

Background

This writeup is mainly inspired by the original series of video games and the woefully unappreciated comic book series. I haven’t seen the newer reboot movies or games.

The daughter of Lord Henshingly Croft, Lara was brought up in the secure world of aristocracy surrounded by tennis, butlers and corgis. But this all started to change when she went to the renowned school of Gordonstoun and found the mountains of Scotland.

Later, at her Swiss finishing school, she took to the art of extreme skiing and spent a holiday in the Himalayas searching for more challenging terrain. On her return trip however, the plane crashed deep within the mountains and Lara was the only survivor.

Two weeks later, when she walked into a mountain village, her experiences had had a profound effect on her. Unable to stand the suffocating atmosphere of upper-class British society any longer, she realised she was only truly alive when she was travelling alone.

Despite this drastic life change, Lara still retains the essence of her upbringing – most notably with her polite, upper-class accent.

Lara’s parents though, having sported hopes of her marrying the Earl of Farringdon, were less than convinced about this chosen lifestyle and ceased to associate with their daughter – even terminating her monthly allowance. The Earl is still waiting.

While in England, Lara lives in a mansion in Surrey which she inherited many years ago. At one time she saw little use in it but now realises that, if nothing else, it is at least handy for storing all the artifacts she has acquired on her travels. She has also had a custom-built assault course constructed in the grounds for training purposes.

Fighting American – Liefeld Version (Icons Writeup)

Fighting American
John Flagg

Prowess 6
Coordination 5
Strength 6
Intellect 4
Awareness 4
Willpower 5

Stamina 11

Powers
*Shield: Damage Resistance 7; Blast 5 (the shield can fire mini-missiles and drugged darts) [Limit: Fighting American cannot throw his shield or Marvel Comics will sue him]
*Immortality 1
*Pouches – Gadgets 3
*Sidekick – SPICE (Prowess 4, Coordination 6, Strength 5, Intellect 4, Awareness 5, Willpower 4, Stamina 9, Flight 5, Blast 5, Stretching 4, Gadgets 4)

Specialties
Athletics (Expert +2 bonus), Driving – Motorcycles (Expert +2 bonus), Military (Master +3 bonus), Leadership (Expert +2 bonus), Weapons (Expert +2 bonus), Weapon – Shield (Master +3 bonus), Wrestling (Expert +2 bonus), Martial Arts (Expert +2 bonus), Stealth (+1 bonus)

Qualities
*Super-Soldier
*Awesome! Extreme!
*Speedboy! [Gasp!] His death was… my… [choke]… fault!

Background

Rob Liefeld’s Fighting American was John Flag, a young man who volunteered for a government experiment. He came out as the government’s #1 super soldier and fought both overseas and at home during the second World War. Equipped with a weaponized shield, Fighting American protected his country from all manner of threats and became recognized the world over as a sentinel of liberty. He had a trusted sidekick named Speed Boy. Speed Boy was presumed dead after one of their missions only to resurface years later as a deadly assassin.

John Flag retired after the war, traumatized by the death of his partner. He came back into action decades later once he heard that the Iron Cross was back from the dead. Fighting American was then teamed up with a spunky new cyborg sidekick named S.P.I.C.E. (Super Prototype Intelligent Cyborg Entity).

Fighting American had a few allies who were introduced throughout his series such as Thor, Diehard, and Supreme. Fighting American had a few of his original rogues return as well – namely, Iron Cross, Red Menace, Invisible Irving, and Smash. Fighting American quickly became a cornerstone of the Awesome Universe and was set to lead The Allies team book before the company folded.

Marvel Comics sued Rob Liefeld over his version of Fighting American – in the end, Liefeld was able to move forward with his comics but he was legally barred from having the hero throw his shield as that would have been too close to Captain America’s mode of combat.

Dream Demon (Icons Writeup)

Dream DemonDream-Demon
aka Unknown

Prowess 3
Coordination 3
Strength 3
Intellect 4
Awareness 4
Willpower 5

Stamina 8

Powers
*Immortality 1
*Illusion 7 (Extra: Dream Control)
*Flight 3

Specialties
Occult (+1 bonus)

Qualities
*Darkling’s Rival
*Core member of the Eliminators
*Condescending towards others

Background

A villainess and witch who has lived centuries and who murdered Darkling’s mentor. She has illusion powers, among other abilities, and is a member of the Eliminators. Beyond that, we really don’t know very much about her. She’s got an interesting look, has cool powers, and is so mysterious that you can pretty much add anything you want to her backstory.

End of August Update

It’s been a strange month. Students returned to school and I’m teaching both in-person classes and an online course so things are unusual to say the least.

I’ve been writing a novel that combines the Greek gods with the public domain characters Nature Boy and Nature Girl. I’m about 11,000 words into it and it’s good, I guess. It’s mostly been something that I do when I have free time and I haven’t been too enthused by it, I have to admit. I mean, I love the characters, Gilbert Monsanto did some lovely redesigns for me, and the plot is actually pretty badass… but I’m just not in love with it at the moment.

Pro Se is beginning to tease that the eighth volume of Lazarus Gray might be out next month – it’s been three years since volume 7 so I know a lot of you are anxious to see this one. The series has occasionally featured novel-length tales and collections of shorter works… this one will have five short stories in it and features a new version of Murder Unlimited, a team-up between Eun and Doctor Hancock, and some great new villains. I think you’ll enjoy it. The plan is to release new books every 3 months or so until they’ve caught up with the backlog of books I’ve written.

I’m looking around for something new to catch my muse and excite it… if you have any suggestions for things you’d like to see me write, speak now! I might actually listen to you lol

The Hammer (Icons Writeup)

The Hammer
aka Judah Maccabee (יהודה המכבי)
Created By and Copyright Rik Offenberger

Prowess 5
Coordination 5
Strength 6
Intellect 4
Awareness 4
Willpower 6

Stamina 12

Powers
*The Hammer from God 10 (Limit: Powered by the user’s faith. If the user begins to doubt in himself or his holy mission, the power level of the hammer’s bashing damage decreases accordingly)

Specialties
Athletics (Expert +2), Martial Arts (Expert +2), Military – Israeli (Master +3 bonus), Weapons – Military Issue (Expert +2 bonus), Weapon – Hammer from God (Master +3 bonus), Knowledge – Jewish Faith (Expert +2 bonus)

Qualities
*“Whosoever holds this hammer, if he be strong enough of faith, shall be blessed with the power of the hammer from GOD”
*Defender of Israel
*Priest and Warrior

Background

Judas Maccabaeus, (יהודה המכבי) was the third son of Mattathias ben Yochanan Maccabeus, (תִּתְיָהוּ הַכֹּהֵן בֶּן יוֹחָנָן), a Kohen (כֹּהֵן) (Jewish priest) from the village of Modi’in (מודיעין), ancient Jerusalem (יְרוּשָׁלַיִם).

In 167 BC Mattathias, together with his sons Judas Maccabaeus, (יהודה המכבי) Elazar Avaran Maccabeus (אלעזר המכב), Simon Thassi Maccabeus (שמעון התסי), John Gaddi Maccabeus (יוחנן הגדי), and Jonathan Apphus Maccabeus (יונתן אפפוס), started The Maccabean Revolt (מרד החשמונאים‎) against the Antiochus IV Epiphanes (Ἀντίοχος ὁ Ἐπιφανής), ruler of the Greek-Seleucid Empire (Βασιλεία τῶν Σελευκιδῶν).

In 175 BC Antiochus issued decrees that made Jewish worship illegal. Torah (תּוֹרָה), (The Old Testament) was confiscated and burned. Sabbath (שַׁבָּת) (the holy day of prayer), brit milah (בְּרִית מִילָה) (circumcision) and Kashrut (כַּשְׁרוּת) (Jewish religious dietary laws) were all prohibited under penalty of death and he mandated Hellenism (ΕΛΛΗΝΙΣΜΟΣ) as the only religion.

Hellenism is modernly referred to as Greek Mythology and was the worship of the Olympians (ΔΩΔΕΚΑΘΕΟΝ): APHRODITE (ΑΦΡΟΔΙΤΗ), APOLLO (ΑΠΟΛΛΩΝ), ARES (ΑΡΗΣ), ARTEMIS (ΑΡΤΕΜΙΣ), ATHENA (ΑΘΗΝΑ), DIONYSUS (ΔΗΜHΤΗΡ), HADES (ΠΛΟΥΤΩΝ), HEPHAESTUS (ΗΦΑΙΣΤΟΣ), HERA (ΗΡΑ), HERMES (ΕΡΜΗΣ), HESTIA (ΕΣΤΙΑ), POSEIDON (ΠΟΣΕΙΔΩΝ), TYCHE (ΤΎΧΗ), and ZEUS (ΖΕΥΣ)

Mattathias was a warrior priest who led The Maccabean Revolt (מרד החשמונאים‎) for his people’s religious freedom until his death in 166 BC. After Mattathias death, Judas assumed leadership of the revolt as the warrior priest and commander of the Jewish forces. He took on the name Judah “the Hammer” Maccabee (יהודה “פטיש” מכבי).

After Judah Maccabee’s death, his brother’s carried his hammer on to victory over the Greek-Seleucid Forces. The Kohanim (כֹּהֲנִים) hid the physical hammer of Judah Maccabee and protected it. The hammer has been passed on to the descendants of Judah Maccabee and his wife Leah Maccabaeus (לאה מק’קבאוס) over the centuries. It is said in every generation, in times of need, a new Maccabee would come forward and take the hammer and through the sheer force of his faith power the hammer to protect his people.

Judah Maccabee named for his forefathers is the latest wielder of the Hammer from GOD (פטיש מאלוהים). He has spent his entire life in the study of his religion and since birth, he has been on a mission to protect his people. It is his calling.

The Hammer from GOD. Is the ancestral weapon of the Maccabees. It has been passed down through the generation and protected by the Jewish priesthood. The hammer’s power is a blessing from GOD and get’s its strength from the user’s faith. Therefore, any failure is considered a failure of the user’s faith. The hammer has the inscription “כל מי שמחזיק את הפטיש הזה, אם הוא חזק מספיק מאמונה, יהיה מבורך בכוח הפטיש מאלוהים” – (“Whosoever holds this hammer, if he be strong enough of faith, shall be blessed with the power of the hammer from GOD”)

Timeline of My Pulp Adventure Universe (Updated 8/28/2020)

gravediggerMajor Events specific to certain stories and novels are included in brackets. Some of this information contains SPOILERS for The Peregrine, Lazarus Gray, Gravedigger and other stories.

~ 800 Viking warrior Grimarr dies of disease but is resurrected as the Sword of Hel. He adventures for some time as Hel’s agent on Earth. [“Dogs of War” and “In the Name of Hel,” Tales of the Norse Gods].

1748 – Johann Adam Weishaupt is born.

1750 – Guan-Yin embarks on a quest to find her lost father, which takes her to Skull Island [Guan-Yin and the Horrors of Skull Island].

1776 – Johann Adam Weishaupt forms The Illuminati. He adopts the guise of the original Lazarus Gray in group meetings, reflecting his “rebirth” and the “moral ambiguity” of the group. In Sovereign City, a Hessian soldier dies in battle, his spirit resurrected as a headless warrior.

Continue reading → Timeline of My Pulp Adventure Universe (Updated 8/28/2020)

Starbrand (Icons Writeup)

Starbrand
aka Ken Connell

Prowess 3
Coordination 4
Strength 9
Intellect 3
Awareness 2
Willpower 4

Stamina 12

Powers
*Energy Control 9 (Extras: Flight, Damage Resistance, Dazzle, Transmutation, Absorption, Blast, Healing, Life Support, Immortality, Ability Boost)

Specialties
Technology – Auto Repair (Expert +2 bonus), Drive – Motorcycles (+1 bonus)

Qualities
*Narcissistic Personality
*I’m my own Grandpa
*Ladies Man

Background

I know what you’re thinking — the New Universe was crap. Well, yes and no. The execution was certainly lacking at times and some of the books should never have been started to begin with, but others had potential. Star Brand, for instance, has many parallels to Jim Shooter’s later work on Solar, Man of the Atom. Both stories are about a man who becomes a veritable god, and both Ken Connell and Phil Seleski were in some way responsible for the birth of heroes in their universes. Both were also responsible for numerous deaths, as Phil destroyed his entire universe and Ken blew up Pittsburgh… the biggest difference between Solar and Starbrand is that Ken was often a jerk, using one girl for sex and ignoring her feelings for him while he was also cheating on another woman. He was also not very good at really using his powers – his ability boost, for instance, could have been used on any of his attributes but he only ever used it on his strength.

While riding his dirt bike in the hills outside of Pittsburgh, auto mechanic Ken Connell came across a blasted circle of forest. Investigating, he was greeted by an old man who, after interviewing him for a few short minutes, gave him the most powerful weapon in the universe: the Star Brand. Ken passed out from the physical shock of this, and when he woke up, the Old Man was dead.

In fact, it appeared that he wasn’t even human, as when Ken found him, he appeared to be a sort of pink, fish-headed thing with loose skin. Burying the apparent alien, Ken went home to think about his new abilities, and confided in his old pal Myron, a psychologist who Ken trusted enough to talk about this bizarre occurrence. Though he didn’t believe the alien bit, he was still wowed by Ken’s ability to fly.

Though Myron tried to help him decide what to do, it took Ken about a year before he finally decided to help people with this amazing powers. During this time, he had various adventures across the earth, several of which involved the return of that Old Man, who tried to get Ken to give him the Star Brand back. Having gotten used to such power, however, Ken declined… violently.

Deciding at last to go public, he donned a costume made for him by his girlfriend, and Ken exposed his powers to the media in several spectacular ways. He was liked and adored by the public, which was what Ken always wanted, though this didn’t last. You see, he decided to attend a comic book convention as a guest of honor, and the creators of several comic books tore him apart.

After these folks pretty much insulted him for being stupid enough to fly about as a costumed ‘hero’, the Old Man again appeared to confront Ken, and this time, he killed him. Spectacularly. In fact, the explosion the Old Man used to achieve this flattened the complex, killing at least five thousand people in addition to Ken himself. Of course, Ken got better.

His body, for the first time, assumed that pinkish regenerative form, and Ken made his way to Myron’s place, who convinced him to get rid of the Star Brand once and for all. Feeling guilty about the deaths he had inadverdently caused, Ken didn’t want anything to do with the power anymore. As such, he grabbed an bent iron weight and flew into the skies.

Remembering things the Old Man had revealed to him, about the creation of the White Event, Ken was going to get far away in order to release the Star Brand’s power into the weight. Of course, he decided that ten miles up was probably good enough, and transferred the power over into that inanimate object. The resultant explosion ripped his body to shreds, and obliterated the city of Pittsburgh.

Again, however, this wasn’t enough to kill Ken. His body eventually pulled itself back together again, though he’d gone completely nuts after realizing what he’d done. Of course, he still had ten percent of the Star Brand’s power flowing within him, so this made him unbelievably dangerous to have around. His son realized this when he finally managed to track him down.

You see, Ken’s girlfriend discovered that she was pregnant several months before, and after the Pitt occurred, her son was violently born into the world. Trying to understand his place in the world, he tracked Ken down to get his help, but since the man was gibberingly insane, the so-called Star Child decided that he had to protect the world from Ken.

Given a choice of suffering permanent death or powerlessness, Ken chose powerlessness, and was returned to the earth without his portion of the Star Brand; his child was indeed powerful enough to take it from him. Of course, he was still crazy, and after he saw an apparition of his dead friend Myron, Ken accidentally drove his motorcycle off a cliff.

He didn’t die, however. You see, by this time, the Star Child had temporarily halted the process of death itself across the earth. Ken, though horribly burned and broken up by the wreckage of his bike, was still alive. In fact, he formed a sort of White Event cult in the ruins of Pittsburgh, and preached the gospel of his godhood until death returned to the earth, and he died yet again.

Once he died, Ken’s body finally had an opportunity to heal itself, and Ken awoke anew in his old body, this time with his sanity returned to him. Realizing the horrible things he’d done, Ken resolved to help fix matters somewhat, when the Star Child teleported him (and everybody else that’d ever used the Star Brand’s power) onto an asteroid in orbit around Jupiter.

He’d been delving into the origins of the Star Brand, you see, and discovered that it was spontaneously created at some indeterminate point when the universe folded in upon itself for a microsecond. As such, he resolved to trap the Star Brand in time before it’s continued existence destroyed the continuity of the universe as it was presently known.

In order to do this, however, he needed to absorb the energies of the Star Brand from those who currently wielded it (all three of the others), and then he needed to wedge Ken Connell himself into this time loop, since he was already there. You see, it was revealed that the Old Man was a much older version of himself, and that the Star Child was actually a younger version of Ken.

So, once he’d absorbed the Star Brand into himself, the Star Child took Ken and the Old man into time, altering their essences and minds until they fit into the places he needed them to be, so that this loop could be completed once and for all. While the Star Child’s essence became what would become Ken Connell, Ken Connell’s essence was transported into the past so he could become the Old Man.

And finally, the Old Man’s essence was imparted into Ken Connell’s baby while it was still within his girlfriend, Debbie. As such, Ken was finally able to atone for his horrible mistakes to some extent, as his sacrifice managed to heal the wounds the Star Brand inflicted upon the time stream, even if it meant he’d be doomed to repeat his actions over and over….