Writers That Have Influenced Me

EmmaWatson-HarryCrowder03I’m not going to go in-depth as to why these guys have influenced me since in many ways, it would be hard to nail it down. These are authors that have been favorites of mine and are ones that when I read them, I consciously go “Wow, look how they did that! I want to be able to do that!”

I certainly read and enjoy other authors besides just these guys but these are the ones that I’d list as inspirations (in no order other than what popped in my head). Some of them have styles that are very different from my own but I still feel like I’ve taken something from them along the way.

Continue reading → Writers That Have Influenced Me

Lazarus Gray (Icons Writeup)

Lazarus Gray
aka Richard Winthrop
Created by Barry Reese

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

Stamina 11

Powers
* .357 Smith & Wesson Magnum 4 (Extra: The gun uses silver bullets that have been soaked in holy water. Does 5 damage to supernatural foes)
*Knife 2
*Detect 4 (Limit: Can only be used to track members of Assistance Unlimited – each member has been injected with a radioactive isotope that can be traced by Lazarus)
*Gadgets 3

Specialties
Athletics (Expert +2 bonus), Business (+1 bonus), Drive (+ 1 bonus), Investigation (Expert + 2 bonus), Leadership (Master +3 bonus), Linguistics (Expert + 2 bonus), Martial Arts (Expert +2 bonus), Medicine (+1 bonus), Mental Resistance (Expert + 2 bonus), Occult (Expert +2 bonus), Pilot (+1 bonus), Stealth (+1 bonus), Technology (+1 bonus), Weapons (Expert +2 bonus)

Qualities
Assistance Unlimited is his family
Associated with Project: Cicada (1941 forward)
Continually reinvents himself

Background

lg_origins_01_small

Geoff McHenry (Icons Writeup)

Geoff McHenry
aka The Geomancer 

Prowess 2
Coordination 3
Strength 3
Intellect 4
Awareness 8
Willpower 5

Stamina 8

Powers
*Geomancy 6 (Extras: Extrasensory Projection, Healing, Mind Shield, Postcognition, Telepathy)

Specialties
Investigation (+1 bonus), Occult (+1 bonus)

Qualities
Speaker of the Earth
Protected by the Fist and the Steel (Eternal Warrior)
Highly Respected by the Hero Community

Background

Geomancers are a lineage of men and women who, since 3500 BC, have been chosen by the Earth itself to defend it, with one Geomancer operating at a time. In the Viking era, it was a young boy. When a Geomancer dies, his or her chosen successor takes their place. When a Geomancer has reached the end of their life-cycle their power is removed by a suicide ritual called Bagh-Nakh. The main part of their power is that they are able to communicate with nature and their surroundings, receiving information from the trees, the grass, and even inanimate objects (like a photograph that ‘witnessed’ a murder).

Geomancers were instrumental in many pivotal events in the Valiant Universe, including the Unity Conflict, the birth and upbringing of Magnus, Robot Fighter, the struggle against the Darque Power and the Harbinger Wars. Gilad Anni-Padda served as the “Fist and Steel” of the Geomancers for most of his life, failing three times to save a Geomancer.

In 1992, Geomancer Tashi Khatun authored a book entitled The Book of Geomancer, the tome of ultimate knowledge.

The first Geomancer was Khanit, who was chosen in 3500 BC. Later Geomancers included Buck McHenry, Geoff McHenry, Lucinda Mendez, Yuri Pierce, Ana Kawainui, Rokland Tate and Aram Anni-Padda.

Geoff was the Geomancer during Unity and The Chaos Effect. He was a gentle kid who sought nonviolent means of resolving conflict. When Valiant first began and it was running in real time, I figured Geoff would grow into being Valiant’s premiere hero… but it never happened as they replaced him immediately after Chaos Effect. During his time as the Geomancer, Geoff was a trusted ally of Solar and the Eternal Warrior – and when he came looking for assistance, both men would drop everything to aid him. His Geomancy power is a six here because he was very much learning as he went… if we’d seen him as an adult, I’d expect his power to have increased to an 8 or possibly even a 9.

Lazarus Gray Volume 8 Gets Reviewed!

lg01_lazarus_solo_with_text_smallRay Bara posted a review of the latest Lazarus Gray collection on Goodreads. He gave it 5 stars and had the following to say:

Another sizzling edition of Lazarus Gray and Assistance Unlimited! Once again, Barry Reese shows why he is at the top of the New Pulp scene. He has crafted a wonderful world with Lazarus Gray and his band of heroes. Now into the eighth volume, Reese is cruising through one adventure after another with his spectacular cast of characters. And this time around, he brings back a prior villain (Nemesis), introduces a new villain who is sure to return (Bushido), and brings in a new open source hero (Golden Amazon). All the while, the action does not stop, whether Lazarus et al are battling a monster in the snowy woods, baby-snatching Shamblers in underground tunnels, or aliens in downtown Sovereign. Assistance Unlimited also suffers inner turmoil, with one member being impregnated by magic, and another member leaving the group over philosophical differences with Lazarus. This is another great read from a great author. Read this book and get ready for the next few volumes, which are coming soon!

Thanks, Ray! I’m glad you enjoyed this edition. You’re right that Bushido will return – in fact, keep an eye out for volume nine! I’ve actually written 13 volumes so you should have plenty of Lazarus to enjoy over the next year or two as Pro Se has an ambitious release schedule planned!

The Comet – Impact (Icons Writeup)

Comet
aka Rob Connors aka Jay Cole

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

Stamina 10

Powers
*Photonic Energy Manipulation 6 (Extras: Flight, Blast, Dazzle, Force Field [Limit: Force Field only protects at level 2 against heat-based attacks])
*Damage Resistance 3
*Transformation – Humanoids 4 (Limit: For much of The Comet’s career, he did not realize he had this ability)

Specialties
Aerial Combat (+1 bonus), Athletics (+1 bonus), Athletics – Baseball (Expert +2 bonus), Power – Photonic Energy Manipulation (+1 bonus), Underwater Combat (+1 bonus)

Qualities
What’s Going On? (early) / They put my brain into an alien’s body! (later)
Unlucky
Founding Member of the Crusaders

Background

In the beginning, he is an ordinary human named Rob Connors, whose only real ambition in life is to play professional baseball. His ambition is somewhat stilted by his parents, who are scientists living in arctic areas.

Rob returns to his parents’ home one day to find it torn apart by some kind of battle, which to all appearances took places weeks ago: our first sign of a strange continuity clash, since Rob had been gone only a matter of hours. In an attempt to call for help, Rob is forced to climb up the radio mast to fix it. It collapses under his weight, and he is pinned beneath it, unable to free himself until a sudden surge of energy sends him soaring through the air. Assuming his powers to be the result of an electric shock from the mast, Rob learns he can fly and generate energy beams from his hands – one of which inadvertently sets off an explosion. He returns to his girlfriend, a news reporter, who reprimands him for not speaking to her for months, even though Rob wrote to her every week. He reveals his powers to her, and she suggests he don a costume and become a superhero, since he left a red energy trail behind when he flew, he assumed the guise of The Comet.

In his numerous battles as the Comet, Rob slowly learns to use his powers. He can fly, generate heat beams and force blasts, create a limited forcefield, and even breathe underwater by using his powers to force the water away: he hypothesizes that this traps a bubble of air between him and the water. The Comet is also stronger than a normal human, and considerably tougher, though not invulnerable: shrapnel from a grenade does his arm some damage. Eventually, Rob learns that his powers are the result of his mind being accidentally transferred into the body of shape-shifting aliens that were researching the Earth, disguised as the Connors family. This is the reason for the discontinuity in Rob’s memory compared to actual events. He attempts to force the other aliens to free his parents, but fails: they leave, never to return. The hits keep coming, as Rob’s original human body is killed by one of the Comet’s enemies, in circumstances that make it look like the Comet was responsible. He goes to his girlfriend for help, only to discover that she knew all along, and was in fact the one who sent the aliens to the Connors. In attempting to reveal this story on the news, she breaks the bargain she made with the aliens, and the last of them on the planet kills her. The police attempt to arrest the Comet for the murder of Rob Connors. Rob tries to unmask himself to prove himself blameless, but accidentally accesses his alien shapeshifting ability in his desire to show his face, and morphs into a one-eyed alien monster. Horrified, Rob tears away from the scene, and is apparently killed in an explosion. We learn later, in The Crucible, that he didn’t die, but resumed human form and became a baseball player named Jay Cole with no memory of his earlier life.

His true identity is revealed by The Black Hood, and they team up for a while. However, the Tomorrow Men, a group of time-manipulating businessmen, make it look like the Hood was intending to betray the Comet, and in insane rage, the Comet irradiates an entire city. The city is covered over with an immense dome, but the Comet breaks free, intending to kill Jordan, the world’s greatest authority on energy control, whom he believes is a threat to him. His attack is foiled by one of the Tomorrow Men, who captures the Comet, intending to steal his energy to power the Tomorrow Men’s base. The Comet breaks free, but is sent back to Earth, where the Black Hood is forced, regretfully, to kill him.

Bloodshot (Icons Writeup)

Bloodshot (original Valiant version)
aka Angelo Mortalli aka Michael Lazarus

Prowess 6Bloodshot Comic Art
Coordination 6
Strength 6
Intellect 4
Awareness 5
Willpower 6

Stamina 12

Powers
*Resistance 5 (poisons, disease, aging)
*Interface 8
*Regeneration 5
*Swords 4
*Guns 4
*Gadgets 3

Specialties
Athletics (+1 bonus), Drive (+1 bonus), Investigation (+1 bonus), Leadership (+1 bonus), Linguistics (Expert +2 bonus), Martial Arts (Expert +2 bonus), Stealth (+1 bonus), Weapons (Master +3 bonus), Wrestling (Expert +2 bonus)

Qualities
Who am I?
Genuine Badass
On a mission of redemption

Background

A cold and ruthless Mafia hitman who seemed less than human, Angelo Mortalli’s rise within the Mob ended when Gino Canelli discovered he had been unfaithful to his daughter. Framed for the brutal slaying of Johnny Scotto, a rival mobster, and convicted of first–degree murder, Mortalli cuts a deal with the FBI to give evidence against the Mob to stay out of prison, but when Canelli gets wind of this, he snatches Mortalli from witness protection and bundles him off as a “volunteer” for Project Rising Spirit.

One of the few subjects to survive the Bloodshot Procedure, Mortalli has his mind wiped of all memories and is systematically programmed with information about strategy, tactics, and warfare. However, before the full programming is completed, Geoff McHenry (the Geomancer) breaks into the facility and releases Angelo, who kills his captors and escapes. Confused, lost, and suffering from amnesia, Angelo seeks clues to his origin.

Mortalli’s body is injected with microscopic technology called nanites, leaving blood-red circle scarring on his chest. The nanites rebuild his brain and body, making Angelo superhuman but erasing his memory in the process. When Angelo uses his superhuman abilities or his nanites detect combat situations, his skin becomes paler, often turning chalk-white, and his eyes turn red.

Escaping from the lab, Mortalli takes the name “Bloodshot” and determines to learn who he was and how he was altered. While fighting and killing many members of the New York mob, Mortalli joins forces with the “Eternal Warrior” called Gilad. They had been enemies before but Abrams does not hold a grudge because he believes Mortalli metaphorically “died” the night Bloodshot was born. Mortalli is later disillusioned after learning about his past actions as a hitman. Having no desire to remain in New York or return to his old life, Bloodshot goes to Europe and uses his powers to fight corruption. With the help of Abrams, he creates a new cover identity for himself, “Michael Lazarus,” and operates as Bloodshot when he deems it necessary. He battles a variety of villains and criminals, some of who are “psiots” or “harbingers” (people born with superhuman powers), such as including Ax, a psiot obsessed with attaining advanced technology such as Bloodshot’s nanites or the alien armor of X-O Manowar.

Readers learn that in the future, the heroic line of Rai warriors adopt a similar appearance to Bloodshot to remember his heroism in the 20th century. The last Rai warrior even inherits Mortalli’s nanites.

Americommando (Icons Writeup)

Americommando
aka Roger Stevens

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

Stamina 12

Powers
*Chainmail – Damage Resistance 3
*Shield – Damage Resistance 6 (Limits: Coordination roll required, still subject to stuns and slams) (Extra: Damage 7 when used as a bashing weapon or when thrown; shield is magnetically summoned back to Americommando the next round)
*Resistance 3 (Disease, Poison, Aging)

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

Qualities
Extremely Patriotic
Treats Rusty as a surrogate son
Living Legend

Background

This version of The Americommando was a fictional character on Earth-1 in DC’s pre-crisis multiverse. He was the leader of a team of Nazi-busting heroes known as The Crusaders alongside his sidekick Rusty, the sea-king Barracuda, and the flaming heroes Fireball and Sparky. At some point after the Freedom Fighters had made their trek from Earth-X to Earth-1, a group of people appeared claiming to be the actual Crusaders. They went after the Freedom Fighters, who were wanted for murder at the time, but eventually it was revealed that the Americommando was actually the Freedom Fighters’ arch-enemy, the Silver Ghost, in disguise. He had used technology to transform comic book fans into the other members of the Crusaders.

This writeup is of the fictional Americommando. Roger Stevens was a skinny 4-F army reject that took a super-soldier serum to become America’s crimefighting ideal. If he reminds you of anyone, that’s purely by coincidence.

Well, not really.

You see, the same month that the Freedom Fighters fought these Invaders-like Crusaders, the Invaders at Marvel fought a group of Crusaders modeled after the Freedom Fighters. It was all part of a stealth crossover that the Big Two used to do from time to time. I based this writeup on what little we were told about the fictional hero in the Freedom Fighters’ storyline. You’ll note that he’s not quite the equal of Captain America – since the Americommando is supposed to be based on the Invaders’ Cap, I figured he’s not quite as good as the later versions of Captain America.

Prophet (Icons Writeup)

Prophet
aka Jonathan Taylor Prophet

Prowess 6
Coordination 5
Strength 7
Intellect 4
Awareness 4
Willpower 4

Stamina 11

Powers
*Ridiculously Large Swords 5
*Really Big Guns 5 (Extra: Burst)
*Pouches – Gadgets 3

Specialties
Athletics (+1 bonus), Linguistics (Expert +2 bonus), Martial Arts (Expert +2 bonus), Weapons – Blades (Expert +2 bonus), Weapons – Guns (+1 bonus)

Qualities
Has strong faith in God
Extremely loyal to his friends
Repeatedly awakens in different eras
Struggles with his memory

Background

In 1937, John Prophet was poor and homeless. He was hired by Dr. Wells to submit to experiments that would grant him enhanced abilities far beyond normal men. He was engineered to serve the evil Phillip Omen and programmed with murderous instincts. Wells had a change of heart though and changed Prophet’s programming from evil to a strong belief in God. To protect Prophet, he sent him through time to different eras, all of which Prophet would fight the forces of evil, although his fragmented memory would often become his main enemy. His warrior skills were his only connection to himself.

He disappeared from society shortly thereafter, only to be found in a cryogenic stasis by the Berzerkers and later awakened by Cougar and Combat from Youngblood. His life long enemy is Lord Darkthorn and his followers, the Disciples. His best friend was a diminutive warrior named Jackson Kirby.

In the future, John Prophet’s genes are used as the template for the Earth Empire’s Prophet clones: aggressive automatons designed to survive the harsh conditions of the outer worlds and with the sole purpose of subjugating those worlds for the Empire.

Initially under the control of the Brain-mothers, Prophets at the outer edges of the galaxy developed autonomy and resistance to the mind control of the Brain-mothers. Eventually it was revealed that here are a limitless number of Prophets (clones), with different characteristics and appearances. Some even appear to be alien species or cyborgs. Notable Prophets include Old Man Prophet, New-Father John Prophet, and the tailed John Prophet.

Riptide (Icons Writeup)

Riptide
aka Leanna Creel

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

Stamina 6

Powers
*Water Control 6 – Extras: Blast, Energy Drain (Riptide can draw the moisture from an enemy, dehydrating and possibly killing them), Water Travel (Riptide can generate tidal waves that she can ride over great heights and distances).

Specialties
Power – Water Control (+1 bonus), Underwater Combat (+1 bonus)

Qualities
Lives an expensive lifestyle
Powers stem from her father’s ability to transform stories into reality
Has a love/hate relationship with the paparazzi

Background

Riptide got her powers during an undersea accident that would have killed her if not for the mysterious Sea Witch. The truth of her getting powers was a story, which had been carefully written by her father Storybook Smith many years earlier. Her father left before she was born, but she grew up with the story of her famous father and his book – The Book of All Tales, which had been stolen.

When Leanna got her powers, she joined Youngblood. Originally she did it to make some quick money, but soon became an integral part of the team.

When Riptide agreed to pose nude in Pussycat Magazine, she was apparently fired from Youngblood, but after Crypt had destroyed part of Youngblood and Battlestone became leader, she was asked to join again.

During a Youngblood barbecue at the Langston household, Riptide found her father’s missing book on Langston’s shelves an took it. When Langston realized who had taken the book, he went to Riptide’s room, while she was out walking, to take it back. Unfortunately Leanna came back early and surprised him. In the following fight, Langston killed her in cold blood, and tried to frame Knightsabre for the murder. Langston’s plans were revealed by Toby King, who found the book, and Langston was put in the Hell of Mirrors in Supreme’s Citadel.

Unlike many of Youngblood’s members, Leanna seemed to be a fairly unique character and I hated to see her get killed off.

Shaft (Icons Writeup)

Shaft
aka Jeff Terrell

Shaft (Youngblood) (Rob Liefeld)

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

Stamina 10

Powers
*Bow – Shaft’s bow has no string – it uses a small gravity well device instead.
*Arrows – Shaft uses a number of different types of arrows. This is a listing of some of his more commonly used ones: Explosive Arrows 7; Concussion Arrows 6; Tear Gas Arrows (causes choking and severe eye irritation, a type of Stunning effect); Smoke Arrows (blankets an area, creating limited visibility for a -2 penalty to sight-based actions); Hunting Arrows 4
*Target Acquisition Rig adds +2 bonus to ranged attacks
*Belt Pellets – Shaft frequently carries pellets that have a range of effects, such as: Knockout Gas (Stunning effect); Flash Grenades – Dazzle 4; Fragmentation Grenades 6
*Jet Boots – Flight 5 (Limit: Burnout)
*Gadgets (can be applied to either arrows or pellets) 5

Specialties
Athletics (Expert +2 bonus), Investigation (+1 bonus), Law (+1 bonus), Leadership (Master +3 bonus), Martial Arts (Expert +2 bonus), Stealth (+1 bonus), Weapons – Bows (Expert +2 bonus)

Qualities
Reluctant media Star/influencer
Has little feet
Green Arrow Meets Ethan Hunt

Background

Jeff Terrell was an elite FBI operative prior to his selection as leader of the Youngblood domestic team. Chosen primarily because of his strong leadership abilities and his movie star good looks, Jeff was the logical choice to replace the more intensely driven Battlestone. At this point, Battlestone had been forcibly removed from his position as team leader.

The swift transformation into the public persona known as “Shaft” ensued, giving him instant media exposure and firmly establishing him as a hero to the American public.

A classic action hero with a strong temper. Shaft has a commanding personality and keen mind allowing him to quickly size up any situation and make whatever decisions are necessary. His personal charisma and resolution inspire trust and loyalty within the team.

Interestingly, despite the fame and fortune resulting from the media onslaught around Youngblood, Jeff resents the media attention. He despises the costumed artifice associated with the Youngblood program.