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 Zodiac Publications, characters

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soothsayer
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PostSubject: Zodiac Publications, characters   Sat Sep 17, 2011 9:31 am

Those who know me know that I've been bouncing the idea of my own comic book universe for quite some time, under the Zodiac Publications banner. They also know that I have several dozen characters thought up and designed, along with massive storylines... just not on paper.

I've made a few attempts over the years to fix this, but, well... a lot of stuff has happened over those same years. I don't want my dream to die, so something has to change.

Running with an idea sparked by a different thread (ie, Letter TO the Editor), I am going to present at least ONE character at least EVERY week here in this thread, in my character bible format. A character bible, for those not knowing, is pretty much a profile of the character, his motivations, how he acts, behaves, etcetera... something that can be referred to time and again to see how he might act / react to a given situation.

By all means, feel free to comment. If you see something that may need tweeking, post it. If you have a question, post it. Heck, if you want to just give a Thumbs Up then by all means, post it. I don't care... any feedback, negative or positive, is a positive!
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PostSubject: Re: Zodiac Publications, characters   Sat Sep 17, 2011 9:33 am

Code name: Fear
Real name: Peter Krause

Height: 5’5”
Weight: 110 pounds
Body Type: thin, slender / slight
Sex: Male
Ethnic: Caucasian

Hair style: bald, shaven head
Hair color: none
Facial hair style: shaven, including eyebrows and body hair
Facial hair color: none

Eye color: bright blue

Piercings type / location: none
Tattoo image / location: none
Birthmarks: none, removed

Age: 32
Birth date: October 27, 1978
Birth sign: Scorpio

General personality characteristics: paranoid, obsessive / compulsive, germaphobic
General personality mannerisms: talks to himself, refers to self in third person
General physical mannerisms: darting eyes, will not initiate / maintain eye contact
Habits: nail biter, chews on lips to point where they bleed

Education level: Post graduate
Degree, major: Psychology
Degree, minor: Statistical Analysis
Certifications: Military training in intelligence

Former occupations: none
Current occupation: day trader
Occupational skills: moderate internet skills, profiling, analytical prediction
Lifestyle / living conditions: sterile; small studio flat, no interior walls, windows walled over; mattress on floor, featureless desk with laptop on it. No television, phone or radio. Food brought to him through a sterile dummy waiter. No direct human contact or interaction.

Hobbies: Sudoku
General interests: reading articles pertaining to new psychological studies, predicting trends
Personal skills: utilizing his military and college education, has become a successful in the stock market

Criminal history: none; has contact network, established due to, or in part, by his skill set
Military history: Army Intelligence Officer, deserter
Personal history (brief): Peter started out as a normal person. He attended college on full scholarship for academic success, where he gained the attention of military officials; after recruitment into the military, Krause furthered his education and began military training. Krause became an instrumental tool for the government, using him for various intelligence purposes, from interrogation to intelligence gathering. It was during a remote viewing that Krause made contact with something that so profoundly shook him that he deserted from the service and buried his identity in an attempt to evade detection from both the service and whatever it was he had seen. Since the incident, he has steadily become more paranoid, as well as becoming more and more orderly.

Abilities / powers: Although Krause is not consciously aware, he has precognitive, telepathic, and, through military training, remote viewing abilities; Krause believes these to be mere manifestations of his training and education, while in fact it is because of these abilities that has made him successful in his fields of study. More recently, has developed a talent to “turn off” his mind to avoid detection.

STRENGTH: 1 (regular / light exercise of someone of similar age)
AGILITY: 1 (equal to someone who engages in regular / light activity)
INTELLIGENCE: 3 (post-educational with life experiences)
Precognition: MEDIUM. Can see the future, but only in visions or flashes; cannot set specific dates or times, but can make generally accurate estimates. Visions become more clear the closer (time-wise) to the event.
Telepathy: MEDIUM. Cannot hold mental communication, but can feel the mental state of an individual. Can “see” memories, but cannot grasp onto current thoughts.
Remote viewing: STRONG. Maintains all five sense while remote viewing (projecting one’s mind to another location, distance and time is no factor.
Mental shielding: VARIABLE. Able to turn all thoughts inward, preventing others from detecting or locating him, strength of shielding dependant on conscious effort; if he is actively using an ability to his fullest, shielding will be that much weaker.

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PostSubject: Re: Zodiac Publications, characters   Sat Sep 17, 2011 10:16 am

File name: Gaupundles
Real name: Michelle Victoria

Height: 5’8”
Weight: 120 pounds
Body Type: slender / athletic
Sex: female
Ethnicity: American caucasian

Hair style: close cropped with law length bangs
Hair color: black with blue streaking
Facial hair style: none
Facial hair color: none

Eye color: almond brown

Piercings type / location: stud, nostril; two loops, left eyebrow; loop, belly button, loops, earlobes; others
Tattoo image / location: none
Birthmarks: none

Age: 24
Birth date: ??? 14, 1987
Birth sign: ???

General personality characteristics: friendly and outgoing once she knows someone, but normally shy and quite
General personality mannerisms: may come across as being nervous at times
General physical mannerisms: talks a lot while performing hand gestures
Habits: none

Education level: High school graduate
Degree, major: none
Degree, minor: none
Certifications: diploma in general studies

Former occupations: waitress
Current occupation: Administrative Assistant
Occupational skills: moderate computer and internet skills
Lifestyle / living conditions: one bedroom apartment, exercise equipment (bow-flex, related), small television, desktop computer, telephone, stereo system, easel. Large amounts of locks on door.

Hobbies: painting, self-defense, fitness, urban explorer
General interests: lost love romance movies / books
Personal skills: self taught in variety of martial arts
Criminal history: shoplifting (as minor); none (as adult)
Military history: none
Personal history (brief): Michelle is the victim of multiple rapes. Her first molestation was enacted at the age of 11 by a visiting older cousin, and continued throughout high school by both fellow students and staff. She became withdrawn, and reacted to these encounters by becoming distant, allowing her mind to wander away (which, in turn, fed her painting skills). Adulthood saw no change in her assaults; has turned to physical fitness and developing fighting skills to protect herself, but freezes when an assault begins.

Abilities / powers: Michelle Victoria has no special powers or abilities. She is a victim of circumstance; she physically resembles the time lost love of the Nameless One (see Nameless One) with no conscious memory of that life, while at the same time her mind harbors a trapped succubus (see Lilith, Goddess). However, there would be no telling as to the amount of power she would have should she become aware of all that lies within.

STRENGTH: 2 (intense regular exercise of someone of similar age)
Mixed Martial Arts: MEDIUM. Although not professionally trained, Michelle has extensive knowledge of martial arts as they pertain to self defense.
AGILITY: 2 (equal to someone who engages in regular intense activity)
Urban Explorer: FAIR. Able to climb a variety of urban structures with little difficulty, depending on foot and hand holds. Able to leap from building to building depending on distance.
INTELLIGENCE: 1 (high school education or similar life experiences)

(EDIT: I will add birthdate and sign when I get home after work...)
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PostSubject: Re: Zodiac Publications, characters   Wed Sep 28, 2011 9:29 pm

Didn't want to interject inside a list of characters, but you said we could comment here, and I have a slight disagreement/difference-o-opinion on this character bible idea. NOT that it's a bad idea, cuz it's actually a great idea. In the comics thread 'to the editor' you mention current real writers making a bible and sticking to it so certain companies don't start to suck. That's a great idea too, and could save their asses.

My issue is what I'm calling 'character evolution.' You say if you run into a problem, go back to the bible. BUT, in a dynamic world, such as the really real world, characters (us...) change over time based on happenstance and situation! Do we then go back and rewrite that character's bible entry? How does the bible allow for change?

An example would be a soldier-boy character (cuz we all know how much the "big two" like those these days). Trained to follow orders...personality traits involve needs to excel, seek praise for accomplishments, mindless killing 'zone', and extreme patriotism to the point his commanders can do no wrong. 53 issues into his series, while single-handedly roasting a Fictitistan village, he finds the most beautiful woman he's ever seen and does a little love-at-first-sight thing. She has children, and our hero sees the terror in their eyes as the village burns. He realizes some of that terror is directed at him, like he's the angel of death or some crap. WHOOPS...killing innocents might be wrong...damn. He lets her and the kids live, but knows his agency will be back, so takes them somewhere safe. Now his agency wants him brought in for reprogramming, and these 'witnesses' exterminated, so our hero does a 180 and protects the woman and children...leading into our hero starting a new career as a savior character.

Let's say this has nothing to do with sales or popularity, cuz screw the readers if they don't like artistic interpretation. Maybe in a letter from the editor, we explain to the readers that Harvey Hero realized killing just cuz of an order is wrong...doesn't matter. Point is, if we go back to the bible, three issues later we have to have our hero 'shake it off' and kill the woman and kids before turning himself in. Well...there went a series. Or do we archive his original page of the bible, then write a new one with new personality traits involving needing to help, 'christ complex', intense desire to do good deeds, ETC...??? How concrete can a character bible be in a world ever-changing?

I'm not trying to diss the character bible concept!!! I'm trying to learn how one would use it while leaving some leeway for change...

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PostSubject: Re: Zodiac Publications, characters   Thu Sep 29, 2011 12:16 am

No problem, kind sir!

A character bible should be used to show where the character has come from, to define who they are (personality, desire, experiences) so that, in any given situation, one can understand how and why they react the way they do. It shouldn't be used as a strict guideline that the character needs to adhere to, vut rather as a personality profile.

Think of it as how an FBI agent generates a profile on a suspect. There are key identifiable characteristics that the FBI then use to flesh out an individual. A character bible is like that, the characteristics; it's up to the writer to then flesh them out, by using those guides.

Let's use your example (and a good one at that). Going by how you described him, he is a highly trained soldier, professional, and single-minded. Kind of sounds like how USAgent first started. That would be his core... unfeeling, direct, focused. Agreed?

So now you have him in a situation where he is faced against something he has no understanding about... love. Why is it that this woman has affected him so? It's love, does it matter? Yes and no. Beauty is always in the eye of the beholder, but for your character to give pause, there's probaly more to it. The D&D character Raistlin is a prime example of a character that goes against what he believes himself to be; as dark as he is, he will always protect the young or the helpless, because of how he was treated growing up. Is it important to explain the love-at-first-sight thing? No, not really, but at the same time, there might be a need for a flashback or something to justify his behavior... and as such, one might need to go to his bible and see why he would react that way.

Anyway, that isn't important right now. let's continue with your example.

He falls for the woman, and as you explained, he becomes their protector. His character bible would remain the same as it was before... his training and experiences and general personality hasn't been changed. He may want to change for this woman, and that can be evolved. I've changed for Mrs Soothsayer, you've changed for Mrs Shadowcrunch, it happens... but we are still the same person inside. A natural continuation of the character would be him using his knowledge to protect, and to avoid prosecution. (Bourne Identity?) You would still have to explain this so that it makes sense, and this could very well make it through a couple story arcs.

To go further, we already know how he would react should his "family" come to harm or be threatened. He's a killer, plain and simple. Would he cast away what he is for the sake of love? What would happen should the woman make him swear or promise? Knowing what he is, would he stay with the family, or would he protect them from himself and leave, protecting them from afar?

Character bible, man. A character will always remain true, no matter what. Unlike Magneto, who has gone through so many darned personality changes one can no longer keep track.

...

No idea if that makes sense. Hopefully it does.

...

Look at the Punisher. In one of that more recent storylines, a villian was going to ressurrect his wife and children. Dug them up, brought them to his base of operations, and held Punisher hostage while the spell was being performed. His whole career was based on killing criminals because of what was taken from him... and here was this villian, giving Frank the chance to have that life back.

Know what Frank did?

Killed his family as they were rising from their coffins. They weren't zombified or brainless, they were coming back as they were. Frank put them back down. Why?

It was explained that he did this not because they were coming back to life, but rather because he knew that Maria would see him as a monster. He didn't want his family to see what he had become. He did it because he didn't want to stop killing.

That fits with the character. As much as he misses his family, Frank has had numerous chances at finding happiness, but he has always turned away from it. He's too focused on vengence. Kishnu, the egyptian god who gives Moon Knight his powers had even told Moon Knight that he thought he could have done better by making Punisher his avatar.

...

Dear lord, going on tangents now. Sheesh.
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PostSubject: Re: Zodiac Publications, characters   Tue May 20, 2014 4:14 pm

NECRO POST!

This character idea came to me a few days ago. Haven't fleshed him out yet, but I want to type it out lest I forget.

There are a lot of characters out there with a healing factor, but nothing that really struck me as being "real". I was trying to think of a character with a healing factor, a natural one that didn't involve nano technology. Came up with this simple premise. What happens when you break a bone? The bone actually strengthens where it broke. And when you cut yourself? A scab forms, creating a stronger protective shield over that injured spot until it heals.

With that in mind...

Our character has a rare condition known as hyperparathyroidism. Look it up here. Essentially, his glands are hyper active, causing his body to act / grow oddly. Think Elephant Man, but without the deformity. Okay, got it so far? This disorder is the underlying cause of a secondary, more important disorder: Hypercalcemia... your body has too much calcium in it, way above normal. You can find that medical explanation here.

Although you can have the first disorder without the second, you cannot have the second without the first. I didn't just mix and match medical issues here folks!

So now you have the basics of the character: his body contains too much calcium. A simple, rare, and natural disorder. How's that tie in with a healing factor?

Through ossification. What? Ossification? Sooth, are you making stuff up again? Nope... go here for the reference, or continue reading! Ossification is the laying down of new bone material. Sometimes something bad happens, and that something is called calcification, an event that happens during ossification. In essence, ossification heals the bones, whereas calcification creates bone-like material in soft tissue, on bones, pretty much anywhere.

Petrifaction, people!

Imagine if you will, a person born with a rare never-before-seen variety of hyperparathyroidism. He breaks a bone, it doesn't heal as it normally would... not only does it strengthen, but it gets thicker and / or has something odd happen (bumps? spikes?) due to calcification. Break them off, they'll come back, stronger. Cut his skin, he bleeds... a scab forms, a calcified scab forms; calcium enters into the tissue around the cut, above the cut, forming a solid bone scab. He gets injured there again, the tissues strengthen, the skin thickens and becomes harder.

Can you see where I'm getting at? Thicker bones makes for stronger muscles because you have to move more mass. Bone spurs, pikes, and lumps akin to Marrow from the X-Men. A thickening skin, becoming a dense bone-like armor plating like Thing.

This character may not have a "real" healing factor, but he's got the next best thing: something that makes him harder and harder to kill.

Now thing, picture a government that learns of this child, and the lengths they would go through to kidnap him, and to literally shape him into a weapon. Imagine a child being tortured, cut, maimed, all so he could get better... and then hurting him all over again.

What kind of character would this turn out to be?
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PostSubject: Re: Zodiac Publications, characters   Wed Aug 05, 2015 4:08 pm

This came to me while I was watching (unfortunately) Superman Returns. If you don't know the premise of this movie, Superman left Earth and returned five years later. Thinking about this led me to think of a Marvel character by the name of Sentry, who, for reasons I won't go into detail here, had his entire existence erased from all the persons within the Marvel Universe. And then, that led me to think about a What If? issue, where Doom amassed a lot of power...

...

My character left the world in order to combat a great menace, before it had the chance to arrive to our world. Knowing that people's memories are short, and you can only really trust something if it's been passed down from an original witness, let's just say that our character left the world before we had recording devices. Not talking about newsprint or the like, but rather before cameras, good cameras; the old flash powder cameras can exist. So... this puts us at the very latest some time around, I don't know, 1880? 1890? Better still, let's have this character leave the world before the Civil War or the Prussian War, something around that general time frame.

Skip ahead five - six generations. Our great grandparents have died, our grandparents are starting to die. Anything within that originating time frame is either a historical fact, or a flight of fancy, a legend, a story. Our children treat that character as nothing more than a story, as would we. Our parents are kind of iffy because maybe they grew up hearing stories of that character... but to the newest generation, he's make believe.

And now, he's returned. He has fought this entire time, safeguarding a planet that either doesn't remember him, or thinks he's a story. What does he do? Does he reintegrate into a society that has seemingly turned to war and illegal surveillance and corruption? Does he feel regret or remorse, having fought for so long, knowing his friends have all died, their children have died? What did he fight for all these decades?

Perhaps he begins to take over the world, angered by his sacrifice, against a world that has forgotten him. Or perhaps he slinks into the shadows, maybe thankful for being forgotten, allowing him to rest... or he slinks off, depressed, grief stricken.

What would a supremely powerful being do upon returning to a world that has forgotten him? How would he act? Or maybe the more important question would be, how would we react, confronted with a being who turns out to be real... a being that could take control with little to no effort? Would we embrace him, or be paranoid?
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PostSubject: Re: Zodiac Publications, characters   Thu Sep 17, 2015 2:59 pm

Thought of this while watching Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. of all things, but the idea was also inspired by a series of recent (more or less) events. And I am thinking that this, as far as most of my character or story ideas go, could actually be feasible.

During the Cold War, a lot of installations and technology was built or created, on both sides. Secret stuff, stuff we don't know about but can only guess at. Hell, a lot of stuff we do know about that came from this time period is amazing, even by today's standards. Certainly there are still installations out there in use, it'd be foolish to think they weren't... as an example, a numbers station, such as UVB-76. Go ahead, look it up, I'll wait.

...

Some might say that the numbers stations could be used for an alien / sci fi type story. They could, yes, but I'm not going there right now... I'm making a character. But in order to develop this character, I have to tell you the origin story or background; it does not involve aliens. I am using the numbers station as an example of Cold War installations being around, installations we know nothing about, an example that they do exist.

Now, since we know that there are secret military installations, let's broaden the field. Take known installations, such as the HAARP facility in Alaska. This is an instillation that has been closed, no longer in service. Instead of dismantling everything and flattening the site, it's cheaper to just guard it. The military, and I am sure that the intelligence agencies as well, do this; why waste a good and possible future location? You don't want to destroy something you might need at a later date.

Again, HAARP is just an example of an installation, nothing more.

Now let's look at Europe, especially eastern Europe. The Slavic states to be even more precise. Those governments are changing quicker than people can keep track of. Ever since the collapse of the Soviet Union, nations have broken away, splintered, dissolved, enveloped, disappeared, reappeared, and even materialized out of thin air. Is it any real leap of the imagination that there wasn't a secret installation or two that has been lost?

Picture this: you're at work in one of these sites. The rebels are blowing crap up outside your walls, people are scrambling, papers are burning, computers being over-turned. The walls are breached, everyone inside shot. Can you see that image? We've seen it played before on an unknown number of movies. Or how about the same thing, but a little different? The agency knows that the rebels are winning, and order the destruction of all the paperwork? We've seen this before as well, an installation abandoned, all traces of it lost, hidden away, with the hopes that the overthrown party can come back... whatever secrets or technology stored away, waiting for that day to come.

It's believable, is it not? After all, a massive weapons cache was discovered not too long ago; the rifles were rusty and no longer serviceable, but it happened. A Nazi gold train is rumored to have been found... can you imagine the wealth on that thing? How many occurrences do we know of in which the US government has lost a nuclear bomb, or weapons, or laptops... those are things that are tracked! How many facilities are there that have been sold or auctioned off? I'm thinking of the old ICBM missile silos, installations that you can purchase (it's true!)

What I'm getting at is there are sites and locations and caches out there, in real life. How many stories or news articles have we read or seen where an urban explorer discovered a previously unknown hidden bunker? Military vehicles? It happens, it happens quite a bit. With satellite imagery and a little research, practically anyone can discover or rediscover that which has been lost, whether it was intentional or not.

See what I'm getting at here?

My character idea ties this all together. This person discovers an installation, something hidden. It could be an installation that was swept under the rug in the hopes that the designers would return, or it could be something that was lost in the confusion and chaos of war. Either way, this installation is newer... 80s or even 90s. It isn't so modern that it contains a bank of hard-drives, but it is modern enough that it contains computers and devices that are plugged in...a CRAY supercomputer back in the day was an amazing thing, and though it might appear outdated to today's supercomputers, it still overpowers what the normal citizen has.

The technology is still good, viable... but antiquated enough where it would be considered "the back door". Computers aren't designed to stop this anymore because no one uses this any more. We don't scan for analog because everything is digital. UHF frequencies? What? And, being an intelligence installation, it would already be wired into the internet, lying there, waiting.

Weapons from the 80s and 90s, though outdated, still perform. Still kill. Firearms haven't changed (well, they have, but you know what I mean). The weapons used back then are still in use today. Military vehicles from back then are still used today. The A-10 is an old plane, meant to be phased out decades ago... but it is still used, still a solid aircraft. Imagine if a hanger were to be found containing a few of those? Look at how old the Abrams tank is, or the HumVee... any vehicle from that time frame would still be a used and welcome component in today's army.

Imagine finding this. What would you do? Seriously, what would you do? I guess this character all depends on what I see his personality being... would he become an armed and well informed vigilante? Maybe an intelligence broker with the means to defend himself? But what if the discoverer wasn't on the side of good (in a matter of speaking)... would he set himself up as a crime lord? A professional criminal? Maybe even start a militia... or worse?

How could the government stop this? The bunker and all it contains is lost, forgotten. It simply doesn't exist anymore. It can't be traced... if it could, it would have been found before you opened it up. Maybe it could be seen from thermal imaging when the power kicks back in... but isn't that dependent on how deep it is (I really am asking, I have no idea)? Or maybe, in the only real stretch of the imagination, being a secret level installation that no one was supposed to know about, satellite programming is set up to automatically erase information about this base? Even with that last part, being a stretch and all, it isn't that much of a stretch: Google Maps already does that, erases islands (look it up!) and highly secretive military bases (really, look it up!).

So here we have it, either a singular character with personal motivations, or a character with motivations that involve many others. I could go either way on this... but as I type this, I'm thinking that this makes for a great origin for my Tribunal group; think Cobra Command, but a little different (more on that group in the future).

Ideas?
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PostSubject: Re: Zodiac Publications, characters   Thu Sep 17, 2015 7:11 pm

I'm gonna hijack your thread here for a minute. First, yes I like where you're going with this alternate Punisher origin.

Second... I had a shit day at work. I began perusing/browsing/skimming your cold war installation nonsense. Cuz reading right now is high up on my fuck that list. It was AFTER a sentence here or there pushed me down a twisted path that I went back and read. And no, I haven't yet tried agents of shield...

So. Cold war. Installations. Top Secret hidey shit. Numbers stations...nope, going to research also ranks highly on my bad day fuck that list. I will just assume it's like a small base that transmits short wave encrypted messages. Hmmm... small base... encrypted messages... HAARP? There was rumors that HAARP was a weather control installation! Ventura 2016! Europe? My god.... he's taking his character to Stonehenge.... because it was a secret installation from a pre-history cold war! It's encrypted, it could maybe control the weather, it's in Europe.

See what I did there? I took snippets of your hard work and fucked it right up. I'm all "this could prove interesting. Archaeologist is deciphering shit on the stones, terrorists attack to take out a world wonder. This dude would rather see his notes on the etchings destroyed than fall into terrorist hands. RPG explosion knocks a stone over and they domino in a circle around the guy, but as each hits the next a flash of blue light shoots into the sky... powers of the druids, Adam Warlock level badassery..."

And you pop in and say "what if you found a garage with a jeep and a plane in it?" Sigh....

But no... your story is good too! Very Happy

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PostSubject: Re: Zodiac Publications, characters   Tue Nov 24, 2015 11:31 am

In continuation of my last post, I'm going to add some more elements, maybe hopefully expand on the idea. Now, I still like the idea of an urban explorer coming across a long lost base, but I want to take this in a different direction now, with regards to an organization.

Anyone here besides me hear about the secret drilling going on in America? Of massive tunnel systems and bases being constructed right under our feet with none the wiser? You know, Project Camelot and other Deep Underground Military Bases (yes, that is DUMB, but I didn't come up with it)? There are two schools of thought that I am aware of with this: that these are military installations, or that they are being developed by the alien race known as reptilians.

...

Just had an idea. An idea taken from the above idea. Scratch the whole American underground base thing. As much as I try to keep my characters within a "real world" setting, secret underground drilling operations is taking things a bit far. Still feasible, but I've a better idea, and I suppose in a sense it can still incorporate it.

China.

Makes sense. China has built and developed several massive city complexes that have never been used. One of these cities can house over one million people, and yet it they are empty, devoid of inhabitants. Cities with no purpose, long lost or secret underground bases, conspiracy theories on secret underground tunneling operations and base construction... we have a slew of background information where we can envision and construct a plausible secret society / secret organization, give them a base (or bases) of operation while still having them grounded in a real world environment. In the comics, Cobra Command set of explosives to create a small volcanic island in the Gulf of Mexico (I think it was that area); we have actual cities and bases and things beneath.

Damn... brain tired and foggy. Ideas and words are coming and going, but all I want to say is we have a solid basis for my Tribunal organization. I'll come back in a bit and describe what the Tribunal is.
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PostSubject: Re: Zodiac Publications, characters   Wed Feb 03, 2016 3:55 pm

A long time coming, but I was bored at work today and thought I would try something different.  A bit of mental exercises, some free form thinking, and just letting things write themselves.  I didn't delete anything, just let myself wander over what I had written and expanded on the idea.  I think it turned out pretty well.

Anyway, I performed this feat while working on my idea of the hidden long lost military installation.  As you can see, I tried to keep it as realistic as possible.  I'm sure there is room for improvement or expansion (and if you find anything or want to raise an issue, please do).

What follows then is everything I typed out.  Cut and pasted for your enjoyment.  It is lengthy; four pages worth, typed on Word.

***

How to hide an island for intelligence and military purposes?

1.  The island would have to be well away from all shipping lanes so that it could not be seen by anyone sailing by.

2.  Any island outside of shipping lanes would probably be too far away to be seen visually from the air, as any aircraft would be high flying commercial airliners.

3.  There would need to be a program or virus that erases any satellite images of the island.  This glitch would not work in the satellite, so would have to be within the computer systems themselves.  Perhaps a bit of leftover code that is brought into each new version of the data program?

Okay, right now an island won’t work for this.  If I’m attempting to hide it from all sources, how is it someone could stumble across it?  If he’s shipwrecked, set adrift, how would he manage to get back?  Duh, wait a minute…  if it’s an island, there’s probably a boat.  Need to keep that in mind, as a lost underground facility on the mainland would be easier to write and explain.

1.  Underground is a lot easier to hide, and you wouldn’t need to hide it from satellites.

Hmm…  China built a few cities that no one lives in.  But what if people did?  What if you were to construct a building… several buildings… to house residents?  You could run all the lines and cables you need, and it wouldn’t raise suspicions because no one looks twice at buildings being constructed, especially in a populated area.  You could have an entire base underneath a town, with no one the wiser.  Wait, no, I take that back…  how would you bring in equipment?  You very well can’t bring in a few tanks through the main streets, drive them into a hanger, and then say “poof, they’re gone”.

Could you have an underground installation, and then build a town on top of it?  No, because that’d be seen, besides which the town would then need to lay they own lines, and might come across the facility.  Depending on how deep it is, I suppose.  

I need to draw a map.  Do I want a full blown base, or an armed installation?  Then take that map, and superimpose it onto a town layout, that way I can look at the scale.

Why would there be a military force under a city?  An underground facility sounds more reasonable if it were out under a mountain or an island (there we go again).  Since a military presence is either meant to defend or attack, a preexisting shelter would mean it was a defensive position.  I suppose that that would work; after all, we do have National Guard within city limits.  But what would the reasoning be to purposefully build a base underground, build a city on top of it, and then populate the city?  You really wouldn’t be in a need to defend the city, nor would you want to put the city in harm’s way.

I need to take a step back and look at this through a different perspective: purposes and what is needed.

1.  An espionage installation makes the most sense, could be constructed ideally anywhere, and the equipment used would be dependent on the nature of what is being spied on.  A quick temporary place could easily be set up in one’s apartment; something more permanent with an entire staff could be built by blocking off sub-basements.  There might even be room for an armory.

2.  A small fire team or platoon orientated base of operations.  A small warehouse?  An apartment complex?  Oooh, you could build an apartment complex, each team member (or couple of members) per each apartment.  The main level would contain the manager’s office, laundry room, things to make it look normal… the basement level would be wide open.  A well stocked armory, maybe a garage that leads to the surface (the apartment has a garage complex), through a dummy garage.  One vehicle, maybe two or three.  Of course, these would have to be along the lines of an armored car or those military dune buggies.  I can see this as well, allows you to build this out in the open without drawing attention.  The biggest concern would be bringing in the vehicles… unless they can be taken apart and reassembled.  This could also easily incorporate an intelligence team.

3.  Looking at Wiki’s military organizations, a company would be the largest we could go, and that is pushing it.  Where a fire team has four members and a platoon 55, an infantry company can have between 80 and 250 troops.  Anything over that, and we’re looking at thousands of personnel (the next rank is a battalion, comes in between 300 and 1300 troops).  At the apartments in Crivitz, there are three buildings; two buildings have four apartments per level, with the third having two apartments.  With a fire team in each apartment, that gives us 48 troops living comfortably.  Two people per bedroom, one common room, a kitchen, bathroom.  Make it a bigger apartment complex by adding a fourth building, save one building as the officers building (complete with manager’s office), you could have 96 troops, plus whatever amount in the officer’s building.  If you’ve seen the apartments at Crivitz, you’ll know that they don’t take up that much space, so you could easily join all the buildings with a shared sublevel.  

4.  Anything bigger than this, while trying to maintain a level of secrecy, and you’ll start having a hell of a time with logistics.  It’s at this point where you would have to build a base in secret and then try to hide it… unless you want to go with the building of a hotel or a skyscraper.  The largest hotel in our area, the Best Western, has 117 rooms, along with an onsite restaurant and lounge, as well as conference rooms.  That could give us between 234 to 351 troops, not counting support staff which would be living off site.  Suppose you could work in a sublevel or two.  But regardless, this shows how large of a building we’d be looking at.  Not impossible, but impractical.  Sure, you can house troops and have an armory, but what of vehicles?  You would need a couple extra buildings for the vehicles… even if they were housed in an underground level, you would need something for them to emerge from; once they do, where’s your secrecy?

With all that, I have a better understanding now of what I need to develop: at the smallest, a house, at the largest an apartment complex with between 20 and 32 units (counting manager’s office).  Something like this, it could be constructed right out in the open with raising any concerns or suspicions.  Hidden in plain sights!  And I’m thinking that, in order to have a full blown secret military base, that would have to be out in a secluded area, where it would make more of a strategic sense.  Maybe a couple aircraft, some APCs and tanks.  Wouldn’t make sense for hidden military aircraft in a populated setting.

So now we have the facility we need, now I need to work on a reason as to why it was built and why it was abandoned.

1.  The spy facility.  It all depends on the setting, doesn’t it?  If the building is on domestic soil, it could have either been built by a foreign government wishing to spy on us… this would be restricted to the small espionage center, apartment or small house sized.  Easily something that could have been bought or rented, would not need to have been built.  If we’re talking about an entire floor of a building (or a couple floors), they could easily have been pre-existing, and the spies moved things in.  No need to build this specifically for the purpose.  Could still move things in without raising suspicions (using UHaul trucks and the like).  Move things in bit by bit, not everything all at once.  However, building it oneself would allow for the electronics , wiring in general.  Also, if the build was purpose built, you could have the building directly wired into the city’s power supply.  Not saying you couldn’t do that otherwise, but it’s a simple matter of renting versus owning.

2 and maybe 3.  You can easily rent out apartments, and assemble a team; have them move in when one becomes available.  Eliminate the residents or force an eviction to move in.  Would be hard to do if you have long time renters, or if the housing is government / low income.  Could move in a fire team here or there as units become available, and who knows, maybe even buy the apartments outright from the property owners.  Doing it like this allows for troop placement, but does nothing for vehicles, unless there is already a garage on site.  Suppose you could always have a garage built on the property, if available.  A connecting basement… or hell, any sublevel, would be out of the question, as I doubt you could build a basement after the building has been finished.  In order to have a sublevel or an underground motorpool, you would either have to build the facility from scratch, or obtain a building with an underground parking garage.  Obtaining a pre-existing building, while possible, might raise concerns, especially if there are tenants there.  You could always buy a multileveled warehouse and then convert living quarters into it.

4.  Definitely within the realm of fiction now.  Buying a skyscraper?  A massive hotel?  And then having the funds to reinforce key structure points while furbishing a motor pool?  I would almost have to say you would need to buy a skyscraper; reserve the lower levels for your troops and militants and staff; create a buffer zone of a couple levels (unoccupied rooms), and then rent out the above units.  If you’re wanting to be real fictional, have a retracting roof so VSTOL or helicopters can take off and land.  You know what?  Just for the heck of it, while I work on these various designs, I’ll give this one a go as well.  Might be kind of fun to design a military base in this fashion.  This type of base would definitely have to be built for purpose.

Dang, didn’t answer the “why”.

1.  Who knows.  Depends on the size of the facility.  Realistically, the smaller the spy center, the smaller your target is.  A room could be dedicated to the spying of an individual or a small group.  A couple rooms could be a small village or small town.  A good example would be looking at a dispatch office, or a city’s traffic control; the larger the room, the more equipment.  More equipment means more can be observed.  Likewise, the larger the facility (or operation), the more weapons there will be on hand, and quite possibly a reserve of money.

2 and 3.  Maybe a militia, or revolutionaries.  A group or team dedicated to overthrowing and controlling the local area (isn’t large enough to take control of, say, a State let alone a country).  Terrorist group, splinter cell, freedom fighters, whatever.  Unlike the espionage center, which is placed where it is needed, these types of structures could go anywhere.  You could possibly have on e located within every major city; can you image the carnage?  Sure, this is borderline terrorism here, but I’m working on this as a mental exercise, trying to flesh out a story or comic book idea.  Start with one fire team… then expand.  Recruit, expand, recruit…

4.  Something on this scale means that your organization is already fully established, and has the resources needed to fund such an operation.  Forget the how for a moment, we need to establish the why: to hold onto a geographical area.  A thousand troops may be able to take territory, but they wouldn’t be able to hold it for an extended period.  To put it into perspective, the US Army has roughly 1.3 million active troops, with another 850,000 in reserves.  A group of a thousand isn’t going to survive in a massive land campaign, but it might be able to hold onto a specified geographical region.  However, all the troops don’t mean squat unless you can provide armor and air support, as well as a supply of rations and munitions.  A thousand strong, though stronger than a platoon, might be relatively weaker simply because of its size and the logistics behind its operating status.  A platoon (examples 2 and 3) could take over key structures such as a National Guard Armory or even a military base, but a thousand people?  Are there enough armories to make it cost effective?  And what kind of region are you needing to hold?  Ahh!  A port perhaps, or a major city, needing to secure an area for a full scale invasion or for invaders to gain a foothold.  Still seems rather pricey, going through the expense of constructing a skyscraper… financial costs and time put into it.  Yeah, I cannot think of a reason why this would be established.   Though, now that I think about it some more, this would be good for the island scenario.

Why was everything abandoned?

1.  Espionage center.  Depends on the size of the facility again.  The smaller the facility, the greater the likelihood that they were discovered and needed to get out.  A level (or a couple levels) would be harder… maybe, if it was a foreign campaign, they were being overrun and needed to escape, having set up explosives behind them to remove all evidence.  Or maybe the facility was infiltrated.  Anyway, a smaller site could be voluntarily abandoned for something better or more convenient… or maybe the team was eliminated on the field, and the other team never learned of the base of operation’s whereabouts.  With a level sized facility, involving dozens of people, I would almost have to say an evacuation was in order, or there was a facility-wide emergency.  Hell, there were cuts in the budget, and the facility had to be let go.  Being a secret facility, it wouldn’t have been on the books, and maybe was lost to memory.  Equipment would still be present; there would be some damage or inoperable pieces.

2 and 3.  Perhaps the buildings were built or there were modifications being made to pre-existing structures.  The original team was discovered and taken out before a full platoon was able to be stationed.  There was just enough equipment for a fire team or a squad, maybe a bit more, but not enough for an entire platoon; there wasn’t enough equipment to justify an armed force from going in to salvage everything.  All ties were severed, anything that could lead investigators to the founders removed.  No matter how you look at it, those buildings could still be there, abandoned, new militant leaders either forgetting about, or more likely never even knowing about, that site.

4.  No, don’t see the skyscraper being abandoned.  Outright destroyed, yes, along with a large portion of the city.  Abandoned, no.

As such, structures 1 and 2 / 3 would be the best and most feasible.  If I want to expand on this idea, there would be few espionage centers, with more of the militant sites.  A headquarters with hubs, as it were.
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PostSubject: Re: Zodiac Publications, characters   Tue Feb 09, 2016 7:38 am

This one goes back to my posted character whose body suffers from a rare disease which essentially bulks up his bone structure.

This disease is similar in nature, except it ossifies...

Quote :
spontaneously when damaged. In many cases, injuries can cause joints to become permanently frozen in place. Surgical removal of the extra bone growths has been shown to cause the body to "repair" the affected area with even more bone.

Well there you go.  I wanted a disorder that allowed the body to heal by creating hardened bony structures.  Now, I just need to write this so the bones still allow for movement.  Since this is a fictional character, there would be some artistic liberties.  I can essentially redesign the mutated version of the Thing (as seen below), or go all out and put in defensive / offensive spines and spikes.  Either way, I've got what I needed to build this character.

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PostSubject: Re: Zodiac Publications, characters   Fri Dec 09, 2016 10:11 am

Character Design
Man of Steel

Here's one of those characters that probably does exist, but most of my comic book knowledge falls into the realm of Marvel, with a healthy dash of DC mixed in.  Anyone know the Astro City comic books, where Kurt Busiek took a bunch of archetypes and made new characters?  This is sort of what I'm doing here, taking a pre-existing character and re-envisioning him (almost like what I did with The Thing above).

And, if you haven't guessed by the title of this post, I'm taking on Superman, making him more realistic.  But first, I've got to put out some conference room schedules.  Be right back.

...

The whole idea of a lead scientist only being able to save his is ludicrous to me.  Maybe a team of people, sure, but just one?  Why not send out a genetic archive so that the entirety of his world could live on, like a flying ark?  And then the comics had to ruin even this most basic of origins by introducing a city that somehow survived; and a robotic intelligence; and a cousin; and a dog, a monkey, and a horse; and planetary fragments of every imaginable color; structures that just somehow established themselves in the Arctic; and and and.

Another thing I want to deconstruct in order to build up is the whole alien physiology thing.  Would he really look like us?  How can a pair of glasses hide his identity?  How can he and Lois Lane get it on?  Looking at the move Hancock (which I do enjoy, great film in my opinion), Will Smith's character had to throw the woman off of him to prevent his ejaculation from shooting straight through her.  And taking example from another movie, War of the Worlds, how would his biology be able to cope with our viruses and bacteria?

Then there's the ridiculousness of some things: haircuts?  government mandated inoculations?  doctor's exams?  his costume not ripping?  the sheer ability to do just about anything and everything?  how can an alien metabolism eat or digest our food?

No... Superman has to be broken down and brought back up into something plausible, or at least more believable.  While my Zodiac Publications universe does involve legends and magic, I do try to keep things grounded in reality, stretched as it may be.

Here it is then, my version of the Man of Steel.

...

1.  Krypton is a technologically advance society.  I'm not changing that.  I'm also not changing the destruction of the planet.  However, I am changing the basic points of this concept: that it was the military that was in charge, not the scientists, as I am basing their society on the Roman Empire.  Militaristic, expansive.  They are in the middle of a period of stagnation, of leisurely lives.  The scientists, akin to Rome's philosophers, know something is wrong but they can't put a name to things.  It's as if the society as a whole is in decline, but no one is caring because they are all enjoying themselves, losing themselves.  While the political leaders keep on ignoring the issues and keep trying to pacify the public, the military is stuck fighting campaign after campaign, barely being able to hold onto their borders, losing some planets or systems in the process.  In a surprise attack, the various aliens that the Kryptonians brought into their empire unite and push straight through to the heart of the Empire: to the homeworld of Krypton itself.  The battle was massive, but with the Kryptonian forces stretched thin along the border, it was only a matter of time before Krypton fell... the world was left in ruin, a radioactive wasteland, killing all life on the surface.  And, in an effort to ensure that the rebellion would not be able to take claim to the technology left behind, the Kryptonian military utilized its doomsday weapon: a device that caused their already aging giant red star to experience a massive coronal ejection.  Caught in that blast, the planet Krypton, along with the vessels caught within the planetary system, were destroyed.

**See?  I kept the backstory essentially the same.  Krypton was destroyed.  I just changed it enough to make it mine, put some science behind it (stretched, sure, but it's still there).  And by casting it in the same light as the fall of Rome, it lends some realism.  But what of survivors?  Or rather, the key survivor?

2.  With the head of the Kryptonian Empire severed, its colonial systems began to fall.  Civil war broke out between the stars, as would-be dictators rose and fell.  Numerous worlds attempted to secure power, only to fall from infighting and the rise of insurgency.  This did not happen at once, but well over the years.  Some systems were able to set themselves up independently, while others were destroyed through war, while others still were absorbed by those the Kryptonians once ruled.

**This way, we can establish that there are other Kryptonians.  Their technological level may have declined a bit, just as technology seems to take a dip before advancing during each of our Ages (especially the Dark Ages); another Roman example would by the aqueducts; the knowledge to build them was lost, but the people continued to maintain them without knowing the hows behind them.  We can have some existing technological pieces, but no one remaining would know how to create or replicate them.  Maintain, sure, but not replicate.

3.  On one of these worlds, we have what you might call a prepper.  Military background, but not of the conquering mentality.  Maybe he had gone through PTSD (or whatever Kryptonians would call shell shock).  He lived on a fledgling colonial world, a part of the Empire, but outside normal traffic routes.  {inner though: perhaps this world acted as a beacon and communications station?}  Regardless, over the years he collected, bought, stole, acquired technology both militaristic and scientific.  As reports from across the Empire came in, his panic and need for escape increased.  Being on a military outpost such as this, there was already ample enough devices about; acting as a communications center, we could somehow make it so that this was also a military supply station.  Ooo, I like that.  Okay, a military supply station.  Scrap the prepper part, as there would be a team here.

...

3a.  Outlying military supply station.  A small team of personnel, as most equipment is automated.  As reports came in from across the Empire, this team knew that, militarily speaking, they would be a target: outlying post outside of most traffic, with access to equipment and communications... a perfect target for rebels who wanted to acquire parts or devices.  They began to load and prepare a ship, to get as much off station as possible, to keep things out of the hands of the rebels.  The day that they feared came: sensors detected inbound craft.  They knew they couldn't abandon the station, as some would need to remain to defend the base, as well as initiate self destruction should it come to that.  With only minutes left, the station's only child was put on board and placed in suspended animation.  The vessel launched just as the station fell under attack.

**Like most Roman outposts, there were families.  Wives and children were not uncommon on extended tours or as they set up bases.  Most of the adults stayed behind in a sense of vengeance or revenge; spouses did not want to leave their loved ones; the military personnel had their duty to uphold.  Teenagers would have fought to survive; mothers, while wanting their young ones to live, knew that their children were already "aware" and would be more traumatized by the events then if they did not know.  If we make this Roman style empire more like the Spartans, then the kids would have fought as well.  Having the only infant escape would give them a sense of hope.

**I still maintain the "sole survivor" mentality, and what we come to expect from the Superman mythos, if the people deciding that this would be for the best.  I may alter this so that all the toddlers or babies were frozen (if I wanted more than one on the base), but then I'd have to create a system failure in the pods so that the children died... OR...

4.  The ship traveled throughout the cosmos.  Unlike the comic book, this wasn't a simple cross system transfer, where our planets were close enough where debris and craft could quickly move between one another.  Oh no.  This was generations.  And even though the child was frozen there was still some growth, albeit very minor.  Aging had slowed considerably, but the child did grow.  Eventually, over the decades of travel, it came upon our world.  It did not crash onto the surface as the comic book would indicate: it went into orbit, as any colonization ship would.  It scanned the planet for signs of life, for levels of technology.  It's processors detected primary languages, and fed that knowledge to the occupants.  Additionally, is analyzed our atmosphere, created antibodies and vaccines which it injected into the occupant(s).  The ship's computers learned of our world, and in turn taught the occupant.  Based off our levels of military technology and population densities, the vessel chose the best spot to land for concealment and suitability:  Australia.

**This here alleviates a couple problems with Superman: his immunity to our viruses, and the Arctic Fortress of Solitude.  Australia has a low population density, vast areas of unpopulated lands, a rich resource in a variety of minerals, a landscape or environment I would imagine a planet orbiting a red giant would have (heat, desert-like)... plus a tiny nod to the Superman movie when Lex Luthor wanted control of Australia.  If other kids were placed in this vessel, we could have malfunctions were the chambers didn't work or work properly (remember, the team was hurried), or the antibiotics killed some of the inhabitants.  And having it so the ship analyses everything and creates antibodies, that only makes sense for an expanding empire to have: they wouldn't be able to conquer other worlds if they couldn't survive on them; they couldn't control a population if they didn't know the language or customs.

{now for the nitty gritty portion of things}

5.  Biologically speaking, the Man of Steel's body wouldn't be impervious to everything.  He's still flesh and blood.  Saying Earth's weaker gravity or our yellow sun or the reduced levels of radiation (a red giant would put out more) wouldn't do that.  Same thing with all the powers and abilities Superman has... unless he is psionic, but then so too would the Kryptonian population.  Or Supes was a mutant.  No, what I need is something more.  Something that would make sense for an expanding empire, one leaning towards the militaristic: power suits.  Remember, Krypton was highly advanced, so anything we have or are developing or can imagine, they already have.  Adaptive technology, smart metals, nanobots, anything that can alter the density or shape of metals.  3D printers allowing us to manufacture anything we can imagine.  Fusion banks, zero point energy, crystal based computers.  On and on and on.  Imagine a suit capable of enhanced or augmented strength, one that can sustain ballistic or laser impacts, speed (if not teleportation), flight, encased environmental protections for underwater, toxic, or orbital combat.  And the weapons?  Sheesh!  But why stop at the suit?  What about the ship?  It too has to adapt to the environment, so it is also made of the same adaptive materials.  Shield generation, camouflage, and on and on.  We obviously can't copy all of Superman's abilities (freezing breath?!), but a vast majority of them can be duplicated.  And why would this all be in one suit?  Again, this is a combat suit, designed to ensure the safety of the wearer, in a galactic militaristic army bent of conquering and colonization.

**See?  I based his powers on what exists now, at least on the drawing boards.  By limiting his powers (again, freezing breath), by keeping his powers "real" or at least "feasible", we add that sense of realism. And these battlesuits wouldn't have to be a common army item. Could technically say one suit in every squad or platoon.

6.  But there's more.  This alien obviously cannot wear the suit all the time.  What if there is human interaction?  What about the need of secret identity?  Why, he takes the suit off, of course!  However, there is a drawback: because of his alien physiology, he needs to get into the suit or his ship in order to detox, much like a diabetic and a dialysis machine.  Just because he has been immunized against diseases and whatnot does not mean he cannot be physically weakened by them, or is totally unaffected.

**Why is Clark Kent "weaker" than Superman?  No pretending here... it's because he is.  He grew up in zero g, plus the fact he's just a person (alien, yes, but a person non-the-less).  His strength levels would be that of a basic human who is not used to large amounts of physical excursion.  How can glasses hide his identity?  He's wearing a full blown suit of combat armor!  Could be anyone in that for all we know!  Plus I like the idea that he has to go through detox, gives him a weakness right there... the longer he stays out of the suit, the weaker or sicklier he becomes.

7.  Alien biology.  I think I'll just take a pass at this.  We really can't have our Superman be a short Gray, or a flying fungus (the Mi-go).  He has to resemble humans.  Somewhat.  What would the biology on a red giant's planet look like?  I'll have to look into this.  Smaller eyes?  Leathery skin?  Ooooo... reptilian!  Since the ship already has a cloaking device, and since our military is working on active optical camouflage that'll warp light around objects making them invisible, we could effectively create a device that covers our reptilian alien in a human looking image!

**This effectively covers the whole "how does Supes mate" debate.  Also, one mustn't forget that an alien would not be able to process our food.  Just as we can't go straight to, say, Siam and eat like a local without there being side-effects.  He is an alien.  The genetic compounds of our foods might be similar, but they would have to be processed on ship so that his body can accept them.

...

There, we have our version of Superman. There's enough to keep the archetype identifiable, but there's also enough that the differences make him ours all the while keeping things grounded in reality.

Any thoughts?
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PostSubject: Re: Zodiac Publications, characters   Mon Jun 26, 2017 8:43 am

As some of you may know, I watched Fant4stic the other week. All told, it wasn't a bad movie. It wasn't good, more like a mediocre "ehh", but it wasn't bad. But anyway, that's besides the point. Watching that movie, and then reading some additional comic books, it got me to thinking... and, just like with the idea with my take on the Man of Steel as seen above, I thought I would not only revamp the original superhero family, but the entirety of the Marvel Universe. Why not? They're revamping things every couple years know, certainly I can have a go at it, right?

I'm combining a bunch of different beliefs and ideas here. I won't go into details, with the hope that you guys know what I'm talking about.

First off, we aren't going to worry about the how or why one scientist, his girlfriend, her kid brother, and his sports minded friend all wound up in space. I would love to completely scrap the original Marvel origins of this team, preferring instead Marvel's Ultimate universe telling. But, since that doesn't fit in with my notion (as the team still needs to be in space), I'll have to figure something out.

Secondly, keep in mind ancient cultures repeated catastrophes or cycles. How one age was destroyed by water, another age destroyed by fire, and so on. A lot of this could be tied with the sun and solar activity; reduced radiation would bring about an ice age, increased heat would bring flooding, increased radiation would produce fire. It's all a matter of sunspot activity. There's a book I read every year that, as a plot device, shows that the sun is a pulsar, which explains why these ages or cycles seem to happen on a regular basis.

Keeping that in mind, let's then say that NASA or the ESA or whatever launch a satellite to monitor solar activity, believing that there might be something to these myths. Of course this is all hush-hush so as not to spread panic, not to mention that why would the government be willing to accept religious notions. Something goes wrong with the system, so they send the team that designed it up to fix things.

Lot more believable than having a wacky college genius stealing a spaceship for a joyride.

So we have our team up in space. The solar pulse hits. The team catches the brunt of the force. Why? Because they were out in space, unprotected by the Earth's magnetic field... you know, the thing that protects us humans from most of the stuff that the sun throws at us?

Then, just like in the comics, they crash back to Earth, start exhibiting strange abilities. And in keeping with things, the abilities are related to the four elements: the Thing is clearly earth, Johnny is fire, Sue to air, and Reed to water (how is Reed water? flexible, always moving, adjusting and bending around things). More on that in a future post, I suppose.

So as you can see, a more "accurate" portrayal of the Fantastic Four. But what of my proclamation of revamping the entirety of the Marvel Universe?

Simple. While the Fantastic Four caught a massive dose of the radiation due to being outside the protective layer of the magnetic field, that doesn't mean some radiation didn't make its way to the surface... this is even true with solar flares or solar storms; some will always hit our surface.

While the Fantastic Four changed almost immediately, and albeit painfully as their bodies went through massive shock, those who were still in the womb, still under development, their bodies were able to grow into things. If you need more of a direct keyword: mutants.

The same event that created the Fantastic Four also created mutants. Seems simple enough. "But what of mutants like Xavier and Magneto, who were born before the Fantastic Four took flight?" or "What about early mutants like Namor from Atlantis or Apokolypse?" To that I say, what about them? The legends of Atlantis and ancient Egypt are linked together, and could be connected to one of these solar events; Namor and Apokolypse could be born from this event. With Xavier and Magneto, come on, our ideas don't have to exactly mirror Marvel's. Those characters could still exist, they would just be born into a different era.
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PostSubject: Re: Zodiac Publications, characters   Sun Jul 02, 2017 10:26 pm

Just popped in to make sure you were keeping the forum alive, decided to do some reading, and had my mind BLOWN. I never once made the connection between the Fantastic Four and the damn elements! Where the hell have I been?! Makes a guy wonder how cool it would be if Marvel introduced a new character that was like a perfect combination of all of them, a "Fifth Element," we'll call it. Seriously though, never clicked with the fire and earth and such. Either you're a genius, or this is common theory knowledge, or I'm just a damn boob.

EDIT SIDENOTE: The first F4 movie from ...early 2000's(???) with Captain America as the Torch, and Doom as the bad guy, didn't that start in space with scientists trying to detect solar waves or something?

That said, as I was trying to get some sarcastic comments to toss back about Xavier and Magneto and Apocalypse and I suddenly had a thought, which you're welcome to steal. Solar events? Cosmic energies? How many of these events could be the result of the Phoenix Force selecting a human host and causing cataclysms due to insanity? You're much more read than I in Marvel lore, but I do remember they alluded to Phoenix being everlasting, like a universal conceptual energy than an 'it' and that it had 'been here before', but they never went into much detail about who and why until the X-ladies started getting possessed. I also remember them making theoretical observations about Phoenix having near limitless capabilities, which means that energy release could easily be the cause of crazy environmental stuff happening! Hell, you could use Phoenix and skip the sun altogether! Just a thought, crazy, but I remembered a cover or two-page spread or something with the actual Phoenix Force, the firebird form, wrapping it's wings around the Earth and it fit with what you said about solar event. Anyway, good job!

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