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 Zodiac Publications: heroverse

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PostSubject: Zodiac Publications: heroverse   Tue Nov 20, 2018 3:29 pm

A while back, I contacted a couple members of this site to tell them about Marvel Unlimited, a comic book service operated by Marvel Comics akin to Netflix: pay a monthly (or annual) fee and have unlimited access to their comic book, store, and movie catalog. As I easily spend $30 every couple months on graphic novels, paying under $9 a month was a lot cheaper, so it made sense. Anywho...

I've been reading an extreme amount of comics lately. Catching up on characters, reading expansive story arcs I've missed out on, tracking those comics that were part of a main story but not (Continued in Infinity Gauntlet #3... but see what happens in ASM #218, WCA #394, and Sleepwalker #14!). In all this, I have been privy to the destruction of the known universe on multiple occasions, the destruction of the multiverse a few times, and the emergence of something new more than once. It is somewhere in all this and between issues of What If that I had a brain storm:

Remember when the multiverse was nearing an end, and it was revealed that there were two great cosmic beings that were above everything... cosmic brothers that held the combined might of Marvel and DC? They merged in what was part of the All Access story, eventually combining into the Amalgam Universe, where characters were unions of both Marvel and DC (Dark Claw, a combo of Wolverine and Batman as an example, or Storm and Wonder Woman forming Amazon). Now with that, take the works of... I forget the creator, but the series Astro City. Here was a concept where the writer took all the known characters and boiled them down to their archetypes, and created new characters.

Taking those two comic book creations or stories or whatever, I developed the notion of making a comic book universe. I know, I know, I've already done that (for those who may stumble upon this in the future, my universal idea was based on magic and the workings of lovecraft, set in the real world). I want to craft a super hero universe, combining elements from Marvel and DC / boiled down to archetypes but still recognizable. Additionally, under the allowances of fan fiction, I want to incorporate a couple established characters as well.

My premise is this: the very first opening issue will show the Watcher giving his standard what if speech with the universe creating event being the destruction of a planet which a scientifically advanced alien race inhabited (*cough* Krypton *cough*); the radiation from this planet finally reaching Earth as a group of scientists launched into space (*cough* Fantastic Four *cough*) From there, develop further stories and characters, but using original ideas based off of pre-existing ones. If that makes sense.
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PostSubject: Re: Zodiac Publications: heroverse   Wed Nov 28, 2018 10:07 am

The Beginning

As with my comic book universe based in magic and Lovecraftian lore, I want my heroverse to be the result of a central event. I thought the series Rising Stars did this beautifully, and though I'm not doing this central theme because of that, I do think that some small part of me might be incorporating that subconsciously.

My main event? The space race and an unrelated explosion of a star. Keeping in mind that I am essentially expanding Marvel's What If? into a full blown universe, merging both DC and Marvel into their base archetypes and creating my own characters...

A small team of scientists, known to the media as the Fantastic Five, were developing a manned rocket craft, to beat the Soviets into space. The team consisted of (I haven't figured out names yet, so...) Ben Grimm, Johnny and Sue Storm, Reed Richards, and Viktor van Damme (taken from the Ultimates universe). Unlike the traditional Marvel telling, each member of the team is essential; for example, Ben Grimm is is a trained test pilot from the Air Force, not a brain dead football jock.

Origin story cut short, while in orbit the craft was hit by a meteor / radiation shower. Ship crashes, blah blah blah, and each of the members discovers they've acquired powers. I've made the connection elsewhere on this site (just can't find the post) about how the FF's abilities are elemental in nature, and that's what I'll be using here: Grimm - earth, Johnny - fire, Sue - air, Reed - water... and yes, Viktor will be spirit. For the record, there's no Captain Planet involved.

It'll only take a few issues to resolve, but Reed discovers that the storm that they came across was the result of a nearby star that had exploded, believed to be the nova that was detected months prior.

This may simply sound like a retelling of the FF's origin, and I suppose in a way it is. Even with the inclusion of Viktor, this may be the Ultimates universe origin (though they utilized a teleporter). I'm just grounding the cosmic storm into something slightly more realistic (like such a thing could be said in comics).

Now, one might be asking, where's the DC connection? As alluded to in the previous post, the storm was the result of Krypton being destroyed.

And once again I wrote up my version of Superman elsewhere, just having trouble tracking it down. Come to think of it, I also revamped the Thing... damn, I gotta find that thread!

With my version of Superman, I envisioned him to be alien. Yes, he's already alien... but he's human in appearance. No, you see, my Superman is going to be of a reptilian race.

With the destruction of his planet imminent, he was launched into space. I believe I originally attributed this exodus as the result of an attack, but I'll have to find my thread to make sure. Regardless, there was an exterior threat to the planet, people fled.

The vessel was launched much like a life raft from a sinking ship, and tumbled through space along with debris from the plant. When it started to detect transmissions, the vessel began to analyze those signals, and much like the movie Demolition Man, began teaching the occupant of that planet, it's languages and customs.

Just had a realization. If I keep the FF at the Cold War level, then my plans for Supes is going to be restricted. May have to alter the FF a little bit, bring them more into the modern age. Anyway...

The spacecraft's trajectory adjusts to give the onboard systems enough time to study this world and to teach the occupant. Finding a suitable location to land, it, uhh, lands. In Australia. I have it here for a few reasons, with the isolation and heat being foremost. And now, taking an example from The Man Who Fell to Earth and liberties with Transcendence, the computers hack into the internet, establishing a business, gaining wealth, and creating an identity for the occupant. Almost overnight (though it'll be longer than that. Two nights), Stark Technologies is brought into existence.

Being an alien with alien DNA, Stark cannot exist in our atmosphere unprotected. Any board meetings or dealings he has is done via teleconference, where he can exist behind a holographic projection. The people of Earth chalk this up to him being eccentric or perhaps a germaphobe.

Now then...

I can't have him hiding in his base of operations forever, that'd make things boring. I need to put him in the world.

1. van Damme has embraced his new powers, and has been developing them over the years. He, much like Richards, has been researching the source of these powers. Utilizing a combination of technology and "magic" (his acquired ability of the mind/spirit), he discovered the extraterrestrial nature of Stark and his technologies, and wishes those for himself. We now have not only the traditional conflict between Doom and the FF, but the secondary conflict between Doom and Stark as well.

2. There has to be an extraterrestrial threat. Whoever I had blowing up the Kryptonian planet has been hunting down any survivors? Foresaw what the reptilians could become should their potential be unlocked? Or maybe a vendetta against the race in general...

No matter what happened first, Stark develops a combat ready exoskeleton; our Man of Steel has become an Iron Man.

...

Just realized there's a lot of story arcs that could be developed just explaining Stark and his need for protection. Anyway, I'm ending this post, brain's gone numb.
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PostSubject: Re: Zodiac Publications: heroverse   Mon Dec 03, 2018 9:42 am

originally posted December 9 2016

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: heroverse   Mon Dec 03, 2018 9:50 am

The Demon

If I am truly wanting to steal ideas of both companies and make them my own, I need to focus on some mashing of characters as well as retellings. As such, The Demon is a combination of Batman and Daredevil.

Gosh darnnit, gotta go real quick. Duty calls.
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