Here’s a couple of supporting characters. Nightingale and Dragonfly’s parents. Long since divorced but still playing a part in each others lives. Not to mention complicating the lives of their children.
Dr David McKnight
David McKnight is a world renowned explorer and entomologist (studies insects). He spends most of his time in far off and exotic locales, chasing down and cataloguing the many different insects of the world. Those who know of Dragonfly’s secret identity, Alex McKnight, find it strange that the son of one of the worlds top entomologists should find himself among the group of people who have mysteriously developed insect like abilities. David maintains that it’s nothing more than coincidence but some people are unconvinced. Alex chief among them.
While David may be gone a lot, he still has a far better relationship with his now fully grown kids that they do with their mother who seems to only be interested in her work.
Since a number of people have started developing insect like abilities, Dr McKnight has refocussed his area of study away from traditional insects and now spends the majority of his time studying these insectoid humans. He finds them fascinating and has been helpful not only to Dragonfly in understanding his abilities but to the growing insect human community as well. He is one of the Ant Queen’s favourite advisers. Although he seems less than keen to enter her self declared “kingdom” as he finds her drones somewhat disconcerting.
Dr Laura McKnight
The estranged mother of Nightingale and Dragonfly is one of the top researchers at the Albright Institute, an organization dedicated to the study of meta-human abilities. For years the good doctor was married to her work. She had very little time for anything else, including her own family. Her detached and cold personality eventually resulted in her divorce from David McKnight and even the estrangement of her children. To Leah and Alex, she became less of a mother and eventually just drifted out of their lives altogether and years passed without either of them hearing from her.
But out of the blue came a message from Laura one day, asking her children to meet her. It seemed like she had finally decided she wanted to play a part in their lives. While Leah and Alex were sceptical, they were at least willing to give her the benefit of the doubt and allowed her back into their lives.
It quickly became apparent though that she had little actual interest in mending their broken relationships. Her real interest was in her son’s new abilities. Having learned that Alex was secretly the masked hero Dragonfly, she had become fascinated by his powers and wanted to study them (she seemed to be unaware of her daughters secret identity as Nightingale).
While Alex was disgusted by this turn of events, he agreed to work with her. After all they both wanted to learn more about his abilities and his mother had far more resources than he did. So Alex joined his mothers research group at the Albright Institute where he met several other young meta-humans such as Apollo, Shaman and Magenta who would go on to become some of his closest friends.
Dragonfly spent several moths at the institute, learning about his abilities until he could eventually take no more of the constant arguments with his mother, whom he considered cold and angry. He left the institute and returned to a solo career as Dragonfly.
Dr McKnight continued her studies at the Albright Institute. Her work has been invaluable to countless heroes and has even helped to find weak points in the powers of a number of villains. She has been rewarded time and again for her work. But her dedication to this same work has lost her her entire family twice over. It seems however that the good doctor simply doesn’t care. But then appearances can be decieving.
(A note on Dr McKnight’s arm: Several years previously, Laura McKnight was diagnosed with cancer. Although she has since gone into remission, the experimental treatment she went though eventually cost her much of the use of her right arm. It was an old family friend, Dr Clarence Macleod, head of ASTRO Labs, who invited Laura to take part in his newest study involving cybernetic limbs. Laura was initially hesitant but eventually agreed, eager to have her full mobility returned. A few weeks later, she had a two fully functioning arms again. Her new appendage gave her added strength and dexterity, but did little to quell the numerous jokes about Dr McKnight’s cold and inhuman personality.)
These two characters, while not possessing super powers (unless you count Laura’s arm) have had a huge impact on the lives of a number of heroes, including some very unexpected ones. As far as supporting characters go, they’re some of my favourites. While neither if them may be my best work on HeroMachine I’m glad I did them as now I can add them to my own archives and it feels oddly satisfying to have the entire McKnight clan finished now.
And just for the hell of it, here’s David and Laura chucked together.