Re: The Reactor Core (The Atomic Punk’s Archive)

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The Atomic Punk

Character Contest 37: Femme Fatale

Some fun facts about the movies and serials of the 1930s and 1940s. Color film was expensive. Many studios used bright costumes with clashing colors to create better contrasts in black-and-white. What’s behind that dark, sinister curtain? Don’t know, but sometimes the curtain was orange not black! The famous murder scene in “Psycho” with blood swirling down the shower drain? The “blood” was actually chocolate syrup.

As audiences demanded color, studios had to make budget choices. They would cut characters or cut actors and have the remaining players assume multiple roles. Wardrobe? Way too expensive to re-design or buy whole new costumes. One reason why you have gaudy and tacky orange and pink leotards. The studio simply kept using them to save money.

Watch classics the original “Metropolis,” “All Is Quiet on the Western Front,” “Nosferatu,” and (of course) “Citizen Kane.” Really take in the use of light and shadow. How it sets the mood for scenes. Then watch another classic: “Flash Gordon (1980).” The bright colors and costume designs are a tribute to the four-color Saturday matinees.

With all that in mind, enter “The Queen of Venus.” A young actress trying to catch a break in Hollywood’s “Golden Age.” I wanted her costume and set to reflect a production studio that is struggling to survive. Life is going to get interesting for this starlet, though. How can it not? She’s dating a reincarnated Egyptian prince who hangs out with a Thanagarian super-scientist. (My twist on Hawkman’s origin for this contest.)

The Queen of Venus is a one-shot character She is not part of my meta-verse.

Queen of Venus


Fifteen year-old Nebraska native Jessica Tatum dropped out of high school. She moved to Hollywood, California, and changed her name to Shiera Tate. After years of failed acting auditions, she landed a role playing “The Queen of Venus” on the weekly matinee Astro-Captain Jack and the Space Pirate Raiders.

Shiera does not care for the bad writing and hack acting. She wants to star in movies alongside leading men like Carey Grant and Humphrey Bogart. The studio recently decided to film the popular serial in color. The costume and set colors are horrendous.

Worse, the film is rather expensive. Which has given the studio an excuse to cut Shiera’s pay-for-play. Still, Astro-Captain Jack helps a single girl survive in California.

Hollywood isn’t all bad, though. Shiera recently met Carter Hall, a rather dapper gent who works as a research scientist at UCLA.