The Reactor Core (The Atomic Punk’s Archive)

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    Always a pleasure to take a look at some of your older work, and especially read the stories that go with them.


    The Atomic Punk

    Thanks, Myro. I am enjoying this retrospect. Trying to motivate myself to further develop some of these characters. Maybe write a book or pitch a TV series or movie. Speaking of television, Character Contest 34: Adventure. The challenge was to create an extra-dimensional or alien character who becomes a reality TV star on his/her/its homeworld by adventuring on earth.

    Yarg (Jay Smith) was my first entry. I am a big fan of matinees and the cliff-hanger serials of the 1930s, 40s, and 50s. Especially their unabashed campy spacemen outfits. This Cavalier is a tribute to those by-gone days of summer afternoons with movie theaters advertising that they had air-conditioning.

    Character Contest 34: Adventure

    Yarg (Jay Smith), Cavalier


    The inhabitants of Gaea were amazed that the beings on the other side of the inter-dimensional portal were humans like themselves. They quickly set to learn more about their new neighbors. From videos that they found upon their first encounter, the Gaeans concluded that earth is a barbaric, backward planet. There was a definite sense of right and wrong. The forces of good and justice needed help.

    The Gaeans decided that before they would announce their presence to the earthlings, earth would have to be civilized. It was decided to recruit their most exemplary citizen to represent Gaea. To involve the whole citizenry, a contest was held: “Gaea’s Greatest”. Each week, television viewers voted on their favorite champion.

    It was decided that Yarg, a Corporal in the Royal Cavaliers, would bring peace to earth. Inspired by movies of earth heroes such as Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers, Cavalier uses his charm and wit before resorting to his stun gun. His left glove has a built-in force field generator. In part to conceal his real identity as a visitor from another dimension, Cavalier has adopted the alternate identity of Jay Smith, All-American kid from Peoria. His costume is also meant to hide his other-worldly origin.

    Initially, Cavalier was implanted with a recording chip so that the Science and Culture Ministries could monitor his progress. Due to the popularity of “Gaea’s Greatest”, it was decided that his adventures would be broadcast to the citizens.


    The Atomic Punk

    Second posting from CC 34: Otork. An alien from a super-sophiscated, multi-species culture whose hyper-intelligence and own enlightened attitude make him rather naïve and glib when it comes to understanding and interacting with humans.

    Character Contest 34: Adventure



    Life on Gososlo was comfortable but dull. Free from want or need, the Gososlobis had taken to escapism. The government was in a panic. Everything worth reading had been written. Everything worth seeing had been seen. The people were listless.

    They turned to the brilliant physicist and inventor Otork. The genius went straight to work. He had a theory that he could create gateways to other worlds. New beings to meet. New wonders to behold. Lo, he was successful.

    Otork entered the new dimension. Instantly, he recognized the room for what it was: a knowledge repository. What luck! Otork snagged a few of the recording discs and took them back to Gososlo.

    Otork created an exploration suit so that he could study earth first hand. Sadly, he was low on funding. So he struck a deal with Channel 87312A. In return for financial support, he would provide them with an original documentary. The Cavalier mobility suit effortlessly blends him in with the natives. Little do they suspect that a visitor from another world is among them.

    Back on Gososlo, Cavalier was the most popular television show of all time. However, the network wasn’t getting the advertising revenue to keep the show going. The writers came up with a plan. They reviewed the documentaries that Otork brought from the repository.

    What they saw impressed them. They decided that Cavalier should be more than a documentary about earth. Cavalier should be a hip Los Angeles detective with a really fast car. Each week, he would help a bikini-clad damsel in distress. Now ratings are so high, that the Gososlobi government has trouble getting the citizens to do anything but watch Cavalier.


    The Atomic Punk

    Character Contest 35: Road Warrior

    Yep, you guessed it. The challenge was to design a Mad Max-style character. The official U.S. release was “The Road Warrior.” Not at the Q-Twin Drive-In. It was “Mad Max 2!” Something about being 8-years old, sitting in the family’s Gremlin, watching a giant projection screen with R-Rated high speed death and destruction racing down desolate wind-swept roads. It was awesome!

    I still watch the “Mad Max” movies when they pop on basic cable. “Beyond Thunderdome” was a real fuc… let-down, but it does have its place. The original “Mad Max” was innovative, original, and introduced me to “modern” low-budget foreign films. Not those heady, drawn-out movies like “Cinema Paradiso.” A fleshed-out, gritty, all-too-possible near future with a simple yet smart story.

    “Mad Max 2” is a great movie to “grow-up” on. Kind of like “Rocky.” When you see it first as a little kid, you think of nothing but the awesome cars, explosions, punching, and tough guy heroes. You begin to see the movies very differently as you get older. You find new meaning and symbolism. Your mind starts to process what is really happening. With “Mad Max” and “Mad Max 2,” you watch it one day and say to yourself “Wow, this is messed up!” If it doesn’t dawn on you, seriously, have someone explain it to you or do some soul-searching.

    My first entry for CC 35 was “Sgt. Xing Guard.” The “EARTH” reference, which is a nod to “Mad Max 2.” The second reference is to “That 70s Show.” Michael Kelso (Ashton Kutcher) is training to be a police officer. Stephen Hyde (Danny Masterson) slams Michael as being “Sergeant Crossing Guard.”


    The Atomic Punk

    Character Contest 35: Road Warrior

    Second entry: Dr. President. I wasn’t feeling very creative. So I designed a character with a mish-mash of items. The backstory is more like an apology for being lazy.

    Dr. President


    Jerry Mosier was never all there to begin with. After an honorable discharge, he used his helicopter pilot training to get a job with a Washington, D.C. television station. As the world got crazier, so did Jerry. He was paying a visit to the Smithsonian when the bombs dropped.

    Fortunately, Jerry survived. He surveyed the devastation around him. The White House… Congress… the Supreme Court… all gone. Jerry knew what he had to do. After a brief election campaign, he won a landslide victory (1 vote to 0!). Thus, Jerry swore himself in as the new President of the United States.

    Jerry always wanted to be a doctor, too. After reading a copy of Women’s Health, he was honored with a Smithsonian Degree in Chick Medicine. Now, Jerry flies the skies restoring law and order to the United States of New America.


    The Atomic Punk

    Character Contest 35: Road Warrior

    Third and final entry: The Flagellants. This is how I imagine a nuclear holocaust. A world akin to the Black Plague.

    The Flagellants


    The Fires of Man nearly destroyed the human race. A new Dark Age descended, though the survivors did not call it that. Civilization began the struggle to rebuild. Radiation poisoning, blight, and plagues continued long into the Illumination.

    As in another troubled time, a radical theology took hold among the populace. The faithful seek penance for the evil that men had brought upon the earth. Driven by the silent Angels of Purification, Flagellants roam the earth. Crossing the vast wastelands, they bring their message of repent and salvation to the isolated pockets of humanity. Those who do not give themselves unto the Goddess are dispatched by the Angels from Her Heaven on Earth to the cursed underworld of The False Gods of Men.


    The Atomic Punk

    Character Contest 36: Superman Villain

    For this contest, I went for a villain to match particular Superman eras. The first was Jack Lane, a villain who would battle the Son of Krypton not with his fists but with litigation. His nemesis would be the Christopher Reeve Superman. Jack Lane symbolizes the corporate greed and sleaze that has been prevalent in Superman comics since the late-1980s. No coincidence that I chose “Jack Lane.” “L’ane” is the French word for “donkey” (“@$$”).

    Jack Lane

    Story / Profile

    It’s a fast-paced world out there. Always something happening. It’s hard to stay on top. Always someone trying to take what you worked so hard for. If they can’t take it, they break it. That’s where I come in.

    Please accept my card. My name is Jack Lane, Esquire. I represent some of the most prestigious and respected corporations in the world. My job is to see that their interests and property are protected. Namely from the likes of those costumed vigilantes.

    Do you realize the setbacks that many companies have suffered? Some freak with “super powers” comes along. Shatters the proto-type powered body armor that could save soldiers’ lives. That centrifuge developing a kryptonite-based cure for cancer? Smashed by some flying hypochondriac in blue tights. Tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars lost. Not to mention the knowledge gained that could better mankind.

    Got some real luddites out there. Afraid of progress. Afraid of mankind’s true potential. Afraid of my principal client. A fine gentleman and true patriot, founder and CEO of LexCorp. Why yes, the honorable Lex Luthor himself.

    These vigilantes think that they are not just above the law. They believe that they ARE the law. Should any of these menaces to society threaten you or your property, do not hesitate to call 1-888-NO-SUPERS. They want to disrupt commerce with fists and laser beam eyes. I will strike them with the greatest weapon of all: Justice.

    Jack Lane is a power attorney with an edge. Not just the backing of multi-billion dollar corporations, he also has the gift of empathy. Jack uses this power to sway juries to his clients’ favor. He is so successful, many superheroes hesitate to apprehend villains or annihilate threats for fear of lawsuits.

    His green pendant is nothing more than an emerald encased in a conductor that causes it to glow. The Kryptonite is in his watch.


    The Atomic Punk

    Character Contest 36: Superman Villain

    Second entry : Joseph Stalin, Communism’s “Man of Steel.” Naturally, he would fight the Golden Age Superman during the Cold War (post-World War II to the fall of the Berlin Wall). I modified his origin(s) from my Contest entries.




    Alternate Earth-39

    What if Kal-El, sole survivor of Krypton, had not crashed in a wheat field outside of Smallville? Instead, the alien orphan destined to become the Man of Steel was found in a field outside of Gori, Georgia, on December 18, 1879. Georgia, in the Tiflis Governate of the Russian Empire, that is.

    Iosev Jugashvili discovered his super powers as a young agitator in the Social Democratic Labour Party. It is with these powers that he single-handedly overthrew the Tsar and established the United Soviet Socialist Republics. Now known as Stalin, The Man of Steel, he ruled the Soviet Union with an iron fist.

    Adolph Hitler, Der Eisenwolf *, launched Operation: Barbarossa on June 22, 1941. Stalin flew to the front to crush the Nazi invasion. The Nazi Ãœbersoldaten knew that they could not stop him. They had a secret weapon: Big Bertha. Among Big Bertha’s multitude of capabilities was a trans-dimensional gateway.

    Stalin awoke, dazed and confused. The Nazis had shot him into another reality. Stalin was relieved to discover that he still had his super powers. He set on finding a way back to his dimension.

    Believing himself to be once again the most powerful being on the planet, Stalin simply took the materials that he needed. He kidnapped scientists to work on the gateway. Which caught the attention of Earth-1’s true champion: Superman.

    Superman continually thwarts Stalin’s attempts to create the portal. Superman knows that if Stalin is successful, he will use the gateway to expand his Communist Empire to more dimensions. Indeed, at the same time that he is trying to get home, Stalin is also trying to take over Earth-1.

    * On Alternate Earth-39, Adolph Hitler is a powerful mystic known as Der Eisenwolf (“The Iron Wolf”). He is a master of persuasion who has yet to reveal his full power.

    Alternate Earth-11

    Kal-El is not the only survivor of Krypton. Stalin believes that he is the true hero and heir to Krypton’s legacy. Superman is a capitalist villain who must learn the error of his ways. Rather than a Fortress of Solitude, Stalin is firmly entrenched in the Kremlin.

    Alternate Earth-52

    Stalin built the gateway because he is a brutal dictator bent on dominating his earth, the Universe, and beyond.


    Cool concept. But with ‘Lane’ as his last name, I kinda thought he’d be related to Lois.


    The Atomic Punk

    MisterDinoMan: True, maybe everytime that Lois and Jack Lane are in the same room, introductions would include “Definitely no relation.”

    Character Contest 36: Superman Villain

    Final entry: Danse Macabre. One of my favorite designs and stories. I am including my Superman villain backstory from the contest. However, I intend to re-visit her origin and powers to include her into my meta-verse.

    Danse Macabre


    Alessandra Popovich grew up in Moscow. She was always different from the other children, especially her ears and purple eyes. Teased and ostracized by the other children, Alessandra’s parents enrolled her in an exclusive Russian ballet school. She thought her parents were strict. The teachers were perfectionists.

    She proved to be a quick learner with amazing balance and grace. While attempting an impossible aerial, Alessandra discovered that she could fly! She was afraid of what her parents would think, but she told them anyway. Her parents were not shocked at all. In fact, they were most pleased.

    Alessandra is a genetically-engineered hybrid. Her father Boris is a renowned astrophysicist; her mother Ivanova is a disgraced genetic engineer. It was the creation of Alessandra that caused the international scientific community to ban her research.

    Boris and Ivanova are also hard-core Communists longing for the return of the Soviet Union. Boris knows in order to bring about Russian world domination, he would have to defeat Superman. He was able to come in contact with Darkseid.

    Darkseid agreed to help the Popoviches. He provided them with alien DNA collected from an undisclosed planet that had a red sun. The result of the gene-splicing was Alessandra.

    Alessandra is Danse Macabre. Like Superman, her powers derive from earth’s yellow sun. She can fly, has super-strength, near invulnerability, ultra-sonic hearing, and super-breath. Though her human DNA makes her slightly less powerful than Superman. She does not have his heat vision. Instead, her vision simulates the light energy of a red sun. Which she uses to weaken the Son of Krypton. And, like Superman, she is vulnerable to Kryptonite.


    The Atomic Punk

    Character Contest 37: Femme Fatale

    The contest was to design a Golden Age or pulp fiction heroine. A character that you would find in comics and movies between the 1930s and 1950s.

    First entry was English archaeologist-detective-spy Sadie “Scarlett” Billings. I based her around Agatha Christie with a twist of Cthulhu set against the backdrop of the years leading up to World War II. “Murder She Wrote” with a dash of Indiana Jones, Scarlett might be able win over Nancy Drew fans.

    Sadie “Scarlett” Billings


    Sadie Billings is a professor of antiquities at Cambridge University, England. Her trademark red outfits earned her the nickname “Scarlett”. It is during the course of her research that she discovered magic is real.

    Scarlett has set out on a personal crusade to find the legendary Excalibur among other enchanted artifacts. Her adventures just beginning, she has already found a grimoire believed to have been guarded by Vlad Tepes and an enchanted Aztec medallion.

    Power is not her goal. Contrary to her proper, bookish demeanor, Scarlett loves the thrill of the hunt. She relishes opportunities to thwart those who seek magic for evil. Rarely does Scarlett use magic herself for fear of temptation. She relies mainly on the passive protection of the Aztec amulet. And her lucky earring, which is merely parrot feathers that match her eyes.

    Scarlett is a worldly Brit. She speaks her native English, Scots Gaelic, French, Greek, Latin, German, and Russian. Her knowledge of languages and cultures gives her savoir-faire in almost any social situation. Scarlett can translate Egyptian hieroglyphics. Her ability to read pictographs also makes her an invaluable code-breaker. Her adventures often bring her in close contact with both the Allies and Axis Powers.


    The Atomic Punk

    Character Contest 37: Femme Fatale

    Weather Girl. I tried to give her a more 1950s look. The idea being that as Dana Smalls, her radio job puts her in a forward-thinking, cutting-edge position. The kind of person who knows what the people want but her bosses are loathe to let an uppity employee run amok. The big wigs on the programming board are comfortable playing Big Band but this sassy intern keeps putting on those “rock and roll” records. I include Weather Girl in my meta-verse.

    Weather Girl


    College student Dana Smalls works as a local radio station intern in Aurora, Illinois. A tornado struck the broadcast station one night. Lightning struck the antenna. The electrical surge destroyed the whole building. Dana survived. She soon discovered that she had amazing powers to control the weather.

    She became Weather Girl, the crime-fighting moll. Dana uses her job at the radio station to keep up with the criminal activity and happenings.


    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.


    The Atomic Punk

    Character Contest 38: Random Name II

    The Contest was to design characters based on a random name. The generator that I used was Seventh Sanctum. One stipulation was to use the first ten names listed. This was such a fun contest that I created all ten characters.

    Posting my entries in a loose “least-to-most favorite” format. First up, Mage Freeze. I was a little burned out from designing the other nine characters. I still wanted to twist the concept. Instead of some awesome wizard or Iceman-inspired hero, I cranked out a documentary film-maker.

    Mage Freeze:
    Part-time Magician. Full-time polar bear enthusiast.

    (No, he’s not supposed to be Santa Claus. Red is a safety color in case you need rescued from the frozen tundra.)



    The Atomic Punk

    Character Contest 38: Random Name II

    Nothing to add about this creepy little guy.

    Snake Detonator: “Santa’s Little Nightmare”

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