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    Black Griffin

    Tailypo is one of my favorite “ghost” stories, Love how you made him.


    The Atomic Punk

    Thanks, Black Griffin. Tailypo gave me nightmares!

    Character Contest 40: Southern Fried Heroes

    For the remaining characters, I switched to state motifs. For example, Spes holding yellow Jessamines. Also, Spes is on South Carolina’s State Seal. Not quite happy with the way she’s holding her bouquet. I also got to thinking: “Why would a telekinetic wave her hand? And why is the hand glowing?” Despite those oversights, Spes is part of my meta-verse. Haven’t decided whether she’s telekinetic (ESP) or an energy blaster.



    Dianne Polyonis is a native of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and a telekinetic. She drew inspiration for her super motif from Spes, the Goddess of Hope. Like the goddess, Dianne uses her power to disarm criminals and dismantle their weapons. She can also generate powerful TK shields and push objects.

    The only thing Dianne was missing was a bouquet of Yellow Jessamines. So recently, she decided to enter the Miss Super South Carolina Contest. And, of course, she won. Much to the envy of Georgetown’s Black River Bombshell.


    The Atomic Punk

    Character Contest 40: Southern Fried Heroes

    Rather happy with this concept and character. Not just for his menacing face. To me, he captures an alien vibe, a strange culture. It’s why I choose the offset contrast of grey skin against form-fitting copper body armor with thigh-high boots. I wanted this Zoogie to be a living tank with a hint of Alabama Song (… The Doors… ask your parents, kids).

    The Zoogies


    The Garkergarkarks came to Birmingham, Alabama, searching for hematite and quartz. What they found instead were friendly locals and a new source of wine.

    “Garkergarkark” does not quite roll of the Southern tongue. Also, humans tend to the prejudice that “they all look alike.” Some yellowhammers began to call them “Zoogies” after the Alabama State Fossil, the Zeuglodon. They look somewhat like the prehistoric whale with oily grey skin and menacing teeth. Then there is the “blowhole”. The Zoogies are able to close this air cavity much like a whale or dolphin.

    Zoogies are considered by the inter-stellar community as somewhat primitive. They depend on other species for space-faring. In exchange, Zoogies fill manual labor jobs in some of the most extreme conditions. They are able to store oxygen for up to forty-five minutes before having to respirate. Because of their thick skin and overall physique, they are able to survive some extreme atmospheric pressures. They can survive deep ocean dives, even walk on moons.

    Humans deride them with maritime analogies such as traveling in “pods”, females are “cows”, the young are “calves”. Though, everyone knows not to mess with a “bull” when he’s enjoying his favorite White Oak wine.


    The Atomic Punk

    Character Contest 40: Southern Fried Heroes

    Last entry for the contest is Bonnie Blue. The Bonnie Blue is a simple flag (lone white star on a blue field). It represents the “Republic of West Florida” which encompassed the Florida panhandle to eastern parts of Louisiana in the early 19th Century. Though Bonnie Blue is the main character, this is a brother-sister team. They are part of my meta-verse.

    Bonnie Blue


    I wrote her background as a last letter from her uncle:
    My Dearest Jenny and Jacob,

    The McCarthy family has deep roots in Louisiana. Going back before the short-lived Republic of West Florida. The modern McCarthys had just entered into the multi-millionaires’ club. Sully, your bless’ed father, had signed a long-term contract as a NASCAR Crew Chief. He had just upgraded his already successful repair shop to a miniature factory.

    The lawyers and accountants who brokered the contract approached him with an offer. They would use his garage as a front to warehouse drugs and guns. Now, the McCarthys themselves have kin who bootleg and do some rum-running. So Sully didn’t think much of it. Just carrying on a family tradition.

    Except Sully got greedy. He cooked his books unbeknownst to the T-, G-, and even the X-Men. (You see, at the time, your father was so renowned he had a contract with the Xavier Academy to do emergency repairs.) Then he started pocketing the drug lords’ money. Next thing you know, Sully McCarthy and his lovely wife Isabella died in a wreck on Highway 12 around the Florida stateline.

    The patrol concluded that it was a single car accident. Doesn’t explain how their dog was found a mile up the road with a bullet in his ear. Nor does it explain how their 2-year old paternal twins survived. But I know the answer to that.

    See, I rescued you. Convinced my associates that you were too young to remember. I was a moonshiner and part-time contract killer. Well, I was a moonshiner. My first hit was supposed to be a mule who stole from some Houston drug lord. As much as I could, there was no way that I could save Sully or Miss Bella.

    Still don’t know what happened to that dog. Figured that I took care of his killer when I took care of Sully’s killers. Not only did I not have to split the money, but the drug lord was mighty impressed with my efficiency. We can all agree that three can keep a secret if two are dead.

    I took you kits to my wife, who worked at the hospital. She was able to not only certify your deaths, but get you adopted by another McCarthy clan. Though, they’s lazy-ass Shreveport McCarthys. Better than you dead, anyway. Being a moonshiner, I knew a few judges. We were able to tie up your family’s estate in probate for years.

    You are supposed to get this letter on your 18th Birthday. With it, you will find a key. It is for a vault at the National Bank of Baton Rouge. Inside the vault is a second key. That key goes to a safe deposit box at the branch in Livonia. In that box, you will find everything: your father’s money (with T-Bill interest), your parents’ last will, the titles to all their land and holdings, and, most importantly, another key with a map.

    The third key goes to Sully’s old shop. Had it moved and re-built to a secret location off Highway 12. You will find everything you need. You’ll know what to do.

    They’re coming for me, chers. I don’t have much time. Bonne chance!

    Your loving great-uncle,

    Louis McCarthy


    The Atomic Punk

    Okay, I’m really stuck for ideas for Character Contest 91: The Phantom ________. Since I’m here, switching gears to my Archive.

    Character Contest 41: Art Martial
    For this one, I set out to include more than just “traditional” Martial Arts. By “traditional,” I mean Far East styles such as karate and kung fu. However, I did slide into Asian themes. This was an opportunity to re-visit Japanese mythology.

    For instance, Tengu is not really a Martial Artist. He’s a street racer. Not entirely happy with his mask or his overall color scheme. I like how the masking of the metal wings to the leather jacket turned out. He needs some work. On the fence whether to include him in my meta-verse.



    The residents of Tokyo don’t know what to make of their latest sentai. Like his legendary namesake, Tengu seemed to fly down from the mountains into the valley. The mountains being the skyscrapers of Tokyo; the valley its twisting, fast-paced streets.

    At first, Tengu was thought of as a villain. His first appearances were in street racing. He has never lost a race – no matter how hard his opponents try to wreck him.

    The underground and the police believe that racing was a way for him to gain notierity. Once people began whispering his name, Tengu declared war on the streets. Throwing molotov cocktails at cars, businesses, even abandoned property. Investigations began to reveal that these were hits not just arson. Police found that Tengu’s victims were often involved with drugs, rapes, murders, kidnappings, and other serious crimes.

    The Yakuza declared him a marked man. Perhaps that was his goal all along. Corrupt officials try to hide Tengu’s fire-bombings as mere arson, even attempted murder.

    Tengu is a master of stealth and speed. Not just on his motorcycle, but he is blinding quick. Appearing out of nowhere, moving about Tokyo seemingly unhindered. He is a master of martial arts. No one is able to recognize a particular discipline in his style. He carries a sai more for defense and as a tool to pry open locked doors or jam doors shut.

    He also has super-human motor skills: balance, hand-eye coordination and dodging ability. Tengu has been seen riding up to a criminal on his motorcycle then snatching the gun from his hand. All without disrupting the villain’s stride as he runs in terror.

    Along with his molotov cocktails, Tengu carries gas grenades. The gas causes the dread tengu-kakushi, dementia and paranoia. Anyone who inhales becomes paralyzed with fear, or worse, flies into a panic. Tengu’s mask obviously protects him from it’s effects. Though the gas wears off, Tengu uses the grenades as a last resort. He prefers physical combat.

    He never speaks, yet everyone knows what Tengu wants through simple gestures, motions, or just common sense. For instance, “if you don’t drop the gun, bad things will happen” goes without saying. “Jump through the door that’s on fire, it’s the only way out.” “Tell the others what happened. Let them know that I’m coming.”

    The Japanese still cannot decide if Tengu is a hero or a villain. The majority despise his vigilantism and wanton destruction of property. They are even afraid of him, as with the mythical creature of the same name. Yet, they are thankful for what seems his primary focus: the protection of children. Tengu has rescued children from all manner of danger: accidents, fires, kidnappings, rapes, murder. He has even avenged some violations of the innocent.

    Tengu’s enemies in the underground, and in government, have tried to exploit this duty. He is always able to sniff out the trap. Which means little. Tengu still executes his mission as if a real child were in danger. Which means just as much pain and humiliation for the would be ambushers.

    Though these are noble deeds, superstition still holds. No one has seen Tengu without his mask. No one knows if he is even human. What will it cost Tokyo should Tengu decide that it is time for the citizens to pay? No good deed is worth a deal with the devil.


    The Atomic Punk

    Character Contest 41: Art Martial

    Another character inspired by Japanese mythology. And again, can’t decide whether he is part of my meta-verse. Not happy with the pose. I tried for a running, fist-cocked position but gave up.



    Tamotsu Taro had joined a Buddhist temple in the Nagasaki Prefecture to live a life of inner peace after an aimless youth of fighting and petty crime. He had found solace. Still greed, ambition, and even rage lingered in his heart. These vices surfaced again when the time came to choose a new head monk.

    Taro had been devout for over seventy years. Another, much younger monk was chosen. Taro felt spurned and disrespected. He left the temple. Soon, he found himself in a seedy Tokyo bar. The octogenarian wanted nothing more than to drink himself to death. The bartender, a rather odd man himself, handed Taro a strange boiling drink in a sake cup made of human bone. Tamotsu laughed then slammed the concotion.

    He awoke the next morning on the barroom floor. Instead of being a vibrant, neon-lit club, it was now dark, empty.. haunted, evil. The furniture was covered in white sheets, the bar empty, layered with thick dust. Tamotsu rose to his feet then looked into the broken mirror. He was once again a young man but his eyes had turned blood red!

    Startled, he looked to the sake cup. In tiny script, it read: “Avenge the insult with your new gift.” Remembering an old Japanese legend, Taro went to a tattoo parlor. He had a single red eye tattooed on his forehead.

    Tamotsu Taro is no more. He is now the enemy of the Buddhist monks, and all he deems as pious hypocrits. He is Bake-zōri, “the Ghost Sandal”. Bake-zōri uses his formal temple training and street-fighting skills to block the bridge leading to the secluded Buddhist temple.

    Without warning, he attacks. Shouting the cry of the Bake-zōri, “Kararin, kororin, kankororin!” (“Eyes three, eyes three and teeth two!”). His signature is leaving his victims with a “third eye” in the forehead, knocking out all but two teeth.


    The Atomic Punk

    Character Contest 41: Art Martial

    The next images are a scene aptly titled “East Meets West.” Posting both versions. In the version, I tried for a topless look. The pudgy protusions are supposed the be the fighter’s elbows.The illusion there… but not of arms crossed.

    I added a corset in the second version but forgot to add her elbows. Also, her claws are in a very awkward position. I went to correct all of these flaws. Unfortunately, I had cleared my browser cache. Remember: Always save to text!

    The second version comes closest to my vision. The concept is solid but my execution sucked…

    East Meets West (Version 1)

    Version 1 Close-up

    Version 2

    Version 2 Close-up


    The Atomic Punk

    Memorial Day in the United States. Always remember.

    Character Contest 41: Art Martial

    Lots of typos and lousy grammar in my last post. Moving on. I try to include an off-beat design in every contest. This time, I thought of celebrities named “Art” or “Arthur.” Who better to pun than 60s/70s folk singer Art Garfunkel?

    For those not familiar, the harmonic Simon & Garfunkel were a huge success. Music being a matter of personal taste, I say that they masterfully blended traditional folk with urban subject matter (“The Boxer” and “The Sound of Silence” come to mind). Also, they revived the Medieval troubador ballad “Scarborough Fair.” The song topped at #11 on the Billboard Chart in 1968. Ah, mellow gold!

    Simon & Garfunkel officially broke up around 1970 before I was born. Even then, their music brings back many fond memories.

    My tagline for this entry was: “Poor Garfunkel hasn’t been the same since Simon split. He lost his passion for music and turned to Mixed Martial Arts.”

    Martial Art



    The Atomic Punk

    Character Contest 41: Art Martial

    Deseret is the name of the design not the character herself. She is more assassin than martial artist. A “deseret” is a type of honeybee. The big takeaway from this updated version is the lips. They match her skin. Human lips tend to be darker than the rest of the body.

    I began to experiment. I found that darker skin tone set at about 50% Alpha tints the lips without overwhelming the face. It gives a natural rather than lipstick look. I don’t have the saved file, so I didn’t update Deseret’s lips.



    HeroMachine 2.5


    The Atomic Punk

    Character Contest 41: Art Martial

    A knight demonstrates the Mordstreich. Literally translated as “Murderstroke”, this technique uses the hilt of a long sword to bash an enemy’s helmet. A successful blow could be forceful enough to knock him to the ground. Thus, the sharpness of the blade is saved for a killshot while the enemy is prone.

    A web documentary on the history of European Martial Arts and the Mordstreich technique can be found here. This documentary primarily addresses Renaissance combat. However, the Mordstreich technique pre-dates the Codex Wallerstein.




    The Atomic Punk

    Character Contest 41: Art Martial

    El Completo translates loosely as “The Complete One” or “The Total Package.” It is a term used to describe the best luchadores (rasslers). I thought he would be a fun character. Luchadore is more acrobatics and choreography than an actual martial or fighting style. Which can be said of many karate demonstrations and kung fu action movies.

    El Completo: El Rey de los Luchadores de “Lucha Lunes” (King of the Monday Night Wrestling).



    The Atomic Punk

    Character Contest 41: Art Martial

    Last entry: The 1970s Blacklight Tiger Poster. I am really pleased with the background.

    70s Blacklight Tiger



    The Atomic Punk

    Character Contest 42: Another Brick in the Wall

    To be honest, when it comes to superhero arch-types, the Brick is not my favorite. I admit to being uninspired even lazy with these entries. Still, it was an opportunity to try out some techniques.

    For instance, with the Wentshukumishiteu, I tried to create a hole in the ice with splashes. Also, I wanted him to appear ready to pounce. Instead of a lumbering brute, he’s more of a wolverine or badger. Results were “meh.”



    The Wentshukumishiteu, an Inuit Legend
    Wentshukumishiteu is a spirit that protects animal young from humans. He lives under Manitutshu, the Spirit Mountain. Manitutshu is located near the Churchill River in Labrador, Canada.

    Wentshukumishiteu moves easily on water. He ambushes his prey by breaking through ice. He also tunnels underground. So powerful, he digs through solid rock.


    The Atomic Punk

    Character Contest 42: Another Brick in the Wall

    With Golem, I wanted to create the illusion of bullets that had smashed into the creature’s body. One oversight is the dog’s all-white eyes. Golem was created by a mystic. Maybe the dog is enchanted, too. The silent movie Der Golem, wie er in die Welt kam (1920) inspired this design.



    Rabbi Antal was a peaceful man until the Nazis tried to shut down his Warsaw bakery. He collected special red clay under their noses. When he amassed enough, the Rabbi called upon ancient arts to give the statue life.

    Antal is now a resistance leader with a golem at his command. The golem is mute. He only obeys his master. He neither feels pain nor bleeds. His body merely absorbs bullets. Rabbi Antal has enough red clay to repair any serious damage.

    Golem’s clay body is malleable. Because he is not sentient, he cannot truly shape-shift. However, Golem is a singular creature. He is able to contort his body to fit through larger pipes and slide down chimneys. Which makes him a rather effective assassin.


    The Atomic Punk

    Character Contest 42: Another Brick in the Wall

    I tried to make Maltese bulkier by re-sizing “All Items.” The result was a stretched image. It’s not great, but an improvement over my original design with “normal” proportions. I wanted to him have a Casablanca classic Hollywood social club vibe. Instead, everytime I try to make a blue character with patterns or tattoos, I keep thinking “Avatar” and wind up scrapping the whole project.

    The name of the club where Maltese works, Rififi, comes from French slang meaning “fisticuffs” or “trouble.” It is also the Auguste Le Breton / Jules Dassin’s 1955 classic Du Rififi Chez les Hommes. Dassin was a director who was black-balled during the McCarthy era. So he moved to France. I don’t know the circumstances or his personal politics. Don’t really care and not going to discuss. Rififi is an excellent movie. I highly recommend it.



    Even superheroes with a public identity need a place to relax and socialize. That place is the Rififi where mutants, costumed metas, and celebrities mingle. No thanks to fanboys and the internet, the club recently became plagued by the curious public, lawyers, and upstart villains.

    To keep out the uninvited, Rififi hired Maltese. Standing at nearly ten feet tall, over 700 pounds, he is an intimidating presence. True to his stripes and skin color, Maltese strikes with the speed and strength of the mythical tiger. His thick skin and dense bone structure make him almost indestructable.

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