Super Sunday: The Spookersons

The Situation

The classic sitcom staple of a family made up of spooky weirdos. As would be expected from me, this show is much darker than the usual.

The Characters

Mummy Spookerson

The woman now known as Mummy Spookerson was pregnant in the 1930s, when a demon-worshipping cult member murdered her and her husband. While her husband’s body was chopped up and used in an occult ritual, the woman was mummified and her remains left hidden in a crypt. Whatever sinister purpose the cult originally had for the remains body was forgotten when they were all slaughtered by the demons they summoned. Ten years ago, the mummified corpse woke up. Uncertain what to do with her mysteriously returned life, she just decided to get back to living. She took ownership of the mansion the cult once owned, gave birth to the twins she’d been carrying, and got a job working at a grocery store nearby, where she is now the night manager.

Deady Spookerson

Mummy’s husband was dissected and most of body parts ended up who knows where. His skull, however, sat safely in the cult’s mansion. When Mummy’s woke up, some mystical energies present in the mansion allowed the husband’s spirit to animate the skull. The couple was reunited, and now Deady is a stay-at-home father of the twins. Still, even ten years later, he has trouble corporealizing, so he’s a bit clumsy.

Sally Spookerson

Sally is fascinated by the supernatural, so it is good luck for her that she’s growing up in a cultist mansion with a library of books on occult rituals and artifacts. She’s has trouble behaving in school, and frequently tries to use mystical short cuts to make her life easier, which only gets her into more trouble.

Billy Spookerson

Billy is nerdier than his sister, so he prefers to make his occult dabblings more scientific in nature. He wants to discover things that aren’t in the books in the library. New things. And he wants to be famous for it. He’s got a big ego, and is trying very hard to live up to it.

Uncle Hunchback

Uncle is not actually the uncle of the Spookerson family, he’s a cousin, some times removed or whatever, who happens to actually be named Uncle. He was lonely when he was the only surviving member of his family, so when the Spookerson family popped up again, he was happy to join them. He now dotes on the twins and helps them with their various rituals and experiments.

Ken Curtis

Mr. Curtis lives next to the Spookersons’ mansion, and he is a paranormal investigator. He makes internet videos in which he hunts for ghosts and monsters. He has no idea that there is anything strange about the Spookersons. He thinks Mummy is a burn victim, and has been too embarrassed to ever bring up her late husband. And he thinks all children are strange monsters, so he takes no especial notice of the twins. As far as he can tell, they’re just a normal family. This infuriates the demon once worshipped by the cult, because it is constantly sending messages to Mr. Curtis, trying to get him to kill Mummy so it can be freed from the otherworldly prison where it is trapped. Mr. Curtis is just completely oblivious to the demonic messages.

Notes

As a child, I enjoyed the Addams Family (both the movies and the original show), but I have not seen any version of the Munsters. Still, I doubt that that show had the in-depth exploration of the supernatural I’d be trying for here.

Lois Lane and Perry White are Alright

If there are any two members of Superman’s supporting cast who I don’t think need a lot of thinking to make them work, it’s Lois Lane and Perry White. I think that, though they are underused by the comics, at least the place they occupy is the place where they ought to be. Lois Lane is an intrepid reporter who cares more about truth and justice than her own safety. Perry White, editor of the Daily Planet newspaper is a stubborn crusader for justice who seethes with anger towards injustice. These two are the reason that Clark Kent, who could easily have a job basically anywhere he wants, wants to work for the Daily Planet.

A common take these days is that Perry is more of a father figure to Lois than her own father. I consider this the correct take. I’ll get more into General Sam Lane and the rest of the Lane family in some future post, but Perry definitely sees a lot of himself in Lois Lane and nurtures her career for that reason. I have not read a lot of YA fiction just yet, so I can’t be sure how they stack up to the usual fare, but I will unequivocally recommend the Lois Lane novels by Gwenda Bond as a great look into the dynamics of Lois’s relationship with her father versus that with Perry. I think they should be required reading for people writing those characters.

Now, Perry definitely wants his paper to be doing the right thing, to go after the bad guys and make the world better, but he also has to worry about sales and advertisers and whatnot (I think it’s best for his character if this pressure is forced upon him by higher-ups like Franklin Stern or Morgan Edge, characters I will cover in the future). He’s an idealist, but is upset by the realities of his job.

Then Superman and Clark Kent come along. Clark gives Perry a second Lois, basically. Yet another reporter doing the kind of work that Perry wants to do. Superman gives Perry something even better: sales. When Superman gives exclusive interviews to the Planet staff, I read that as his way of helping out the paper that puts so much focus on investigative reporting in Metropolis. If an audience wants to read about Superman, Superman is going to direct that audience to the paper that most deserves it.

And Lois Lane is absolutely the only acceptable romantic interest for Clark. Anyone who prefers Wonder Woman or some other even dumber choice just needs to give up.

Super Sunday: Quarantine Station 347

The Situation

Various things of great galactic importance keep happening to the small crew of a quarantine station in the Epabrian Galactic Empire.

The Characters

Calvin Brooks

Calvin always wanted to be the captain of an Epabrian Starship. After decades of hard work, he is now in command of the Quarantine Station #347, a job which is not at all equal to the rank of captain. It’s closer to sergeant, but without the respect of those below him. The station’s purpose is to quarantine the ships and the crews of those passing into Epabrian space, which does get Calvin close to those with real political power, and he can’t quite stop himself from trying to manipulate things in ways that he think will raise his esteem, but which always seem fail.

Kelly Durnwell

Second in command on the station is Kelly Durnwell, who joined the Epabrian military for the medical plan and is happy to not be doing anything harder than she is. Her one and only goal is to get through her career to the retirement age without anything going wrong, so she always gets a little nervous about Calvin’s plans, but he can easily manipulate her with bonuses and vacation time.

Viderin Nont

The Epabrian Empire is a human civilization, but they have citizens from other species in there as well. Viderin is Owds Person, a refugee from a planet ruled by a despot. Viderin has customs that are different from humanity’s, and she doesn’t correctly understand human customs, and therefore she’s the stations resident Wacky Foreigner.

Zhick Naya

Zhick, unlike Viderin, is indeed a human. There is a planet in the Epabrian Empire in which humans have evolved blue skin. Zhick got assigned to the 347 after he pissed off his captain on the Starship where he was first assigned. He joined up to get away from a bad relationship and has no loyalty to the Empire. He’s correctly noted that the rest of the crew is more than enough to keep things running smoothly, so he shovels whatever work he is assigned onto Viderin and spends his time pulling cons on passers-through.

Roberick XB

Roberick XB is the kind of representative of foreign powers that often pass through the quarantine station. The head of a Robot Shipping Lines vessel, Roberick comes through 347 every month or two and is a source of gossip (usually lies), and of smuggled goods (cheap and sometime stolen).

Notes

The Epabrian Empire was first seen in a little comic I did called Starship Renewal and I felt like it was time to go back to that well.

One of the big influences here is Red Dwarf, obviously, but there are many other sci-fi sitcoms that have not lasted as long. This would be one of those.