Super Sunday: Some More Non-New Characters

The “Supernatural Sunday” theme has been going on for more than a year now, so I think it is time to switch things up. But before we get into the next year’s theme, I will do another superfluous post of characters that aren’t even new:

Zappo

Mike Titus was a regular, ordinary young man who got caught in a science accident that gave him electricity-based superhuman powers. In Zappo’s world full of superheroes, this was not that uncommon an occurrence. It’s been known to happen. Following the examples of all the other people it happened to, he crafted a superhero persona for himself and got to fighting crime.

When I was in elementary school, I created Zappo. Drawing him at the time, his face looked like the mask he wears as I draw him now. Just inexplicable Bart Simpson-spikes on his head. I don’t know why I did it that way, but I think this mask at least makes sense of it. It would be very important to Zappo stories that he is not very powerful. A lot of superhero comics try to do stories with underdogs where the lesson seems to be “you might actually be the most powerful hero of all” and I hate that. It may go against a core tenet of superhero comics, but I don’t equate physical power with worth. Zappo would have some minor electrical powers and that’s it.

Also, we must never forget that a frog was also caught in the science accident and it also gained powers and it is now Zappo’s pet and he calls it Zap-Frog.

Clownsassin

The Clownsassin is the still-living spirit of a human who abandoned their birth-body to take on the forms of other people. Atypically for such people, when the Clownsassin takes on a new body, it immediately begins to get dressed like a clown and then go on a killing spree. Gotta have a hobby, after all.

The Clownsassin has made some cameo appearances in Secret Government Robots, including the currently running final storyline. I wouldn’t usually do a Super Sunday post for a currently-appearing character, but I wanted to talk about the origin of the Clownsassin. If it isn’t obvious from how often I mention finding information about characters in “my notes” dating back all the way to when I was in elementary school, I think up a lot of ideas but don’t follow through on stories as often as I ought. One of those things was to be “Wizard Ghosts”. They were meant to be a big part of a bunch of PDR stories, but they just sat in my head as I failed to tell those stories. And then, around 2008, the webcomic Dr. McNinja by Chris Hastings introduced Ghost Wizards (that image is from a later story). These Ghost Wizards were way cooler than my Wizard Ghosts, who were just magic users who had no permanent physical form of their own. I didn’t completely abandon the idea, Wizard Ghosts are mentioned a few times in Secret Government Robots, but I felt like I had to lessen their role. After literally years of internal debate (as I said, these things take a long time for me), I decided I can still use the ideas and just not call them Wizard Ghosts anymore. That is the term that SecGov uses for them, but they don’t call themselves that.

Muscle King Grotorr

On planet Deltoi, everyone is tough. You may think you’ve met some tough people here on Earth, but you are wrong. The Deltoids can slap rocks into dust, jump into orbit, and shrug off explosions. They are a warrior people who find all reasons to fight among each other and other reasons to attack other worlds. And strongest of them all is Grotorr. This is most fortunate, because Grotorr is a peaceful king, more likely to save other worlds from disaster than to conquer. Also, he has a gold tooth. There are Deltoids who crave violent invasions of weaker species, but Grotorr won’t allow it. After all, if those species are so weak, they wouldn’t be enjoyable to fight. Since no other species (that remains) is stupid enough to try to invade Deltoi, the only fights Grotorr gets that are worthy are would-be usurpers.

Grotorr appeared in a single Hover Head strip. I couldn’t pass up the chance to make that character into something bigger now could I? I picture Deltoid society being like the Saiyans on Dragonball. And not even what Saiyans are actually like, but what I assume they are like based on my limited knowledge. They fly around space with no ships and fight each other in world-shattering combat that takes hours.

Beekeeper Review: Ghost from Mission Impossible

Today’s beekeeper appeared in an episode of Mission Impossible titled “Zubrovnik’s Ghost”. First, let’s have a quick summary of the episode: Some enemy agents are trying to convince someone to defect to their side by telling her that her husband’s ghost wants her to. That’s a lie, though. Her husband, the titular Dr. Zubrovnik, wasn’t even dead for real. For the purposes of this ruse, the bad guys killed a beekeeper and burned his body to pass it off as Zubrovnik. That was a mistake. The beekeeper’s ghost takes its violent revenge on his killers, and the agents that Mission Impossible sent (I’m not going to bother learning which organization stars in the show) get to stand around wondering why this show isn’t about beekeeper ghosts every week.

We never get to see this beekeeper alive, or even learn his name. He’s an unfortunate victim of a murder before the episode even begins, which suggests he may not be the best fighter, but from his position in the afterlife, he displays some real power.

The first suggestion that things are not as they seem is that the bees around Zubrovnik’s mansion are active at night, and even during thunderstorms. Of course, they also wind up swarming the murderers, so it is pretty clear they’re doing the dead beekeeper’s bidding. The ghostly apiarist also displays control over smoke, another standard supernatural beekeeper weapon. Furthermore, his ability to shut and lock doors from beyond the grave should be mentioned. Sure, that’s more Ghost Power than Beekeeper Power, but it is his Beekeeper Rage that brings him back from the grave in the first place.

We do have to address that Beekeeper Rage, though. Now, I’m not going to say getting murdered is something one shouldn’t get a little ticked off about, but as is so often the case, Beekeeper Rage goes above and beyond rational anger. Mission Impossible’s psychic agent tries to contact Zubrovnik’s ghost, but instead find’s the beekeeper, whom she describes as having “unquenchable power”. “It hates,” she says. “It hates!” The beekeeper is using his ghostness to strike out at some bad guys, so I can’t say he isn’t using it in a productive way, but it sure seems to have completely overwhelmed his humanity. Hopefully once the murderers are dead he can find some peace.

It is my understanding, from Internet research, that the Mission Impossible franchise has maintained a continuity that goes all the way to the movies that still come out to this day, rather than having been rebooted like so many franchises. I also understand that the truly supernatural events in this episode are not in keeping with the general tone of Mission Impossible. Since this is supernatural beekeeper exists in a world where that sort of thing is not common, it is actually more impressive that he has these powers.

Three Honeycombs out of Five.

Super Sunday: The Ghost Warden and the Bleeding Child

Got a couple of ghosts here this week because it is… international ghost day? Yeah, that sounds plausible enough.

The Ghost Warden

People who knew him disagreed about whether or not Warden Gagnon was a good man. He was a successful man, a good citizen, but he was cruel. His cruelty, however, was directed at the prisoners of the prison he ran, so many people accepted it. He had no interest in rehabilitation, but loved punishment. He was never willing to kill a prisoner, because dead men don’t learn lessons, but any torture he could devise short of that was fair game. Still, like a large number of people in history, Gagnon died. Perhaps the debate over Gagnon’s goodness carried over into the afterlife, because it seems that neither heaven nor hell accepted the man’s soul.

For more than a century, the Ghost Warden has continued to watch his prison. Escapees are tracked by the righteous spectre and those who dare to attempt to commit murder within its walls are attacked and beaten. It could seem that he is simply carrying on the severe imprisoning techniques of his life, if it weren’t for the fact that any corruption among the guards is met with the same punishment. Could Gagnon be trying to make up for his life choices? And if so, does that mean his soul is now a prisoner in the very prison he once ruled with an iron fist?

The Bleeding Child

The ghost of the Bleeding Child had been seen for years by guests in the hotel. Late at night, when alone in a hallway, hotel guests would feel uneasy, like they were being watched. Looking around, they might catch a glimpse of a young boy. If they investigated any further, it was a regular jump scare situation, with the child lunging at them, his bloody wounds now visible, and suddenly vanishing. This went on for some time, word got out into the types of circles that talk about that sort of thing, and a documentary crew began investigating. They could not find any stories in the hotel’s history that might explain the events. No missing children or tragic cult rituals or anything were on record, or even rumored to be off record. Eventually the investigators just decided to take their cameras into the hotel for a few nights and see what happens. What happened next was a mystery, but maybe someday their footage will be found.

Obviously I’m trying to make a found footage plot here. If I ever told the story for real, I’d go places unexpected and weird, but for now this’ll do.

Super Sunday: Kwally and Gogo

Kwally

Kwally is a being of pure mystical energy that runs a club for wizards. Originally having been created by a wizard in a distant mystical realm, Kwally wandered the cosmos for untold years before deciding that wandering was exactly what it did not want. Kwally wanted stability, a permanent address. With that in mind, Kwally created a pocket universe that contains only the interior of its clubhouse. Kwally lives there now, and has not once left since.

Though sedentary, Kwally is not asocial. Any being capable of find their way to Kwally’s door will be met with a hearty welcome. In this way Kwally has met a lot of wizards, and become something of a hub for their social scene. Beings from all manner of strange places come to Kwally’s to hang out. But if any misbehave, Kwally is powerful enough to make them regret it.

Kwally is a character design (name included) that I found on a scrap of paper dating way way back, but I didn’t have a story for it. I don’t think I lost the story, I just think I never bothered to make one. Well, here you go, Kwally.

Gogo

Gogo is a gorilla ghost.

Gogo was born in a zoo, but wound up as part of a research study with some other apes. The researchers tried to teach the apes to read, with varying degrees of success. Gogo, it seemed, was the least successful. Compared to her fellows, Gogo struggled to read English. But the other apes were so successful that the researchers gained notoriety, and the apes were given a number of books as donations from a charitable public.

Somehow, whether by mistake or by some sinister purpose, a book of occult knowledge came in among the gifts. With large sections of the book not in English, but in some apparent gibberish, the other apes cast the book aside. Gogo, however, had a natural knack for strange ritualistic language of the book and kept it to herself, learning secrets of the universe that even her human masters did not know. Before long, she rebelled against her captors, killing the other apes, as well as some of the researchers, before being shot dead. But with her knowledge, death was not the end for Gogo, it was merely a means of escape.

The Souls of the Venture Bros

Okay, today I’m going to do something a little different: I consider the Venture Bros to probably be my favorite thing on television these days, so sometimes I like to read about it on the Internet. Now, I’m getting into a pretty big spoiler for the show here (though, one from the start of the second season and that was like forever ago), but I want to offer my own thoughts on the topic of the titular brothers, Hank and Dean, being clones. The idea is that the boys are so death-prone that their Super Scientist father has clones of them ready to go when needed and the boys’ beds record their minds as they sleep, so that the clones will have their memories. Simple enough. What I want to talk about today is… well, I occasionally see people on the Internet talking as though the fact that the Hank and Dean of today are cloned from the original Hank and Dean, it somehow means that these are not the “real” Hank and Dean, that they are, in fact different people who just happen to have the appearance and memories (in fact, Dean himself is going through a sort of existential crisis about that in the show as of this writing). So, in the interests of amassing evidence to argue against people who will never, ever see this website, here I will present my case:

Point I) In the universe of the Venture Bros, souls and the afterlife are confirmed to exist. Dr. Byron Orpheus, friend of the Venture family, is an accomplished necromancer and all manner of ghosts have been encountered (Abraham Lincoln in Guess Who’s Coming to State Dinner, Major Tom in Ghosts of the Sargasso, and a Native American tribe in Assassinanny 911, for examples). Knowing that the soul, in that world, is an actual thing, we would kind of have to say that who a person is would be defined by their soul.

Point II) The current clones of Hank and Dean have the souls of the previous incarnations. In the episode Powerless in the Face of Death, the episode that reveals the clonal nature of the boys, Orpheus travels to the afterlife in search of the boys’ souls and finds that their souls are not there. Continuing his search for the souls he comes to Dr. Venture’s lab, where he senses the souls within the machinery that Doc uses to record the boy’s memories. While Doc doesn’t believe in using the supernatural designation of “soul” preferring to think of it as just the boy’s “memory synapses,” but Orpheus is the expert in the supernatural and he says the souls are in there. It seems that one’s soul goes where a person’s “memories, hopes, and dreams” goes, and that’s what Doc has on store. Thus, with this information fed into the boys clone slugs every time they die, they are in essence carrying their soul with them.

To further my case, I point to The Family That Slays Together Part One, in which Hank notes that he “I jumped off my roof in a Batman costume. I think. I might have just dreamt it.” That was one of the ways that Hank died. Hank remembers this though it was probably not something that would have been recorded by his bed, and that indicates to me that he has carried a bit of memory from a previous body to his new one. It is especially worth noting that the ghost of Abraham Lincoln was only able to affect the physical world through objects that bore his image (statues, paintings, money, etc.). For the souls of Hank and Dean, their own cloned bodies would be a perfect fit.

To me, it looks like this: When the boys die, their soul goes to those Earthly things that most connect them to the world, their memories in Doc’s machinery, and then on into the clone slugs. That continuity of soul would mean that the clones of Hank and Dean now present are as much Hank and Dean as any Hank and Dean that ever came before. I fully agree that if we took a clone and let it live without downloading the souls into it, it would be a new person (look at D-19, the rejected Dean clone from Perchance to Dean). But the Hank and Dean of Season Four are still the Hank and Dean of Season One (and the dozen Hanks and Deans that died before that).