Does anyone still play tabletop RPG’s? Fantasy Flight Games has released a new Star Wars RPG and it’s wonderful. The book is expensive at $60 but they have released a Free RPG Day adventure called Under a Black Sun that has an excellent rules summary and I have found myself referencing it over the core rulebook. It’s essentially quick start rules disguised as a free adventure. If you have an interest in the game, I would strongly suggest that’s the place to start.
A discussion came up about the Flash and he was referred to as Wally but was quickly corrected as Barry. A non comic reader didn’t quite get what we were talking about so I posted this.
In a nutshell.
Barry Allen – original Flash died sacrificing his life to save not the world, not the universe but the MULTIverse in 1985′s Crisis on Infinite Earths.
Wally West – Kid Flash took over his mentors role as the new (and arguably much better) Flash.
Sometime in 2009, Barry made his return to the DC Universe because “CSI shit is cool” (he was forensics in his day job) and Geoff Johns, DC’s head creative guy said so.
Flash forward (PUN!!) to 2011 and the DC universe under the guidance of Dan DiDio (said asshole), Jim Lee (good artist, shitty story teller) and Geoff Johns (good story teller but bad decision maker) decide to REBOOT the entire DC Universe again but this time conveniently forget to include the most popular Flash ever (he doesn’t exist anymore).
Moral? DC is swirling down the shitter. And don’t get me started on Donna Troy.
Am I right or what?
I have been thinking of ways to update some of the cool Public Domain Superheroes that are out there. Below is an email to a friend that I sent describing the relationship between Dan Garret (The Golden Age Blue Beetle) and his scientist friend Dr. Franz.
In these Golden Age comic books they don’t really go too in depth with some of the characters motivations as to why they do what they do. What do we really know about Dr. Franz? He created the ‘Vitamin 2x’ serum and (possibly) the ‘cellulose chainmail’ Dan wears. Why would a druggist (old school pharmacist) know how to make chainmail out of plant fibers? Why would he help Dan? Well, I think I came up with a solution.
Dr. Franz (no first name known, yet) is Dan’s great uncle. We don’t know much about Dan’s parents other than his father was gunned down by a mobster and his mother died of the flu when he was a boy. In my version Dr. Franz is Dan’s (unnamed) mother’s uncle. Her parents were killed when she was a little girl and it was up to Franz to raise her. When she grew up, she met a nice rookie police man by the name of Michael Garret, fell in love, married and had a son they named Daniel. While Dan was still young his mother died which devastated both his father and Dr. Franz. More the latter because he was a solitary man, never took a wife and never expected to have children but he adored Dan’s mother more than life itself. The two grew apart and didn’t see much of each other.
Growing up, Dan idolized his father, now a detective who was investigating Chick Alonzo. Dr. Franz, a geneticist, went on to be a scientist and researcher for ‘Big Pharma’. He developed a serum, tied into a persons genetic structure, that would heal disease, and be able to ‘double themselves’. It was derisively referred to as ‘Vitamin 2x’ by his colleagues. Of course ‘Big Pharma’ didn’t want this to get public because there’s no profit in it and it gets shelved. Years go by, Dan grows up and joins the police force, his father gets murdered by Chick Alonzo and he creates the ‘Blue Beetle’ persona to go after him. This is the era I refer to as ‘Phase 1′ due to the pulp like plain clothes outfit. Dan and Dr. Franz reconnect at his fathers funeral. They both realize they are the only family they have now.
When Dan has his final confrontation with Chick Alonzo, he gets shot up pretty badly. While in a coma, Dr. Franz, frantic because he can’t lose another family member, goes to the hospital and takes a sample of Dan’s blood. He returns to his lab and keys the Vitamin 2x to Dan’s genetic structure. He returns to the hospital and discreetly injects it into Dan. Dan, of course, under goes a miraculous healing process and finds his strength and endurance effectively doubled. It’s almost like Marvel’s super soldier serum. This is the start of Phase 2, which I refer to him getting his armor and being a little more in the public eye. Also, it would start a whole other story line wherein the unscrupulous powers that be of ‘Big Pharma’ start enhancing their own subjects but without Franz’ help. And without Franz’ genius and morality to guide them, they really screw up.
Wow. I haven’t posted much here at all in the past year. I (re)started this blog because DC decided to relaunch their universe with the New52 and I thought it would be a great time jump back into blogging. Unfortunately the New52 hasn’t done much to keep my interest. To be blunt, I think most of what they’ve done sucks.
Anyway, I still have many geek interests and I post a lot on a Facebook Group called ‘The Guild of Calamitous Intent’ and I thought if I can post it there, why not here? So expect more activity here and by default Twitter.
Flashback 1979: Me, my dad, my uncle and my cousin go to the theater to watch a movie starring some guy named ‘Buck Rogers’. Being 7 years old I had no idea who he was and had no expectations going into it. I ended up loving it of course!
As I got older and more into comics, movies and other nerdy stuff I discovered the 1939 serial starring Buster Crabbe, the original Armageddon 2419 story that started it all and finally Dynamite Comics fantastic take on him.
What got me were the differences between each version. At it’s core, Buck Rogers is the story about a man out of time and how he copes in his new environment. Although each version is recognizable, I always wondered why so many changes to it compared to say, Flash Gordon. Here are some very basic differences.
Armageddon 2419: Anthony Rogers is surveying a mine in Pennsylvania when he notices a pungent smell and glowing rocks. The cave collapses in on him and he awakens 500 years later (2419 AD). After waking up, Anthony comes to the rescue of Wilma Deering who is being chased by Mongul Reds. His name was changed to Buck for the comic strip.
1939 Serial: Buck Rogers is flying a dirigible with his young friend Buddy when they are suddenly caught in blizzard and forced down. Not able to be rescued anytime soon, they activate ‘Nirvano Gas’ that so conveniently happens to be on their ship and are placed in suspended animation for 500 years. They are found by two soldiers who use Ray Guns to free them from the ice.
1979 TV Show: In 1987 Captain William ‘Buck’ Rogers is piloting Ranger 3, the last of NASA’s deep space probes. In a freak mishap, he is blown out of his trajectory into an orbit which freezes his life support system, returning him to Earth 500 years later (2491 to be specific). He’s thawed out by the Draconians and sent back to Earth with a micro-transmitter attached to his ship.
2009 Dynamite Comic: Anthony ‘Buck’ Rogers, a retired Air Force captain is testing a gravity drive he help invent in hopes of faster than light travel. He is sent on a mission by the government to retrieve a space probe that contains DNA of Earth’s animals. The drive malfunctions and he is slingshot 500 years into the future. He arrives in the year 2519 (The 26th century). He crash lands on Earth and is found by Colonel Wilma Deering. In this version they sort of rescue each other from an intelligent genetically engineered bear.
The Dynamite version stays truer to the original comic strip yet modernizes it for today. They also have Buddy in the book who, like in the original comic strip, is Wilma’s younger brother and a cadet. There’s no Twikki but the Earth Directorates’ Trans-Suits make the ‘Biddi-Biddi-Biddi’ sound and in a later issue you see Twikki’s head in a 20th century earth storage room. One of the neat things about the Dynamite version is how it flashes back to the 20th century throughout the series before and long after Buck has already been lost to the future. The stylistic designs of the trans-suit’s jodhpurs and forcefield ‘bubble helmet’, spaceships and weapons have a distinctly 1930′s look to them and are a great homage to the 1930′s comic strip.
My only complaint about the Dynamite series is that it seemed to try and cram a lot into a few issues. The Air Lords of Han storyline only lasted two issues and really felt like it was anticlimactic. The original Airlord’s of Han was the sequel to Armageddon 2419. My guess is the writer knew the series was being cancelled and felt the need to tell the story.
I picked these up not long ago when ComiXology had a 99¢ and I’m glad I did because I enjoyed Dynamite’s take on him very much. There are two collected trade paperbacks out and they will end up on my bookshelf.