Age of Wonders thread IV

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Voltron64
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Re: Age of Wonders thread IV

Post by Voltron64 » Mon Sep 30, 2013 3:04 pm

Libra, I'm sure that despite their retro look, Mr. and Mrs. Cyborg's cybernetics have been regularly tuned, modified and updated over the years to the point that they can match the latest in bio-modification technology.

Since just because you have an older model doesn't mean you can't update the OS. :wink:
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Certainly it would be a better world if bigotry were rewarded with a straightjacket and a padded cell more often. - Libra

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Re: Age of Wonders thread IV

Post by greycrusader » Tue Oct 01, 2013 9:44 am

Charles Phipps wrote:Bravo!

More comments but Bravo!

Oh and a small consolation, I'm getting a couple of short stories published with Emby press.

So writing is good.

http://embypress.com/
Fantastic! Great for you, especially with the disappointment following the book.

(And as one who saw a story tentatively slated for release in mainstream comics form get shot-down due to an editorial change, I know the sour feeling).

Can you share the nature of your tales?

All my best.

BTW: I've been a bit preoccupied lately, but have an idea in mind for AofW, which I'm just joggling around to tie into the NYC theme of this thread.
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Re: Age of Wonders thread IV

Post by Libra » Tue Oct 01, 2013 10:44 am

Excellent! (I can hardly wait to see what you come up with Grey Crusader). :)

Voltron, the Cyborgs (Mr and Mrs) HAVE done their best to keep the old bionics working to the peak of their capabilities, but they've done their best to avoid further upgrades (preferring to remain more woman or man than machine).
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Re: Age of Wonders thread IV

Post by Voltron64 » Tue Oct 01, 2013 10:52 am

Libra wrote:Excellent! (I can hardly wait to see what you come up with Grey Crusader). :)

Voltron, the Cyborgs (Mr and Mrs) HAVE done their best to keep the old bionics working to the peak of their capabilities, but they've done their best to avoid further upgrades (preferring to remain more woman or man than machine).
I was referring to things like new sensory modes for their cyber-eyes and replacement parts and components for their old gear. Just keeping their already installed stuff up to date, not sacrificing more and more of their flesh to machines.
Last edited by Voltron64 on Sun Oct 06, 2013 12:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Certainly it would be a better world if bigotry were rewarded with a straightjacket and a padded cell more often. - Libra

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Re: Age of Wonders thread IV

Post by Libra » Tue Oct 01, 2013 11:33 am

That is entirely in keeping with my vision and I apologise for assuming otherwise. :)

If anyone feels inspired to add anything extra (by way of history, powers and personality details) The Protectors, please feel free; I am very fond of doing that sort of thing myself as I suspect we're all aware! :mrgreen:
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Re: Age of Wonders thread IV

Post by Voltron64 » Tue Oct 01, 2013 12:13 pm

So I take it Sasquatch exist in Earth-1938? :wink:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hoVTK-rGnH4

(Look past the camp and realize how awesome it is they're fighting each other at speeds faster than the eye can catch and imagine there being a lot more visible environmental impact from the fight.)
Power doesn't corrupt. Power appeals to the corrupt. - Charles Phipps

Certainly it would be a better world if bigotry were rewarded with a straightjacket and a padded cell more often. - Libra

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THE LAMPLIGHTERS! (Golden Age)

Post by Libra » Tue Oct 01, 2013 2:33 pm

In the interests of clarity, it should be made clear that 'Action Hero' the most popular term for the various extra-human crusaders of Earth-1986 became popular only shortly before the collapse of that seldom-fortunate world's very first modern society of costumed champions - the terms generally preferred during the period of their operations were 'Mystery Man' (used of those who declined to share their secret identity with the general public like Night Guardian or Cobweb) and 'Costumed Adventurer' (applied to those who presented their true face, if not always their true character to the world like Satin Siren).

As a final note, these terms were as often used simultaneously and confused as any other bit of pedantic terminology by those who were more interested in fluency of language than strict clarity - which would be almost everyone so feel free to go ahead and write as you please.



It can safely be said that while they were enormously significant, The Lamplighters had by no means proven themselves an entirely successful experiment in costumed crime-fighting even before a certain shadowy conspiracy made it their business (and singular pleasure) to ensure that the relatively modest achievements of this particular band of heroes went unremembered, leaving a not-entirely-accurate image of colourful nonentities as the only trace of the team in the sort of history that gets taught in schools.

The Lamplighters were certainly raw, only tenuously connected with the Law-and-Order types, prone to acts of shocking desperation, prone to philosophical agreements and not even entirely comfortable with the costumed theatrics or the rather extreme personalities they had chosen to work with - they were, in other words, very similar to just about every other first-generation superhero team across the nexus; neither The Protectors of the Nexus nor Justice Happening and not even The Order did much better in their first days on the job.

The Lamplighters shared intelligence, tackled organised crime along with other threats beat cops weren't trained to handle, acquired publicity (to the satisfaction of some more than others), beat the SNOT out of those costumed types who struck them as anti-social or just plain vicious with considerable efficiency and even did the odd bit of impromptu social work in the soup kitchens or on those streets passed over as 'mean' by everyone else (A few of them even comported themselves with credit behind the lines or at the front-line of WWII).

In short they did the best they could and did some real Good in the process - enough that even when historians did their best to forget them and psychiatrists had a field day deconstructing them, those they'd done their best to help remembered them (although not always fondly, the general public being a decidedly mixed bag on any world).
There were, of course, other superheroes on Earth-86, but not very many and on the whole few were as visible even as The Lamplighters - most tended to do their work quietly and memories of them proved just as unnaturally short-lived as the individuals under the hood.


Madam Cobweb (Beatrice M. Sutter aka Miss Bea Hive): An aspiring actress with a background in circus and vaudeville acts the training for which facilitated her costumed career, Miss Sutter had already grown tired of seeing women of the less respectable sort in general and particularly women in her own profession ignored by more respectable sorts (including cops) when the risks they ran caught up to them even before she uncovered a white slavery ring making rich profits from the mistreatment of those wannabe-actresses whom they had lured in with their 'auditions' (amongst them at least one of Beatrice's girlfriends).

At that point Bea decided to scare her sisters onto the straight path and scare off at least a few of those seeking to prey on her kind; the witch-crone guise under which she had chosen to conceal her identity, buttressed by a trained aptitude for disguise, marksmanship, sleight-of-hand, tumbling and just APPEARING out of the darkness with a cackle that made hardened men reach for the crucifix instead of a pistol proved so successful that the newly-dubbed Madam Cobweb found it more satisfying to pursue her new crusade instead of fame and fortune.

Joining up with the newly-formed Lamplighters, Madam Cobweb unsurprisingly proved herself to be one of their most serious-minded members, more interested in finding like-minded individuals willing to help her pursue her self-appointed task than in the hope of acquiring greater publicity; she found one or two of them, but she also found the first Satin Siren with whom, to put it politely, she did not get along.


Satin Siren I (Carla Lawnickzak/Carrie Haney): A habitual thrill-seeker and publicity hound, but to her credit one that also grew to appreciate the fact that it was possible to simultaneously help people AND acquire good publicity (not to mention the happy feelings one experienced afterwards, if not always in the process) Satin Siren was the offspring of rather exotic European family that had decided to depart their homeland in the aftermath of The Great War and the series of only comparatively minor conflicts that followed it.

Her family having been robbed of their remaining riches by The Depression, young Carrie embraced as a costumed adventuress mostly because if there was one place the exotic would be accepted it was Hollywood - and since she couldn't quite make it that far west in the style to which she intended to remain accustomed, she figured that acquiring popularity and attracting publicity by fighting crime was probably the next best thing (even if the newly-dubbed Satin Siren preferred to win acceptance by having a positive impression on the public rather than making an impact on crime).

Still, her heart wasn't always elsewhere when it came to what the Lamplighters did best - having seen a heck of a lot of suffering in Europe, she was never unhappy alleviating it in the adopted homeland she had come to love; even so, later in life Satin Siren often felt guilty that she had been so focussed on making her own American Dream come true, especially after Madam Cobweb had introduced her to the harsh reality of the byways that undermined the American Way (admittedly Madam Cobweb had perhaps been even more harsh than these hard truths in the process of revealing them, not least because Satin Siren flaunting her most indispensable assets tended to bring out the best and worst in Beatrice).


Hooded Terror (?): The very first mystery man according to E-86, indisputably the biggest and strongest in his generation, quite possibly even the scariest (despite spirited competition from Cobweb, factoring in her little 'secret') and definitely the one about whom the least is known, even after almost eighty years of digging (thanks to, amongst other things, a full-face mask, all-encompassing bodysuit, elbow-length gloves and knee-length boots).

Some claim he was the son of a hangman, a few theorise that his father had perished at the hands of a lynch mob, but everyone agrees that however he began, he decided that the New York justice system needed to take a harder line with criminals and in the end drew out one of his own before proceeding to throttle the Underworld with it (usually metaphorically).

In any case he began his career by rousting neighbourhood criminals in the 'coloured' sections of New York, before targeting the Italian and Irish mobs to whom most of the Underworld ultimately answered to in this era, not to mention the dishonest coppers who elected to avoid infuriating any of the above: in the end he even went after anti-Black bigots, much to the surprise of more cynical observers, after proving himself almost as patriotic as he was petrifying during World War II.

During the course of this long career of moralising mayhem, Hooded Terror was kept alive mostly by virtue of the fact that he was a towering figure of a man of uncommon physical and unexpected mental talent - not to mention what appears to have been some kind of super-steroid that (combined with painkillers and other stimulants) kept him close to the peak of fighting condition, even as they took their toll on his temper (and in at least one recorded incident sparked a near-fatal stroke IN THE MIDDLE OF A FIGHT).

Quite frankly had he not joined The Lamplighters he probably wouldn't have lived to see the nineteen-forties, never mind the fifties. On a lighter note his unexpected facility with the physical sciences (biology and chemistry in particular) has given rise to a tradition that there had once been a mild-mannered pharmacist called 'Tim' who turned into the Hooded Terror after discovering a steroid that left him angry, big and desperate enough to take advantage of this by tearing the NY Underworld to shreds.


Firefly (Melvin B. Emerson): A minuteman of science entirely different from Hooded Terror, being just a bit dumpy and pudgy to boot, but compensated for the shortcomings in his physique by virtue of being a talented inventor whose scientific prowess allowed him to create a variety of 'gimmicky' pyrokinetic weapons and a functioning jetpack (not to mention several patents filed in his civilian identity, mostly centring around fire-fighting equipment), as well as complete devotion to firefighting in particular and rescue work in general.

Joining The Lamplighters in the interest of making the dangers of fire even more public knowledge, invited to join the team after his devoted pursuit of an investigation into some spectacular arson attacks, Mel proved to be both alarmingly skilled in the use of his flamethrowers AND a highly useful member of the team, thanks to the collaboration-friendship he struck up with Night-Guardian (the hands-on skills of the latter complimenting the scientific prowess of the latter).

The two were good for one another right up until Melvin's Obsession finally consumed him; in the end it turned out that he'd been a pyromaniac both feeding and fighting his compulsions by remaining in close pursuit of his fellow firebugs, not to mention the blazes that marked their trail - eventually proven unable to overcome this compulsion, Firefly had to be brought to Justice by his long-term friend Night Guardian (a case which became notorious despite the best efforts of the latter).


Wildcard (James D. Latham): The son of a tough and dedicated cop who tended to dive into a bottle when off-duty (a habit intended to damp the anger he felt at the world's wickedness), with tragic consequences for his other roles as husband and father, as well as a mother who still descended into drink, depression and finally into the asylum once he was gone, Jimmy Latham learned from his sire that if he wanted to get anywhere he'd have to take his licks before he got to deal them out, that if he wanted to unleash some anger he'd better unload it on scum and not decent people (if he wanted to maintain any chance of enjoying his freedom), as well as an abiding awareness that a policeman's life was not for him no matter how much he might want it (which wasn't very much at all).

On escaping the orphanage to which he'd been consigned, the fourteen year-old Jimmy managed to survive on the streets of the Big Apple by dint of a photographic memory, coupled to a brilliance and fury that would make him a match for men twice his age even before two years of physical development left him strong enough to make a start on earning the notoriety that would make his reputation - not least by latching onto the costumed hero fad as a way of unloading some anger and getting a pat on the back for doing just that.

He was accepted as a member of The Lamplighters in great part because the War had sucked most of the grown-ups away to the Front Line, because his growing infamy persuaded them that absent their moderating influence he'd turn into a full-blown thug, not just a thuggish vigilante and most importantly of all because Night-Guardian had served at the same precinct as James Latham Senior, recognising the kid he'd been acquainted with even under the detached air of calm he cultivated (not to mention that chilling instinct for the jugular to which much of his successes were and would always be owed).

Becoming the protege of U.S. Adams by dint of the latter's sheer patience and the fact he was more able to make time for the kid than most, as well as Adam's partner The Urban Commando - who would proceed to assist James in refining the methods and forging the connections that would result in Codename Wildcard becoming one of the most dangerous assets at the disposal of the US Government.


Night-Guardian I (Horace E. 'Hal' Olds): During the course of a career rich in incident and richer still in the wonderful strangeness even historians NOT in the power of The Octagon did their best to avoid taking seriously for the sake of their sanity, Hal Olds went from a novice police officer to fledgling masked vigilante (armed with little more than a mask, dogged tenacity as an investigator and jury-rig mechanic, as well as an aptitude for hand-to-hand combat) to the fully-fledged Costumed Adventurer (courtesy of the gratitude of The Doc, a man capable of whipping up a bulletproof costume, infra-red goggles and the V-15 super-mixture) who would become the longest-serving Lamplighter and somehow remain the best-adjusted of them all.

Given that Hal's driving ambition in life was to be the Good Guy AND avoid breaking the Law - not always easy for a cop in any era and a conflict which he resolved only by becoming a costumed crime-fighter and doing good in that way where he had been unable to do so as a uniformed beat cop, continuing in this way for the rest of his career (in BOTH professions, with only a brief spell spent as an agent of the US Government taking him away from his usual beat).

A lifelong bachelor, The First Night-guardian never-the-less forged friendships with The Lamplighters that richly compensated him for that lack (so far as he was concerned), in particular with Firebug and to an only slightly lesser extent with The Urban Commando (an association which became sporadically acrimonious in their later years); with the first Satin Siren he forged a working partnership second only to the one forged between their heirs (a relationship that made observers at the time gossip and the heirs of these two old heroes wonder). Despite this interest, the precise nature of their relationship remains open.


U.S. Adams (Victor Sampson Adams): Renamed 'U.S. Adams' when some bright boy took a glance at his signature and realised that they wouldn't need to look much further for the man best suited to become a patriotic paragon perfect for the purposes of their propaganda - a publicity stunt which experienced an unexpected degree of success so prodigious that in the end Adams Studios wound up recruiting an entire squad to wear the mask, open supermarkets, car dealerships, appear in parades and offer the illusion that U.S. Adams was actually capable of surviving for more than five seconds in a straight fight as one of The Lamplighters.

Recruited to the team in part because The Government made it very difficult for them to refuse this particular opportunity and for the most part because they felt a dire need for some small share of the juggernaut of good publicity U.S. Adams had become (not least because Wildcard was already working his peculiar gift for getting the job done in heroic style and STILL leaving behind people who resented the fact that they owed their life to him), Victor - the ORIGINAL Adams, a ruggedly handsome all-american with a remarkable physique and neither the aggression or focus required to succeed as a costumed crime-fighter - found himself almost completely in over his head from the first.

A genuinely good man but far from perfect (his views tended towards the provincial, to say the least), he could never live up to even half the stories upon which his image as the All-American Super-Soldier image had been founded (even with all the efforts of those trained troopers who carried the mask to the battlefront), he never-the-less managed to pull his weight as a member of The Lamplighters by being genuinely humble, generous and not the least prone to anger or pettiness - he also proved to be a genius when it came to managing the press and smoothing over the clashes of personality that made membership of this particular team so volatile.

Kids looked up to him, women loved him, even his fellow men liked him (rumour had it that Urban Commando felt far more than that for him - the reality was that Victor couldn't even spot the torch Satin Siren carried for him) and for a brief time, coupled with Urban Commandos command skills, Victor's gifts for coalition-building & his sheer charisma helped form a more solid team from the series of remarkable partnership known as The Lamplighters.

Unfortunately this improvement in the team's prospects proved short-lived; not long after the end of World War II Adam was killed under implausible, yet not unexpected circumstances when an ex-strongman and pro-wrestler known as the Masked Mutilator grabbed the rim of the rather awkward steel-stars-and-stripes shield U.S. had been issued for publicity photos (and to degree his own personal protection), used it to break The Masked Minuteman's arm and then stove the front of his head into his brain.

He was much missed, in the end, but it didn't take much effort for The Octagon to lead his admirers to the home truth that heroic reputation of his had been either fabricated or exaggerated - it was only slightly more difficult to persuade the public that the outlandish war-stories of the other Lamplighters were equally the product of PR experts and wistful thinking.


Urban Commando (Patrick G. Paige): A still-youthful scion of wealth and influence, the youngest in a family almost as stately as it's home manor and quite as extensive as it's financial holdings, Patrick Paige had run away from home and attempted to prove himself to a fearless father by attempting to enlist with the American Expeditionary Force in France - and been cheated of his chance to get himself killed underage only due to the fact that he arrived on the Western Front just in time for the Armistice that would lead to the Treaty of Versailles to break out.

Returning home to become a wholly-mediocre industrialist, mostly relegated to managing the lesser financial ventures of his family, Patrick watched the powder-trail of events that led into World War II - at first with a mounting anticipation of his next chance to prove himself something more than a pencil-pusher and then with complete frustration when an injury inflicted upon him in the course of what can only be called a misadventure* that put a finish to his ambition of finally proving himself in combat at the head of his troops.

Denied a more conventional outlet for him ambition, Patrick Paige decided to follow his standard operating procedure when confronted with an impulse he could not satisfy through conventional channels - he paid out money to make it possible for him to satisfy his desires through Unconventional channels, in this case becoming the paymaster and sponsor of The Lamplighters, eventually joining them in the field as he sought to prove his case regarding the application of military methods to the demolition of armed criminals and the demonstrable flaws in police tactics when confronted by the same sort of crooks.

His attempts to impose martial discipline on The Lamplighters proved a flawed success at best (with the curious exception of Wildcard), but his application of paramilitary methods to solve the problems of crime-fighting were to prove more successful; equally successful, although more short-lived, were his professional partnership with U.S. Adams and his somewhat less professional relationship with Night-Guardian I (who in the end came to dislike the man's assumption of superiority more than he enjoyed spending time with him).

In the end the run of tragic events that led into and followed the dissolution of The Lamplighters - from the demise of V.S. Adams to the collapse of The Urban Commando's working relationship with Night-Guardian and including the dissolution of the team itself - would wreck the spirit of Patrick Pierce, self-discipline succumbing to overeating, alcohol abuse and other unsavoury temptations that would eventually up inflicting a premature death on the man who had once held promise of becoming the pillar of super-heroism on Earth-1986 (whatever his flaws).

But not before his last spark of hope was fired by the formation of a second incarnation of The Lamplighters ... which wound up misfiring.
*At least on an All-Ages forum; suffice it to say that this is the sort of misadventure that tends to begin with a socially-unacceptable appetite and usually ends with a fairly expensive cover-up
Last edited by Libra on Fri Oct 04, 2013 1:21 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Age of Wonders thread IV

Post by Libra » Tue Oct 01, 2013 2:36 pm

I will of course finish the article above - probably tomorrow - and would particularly like to thank the most excellent Grey Crusader for helping me flesh out the members of this particular team (I hope he'll forgive me if I have failed to incorporate all of the elements he suggested by PM into the write-up above).
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Re: Age of Wonders thread IV

Post by Voltron64 » Tue Oct 01, 2013 2:38 pm

Loving how they're inversions of the Minutemen, Libra. :wink:
Power doesn't corrupt. Power appeals to the corrupt. - Charles Phipps

Certainly it would be a better world if bigotry were rewarded with a straightjacket and a padded cell more often. - Libra

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Re: Age of Wonders thread IV

Post by Libra » Wed Oct 02, 2013 2:05 am

More variations on a theme! :mrgreen:
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Re: Age of Wonders thread IV

Post by Voltron64 » Wed Oct 02, 2013 10:44 am

I imagine this is Hooded Terror in a nutshell.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Ncuu6VZt6M

:twisted:
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Certainly it would be a better world if bigotry were rewarded with a straightjacket and a padded cell more often. - Libra

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Re: Age of Wonders thread IV

Post by Charles Phipps » Wed Oct 02, 2013 12:38 pm

Brilliant, just brilliant!

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Re: Age of Wonders thread IV

Post by Libra » Wed Oct 02, 2013 1:17 pm

Thank you kindly Charles, but you have Grey Crusader to thank for at least half the goods; he was a full collaborator and has been very patient while waiting for me to actually get around to posting all this (thankfully The Protectors of the Nexus left me in a mood for Mystery Men!). :mrgreen:


Voltron, The Hooded Terror would probably burst through the window (and wind up regretting the resulting flesh wounds once the high wore off) in time to take down Mr 'Chalky' White because much as he loathes the Klan he hates torture just about as much.

Then he'd throw the newly-untied klansman right out the window (hood stuffed in his mouth as a gag), because that's what you do when you take out the trash.
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Re: Age of Wonders thread IV

Post by Libra » Wed Oct 02, 2013 2:06 pm

Have added Night-Guardian I to the roster, which leaves only The Urban Commando and U.S. Adams to round out - I hope you shall enjoy learning more about them and can tolerate the wait. :D
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Re: Age of Wonders thread IV

Post by greycrusader » Wed Oct 02, 2013 8:34 pm

Great to see The Lamplighters finally see print, and thanks for the acknowledgement my redoubtable friend!

All my best.
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