Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Electrode: Meet the Resistor

Scott McCross, better known as Electrode, ran his daily recon of New York City. At speeds of over 360,000 miles per second, his chore didn't take long. He moved between the obstacles of New York hustle and bustle with the ease of breathing. Any criminal element he found, never knew who found them until it was too late.

Electrode would handcuff muggers and thugs in mid crime. He'd put them in a cell before they could blink. He stopped fights with the snap of  his fingers, creating micro-sonic booms.  He even moved people and animals out of the way of speeding cars.

The bank robbery was nothing new. Five men with guns demanded money and Electrode found them in the act. He removed their guns before he noticed the strange attire of the fifth man. He wore a red and orange body suit with goggles over the eyes. Whenever someone dressed like that, it meant they were either a crackpot or someone flaunting powers. Electrode moved in on the man, but an aura of intense heat forced him back.

"I've been hoping to meet up with you." The man said as Electrode paused to look him over. "Sorry, I'm a little hot to the touch. Especially for you."

"Why especially for me?" Electrode asked. He could tell the man wanted to boast.

"Because you're Electrode, the nuclear electric man. I'm the Resistor!" He held out his fists as he glowed red. Electrode could feel the heat like being too close to a bonfire. "Your power will only make me hotter, so get out of the way. You can't do anything to me without risking the lives of everyone around us."

"Then you can't rob the bank either. You'll burn up the money."

"You fool. Why do you think I brought these men with me? Are you going to make me burn them too? I don't think so. You're an agent of good, Mr. Hero, you couldn't have that on your conscience. And you give of a natural charge that you can't turn off. So getting close to me means heating things up." Resistor laughed.

Electrode grimaced and vanished. Resistor laughed some more. People in the bank looked at each other, wondering where their savior had gone.

"He can't save any of you! Now stay where you're told and you might live to see another day. Men, collect that money."

Electrode raced to the Powers Institute where FBI Agent, Anthony James was working.

"Sorry to interrupt." Electrode said to let the man know he was there.

Anthony sat up from the machinery he was partway under and adjusted his eyepatch. He had a wrench in one hand and grease on his jeans.

"You're always a surprise, I'll give you that. What do you need?"

"I need to borrow something and I need to do it fast."

Across town the men loaded money bags into a van. Sirens sounded in the distance, but they wouldn't be there in time. Resistor smiled as he stood watch over his million dollar haul. The smile faded as all four of his men's bodies launched into the air in different directions.

"Couldn't stay away, eh?" Resistor called out.

A slap to the face spun him to the ground. As he tried to stand, another on spun him the other way. Electrode stopped a few feet away. He wore a rubber face mask with goggles and a different body suit.

"Insulated rubber suit. It's heat resistant too. What do you think of it?" Electrode vanished from sight and hit Resistor again.

Resistor's face jiggled back and forth as mini-slaps battered him. Resistor staggered and fell over. He looked at his hands and found strange handcuffs on his wrists.

"Those are inhibitor cuffs, made by Agent James. You're powers won't work with those on." Electrode pulled off the rubber mask. "Sure gets stuffy and hot in this thing."

"I will get you." Resistor mumbled in a daze.

"What's that?" Electrode responded. "I'm sure you'll try. You know, you did your homework on me but made one crucial mistake. You assumed that I don't know my own powers or how they work. You assumed that your powers would trump mine. And you're a boastful idiot. As soon as you explained yourself I knew exactly what to do. Have fun in prison."

"Next time, Electrode, you won't get the chance."

"You're singing an old tired song. Not interested." Electrode waited for the FBI van to come and pick up Resistor. Agent James had a special cell ready for him.

Electrode returned the suit and went back to work in less than a second. He finished his patrol and went for a cold drink. The forecast called for a hot day after all.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Guest Artist: Jack Lopez

Usually, guest artists draw a picture of an already existing GZ character and I post about them and their work. Jack Lopez had a different approach and challenge. He drew up a made up character ( no name or powers yet, just looks) and said, "Here, see what you can do with this". I thought, "colab?" sure why not? So I set to work on digital ink and color to see what would pop out of my brain. The results are below.

Before we get to that, let's talk about Jack. He's an aspiring comic artist with a cool page of work for you to check out at COMIX Illustrated Studios. On page he has over 300 posts of artwork. His style varies based on what he's drawing. He can duplicate looks or use his own flair. I picked a couple of my favorites off the page to show you. He's equally talented from pencils to inks to colors. I think you'll agree.




This is Ironman of course. Colored pencils. He says this was his first run this way and I say he knocked it out of the park.









Venom! Strong inking work. Click on any image for a closer view.





Now for what he sent me. Here are his pencils on this randomly put together guy that he just drew while messing around one day.

Here is what I did with the digital work.


This is the first guest artist colab I have ever done. Was kinda fun really. So there you have it, the work of Jack Lopez. Be sure to like his page (he's only at 100 right now so let's give that a boost). Remember to enjoy independent artists. They are the untapped talent of the comics universe and you never know what you'll find. Be a fan, I am!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Sandstorm: Enemy Lines

Lombard Ogleson stood in the field of white tombstones and remembered. Vietnam felt like yesterday and he knew it always would. Once a year he would go to the cemetery to pay his respects and remember the place he discovered his awesome elemental powers. Those were the powers that changed him from Private Ogleson the grunt into Sandstorm, the CIA operative. If only he'd discovered those powers 15 minutes earlier; his platoon might be alive today. Why did the memories have to be so vibrant?

He was surrounded by Vietcong and their weapons were aimed at his face where he lay on the ground. His buddies were all dead. They yelled at him in Vietnamese and, of course, he couldn't understand. That was when everything blurred. Enemy soldiers screamed in ways that would echo in his thoughts forever. Their flesh flayed away from their bodies so fast it was like being in a giant sandblaster. That's exactly what it was. He became his namesake in a raging swirling sandstorm the left his enemies in piles of polished bone. Foliage was shredded away several yards in every direction. He looked at his hands in terror and down at the rest of himself. He had destroyed his uniform and stood naked in the jungle.

With nothing but pure shock to guide him he ran. It wouldn't be until much later that he would remember branches and vines flexing out of his way. As his bare feet hit the ground, nothing pierced them, not even the smallest thorn. He was one with nature and its vibrant life was surging through him. He had no idea how far he had run. Miles would be the truth. When he finally stopped, still naked, it was an entire enemy platoon staring at him in confused awe. Slowly, they started to pick up their rifles while trying to figure out what a naked American was doing in their camp. He realized he couldn't let that happen.

Lombard began to scream. It was primal and savage and the ground reacted. The jungle floor uprooted with explosive force, throwing men into the air. Then the ground churned as if being torn by a giant tilling machine. Terrified men, trees, and even a pair of jeeps were plunged underground, never to be seen again. Those men would never have gravestones, not like the ones he stood near.

Lombard took a deep breath. It was just one of those memories and it was the day they were the strongest. He looked out over the sea of tombstones and saluted before walking away.

(Lombard "Sandstorm" Ogleson is one of the characters in my upcoming book, Chaos Rising! Be sure to add the Facebook Page -link upper right- and tune in for updates!)

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Panther Steele: Swords and Shadows

I've been tailing these idiots through three major cities. They've been luckier than they deserve. In New York they killed a school teacher, dental hygienist, and a day care worker. In Pittsburgh they killed three nurses from two hospitals and a clinic. Now I catch up to them in Chicago. They're a trio, so that's why they take three women in each city they choose. Then they move on quickly but I swear they choose their cities on a dartboard. If only I caught on to them before they went to Pittsburgh. It was a lucky break to find out where they were going. Homeless people see things others take for granted. I've spent a long time becoming a trusted friend of the streets.

In Pittsburgh they had already killed the first two and barely missed number three. They have number one for Chicago, but they aren't going to kill her tonight. After tonight, they won't be killing anyone anymore.

I'm Panther Steele and I don't know that I'd call myself a ninja, but the get up sure freaks out the scumbags. I have enough martial arts training under my belt to pull it all off pretty good too. It takes a lot of restraint be part of World Legion; outfit of heroes. You see, to me, the only good scumbag is a dead scumbag and these three are the worst of them. I do my best to play by the rules, but these guys are the worst of vermin. They don't need to be arrested. They need to be exterminated.

So where we are in an abandoned mill. How freaking cliche is that? The girl is terrified and handcuffed to a set of pipes. At least she'll be out of the way. I'm above them all on a broken catwalk. Ha. Catwalk for a panther, perfect. It's time to move. One of them is directly below me. He's not the biggest one, but good for a start.

I drop out of the shadows with my sword pointed straight down. It's a straight edge ninjato and very sharp. I put it through his upper shoulder and into his heart. He can't even cry out. The other two don't see me right away, but they see the look on their buddy's face. He drops to his knees and I pull out my sword. That's it, creeps, take a good look at me.

The smallest on of the bunch gives me one terrified look and makes a run for it. Too bad he has to pass in striking distance. One flick of my wrist and I sever his carotid artery. He won't make it 20 feet.

Last guy is the biggest. He grimaces at me and rips a pipe off the wall. Good. I was hoping for an actual fight. He swings and I duck. He's big thick and strong, but telegraphs his moves big time. His swings are wide and wild. No doubt, he'd crush my skull if he made contact. I keep on the move, let him wear himself down a bit. No. This guy won't be much of a challenge after all. Time to get rid of the stupid pipe. He swings and I slice. Hand is gone and pipe with it. Losing his hand sends him into a psycho rage and he comes at me with the other one without hesitation. You offer it, I remove it. Other arm is gone at the elbow. No sense in delaying the inevitable. I drive my sword straight up under the jaw and into the brain. I turn and give a twist before removing it and standing aside. He goes down like a dead tree onto his face. I use an old rag nearby to wipe my sword before I it put it away.

The girl is in shock. Can't blame her. I use my lock picks to remove the handcuffs.

"I'm not going to hurt you. I'll take you to the hospital, okay?" With that she throws her arms around me and won't let go. I have to carry her out. Yeah, I'll get some heat from killing them, but it was three on one. Even though I'm skilled enough to take them all in, no. Not these. Vermin need to be exterminated. The only good scumbag is a dead scumbag.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Maestro: A Class of Evil

Welcome to my castle. Do you think you'll survive the experience? It feels like it was yesterday; when I was considered to be everyone's hero on my home world. But then, the Sevin Brotherhood came along and destroyed everything I loved. I dealt with them though, oh yes I did. In the process I became the servant of the Demon god, Graethmael. No longer accepted at home, I left to find my new destiny. That's how I became the King of Demons.

There was another king at the time. He laughed at me and sent me on what he thought would be a futile quest for an ancient artifact. Well, artifacts were old hat to me. I obtained the Sphere of Kings and used it on him, taking over his throne. Now all of this is mine to use as I see fit.

I made myself known to the heroes of this universe by kidnapping a female Starknight and torturing her in my dungeon. But that was minuscule compared to what I really love to do. When I get bored I do things like take over the universe and slaughter heroes. I love to entwine people in traps of words, making them question their own morals. I craft better deals than the Devil himself.

I was a powerful bard in my day, creating magic out of music, but I'm far beyond that now. I have my own powerful magics that play off my golden flute. It's called megasorcery and it's an equal measure of sorcery, bardic and the power to alter reality itself. With it, I can sunder worlds or just peel you like a grape. I alter battlefields to confuse my enemies and then toy with them until they die.

Feel like raiding my castle? Nothing amuses me more than some wannabe hero thinking he's broken in to find me or some trinket I've hidden. I love breaking and entering into my home, it's hilarious. My castle is unstable dimensionally so you never know where opening a simple door will lead you. If the creatures I create don't eat you, the various trap rooms will carve you to pieces. Of course there are my demon guards, but I don't let them in on the fun unless I'm feeling generous.

Oh, and let's not forget that I'm a racist too. I hate Elves. All of them. One thing I want to accomplish in my lifetime (and it's a long life) is the utter genocide of those stupid snobby Elves. They were too busy being pompous and righteous when my world needed their help. Now they can just die.

I am Maestro, King of Demons and it makes me laugh when some do-gooder asks why I do what I do. Foolish heroes, evil needs no reason.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Songcutter: Untouchable

The five men laughed as they ran their fingers through the sacks of gold and jewels. The heist was easy as few guarded the temple they ransacked. They took the wealth of a people meant to support their needs. Greed cares little for the needs of others. They escaped in a small craft fit for short distant flights and settled in a field of high grasses to count out their winnings. No one heard the sixth man approach.

"You've picked a poor spot to count out your ill gotten gains." All five men leaped to their feet with hands on knives and swords. "And in broad daylight for that matter."

"Well look at you with your shiny gold half armor and fancy hairdo." A man with a raspy voice who spat at as he talked said. "What are you supposed to be?"

"I'm the guardian of a village near here. I know what you men have done. You can't keep it."

"And what are you going to do about it?" A gruff voice this time from the largest of the men.

"Hey, look at his eyes!" The third voice was youthful and energetic. "They're whited over. He's blind!"

All five of the men laughed.

"So you haven't heard of me. Very interesting. Let's have some fun then."

"Oh we'll have fun! We'll carve you up, blind man!" The gruff voice said.

"Certainly, if you can touch me. That's all you have to do; touch me and I'll let you go. Who's first?"

"I'll do better than touch you!" The youthful voice was followed by a light whistle on the air. The man called Songcutter, calmly tilted his head to one side and the dagger flew harmlessly past.

"I hope that wasn't expensive." Songcutter chuckled.

The younger man gave a growl of anger as he charged forward. Every footfall thudded noisily and even the air rushing over his body could be heard by Songcutter. The village guardian leaned back, effortlessly avoiding a punch and then angled his body to avoid several more. Songcutter whipped a hand up under the young man's chin, clacking his teeth together and snapping his head back. Two more strikes rendered the attacker unconscious and Songcutter smiled.

"He was clumsy. Who's next?"

He could hear the dagger leave its sheath as the raspy sounding man charged in, aiming low to gut him. Songcutter evaded with a turn of his body. Several wild swings caused the dagger to sing on the air, but  no hits found their mark.

"Stand still!"

"That would be stupid." Songcutter caught the knife hand and bones cracked in the wrist and elbow from a hard twist. A palm strike to the face sent the raspy man to the ground.

"Get him!" The gruff voice called and two sets of feet sprang into motion. Two blades came out of sheaths.

From the sounds, Songcutter could even tell how long each blade was. From their movements, he could tell how tall they were. Worse yet for them, his mystical senses told him of every move and angle. Songcutter moved gracefully between their attacks as they moved in from either side of him. Before they realized it, he directed their hands toward each other and both men could only stand and cry out. They had each stabbed the other man deep into the forearm of the sword hand, crippling each other. Songcutter jumped into the air and landed a powerful kick with one leg to each man's head. They both groaned on the ground.

"Who are you!" The gruff voice yelled. A long sword could be heard coming out of its scabbard.

"I am Songcutter, the bard and guardian." He drew his own sword, made with several holes through the blade. "This is  my instrument."

Songcutter whipped his blade through the air with martial skill and flare. A sound erupted toward the big man that shattered his blade and dropped him to his knees, holding his bleeding ears. Songcutter stopped and sheathed his sword. At the snap of his fingers, several villagers came out of the high grass with ropes to bind the criminal men.

"It always amazes me how your kind try to fight. You'd think it obvious after I beat your first man. Oh well. Maybe next time you'll remember."

The villagers gathered the treasury from the temple and Songcutter returned it that very day.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Gator: No Littering

Joey G. crumpled the beer can and tossed it in the water off the side of the small boat. Marco watched it bob on the water with slight disdain. He knew he shouldn't have come along on this trip. Joey and Rich were friends but also idiots. How did he always let himself get talked into these things? Marco promised himself he would grow a backbone someday.

"Do we really have to toss them in the water?" Marco asked, knowing what the response would be.

"What's the matter, Marco? What do you care about some swamp?" Joey threw his head back for another long swig out of a beer can. He stole the alcohol from his father and they took the boat without permission. He thought this was the best place for underage drinking and smoking. "Besides, if I take the cans back with me, my old man will find out."

"You're a wet blanket, Marco." Rich said as he opened a can. "You aren't even drinking with us."

"I'll stick with my soda. At least one of us can be sober enough to find our way out of here."

"Well, we're going to sleep it off are your place when we do." Joey said.

"Why my place?"

"Because your mom is out of town, stupid. I can't go to my house stinking of beer can I?"

Marco didn't answer. Joey was a bully among other things. It wasn't a good idea to make him mad.

"Oh look! There's an alligator in the reeds! Wow, he's huge!" Rich said.

"He probably doesn't like us littering in his swamp." Marco mumbled.

"So what?" Joey crumpled his second can and threw it. It bounced off the alligator's nose with a light metallic sound. The creature narrowed its eyes, but that went unnoticed. "What do you think of that?"

The hulking form that rose from that water was beyond any alligator the boys had ever seen. It rose an easy ten feet above them all to its full 14 foot height. Water cascaded from its body in loud splashing. Only the growing growl was louder. It had arms and legs like tree trunks, rippling with powerful muscle. A long powerful tail erupted form the water and waved back and forth behind it. From its back were high armored plates like those of a long extinct dinosaur; the stegosaurus. The broad head could swallow a groan man's torso whole and it opened to prove its size. The growl ended with a sharp inhale of air before the blasting roar pressed the boys flat into the boat and blew all their hair back.

As Gator roared in their faces, the boys screamed like death was imminent and wet marks appeared on all their shorts. As the echoing thunder subsided and the great mouth closed, Gator turned his attention to the tiny bobbing aluminum can. He scooped it up, engulfing it his giant clawed hand. With a light thrust he bounced the can off Joey's head. All three boys already shook in terror. They flinched and screamed. When they stopped screaming, Gator pointed at the other floating can.

"PICK.... UP....."

Joey looked at the can and back at Gator. "Oh.. uh...yeah. Pick up.... sure. Pick up." Joey grabbed at the can and clumsily bounced it back and forth in his hands as he tried to grab it. It landed in the bottom of the boat.

Gator reached into the boat and picked up the 12 pack box of unopened beer. He crushed it in his fist and sprayed them all with the contents before dropping the fizzing package back in the boat. Then he gripped the boat, turned it around, and gave it a small push.

"HOME."

Joey grabbed for the paddles. "Give the me the paddles, man!"

"HOOOOOOME!" Gator roared and the bellow of his voice pushed the boat. The three boys screamed some more. Rich and Marco splashed at the water to make the boat go faster.

As Gator watched, the three boys didn't stop screaming until well out of sight. He sank back into the murky waters, satisfied that these three troublemakers wouldn't be back.