Author Archive: Ian Struckhoff (Black Label Comics)

Writer of Black Label Comics, including "The Deathlings: Anne's Story," "Huginn & Muninn," and "The Dark Age".

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22-30. Final Characters!

Unfortunately, while I wrote almost 40 characters for the challenge, we weren’t able to find artists to illustrate all of them. So like the previous post for “The Monster Society” my remaining characters will all be text-only. (Specifically, these are the exact notes that I prepared for the artists.)
Meet Trish Decker, Sodoff!, Babe, Negative Jane, The Crowd, Terrapin, Michael Grackle, Vitus Hale, and Nav!

The basic concept of Trish Decker is her connection to the number 13. She’s 13 years old. She was born on Friday the 13th. Her name is suspiciously similar to the greek for thirteen– “Triskaideka”. (The root of “triskaidekaphobia, the fear of the number thirteen.)

I imagine her as being a tween/teen adventure character, in the vein of Kim Possible. Her who deal is good and bad luck– Not so much a specified power, and a strange connection to luck and superstition.

She’s a lanky girl, with wild curly hair. She enjoys life, and plays with superstitions– She’s not afraid of them, but she’s curious about them. She believes in some of them, but doesn’t tend to think they are a big deal– unless she’s teasing someone about one of them to get a reaction.

Visually, it would be great if things came in 13s. Thirteen polkadots or stripes visible on a piece of clothing. Thirteen curls on her head. Thirteen stitches around the patch on the knee of her jeans. Thirteen freckles on her cheeks.


The basic concept of “SODOFF” is the intersection of the phrases “sawed-off” (as in shotgun) and “sod off”. Somewhere between a Hell’s Angels style biker and a British criminal thug that might be played by Vinnie Jones or Ray Winstone in a Guy Ritchie movie.

Nobody really knows his real name, in part because most people would be too afraid to approach him in the pub and ask. They mostly think of his either as “Sawed-off guy” because he carries a snub-nose shotgun, or as “the Sod Off guy” because that phrase is the longest one he’s likely to utter with any regularity.

He’s a very bulky and muscular guy, with a bit of a pot belly in addition to all the muscles. He’s more stocky than burly, in large part due to his relatively diminutive height. (Never say he’s called “sawed-off” because he’s short!)

SODOFF is probably in his 50s, or even early 60s. He has unusual facial hair, perhaps something link the man on the left in this photo. His hair and beard are mostly gray, and he’s balding. He’s hairy, and has a lot of tattoos.

He’s mostly likely to be seen wearing a black leather vest (er, waistcoat), dark jeans with leather chaps, big heavy biker boots, and perhaps a surprisingly stylish leather jacket. He always carries a wide-barrelled sawed-off shotgun with a wooden stock.

He has an oversized belt buckle, with a Union Flag on it. It would be great to add some other hints of his British background, or the tone of recent British Crime movies, though I’m open to suggestions. He could possibly be a bit of a comical character, besides his more sinister nature.

24. BABE

Serena Jordan knew from a young age that she was likely to inherit super powers upon reaching adulthood. Something similar had always happened to the women in her family, and she seemed to be in line for the gift.

She sardonically adopted the name Babe when she discovered what they would come to be…

At a key moment (her 18th birthday) she became trapped in her crushed car, and was in danger of freezing to death. Her physiology adapting to the situation, she wound up with both super-strength and powers over ice and cold. She’s strong as an oxe, and cold as ice, but she doesn’t have a boyfriend named Paul.

It’s important to note that Serena is an intelligent woman, and doesn’t have any particular interest in strength. She always imagined that she would gain powers to allow her to help or protect people, possibly through healing– but she’s also quite practical, so she makes the best of the gifts she was given. A calm practicality pervades her personality, she’s not at all a savage brute.

Belle is truly a giant of a woman, at over eight feet tall. She’s statuesque and muscle bound in the extreme. Her skin is a cool pale blue, more so towards her extremities, and her beautiful long wavy hair is white.

Her body temperature is so low that it affects the air around her, and anything she touches. Frost tends to form on her, including ice crystals on her knuckles and the back of her hands. These can come in handy in a fight, as they invariable hurt her opponent without affecting her.

Her costume is fairly simple and utilitarian. She doesn’t need to keep warm, or protect herself from the elements, so it has been designed to protect her modesty without getting in her way. It consists of a somewhat stylized royal blue and white set of bicycle shorts, strapless sports bra, and boots.


There’s something strange about Jane Clary.

They say her father once built a tessaract in his laboratory, and that the family and their home were never the same thereafter. Certainly, it was short one Doctor Sam Clary from that point forward.

Jane usually wears all white, perhaps to minimize her unusual appearance. Her clothing tends to have a fairly straight (geometrical and stylish) cut to it, but somewhat loosely draping. (Long white slacks, a white blouse, silver-framed glasses.)

Perhaps the most striking thing about the girl is that parts of her are missing. Not in a gruesome way, more in a geometrical sense. It’s as if geometrical slices had been subtracted from her, very even gaps as if a cube with 4” edges had disappeared and taken part of her with it. Even her clothing is affected, so her condition can’t be disguised.

These gaps do the girl no harm whatsoever. It’s simply as if flat “slices” of her– through her arm, neck, shoulder, and legs– were invisible.

Further, instead of seeing her insides, the area visible because of these “slices” is pure simple white.

Otherwise, Jane is a fairly normal young woman in her early 20s. She is intellectual, with a penetrating stare. She has an interest in math and science, like her father, but also in art– especially M.C. Escher.

She’s slender and fairly tall, with an almost androgynous slim figure. She has very straight fine light blonde hair, to her shoulders and slightly longer in front. (Or held back in a pony tail, except for at the front, her hair framing her face.)


Can a thought be shared? Can an idea be contagious? Can consensus come alive?

Meet the Crowd.

Not long ago, a man had a new kind of idea. An idea that could be perfectly shared. An idea that can join people together, but in a sense erase them. And the man began to share his idea. To have this thought is to be changed, to join the crowd. The crowd wants to share this perfect thought with everyone.

Life has changed for everyone, whether they share this idea or not. Those who have heard or read about the idea, and who understand it, become a part of the crowd– individuality shed for perfect understanding and belonging. They are often seen standing in groups together, usually in public, perfectly silent.

Those who have not yet shared the idea range from curiosity to fear. How long can a person avoid coming across an idea. Is there reason to fear joining the crowd? Have those who have heard it achieved a Utopian ideal, or lost their souls?

Nobody knows who hasn’t joined the crowd, and they aren’t saying.

Visually, the crowd is fairly simple. A group of people, any kind of normal people (from a dozen, to thousands, and anywhere in between) all standing quietly and calmly, staring in a single direction– Directly at the viewer.

(They aren’t unfriendly, or violent, or aggressive. They want to share their idea, to explain their new discovery, but they are very calm and serene about doing so– not in any hurry.)


The super-heroine known as Terrapin was born Tracy Templeton, but her life changed forever when the young archaeology student discovered a turtle-shaped amulet in a Phoenician burial site.

She always had a somewhat full figure, womanly but not slender, with a friendly and somewhat round face. She has kept the same basic shape, after her apparently irreveseable transformation into the mighty Terrapin.

The Terrapin doesn’t need a costume. She has an appearance somewhere between a woman with an hourglass figure, and a giant sea turtle. Her head is bald but with elegant plates. Her figure is covered by her under-plating and shell, giving the impression of strong shoulders but a full bust. She has strong and muscular but shapely arms and legs. She has a tiny tail, and calm wise eyes.

Tracy’s powers all derive from the abilities of a turtle. She can go many hours without breathing air, and can swim gracefully despite weighing over 400 pounds. Her new-found mass makes her very strong, and her shell makes her incredibly tough. Her aging appears to have stopped, and she can expect to live a very long time indeed. Speed is not her strength, but she has quick reflexes nonetheless.


Michael Grackle is a fairly normal guy, but he’s somehow blessed or cursed with a tie to the supernatural world. He doesn’t have powers, doesn’t know anything special, but strange things happen around him– and unlike most people, he notices them.

The main thing is that Michael is unusually likely to be followed by medium sized black birds– not as small as a blackbird, but not as large as a crow. He’s not aware that these birds are often called grackles, and aren’t just small crows.

He’s a man in his mid 20s. He tends to wear jeans, and a hooded sweatshirt, under a simple black dress jacket (or blazer). He has fairly short light-brown (or dark blond) hair, and dark brown eyes. His clothing is a variety of shades of dark grey and black, with hints of purple, green, or blue– the overall effect is slightly like the coloring of a crow.

Michael is in graduate school. He’s intelligent, but not perceptive– Well educated, and good at problem solving, but usually too enthralled by his books to notice what’s happening around him. A typical story isn’t so much about him, as around him.


Sheriff Vitus Hale is a tough man, with steel-grey hair and an iron-hard will. He keeps the peace in a small remote mining town in 1850s California, with nothing more than hard work, stern words, the threat of violence, the trust of the everyday folks in the town…

…and a laser gun.

Vitus Hale is a time traveller from the distant future, lost in a tough time and place, after an accident disabled his time machine. He comes from a Flash Gordon world of shining rocket ships, jet packs, ray guns, adventures, and limitless possibility.

Now he’s stuck in Pyride Gulch.

Only he knows for sure that the rapidly fading town has a solid vane of gold deep beneath it. His only hope to return to his own time, after almost two decades stuck here, is to keep the mines working despite terrible output, until he can gather enough gold and platinum to repair the chronal apparatus he invented in a time where materials were much easier to obtain.

He’s a strong-built man, in his late 60s. He has mostly grey hair, and a short darker beard with stripe-like patches of grey. He wears the typical clothing of a wild west sheriff. A big hat, a leather vest, chaps over faded denim jeans, a tarnished pocket watch, an ammo belt, a shot gun… and a few space-age instruments, and a tiny last pistol— usually tucked away out of sight.

30. NAV

“Nav” is a modified Lytron Systems Autonomous Navigation and Piloting Unit Mark-4. (“ANPU” just isn’t catchy.)

Her usual function is to pilot a light spacecraft, and indeed she was designed to replace a co-pilot’s seat– chair and all– in such a vessel. She was adapted by Vitus Hale as the control unit for his time machine, and is now unfortunately trapped in the machine. This makes her his only company that is at all aware of his origin.

The unit is fitted to the cockpit of a spacecraft in place of one of the pilot seats. It is roughly humanoid in appearance, except that in place of legs it sits on a revolving podium that replaces the seat and is bolted to the deck. The unit can swivel 360 degrees on the base.

The Mark-4 unit was engineered with a friendly, female appearance, a bit like a stylized version of a 20th century “flight attendant”.

Created by Ian Struckhoff. A Black Label Comics production.

16-21. Monster Society


The Monster Society was formerly known as the “Royal and Ancient Horrific and Mythical Gentleman’s Club”, with the new name officially adopted only recently after previously coming into more common practice due to including new members and being a bit less of a mouthful.

In short, it’s a high-society club for educated, wealthy, and influential monsters. It’s a grant place to go to take high afternoon tea by the fireplace, to enjoy a snifter of brandy and a fine cigar, or to discuss the finer politics relevant to monsters, beasts, terrors, and mythical creatures.

Exactly the sort of establishment that would be the last place the fun-loving fUndead would want to be found– and the feeling is mutual!

There are real skeletons in the closet, a basilisk watching the front gate, and a salamander burning brightly in the central fire place. The drinks cabinet and snack trolly have contents that it’s probably best for one not to speak of.


Sir Sam was naturally mummified over twenty thousand years ago, in one of the finest and most respected spagnum bogs in northern England.

His appearance is somewhat assymmetrical, as he now finds himself leaning (and indeed drooping) noticibily to his right. However, his distinctive mop of red hair, and somewhat anachronistic tweed suits, could be seen in the right light as fairly dashing.

His appearance and demeanor perfectly match his slow aristocratic drawl.


Reginald is a “Creature from the Black Lagoon” style aquatic monster, who tends to wear a dark suit, stylish waistcoat, a bow tie, and a bowler hat. He often accessorizes with a pocket watch, and an umbrella that matches his latest waistcoat (vest).

Reginald represents a certain colonial progressiveness, a noble family having been joined when an Imperial explorer returned to London with a very exotic bride indeed. He sees himself as on the forefront of modern culture, a patron of the arts and student of politics.


Alfonse is a Yeti in a black bowler hat and monocle.

He isn’t able to speak, but he does his utmost to remain dignified and poised at all times, an example of civility in trying times.


Belinda is a Minotaur of a Certain Age, but harbors great personal pride at having kept her figure over the years. She lives for society occasions, and is usually dressed in glamorous and sparkling eveningwear and jewels.


Barry is a lord among giants, and giant among men.

He has a special room near the back of the Society house, where members often visit him. Generally speaking, it’s difficult to see more than his fine italian leather shoes and the hem of his trousers, as Big ‘Arry is very big indeed.


Gregor is a young eastern-European nobleman who recently inherited his father’s title and membership in the society.

He’s a young vampire of leasure. His clothes are very fine, but tend to look a little out of place and loose on his bony frame. He has an awkwardness about him, with his hair a little too slick and long and his accent a little more incomprehensible than exotic.

See also FunDead!

Greg is a little out of place when he goes out. His clothes are a bit anachronistic, stuck in the 70s or 80s, with a high collar (and cross amulet) and outdated sunglasses even after dark.

Created by Ian Struckhoff. Original fUndead artwork by Adrián Dórame. A Black Label Comics production.

15. G’rana Man-kin

G’rana has an unfortunate origin, in the eyes of her people. She’s doomed to be an outsider, because she is a disgusting half-human!

This sort of thing isn’t usually tolerated by goblinkind, but her father is an influential Gruln (minor king) and her mother was his most prized n’thak (ransom-prisoner).

G’rana is tall for a goblin, but short for a human, at just under five feet. Her figure is seen as disgusting by the male goblins, as she is neither as extremely lanky and boney or as extremely fat as is usual for goblin females. (By human standards, she is quite slender and athletic, but has a figure that is clearly femenine though unusually wirey.)

While her skin is green, it’s a subtle soft color, not the intense kelly green or comfortingly putrid puce more common among her kind. Her spotting is shameful, as her spots are quite small, and appear mostly on her fore-arms, shoulders, upper chest, and face, rather than over her entire body. She’s alarmingly devoid of body-hair, and the black hair on her head is long and almost straight rather than appropriately snarled and tangled.

G’rana can barely grow proper claws, hers looking barely more menacing than a human’s finger-nails except for being somewhat rougher. While her lower canines are suitably oversized and predatory, her under-bite is almost non-existent and her other teeth are shamefully close to being white and straight. Rather than a snout, she has a small slightly up-turned nose. She has beautiful deep amber eyes.

She wears a loin cloth, and an-ill fitting wrap of leather and hide, that gives the impression of a patchwork corset. (It sits a bit low.) Her feet are bare, though she has hide wrapped around her calves as armor. She carries a crude bone dagger that’s a bit large for her, but wields it with confidence.

Seen another way, she’s surprisingly pretty, and almost human-looking, for a goblin. In the right light, she might inspire a human male to consider making some (ugh) quarter-goblins.

Created by Ian Struckhoff. Design artwork by Valerie Nicharico. A Black Label Comics production.

14. Rayana

After the disappearance of the second Miss Raya, the world found itself missing the tradition. It seemed like there had never been a time when, among their protectors, there wasn’t a beautiful blond bringing courage and blinding light to the corners of the world.

So when the grand-neice of the original Miss Raya announced on her 18th birthday that she had somehow inhereted the powers of her famous relative, her public reception was unprecedented– the greatest celebrity in living memory appeared– Rayana!

Alas, while her powers were even greater and more dangerous than her predecessors, her early appearance as both a presumed-hero and as a celebrity meant perhaps too much pressure on the young girl. So far, she hasn’t shown herself to be as courageous as her role-models.

Perhaps there is still time for her to prove herself.

13. Miss Raya (2)

Decades after the first super-heroine, Miss Raya, appeared and changed the course of history, the world found itself with a new generation of super-powered heroes.

Among them was another beautiful young woman with long blonde hair, and incredible light-based powers. In fact, her appearance and power set were uncannily similar to her predecessor, and so she was encouraged to take on the same name to honor the original hero.

And so the Legacy of Light continued…

Created by Ian Struckhoff. Design artwork by Jonathan Wyke. A Black Label Comics production.

12. Miss Raya

Only a couple of years after the debut of the first super heroes in comic books, America found itself with its first real-life superhero– the incredible Miss Raya!

America’s Super-Sweetheart helped turn the tide in the Second World War, thanks to her super strength, invulnerability, and atomic-powered lights that were as deadly as they were dazzling. More so, though, her presence meant an unprecendented boost to the morale of allied troops.

All of her accomplishments could not be overshadowed by her terrible fate at the hands of mysterious snipers, as she joined the troops as they marched into Berlin.

Created by Ian Struckhoff. Design artwork by Jonathan Wyke. A Black Label Comics production.

11. Lady Blaise (The Elements)

The Elements

Since the dawn of time, four heroes have stood together, chosen by the elements to be the heroes of our world. Earth, patient and strong. Air, enigmatic and swift. Fire, beautiful but dangerous. Water, malleable and nurturing. When they all fall, another four are chosen from among the ranks of Mankind.

Lady Rebecca Blaise (Fire)

Lady Rebecca Blaise was a member of the Scottish nobility, a redhead but with some Norman ancestry, and had what can only be described as a passionate personality. Her love was intense, but no more so than her anger could be– Both desired and in a way feared by her many suitors.

Physically, Fire is a woman made of flame. (She differs from familiar fire-base characters in that, in her era, a woman simply could not be seen to be unclothed.) Her flaming form is fully dressed, as a wealthy noblewoman, with her “clothing” formed out of the flames. While she is able to appear completely human, this is not practical as she would be found nude in front of her three companions.

Even transformed, she has the dignity of the nobility. Her emotions are strong, but she is in control of them.

Created by Ian Struckhoff. Design artwork by Valerie Nicharico. A Black Label Comics production.

10. Skelly (fUndead!)

Fundead! Three undead dudes who know how to have a good time! They’re afterlife of the party.

Skelly is a sweet skeleton who knows how to have a good time.  Alas, she’s got no figure, and people usually take her for one of the guys.

She’s a good dancer, a great listener, and has a great sense of humor. She’s outgoing, and perhaps the most sensible and reliable of the gang– except that she’s a lightweight when it comes to the drink.

Created by Ian Struckhoff. Design artwork by Adrián Dórame. A Black Label Comics production.

#9. Murray (fUndead!)

Fundead! Three undead dudes who know how to have a good time! They’re afterlife of the party.

Murray is a Mummy. He’s quiet and awkward, and his mates always have to drag him out to the party and help him find a girl to chat up. He likes diet cola.

Created by Ian Struckhoff. Design artwork by Adrián Dórame. A Black Label Comicsproduction.

#8. Fred the Zombie (fUndead!)

Fundead! Three undead dudes who know how to have a good time! They’re afterlife of the party.

Fred sees himself as the leader of the trio, and tries to be chilled-out kind of guy. He’s always in casual dress, always feeling loose and relaxed. He’s a zombie. He wears simple dark pants, and a plain t-shirt under a loosely-buttoned patterned dress shirt.

Truth be told, he can be a bit too outgoing most of the time. He always introduces himself by saying “Hi, I’m Fred the Zombie!”

He loves fruity drinks, like piña coladas.

Created by Ian Struckhoff. Design artwork by Adrián Dórame. A Black Label Comics production.

#7. Blood-Curdling Bonnie

They say Bonnie had the sweetest eyes, and an even sweeter voice. Then again, they say that ain’t the case no more.

Nobody knows for sure what happened to the poor girl, but in her own way she sure made the most of it. Like a banshee, anyone who hears her voice don’t seem to live long to regret it. The county coroner put a few cases down to heart-attacks and strokes, but I say those coppers just died of plain regular fear.


Visually, she’s a woman wrapped in rags like a mummy. Only her mouth is exposed. (Perhaps her eyes.) By the shape of her rags/bandages, it’s clear she could be young and beautiful. Her hair isn’t exposed, but the ribbons of rags around her head create the impression of very long hair.

Her power is her scream, which can paralyze most people with fear, and even cause heart attacks in some cases. She’s often very quiet and still, but when she screams her “hair” streams around her like in a strong wind, and she hovers slightly off the ground.

Bonnie is a villain, though this may not be completely clear from her appearance.

Created by Ian Struckhoff. Design artwork by Valerie Nicharico. A Black Label Comics production.

6. The Nebula Sirens

Over the ages, various space-faring cultures have encountered the mysterious “Nebula Sirens,”  but have so far been unable to determine even the most basic means of communicating with the strange beings. Because of this, virtually nothing is known of their history, culture, or origins.

Early space explorers are said to have believed the creatures to be predators of a sort, tempting men to space-walk into the nebular clouds

It appears that the creatures, while largely humanoid in appearance, are native to the near-vacuum of interstellar nebulae. It isn’t known whether they originated there, how exactly the survive, or how they have been seen in distant nebulae despite having no apparent means of interstellar travel.

Basic scans have suggested the creatures are made of dark matter. At first glance, they appear to be humanoid-shaped voids in the material of the nebula, revealing the blackness of space. In fact, they are perfectly black-surfaced, reflecting very little if any light.

Typically, it’s believed that there are more “sirens” that are female in appearance, but surveys have indicated that perhaps the females are simply more curious or social, and thus seen more often by explorers and other outsiders. Deeper in the nebulae, numbers of males– and indeed non-humanoid– “sirens” appear fairly even.


The ideal design would show a female “siren” deep in swirling colorful nebular clouds, herself just a black void in the colorful gases. (Really the design is all about negative space.) In addition, a few more of the creatures could be shown in the background deeper in the nebula.

They should be shown with a curious and becoming demeanor, as if trying to greet the people inside a passing space vessel. Their intentions are fairly enigmatic, but not visibly hostile.

Created by Ian Struckhoff of Black Label Comics. (Artwork forthcoming.)

5. Malandra Shorespine


This post is special for two reasons. First, because I’m only posting the text, because the artist is also participating in the challenge, and will be posting the visual design for her later in the month. (Keep an eye out!) Second, because the inspiration for the character came first as a visual image in my head, rather than along with a complete story idea. She has a lot of potential for creating good stories, though, so I wanted to get her down on paper.
Imagine Malandra as a both predatory sea-creature and a beautiful woman, dark and slick and dangerous. She hunts the sea for prey, but isn’t afraid to come onto the land either. She’s most at home in deep wet caverns, either far beneath the ocean, or very near land. She’s an unknown quantity, with her nature and origins still shrouded in mystery.


Here are the notes that I gave the artist…
Malandra Shorespine is a beautiful female, but also a dangerous underwater creature at home only at the greatest depths, or in hidden caverns. She’s very dark looking, except for a few bio-luminscent markings. Her appearance is dominated by soft organic curves, except for hints of sharpness coming from natural barbs and gills.
She is humanoid, but not human. Her charcoal gray skin is smooth and slick, like a shark or a ray. She has subtle ridges or barbs in appropriate places, such as her spine, her knuckles, her elbows, her heels, and perhaps her brows or cheekbones.
She has perhaps a dozen slender tendrils on her head, which usually stay back on her head giving the impression of hair that has been slicked back. (Giving the impression of a human swimmer, at first glance.) Her feet and hands have slight webbing and claws, and only four fingers/toes.
It’s hard to tell whether she is dressed in very organic clothing that matches her skin closely, or has natural markings and plating that give the impression of clothing. If it’s clothing, it gives the impression of a one-piece swim suit or body suit, with hints of corsetry or armor. (Her body is curvy, and suggest a human female, but her chest gives the appearance of being covered in tight clothing.) Her shoulders have plates or ridges giving the impression of short sleeves or slim pauldrons.
She always gives the impression of being wet, because of her glossy skin. She’s sinewy, with muscles always tense and poised. Her teeth are sharp, though almost human-looking.
She is dark even in areas where a human should be light– However, she has areas of bio-luminescence.  Her eyes are dark where the whites should be, with luminescent irises and unusually shaped pupuls. Even her gums are dark. However, she has an natural pattern (predatory stripes or patterened uneven spots perhaps) of bio-luminescense on her upper arms and legs.
She has a small dark dagger strapped to one calf, and carries a dangerous and almost organic-looking spear that gives the impression of a short harpoon.

Created by Ian Struckhoff of Black Label Comics. (Artwork forthcoming.)

**EDIT** – Click Here For Malandra’s Artwork

#4. Dorothy Arnold

The Jazz Police

On January 16th, 1919, the 18th Amendment to the Unites States constitution was ratified by the Congress and 36 states. It took effect a year and a day later, outlawing the manufacture, sale, or transportation of “intoxicating liquors”.Raids on “speak-easies” and underground stills served as a perfect cover for work to extinguish supernatural threats to our way of life. At the forefront of this effort, the elite and secretive Federal Bureau of Vice and Taboo Management, known due to their lack of a snappy acronym as the “Jazz Police”.

They have badges, they have guns, and they have (probationary) special dispensation to make use of supernatural means and intoxicating liquors.

Dorothy Arnold

In 1910, beautiful Manhattan socialite Dorothy Arnold went missing, age 25. (This is historical fact.) She was recently tracked down by the Jazz Police and offered amnesty in exchange for her help hunting monsters. It may be notable that a decade later she still appears to be in her early 20s.

She’s not the most willing agent of the Jazz Police, but needs both the amnesty and special dispensation offered for her service.

Dorothy is a gorgeous, slender, and pale blonde (with fairly short curly hair), usually very well dressed even for an upper-class woman of the early 1920s. She wears very short flaring skirts and high heels. She is sometimes seen in round smoked glasses.

At apparently random intervals, she shows signs of vampirism– fangs, aversion to light, uncontrollable thirst– but at other times she seems perfectly normal, if a little preoccupied.

Created by Ian Struckhoff. Design artwork by Juri Hayasaka. A Black Label Comics production.

#3. Dark Skies

Dark Skies

Dark Skies

Since time immemorial, Fenris the Great Wolf has loomed, his existence more a reminder than a threat of the inevitability of Ragnarok. The Gods know how the world ends.

Fenris is a god in the form of the wolf, a wolf as large as a mountain. Some say he was the progenitor of the werewolves– if such creatures truly exist.

In a way, they do… because known to few, Fenris the Destroyer has six sons. Like him, they can appear as mere wolves, or as giant dire wolves, but they exceed him in their ability to appear much like gods or men as well.

Perhaps most fearsome among his children is Dark Skies. Like his father, he’s a bringer of chaos, and an under-miner of best intentions. He is the Great Wolf of foul weather and ill portents. It is simply not possible for Dark Skies to appear without a terrible storm arising, wild enough to make day look like night.

He is a great grey wolf, almost as large as his mountainous father– or merely twice the size of a normal wolf. His dark grey fur is wet, and messy, always drenches with rain and blown by fierce winds.

He is a great, grey man, a mountain of strength, with long shaggy grey hair, and dressed in grey clothes that mock the upper class but tousled and dingy. In our era, he’d wear a suit, but it would be faded and wrinkled. His hair would be curly black, with some grey, covering much of his face messily.

He is a rising storm. The low rumble of thunder in the distance.

From the series Huginn & Muninn by Black Label Comics. Created by Ian Struckhoff. Art by Jonathan Wyke.

#2 Temperence “T.T.” Thompson

T.T. Thompson

The Jazz Police

On January 16th, 1919, the 18th Amendment to the Unites States constitution was ratified by the Congress and 36 states. It took effect a year and a day later, outlawing the manufacture, sale, or transportation of “intoxicating liquors”.

A lesser-known fact is that Prohibition was at the same time an effort by elements in the government to stifle the culture of jazz, licentiousness, and certain supernatural practices and entities that had begun to run wild in the United States. Raids on “speak-easies” and underground stills served as a perfect cover for work to extinguish supernatural threats to our way of life.

At the forefront of this effort, the elite and secretive Federal Bureau of Vice and Taboo Management, known due to their lack of a snappy acronym simply as the “Jazz Police”. They have badges, they have guns, and they have (probationary) special dispensation to make use of supernatural means and intoxicating liquors.

Among them is munitions expert Temperance “T.T.” Thompson, daughter of John T. Thompson, famous general and inventor of the “Thompson” sub-machine gun.

Born in 1900, T.T. was about 20 years old at the beginning of prohibition. Despite her youth, her government connections and early enlistment technically make her the senior agent on the team.

Created by Ian Struckhoff. Design artwork by Juri Hayasaka. A Black Label Comics production.

#1 Oblique



Tantalizing. Attractive. Indirect. Appealing. Distant. Mysterious.

Is she heroine or villainess? Cat burglar, or informant? Criminal, or vigilante? Are her abilities the result of a lifetime of training, powered by atomic-age science, or thanks to some arcane connection? Will she call back?

You sure as Christmas don’t know, chum– and she ain’t saying. She’s Oblique.

Created by Ian Struckhoff. Design artwork by Jonathan Wyke. A Black Label Comics production.

30 Characters Challenger: Ian Struckhoff (Black Label Comics)

Cover to The Deathlings #1, by Reuben Negron

Before I start posting my entries, I wanted to get in a quick introduction, to explain how I’m doing things. (Apologies for this coming midstream, as it were.)

As a writer, I always have to rely on talented artists to bring my characters to life. It’s no different during the 30 Characters challenge. All of the characters I’ll be posting are created by yours truly, and designed and illustrated by some of my artist collaborators and friends. Together, we’ve created the titles under my Black Label Comics imprint, including series The Deathlings, Huginn & Muninn, and The Dark Age, plus the anthology Black Label Comics.

Now back to the Characters– including, shortly, some from me and my friends.