Author Archive: Marc McKenzie

Hello everyone, I'm Marc McKenzie, and this is my second year taking part in of this challenge. I've been a freelancer for the past few years, working in animation and creating commissioned work for clients including the New York Times. There have been ups and downs, but...that's life. Honestly, though, I enjoyed taking part in the challenge last year, and I hope to do my best this year...but I hope that everyone does their best and has fun!

Ironically, I never really set out to do art at first. I studied something completely different in college and it was only because of an art teacher that I changed gears.

Currently I'm living in Hillsborough, New Jersey, working on commissions, trying to find full-time work, and being a doting uncle to my niece.

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#11 Sphynx

| November 30, 2012 | 0 Comments

In the teeming metropolis of New Hudson, one hears about the courier known as Sphynx.  She’s a knockout when it comes to looks, athletic, and can get any info to a client on time, no matter what.  Plus, she’s skilled in martial arts and if all else fails, she’s got a modified pistol that can fire a “shockburst” that can disable any opponent (she does not kill, and as far as anyone knows, Sphynx has never taken a life).

Detective Gary Del’Arco knows about Sphynx, and he knows her real name, her shoe size, and even what her favorite type of pizza is.  That’s because Gary is involved in a passionate relationship with Sphynx, whose real name is Laura Margolis.  Because of an incident in her past, Laura took up the role of a free-running courier, and courier and detective met because of a major case that ended with Gary solving it and discovering the identity of the killer of one of Laura’s friends.  That last revelation ended up with Gary saving her life and facing the ugly truth about corruption in the New Hudson Police Department.

Gary and Laura are in love and do care about each other, and they also exchange secrets (while keeping their own relationship secret).  Both of them worry about how long it will last, but for now, they are certainly the most unusual–and most unlikely–couple living in New Hudson.

#10 The Shr’eal

| November 30, 2012 | 0 Comments

Monsters and other weird things exist in the Flaorian Woods.  Woe to the poor soul who gets lost in there, for they are usually never heard from again…or what’s left of them is found.  But for the past few years, many have spoken about an angel of mercy within the Woods–an angel that resembles a demon.  It seems to come out of nowhere, coming to the aid of travelers who are fleeing the forest monsters.  It does not speak, but leads them out, only to return to the forest.

What is this creature?  A person who was saved by it has dubbed it the “Shr’eal”, an ancient word that roughly translates to “friendly demon”.  Why has this creature decided to help humans and fight other monsters?  No one knows…but there are rumors of a kind-hearted knight who was cursed by an evil witch, who sought refuge in the Flaorian Woods.  These are only rumors, however, but one thing is clear–the Shr’eal, whatever or whoever it is, has been a source of hope to those who must journey through the Woods.

#8, 9

| November 29, 2012 | 0 Comments

Young Irina Parros, a student at the Mykalis School of Magic, cast a summoning spell that went wrong–she ended up summoning a creature long thought extinct–the Goumf, a flying creature capable of enhancing the magical abilities of those whom it bonds with.  This Goumf, named Jaspar, bonds with Irina, and the two have a series of adventures together.   While other students shun Irina because of her new “pet”, Bryce Quinn isn’t one of them.  He becomes Irina’s best ally, and even gains the loyalty of Jaspar as well…

Don’t let Kaya Franco’s looks fool you.  Yes, she’s still in her teens, and yes, she dresses in the goth/loli fashion.  But she’s also a top assassin, capable of taking out targets with her modified GF-42 rifle.  She can also get in close for the kill and shows no mercy.  Her cold demeanor, flaming red hair,  and machine-like precision has earned her the nickname “Lolipopper”.

#6, 7

| November 29, 2012 | 0 Comments

In the near future, the popular sport is a mix of parkour and tag–a sport made all the more exciting due to the addition of anti-gravity packs that allow for incredible leaps and other feats of agility.  Miriam Stafford is one of the top stars of this sport, even though she became a participant by accident.  Still, with her red hair and glasses, she’s become a fan favorite.  Dubbed “A-Gee” by the media, Miriam continues to work her way up the leaderboards so she can challenge the mysterious#1, the champion known only as the Black Arrow.


What’s this?  An elf playing baseball?!  Strange, but true.  It’s what the Bluebirds, the baseball team of Halloran College, have been dealing with ever since the lovely Serah suddenly appeared one night in a flash of light.  Where was she from?  She claims its the kingdom of Rithmar, but a wizard’s spell sent her to “the primitive world”.  She knows magic, but she cannot use it well here.

But she knows how to play baseball.  In fact, as the team discovers, she’s a natural.  And yet, they can’t let the world know what she is.  Thanks to some quick action by teammates Jennifer Kilby and Ray Brenner (the Bluebirds are a co-ed team), Serah is able to play while looking like a regular college student.  Of course, her skills can help to take the team to the championship, but Serah cautions the team that they shouldn’t only rely on her, but on their own skills.

#5 Lightblast

| November 28, 2012 | 0 Comments

For most of his life, Donovan Jastrow lived on the dark side–being born into a broken family, running with gangs, committing petty theft and being a punk in school.  There were moments of kindness; he took care of his younger sister Laurie and watched out for his best friend Ronnie, but Donovan secretly wished for a life of peace and stability, a life that Ronnie had.

One night, Donovan’s world nearly claimed Ronnie’s life.  A rival gang opened fire on the two while they were leaving a movie, and in saving Ronnie’s life, Donovan was wounded.  But the fates dealt Donovan a favor–Ronnie’s uncle, an eccentric but brilliant scientist, was so moved by Donovan’s deed that he not only paid the medical bills, but offered Donovan a chance to turn his life around.  He moved Ronnie and Laurie into a new apartment, and gave Donovan a means to make a difference and fight for the right side–an experimental suit that gives the user the ability to use light itself as a weapon, by creating powerful photon blasts that can temporarily blind an opponent or even punch a ten foot wide hole through a wall.  The suit grants the user increased speed and agility and can even protect from small arms fire.

Donovan took up the challenge of wearing the suit, and now, as the hero known as “Lightblast”, he takes on the criminal elements of his city.  The police view him as a vigilante, but allow him to operate and even seek his help at times.  Now there is no turning back, and Donovan is determined to continue on his path away from the dark, and to make sure that Laurie has a chance at a better life.

#4 Jayde

| November 28, 2012 | 0 Comments

Having trouble with a rampaging dragon?  Or how about a pack of werewolves?  Need to get rid of that troll that’s making short work of your livestock?

You can wait for the Royal Guard to show up (yeah, right–it’s usually too late!), or you can contact Jayde Marsellani.  She’s tough, has been trained by the best, and can handle the special brayker blade that can give any dragon pause.  Thanks to the special charms she wears in her red hair and around her neck, Jayde’s strength can be enhanced to that of nearly sixty men, giving her all the power she needs to take down the creatures she has to face.  Even so, the tasks she takes on are not easy, which has caused a bit of friction between her an her beloved, Kyle Narren….

#3 The Triad

| November 28, 2012 | 0 Comments

They are seen in the skies above Avalon City–three figures of metal, each one capable of great speed, strength and flight, and all three take on the criminal element of the city, as well as threats deemed too great for the Avalon City Police Department.

Who are they?  At times, there are two males and one female; at other times, two females and one male.  Their identities remain a mystery, and yet, they are a sight to behold.  The citizens of the city look to them with hope, and it was a child who gave the trio the name that has stuck: the Triad.

#2 The Askari Sisters

| November 26, 2012 | 0 Comments

One uses magic.  The other uses sharpened steel.  One dresses in the traditional garb of her ancestors, while the other prefers short skirts and boots.  There are other differences, but what counts is that Mia Askari and her younger sister Teira form an effective team.  Many have sought their services, whether to deal with a troublesome dragon or negotiate with a stubborn bandit leader.

The most recent job for both was to escort a rather ordinary, unassuming young man to the capital city.  The trip was far from ordinary as they faced increasing attacks from a vicious cult.  As it turned out, the young man was actually the prince, who had been placed into hiding to protect him.  Still, he was also skilled with the sword, and now, he has hired both sisters as his personal guard.  Where things go from here….no one truly knows, yet.

#1 Deanna and Scott

| November 26, 2012 | 0 Comments


Deanna was once one of the most vicious vampires around.  Scott Haldeman was one of the best vampire hunters around.  Their paths crossed in the country of Romania, of all places, and in the midst of a vicious fight, something bizarre happened….

…they fell madly in love.  So much so that Deanna gave up her ways and decided it was better to ally herself with humans (although she is still tormented by her past), and Scott realized that yes, a vampire and a human can have a relationship.  Trouble is, they’re also targets–but these two are not going to let that get in the way of their new occupation–investigators of strange and supernatural incidents.

2012 Challenger: Marc McKenzie

| October 29, 2012 | 0 Comments


Hi, I’m Marc McKenzie, based in New Jersey.  I’ve been drawing for years and for the past few years I’ve worked in animation, design, freelance commissions, and I’m looking into getting into comics and game design.  This is the third year I’ve participated in this challenge, and while I’ve never gone all 30 days before, who knows?  This year could be one.

My da gallery is here:  Good luck to everyone this year.


#20 Ella

| November 30, 2011 | 0 Comments

While she was still a child, someone literally carved out Ella Atheane’s eyes after brutally assaulting her.  Blinded and left for dead, the child was found by members of the Wistgate residence, where Dr. Myarn Younis saved her life, and managed to use an experimental device he called a “hood” to help restore her sight, even with the loss of her eyes.

It worked–and it had an additional effect.  Ella sometimes has psychic “flashes”–visions of the past, scenes of future events, and possible outcomes of events happening in the present.  At first, it scared Ella, but with the help of the Doctor and Daniel, his assistant, Ella has learned to handle them.  She also gained the ability to “see” through disguises both magical and science-based.

Because of her unique abilities, Ella has been nicknamed the “Cyber Psychic” by Daniel.

#19 The Winter Witch

| November 30, 2011 | 0 Comments

Of all the tales spoken throughout the Realm, the story of the “Winter Witch” is one of the best-known ones.  For nearly 100 years, people has spoken of a strange castle sitting in a field of snow…right on the edge of the Utari desert.  The snowfall is limited to that small area around the castle, and no one knows why.

Many tried to enter the castle.  None were heard from again.  However, some years ago, the traveler Roland Cale succeeded in not only entering the castle, but evading the castle’s traps and defeating a terrifying guardian machine.  Upon reaching what was the castle’s throne room, Roland met the Winter Queen.  After a fierce swordfight, Roland defeated her, but refused to take her life, as, incredibly, he was falling in love with her.

The Winter Queen’s true name is Yasmine.  She does not know how long she has been in the castle–she was apparently born there.  Despite hazy memories of people who might have been her parents, she is the only living person there, with robotic servants taking care of her needs.  She had to fight off several intruders to her castle, and yet, she was still very much all alone.

Roland agreed to stay with Yasmine, and during that time he investigated the castle.  Apparently, a device far below the castle not only draws power from the earth to power the structure, but it creates a field which greatly slows the aging process.  Yasmine, then, although she looks to be in her early twenties, could be much, much older.

There was another result of Roland and Yasmine living together–Yasmine gave birth to their daughter Daphne.  For the first time in many years, Yasmine was not alone.  Roland did not realize it at the time, but he had given Yasmine an irreplaceable gift–a family.

Yasmine eventually convinced Roland to continue his travels as long as he could.  Despite his initial reluctance, Roland agreed, but took with him a unique device that allowed him to communicate with Yasmine and Daphne.  He promised to return after he reached the city of Kilth.

#18 Roland

| November 30, 2011 | 0 Comments

Despite being born into a wealthy family, Roland Cale was not a spoiled child.  His parents raised him to not look down at others and to see everyone as equals, even those who had disagreements with him.  Of course, if someone took a wrong or damaging action towards another, it was Roland’s duty to step in and resolve the conflict.  From his parents and his favorite teacher Draifuss, Roland was taught that all people are inherently flawed–and that was not a bad thing.  It was, simply put, the will of Nature.  The search for perfection, while noble, would inevitably lead to a destructive end.

Upon his 21st birthday, Roland left the comforts of the city he was born and raised in and began a wandering journey to see the world.  Although he faced numerous dangers, he learned from his experiences.  Perhaps the one that would have the greatest impact on his was meeting the “Winter Witch”, Yasmine.  Roland not only fell in love with Yasmine (and she with him) but their union produced a child, a daughter named Daphne.

At Yasmine’s insistence, Roland resumed his travels, reluctant to leave his infant daughter and her mother.  He is still able to communicate with them via a special device Yasmine gave him, and he has promised to return to both of them after he reaches the distant city of Kilth.

#17 Shadow Walker

| November 30, 2011 | 0 Comments

“Shadow Walker”.  That’s the name that police found scrawled on a wall near the site of a robbery.  As it turns out, the place that was robbed was a front company of a powerful Mafia family…and whoever Shadow Walker was, they left incriminating evidence of this connection.

Over the next few months, reports began to come in about Shadow Walker–a young woman wearing a dark, skintight outfit with a mask and long, silver hair.  Skilled in several martial arts, Shadow Walker was capable of taking down opponents much larger than her.  She never carried any weapons save for a taser-like device and pepper spray.  Plus, she robbed only places connected to the Mafia, distributing the money to needy families.

Police are frustrated–but somewhat happy–at Shadow Walker.  She’s left no evidence behind that could give a clue about her true identity.  On the other hand, she’s caused a lot of disarray among the city’s Mafia families and has become a hero to the average citizen.  Who is she, really?  Again, no one knows…but the police seem to be ignoring the fact that young police officer Nancy Harrison always seems tired at the start of the day shift, even though she’s never worked the night shift….

#16 Kera

| November 30, 2011 | 0 Comments

Kera Milone’s cheerful attitude belies the fact that she is responsible for the care of the dragons of the kingdom of Ralmont.  She’s the youngest “Dragonkeeper” in the kingdom’s history, and she’s quite good at her job.

She’s not only present at the birth of the baby dragons, but her crew of dragon caretakers are considered to be the best on the entire continent.  The ages of the caretakers range from 20 to 70, so Kera hears all viewpoints, from the young turk to the experienced old hand.

#15 Gabrielle

| November 24, 2011 | 0 Comments

A member of the Sigma Agency, Gabrielle is Neil Brunner’s handler.  She gets her orders from a higher authority, a higher power that, well, can only be called “God”, although there might be other higher powers….it’s all way too much for the human mind to take in.  She’s been working with the Agency for the past one hundred and twenty years.

Gabrielle has a rather frosty demeanor, but the truth is, she really does care about Neil.  Even if he has a rather sarcastic and flippant attitude towards her.  He’s one of her best agents, and she doesn’t want to lose him either to an unnecessary death or to the seductive clutches of Luci Ferrell and her agents.  Gabrielle has her own tragic history that she reveals to Neil, one that makes him realize that his own problems pale in comparison.

Because the Sigma Agency also acts as a “go-between” in matters relating to heaven and hell, Gabrielle often finds herself dealing with beings that can only be referred to as “Angels” and “Demons”.  Her no-nonsense style of discussion and negotiation has earned her respect from both sides.


#14 Neil Brunner

| November 24, 2011 | 0 Comments

A year and a half ago, Neil Brunner was tired of living.  His life, as he saw it at that time, was a joke–a very bad, sad joke.  Burdened by debts, feeling lonely and isolated (despite having a loving family) and turned down yet again for being a “nice guy, but not someone I’d….”, Neil’s graduate studies were not working out.

So he decided to take his own life.  He almost succeeded.  On the ER table, Neil actually died for about four minutes.  When he was brought back, everyone noticed a change in him–more patient, less cynical, more forgiving of the small stuff.  In truth, Neil had an out-of-body experience and was given a choice–give up and spend an unknown time wandering the afterlife aimlessly, or go back and become a tracker of rouge spirits.

Neil chose the latter.  Now, in the present, he works as an agent of the Sigma Agency, tracking down and taking on rouge souls that have possessed innocents.  His graduate studies and part-time job at a publishing company are only covers.  Using a special weapon that resembles a 9mm Baretta pistol, Neil can dispatch the enemy back to Hell–or rather, a dimension of pure chaos and evil.  Sometimes he works solo, sometimes with a partner–but he has no idea how long this will last.

Neil found out–the hard way–that there really is a heaven and a hell.  It’s much, much more complicated than believers and non-believers expect.  And the Devil is a woman.


#13 Luci Ferrell

| November 13, 2011 | 0 Comments

Luci Ferrell is beautiful, seductive, capable of making men–and women–stop in their tracks….

…. And she’s also the Devil.  No, really.

The Devil, you see, is really a woman, or rather is a female persona.  Luci is just one of her avatars (the Devil is a sentient power that is beyond the puny mental abilities of humans to understand and “lives” in several planes of existence…yep, it sounds bizarre, but hey, what are you going to do?).  This one is always tracking Neil Brunner as he carries out his duties as a catcher of rouge souls, always trying to seduce him no matter how many times Neil refuses her.  She also deals with the head of the Sigma Agency, the organization that deals with issues between heaven and hell.


#12 Aaron Falkirk

| November 13, 2011 | 0 Comments

Aaron Falkirk was one of the greatest thieves in the Realm.  There was no secured object that was beyond his ability to whisk away–small artifacts up to a 150-foot sand cruiser.  Whether solo or with a team, Aaron proved to be a slippery one for law enforcement.

Until the day that he had a change of heart.

A young girl asked Aaron to steal a precious family heirloom from a corrupt government official.  Digging deeper, Aaron discovered that the official had stolen many things from the poor or unfortunate.  Aaron then decided to change sides and steal from the powerful and corrupt and give the items back to their respectful owners.  A recent job returned a precious relic to the grateful people of the town of Baranore.

Seven years ago, Aaron met two women who would lead him on a new path in his life: Dawn Shryer and Chessie Ilvanis.  The three would form a team that would take on any troubleshooting assignment.  Although Aaron fell in love with Chessie at first sight, Chessie pretty much loathed him.  The two bickered constantly, but still worked well together (partially due to Dawn being a “bridge” between the two).

During an investigation of the ruins of an ancient city of the “First People”, the team forged a working relationship with Gillian Rohcha and Elgren Fenris of the Investigator’s Guild.  Aaron ended up saving Chessie’s life, and the two were separated from the others.  Both admitted that they really did care about each other more than they admitted, and realized that, yep, they were in love.

Aaron has no special powers, but he has an analytical mind and a set of tools that allows him to pick any lock.  He’s also a superb fighter, although he tends to try and diffuse the situation first by talking things out.

#11 Dawn Shryer

| November 11, 2011 | 0 Comments

All across the Realm, the name Dawn Shryer is well-known.  She’s a former soldier, a mercenary, a top-notch fighter, and now a “troubleshooter for hire” who carries out assignments for the various guilds and also for clients both rich and poor.  She leads a team with two teammates  (Chessie Ilvanis and Aaron Falkirk) who get the job done, no matter how difficult the circumstances.

Oh, and she’s also one hundred and three years old.

Around eighty years ago, while fighting in the Garcen Wars, Dawn saved the life of an old woman who turned out to be a powerful sorceress.  The grateful woman gave Dawn a gift–she would age one year for every twenty years.  Basically, by the time Dawn turned (chronologically) forty-four years old, she would look and physically be twenty-four years old (so now she looks twenty-seven).  Also, while she can be injured, she heals rapidly; also, poisons–both liquid and gas– have no effect on her.

Sounds great, right?  Well…it isn’t all that good.  Dawn has had to watch friends, family and lovers age and die; she also has to see her four children, ten grandchildren, and twelve great-grandchildren age as well.  She never married the father of her children, but she did live with him for thirty years until his death.  Even though she travels around the Realm, Dawn still goes back to visit her family and stays in contact with them on a regular basis.  In fact, while she has lead her team for the past seven years,  it’s actually the tenth team she’s lead.

While carrying out an assignment near the town of Drannin, Dawn and her teammates met the Investigator team of Elgren Fenris and Gillian Rohcha.  The two teams joined forces to investigate the ancient ruins near the town, and afterwards, all five agreed to stay together and tackle any new adventures they find.

#10 Chessie Ilvanis

| November 11, 2011 | 0 Comments

Yes, Chessie Ilvanis is a woman–who has cat ears, a tail, and beautiful, yellow-brown eyes.  She’s also a crack shot with her pistol, and she can put up a fight that can intimidate even the toughest big brawlers.

She was born in the village of Yarius but left to study in the capital city of Traeger, where she met Dawn Shryer.  The two became fast friends and later became a team of troubleshooters-for-hire.  When they met Aaron Falkirk, who was at the beginning of his “reformed” stage, the duo became a trio.

Chessie did not like Aaron at first–in fact, their relationship was rather testy, but after Aaron saved her life in the ruins near the town of Drannin, Chessie realized that she did have very strong feelings for him–and she expressed her thanks verbally and….physically.

Chessie is thrilled by the team-up with Elgren Fenris and Gillian Rohcha.  The team of three is now a team of five, ready to face any new adventures that come their way.

#9 Elgren Fenris

| November 10, 2011 | 0 Comments

Don’t let Elgren Fenris’ somewhat sickly appearance and slight height fool you into thinking you can push him around. Then again, that’s what he’s expecting you to do.

Then you’ll either get a kick to the face or a binding spell unleashed on you.

Elgren is one of the best-known members of the Investigator’s Guild (although it’s his name…not necessarily his appearance).  He’s one of the few people in the Realm who can translate the language of the First People, and has some understanding of the technology the ancients left behind.  In addition to his  skills in the kihren-rho martial arts, he carries around a special spellbook that he can use, even in the midst of a firefight.  He does know a few spells off-hand, but the book allows access to even more powerful magic…but the cost can be high.  Therefore, Elgren’s will use it only when absolutely needed.

Despite this, Guild rules require that he needs a guardian.

Teamed up with Gillian Rohcha, Elgren couldn’t be happier.  Gillian is not only a great bodyguard (Elgren can handle himself, but sometimes….), but she’s a great friend and confidant.  Things change for the two when they meet Dawn Shryer, Chessie Ilvanis, and Aaron Falkirk in the town of Drannin.  The group of fast friends join forces to investigate the ancient ruins near the town (after all, there’s strength in numbers).  What will happen next?  That is another story….

#8 Gillian Rohcha

| November 10, 2011 | 0 Comments

There are a few things about Gillian Rohcha that catch the eye.  Her height–she’s rather tall for an Elven woman; her snow-white hair–which is very, very rare among her people; her charming, almost cheerful demeanor, and the very large black sword she carries.

And yes, Gillian can handle the sword very well.  It’s enabled her to take down opponents much larger than her.  Most would be surprised that she feels the sword–a gift from a popular Elven leader–is rather light, and she worries about breaking the thing by accident (but that’s not going to happen, since the sword is nigh indestructible).

As a deputized “Guardian” of the Investigator’s Guild, Gillian is the bodyguard and beloved companion of Elgren Fenris.  The two have had several adventures together, investigating incidents out of the ordinary and also studying the ancient ruins left by the “First People”–the advanced civilization that existed thousands of years ago, only to vanish seemingly overnight, leaving their buildings and strange technology behind.

While preparing to investigate the ruins near the city of Drannin, Gillian and Elgren met and befriended the trio of Dawn Shryer, Chessie Ilvanis, and Aaron Falkirk.  A new adventure is about to begin….

#7 Red Raptor

| November 7, 2011 | 0 Comments

Francis Velazco served his country as a loyal soldier.  Upon returning home, he decided to serve his city but in the guise of the crimefighter “Red Raptor”.  Taking the name from a hero of the 1940s, Francis–with the help of friends in key areas–created a suit that gives him maximum protection from bladed weapons and small arms fire.  That doesn’t mean he can be stupid and charge right into danger, though.

Combined with his military training and dedication to protecting others, Francis, as the Red Raptor, deals out his own particular brand of justice: he never kills.  The guns he uses are special weapons that fire “electro-shock” bullets–basically they are mini-tazers that can put even a big brawler down for a few hours.  As a soldier, Francis saw enough killing, enough death…and he doesn’t want to inflict that on anyone else, even criminals.

The Red Raptor–along with Windwalker and Astral–formed a trio of heroes that went up against Mitchell Baranovich’s criminal network.  Their efforts would inspire new heroes to take on the challenge of opposing Baranovich and his super-powered enforcer team.

#6 Nightbreaker

| November 6, 2011 | 2 Comments

Who–or what–is Nightbreaker?

The true identity of this mysterious member of Mitchell Baranovich’s enforcer team is unknown.  Some say Nightbreaker might be female…but no one has bothered to remove the coal-black skintight outfit that Nightbreaker wears.  Or rather, no one who tried lived to tell about it.  No one can guess what is going on behind to luminous yellow circles that are Nightbreaker’s eyes.  Nightbreaker barely speaks above a whisper, but always follows the orders of Baranovich without question.

It could be that Nightbreaker isn’t even human.

Some say that Baranovich knows the real story about Nightbreaker…but he’s not telling anyone, choosing to keep it all to himself.

Nightbreaker’s main weapon is a scythe that can slice through flesh and bone like a hot knife through butter.  Surprisingly, the weapon is used more to wound, not kill.  It turns out Nightbreaker prefers to go in and use his or her hands to snap the neck of the target.

For the heroes Windwalker, Astral, and the Red Raptor–Nightbreaker remains one of their most dangerous–and mysterious–foes.

#5 Astral

| November 5, 2011 | 2 Comments

Billy Whittaker is not exactly cool with having superpowers.  He doesn’t like it, not one bit.  Even though his power allows him to take energy from the “astral plane” and form it into solid force–such as a battering ram, a blade, or a set of “energy jaws” that can cut through just about anything–Billy curses whatever higher power exists out there for giving him what amounts to a “curse”.

However, he still goes out and fights crime, often by the side of the heroine Windwalker, or sometimes by himself, using the name “Astral”.  As a struggling college student, Billy’s a smart but reserved young man who never seems to have enough money, so no costume.  Even so, Billy’s not afraid of being caught on tape or having his image put up on the ‘Net.  You see, despite hating his powers, Billy uses them for good, not because it’s going to make him money or a star, but because, in his view, it’s the right thing to do.  It may sound old-fashioned, but Billy has seen enough people suffer because of crimes and the machinations of the powerful.  And his “curse” might be the only way to even the odds.

Alongside Windwalker and the new Red Raptor, Billy has clashed with members of Mitchell Baranovich’s team of super-powered enforcers.  One recent surprising development was the start of a relationship–sort of–between Billy and the former enforcer Firesprite (Lia Galloway).  Firesprite is now on her own, having left Baranovich’s clutches, and sometime she teams up with Billy.  Billy himself is not sure about where things will go in regards to Firesprite and himself, but…as long as she’s out of Baranovich’s grasp, that’s good enough.

Billy has no illusions about what could happen to him if Baranovich–or any of the criminal gangs–decide to really pursue him and bring the full weight of their power to bear on him.  Until that happens, though, Billy–as Astral–will continue to bring right to a world gone wrong.

#4 Firesprite

| November 4, 2011 | 4 Comments

Lia Galloway had a happy childhood, being the child of British/Chinese parents.  No one would have guessed that she would become a criminal–a super-powered one, at that–in the future.

Sadly, Lia ended up as a member of Mitchell Baranovich’s enforcer unit due to the emergence of her powers during her third year of college.   The event was traumatic and sudden.  Terrified and uncertain of what to do, she was easily manipulated by Baranovich’s smooth words and easy manner.

Lia can use the mitochondria in her cells to generate an energy field which allows her to fly and also create plasma charges, or “fireballs” and hurl them at others.  The downside is that her hair, irises, and pupils have turned snow white.  Taking the name “Firesprite”, she carried out attacks against Baranovich’s enemies without question.

However, during a battle between the superheroes Windwalker and Astral, Lia started to doubt her place in Baranovich’s crime syndicate.  Also, despite all her efforts to deny it, she began to develop feelings for Astral (aka Billy Whittaker)–a reluctant hero who used his powers for good not for wealth or glory but because it was the right thing to do.  Lia then left Baranovich’s enforcers and now operates on her own, independent of any group.  Sometimes she allies with Astral, sometimes she does the wrong thing–but still, Lia, as Firesprite, considers herself truly free and finally able to pursue her own future following her own rules.


#3 Mitchell Baranovich

| November 3, 2011 | 2 Comments

Philanthropist, inventor, billionaire with a heart of gold, man-about -town….Mitchell Baranovich is the founder and head of one of the world’s biggest tech companies, and with his movie star looks and affable personality, he’s certainly well regarded by the people.

But it’s all an act.

In reality, Baranovich is head of a world-wide crime syndicate, with an emphasis on illegal technology transfers and arms dealing.  He also has a group of superpowered “enforcers” who take care of business when clients get cold feet or do not get their payments in on time.  While he is a skilled martial artist and is familiar with all small arms and military assault weapons, Baranovich is escorted by two female agents in special exoskeletons that enhance their strength and are impervious to most small arms fire.

Baranovich is a cold, calculating man who is able to project the image of a spotless, scandal-free man of wealth to an unsuspecting population.  He’s perhaps the most dangerous foe Andrea Tennant–aka “Windwalker”–has ever faced.


(The name of this character was taken from two characters from one of my favorite novels, Firefox.)

#2 Sasha and the Golem

| November 2, 2011 | 3 Comments

Sasha Eisner is sixteen years old, thinks she knows everything, and doesn’t have time for any crap from the boys at her high school, (well, except Peter Franciscus, but he’s a nice guy and has a good heart–plus he’s smart), and is mostly concerned about things a 21st century teen from New York City is concerned about.  When her beloved grandfather Joseph passes away, though, Sasha is caught off guard when she receives a pair of bracelets that left her (per instructions in his will).

Sasha’s not really concerned with the bracelets–sure, they look a bit weird, but heck, she’s going to wear them anyway.  But one night, when a gang of toughs attempt to attack her, Sasha brings the bracelets together…and is unprepared for what happens.  A nine-foot tall creature made of clay appears out of thin air and comes to her rescue, knocking back and chasing away the gang.  Stunned, Sasha notices the lettering on its forehead–the word “truth”.  Kneeling in front of her, the creature touches her forehead, and in an instant, Sasha hears her grandfather Joseph’s voice.

The creature before here is a Golem–just like the legendary creature created out of clay.  This Golem has a tragic history–as a boy, Joseph was the only survivor of a vicious Nazi concentration camp.  The victims of the camp pooled their efforts into creating the Golem to allow one person to escape–and that person was Joseph.

Not only is the Golem loyal to Sasha, but it also functions as a conduit that allows her to speak to the souls of her grandfather Joseph and the victims of the concentration camp.  Realizing the importance of her heritage and the fact that she can make a difference, Sasha and her Golem set out to take on evil wherever it exists.

#1 Windwalker

| November 2, 2011 | 4 Comments

Andrea Tennant has the both the body of a model and the mind of a brilliant scientist.  She’s the latter–a scientist working at the cutting edge of advanced technology.  That doesn’t stop her from doing modelling on the side and taking part in sports, specifically martial arts, running, and swimming.

But she’s also bored.

All of that changes when she makes a breakthrough–creating  a device that uses the Earth’s magnetic field to allow someone to actually fly.  Always a quick thinker, Andrea decides to pursue this new path; she develops a costume and equips it with the device (in the form of a belt) and using a pair of high tech goggles, she turns to life as the crimefighter “Windwalker”.  Using her martial arts skills and the fact that she can fly, Andrea soon ends up enjoying her new nighttime activity.

The downside, of course, is that she rarely gets much sleep.

2011 Challenger: Marc McKenzie

| October 31, 2011 | 0 Comments

Hello everyone, I’m Marc McKenzie, and this is my second year taking part in  of this challenge.  I’ve been a freelancer for the past few years, working in animation and creating commissioned work for clients including the New York Times.  There have been ups and downs, but…that’s life.  Honestly, though, I enjoyed taking part in the challenge last year, and I hope to do my best this year…but I hope that everyone does their best and has fun!

Ironically, I never really set out to do art at first.  I studied something completely different in college and it was only because of an art teacher that I changed gears.

Currently I’m living in Hillsborough, New Jersey, working on commissions, trying to find full-time work, and being a doting uncle to my nieces and nephews.