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Returning Challenger 2012: Trey Jackson

| October 22, 2012 | 0 Comments

Hey all, I’m Trey Jackson. I successfully completed the challenge last year, surprising myself.   this year I’m just looking to push it to the next level, see if I can get better drawings and some new ideas going and complete the challenge again.


Trey Jackson: 30 Characters, All In Together Now

| December 1, 2011 | 0 Comments

Did it! Here are all 30 Characters in one place. This challenge was kinda big for me, it was at exactly the right point to work on things I’ve struggled with in the past. I made something every day, and I shared it with the public, and the result was always satisfying, even when things didn’t come out like I wanted. I also learned a lot about how I work, what methods work better than others, and what aspects I need to build on. There was definitely a sense of “OK, I’m not trippin, I can really do this kind of stuff.” Positivity to build on for future endeavors, no doubt.

I had a couple parameters I tried to hold to: I had to finish something in color, and I had to write enough to give the character a premise, so that when I went back, there’d be enough to start plotting a story from. I couldn’t use characters from any old ideas, almost all of them came from a text file full of names that I hadn’t used. I think a couple of them had a one-line description (Days 5 and 6), but that was it. One character (Day 1) was a name from a random generator and another was a suggestion from my wife (Cutey Scorpio). But the stories and designs were all built from scratch over the month, mostly day by day. And I managed to do it. Very encouraging! The support from other creators on this site was great as well. Looking forward to next year.

Now, to get crackin’ on some stories…

tomorrow detectiveblazing arrowmr spkrimmoletteezekiel

the wheellord sapiensmart brothersdavid wise IS the hard manretaliation suit

(the infinite) tess himmelthe hoodie mobdoppelgängstercutey scorpiothe altercationist

barefoot bastardgunsmoke jonesescher catboss gravityisrafel & lucasta

king sexytimehugo's house of havocwitch-onefamous rayletitia lock

general ghostscissor sistersmoses fivemehmet and emmettdon dada, the dream merchant


#30 Don Dada, The Dream Merchant

| November 30, 2011 | 3 Comments

Don Dada

Don Dada, The Dream Merchant

“I’m all up in your head, like colors when you shut your eyes” – Raphael Attar, There’s A Lot of Numbers”

Don Dada, the Dream Merchant, aka the Sultan of the Surreal, aka Stacks Visions, aka Black Morpheus. In the Great Marketplace, he is the bringer of dreams, but not necessarily dreams that are good for you. Where attention flows, energy goes, so he’s more interested in getting you hooked on dreams that appeal to you rather than forcing you to process the information you need or stumble onto some great insight. When Don Dada took over the dream racket, he realized one important thing: the dreams people want can be standardized, and people will choose pedestrian dreams they can understand over the actual mysteries of the subconscious damn near every time. And either way, your dreaming activity still generates the same amount of energy for him.

If you should meet him in a dream, he will tell you this. He will always tell the truth, and share the deep mysteries, to those who want to hear it. Or he can feed you the dreams of riches and success that television told you you wanted. It’s all the same to him, he’ll keep dropping gems in the R.E.M. Due to his mix of bluntness and wisdom, he is occasionally invoked by gods and sorcerors who will trade rituals, dreams or secrets for answers.

The crown over his head is how sentient beings interpret his aura of raw power. His baleful eye, ringed by blue flame, pierces to the heart of things, and it’s something you don’t want directed at you personally. The disc in the place of his other eye records all dreaming activity for the Akashic Record. Needless to say, you don’t want to cross a dude who can be in your head at any time; and that pimp cane ain’t just for show. If you don’t know, now you know.

#29 Mehmet and Emmett

| November 30, 2011 | 0 Comments

Mehmet and Emmett

Mehmet and Emmett

The first thing you need to know is, they are serious about their values. Mehmet always wears white through 50% gray. Emmett always wears 51% gray through black. The second thing is, they are always in the throes of some kind of contemporary art experience, and cannot be stopped.

Mehmet is from Istanbul and proudly calls what he does “art rock”. Influenced by musicians like David Bowie, Philip Glass, Can, and Laurie Anderson, he fuses it with traditional Turkish instrumentation, with a heavy dose of Turkish rock pioneer Ervin Koray — extending the use of Koray’s electric bağlama in the contexts of experimental and electronic contexts. After failing to get money for his 9-hour song cycle on the life of Klaus Nomi, he’s agreed to accompany Emmett on his current adventure project. He makes field recordings, and is sketching the first stages of a series of compositions exploring the psychoacoustics of fear. “It’s very easy, you know, to evoke a sense of dread by merely using discordant sounds, like Hollywood always does. But eh, I think fear, it can also be beautiful, and kind of still, ok? Like there is the fear that someone is trying to kill you, and then there is the fear of the unkown, the fear of your own mortality. I do not think these fears are naturally so discordant. I am hoping to experience these fears — or maybe, Emmett can experience them and I can stand, you know, back a few paces — and come up with a new musical language to explain them.”

Emmett is from Louisville, and he’s traveling around having adventures and documenting them for his latest work. Among other things, he’s investigating UFO sightings, accompanying Real-Life Superheroes on their crime-fighing patrols, getting his P.I. license so he can solve mysteries, and shadowing insurance investigators tracking art thefts. He plans to document all of these things via a gallery installation incorporating video, machines, and performance art.  In between these assumed lives, he visits other friends of his, contemporary artists, scientists, street artists, makers, and general freaks, and gets involved in whatever it is they’re doing. He calls it “Operation Busybody” and he has a grant for it.

The first stop on Mehmet and Emmett’s next trip is to visit a Japanese artist friend who’s suspending a giant bronze bear head over an active volcano.

Below is Emmett’s artistic statement. Mehmet never misses a chance to point out how douchey it makes him sound.

“Emmett Pierce’s work explores the intersection and interplay of memory, culture, and the socially constructed nature of reality through mixed media installations, sculpture, and performance art. Through directed praxis, he interrogates the scientific shibboleth of ‘the unexplainable’, inserting himself into situations as a participant, or a kind of flaneur. By documenting his experiences, he alchemically transforms his life experience into an emergent artistic situation that forces the viewer to confront their assumptions about identity, the tyranny of existence, and the permeable boundary between danger and complacency.

His artistic practice, influenced by such diverse thinkers as Derridas, Rousseau and Buckminster Fuller, incorporates Jean Tinguely’s sculptural machines, the legacy of Fluxus, and the latest in multimedia technology to create a postmodern tableau that requires the viewer to question the undefined elements of their existence as they maneuver through the works.”

Emmett’s actually an okay guy, though. But he won’t change the damn statement.

#28 Moses Five

| November 29, 2011 | 0 Comments

Moses Five

Moses Five

Once upon a time, everyone had heard of the fearless space bandit and freedom fighter Moses Five. His attacks to stop the villainous Vesper Geist from taking over the galaxy, and his expeditions to the edge of known space to conduct raids on the insectoid Spiddyocks were legendary. Sure, he flouted the law, but it was all for the best, and he was the hero people needed.

Finally, with a temporary dispensation from the Consortium of Free Systems, he participated on the decisive attack that defeated Vesper. Before they landed, she contacted Moses privately, and made him an offer of immortality if he merely held back behind Consortium forces. Moses Five bowed to no one, but especially not his oldest enemy, and he refused. He and the Consortium defeated Geist’s forces, but the woman herself disappeared. “Some sort of chronal anomaly” was the scientists’ best explanation. Shortly after that, Moses Five began having visions of his much older self in the future, and oddly enough, suddenly remembered having had them all of his life.

150 years later: the Consortium has expanded beyond the galaxy, and Moses Five is still out at the edges of it, in Outer Harappa, mostly in the Res Extensa, a bar run by humanoid hairless cats. When not lost in a fog of intoxicants and deja vu, he makes his money on this outlaw planet as an all-around fixer and low-rent “knuckle-duster”, hiring his skills out to the highest bidder. Bitter and broken-down, he dreams of his younger days, before a newly stable Consortium decided it no longer had a political incentive to tolerate popular bandits who would challenge its authority. Few remember his legend now, and some days he regrets not taking Vesper Geist up on her offer. But he hasn’t chosen to spend his last days in this forsaken rock on a whim – out at the edges of settled space, there are more chronal anomalies than elsewhere, and time tends to slip out of joint. When the nearby dying stars’ flare activity is high, his dreams of youth become far more vivid…

(Note: the idea of splitting the story between young and old bandit came from this post on Project Rooftop, where two guys submitted versions of the X-Men character Corsair, and Joel Priddy commented that it’d be cool to see a story split between the two submission. Four and a half years later, I haven’t forgotten that idea, and since I hadn’t seen anyone do something like it, I decided to put something together. I hadn’t seen that post since then until I went to find it today, and the similarities and differences between my versions and their much-better-drawn versions is interesting to me.)

#27 Sister Scissors

| November 28, 2011 | 3 Comments

Sister ScissorsSister Scissors

Sister Scissors is the spirit of broken connections. Romantic breakups, estranged families, that moment when you realize that a longtime friend is now just dragging you down, the person you cared for yet somehow lost touch with, all these fall under the purview of Sister Scissors. It’s nothing personal, just business. Sister Scissors harnesses the emotionally atomic energy created by breaking ties, and uses it to trade with other entities.

She is encountered by Tess Himmel during her search for The Infinite. The Infinite’s broken connection with the rest of the universe has made her far more powerful than she’s ever been, and people everywhere are starting to feel the effects, losing their empathy and not being able to maintain connections with colleagues and loved ones.

Her color is aquamarine, and her animal is the praying mantis. Even though she can’t be seen by mortals, you’ll know she’s nearby when you feel like you’re drowning.

#25 and 26 – Letitia Lock & General Ghost

| November 26, 2011 | 2 Comments

Letitia Lock and General Ghost

Letitia Lock & General Ghost

LETITIA LOCK always thought of herself as nothing special. The troubled middle child between an agressively striving older brother and a younger sister content with obsessing over celebrities on BET, she continually got into all kinds of trouble. After getting arrested for fighting and underage drinking, and washing out of basketball, volleyball, and ROTC, she shocked everyone by doing well enough on tests and bullshitting an essay to make it into a good college. She’s smarter than she lets on, and even though she’s small, she’s been known to take out some big dudes. She got to college, partied too much, and was suspended, to no one’s surprise.

One night, she’s at a party at a rich classmate’s house when she stumbles into the study and sees a bunch of files labeled ENIGMA BRAVO, with what look like bloodstains on them. The folders have strange titles like “The Innermen”, “Operation: Wonderland”, “Universe 13”, and “The Infernal Hive Mind of Myriad, Indiana”. Overcome by curiosity and bored by her classmates (“this place was dead anyway”), she steals the files and hides them in her dorm room.

Once she starts looking at them, she’s overcome by the creepy feeling that she’s being watched. She wakes up with a start one night to see GENERAL GHOST standing over her. Strangely unafraid and unsurprised, she asks what he wants. He explains that he was tasked with the program codenamed Enigma Bravo, a top-secret military program. Initially documenting strange happenings that could be either contained or made useful to the military, the General realized that the files pointed to something much larger. He was murdered before he could find out what. A stubborn sumbitch, instead of remaining in the afterworld, or getting caught up in a ghost loop, he learned at the feet of the greatest military commanders and scholars of the world he could find in The After, and returned to our world to search for a living person who could help him finish the Enigma Bravo project. Letitia Lock, he has decided, is that person. “You do go to war with the army you have,” he admits after having observed Letitia’s current lifestyle.

The enemy:  forces from ‘Outside’ — things we call angels, demons, faeries, aliens.  They remain hidden, distorting and transforming things in the world for their use. Their primary agents are The Nephilim, offspring of unions betwen beings from Outside and living things (mostly but not always human). Letitia and the General have some allies: creatures classified as “cryptozoological” such as the elusive, scholarly Yeti, and the Outsiders’ most fierce enemy: the “little men” which show up in every culture’s legends – gnomes, menehune, leprechauns — that teach them things. But these creatures can’t always be counted on, at least not according to the General.

Now that Letitia’s found this world, and some kind of meaning, she’s hanging onto it with every fiber of her being. The general sees some potential in her, and agrees to guide her, though at times it’s painful for the both of them. She’s not dumb by any means, but she’s no scholar, she has no military discipline, she knows nothing about shadowy conspiracies. She just knows that she found the files, she can see the General when others can’t, and she belongs here and she’ll fight anyone who says otherwise. And even some people who don’t say otherwise.

Under General Ghost’s tutelage, she discovers that all the things she could deal with in her life were down to her ridiculous amount of willpower, from  a knack for beating up much larger oppoents to her ability to drink people under the table and function on amounts of drugs that would kill lesser mortals. She possesses a boundless amount of energy that can’t be contained by the normal world… but makes her a perfect soldier for the war General could never finish by himself.

#24 Famous Ray

| November 25, 2011 | 0 Comments

Famous Ray

Famous Ray

You’ve seen him around, on red carpet premieres, in the VIP section of exclusive clubs wearing an open shirt and shoes with no socks. Occasionally he shows up on television to offer a semi-informed opinion. Who is he? What the hell does he do?

The best way to explain it is, Famous Ray emits a low-level celebrity field, which makes the world treat him as though he is a minor celebrity, no questions asked. Some of the perks of his power include:

-gets free food, clothes, discounts in general
-people listen to his opinion
-VIP/backstage entry to clubs/shows
-people just always assume he’s important, or with the band, or that actor’s assistant, or a producer, heir to some fortune, etc.

When you get him high as hell, or when he’s in his cups, he’ll tell you that his power is because way way back on his mother’s side, he’s part vampire. Dude’s just crazy, right? Witch-One‘s not so sure, and so keeps a close eye on him.

#23 Witch-One

| November 24, 2011 | 0 Comments



“I breathe through the city lights/ my soul permeates the air over city nights/ I’m a god/ and you a facade sellin’ fake shit to the people…” King Fantastic, Locals Only

Witches — or more accurately, “men and women of knowledge”, are humanity’s only defense against bloodsucking top predators and shapeshifters, beasts that wear human form who hunger for the “shine” that exists in humans. the young woman who goes by the pseudonym Witch-One puts up tags and pieces that are actually spells and wards that she uses to protect the city of Los Angeles. Every tattoo and piercing that she has are enchanted to provide some kind of protection. The pun that is her street name actually helps ward off spells that try to divine her identity. When the caster says “which one”, the universe registers it as a question, and those type of spells backfire.

Not only are there a lot of monsters masquerading as people in the entertainment industry, there are also humans who stumble on to dangerous spells and curses. Also, more celebrities than you’d think turn out to be changeling babies.

So Witch-One runs the streets, keeping humanity from being overrun with a spray can, a gym bag with some haphazardly learned spells secondhand ritual tools, and a glock filled with silver bullets.


#22 Hugo’s House of Havoc

| November 23, 2011 | 0 Comments

Hugo's House of Havoc

Hugo’s House of Havoc

When you go to the crossroads at midnight, and meet the Devil, he will challenge you to a contest, and if you beat him at, say, fiddling, or blues guitar, then you get some item or skill of power. Hugo beat the devil at Super Smash Bros. on N64, and asked for a magic house so he’d never have to pay rent again. But the Devil noticed something about Hugo’s soul: Hugo is so focused on games and the internet, and so uncaring about and unaffected by everything else, that his soul is 20+ years old and still in virtually mint condition. It’s never been used.

So the Devil keeps challenging Hugo to games, and Hugo keeps beating him, and keeps getting stuff that he doesn’t know how to use properly.  It’s filling up his magic house, which his friends Lydia and Jay have taken to calling Hugo’s House of Havoc. Lydia is trying to get Hugo to experience more and do more in the world, so that his soul won’t be worth as much to the Devil. Jay is mostly trying to get stuff and influence Hugo in terms of what to ask for.

A partial list of things Hugo has asked for so far: A magically wireless flat screen tv (but since it’s magic, it has weird compatibility issues), A robot butler named O.G. Kushington. Monkey Servants. A Flying Bentley. Those self-lacing kicks from Back to the Future. Capri-Sun that makes you float, like that juice in Willy Wonka. A giant Cloud Strife Sword that only Hugo can lift.

#21 King Sexytime

| November 22, 2011 | 0 Comments
King Sexytime

King Sexytime


when low-key gay middle manager Kendall MacCready  says the magic word “SWAJAM” he transforms into anarchic pansexual libertine KING SEXYTIME, and gains superhuman powers:

The Passion of Sappho

The Orgone energy of Wilhelm Reich

The Willpower of Aleister Crowley

The Perception of James Joyce

The Intelligence of Anais Nin

The perversity of the Marquis de Sade

It’s not known where Kendall McCready goes when he says the magic word, but it’s implied that he can see what KS is doing, and he doesn’t generally approve. He’s usually reluctant to say the word, seeing KS as a disgusting pervert. But he hates King Sexytime’s nemesis even more: villainous, repressive (and repressed) RAMROD, an armored enforcer who commits deeds of ugliness and violence with his face covered, during the night, or during peaceful gatherings of people during the day. Ramrod is rumored to not be a cop at all (and his badge is usually covered up), but in fact a reclusive billionaire. King Sexytime stops Ramrod’s violent rampages, usually by making him really, really uncomfortable. He just wants this uptight guy to relax and let go a little bit. Is that so bad?

The comic he’s in is called SEXYTIME ADVENTURES, and it is not for younguns.


#20 Israfel & Lucasta

| November 21, 2011 | 0 Comments

Israfel & Lucasta

Israfel & Lucasta

Israfel and Lucasta are Scarlet-ranked initiates of the Mysteries, a Greco-Egyptian mystery cult, and as such are allowed to mingle with outside society in a 10th century Baghdad where magic is the province of scholars and new Greek and Indian sciences mingle with Aztec flying machines. They operate, at the behest of their superiors, as magical detectives of sorts. Israfel and Lucasta both left their native cultures to become initiates in The Mysteries. Because they are considered exotic outsiders, they’re able to get away with asking questions and going places that others can’t.

Israfel used to be  Jörgen, a Viking, and he’s a giant Nordic dude who is paradoxically curious and bookish. Israfel is a music-master and writer. In Arabic his cult name means “the burning one” and fire spells are indeed a specialty.

Lucasta was originally Femi, hailing from the Yoruba empire, and is a striking, Amazonian woman whose urban sophistication hides a childlike sense of wonder. Lucasta’s name means “pure light” (lux casta) and casting light-related spells are her preferred technique. Also means a degree of invisibility, but also her ability to pierce the veil of time without using traditional forms of divination.

Israfel refuses to wear sandals like everyone else. It drives Lucasta crazy. Otherwise, they get along pretty well, they both geek out over magic and bond over their outsider status both in Baghdad and at home. Recently, one of the founders of the Mysteries was found murdered, and suspects are numerous. Not only are nobles of the Caliphate jealous of the power and secrecy the Mysteries wield, the other cultures with a presence in Baghdad would like to get their hands on some of that power as well. From jealous Mayan astronomers to greedy Templars, from the Hashishim of Alamut to Taoist mystics, enemies appear to be on all sides. How do you solve a murder when all of your suspects are magicians?

#19 Boss Gravity

| November 20, 2011 | 2 Comments

Boss Gravity

Boss Gravity

“What goes up…”
An up-and-coming boxer who was constantly tempted to turn to a life of crime, the man now known as Boss Gravity was injured in the same accident that resulted in The Smart Brothers having to leave their old headquarters. B.G. lost his arms, and that made the choice between boxing and crime. He was refitted with experimental “gravity arms” designed for work in deep space, and began taking over the illegal super-science racket with the same single-minded determination that had led him to victory in the ring.

“I’m that fundamental force mayne.”
A lot of crime lords, mafiosos and thugs, all unhappy with his domination of the experimental tech racket, have tried to bring him down. Most of them have either knuckled under or disappeared. His street name comes from the resulting truism, in crime as well as science: “You can’t fight gravity.”

“I don’t think you understand the gravity of your situation.”
The cops have turned to the Smart Brothers out of desperation, and they’ve managed to disrupt Boss Gravity’s operations. He realizes that they’re responsible for his condition, and has begun plans to destroy them, utterly.

Also, and it’s a small thing? Some chump-ass rapper’s out there calling himself Boss Gravity, “as an homage”, “out of respect”. This just get’s under B.G.’s skin, and he sees it as an example of how the universe is out to get him. He’s vowed to end this rapper’s career as well.

“These arrogant assholes always thinkin’ they can fly. But Gravity — it always brings you down in the end.”

#18 Escher Cat

| November 19, 2011 | 0 Comments

Escher Cat

Escher Cat

Escher Cat’s only explanation for herself is that she’s “Just like a cheshire cat, only more confusing.” She’s actually from the Holloworld, a closed underground society that makes fantastic machinery near the earth’s core. She’s a discarded genetic prototype, a mix of tiger, wolf, cheetah and who knows what else, too weird for mass production, but too rare to be killed. Underboss, the leader of Holloworld, tried to keep her trapped within a special prison, where certain laws of physics didn’t apply. However, she was able to navigate it with ease. Part of her construction included a number of unusual navigation abilities, such that she’s never off-balance or spatially confused.  As she explored the prison, she discovered a device (now on her right hand) that allowed her to focus her powers to open little gates into a pocket dimension called sub-space.

So she took the device, used the portals to escape Holloworld, and now she’s on the run from Underboss. When she meets Gunsmoke Jones, she at first tries and fails to take the book,then arbitrarily decides that he needs her protection. Given how crazy she is, he’s not sure about that but honestly, he’s a little scared to tell her that he can take care of himself. It’s easier to just let her tag along. And jumping into subspace occasionally has its benefits, even if it makes him sick sometimes. Also, a lot of the bones, feathers, cloth and stuff she has on her outfit are things that are extremely rare on the surface, things Gunsmoke has only read about on screens.

She has dim memories as a kitten-cub of being given some kind of chemical, so there was a doctor who hid the secret of subspace inside her. She wants to learn some of the Liber Magnum disciplines to hunt down errant memories and find out what happened to her, and why the doctor singled her out to know this.


#17 Gunsmoke Jones

| November 18, 2011 | 2 Comments

Gunsmoke Jones

Gunsmoke Jones

“Any simpleton can make a gun out of metal, but a true and living gunslinger can carve a firearm from anything that is at hand. Furthermore, one’s wits and one’s will are the only true substances one can always guarantee will be at hand. And what wonderful weapons we shall make from them, such songs of fire as to make the gods think second thoughts.”

– Canto XVII, Liber Magnum

Gunsmoke Jones was named such since he was born during a bandit attack. “He come into this world with gunsmoke,” said his father. “Mos’ likely gon’ leave it that way too.” A quiet and curious country boy, while wandering around the Amygdalene Plains he discovers an old, heavy book – The Liber Magnum. He had never heard of the Liber Magnum –literally the “great book” but known to those who keep track of such things as “The Book of The Greater Weapon” — yet he finds that he has an aptitude for its instructions. By mastering its disciplines and creating a weapon with nothing put pure thought, he defeats the bandits who’ve preyed on his town. His folks, and the other villagers, are thankful but also a little scared and worried. They consult the town’s rusty old infobot, who tells him to go to The Eternal City, a utopian metropolis (according to the robot’s outdated databanks), and speak to the Bureau of Memetic Transmission. They should have answers. But his family don’t trust the city, and tell him to be careful and come straight back. As he begins his long journey, following the Gilded Highway to the Eternal City he learns more from the book. The book does not only help him to create constructs and make his mind faster than bullets, but it also whispers dark truths about the world that kind of disturb him. He starts to wonder, is this how the wider world truly is, or are the ideas in the book just colonizing his mind for their own purposes? Hopefully the Bureau of Memetic Transmission in the city will be able to take the book back and sort all of this out…


#16 Barefoot Bastard

| November 17, 2011 | 0 Comments

Barefoot Bastard

Barefoot Bastard

The Barefoot Bastard’s origins are unknown, though his ancestry can be traced back to the sunken islands once known as the Philippines. All that is known is that he, along with a bunch of other children, was subjected to a controversial/experimental nanobot treatment in an attempt to make superhuman circus performers who could be controlled and shut down by their ringmasters. Most of the children died within a few years — somehow, this one did not. After that he fought his way up through the Pan-Asian gladiatorial arenas and made warriors from Tehran to Ulan Bator so angry when he beat them that they called him “that barefoot bastard” rather than speak his name. So he took their curse and made it his name, made it a point of pride. When men curse him, he smiles. When their hate moves them to attack him, he smiles even wider.

Now he travels to Ultravia, to face the so-called best fighters on the globe, and make them scream his name in terror and anger.

He’s learned over the years to hear the hum of the nanotech beasts swarming in his bloodstream, in every cell. When he calms his mind, he can hear their voices, feel them rebuilding him. When he practices his kata, he begins to understand the way they dance, and where to pool them so a punch sends an opponent through a wall, or when to let them gather in his legs, so to leap across a rooftop or unleash a flurry of spinning kicks. It even works better when he’s drunk – the foreign alcohol excites the bots to no end, compelling them to race, roar, multiply. And he surfs into their excitement, and when he and his nanite symbiotes are in sync, he is unstoppable. Like when he fought the entire audience of the Tokyo Arena because they wouldn’t let him leave an honorably defeated opponent alive. But he has to keep the little critters moving, for they are greedy. They need energy, and if he does not keep moving, keep the adrenaline flowing, and consume enough food, drink, and minerals to provide enough power for the nanites, they will turn —  swarm him, and eat his body, and take on some other form.

I WON’T LET THIS HAPPEN! He chants, as a mantra. I WILL FIGHT!

The hum of the nanobeasts swells, into something he recognizes as a response:

#15 The Altercationist

| November 16, 2011 | 0 Comments

the altercationist

The Altercationist

“I rather fancy myself an altercationist. Perhaps the best — that is what I aim to find out. And so, you see, I am drawn – no, driven to find the most unusual, peculiar, and dangerous altercations one can have. Winning an argument with a robo-tree by means of Kantian synthesis, or a knife fight with a tiger, if there are any tigers left lying around, you know. Your garden variety conflicts — fighting over a woman in a bar, a gun battle with bandits, a game of ‘chicken’ in flying tanks — these have their place as stolid, staple pleasures. The salt of the earth.  But I–” and here there was an umistakeable and slightly malign twinkle in the woman’s eye– “I am after other altercations, altogether, I should say. The more ‘other’, the better.”

The Altercationist acts like a Southern gentlewoman (it’s an affectation, of course – The American South Themeplex collapsed ages ago). Manners and geniality are the way she copes with living in a post-Singularity world of high weirdness. The world is apocalyptic to the average fearful human, but if the chaos bothers her, she’ll never tell. Prone to tall tales – she’s a lesbian Mark Twain.

The Altercationist is powered by biotech. Everywhere she goes she carries her Old-Timey Traveling Medicine Show with her, full of notions and potions, toughness-amplifying viruses and delightful adrenal cocktails for the discerning combatant and sophisticated survival aficionado alike. They are mostly administered by her lover, Rose Remedy, a belly-dancing cyborg gypsy.

In her search for thrills, the Altercationist has not lost a battle yet. However, as she heads towards The Island of Ultravia to face the top fighters from around the globe, she may yet find herself in an altercation from which she cannot escape.

#14 Cutey Scorpio

| November 15, 2011 | 0 Comments

Cutey Scorpio

Cutey Scorpio

It was after the ninth frog she stung to death on her way across the river  that she realized she’d hit rock bottom. Jeremiah was, after all, a good friend of hers. So she started attending the meetings – Stingers Anonymous. She had to face all the rationalizations she used for stinging:

“Freud says that stinging is a natural reaction to the narcissistic cathexis…”

“Lemuel the Assassin God gave us Stingers for a reason, right?”

“It’s other animals — it’s their fault their blood is so weak. IT IS SICKENING THE WEAKNESS”

Finally, with the help of her rattlesnake sponsor, Cutey makes it through 30 Days of Stinglessness and gets her chip. She merrily sings as she walks through the forest, cluctching her precious and well-earned chip.

Then she gets to the river again. How will she get across? Immolette says “You’re a cute little scorpion.  You can ride on my back, but DON’T YOU STING ME.” Cutey Scorpio proudly brandishes her 30-Day Chip. “Of course not! I’m sober!” But in heart she knows that once you sting, you can always sting again if you’re not vigilant. They begin their journey. Cutey feels the heat of Immolette’s skin, reminding her of her old/ancestral desert home, and the stars, and the ticklish feel of the hairs on her mother’s claw, and all the things that make a scorpion a scorpion. Her tail tenses, stinger at the ready. She stares at the chip for a long, long time.

(note: recently my wife said, “You have to make a cute scorpion.” I wasn’t planning to do it as part of 30 Characters, but then I realized that the scorpion was trying to stay sober.)

#13 Doppelgängster

| November 14, 2011 | 0 Comments




Your doppelgänger is not unique to you: no, in any given year he may appear as the ghostly double to hundreds of people. Their appearance usually means that something terrible is about to happen to the poor person being doubled. For most such spirits, it’s not malevolent — it is simply their nature, and they don’t think to question it. But the Doppelgängster is different.

From each misfortune he presages, he takes careful note of the name and place of his appearance, and makes sure to send someone back for valuables after the victim is dead or incapacitated. When he is you, for a few moments, he knows all of your secrets. He knows what valuables you have, and where you’ve hidden them. And he knows, roughly, at what time such bad fortune will overtake you.

In this way, the Doppelgängster has amassed a fortune, and an army of thugs and miscreants who will do his bidding for the promise of future treasure. Sometimes, even when misfortune isn’t imminent, he can cause it to happen and reap the benefits. The authorities are at a loss to explain this ghostly presence running the London underworld.

So when you see an image of yourself, performing ghostly actions you have yet to perform, stop. Clear your mind of everything that is dear to you. Otherwise, the Doppelgängster will use all that you hold dear to grow his criminal empire.

#12 The Hoodie Mob

| November 13, 2011 | 2 Comments

hoodie mob

The Hoodie Mob

Gorillaz meets the Newsboy Legion — or alternatively the Unseelie Court by way of Misfits.

They are  rowdy mob of miscreants, partiers, and general hooligans known as THE HOODIE MOB, who act as a network of informants and a Greek chorus of sorts for DAVID WISE, who they’ve cheekily nicknamed “The Hard Man”. They seem to show up at very coincidental times, and seem to know more about Wise than they let on, which makes him wonder at times if they’re actually fully real, or some side effect of the experiment.

In response to society’s moral panic over ‘hoodie-wearing youth’, the group calls themselves the Hoodie Mob, using the fear of deviancy to cover the altogether weirder shit the group is up to.

#11 (The Infinite) Tess Himmel

| November 12, 2011 | 0 Comments

The Infinite Tess Himmel

(The Infinite) Tess Himmel

Poor Tess. She’s always to vast or too small. Never the right size. She touches the infinite, it courses through her — it’s kind of her job to keep the universe going, just by being her. But she also feels, sometimes, ever so small, and then, when one can float in a bubble or get lost in the tall grass, the world seems full of gifts.

Her father was a German immigrant, her mother is Mongolian. A burgeoning punk/artist, her desperate parents sent her at 13 to the Madewell Girls’ Academy, a private ultraconservative Christian academy run by ex-radicals and bikers. They berated her, telling her she was small, nothing, a worm before Christ. Her rebellious nature meant she spent a lot of time in the Get Close to God room, essentially a small closet. She escaped into her imagination, and met an angelic being who offered her a deal: if she agreed to take on the responsibility of the Infinite, she would be allowed to escape. The Infinite wished to be mortal, but needed someone to mind the store while it was gone. Tess was determined to have the proper nature for the job.

After that Tess escaped the Academy easily, going to the City of Angels and blocking out her painful memories of that place. But eventually, she tires of the responsibility of the Infinite, and when she tires, she also remembers the Academy, and begins to feel smaller. (Since she still has the Power of the Infinite, she actually gets very small and this causes trouble until she can get her mind right again).

But the Infinite has gotten lost, and forgotten its true nature. The angelic being returns and tells her that if she ever wants to return to a human life again, she needs to find it, or she’ll have to be the Infinite for eternity.  She agrees to help search, but she has mixed feelings about being a normal person again.

Track: Big Harp, “Everybody Pays”

#10 Retaliation Suit

| November 11, 2011 | 0 Comments

retaliation suit

Retaliation Suit

The Retaliation Suit appears whenever someone feels a moment of truly Righteous Fury at the injustice in the universe. It is a giant, amorphous invincible robot, which targets those who are behind its pilot’s misfortunes. The Retaliation Suit cannot be stopped until those responsible have been beaten, ruined, or destroyed.

Pictured above are three of the suit’s recent pilots:

Madge Fairweather, a kindly grandmother of three who, after losing her job, her pension, and her house (even though the bank lacked the paperwork) was told that her husband was ineligible for an operation by her insurance company. The woman snapped, and the Retaliation Suit found the bureaucrats responsible and saved the house, while destroying the related businesses.

Julie Chu, a conservationist whose breaking point after dealing with endless corruption and bureaucracy, discovered that the animal she was trying to save was now extinct in the wild. The Retaliation Suit created a swath of destruction that annihilated poachers, illegal fur and horn traders, and corrupt bureaucrats alike.

Ron Campbell, a gay teen who was bullied by kids, parents, and school officials on a daily basis. When the principal chose not to punish the rich kids who brutally beat him and posted the pictures on the internet, the Retaliation Suit appeared to mete out justice.

No one knows where it comes from — Julie’s best guess is the it’s how the universe feels, for a moment, the satisfying retribution of setting the world right.

(posted at 12:02 – damn!)

#9 David Wise IS The Hard Man

| November 10, 2011 | 0 Comments

David Wise IS The Hard Man

The Hard Man

Growing up poor in the worst parts of Glasgow, David Wise saw the results of violence firsthand – and chose a different path. He went to school, moved to London, and became first a poet and then a journalist, to pay the bills. In his off time he was an activist, doing what he could to reduce violence of all kind – gangs, military, police, domestic abuse. Catching wind of an illegal military experiment, he broke into their lab to gather evidence. It all went wrong, and he was exposed to whatever the substance was they were testing.

Whatever it was, it made him… enhanced. With sharper senses, a more agile mind, and improved observations, his poetry reached levels undreamed of, and his journalism more sharp-edged and perceptive. Along with this, however, a long-repressed aggression grew as well. Now stronger and tougher, he realized that the practice of these new sensory abilities increased his propensity for violence, and he began to stalk the streets at night, searching for answers via the medium of punches with a Statham-esque intensity. But he’s unable to let go of the improvement in his work, so he attempts to channel the violence towards those he feels deserve it.

He now searches for more answers about his condition and the people behind the experiment, while finding those worthy of his fists at night. As his life starts to fall apart, his only connections are to a lonely and outmatched night policeman, and to a rowdy mob of thugs, ravers, and general hooligans known as THE HOODIE MOB, who act as a network of informants and a Greek chorus of sorts. They seem to show up at very coincidental times, and seem to know more about Wise than they let on, which makes him wonder at times if they’re actually fully real, or some side effect of the experiment. They call him the Hard Man, and to David’s dismay, the name is starting to stick.

Track: Timber Timbre, “Black Water”

#8 Smart Brothers

| November 9, 2011 | 4 Comments

smart bros

Smart Brothers

The Smart Brothers are Hephaestus and Hannibal Smart, genius brothers who own a Super-Science Security Firm. Hephaestus is a physicist and engineer, who hides his dedication behind snarly, sullen sarcasm, while Hannibal is a biologist and master strategist, and a charismatic, smooth talker. United by their pursuit and development of experimental devices, they disagree on nearly everything else.

They were originally based in the prestigious Ebony Tower, but were forced to leave after a high-energy particle physics accident (where Heph lost his leg). As part of a related legal settlement, they were required to open a community center in the part of the city they’d damaged. They relocated their business there as well, and revitalized by proximity to the city’s diverse residents, opened up more community Smart Centers, to educate and mentor folks in the sciences.

In addition to protecting homes and businesses against Science Criminals, the two also moonlight as bounty hunters and fixers, tracking down outbreaks of Rogue Science and testing their out their new inventions. Being back in the community and away from the Ebony Tower has grounded them, and they’ve sworn to educate and defend the generally science-ignorant populace they previously despised. These local heroes’ adventures are followed, a la The Warriors, by a couple of radio personalities, Sunshine Starr and DJ Desmond Doom.

#7 Lord Sapien

| November 8, 2011 | 0 Comments

Lord Sapien

Lord Sapien

All Hail His Endlessness, Lord Sapien, The Exemplar, Sovereign of Mankind, Fount of All Blessings, Arbiter of History, Killer of the Giant Squids, Terror of the Gigamerican Republic, Emperor of Alpha Centauri and France, Protector of the Fabled Fountain of Youth, and the Right Hand of the Howling Void. In him and only him, the seed of the superior being, and among his enemies the wailing and gnashing of teeth. His is the face too great to be gazed upon by human eyes. Who is worthy of him but his once and future love, The Bride from Outside Time?

Half-Spanish, Half-Seminole slave who escaped from Spanish conquistadores and found fountain of youth. Killed anyone else who came near it, and has jealously guarded it ever since. After a few centuries of study, training, and contemplation, he named himself Lord Sapien, and decided he was the Sovereign of Mankind, adding the title Arbiter of History for good measure. After killing or incapacitating the elder immortals, he set about to rearrange history to his liking. In this, he was frustrated time and time again by the Tomorrow Detectives, a group of elite operatives from the 80th century who protected the proper flow of time.

Eventually, he was able to hijack one detective’s transport tech and enter the Tomorrow Fortress. He laid waste to it, killing all of the detectives save one and razing most of the fortress to the ground. Emira, the last surviving Tomorrow Detective, defeated him in single combat and sent him back into the timestream, where he reshaped civilization to his dark, twisted liking. He became smitten with Emira Last, and has repeatedly offered to make her his immortal bride. He has sired many, many children over the millennia, and most of them despise their father’s eternal immaturity, even those who fight by his side. He is beset on all sides by intrigue and falsity, and he sees in Emira’s defiance and purity his only hope of escaping the darkness he has created, and that has now trapped him for all time.

Over the years, he has added a variety of nanotech and cybernetic enhancements to defend against his myriad children, powered by the reactor in his chest. His mask is bolted on to his head, to prevent against what he believes is the imminent theft of his face.


Track: Woodkid, “Iron”

#6 The Wheel

| November 7, 2011 | 0 Comments

The Wheel

The Wheel

Soledad Spears was raised by her parents to be a bullet aimed at the future. They trained her to hunt, cook, fix things, fight, and use every weapon, tool, artifact or vehicle imaginable for the liberation of the common man. They taught her to track, to think critically, to read, and to understand her dreams and respect the words of the prophets. They sent her off to school, which she hated. But when she came back for vacation, they were gone, their camp destroyed.

She dropped out, and went underground. Now she drives for criminals while fighting for the people and exposing crooked politicians and police. While driving for the MEDUSA LEAGUE, she realizes that the car she’s using is an experimental prototype, that will be used for evil. She takes off with it, and the MEDUSA LEAGUE gives chase.

A chance encounter with EZEKIEL, the last of the renegade prophets, results in them teaming up to escape the religious assassins of THE ELECT. Although The Wheel is more skeptical of the partnership, Ezekiel sees in a dream that they should stay together, fighting crime and exposing magicians as they search for clues to the location of the elusive School of The Prophets.

(notes: original text from my notebook: “He’s a renegade prophet, she’s a hellcat getaway driver – together they fight crime!  EZEKIEL AND THE WHEEL)

#5 Ezekiel

| November 6, 2011 | 0 Comments



Ezekiel Bautista is a renegade prophet. His prophecies, while all true, are things that a number of religions and political groups don’t want to hear, so they tend to hunt him down, especially a group called The Elect that freely mixes politics and religion. A chance encounter with THE WHEEL, a notorious getaway driver, result in the two of them teaming up to escape The Elect’s assassins. Although The Wheel is more skeptical of the partnership, Ezekiel sees in a dream that they should stay together, fighting crime and exposing magicians as they search for clues to the location of the elusive School of The Prophets.

Ezekiel can kind of come off as kind of a hippie burnout in a bathrobe, but he actually has his shit a little more together than that. But he doesn’t quite belong in this world — his prophetic abilities and ‘sacred clown’ social stylings make that clear. But he’s not out of it, he may be wide-eyed but he’s clear about his mission.

Track: Dirty Projectors, “I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine”

(notes: original text from my notebook: “He’s a renegade prophet, she’s a hellcat getaway driver – together they fight crime!  EZEKIEL AND THE WHEEL)

#4 Immolette

| November 4, 2011 | 0 Comments



“Fire, fire, burning bright: won’t you play with me tonight?”

Immolette doesn’t mean to burn things right to the ground. It’s just that the flames are ever so beautiful, and when sparks leap from her fingers warm, fuzzy feelings abound.

When she’s bored, bored, bored, if she’s angry or overjoyed, her mind sets things ablaze. She’s not malicious in her ways.

But can she help it that the world entire looks so much better when it’s on fire?



| November 4, 2011 | 2 Comments



Mr. Speaker is a voice for the voiceless. He takes input through his Almighty Mic, and broadcasts it through his bass-heavy brainpan. He’s powered by vibrational energy, so the more he can make noise, the more powerful he gets.

#2 Blazing Arrow

| November 3, 2011 | 2 Comments

Blazing Arrow

Blazing Arrow

“I got my arrow/ I got my bow I got my fire /and I’m walking through the darkness/ slowly on a tightrope wire” – Blackalicious, “Intro: Bow & Fire”

The young man known to the gods of Earth as the Blazing Arrow was exploring abandoned buildings in a run-down part of his postindustrial hometown, when he happened across a magic compound bow.  For it turns out that, in their endless intrigues and squabbles, the gods can get careless with their power, allowing it to manifest on Earth in ways mortals can use.
When he picks it up, he transforms, in clothes and in aspect (into amore idealized version of himself). He is given the name Blazing Arrow by a goddess he helps, and now he takes on the gods, keeping them in check so that humanity can develop freely.

Some of the mythological/conceptual arrows he has include:
“The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune”

The Arrow of Time – accelerates entropy

Cupid’s arrow

Artemis’ arrows of silver moonlight

Astras – Hindu supernatural weapons most often invoked into arrows


Loki’s mistletoe arrow, which killed Baldr (seeks out hidden weaknesses)

Arrows of the Egyptian goddess Neith – the blazing arrow (limitless sun) and weaving arrow


Track: Blackalicious, “Intro: Bow & Fire”

(notes: here is precisely what I had beforehand, from my notebook: “Blazing Arrow: Black archer hero

Someone who uses magic arrows, the favor of a goddess s/he released from a crystal prison… rather than trick arrows a la green arrow or hawkeye, s/he fights with the idea of an arrow. speed, velocity, direction, piercing, cupid, robin hood, artemis, wayfinding, divination, ancient arrowheads.”)



#1 Tomorrow Detective

| November 2, 2011 | 0 Comments

Tomorrow Detective

Tomorrow Detective

“You can’t go back and you can’t catch up. Happy endings are always bittersweet.” – Alfred Bester, Time Is The Traitor

Emira Last is the only surviving Tomorrow Detective. She isolates atemporal outbreaks and irregular patterns that threaten the future. But time is slippery, and everyone’s not cut out for that work. Even the best are vulnerable to a peculiar kind of exhaustion, a world-weariness that comes from seeing the false starts and cyclical ebb and flow of history.

Both a culture and a race, the Tomorrow Detectives were created in the 80th century and bioengineered to withstand the impossibilities of time travel — essentially being lifted up out of our four dimensions, moved around, and plopped back down. Their bodies are not only superhumanly tough but naturally produce an impressive pharmacopeia of chemicals to help them transcend temporal consciousness.

However, the Tomorrow Detectives have been decimated by the immortal Lord Sapien, who has turned the future into a howling maw of darkness. In honor of her colleagues, Emira took the name “Last”, and uses Tomorrow Detective tech to move in and out of time, where she can make the decisions that will remove Lord Sapien from existence. Her mission is slightly complicated by the fact that Lord Sapien is in love with her, and has offered her immortality. She has of course refused, due to the fact that he committed genocide against her people. As she encounters him repeatedly throughout history, she is always refusing.

She is based in a ruined cathedral orbiting outside time, called Valida. The time travel tech, located in the claws on her hands, her earrings, and boots, uses as-yet unkown quantum technology, to create a “Tessier Object” that surrounds the wearer and relocates them in time.

Tomorrow Detective’s personal powers are twofold: to make Decisions, and to make Friends. She can make decisions of incredible complexity, which allow her to accurately reshape the past into a properly distributed future. And she can make Friends – despite herself – because she thinks everyone could be happy with a little help. This keeps her alive, but also gets her into strange entanglements.

Track: Broadcast, “City in Progress”

(notes: name originated from dBed’s random character generator.)