Random Rejection: Allied Comics

So remember how I said I never throw away anything?  Check out this little chestnut:


“Battalion” was a superhero comic I put together, with a team consisting mainly of my old characters from various superhero RPGs I used to play back in the day, including some names that would be familiar to the old writers on the SUNY Potsdam “Marvel Mania” storyboard — Bludgeon, Cyberhawk, Blackbow, and possibly Snare, Pawn, and Rainbow.  Actually, definitely Rainbow; now that I think about it, I renamed Blackbow to “Blackfire” to avoid having two characters whose name ended in “-bow” on the team.  Of course, now Rainbow sounds like one member of the group was a vacuum cleaner.  Pawn, Blackbow, and Rainbow only had bit parts on Marvel Mania, but they did turn up, as I recall.  And the villain of the initial storyline was, of course, Thunderbolt, took over as the primary Marvel Mania antagonist for a while.

What’s that?  What is “Marvel Mania”, you ask?  Well, I’ll tell you!  It was an essentially BBS/forum-based collaborative writing system that, back in the olden days of no public Internet, ran on the college VAX at SUNY Potsdam, and to which various students contributed.  It was divided into “Issues”, and each person would write a few chapters of each issue, building on that the previous writers had done.  There wasn’t much in the way of formal organizing or editing, so people pretty much did what they wanted with it, yet it somehow tended to coalesce into actual coherent story arcs with beginnings, middles, and ends.  In fact, I have nearly all of the chapters that I worked on (only one, involving part of an arc called “The Long Dark Night”, has gone missing), but I don’t have them posted* because (1) there’s lots of stuff in it that I didn’t write, so I don’t have the right to post it, (2) it was nearly thirty freaking years ago and re-reading it now is slightly embarrassing, and (3), “real” Marvel characters regularly make appearances, and — oh, hi Disney lawyer!  Sure, you can have my house and car.

So anyway, Allied Comics was a short-lived publisher back in what Dennis would call “the mithikal sitty of utica”, which, if I remember correctly, eventually became a comic book store.  I don’t remember what books, if any, they actually put out or how long they lasted as a publisher.  I do think I went to that comic book show to talk to them, but that nothing came of it.  This may be how I ended up finding an artist named Trevor to do the illustrations, which I definitely needed, because I can’t draw.  Unfortunately nothing ever came of the illustrations, either.  But we don’t need to go through all that again.  Or maybe I was already working with Trevor at that point, since I evidently had gone through “a large amount of expense and paper”, which most likely would have involved artwork.  I just don’t remember.  I may suffer from CRS, but in my defense, this was nearly 25 years ago, and back then we didn’t have Facebook or Twitter keeping track of everything we did.  We didn’t even have MySpace.

*Well all right, since you insist, here’s a sample of what “Marvel Mania” used to look like.  I wrote this one, it doesn’t really involve any actual Marvel characters (other than “The Marvel Bullpen”, which is the tag I used when not writing as any particular character), and it’s short enough not to be too embarrassing. So it’s okay. We’re cool.

-< The Story Board >-
Note 17.0                     Issue 66 -> The Jaunt                   20 replies
SPOTVB::VISCOS78 “The Marvel Bullpen”                 4 lines  14-JAN-1991 20:21
It’s a new semester, and a new issue of Marvel.  The heroes are gone to God (and the writers) knows where, leaving Thunderbolt and his cronies ALL ALONE!  Think they’ll waste the opportunity?

Neither do we.
Note 17.1                     Issue 66 -> The Jaunt                      1 of 20
SPOTVB::VISCOS78 “Thunderbolt”                       25 lines  14-JAN-1991 20:36
-< Bye Guys! >-

Thunderbolt, spying on Our Heroes on his viewscreen, watched in amazement as the Statue of Liberty was reduced to something that resembled a green Oscar.  “I gotta get one of those gizmos,” he said thoughtfully.  “I could decorate my room with all kinds of stuff. Bellevue, the Eiffel Tower, the Moon … hey, what’s that?”  Exenetor had just ripped open some kind of wormhole, and the members of CHESS were escaping through it.

Theodore Garr sat up in his chair.  “You can’t do that!” he screamed.  “You can’t get away!  I planned this too well!”  He began pounding his fist on the console.  “No!  No!  No!” he shouted.

Then they were all gone.  Thunderbolt’s spy satellite relayed pictures of the deserted Liberty Isle.  Not even the statue remained.

Slowly a smile spread across the mutant’s face.  THEY WERE ALL GONE.  That meant that, until they returned, he could do whatever he wanted, without having to worry about Bludgeon punching his head off or Reaper sticking one of those claws up his … but he didn’t even want to think about that.

“Hm,” mused Thunderbolt.  He glanced at the readout from his killer satellite.  If his calculations were correct (which, of course, they were), he should have killed half a million people by now, mostly the young and the elderly, along with those who were ill.  Maybe he should let the rest of them live … his hand moved to the controls, then stopped.  “Fuck ’em,” he said. He stood and strode out of the room; he had things to do.  He was a busy man.

He was conquering the world.

That’s right, the Storyboard WAS ALL PLAIN TEXT.  No animations, no dancing GIFs, no embedded videos, no nothing.  Just green (or maybe amber) text on a terminal with a black (or maybe greenish-black) background.  Dark, dark days indeed.  Just to clarify one error in the preceding text, though:  The writers had no freaking clue where the heroes had gone.  Who could plan that far ahead?

Oh, and, yes, the astute reader may discern that Thunderbolt is musing about using a shrink ray to steal the Moon.  Sound familiar?  You’re welcome, producers of “Despicable Me”.  Feel free to send me a check any time.

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