Thursday, November 29, 2012


"Sirrah, I am a patient man.  But only to a point."  

This would be a typical line of dialogue from the most powerful warrior in the Multicosm, right before he scorches someone with a firestorm, smacks them down with the mightiest muscles in all of space and time--or smites them with the all-crushing power of the Dragon's Tail!

When Quantum Comics Blog returns, we'll see the color versions of these drawings of Draco Rex brandishing one of the most devastating weapons in existence and learn more about the Dragon's Tail.  We'll also see the most awe-inspiring holiday event of all--the 2012 Quantum Christmas Card!  Keep looking in as the Yuletide season gets under way!

Monday, November 12, 2012


In a previous post I introduced you to Earth’s most awesome adventurers, the Environauts.  As I was brainstorming the exploits of the Nauts (which are still in the works), I naturally began to look for the other characters, heroes and villains, who would populate their stories and make their world exciting.  And it was at this time that I was browsing a Barnes & Noble  bookstore and came upon a book called When God Was a Woman.  The title intrigued me enough that I wanted to give it the flip-through, and on doing so I learned that there was once a time, before Christianity, when people worshipped a divine female creator--a monotheistic religion centered on a Goddess.  And even more intriguingly, in the religion of the Goddess, snakes were considered sacred animals!  In our culture, of course, most people live in an instinctive, phobic fear and loathing of all reptiles (except, usually, turtles).  But in the Goddess religion, snakes were revered as having a direct pipeline to divinity!  Which would lead me, in a roundabout way, to creating one of the most powerful heroes in the Quantum cast.

I have always loved reptiles.  I had iguanas as pets in high school, and for almost 16 years I had a Boa named Ralph.  I emphatically don’t share people’s general loathing of these beautiful creatures.  And I was fascinated to learn that there was once a religion that felt the same way.  It especially caught my interest because of what I knew about how Christianity had secured its power in the world, by making a disobedient woman responsible for all the ills of humanity--a woman who, according to the myth, had gone against the wishes of a male God and listened to a talking snake!  By making a woman responsible for man being cast out of Paradise and making a snake the instrument of her downfall, Christianity had effectively discredited women and reptiles for centuries to come and set itself up in an enduring patriarchy.  Well, I didn’t need a snake lobbing an apple at me to know that there was a story--perhaps a lot of stories--in that!

So, for one of the first Environauts sagas, I imagined that Lucky Star and his friends would battle a monster named Cerastes.  He would be a humanoid/dinosaur being, torn between a comic-book-advanced intelligence and an insane need to kill, destroy, and enslave other life.  Cerastes came from an alternate universe where the killer asteroid from 65 million years ago missed Earth and the Age of Reptiles never ended.  He came to this Earth as a conqueror in pre-Christian times and was responsible for human myths about dragons.  And the race of beings from which he had mutated, the more benevolent, reptilian Varons, had helped an uncomprehending humanity to stop him.  (The name Varons comes from Varanus--the scientific name of monitor lizards to which the Komodo Dragon belongs.)  The human followers of the Varons were, of course, snake-revering Goddess worshippers.  But after the rout of Cerastes, the Varons feared the cultural contamination of our world, where humans were barely into the Bronze Age.  So they took their human followers away to the place called the Junction, a kind of nexus of alternate realities, and helped them to cope with the things they had learned about the way the universe really works.  They also helped them to transform Earth’s dragons back into the birds from which Cerastes had mutated them, leaving us with only the mythology instead of the reality of dragons.

With me so far?  Good, because here’s where it gets really interesting.  By the time Cerastes struck again, the followers of the Varons had created a matriarchal, snake-and-dragon-honoring society called Varonia, composed largely but not exclusively of Anglo-Saxon and Celtic humans.  And the Varonians had learned how to create a mutagenic chemical that resembled blood, which they called the Dragonblood.  By bathing in the fateful Dragonblood, any person who had earned the privilege could emerge with superhuman powers.  (In dragon mythology, bathing in the blood of a dragon makes you invulnerable.  Learning about myths and how to use them is very valuable in storytelling, as you can see.)  During the battle between Varonia and Cersates, a family of valiant “dragon-slayers” had at their foe.  Brave Fintan Draco was slain in combat.  His wife, Tiamat, fell into the Dragonblood and nearly drowned.  And their son, Declan, dived in to save his mother.  Both were dramatically transformed.  Tiamat, because of the length and depth of her immersion, acquired cosmic-level matter/energy powers.  She was effectively a living goddess.  Declan, who had dived deep and also been deeply immersed to save his mother, grew large, powerful, dragon-like wings.  He gained virtually immeasurable strength and invulnerability, the power to summon and control any quantity of heat and fire, and the ability to take flight by using his heat powers to create air currents to support his mighty wings.  At a gesture, he could create a firestorm that could incinerate a city, call any outside fire to his hand, or snuff out any flame with a thought!  After Declan used his newfound and terrifying powers to put down Cerastes, his mother ascended to Queen of Varonia and dubbed her son Draco Rex--”King of Dragons,” the mightiest warrior in all of space and time!

So where do the Environauts come into all this?  In the story as I first saw it, Cerastes attacks Earth yet again, in the present day, and this time the Nauts come out to battle him.  In the midst of this battle they picked up an ally--Serpentyne, warrior Princess of the Realm of Varonia!  (At the time, I was interested in developing female characters in orbit of the Nauts, to appeal to the core demographic of comic books.)  The really interesting thing was what happened when I first imagined Serpentyne’s intro scene.  I saw her emerging from an access point between this world and the Junction--but much to my surprise, she didn’t come alone!  There was someone else with her, a blond male fitness-magazine type with dragon wings and the attitude of someone you’d expect to see slinging a hammer in some other comics universe.  I hadn’t planned on this character; I hadn’t thought of him or in any way deliberately set out to create him.  He was just there, unbidden, a completely spontaneous act of creation.  Moreover, he was Serpentyne’s big brother!  Somehow, this character possessed such strength and power that he had willed himself into existence out of nothingness.  And he was so forceful that once he was there I couldn’t un-create him and he practically took over the story.  He even turned out to be gay and attracted to the Environauts’ strongman, Lionel Marshall, a.k.a. The Stone (much to Lionel’s delight).  Any character who can do that without my doing anything to summon him, I reasoned, was someone I had better just accept.  So I worked with Draco Rex and modified the story to provide him with an origin, and there he was.  This is the only time a thing like that has happened to me.  Usually, as the storyteller, I’m the one doing the creating.  Draco Rex brought himself into being and hurled himself to front and center!

Next time we’ll learn about that formidable weapon you see the King of Dragons carrying.  As you may suspect, the Dragon’s Tail is far more than just a whip!