Friday, March 29, 2013


I hope you’re in the mood for some more evil, because I’ve got another purveyor of perfidy to bring a little menace into your life.  And if you thought Graeme Grimstead was something, here’s a heavy you’re sure to find hot!

In delving into the backstory of Lucky Vega and his friends before they became the Environauts--stories to be chronicled in the Environauts prequel, The Adventures of Lucky Vega--I looked for what Lucky, his father Esteban, and Lucky’s friends were up to before the four boys acquired their powers.  The idea is that before they became “super” they were still heroes.  And as I sought the adversaries of their pre-super-powered past, I came across someone as sexy as he was dangerous!

You’ll recall from previous posts that my most frequently occurring character theme is a type of character that I call “the Prince”--the man with exceptional, extraordinary qualities beyond his Quantum-worthy looks that truly put him over the top.  I defined the Prince as “the man you most want as a champion, a rescuer, a leader, and a lover.”  Until I discovered this character we’re meeting here, all of my Princes were good guys.  It didn’t occur to me that I didn’t have an evil Prince--and then along came Cabroro, Prince of the Xiil!

This kid is every bit as bad as his looks are good:  proud, arrogant, entitled, aggressive, vindictive--and dangerously intelligent.  Prince Cabroro belongs to one of a pair of rival, secret civilizations that live deep in the Amazon rain forests of South America.  They are advanced, possessed of technologies to rival Esteban Vega and Graeme Grimstead themselves.  And they are isolationists, living outside of the civilizations of the rest of the world, but routinely spying on us to ensure we pose them no threat.  

How did these cryptic cultures get that way?  Well, science is aware that there are natural resources in the Amazon rain forest that have gone yet undiscovered and untapped by the nations of the “civilized” world--things with miraculous properties that could cure otherwise fatal or crippling diseases and transform the quality of human life, if only they were not destroyed by the short-sightedness of the world’s governments and corporations.  One such is the wondrous Rumutu plant.  The roots of the Rumutu can enhance the human body, improving a person’s ability to accrue lean muscle, increasing the endurance and resistance to pain, boosting the immune system, healing diseases and disorders, even preventing birth defects and harmful mutations.  The flowers of the Rumutu affect the brain, the nervous system, and the intelligence.  Extracts from Rumutu flowers sharpen the cognitive functions, the memory, and the reflexes, and enhance the health of the brain itself.  Users of Rumutu can become borderline-superhuman.  

The Rumutu plant is one of the best-kept secrets in the world, a secret known only to two hidden Amazon tribes, the benevolent Paramati and the aggressive Xiil (pronounced “zeal”)--until one day when an expedition from America, led by the scientific visionary Esteban Vega, comes to the Amazon seeking biological secrets that might help man in his conquest of space (and which could have saved Esteban’s late wife Rosita, Lucky’s mother, who died of cancer).  Esteban, his son Lucky, and their companions stumble upon the two tribes and their secret, which sets off a dangerous rivalry between young Lucky and the proud, arrogant Prince of the Xiil tribe!  It’s a rivalry that leads to the fall and expulsion of a Prince--and the Prince’s deadly vow of revenge.  We’ll learn more about that in the next post of Quantum Comics Blog.


Of late I’ve been thinking about the design of Draco Rex, whom you’ve met in previous posts.  Specifically, I’ve been wondering about his hair.  Should he wear it so short?  Declan Draco comes from an ancient Celtic culture that was “boosted” into super-advanced intelligence and technology by the space-time-traveling Varons.  Draco’s people possess power and knowledge that we do not, but in certain ways they’ve kept true to their roots.  They’ve retained their archaic English speech pattern, and while they’ve shed the supernatural beliefs of their “Goddess” religion, they still characterize the physical creative forces of the universe as female.  I wondered, being the warrior Prince of such a culture, would he really wear his hair short when it would probably be the custom for men to wear it longer, perhaps down to the shoulders?  So I did a little experiment to see how it would look, just a quick drawing in the sketchbook.  I admit I didn’t even reference the face with his master drawing; I just whipped out the old pencil and went at it.  For that matter I didn’t even bother with his costume; that wasn’t my interest here, only the locks.  Not a bad result for a first pass, I should think.

Thursday, March 7, 2013


Professor Elise Hall never revealed the truth about the death of her fiance, Graeme Grimstead. At the urging of his uncle, Nigel Hewitt, she never spoke up about the alien Quantum Prism with which he had built his high-tech global empire and become one of the richest, most powerful men on Earth. Too many people could be hurt, said Nigel, and too many people’s livelihoods lost. So Elise kept her silence about how the very power that made Graeme a titan had destroyed him, and how in trying to help him she had hastened his destruction. That way, no one including Elise knew that Graeme wasn’t really gone.

Nigel had found his nephew’s dissipating form nearly flickering out of existence in the wreckage of the lab, and had helped him get into an undamaged containment suit. In secret, the two of them had begun to rebuild Graeme’s work. They had learned that the Quantum Prism had not been destroyed in the lab explosion, but that it was shifting randomly across the world. If they could learn to predict its appearances, they might recover it, and Graeme might yet have a chance to re-solidify both himself and his power. But this time Graeme would leave Elise out of it. He wouldn’t burden her with the fear of failing again, and possibly losing him forever. Instead he charged his uncle with the responsibility of watching over her and reporting back on everything she did.

What Elise did was to take a sabbatical from her faculty post at California Coast University. At CCU her favorite pupil was the son of another of the University’s benefactors. Lorenzo “Lucky” Vega’s father was the great Esteban Vega, the most wealthy and powerful computer tycoon in the world except for Graeme, and a man of vast and far-reaching scientific vision. Lucky himself was every bit his father’s son, widely touted as the most brilliant living American under 30. The Mexican-American youth was also a stunningly handsome male beauty--and hopelessly in love with his theoretical physics teacher. Elise had always been touched by her genius pupil and his silent but obvious adoration of her. She had remarked to Graeme how Lucky would sit in her class, watching her with “puppy dog eyes” while showing a breathtaking facility for all things scientific. On the day she left CCU, Lucky had sadly helped her empty her office. Before she climbed into her car and drove away, she kissed him on the cheek and told him, “Some day, Lucky, you’re going to make some girl very, very happy.” She didn’t see the heartbreak and despair on the young boy’s face as she left the campus, perhaps never to see him again.

But fate had other things in store for Lucky Vega and Elise Hall. After Lucky’s father died and he graduated, Earth was invaded from space by the Rief Clan of the planet Ardemius. Their alien biotechnology accidentally changed Lucky and his three closest friends into the super-powered Environauts, world-saving champions of science. And when the Environauts, having saved Earth for the first (but hardly the last) time, were celebrated at the United Nations in New York, Elise pulled some strings with influential people she’d met during her courtship with Graeme to get herself invited. During the party, Elise reintroduced herself to the admiring young student who had made her the proudest Professor in the world. But this time, the boundaries of teacher and pupil and that of an engaged woman and a younger man were no longer there. This time Elise was free to start seeing Lucky as something more than the brilliant boy with the puppy dog eyes. What she didn’t know was that other eyes were on her. Nigel was still watching--and still reporting back to his nephew. And Graeme Grimstead didn’t like what he was hearing.

However, Graeme had a plan already in place, and the young Lucky Star was unwittingly a part of it. Graeme had learned that the Quantum Prism projected invisible lines of force across the surface of Earth, and where those lines randomly intersected was where the Prism would appear. He had constructed a device to track the shifting and crossing of the lines and anticipate the alien object’s movements. All that it needed was a power source strong enough to boost its efficiency--and the powers of a given young hero would serve his needs perfectly. Using a magnetic field inducing technology, Graeme attacked Lucky and interfered with his powers to capture him. Then, he stripped the boy nearly naked and shackled him into a device that would use Lucky’s powers as a battery for the Prism-tracking device. Once Lucky was his captive, reduced to bondage for the use of his powers, Graeme had Nigel bring Elise to him.

Elise was shocked that her fiance still lived--but greater than her shock was her horror at what he was doing to brave young Lucky! She realized for the first time that the man she had thought she loved was a misanthropic, paranoid villain as he seethed with hatred of all humanity. She saw Graeme for who he really was as he continued to covet the very thing that had made twisted him with evil. “The Quantum Prism is my responsibility!” Graeme ranted. “Only I have the vision to use it as it must be used! The world is filthy, unfeeling, treacherous, a place that makes monsters! Can you imagine such power in the hands of a madman or a tyrant?”

Lucky and Elise were helpless against Graeme as he tracked the Quantum Prism to, of all places, a country club in Lake Tahoe, Nevada. Lucky’s partners, Aquarius, Cirrus, and the Stone, however, were not so helpless. They traced Lucky’s discarded costume with an emergency signal that the nanotechnology in the Environauts suits is programmed to give off if a suit is separated from its wearer, on a frequency that only the suits know, which can’t be jammed by an outside party. At once, the three remaining Nauts showed up in Lake Tahoe, angry at the abduction of their leader, and the battle was on. Graeme claimed his prize and relished his triumph--until he faced an enraged Lucky, who was justifiably livid over being abducted and used! In a moment of fury and loathing, Lucky lashed out and destroyed the Quantum Prism in Grimstead’s hand, causing both a rupture in Grimstead’s containment suit and a momentary spacetime vortex that almost engulfed the country club golf course! When all died down, it seemed that Grimstead was truly gone--but the appearance was short-lived: for the madman’s containment suits have programming of their own. The one in which he was housed at the moment of his mixed victory and defeat transmitted Grimstead into another suit at another location. From this unknown place, Grimstead transmitted a dire warning to his new foes: “You have taken from me my greatest power, with which I would have remade this wretched world. For that, from this moment onward, the four of you are all marked men. It is not a question of whether I’m going to destroy you--only how, and when. Watch your backs, Environauts--especially you, ‘Lucky Star”--and beware of Graeme Grimstead!”

So begins the greatest and most dangerous personal enmity of all time: the ongoing clash between the valiant Environauts and the deadly Graeme Grimstead, on which the fate of the world may rest. This first battle leaves the lines drawn and the hostilities declared, but it also marks the beginning of the lifelong romance of Lucky Vega and Elise Hall, which serves as more fuel for Grimstead’s hatred. Not only has Lucky destroyed the Quantum Prism, this “upstart boy” is now sharing his bed with the only woman--indeed, the only thing besides the Prism--that Graeme has ever loved. From this point on, Graeme Grimstead will live for two things. The vile and greedy world that destroyed his mother and buries the masses in the poverty that made his father a monster must be first punished, then transformed. And most of all...Lucky Vega must be crushed and the Environauts must die!

And Graeme may yet have the power to do just that: For while his Prism is gone, his immense wealth remains in every part of the world. With that wealth comes immense power, the ability to buy himself a country to use as a power base from which he cannot be removed and a platform from which he and his super-technology can threaten the rest of humanity at will. For the Environauts, Graeme Grimstead will be the nightmare that never ends. But those are all stories for another time.