Tuesday, April 23, 2013


Since our last post I’ve gotten a couple of interesting responses to our maritime marvel, Seastorm.  His costume--what there is of it and the way it’s cut--seems to have raised a couple of eyebrows among my mates over at Facebook.  Now it’s time to learn some more about how this awesome ocean-goer came to be.  Take a deep breath and let’s jump in...

I think I’ve mentioned in prior posts that I sometimes look outside of comic books for ideas; for example, to film, books, magazines, music--and television.  It is to cable TV that I owe the starting point for the origin of Seastorm.  A while ago, I think it was on Animal Planet, there was a fictionalized “documentary” about the natural history of mermaids.  It was called Mermaids:  The Body Found, and it expounds on something called “the Aquatic Ape Theory”.  This theory--unsubstantiated, to be sure, but incredibly fascinating to think about--contends that at some point in Earth’s natural history a group of pre-human apes that lived near the sea began to gravitate back to the oceans and, over the eons, were naturally selected for a completely aquatic life!  This, then, is the actual origin of what we call mermaids.  According to the fictional account on the show, what humans have seen and mythologized as people who were fish from the waist down was actually a race of beings who were more like dolphins from the waist down.  (And don’t tell me you don’t know dolphins aren’t fish.  Come on, you’re smarter than that.)  The way this theory was presented and illustrated in the show got the engines in the ship of my mind charged up to full power.  Watching this show I couldn’t help but think, I have GOT to find some use for THIS!  And as it occurred to me that I hadn’t yet perfected my own oceanic hero, I naturally looked in the direction of this concept.

What it comes down to is something a bit like the first act of the movie 2001:  A Space Odyssey, except with prehistoric “aquatic apes” instead of land-dwelling primates.  And in place of the mind-stretching Monolith, Earth’s oceans all those millions of years ago became the home of something called a Farwanderer.  

The Farwanderers are among the most mysterious beings in the universe.  They are either completely noncorporeal, or they are noncorporeal life in artificial, semi-organic host forms.  Whatever they are, they are ancient beyond imagining.  They teleport themselves across interstellar space seeking out planets containing only pre-sentient life.  Once they find such a planet, they set about raising the consciousness and directing the evolution of the highest existing life form.  The Farwanderer that came to Earth chose to work on the aquatic apes.

Once in Earth’s oceans, the Farwanderer itself took the form of an immense, whale-like cybernetic organism, kind of a cross between a Grey Whale and the submarine Nautilus.  And as the aquatic apes evolved, losing their legs and developing a lower anatomy resembling that of a dolphin while becoming more human-like from the waist up, they lived under the guidance of the Farwanderer, which gradually enhanced their intelligence.  They created a civilization for themselves in the sea--but not one like what you see in Sub-Mariner and Aquaman stories.  It bothers me to see undersea civilizations in comic books where you can stand up and walk around or use furniture and utensils on the ocean floor as if you were still on land, and drapes and fabrics hang as if they were in air instead of water, and so forth.  I have an understanding with myself that if I have beings who live underwater it’s going to be more natural and logical than that, and it’s not going to work that way.  But I’m getting off track here.  The point is that these beings, whom we’ll call Cetusians for want of a better name, have a civilization in the ocean that is older than any civilization on land and even more advanced than our own.  

The Cetusians are without aggression beyond self-defense and have no interest in dominating nature or the planet.  They have only intelligence and curiosity.  With the help of the Farwanderer, they have learned to project their minds out of the ocean to explore both the far reaches of land and the depths of outer space.  The Farwanderer has shown them planets and parts of the universe that humans have not yet imagined.  And at times the Farwanderer has allowed some of them to take human form and move discreetly, secretly, among our kind to learn about us in person.  There have been humans throughout history who have unknowingly met and been acquainted with Cetusian explorers.  

And this is all very well and good, as you can surmise--until something happens.  What happens is the story to which so much of the Quantum Comics Universe links up:  the origin of the Environauts.  The invasion of the Ardemian Rief Clan threatens both the surface and the oceans of Earth until Lucky Vega, a.k.a. Lucky Star, and his friends repel the aliens.  But in the wake of the danger, the Farwanderer is disturbed.  Advanced as they are, the peaceful and pacifistic Cetusians would have been subjugated by the Rief if they had been discovered.  What if another such threat should arise and this time not even the Environauts could see it off?  Something, the Farwanderer reasons, must be done.  The Cetusians need a protector, but the Farwanderer is not willing to try to change the Cetusians’ nature to produce one.  It wants its proteges in Earth’s oceans to remain as they are.  Fortunately, the Farwanderer has other options.

In its travels, the Farwanderer has had occasion to study--discreetly--those humans who have ventured into the sea.  And sometimes it has come upon scenes of disaster where the sea has claimed human lives.  In its curiosity the Farwanderer has seen fit to collect samples of the DNA of humans who have perished this way, and store them away for study.  So it is that when it decides to create a champion for the Cetusians, the Farwanderer reaches into its store of human genomes and re-creates a human who lost his life in the depths.  It alters the subject and endows him with mighty powers--and creates a being who will be known as Seastorm!

The reconstruction is not perfect.  The Farwanderer’s creation has the now superhumanly empowered body of a human who died at sea, but the memories are badly corrupted and almost gone.  What Seastorm knows is that he is the creation of the Farwanderer and that he is the friend and protector of the Cetusians, the defender of Earth’s oceans, and the wielder of the powers of the sea and the tempest.  (Our last post includes the full rundown of his powers.)  When he tries to remember anything more about himself, he recovers only vague memories of a life on land, and of a name:  Jonas.  As you can tell from the way Seastorm is outfitted, the Farwanderer is not impressed with human taboos about the body.  Jonas shares Wild Jon’s aversion to excess clothing.

Nevertheless, everyone who encounters Seastorm--including the Environauts themselves, with whom he soon crosses paths--is duly impressed with him!  Whatever he’s wearing (or not wearing), this is a guy to be reckoned with.  Defy him at your peril!

Who was Jonas?  Where did he come from?  What was he doing at sea and how did he perish?  Is there anything of his life remaining on land?  Is there anyone alive who would even remember him?  Indeed, how long ago did he even live, and to what part of human history did he belong?  The answer is...I honestly don’t know yet; this is brand new material that will take a while to work itself out.  But I wanted to get it at least to the state I’ve described above because the idea has really taken hold and I wanted it officially worked out in some manner.  What I’ve determined so far is that Jonas was gay and there was a man he loved and lost.  Whether he’s alive now or where he is, remains to be seen.  But it appears that Jonas/Seastorm is going to have one thing in common with the other aquatic heroes before him:  he’s going to be pulled in two different directions, devoted to the sea and the Cetusians and the Farwanderer, but always drawn to life on the land.  And sometimes those two different callings will be in conflict.  (Indeed the way he dresses--or doesn’t dress--is likely to be a conflict in itself!)  All of which makes this pelagic powerhouse another fascinating addition to the Quantum cast.  As Herman Melville wrote:  “There is one knows not what sweet mystery about this sea, whose gently awful stirrings seem to speak of some hidden soul beneath.”

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


Here’s another one of those characters without which a cast of comic-book heroes is not complete.  You’ve got to have the sea-going, aquatic hero, the champion of the ocean.  For the Quantum Comics Universe, that character is more than just a tempest in a teapot.  He’s a full-on Seastorm.

For the excitingly enigmatic Seastorm, I wanted a character who would be a match for a certain well-known Avenging Son.  That character’s theme song from an old animated TV series that was my first attraction to comic books still gives me a tingle whenever I remember it:  “Stronger than a whale, he can swim anywhere./He can breathe underwater and go flying through the air...!”  So, for my Seastorm, I wanted a character who would be the successor of that Prince of Atlantis--but of course he had to be a distinctly “J.A. Fludd” creation.  I thought I had the character exactly right for a while, but just in the last few days I came up with a better approach to him than I originally had, and I took down the initial concept and did a complete rebuild from, shall we say, the shoreline up.

So, Seastorm is stronger than a whale and can breathe anywhere, and yes, he can breathe underwater and go flying through the air.  But his powers go way beyond that.  The man otherwise known only as Jonas is strong enough to give a serious battle to the strongest Quantum heroes like the Stone and the Satellite, even the Bearcat.  He can resist the pressures and temperatures of the most extreme ocean environments, and indeed “swim anywhere” there is water enough to swim through.  He can see underwater at any depth.  His lean and perfectly sculpted body extracts oxygen directly from the water into his bloodstream.  But from here onward he gets even more awesome.  

Jonas can control any fluid medium.  Not just liquids--fluids.  Scientifically, a liquid is “any substance having a consistency like that of water or oil.”  A fluid is any substance that flows, which covers both liquids like water and gases like the air around us.  Jonas’s powers cover liquids and fluids.  In water, he can change, direct, accelerate, or slow down the movement of any current.  He can actually alter the density and pressure of water to use it as a weapon.  Imagine being swept up in an irresistible whirlpool, or dragged down to the ocean floor by an undersea vortex, or dashed against a reef by a super-powerful current.  Seastorm can do that, and can also torpedo himself through water at super-speeds over great distances.  On the surface of the ocean, he can summon a waterspout.  On land, he can create vortexes, gales, or focused thunderstorm or typhoon effects.  He can change water from liquid to vapor and back again with a thought.  He can also lift himself into the air and fly as fast as an Air Force jet.  With this and his strength, this is not a guy you want angry with you.

And then there are his other powers.  Seastorm can communicate with all cetaceans--the family of marine mammals that includes whales, dolphins, and porpoises.  They’re all his allies, meaning if you must battle Seastorm you may also have to contend with a posse of Orca whales who have his back.  And there are other beings in the sea who are Seastorm’s friends and also under his protection.  Who are they, and how did Jonas become their champion?  If you think they’re the denizens of an “Atlantis” like the one ruled by that other Prince of the Deep...come back for the next Quantum Comics Blog where we’ll all “fathom” together the awesome origin of Seastorm.  It’s 20,000 leagues above boring!

Saturday, April 6, 2013


So, as we learned last time, Dr. Esteban Vega led an expedition into the rain forests of the Amazon in search of rare, possibly endangered, biological treasures that might be a boon to humanity and an aid in his initiative to make humans more ready for life in outer space.  With him were his then-teenage son, Lucky; and Lucky’s fitness and self-defense instructor, Paloma Reyes.  Accompanying them was one of Esteban’s associates in the space project, Jack Samson.  The world’s greatest health, exercise, and fitness mogul, Samson owned a national chain of gyms and had his own best-selling line of exercise and workout gear and fitness supplements, and was the publisher of Samson Magazine, the men’s exercise bible.  Jack had come into Esteban’s project as a consultant on the aspect of helping space travelers retain muscle mass and bone density in space.  And tagging along with Samson was his own son, Todd, a handsome and buffed young lad learning his father’s business.

The expedition’s guide brought them into an area where few white men or outsiders had ever visited, deep in the forest.  Here, the group’s botanist found a species of plant that she had never encountered.  Before she could study the unidentified flora in detail, the group was set upon by a group of youths who could have stepped right out of a Brazilian edition of Samson.  The youths, led by one named Cabroro, accused the Vega party of trespassing on the lands of the Xiil Tribe and attacked with the intent of capturing them.  In the ensuing melee, Lucky used battle moves taught him by Paloma to knock down Cabroro and get the upper hand over him--until more natives arrived and interrupted the whole tableau.  These were members of yet another tribe, the Paramati, who disputed the Xiil’s claim over this part of the outlying territory in the part of the rain forest that both tribes shared.  Which side was in the right?  Cabroro didn’t care; the outsider called “Lucky” had personally humiliated him in his attempt to defend the borders of the Xiil, and as Prince of the Tribe he would have satisfaction.  

The Xiil withdrew for the time being, with Cabroro’s threat hanging over Lucky.  The Vega party went with the Paramati to the heart of their territory and began to learn the incredible secrets of the advanced societies living hidden in the rain forest.  The Paramati and the Xiil both possessed a command of science that would have done Esteban himself proud, and they owed it all to the amazing properties of the Rumutu plant and how it affected the two rival tribes in mind and body, a heritage passed down over centuries on both sides.  The Paramati and the Xiil knew all about the outside world and had in fact been observing the nations of North America and Europe for years, but they had maintained their isolationism to protect the secret of the Rumutu from possibly dangerous foreign hands.  But now Zavio, leader of the Paramati, judged that it was too dangerous to keep Dr. Vega and his son in the dark:  for the aggressive and headstrong Cabroro would soon seek his revenge on Lucky for daring to strike him down in battle, and the Vegas must know what they were facing.

Sure enough, Cabroro and his father Guldaan, leader of the Xiil, came barging into the Paramati Royal Court, demanding a duel of honor between Cabroro and Lucky--a battle that Lucky would surely never survive.  The Vega party would not be permitted to leave the rain forest until the duel was ended, and if they tried to escape or the Paramati aided them in such an effort, it would end the truce between the two rival tribes.  His back to the wall, young Lucky had no choice but to accept Cabroro’s challenge.  However, Princess Ixia of the Paramati fancied the young American and decided secretly to help him.  She arranged a clandestine meeting in which she served Lucky a Rumutu tea that would fortify him enough to stand a chance against the Xiil Prince.  Lucky spent that night in the Princess’s bed, a fitting “first time” for the brilliant and exceptional boy.

The duel proceeded.  As Esteban and company watched, powerless to do anything else, Esteban gave orders to Paloma:  “No matter what happens, we are not going to let this strutting fool kill my son.  If it becomes necessary, you will save Lucky by any means you must, we will get him out of here, and we will let the Paramati and the Xill fight it out between them.”  Paloma understood and accepted her employer’s orders.  As fate would have it, the Rumutu-enhanced Lucky faced Cabroro in a furiously fought battle with both tribes watching--and in the end, Lucky fell at Cabroro’s feet!  But in a twist, before Paloma could step in, Cabroro himself, battered to the limit of his endurance, fell along with his opponent!  Cabroro had triumphed--but he had not won cleanly and decisively as he vowed!  His Princely honor now stained, Cabroro now had no choice but to accept banishment from his own tribe until such time as he redeemed himself in the eyes of his shamed father!

The Vega party left the land of the Paramati and Xiil, but the fallout of this encounter would go on for years to come.  Esteban took a sample of Lucky’s blood and preserved it before the Rumutu derivatives in his blood could break down; these extracts would be a vital component of the hormone-enzyme cocktail in the Samson-Vega Patch, which would eventually be what transformed Olympic champion Travis Roykirk into the World Champion.  And the fallen Prince Cabroro, with his loyal entourage of young male Xiil courtiers, left the tribe and traveled into the outside world, where he would gather wealth and resources for himself, and plot and scheme and wait and bide his time, until the moment came for him to strike back at Lucky Vega and take his ultimate revenge.  So it is that one night, Cabroro is ready.  He and his followers stand on a hillside overlooking Los Angeles at sunset, and as the sky darkens and the city lights up before them, the vengeful Prince vows, “Before we have departed this city, the accursed Lorenzo Vega shall have learned at last that Cabroro, Prince of the Xiil, is his master!”

Pride and power make a dangerous combination--and never more so than in the person of an angry young Prince.


We interrupt this comics Blog to bring you a message from another dimension, whose boundaries are those of the imagination.  There's the signpost up ahead; it's J.A. Fludd in...The Twilight Zone!