Saturday, October 10, 2015

Case File: Triune Understanding


Jonathan Tremont
Type: Religious Cult / Terrorist Organization
Leader(s): "The Master" (Jonathan Tremont), Master Khan
Members: "Yi Yong" (Bill Waters), dozens of other cultists
Threat: Low
Purpose: Publicly, the enlightenment of mankind; privately, to build a psychic army and set off a nuclear conflagration.
Status: Defunct since 1974

Background: Jonathan Tremont was a part-time regional vacuum salesman in Northern California when he was recruited by Master Khan (CASE FILE 010) for unknown purposes. Tremont reportedly spendt several months in 'the Orient' before returning a changed man. Tremont, previously a small-time loser, grew a beard and dubbed himself 'The Master', purchased a secluded ranch home and converted it into a cult headquarters. He soon was a regular fixture in Haight Ashbury, recruiting spiritual seekers, drug burnouts, and the mentally ill to live on his compound.

The Understanding Ranch soon became renowned for its wild parties, with a number of minor celebrities visiting to 'attend to their spiritual growth'. Among these was Bob Diamond (CASE FILE 011), best known for his starring role in the Special Forces film franchise. Diamond was disturbed at what he saw at the ranch and contacted SHIELD agent Jimmy Woo to investigate.

Meanwhile, the Triune Understanding's aggressive recruiting in inner city neighborhoods attracted Harlem-based karate champion "Downtown" Abe Brown when his students were targeted. Conducting a separate investigation, Brown soon ran into Agent Woo and Diamond, the three of them forming 'The Sons of the Tiger'. After a daring raid on the Triune Compound, the Sons discovered evidence of a psychic breeding program as well as a plot to activate the United States' nuclear stores through telekinesis.

After the fall of the Triune Understanding, Jonathan Tremont was imprisoned and began writing a tell-all of his experiences, but was found dead of apparent suicide while in solitary confinement. Unfortunately, Tremont's notes were incinerated in a wastebasket.

Bill Waters
Notes: Although defunct, the Triune Understanding's psychic experiments may directly impact the disappearance of Michael Silk (CASE FILE 008). Further, there is some evidence that the Understanding's mysterious backer, Master Khan, may still be active.

During the investigation of Michael Silk's disappearance, Agent Schilling (CASE FILE 003) interviewed former Understanding member Bill Waters (formerly Yi Yong) who confirmed much of the above story. The meeting was interrupted, however, by the appearance of two Chinese assassins who declared that Waters an enemy of the Khan. Following a brief battle at a Shoney's in upstate New York, Waters was placed in the ICU and remains in critical condition.

Case File: Michael Silk

Michael Silk
CASE FILE 008: Michael Silk

AKA: No known aliases
Occupation: High School Student, Midtown High
Identity: Publicly known
Type: Unaffiliated Human
Legal Status: United States citizen with no criminal record
Place of Birth: Northern California
Marital Status: Single
Known Relatives: Martha Silk (mother), Jonathan Tremont (father), Billie Myers (adopted mother), Donovan Myers (adopted father)
Group Affiliation: Midtown Tigers (baseball team)

History: Michael is the son of cult leader Jonathan Tremont, the head of the now-defunct Triune Understanding (CASE FILE 009), and Martha Silk, a schizophrenic drug burnout, cultist, and possible psychic. Reports indicate that Tremont, who dubbed himself 'The Master', was recruiting and breeding psychics at the behest of the real Master, known as Khan (CASE FILE 010). Michael, it appears, was part of this program, although he was not registered a psychic when interviewed by SHIELD Psy-Ops Director Marvin Flumm (CASE FILE 018). When the Triune Compound was brought down by the Sons of the Tiger (CASE FILE 011), Michael was released into the custody of his mother, Martha.

The Silks relocated to a remote cabin in the Finger Lakes region of New York where Michael was raised under cult doctrine. Martha homeschooled her son until age 10 when Social Services deemed her unfit due to mental incompetence. Jimmy Woo (formerly of the Sons of the Tiger, now SHIELD agent) arranged for a friend in the State Department, Billie Myers, to adopt Michael. Billie and her husband Donovan have since raised Michael (now age 16) until his recent disappearance.

Michael was initially shy and withdrawn, but had recently fallen in love with baseball and had joined the team at the prompting of his best friend, Hector Alaya. He had even met his first girlfriend, Carmilla Black. Not everything was perfect, however. Michael believed that he was haunted by the ghost of his deceased mother, who was determined to ruin her son's life. Reports indicate a history of psychokinetic manifestations in Michael's vicinity (which does lend credibility to this theory).
Carmilla Black

While showering before a major game between the Midtown Tigers and their rivals, the Murray Hill Pioneers, the shower pipes 'came to life', breaking from the walls and chased Michael, spraying boiling water. Michael fled the school and has not been seen since. Agent Brand Schilling of SHIELD (CASE FILE 003) has been assigned the case.

Notes: Schilling has interviewed Billie and Donovan Myers, Jimmy Woo, Marvin Flumm, and former Triune Understanding member Bill Waters, aka 'Yi Yong'. There was also an aborted attempt to speak with Michael's girlfriend, Carmilla, but she proved resistant to interviewing.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Case File: The Night People

Stu, Our Archivist
Hi, Stu Cicero here. I'm the sole employee of Infusion, Inc., a start-up tech firm run by the hero Arsenal. He hasn't had a lot of luck drumming up investors, so to stay busy I've started putting together these 'case files' on the various allies and enemies of his team, the New Wave.

CASE FILE 007: The Night People

Type: Enemy Organization
Leader(s): Brother Wonderful (Abner Doolittle), Brother Inquisitor, Brother Dickens
Members: Brother Broomstick, Brother Forget-Me-Not, Sister Peach Pie, Sister Gladiola, Sister Sweet, presumably any number of other homeless / mentally ill people who went by similar aliases
Threat: Low
Purpose: To create an extradimensional refuge for New York's homeless and mentally ill 'zeroes'
Status: Defunct, although the organization's leadership is free and presumably active

Zero Street in the Negative Zone
Background: Formed by Nobel prize-winning physicist Abner Doolittle while institutionalized at the Zero Street Asylum following a nervous breakdown, the Night People are comprised of the Asylum's inmates and a network of affiliated homeless people. Doolittle designed the 'Nth Projector', a device capable of penetrating dimensional barriers, in his private work space at Zero Street (presumably, given his academic credentials, the staff treated him very well). Doolittle used this device to transport the asylum (and the city block on which it resided) to an alternate dimension dubbed 'the Negative Zone'.

Doolittle, now calling himself Brother Wonderful, led the inmates of Zero Street in an all-out rebellion against the staff. Instituting a cult hierarchy with a grand Utopian vision, Brother Wonderful appointed two lieutenants (Brother Dickens and Brother Inquisitor) and soon disappeared into his lab, leaving the day-to-day operations to them. Dickens, a petty thief with grand ambitions, and Brother Inquisitor, a sadistic fanatic dedicated wholeheartedly to Doolittle's vision, soon came into conflict. The tension between the two was temporarily stayed due to the circumstances of their harsh environment: a low-gravity asteroid field that, while possessing a breathable atmosphere, was inhabited by hostile insectoids. Unable to procure necessities from their local environs, Dickens organized teams of hunter-gatherers to raid New York via the Nth Projector while Brother Inquisitor fortified Zero Street against alien incursion.
Abner Doolittle, aka Brother Wonderful

These interdimensional raids targeted grocery and department stores, which in turn attracted the attention of my boss, Arsenal, and independent super hero The Unwavering Chop, who each faced the Night People separately before teaming up to stop their midnight mischief at Macy's. It was during this conflict that our heroes were transported with the Night People to Zero Street. Held captive within the asylum, the two heroes were released to join the Night People in the defense of Zero Street, which came under assault by amassing insectoid forces. It was only when the asylum was overrun (and Wonderful's lieutenants had fled) that Wonderful finally submitted, transporting the asylum back to Earth. Arsenal and Chop then helped round up Brother Wonderful and the defeated Night People.

Notes: Both Brother Inquisitor and Brother Dickens escaped during the siege of Zero Street and remain at large. Abner Doolittle's bail was paid by a high-priced legal firm and is now free. Their activities remain unknown. Additionally, Zero Street was the largest mental health institution in New York and, as a consequence of its destruction, the city's asylums have become overburdened, which may lead to problems further down the road.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Unofficial Handbook to the Marvel Universe: Rex Powerfist

Here are the statistics for one of our four regular players, David Lewis Johnson, who form the team 'The New Wave'.
Art by David Lewis Johnson


F            RM (30)
A           EX (20)
S            EX (20)
E           GD (10)
R           GD (10)
I            EX (20)
P           EX (20)
Health: 80
Karma: 50
Resources: TY (6)
Popularity: GD (11)  

Real Name:
 Reggie Hamhock
Occupation: Boxer
Legal Status: Citizen of the United States, no known criminal record
Identity: Secret
Former Aliases: None
Place of Birth: New York, New York
Marital Status: Single
Known Relatives: None
Group Affiliation: The New Wave
Base of Operations: Hell's Kitchen, Manhattan, New York
First Appearance: Marvel '84 #1, January, 2015

Martial Arts Supremacy: Remarkable (30)
Mental Invisibility: Excellent (20)
Anti-Telepathy: Excellent (20), opponents must roll Psyche against Anti-Telepathy to notice Rex Powerfist unless directly confronted

Equipment: Leather Armor: PR (4), Shuriken: GD (10) damage
Talents: Skateboarding, Thrown Objects, Martial Arts B, Martial Arts C, Martial Arts E, Tumbling
Contacts: "King" Solomon, The Fatboys

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Why 1984?

You may have noticed that all of the content from the previous blog references Marvel '78, yet this blog is called Marvel '84. What happened?

Blame Mark Gruenwald and Tom DeFalco.

As I've been tooling around with this project over the last few months one thing that I realized was that I was really missing some of the stories of my youth, comics with a lighter tone and a sense of fun. Marvel '78 was starting to look like it was going to be  downer.

It was looking nothing like Marvel Two-In-One.

Marvel Two-In-One (henceforth referred to as MTIO) was a staple of comics collecting when I was a youth with a limited budget. I'd constantly buy from the quarter bin, and that meant lesser lights of the bronze age; MTIO, in particular, was a perennial favorite.  The best stories from MTIO were those of Gruenwald and DeFalco. Both made comics that were breezy and a joy to read, four-color adventure yarns that celebrated Marvel's vast canon. Gruenwald was the champion of lost comics, weaving together a tapestry of characters and storylines from cancelled series and replaced creators to create something that not only satisfied fans of those comics but which made it all feel like one big interconnected world. DeFalco had a soft spot for underdogs and working class baddies, whether that be the Thing doing his best Rocky impression against a space god or having a beer with jobber super-villain Sandman.

These two writers would each reach their career apex as writers in the late '80s / early '90s, with Gruenwald's marathon run on Captain America and DeFalco penning Thor for several years, two of my favorite 'modern' comics hitting the stands. I briefly thought about going with Marvel '88, being not only a good time in each of their respective careers but also when I was six years old. They say that when you are six years old is the real golden age of science fiction, and that holds true for comics, too.

Yet I still wanted comics with grit, that let a little of the night in. After all, I was reading (and loving) Ann Nocenti's Daredevil right beside Gruenwald's Captain America, where the ol' Hornhead was dealing with corrupt politicians and leaders of industry, living among the homeless, the mentally ill, and the addicted. Did I really want to throw all that away? No, these were two sides of the same coin, and part of what made Marvel great: the ability to tell a variety of stories all while sharing the same universe.

So, Marvel '84 is my compromise position: a world where guys like Stilt-Man rob helicopters in broad daylight but also a place where thuggish gangsters and sinister conspiracies rule the night.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Marvel '78: Mixtape '78

The following is a post from my D&D blog, Rogues and Reavers, and many of the ideas laid out here will act as the foundation for this blog and its associated campaign, Marvel '84. I'll be tweaking these ideas to fit my current whims (which will be detailed in upcoming posts).

One thing that I love about New York in the late '70s and early '80s is the incredible diversity of music that emerges during this period. NY Punk, No Wave, Post-Disco, Latin Freestyle, Salsa, Electro, Rap, Garage and Dance-Punk all emerge from a fusion of cultures emerging at places like the Mudd Club, Paradise Garage and the Danceteria.

To get a taste of New York music during that era, here is a mixtape that I made for you.

Oh, and some pictures:

Marvel '78: Appendix N

The following is a post from my D&D blog, Rogues and Reavers, and many of the ideas laid out here will act as the foundation for this blog and its associated campaign, Marvel '84. I'll be tweaking these ideas to fit my current whims (which will be detailed in upcoming posts).

Black Panther
Priest, Christopher: Black Panther (1998), The Crew

Black Widow
Conway, Gerry: The Coldest War
Grayson, Devin: Black Widow (1999)
Macchio, Ralph: Bizarre Adventures, Marvel Fanfare
Morgan, Richard K: Black Widow: The Things They Say About Her

Captain America
Brubaker, Ed
Priest, Christopher: Captain America & Falcon

Miller, Frank: Daredevil (1964)
Nocenti, Ann: Daredevil (1964)

Lapham, David: Deadpool MAX

McDuffie, Dwayne: Deathlok (1991), Deathlok (1992)

Doctor Strange
Ditko, Steve: Strange Tales (1951)
Pak, Greg: Doctor Strange: Season One
Stern, Roger: Doctor Strange (1974), Doctor Strange and Doctor Doom: Triumph and Torment
Vaughn, Brian K.: Doctor Strange: The Oath

Wolfman, Marv: Tomb of Dracula (1972)

Miller, Frank: Elektra: Assassin, Elektra Lives Again

Ghost Rider
Aaron, Jason: Ghost Rider: Heaven's On Fire, Vicious Cycle
Ennis, Garth: Ghost Rider: Road to Damnation
Mackie, Howard: Ghost Rider (1990)
Stern, Roger: Ghost Rider (1973)

Ennis, Garth: Druid, Hellstorm: Prince of Lies

Pak, Greg and Van Lente, Fred: Herc

Heroes for Hire
Abnett, Dan and Lanning, Andy: Heroes for Hire (2011)
Brubaker, Ed: The Immortal Iron Fist
Duffy, Mary Jo: Power Man & Iron Fist

I, Zombie
Gerber, Steve: Tales of the Zombie

Jessica Jones
Bendis, Brian Michael: Alias

Legion of Night
Gerber, Steve: Legion of Night (1991)

Gerber, Steve: Adventure into Fear, Man-Thing (1974)

Marvel Boy
Morrison, Grant: Marvel Boy (2000)

Moon Knight
DeMattias, J.M.: Marc Spector: Moon Knight
Moench, Doug: Moon Knight (1980)

Vaughn, Brian K.: Mystique

Nick Fury
Ennis, Garth: Fury, Fury MAX
Harras, Bob: Nick Fury vs SHIELD

Nicieza, Fabien: Nomad (1990), Nomad (1992)

Aaron, Jason: Punisher MAX
Ennis, Garth
Grant, Steven: Punisher (1986)
Rucka, Greg: Punisher (2011)

Moench, Doug: Master of Kung-Fu

Conway, Gerry: Spectacular Spider-Man, Web of Spider-Man
Defalco, Tom: Amazing Spider-Man
Stern, Roger: Amazing Spider-Man 

Terror, Inc.
Chichester, D.G.: Terror, Inc. (1992)

Remender, Rick: Venom (2011)

War Machine
Pak, Greg: War Machine (2009)

Aaron, Jason: Wolverine: Weapon X
Claremont, Chris: Wolverine (1982), Kitty Pryde & Wolverine
David, Peter: Marvel Comics Presents
Hama, Larry: Wolverine (1988)