Wednesday, 7 September 2011
Redesigns: Public Domain Golden Age Superheroes
Ace of Space
Ace Egan found a crashed UFO in the year 1940. He decided to use the ship's advanced technological wonders to combat criminals and Nazis as the costumed aviator the Ace of Space.
The first thing that came into my mind when I stumbled upon Ace was 'flying saucer'. He has the technology... wouldn't it make sense AND look really cool if he learned how to pilot one? Once I had that down, all sorts of possibilities came to light. A remote control panel on his belt, so he can pilot the craft from afar. Perhaps the saucer can be shrunk for easier storage, to the size of a frisbee or even a coin! Maybe the saucer even has its own version of a chameleon circuit, enabling it to camouflage itself as a fighter plane. Most of that may not come across from this picture alone, but needless to say, I think it's a damn shame this character isn't more famous today.
While working as a nuclear scientist at the "Atomic Institute," Barry Dale absorbs the "power of the atom" through unconscious exposure to nuclear materials and gains superpowers as a result. As described by Barry himself: "Evidently my body is so geared as a result of working on radium and uranium that it can explode atoms and give me atomic strength." He uses his new abilities -- such as super strength, flight, speed, invulnerability, "atomic vision," and the ability to heat his body so that he can weld metal with his hands -- to fight crime.
As plenty of us comic book lovers know by now, radiation = bad, not powers. Exposure to radium or urianium or whateverium would have made Barry Dale very sick indeed. But, of course, if I go for hyper-realism, I've ended up with no superhero and one dead scientist. So let's say, Barry didn't get flight or super-strength or atomic vision (whatever that is) but rather... suffered a slight mutation. Let's say he is now able to store and expel tremendous amounts of energy and/or radiation. Obviously such a phenomenon would not be entirely healthy, leading to Barry's slow and painful cellular degradation. So, for argument's sake, let's say Dr.Dale was able to completely convert his body into energy. Through years of training and experimentation in neural engineering, Barry Dale is now living energy. Perhaps not technically a 'master of the atom', but I figured if a guy wearing a gold-titanium alloy armoured suit can call himself 'Iron Man', Barry can call himself Atomaster.
Alan Lanier, a wealthy playboy, inspired by the story of the Hunchback of Notre Dame, put on a hunchback costume to fight crime as the Hunchback. The only one who knew his secret identity was his girlfriend Betty. His adversaries included the crime lord called the Scorpion.
I see this guy as Bruce Wayne without the gadgets, but with twice the theatricality. I love the idea of a split personality and perhaps Lanier might even identify more with the hideous hunchback, much like Bruce sees himself more as the bat than a playboy. Maybe not so much a technical genius, but more of an expert in make-up. Perhaps Lanier could give Lon Chaney a run for his money?
Lady Satan and her fiancé were victims of a German bombing while on a ship. It sunk, and her fiancé died, so Lady Satan took an oath to be the foe of the Nazis. Donning a mask and waltzing about in an evening dress, Lady Satan traveled unnoticed through the streets of Nazi occupied France as she fought the German invaders. She was a sorceress who fought against the occult using powerful magic that allowed her to do just about anything. She also wore a ring in the shape of a serpent which could release gasses derived from “dragon scales” that allowed her to “unveil the shadow world."
I liked this origin story, so all I did was streamline the costume, lose the ring and evening dress, and give her a more menacing devil mask. As a non-believer in the supernatural, I see her more as a trickster or magician, whose special effects know-how can fool anyone into thinking she possesses the powers of the devil himself.