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Welcome to Brainstorm's Corner, a monthly springboard showcase. A springboard, basically a one-page prose summary of a comic book story, is the format used for submitting stories to companies such as DC Comics. In one page, a writer must describe the plot while also trying to make it as intriguing as possible. It's quite a challenge!

Brainstorm's Corner gives YOU, the reader, the chance to critique the story before a writer sends it off to every editor at DC. So let Fanzing know…would you pay to read this? If not, why not?

CAPTAIN COMET

art and proposal by Kurt Belcher
coloring by Joey Fuentes

I want to do for Captain Comet what Robinson has done for Starman over in that title.

I want to take this all-but-forgotten Silver Age character and bring him kicking and screaming into the 21st century. Explore the character, his supporting cast, enemies and serious science fiction on a cosmic scale.

One of the minor points that will be stressed in this new comic is Adam Blake's feelings of alienation from his own race. Blake is NOT a meta-human, but a mutant – a mutant whose kind won't be seen on Earth for another 100,000 years. He has powers that make him stronger, more intelligent and more advanced that any other 'normal' human on Earth. But that's also what makes him an outsider to the human race.

This is why he wanders the stars, the only one of his kind and completely alone.

Captain Comet

One thing that will definitely be explored is Blake's past. We have a sketchy account of Blake's life before he entered the super-hero scene, back in the early '50s, but there are little or no details. We know that he was born in 1931, under a comet's passing – with said comet guaranteeing him a life of greatness, and making him a being ahead of his time.

As he grew up, we know that he studied with (and was studied by) the noted scientist Dr. Emil Zackro, who would leave a lasting impression upon the young Adam Blake, giving him a lifelong thirst for knowledge and the truth. He helped the young mutant perfect the abilities that the comet's passing had gifted him with: telekinesis, telepathy, a photographic memory and being an inventive genius by the day's standard. By this point, he has learned a wealth of knowledge from alien technology, and has built himself an incredibly advanced new 'Cometeer' from what he has gathered.

The series over the first year will focus on Comet's travels throughout the galaxy, righting wrongs where he can and helping those in need. He will uncover a murderer on the ice-world of Aello, hear a ghost story in the orbit of the destroyed world Bolovax Vik, bust up a pirate ring on the artificial planet called Portworld, and battle an ages-old menace throughout the Vegan System.

We will be witness to the rounding out of Comet's current personality, from his affinity for '40s 'Big Band' music, to the dog-eared pulps and ancient science fiction books he still carries. He doesn't often talk about it, but he was the original inspiration for Robert A. Heinlein's 'Michael Valentine Smith' from 'Stranger in a Strange Land'.

Also peppered throughout the series will be 'Extraordinary Life', my versions of Robinson's 'Times Past', giving us some insight into Blake's past. In the first, Blake is recruited by the police at the age of 15 to use his powers to help them find a missing child. His success on the job will bring him attention by a few of the heroes of the time, Green Lantern and Starman.

By the end of the first year, Comet will have met several new friends that will stick with throughout the majority of the series. The cat-like smuggler named Churljenkins – a former associate of the meta-human Blasters and Snapper Carr's ex-girlfriend – who takes a fancy to Comet himself. Comet doesn't pay much attention at first, being mostly concerned with his science studies and his self-appointed job of galactic policeman. But he will come around.

Comet will also come to meet three of Churl's former associates in the Blasters: Carlotta Rivera, the human electromagnetic field called Jolt; her friend, Gunther the Dominator; and the new Orleans confidence man Amos Monroe, called Crackpot. Jolt and Gunther have been adventuring throughout the galaxy, while Crackpot has taken an interest in interstellar crime, and has built himself quite a list of contacts across dozens of worlds.

When Comet ends up at the space-city called Gala, he meets a society of ex-Green Lanterns. Best- known among this group is the outlaw called Jack T. Chance; the holy man known as Torquemada; the Slyggian called Salakk; and the ancient robotic GL known only as Teacher.

Comet will take up post as a 'space marshal' of sorts on Gala, with Chance and Salakk becoming his 'deputies'. Torquemada will often serve as an advisor and counselor of sorts to the hero, when he goes through periods of doubt. But that doesn't exclude him from taking part in the action when he needs to. Comet will spend some time being the 'marshal' of Gala, getting to know the infinite variety of aliens there, and the individual characters whose faces he will come to recognize.

After some time watching over his city, Comet will be contacted by the hero called Adam Strange – who offers him the job of heading up the police force for the newly-established League of Planets. The force has already started recruiting from the various member worlds of the League, and is being named the 'Knights of the Galaxy'. Comet accepts Strange's offer, but only until the Knights are firmly established as the new police force in the galaxy.

Comet makes the headquarters for the Knights on his city of Gala, with smaller outposts and prison 'Starlags' being built across several systems.

I believe the possibilities with a space-faring character like Comet to be infinite, especially with all of the races, worlds, organizations, etc. that have been established over the years and have now lost their avenues of exploration, with no real sci-fi comics being published by DC Comics. In the long run, I think it could only be a great chance to do a truly entertaining and engrossing book utilizing the underused space elements in the DC universe. Even without the space stories and such, exploring Comet himself and his relationships with the beings around him could well prove to be a bottomless well of inspiration.

If I had my choice of artists, I would probably get someone with a real visible style and atmosphere – someone like Tommy Lee Edwards. On the 'Extraordinary Life' flashbacks, I would have to get real Silver Age artists, preferably the definitive Captain Comet artist, Murphy Anderson. Plus, I think that the huge difference in styles between Edwards and Anderson would make for some really exciting dynamics whenever an 'Extraordinary Life' tale is told.

If it has to, this book could become a cornerstone of a new line of sci-fi books from DC. Think of it, the success of a book like this could lead to a revival of interest in DC science-fiction heroes, from Adam Strange to the Omega Men. Even a solo comic for the new Knights of the Galaxy would become viable, once Comet achieves his goal and resigns, leaving Salakk in charge. Hard-boiled interstellar cop drama!

I think a real market for a comic like this could exist, or could be carved out relatively quickly with the right amount of advertising and promotion. All we would need would be a big push from DC right out of the starting gate to get a foot in the door with fans, and let the story itself keep them coming back and bringing more readers with them.

 
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This proposal is © Kurt Belcher 1999.
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