Tag Archives: comic

More names

Yep, I’m gonna dredge this up again.
I know that there were murmurs of unhappiness when I mentioned Der Flammenherr, so I have (really I have) been working hard to find a more… comic book name. Something that fits in a bit more.
So, without further ado, the best my pitiful mind can come up with these days:
Dr. Blaze (not enough Dr. in the comic world anymore)
X-O Thermik
BioTherm
Mr. Blister
Infernus
FireChild
The Keeper (Keeper of the Flame)
Captain Pyro
Firefox
Firefight
MindFire
Dr. Caust
Belenus/Belenos/Bel (Celtic Fire God)
ummm… that’s about all I got.
I had an interesting idea though, about naming my character Johnny Pyro. Now, I’m not saying that this will or should or is going to work, but I like the idea of a group being formed of Johnnies. Johnny Pyro, Johnny Bolt, etc etc… I think it would add a bit of a Reservoir Dogs feel to it. Maybe, maybe not. I’ll let you people decide.
thanks for reading,
Eric.

Jealousy.

We join the Angel in flight, scouring the world as little by little people fall asleep at one side of the world, and awaken on the other.

*New York City*
Jealousy.
Petty, childish, ridiculous jealousy.
That’s why I became a superhero.
It wasn’t truth, justice and the American Way.
It was because I was jealous.
And that thought burns in the back of my head, just on the fringe of my consciousness, reminding me.
Reminding me that I got into this for all the wrong reasons…
And now I’m stuck with it.

*Chicago*
You can’t just quit when you do this.
You can’t. You won’t.
There are always people to help, injustices to be righted…
but that good is it when you are doing it for an unjust reason?
A reason like jealousy.
Jealousy cost me my life.
Jealousy is why I’m now flying over Chicago at about 300 miles per hour on the white wings of the Almighty.
I got into this for the wrong reason, and I spent my entire life trying to justify that jealousy with a real purpose.

*San Francisco*
I was the one without the powers.
I was the Batman.
I had the gadgets. I had the fire suit.
I had the money, I was their financial backer.
His motorcycle, the computers, the new outfits,
all outta my pocketbook.
Wanted to make them accept me as one of them.
Because I was jealous of what they had that I didn’t.
Well now I have much more than I ever wanted, even though I lost almost everything else.

*Tokyo*
I’m not mortal anymore.
But I’m not dead either.
Consider me… wedged between here and beyond.
I walk the streets for you people,
pledged to protect you all.
Protect your fragile corporeal bodies from the evils of this world.
Evils you don’t even know exist.
You don’t see them.
You don’t hear them.
They flare up and are defeated while you sleep at night.
It’s not just those who sleep I protect though,
I protect the mortals who fight.
I am bound by the Supreme authority to protect the human race and to never raise my hand in an unnecessary violence.
I’m here to walk, to fly, to protect,
but I’m not dead.
Not quite.

*Moscow*
I still have the capacity to love,
yet I won’t be able to have children.
I won’t be able to live again until my service is done,
until my days of protection are over.
Then I can hand my wings back,
and live again.
But then I wonder.
Would I want to?

*Mecca*
Would I want to give up
being immortal?
Would it be worth it to have real flesh
instead of this thin, not quite right version?
It’s like I’m only part human…
say, isn’t that what Quasimodo meant?

*Paris*
It doesn’t really matter, though,
mortal or not.
It all still stems back to jealousy
Jealousy began this
And something with such horrible roots
Can never bear what’s right.

*Kenosha*
No matter how hard I try, I won’t be able to shake it.
The fact that I started this for the wrong reason.
I should stop, because it’s wrong, but…
I’m in way too deep now.

Just an old friend…

As I stood there, the waters from Lake Michigan quickly drying on my angelic garment, I looked up at Tarble residence hall, where my friend Jade lived. Ironic that they set me down where she lived, or was it providence? Either way, I figured that most of my friends were up there with her, because it wasn’t quite ten o clock. “If only I had a phone,” I thought. That was when I heard a cell phone go off in the pocket of my jacket playing, of all things, “Angels Watching Over Me.” I began to sing along with it as I walked down the beach.
“All night, all day, Angels watchin’ over me, my Lord,” I sang lightly as I punched in the numbers. Angelic cell phone, sweet. And a kickass reception to say the least. I held the phone up to my ear and I heard Jade’s roommate answer the phone. I tried to disguise my voice the best I could.
“Hello. Is Jade there?”
“Yes she is, may I ask who is calling?”
“Just…just say it’s an old friend.” I smiled.
I heard a small bit of silence and then a distant calling of Jade’s name. Then I heard her pick up the phone.
“Hello?”
“Hi there Jade.”
“Who is this?”
“Who do you think it is?”
“…I really don’t know. Look, I’m really busy, got a lot of homework to do. I don’t know who you are, but–”
“It’s Fop.” I said.
“What?” came her befuddled voice.
“It’s Fop,” I repeated, “finest in the shop. Or try some Shepherd’s Pie peppered–”
“…With actualy Shepherd on top…” I heard her voice on the brink of tears.
“Now do you know who it is, pal?”
“But…but you’re dead…”
“Not quite,” I smiled, “well, yes and no, I’ll explain it later.”
“Later? You’ll explain it now, dammit!”
“Only where I know it will be safe to discuss it, if you atch-cay my rift-day.”
“Ahhh, I understand. Well, Logan and Spidon are already halfway there, it’s almost time for Adult Swim, so I guess we can both let them know, eh?”
“Sounds like a plan. Maybe I could really freak the shit out of them.” I laughed.
“I’ll see you there!” and she hung up the phone.
It was but the work of a minute for me to glide over to Johnson Hall, my wings making quick work of the travel.
“Aw dammit all,” I muttered, “I can never remember what brick it is.” So I began tugging at each of the bricks outside of our basement window. Finally I found the right one. A nifty little elevator opened up where the grate used to be, and I was trasported down into our inner sanctum, where my money gained during my life on earth had bought us state of the art surveillance equipment, Logan’s bike, some other forms of transportation, and other necessities for crime fighting. As I entered I could hear lightly the theme to Futurama being played upstairs. I had to plan my entrance just right so I could really freak ’em out. Let’s see, the ol’ fire and brimstone or a casual walk in and say hi? Hmmm….
Dressed in a white hoodie and black shorts, I used my old key to enter our room via the inner sanctum. This opened up behind our beds, so I was able to walk into the living room, sit down next to them, crack a Coke, and watch some TV.
“Hey guys,” I said.
“Yo.” “Hey.”
“What’s new with you guys?”
“Not much, how bout you?”
“Died, went to heaven, became and Angel, sent here to protect, not much with me either.”
“Sounds like fun.” Logan said, his gaze not shifting from the television, “can you grab me a Coke?”
I smiled. “Sure thing.” It was nice to be back.

The only thing stranger than watching yourself burn to death…

Is…not watching yourself burn to death.
It was definitely the strangest feeling I think I have ever experienced. I stood there, watching my carcass lying on the ground, slowly turning a crispy golden brown. I looked over at Tundra, who was a particularly nasty shade of red after boiling in water melted off of his ice powers.
Well, I suppose he died worse. I passed out pretty quickly so I didn’t feel much. But still, what a strange sight, watching myself die. Around me I saw flame, mountains and valleys and fjords of flame, licking and consuming what little was left inside out little dome shaped inferno. Soon there would be no more oxygen in here, and the fire would stop, covering the tomb in a thick layer of smoke. It was pitch dark inside the dome, yet I could see everything so clearly. And I tell you, it was quite a sight to see.
So, I figured, I’m dead. Now I’m a spirit or something or other and I’ll either be heading to heaven or hell pretty soon. The only problem is, I still felt heavy, a presence of flesh still clung to me like static intensive pants. I didn’t FEEL like a spirit, I still fight somewhat…alive.
Of course, when I started to move downwards, all the thoughts on the corporeal nature of my being slipped away.
“Holy shit,” I heard myself say plain as day, “I’m going to Hell!”
Man, you figure sacrificing yourself for the greater good and fighting for truth and justice would almost guarantee a ticket into Heaven, but I guess not. I had nothing left to do but accept my fate. So, I took a deep breath, closed my eyes, squeezed out a few tears, and waited for the searing pains of Hell.
thud.
That wasn’t Hell.
That was the ground.
The ground outside the dome, where a nice little memorial service and epitaph had been carved into the steel.
“How nice,” I thought, “people are mourning.”
There were flowers and those little circle of flower thingies people always put at graves, and there were candles and pictures and all sorts of tributes laying around the dome.
Wow, I never knew I meant this much to so many people.
There was one picture that caught my eye, one of me and my friends, on the back I found a very touching note.

I know you’re still watching over us.
-Jade

I had to admit, that brought tears to me eyes. Thinner tears than a human’s, but thickers ones than a ghost’s. It was like I was caught somewhere in between death and life. Be that as it may, I had to tell Jade and the others that I was still here, but how?
It was then I felt as if my mind was being thrust forward, through the very fabric of space and time and into a place of infinte whiteness. There were people of all kinds, walking around, happy as I have ever seen people be. They were talking, eating, sleeping, what have you, and everwhere there was this feeling of sweetness and good.
“So…this is Heaven…” I looked around, “Pretty nice.”
“It serves it’s purpose.” I heard a low, calm voice behind me.
What I saw when I turned around was something I could not have prepared myself to see had I lived one hundred lifetimes.
“Jesus Christ…”
“Right you are, Eric. It’s nice to meet you,” he extended a hand. I shook it warmly.
“I…I’m shaking hands with Jesus, aren’t I?”
“Yes you are,” he said with a grin.
“Whoa.”
“That’s the typical expression.”
“You’re not exactly how I pictured you, I must admit,” I shrugged.
“Oh, do you want the whole “Last Supper” thing? I can do that if you want: the long hair, the robe, the halo. Some people prefer that.”
“Naw, you look pretty comfortable like this.”
The face was like it was usually shown, but his hair was shorter and simply combed forward. His beard was trimmed, and he was wearing a polo shirt and khakis.
“I chose something that you might find applicable to your frame of mind.” he smiled again. He really liked to smile.
“Like I said, you look pretty well at ease. So do you greet everyone that comes up here?”
“Oh Heavens no,” he laughed, “I don’t have the time for that, even if I am the Son of God. That’s St. Peter’s job.”
“So then why are you talking to me?” I wondered.
“Well, we’ve got a bit of a story to tell you. You see, your parents never really told you this, but your family was actually one of Angels, sent to live on earth and monitor the human race. We got tons of them all over the world, it helps us keep tabs on people.”
“Somehow that doesn’t surprise me. So my family is actually Angelic in nature, so what am I doing up here?”
“Well, your family’s job is to observe, but we think that you have a bit of a… higher purpose. Your actions in fighting evil on earth and your self sacrifice were pretty good indications that you have better things to do than sit up here and watch people all day.”
“True, I was never a fan of reality TV.”
“Nah, me neither,” Jesus chuckled, “not my idea. Anyway, we figured that, to use the old cliche, ‘it just wasn’t your time. So we’re going to send you back, of course. Not as a human, but as an agent of our little operation up here. Let’s just say we’re promoting you. You’re moving up the Angelic corporate ladder, so to speak. Your family was of the Mercurian Choir, those who deal with humans on a day to day basis. Now, we don’t normally do this, but we’re going to bump you all the way up to a Cherubim, a level two, a Guardian. Don’t tell anyone up here, though, we usually don’t promote people that far, but you’ve shown proficiency. Walk with me and I’ll get you ready for your return.”
“Just a closer walk with Thee,” I joked.
“Ugh, those songs are so overplayed,” Jesus rolled his eyes.
As we walked, he talked about my new status. I am to be a Guardian walking the earth, protecting humans, God’s favorite creations, from basically annhilating themselves. I’m to join back up with my old group, and continue in their fight against annhilation and all that good stuff. I was given standard angel battle gear: flaming sword, angelic armor, and best of all, wings!
“I get wings?” I giggled with glee.
“Yeah, that’s everyone’s favorite part. But remember, you lose the wings and you’re just a squishy flesh-bag again. Which is why we have decided to…adapt your armor into something a little more…protective of your wings.” He held up a new trenchcoat, white as pure driven snow.
“Oh, sweet!”
“Indeed it is. Angelic fabric. Impregnable, invulnerable, and able to change shape as you command. Pretty awesome stuff, if you ask me,” Jesus winked.
“Wow…I just…I can’t thank you guys enough. Giving me a second chance, allowing me to continue to fight for what’s right, and giving me new duds! You guys are fantastic!”
“Well, I’m not Jesus for nothing,” he chuckled.
“I suppose I had better get back down there. How do I…you know…fly?”
“You’ll know. When we made you Cherubim, we implanted all the knowledge that you’ll need. And don’t worry about the slight bit of weightlessness, you get used to it. If Angels weren’t made of thinner stuff than humans, then they wouldn’t be able to fly, right?” Jesus then cleared his throat and adopted his “fancy God tone.”
“Now go, and do the bidding of the Lord God upon the earth. May you protect the innocent, punish the wicked, and represent the Kingdom of Heaven with the highest of honor!” he then whispered, as an aside to me, “that means no booze and no hookers…for the first week.”
And with a wink and a shove, I was pushed out of Heaven, and sent hurtling to the ground below. I saw the earth appear, then North America, then Wisconsin, then Kenosha, then lake Michigan, and it was about the time I crashed into the lake that I noticed I was sizzling hot from friction and that the impact should have turned me into human jelly.
And that’s when it hit me. I wasn’t human anymore. I was something just a teensy bit…higher.
As I crawled out of the lake (which I could breath in, mind you) I shook of my wings and donned my new white coat. The heavy lake winds blew it in a heroic fashion, and as I donned my new old sunglasses, a little present from old J.C, I smiled an angelic smile. Good thing the campus beach is deserted most nights, and those who saw me were either too stoned or drunk to notice me. I looked up and saw the residence hall where Jade lived, and it suddenly seemed very clear to me. I flexed my new wings experimentally, and they felt good. My smile grew bigger and bigger, until it lit up the night.
“I’m back and I’m biblical, baby.”

Tundra

It had been a hard fought battle, raging through Kenosha and into Racine, and ending up in an abandoned old warehouse. The villian Tundra had set off what he called a “cold bomb” in the center of Kenosha, covering the city in a layer of ice. I was the only one who was able to break free of the icy spell, thanks to my biothermal radiation. I was able to defrost my friends and, through some careful calculation, we knew that the people of Kenosha didn’t have much time before severe damage would set in.
“Yeah, and imagine the freezer burn,” Navajas was always one to crack a joke.
With the Cold Bomb robbing him of most of his ice energy, Tundra was weak. My friend Jade made quick work of finding him via her super speed, and was able to reverse the affects of the bomb before any severe damage set in. The city was melted, and all was saved. That was until Tundra struck from behing, using the last of his energy to freeze her legs fast into the ground. We came across her in a shivering mass on the ground, being so taken with hypothermia that her super speed could not free her from an icy prison.
“What kind of cowardly son of a bitch strikes a woman…and from behind?” I seethed as a slowly defrosted her legs. She came back out of shock slowly, and the pain of her face as the blood rushed back to her body was too much for me to bear.
“You guys take care of her. Justin, I’m borrowing your motorcycle.”
“You can’t even ride a bike.”
“I’ll manage.”
“Eric…be careful…” Jade muttered through blue lips, “d-don’t let him freeze you, he’ll kill you.”
She was right. With my body heat being absorbed into the suit, a massive chill would simply shut down my system faster than a normal persons’.
“Don’t worry, Jade, I’ll be all right,” I knelt down beside her and brushed a wayward hair out of her face.
“D-don’t go…g-getting yourself killed,” her eyes were filling with tears. She knew that Tundra and I could inflict massive amounts of damage on each other. She didn’t want to see me die.
“Don’t worry, kiddo. You guys have given me a reason to live now, I won’t go down so easily,” I cracked half a smile, which turned to a serious frown. I looked into her eyes again.
“Look, don’t go feeling bad if I don’t make it back, I might not, but don’t worry. I promise, no matter what happens, that I’ll always be watching over you guys.”
“Eric, let me and Navajas help.”
“No, man,” I waved him away, “this is my fight. People don’t go fucking around like this and escape me. You don’t strike a woman and you don’t strike from behind. That is not honorable, and he will pay for it.”
I bent down one more time and brushed a tear from Jade’s cheek. I remember wondering if it was a tear of pain or compassion.
“Don’t worry, I’ll always be watching over you.”
And with that, I smiled, she smiled, and I left.
Navajas’ V-Rod was one fine machine, and for my first time on a motorcycle, I made pretty good time. Tundra was weakened, and the summer night probably wasn’t doing much good for him. It hadn’t rained for weeks in Racine, but I was able to follow large melted puddles all the way to a new office building that was set to be coronated next week. I noticed that the puddles were getting closer and closer together, as he was losing speed. I parked the cycle outside the building and walked cautiously inside. Immediately my breath was taken away. Talk about air conditioning! I checked my personal thermometer, and it was far below zero in that place. I slapped my hands against my sides and ran in place to try and generate some heat. Without heat, I got no power. I could feel that chill air raking through me, threatening to blow out my inner furnace. I enjoy it being cold and all, but this is ridiculous. I kept stumping around this office building, noting that the furnishings hadn’t arrived yet. It was just a metal skeleton of a building, with a slick icy floor and icicles hanging from the ceiling. The contractors would have a fit if they could see this, I thought. My thoughts were soon cut short by a low, ghastly voice that seemed like it too was made of ice.
“So, which one are you?” the questioned echoed throughout the building.
“I am known by many names,” my voice was loud and commanding, thretening to shatter the walls and floor beneath me. “I am called the Flammenherr, the gentleman of flame. I am a fire breathing Dragon, and an Angel of Fire. You, sir, struck a woman and struck her from behind. That was not good form nor was it honorable, Mr. Tundra. I am here to punish you, to make you pay for violating the code of Right.”
A rasping, grating laughter rang througout the place, followed by harsh words spat in hatred.
“You are here to show me what is right? You call yourself an Angel? Well then, gentleman, I hope that your flame can protect you from what is before you.”
“What–?” my eyes quickly refocused in the dark to reveal a sight that chilled my heart.
“The cold bomb I set off in Kenosha was merely a diversion. This one will freeze the Lake Michigan coast all the way to Chicago, and even your group will not be able to rescue everyone from a death of hypothermia and ice.”
“Dear God,” my mouth fell agape. The bomb set off in Kenosha was the size of a wristwatch, which was how Tundra set it off. This was a massive apparatus, stretching from ceiling to floor, and taking up the space of what would have been the building’s lobby. It was a massive, frozen circle of metal, ready to enact a frozen wrath upon this world that even I could not withstand.
“You’re a fucking lunatic, Tundra! What do you want to accomplish by doing this?” I shouted.
“Oh, nothing much, I just enjoy seeing people shiver and die. Especially children. To see their cherubic little faces turn blue and their movements become slower and slower until they simply stop moving at all, and accept my icy embrace. It’s so lovely to see people freeze to death, they die so quietly, without any screaming or shouting, yet the pain is very real. The chilling of your blood, the numbing pain, and finally the lapse into darkness that ends it all. That is what I mean to accomplish, to use Chicago as my own perpetual winter wonderland, to stroll down the streets with their frozen inhabitants and shatter their bodies like pinatas. Oh how lovely it would be…
…my own City of Ice. Infinte quiet and peace, wrapped in a soft blanket of eternal cold. But first,” he said, emerging from the shadows next to his massive bomb, “I will take great pleasure in killing you first, the master of the flame will be extinguish, the first to fall to my reign of Ice. After Chicago, the entire world will learn what it is like to freeze to death. Ah, I can almost feel it already…”
“Feel this, jackass,” I muttered and fired a salvo of fire at his face. He extended a hand, and my flamed turned to ice in midair and shattered on the ground.
“Now, let me try my hand…” he turned his head slightly and cracked his neck. He then extended both hands and fired back.
A cold, and icy gripping cold, surrounded me an threatened to smother me. I had to fight back, I can’t let the world be frozen! I ripped at the frozen wall, tearing off a shard of wall tile frozen into an icy spike. With all my strength I dropped to the ground and hurled it, watching through a blue face as the spike buried itself deep within my adversary’s knee. He went down quickly and bought me a few minutes.
However, the damage had been done. I felt my heat system going haywire, robbing my body of all its heat and shutting down my heart. I knew the end was coming, but I could not let him win. I gasped out my last words. In retrospect I think it sounded rather nice.
“You know, Tundra, my suit comes with quite a few batteries that store my flame energy. Together the batteries have enough fire power to equal a small sun. Do you know what this building is constructed of? Metal. With my power I could melt this metal with a snap of my fingers and trap us all inside a dome of steel for all eternity. All I have to do is release my batteries. All I have to do is…this…”
It was, surprisingly, the easiest thing I had ever done in my life. I saw Tundra’s eyes grow wide as I reached to my left side and flipped one small switch, then pushed a red button. In a trice my body was engulfed in flame, as was the building. With the last cognitive effort that I remember, I pulled the fire into a dome over our head, a dome of melted steel. The heat caused Tundra’s cold bomb to explode, but my fire was able to keep it at bay, the bomb managed to cool the dome over our heads, sealing us off from the outside world in a metal capsule. It was then that I fell to the ground, and I remembered no more.
I was told later that I had saved millions, and that the dome became a monument to my heroic feat. It would serve as the grave for my charred and destroyed body, and my deeds would be carved into the steel. I was told that it read
FLAMMENHERR, THE ANGEL OF FIRE.
FELL HERE TO PROTECT ALL OF HUMANITY
LET US NOT MAKE HIS SACRIFICE IN VAIN.
It would be a while before I was able to read that inscription with my own eyes.
Before I was reborn…

See if you can pick this one up again.

Someone is always trying to bring me back. Just like they did that one night.
I was enjoying my regular evening with my one bottle of Guinness when they approached me. I remembered their faces, their voices. They were almost like ghosts coming to me out of a dead life. Their voices sounded dull and muted, either because of the Guinness or because I really didn’t want to hear what they had to say. But they said it anyway.
“We want you back on the team.”
I slammed my bottle down on the bar and threw my face in my hands. How the hell did they find me? Why the fuck did they come all the way out here? Don’t they know that I’m nothing?
“Why the hell do you want me back?” I grunted.
“Because we need you on the team, we need your fire and we need your mind.”
“MIND? MY MIND?” I began to raise my voice, but the yokels at the bar wouldn’t care. The Packers were on, they were like zombies.
“You want my mind? Why in God’s name would you want that? Haven’t you heard? MAC was rigged. I didn’t win. I’m not some great hero. I’m not the human computer anymore. I’m just a fucking parlor trick. You want to know what the atomic weight of Iron is? 55.845! Wanna know who the 27th President was? William Howard Taft. Also the only president to also be Chief Justice too. Now you tell me how in the hell my little tricks and games are going to fucking help you. If one of you guys wants the heat suit, I’ll give it to you. I don’t even know if it works anymore, hopefully it doesn’t. I don’t wanna use it anymore. I don’t even wanna think about it anymore. But here you guys come in, walking all happy and jaunty and talking about saving the world and fighting for good and all that shit. Well I tell you, that must be really nice for you, to know that you’re lives aren’t built on lies, that you were just one big fake you’re whole life. You were just a goddamn TV show, just someone’s fucking entertainment! My entire life, everything I stood for, was nothing. Everything that was me was just fake, like a tv set, they can just wheel it out. I had my fifteen minutes, that was it, they didn’t need me anymore. I was just there for entertainment value. I don’t have any super powers, I just have money. I’m not like you guys, I don’t belong with you guys. Like I said, if one of you wants the heat suit, go ahead and take it. I don’t want it. I don’t need it. I’m worthless now. Just a burned out shell. People come up to me and they ask me if I really am who I am, and I say no, that they are wrong, because that wasn’t me. I wasn’t that guy on the TV. I wasn’t the ‘human computer.’ I’m nothing but a lie, nothing but a big fat fucking joke.”
“We need you to come out of your shell and fight with us again. It hasn’t been the same without you,” Jade said, trying to comfort me.
“You know what hasn’t been the same? Trying to live. Always having to hide from the god damn paparazzi because they love to get pictures of me trying to hide with my shaggy hair. People love to see how the mighty have fallen. I can’t escape their flashbulbs as they cluck their tongues and sigh about how I ruined my life because I believed to much into the hype. I haven’t been able to talk to my family for six months now because I’m afraid they might get a hold of it. I’m sick of being on the Enquirer all the time, with headlines like ‘Teen Brain down the Drain’ and ‘The Human Computer has Crashed.’ I’m sick of all of it. I want to shove those cameras and notepad down their damn throats and I want them to choke. I just want my god damn life back guys.”
“Come with us, and we’ll give you part of your life back. Part we knew you loved living, part we knew you enjoyed. Come with us, Eric, become what you once were again.”
As I looked at all their faces, I knew it was time. I couldn’t hide anymore. I needed to get back. I needed to get back to what was right and good. I needed to defend again, no matter how I do it. I needed to turn my back on those goons who have reveled in my despair, and rise from the ashes to become as glorious as I once was. I couldn’t help buy cry at the love my friends showed me, to track me down and find me and persuade me back. Having friends like that is truly a gift from above.
“I’ll…I’ll need a haircut…” I sobbed through my tears, “and I’ve lost weight, so my suit needs to be altered.”
And lost weight I had. From a portly 250 to an almost emaciated 175. As I looked in the mirror I saw what was almost a skeleton, nothing but bones and built up muscles. You’d be surprised how well built you can be when you have plenty of anger to lash out with. I went through three heavy bags in my apartment in six months, because I would pound and pound and pound them out of such fury, often hours upon hours, until I saw them bust open, and pieces of it would trickle out on the floor. And then I would watch the filling trickle out, little by little, just like my sanity and just like what my life was. But now there was someone there to put the filling back in me, my friends had come for me, and now it was time for me to redeem myself and reform my life. The old suit and coat felt warm and comforting, and the hum of the biosuit brought back lovely, calm memories of righteous struggle. I parted my newly cut hair on the left, put the old round shades back on, and then it happened.
The old fire-breathing Dragon was back. Back from the brink, and back to become what I had always wanted to be…a hero.

The more things change…

I try to do different things, to make things change. I try to forget the old and move on, but sometimes it is nearly impossible.
Flammenherr – flame gentleman
Hitzenengel – Heat Angel
I was thinking, “comic book names can be so lame sometimes, but if I say it in a different language, people with think it’s exotic and cool!” so I went with a good, powerful language like German. There are some that believe that it won’t work, but look at some of the names that have gone over in the past.
The Human Torch
The Flash
even Green Lantern
and Speedy? Seriously, I mean comic book names almost have to be lame sometimes, but I’m trying to not make this look like a bunch of kids wrote it. I don’t want this to be a “comic” I want it to be
powerful
poignant
emotional
realistic
grim
and alive!
I want this to be something that I can be proud of. Not just a goof off project. That’s probably where I’m separating from the rest of the group. I would actually like to write for a living, even for comics. Hey, if someone can plan his children’s names when he’s 18, then I can have dreams of being a writer, so nyah!
There are just too many attractive women in my life, I have to tell you. Problem is I don’t think I’m good enough for any of them. One of these days I am really going to have to come out of my shell, my hole, whatever you want to call it. I need to get some guts, a spine, some cojones (thank you Road Dogg) and actually try sometime. I mean, being cautious and cheap is great for money and driving, but it’s shit for the social scene. I got a readthrough Monday, so maybe I can make some kind of an impression there.
Got a concert tomorrow. The home concert for the choir tour. I’m really nervous, because I know it means a lot to people, and with my solo I don’t wanna screw it up. I want to be thought of as a guy they can count on. I want to be a leader in that choir when I get older. Same thing in the theatre. The respect and thoughts of my elders weigh heavily on me. I want nothing more than to be thought of well in their eyes.
Oooooh….flammenkaiser, flame emperor. I’m beginning to think, though, that flammen is too easy of a word, and that the people are going to see it right away. Maybe that’s a good thing, so it’s exotic but not too much. Only time will tell. I’ll pitch these to my bosses over at 418 ^_~ and see what they think.
Gaw, ever since last night I’m having trouble getting thoughts of Barber out of my head. Annoying I know, and probably really boring for you guys, but that girl on stage really reminded me of her, and that I’d like to get to know her a little more. *sigh* sometimes I wonder.
Schwartzerengel Black Angel…wow that’s too long. Maybe I’ll give up on the German thing, after all, they’ll just say the English anyway?
I’m getting hungry. I could go for some good pizza. It is saturday night after all. Saturday night is always pizza night at my house. We all get together and we all make the pizza together and then we sit down and watch a movie while we have homemade pizza and generic brand pop ^_^ Gaw I need to get home soon. Gettin’ all misty just thinking about it.
Well, that’s about all I got. I’m going to see Jersey Girl tonight, so I’ll let you know how that is. I’ll probably love it, hopeless romantic that I am. hee hee.
The others may be expecting more Kevin Smith-ish stuff, but I know they’ll love the romance, the big softies.
Yikes, here comes the suffocating cloud of roommate cologne again. I’d better sign off.
catch you later.
Eric.

still need a kick ass superhero name.

I was asked how I got all my money to build my biothermal suit. Okay, fine, I guess they won’t buy the fact that I r0xx0rz at Jeopardy. Oh well. How bout this?
Of course, talents like mine don’t often go unnnoticed. It was after I had won my fifth consecutive Jeopardy title, and a Chevrolet SSR (midnight blue) that I was approaced by an Agent of the United States government. Apparently my little quiz show prowess had caught the eye of the feds. They wanted to take me in for a little “research” and they would compensate me generously. So they scanned my head a few times, made some observations, and I got some damn nice hotel stays and an assload of money. I can’t exactly complain. And besides, one of the friends I had made there told me as I left that “they had not yet found and conclusive way to duplicate my memory skills into either a human or cybernetic brain.” yep, the government does have cybernetic brains, you just don’t know about it. So every year I get a little pension check from the government for my services…and to make sure that I don’t squeal about anything important that I might have seen. Not saying that I didn’t have to scarifice as well. I am now the proud owner of a US government monitoring chip somewhere in my cerebral cortex. They know if I’m even thinking about doing something wrong. But what the hell? It was worth the money. And my little inside informant told me that after a coupla months, they stopped monitoring me. So I’d say it was money well spent. And, knowing how cheap I am with money, you can guess that I have invested, and spent it, quite well.
…okay, so my hobbit hole mansion was a gift to myself. I deserved it. Don’t judge me, I could buy your soul. heh heh.
Well, I guess that’s kinda lame, but it could breed lots of stuff for later on, like…
did the government ever make cybernetic drones of me?
or…
what are the ramifications of me fighting crime with that chip in my head?
man, this explanation is kinda lame. maybe I should go back to the toaster story.
Eric.

I need a name! A cool one!

“Sorry, Eric,” my friend said, shifting uneasily, “we were going to tell you, but we weren’t sure how.”
“Well, blowing a microwave up in my face wasn’t the best way.” I cocked a quizzical eyebrow.
“I was trying to zap HIM,” she said, glaring at her boyfriend, “I’m sick of his pro-Marvel spiel every five minutes. I don’t have good control over my powers yet, so it went kinda….wayward…”
“Wayward is a good word.” I said, chuckling.
“Hey, maybe the microwave like, radiated you and gave you powers too,” her boyfriend piped up.
“Doubtful,” I said. “I’d be feeling something if it did. You don’t get exposed to radiation and do a dance,” I then proceeded to dance a short jig, to a couple of small giggles.
As usual, exerting any physical movement in my friend’s dorm had made me profusely warm. I swear the women’s dorm must be full of cold blooded creatures to have to keep it so damn warm there. ^_~
I went to sit down on her bed, drinking one of her root beers. My other friend, who had been asleep, woke up and squirmed away from me.
“Dude, you are really frickin warm,” he said in disgust.
“Blame this damn dorm,” I said sourly, “or maybe it’s because of the electrical blast I was just exposed to.”
“Electrical blast? God damn it!” My other friend leaped out of the bed, his long hair flying wildly, “I told you two not to use your powers!” He proceeded to draw five knives from his sweatshirt and bury every single one of them in a narrow space between my friend and her boyfriend. He then stopped, turned a bright red, and looked at me.
“Aw shit…”
“Great, so you’re super accurate? Wonderful, am I the only person on this damn campus without super powers?”
“Well dude,” my friend’s boyfriend replied, “you are filthy stinking rich from your quiz shows.”
“Point,” I said, nodding, “add that with my excessive body heat and super smell, and I might just be the most lame hero in the world.”
“Ya know,” my female friend said, “you could just pull a Batman.”
“Elaborate.” I said, chewing on my favorite pen.
“You got so much damn money, why don’t you build gadgets and crap and follow us around? You’re the smart one too, you could be our ‘detective’ like Bats.”
“That’s a great idea!” I said, getting excited again. I could feel the heat radiating off of my fevered brow. And my hands, and my legs. “And I think I know what kind of ‘gadget’ to make.” I said with a grin.
“I guess I had been holding out on you guys too. You see, I had my pals at the government, for a nominal fee, make a little gadget for me. In fact, they said it should be here today.”
And it was.
“Here it is, guys. Be amazed at my awesome…what the crap?”
The box contained a black garment and thousands of tiny little metal pieces covered with sensors and other cool glowing thingies. I glanced at the side of the box.
“This side up…fragile…SOME ASSEMBLY REQUIRED? GAH!”
To avoid pulling my hair out, I stormed over to the telephone and called up my government “friends”
“Some assembly required you jackasses? What the hell did I pay you 500 mil for? Leave to the US do something this ridiculous. How the hell would I know how to set this thing up? Instructions in the box? This isn’t a freakin Lego set you sons of bitches! I…”
I turned around to look for those said directions and found it lying completed, folded nicely, on the floor. My friend Jade had a ridiculous grin on her face.
I hung up the phone. She was still smiling like a mad toad.
I walked over to her, my face deadpan.
“…super speed too?”
“yep!” Jade replied with a grin. It was done.
“Okay guys, here it is,” I said, stepping out of the bathroom of our dorm, “don’t laugh, I know it’s kinda goofy.”
It basically looks like a diving wetsuit, but with a thin metal inlay of cybernetic monitoring and extraction units. The thing weighs about seven pounds, give or take, and is really hot, which is the point. You see, the suit takes all the excess body heat I exude, and collects it as biothermal energy, which can then be released in a heat blast. A cybernetic headset accessory can also tap into my memory cortex and give me the ability to shape the fire to my will. After getting over the original horror of seeing my pudgy body in a tight, form fitting suit, my friend Logan began to laugh.
“That’s your fucking gadget? You look like a gay member of the Borg!”
I simply extended my left hand (the one with the heat blaster attachment on the ends of the fingers) and manipulating a pattern of fire to spell out, like a neon sign, FUCK YOU. This caused my other friend and her boyfriend to laugh hysterically, and even Logan got a chuckle out of it.
“Oh yeah, I remember you talking about that,” Jade said.
“Yeah, but tell me that’s not your whole costume. Eeew,” Spidon, her boyfriend joked.
“Nope. Because this thing feeds off my body heat and in turn keeps my body at a comfortable heat, I can wear heavy turtlenecks and trenchcoats all year long and not sweat a drop. All the heat is collected from me before I can start to sweat. So, if you’ll excuse me…”
I swept back into the bathroom and, two minutes later, emerged.
I was wearing black pants, a black belt with a silver buckle, a black turtleneck, and over it all a long black trenchcoat. To top it off, I placed a black fedora over my side-parted hair and topped off the whole package with a pair of circular wire frame black sunglasses.
“Wow. Bad-ass.” Logan whistled.
“Yeah, nice.” Jade said, “so what the hell do you call yourself?”
So, my readers, what the hell do I call myself?

Still need a cool name…

I was still in college back then, still kicking ass in Jeopardy college version before I went to the full fledged show. Let’s just say it was helping me pay for my education. Hey, a private college isn’t cheap folks ^_^
Then it happened.
I was enjoying a corn dog in my friend’s dorm room, with both the microwave and corn dog at her expense. I was listening to my friend and her boyfriend as they got into yet another squabble.
“I’m telling you, babe, Marvel invented the anti-hero to beat DC…”
“I swear, if you give that speech one more time…”
Before I knew what had happened, the microwave had been struck with a bolt of lightning and exploded in my face, severely burning my corn dog beyond edibility. Before a shard of glass or radiation could puncture my skin though, the microwave was swallowed up in a black mist and blinked out of exsitence. Once I had recovered from the bizarre spectacle that had just happened, I turned around to look at my friends. Both were sitting on their hands and looking rather sheepish.
“So…” I said, my corndog-less stomach growling angrily, “When were you guys planning on telling me this?”

I do need a good superhero name, though.

“Hey, you’re that guy!”
“What guy?”
“That guy! You’re Eric Leitzen! You’re the guy that out-memorized the computer!”
“That’s just a myth. Leave me alone.”
Ah yes, good old Urban Legends. The rat in the deep fryer, the claw on the makeout car, and the guy that out-thought the computer.
I’m just another Urban Legend now.
Yeah, it’s true. I went up against a computer. I was fresh out of college, incredibly broke and needing some money. So I began to try out for quiz shows. I broke the record on both Jeopardy and they won’t let me back on Who Want’s to Be a Millionare. Needless to say, I made some money off of my mind.
Don’t ask me how it works, because I can’t tell ya. I can memorize stuff, I can memorize stuff real good. All US Presidents, in order? Got it. The Periodic Table? Pick a number. My memory can just plain…remember, and I don’t know why. I’ve been able to do this since I was in elementary school. I remember the oddest little facts. In second grade we had a “traveling trophy” for the most proficient student at Math flash cards. I remember that the highest card in that deck was eight plus nine. seventeen. Why do I remember that? I don’t know. Why do I remember the entire American aircraft carrier fleet during World War II? I don’t know, I just do.
I’ve got some other quirky talents too. I have a really good sense of smell. I know that’s weird, but I can tell who someone is usually by their perfume from across the room. I can tell the difference between spaghetti cooking and lasagna, I can smell the ricotta cheese. Weird, no? I also think I have perfect pitch, but I’m not sure. I can sing pretty well though.
But anyway, my memory versus the computer. The Memorization and Articulation Computer. MAC. Good old MAC. He had a helluva database, and and attachment just like a human hand. He could grip a pencil or stylus and take a test just like a human could. The arm thing was an add on by ABC for the reality show, but the processor was actually a database for the United States national archive.
Yeah, I drew big ratings that night. ABC saw some good numbers. “See if man is smarter than machine! See if flesh still dominates over steel!” and blah blah blah blah, you get the picture. Anyway, we were both given identical test, on all sorts of stuff, and we had to see how long it could take us to take it. I mean, it had everything from conjugating French verbs to the analysis of Charles Dickens. And so we began. Test after test went by, and we were pretty evenly matched, especially with MAC’s little arm thing. Made it a little more fair. About the time I was blazing through a critique of Machiavelli’s “The Prince” I heard a siren go off and all hell break loose. Apparently, MAC had broken down. I had beaten the computer in a test of memory. Smoke had begun to circulate from his processor, and I just kind of sat there, dumb, as they raised my arm in victory. I actually was a more efficient thinker than a computer? A GOVERNMENT computer? It was overwhelming, and I really thought that I could do something with this gift that was given to me.
Until I went backstage.
The whole fucking thing was a work. MAC was supposed to break down, it was a mother fucking set up. ABC got its ratings, and in doing so gave me all the money I could ever want to shut up. So I became the man that out-thought the computer, and I am the only one out here in the general public that knows it was a god damned fake. That’s why I’m sitting here in this bar, downtown Chicago, with a pint of Guinness and my shitty memories. I’m not Eric Leitzen anymore, I’m Jonathan Johnson. I’m not a German anymore, I’m Irish. My hair used to be short, parted, and brown, now it’s long, red and shaggy. I shaved off my trademark goatee, and I’ve starved myself to lose weight. Anything to get away from that guy, that fake. Every once in a while, someone will recognize me, but I blow them off. I’m no hero, I’m no genius. I was just a victim of circumstance.
A victim who happens to be filthy stinking rich.
Yeah, ABC keeps me happy with the buckets of money they pour on me every year. And I’ve got quite a bit invested. I won’t have to work for the rest of my life, guaranteed. Hell, by now no one would believe me if I told them it was fake. So now I just sit back, lazy and complacent on my pile of ill gotten money. But I don’t care anymore. Everything I stood for was taken from me, was faked, but I have been richly compensated. And that’s just fine and dandy with me.
God dammit, it is hot in this damn bar. These Chicago people must be cold blooded. I’m in a t shirt and jeans in here, and I’m sweating like a god damned butcher. It’s only October, people, you don’t need the heat turned up yet. Good God.
Maybe it’s because I’m such a naturally warm person. I am. Heat really does get to me. I see the rest of them, fat and happy in the heat while I sweat my fucking brains out. I can feel that typical aura, that area of heat that I fucking exude like a furnace.
I just keep sweating, and drinking, and trying to forget my life.
But no matter how hard I try, someone always tries to bring me back.