Saturday, May 23, 2020

This is the End: Tomb Raider & Uncharted.

It's funny what I know about video games is really small.  The family Playstation serves mostly as a glorified blu ray player for me.  (with a lot of "what do these blasted buttons do?" if I try to pause.)

Yet there are two video game franchises that I absolutely love - not surprisingly Tomb Raider and Uncharted.  I cannot play the games to save my life but I love their expanded universes - not surprisingly they both are "descendants" of Indiana Jones.

This was initially just going to celebrate the catching up with Tomb Raider but I hadn't really talked about Uncharted that much and there wasn't enough Uncharted material to justify it's own post (but I have notes for an Uncharted timeline similar to what I did for Tomb Raider. I'll have to get back to that.)

I've been collecting now for a long time - nearly forty years.  Series and franchses went in and out of favour.  It's easier to  collect things as they come out - I jumped on the extended Uncharted material as it came out.  One novel and a six issue miniseries and I'll get the associated material for the Tom Holland/ Mark Walhberg movie assuming they make it before Tom Holland looks old enough to play Sully. (although I hear it or Spiderman 3 are his next films once the virus allows filming to start again)

Tomb Raider pretty much captivated me from 1997 when I first heard about her.  I admit we got a PC version of the first game and I could not play it to save myself but the character was interesting.  

I saw the first movie in the cinema when we lived in Emerald, a city in the Outback.  I got the novelisation, and the technical manual which came out then, the book store could order things for me.  

I also got the Tomb Raider Magazine in the newsagents that reprinted the Top Cow Comics from issue 5 and none of the crossovers with other Top Cow characters.  By the final couple of issues Lara was sharing her magazine with Aphrodite IX.  There were no comic shops in Emerald and buying things on the internet wasn't really a thing then.

I remember trying to get the Tomb Raider action figure from the Emerald Toyworld and they just flatout refused to order it or even aknowledge it was a thing.  My wife rang the Toyworld in Rockhampton (three hours east of Emerald and the closest town) and bought it for me over the phone with the credit card and they posted it out to us.

By the time the sequel to the movie came out we had moved back to Ipswich and could get to the comic shops in Brisbane.  I saw Lara Croft: Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life in the cinema in Ipswich and bought the novelisation.

Then they brought out the first three novels The Amulet of Power, The Lost Cult and The Man of Bronze.  SOOOOO good with references and easter eggs galore.

The Top Cow Tomb Raider comics were a little more elusive and trying to buy the back issues was difficult.  I eventually got the bulk of them when Dark Horse did the Archives in 4 volumes that reprinted the issues 1-24, 26-50, the 12 issue Journeys and the various one shots.  issue 25 was a crossover with EVO and Witchblade and wasn't included.  

I also bought the new comics that Dark Horse printed to tie in with the 2013 reboot game and the 20th anniversary of the original game in 2016.  

But I wanted those Top Cow comics - I found a list and started working my way through it.  Ebay and comic shops selling on line have been a godsend.

I thought I had most of them only discover that there were two one shots that had not been reprinted in the archives.  Top Cow had done two books for Dynamic Forces - Scarface's Treasure and Sphere of Influence.  Both were bought fairly soon thereafter.  I discovered the French comic Dark Aeons and grabbed it too (sadly there is no English edition but I found a translation on line)

Then last week , it arrived the final two books I needed to finish off the Tomb Raider comics - the two issue event Dark Crossings.

I enjoyed both these series - Uncharted is fun and Tomb Raider is just solid action adventure. It was a fun hunt to chase these books down, discovering new appearances and false leads.  I may have to revisist my Tomb Raider timeline to include the books I wasn't aware of at the time I wrote it.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Simon Spector (2004) written Warren Ellis, art by Jack Burrows

Last year I wrote a review of Mark Millar's Prodigy, which I really enjoyed.

I was looking at the comments for that post and Alan Blank posted his review of the series on Goodreads which can be found here

In that review he mentions Simon Spector, a character I'd never heard of - a modern pulp character I'd never heard of.  Naturally, this was something that had to be rectified.

Simon Spector was part of Ellis' Apparat line for Avatar Comics.  The quick version is Ellis had a thought experiment - what if the pulp influence on comics was a little stronger and superheroes hadn't been as dominant.  What might comics of various pulp genres look like?  Science Fiction adventure, detective stories, aviator adventures and pulp vigilantes were the four genres picked and Angel Stomp Future, Frank Ironwine, Quit City and Simon Spector were the results.

Four one shots -  it sounded intriguing.  If I could find Simon Spector I wasn't off on a long term quest it was one and done. If I liked it then there were three more of similar style to track down.

And I found a reasonably priced copy and promptly bought it.

In the back of the book, Ellis talks of his inspiration for the line and this book in particular.  How he would read Doc Savage, The Shadow and The Spider and speculate about the pharmacutical assistance these heroes must have.

It's an interesting idea, not one I'd be keen to see used for a proper Doc Savage or Shadow adventure but intriguing.

In fact now that I think about it, Ellis is running not quite in the same groove as Philip Jose Farmer in A Feast Unknown but a parallel track.  Farmer isn't mentioned in his essay but ......

Simon Spector is a modern day riff on Doc Savage.  He operates out what appears to be the spire at the top of the Chrysler Building.

The story opens when a woman comes to Spector's office telling about her kidnapped husband who works for a weapons manufacturer. She mentions that one of the kidnappers was named Cristos. 

Cristos we discover is Spector's archenemy who was believed dead (first villian rule - if you don't see a body they are not dead) when the plane which he was locked in the cockpit crashed. 

Spector takes a pill that effectively speeds up his brain (Not unlike NZT in Limitless movie and TV series and the drug in Lucy)  There's a nice five page sequence after he takes the pill, where he asks for the lady's address and through deduction and knowledge of Cristos' MO is able to determine the villian's lair. 

Spector grabs his custom made weapons (because a number of pulp vigilantes had custom made weapons) made with his parent's wedding rings. 

He then makes his way to the hideout, where he battles Cristos. 

There's a surprise or two in the confrontation that I won't spoil.

I really loved this book - it was perfectly self contained giving us everything we need to know about Simon Spector yet also managing to tantalise us with hints of a larger story.  We don't know what happened to his parents, the nature of his earlier encounters with Cristos, what other villians has he faced, does he always need the tablets? Where did he meet his bodyguard and his doctor? Is Simon Spector his real name?

You could write a whole series of hundreds of adventures with this character and yet in this single adventure we know all that we need. 

This was a really good comic I enjoyed it immensely.  I'll have to see if I can find the other three Apparat books.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

The Bletchley Circle (2012- 2014) and The Bletchley Circle: San Francisco (2018 - current)

In season 2 of Agent Carter episode 4 "Smoke and Mirrors" we see some of Peggy Carter's life before the events of Captain America: The First Avenger.  She's engaged to be married and breaking codes at Bletchley House.  She gets the offer to join SOE (Special Operations Executive) an offer she originally refuses but eventually takes ending her engagement.  The rest for her is history, working with SSR and later SHIELD.

Airing before Agent Carter on BBC, The Bletchley Circle shows us what Peggy Carter's life might have been like had she not taken the SOE job - a civilian life as a housewife who can't even tell her husband what she did in the war.

This is the case for Susan Gray (Anna Maxwell-Martin who played Elizabeth Darcy in Death Comes to Pemberley).  It's 1952 and she's following a series of murders in the news and notices that the killer has a pattern but there is a gap, possibly a missing vicitim.

Her husband served with a Scotland Yard Commissioner and he gets her an interview.  While she can't reveal her history, the commissioner is able to guess at her history.   The police search where her pattern suggests the body may be but they come up empty handed. But Susan can't leave it alone and calls in several of her old colleagues from Bletchley House to help her.  Lucy (Sophie Rundle), Jean McBrian (Julie Graham) and Millie Harcourt (Rachel Stirling) all pitch in and help solve the mystery.  This mystery is the three episode first season.

The second season  of four episodes has the circle working to clear Alice Merren, another Bletchley alum, from a murder charge at the end of that case Susan leaves to join her husband in the Foreign Service.  Alice then joins the circle for their next mystery when Millie is kidnapped.

The show was then revived for an American spinoff - with Jean and Millie heading to San Francisco when they hear about a murder in that city that has several similiarities to a murder during their Bletchley days.  In San Francisco, they track down some of their American counterparts from the Presidio, Iris Bearden (Crystal Balint) and Hailey Yarner (Chanelle Peloso) and try to find the killer.  The eight episodes had the new circle solving four cases.  Reportedly we are getting a new season this year.

I'd heard of both shows but when they originally aired, I must have missed them.  But I decided to watch them when they turned up on Netflix and enjoyed both shows.

Rachel Stirling's Millie Harcourt  was a standout for me reminding me somewhat of Miss Fisher.  I thought that the actress looked familiar but couldn't find anything in her filmography that I had seen but was pleasantly surprised to find that she was the daughter of Dame Diana Rigg, Mrs Peel herself.

I'm glad this turned up on Netflix and was an enjoyable watch,  I found that San Francisco could get a little preachy but I still look forward to further seasons, who knows maybe they can get Hayley Atwell for a cameo.

Blood & Treasure (2019)

Every now and then you hear about a new show, and you go YES!  This is for me.

Blood &Treasure was like that for me.  An Ex-FBI Agent and a thief team up to track down a terrorist selling blood antiquities.  Sounds right up my alley.

It was about a year ago I first heard this was launching in the States.  In Australia, not so soon.  In the interim, CBS (who air the show in the States) buys a big share of Network 10 in Australia.  So I figure that it should air on that Network, then they launch 10 All Access, which is the local version of CBS All Access, a pay site. If they don't air it on the free to air channels, it'll be on the paid site, I thought to myself.

So I've been keeping an eye out for Blood & Treasure on the 10 Network - nothing.  All Access (and other paysites) have an annoying thing where they won't tell you what is on them until you join.    And I'm not wasting a free trial in the hopes that it MIGHT be on the pay site.

Then in my Facebook feed - a sponsered post that was actually useful to me.  10 has put Blood & Treasure on the 10 Play site for free for 30 days.

So I fire up the internet and damn if I don't enjoy this show more than I thought.

Oded Fehr from The Mummy appears as the terrorist leader (and that's not the only Mummy connection in this show),  Mark "Human Target" Valley turns up as Danny's father in one episode and John LaRoquette from The Librarians has a recurring role as Danny's mentor J. Reece.
 The show features ex FBI Agent Danny McNamara and Egyptian thief, master thief Lexi Visiri as they tell us in an Arrow-verse like opening monologue (or rather dialogue as Lexi interupts Danny's speech)

The show opens with the discovery of the tomb of Cleopatra and Mark Anthony in the present day.  The discover the bodies of several Nazi soldiers.(Cleo's tomb was the subject of The Mummy Chronicles book The Heart of the Pharaoh by Dale Wolverton where the Nazis are searching for the tomb and Alex O'Connell has to stop them)

Turns out those darn Nazis had taken Cleopatra's Mummy before the Medjai er I mean the Brotherhood of Seraphis can stop them and they planned on weaponising Cleopatra's curse.  Kinda like how they planned on weaponising The Ark of the Covenant and the Holy Grail.

Of course that's not the only reference to Indiana Jones - with a Danny quoting Indy at one point, "They're digging in the wrong spot" and referencing the Indy films.

The action moves to Casablanca and if you don't know what movie gets referenced there well Bogie says it's time to do some research.  They nicely play on several scenes from Casablanca in one case completely subverting my expectation of the scene.

Each episode has a flash back to the Nazis moving the mummy and our heroes tracking the clues in the present day.  I really like the changing map and date that told us when and where we are.

The leads have a nice banter but they can't quite trust each other, it's all cliche but I at least enjoyed watching it play out.  There are several twists and turns as people aren't what they seem and apparent villians are allies and allies have alliances that make them untrustworthy.

The season ends with the discovery of Cleopatra and the capture of the terrorist (I'd call it a spoiler but really? Is this a surprise to anyone?)  and a title card that reads The adventure Continues......

I'm well on board for a second season and hope it appears soon.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Battle of the 80s Supercars

My love for Knight Rider is well known (and if not, it is now)  KITT (the Knight Industries Two Thousand) was a car ahead of it's time nearly forty years later we still haven't got everything that car could do.

The Battle of the 80s Supercars was in effect two specials in one.

The first part was David Hasselhoff driving around in KITT looking at the new wave of cars that were influenced by KITT and Knight Rider -  bulletproof cars, self driving cars, a self sufficent survival car, smart cars that you open through your watch as well as very fast cars.

In most cases, The Hoff drives the cars - there's part of me that imagines the creators of these vehicles were doing the "Knight Rider is driving my car" happy dance.  And it was fascinating to see what was currently being done.

There's a cool bit where the Hoff visits the desginer of KITT for the TV series and we see his design sketches for KITT.

The second part which was woven through the special was an 80s super car race -  now this was a great idea as a young boy in the 80s we had a number of supervehicles aside from KITT on TV:

  • Blue Thunder (the one season spinoff from the movie), 
  • Airwolf (helicopter), 
  • Streethawk (motorcycle), 
  • Automan's car, 
  • the Coyote X from Hardcastle and McCormick, 
  • The Highwayman's truck, 
  • The A-Team van, 
and that is just off the top of my head.  (I was going to include Viper but that was in the 90s and we're not going into the Knight Rider spinoff TV Movies and series which would double the list alone.)

Okay we aren't doing the helicopters but that's an impressive list of vehicles and the producers got Dirk Bendict to drive the A Team Van - yes!  and Erik Estrada on his CHiPs bike - ah what now?

Now don't get me wrong CHiPs was a fine series and I have a feeling that my cousin Michael and I had CHiPs action figures but a) they were regular police motorcycles not super vehicles and b) CHiPs started in 1977.

A good chunk of the special had Erik Estrada hunting for his bike (which he did after accepting the challenge of the race) and Benedict getting the van serviced (at least he was spared running around looking for the van).

Really all they needed to do was what they did with Hasselhoff - make out that these guys were just driving around all the time in these vehicles.  I'm sure that most of us assume that to be the case anyway.

Partway through Hasselhoff runs into Morgan Fairchild who basically tells the Hoff  that she wishes he come last.  Morgan Freeman wasn't in any show even vaguely super car related, yeah she was in flashy soaps like Falcon Crest and Paper Dolls but why was she here?

We get to raceday and they get Catherine Bach (Daisy Duke from the Duke of Hazzard) as the race offical and starter which was a great idea, I suspect that instead of the four wheel drive she turned up in she was supposed to drive up in the General Lee, but given the sensitivity to the Confederate Flag these days that was sqashed,.  

The idea was first to win two races was the overall winner and I'm sure since this was Hasselhoff's special we can all guess who won.

The show ends with the Hoff talking a possible sequel with races with other super vehicles - that brought a huge grin to my face.

(I should mention that KITT brought the 

Arrow; A farewell

Wow has it really been eight years since Arrow started? Eight seasons of Oliver Queen fighting crime in Star(ling) City?

In many ways you could call Green Arrow the Iron Man of DCTV.  Like the MCU all of the top tier characters were tied up elsewhere and one of the lower teir characters got the tap to build a universe, in the case of DC it was the movie people who had all the cool toys.

To many people Green Arrow was a wanna be Batman with a Robin Hood twist.  And many people wrote Arrow off for just that - the early seasons were heavily influenced by the Christopher Nolan Dark Knight trilogy but dammit I loved it.

I was a huge fan of the Mike Grell run of Green Arrow comics in the 80s which were grim gritty street level crime comics and Arrow delivered that in spades. The twist was that it was the start of Green Arrow's career instead of a man in his forties (which lead to his death after Grell's run)

The early seasons had flash backs to five years earlier showing how Oliver gained the skills and knowledge he used in his fight against crime in the present day.

The show wasn't perfect but what show is?  I would have swapped season 4 and 5's flashbacks around as four took him back to the island he was stranded on in seasons 1 & 2 and then five sent him to Russia to race back to the island to be rescued at the end of the season to take us to the start of season 1's present day story.

The flashforwards to 2040 in later seasons did nothing for me.  I was hoping though that they might tie into the season 1 Legends of Tomorrow episode "Star City 2046")

I wasn't wild on all the costumes that were given to characters over the show.  Wildcat and later Black Canary costumes were some of my least favourite - I liked Sara Lance's original Black Canary costume. Other costumes like Ragman and Wild Dog were spot on.

Some characters got the short shift in the show either through actors not coming back or taken away by the movie people (Huntress, Suicide Squad, and Deathstroke).

The wasn't beholden to the comics, creating new characters (John Diggle, Sara Lance), recreating exisiting names (Felicity Smoak) and letting the story take them where it would - in at least on occasion the show used our knowledge of comics against us with the relevation of the true identity of Prometheus.  It was a surprise and while it could have rubbed some fans up the wrong way it made me incredibly happy - it solved a mystery with a twist that I wasn't expecting and handed me a new mystery that I thought I already knew the answer to.

Like Iron Man, the show grew and The Flash spun off from it, and then we added Legends of Tomorrow and Batwoman, with Supergirl and Constantine joining from other networks which all culminated in Crisis on Infinite Earths.

Crisis was probably the ultimate way to end Green Arrow's story in a tale so massive that it ranged outside the scope of the current Arrow-verse and affected other DC live action shows.  I won't spoil how it ended but the final episode was a great ending  for Oliver Queen.

Arrow was a show the defied expectations and changed TV superhero shows building a universe that challenges the MCU for a fraction of the budget.

Monday, January 20, 2020

The Watchmen Companion (2019)

The third Watchmen related product to come out in the same week is The Watchmen Companion.

Arguably the least controversial of the Watchmen spinoffs*. (Seriously, if read one more article about the Watchmen TV series or Doomsday Clock that calls it an unauthorised sequel... I get the murkiness but under the letter of the contract DC holds the rights).

The Companion is split into three parts: The Watchmen Roleplaying modules “Watching the Watchmen”, “Taking Out the Trash”, and “The Watchmen Sourcebook”; Various Watchmen promotional pieces and articles done by Moore and Gibbons; and The Question #17.

 The Question issue was okay. Vic Sage reads Watchmen and tries to act more like Rorschach, finishing with the Question declaring that “Rorschach sucks”. As we all know The Question was the inspiration for Rorschach – as I’ve pointed out that hasn’t stopped creators trying to watchmen-ify the Charlton heroes in stories like The LAW Living Assault Weapon and Pax Americana.

The promotional pieces are interesting and informative especially in hindsight. In an illustration for an article in Amazing Heroes shows The Minutemen’s character sketches and we see an alternate name for Hooded Justice, Brother Night. Fans of the TV series would be going “oh,” (I had a quick flick through Gibbon’s Watching The Watchmen and that detail doesn’t seem to be in there).

But the gold mine here is the RPG modules, which make up the majority of the book. Alan Moore worked with the writers to turn out these two prequel adventures and the source book. Reading the modules is challenging in the same way that reading a script is. It just takes some adjustment.

 “Watching the Watchmen” confirmed my theory that Captain Metropolis is a little bit dodgy. “Taking out the Trash” explains how Nixon ultimately became Vice President in the Watchmen world. The Sourcebook is an expanded version of the back matter of the graphic novel, it confirms that Rolf Muller is Hooded Justice and states that the Comedian killed him. 

*Saturday Morning Watchmen or Dave Gibbons “Watching the Watchmen” would also be in the running. 

Monday, January 6, 2020

Doomsday Clock (12 issue maxi series) written by Geoff Johns and art by Gary Frank

After the Before Watchmen collection of miniseries, I was less than keen for a new comic set in the world of Watchmen. But this was a sequel, and I’d long been intrigued by seeing where the world went next. Intended to finish at the end of 2018, this book ran over time and by a quirk of synergy the final issue came out the same week as the final episode of the TV series and the Watchmen Companion.

The story starts in 1992, Veidt’s deception has been discovered and the world immediately begins firing nuclear missiles. The world’s only hope is to track down Dr Manhattan. Not a bad start, Veidt is joined by the second Rorschach and the criminal duo of Mime and Marionette.

 I’m intrigued by the new characters. Who is the new Rorschach? Johns does a great job with this mystery giving us a character who is only hinted at in one panel of the Watchmen comic, (yep I was sent scurrying to the comic to see if it was legit. It was)

The problem is that the majority of the series is set in the DC Universe so we have to focus on the considerably larger cast of DC characters. Batman and Rorschach interact as do Adrian and Lex Luthor and any ambiguity if Veidt is a villain or a hero is out the window. There is a final confrontation between Superman and Dr Manhattan (the briefer Manhattan/Captain Atom clash was a disappointment)

There is a notion going through the DC Universe of the Superman Theory – America has the majority of superheroes because they are deliberately being created by the US government. It’s an interesting idea and I wonder would it have would have worked better without the Watchmen stuff. We discover that Dr Manhattan was responsible for the New 52 universe and his interference prevented the formation of the Justice Society and Legion of Superheroes.

Ultimately, I didn’t care. The crisis of infinite reboots that is DC makes me ask is, will this story still count/matter after the next round of retcons? I did like the idea that the Watchmen characters end up back in their own universe and their experiences in the DC Universe have injected some hope into their world. Ultimately is this a satisfying story? Yes. Is it what I would have liked to have seen? Not really, seeing the Watchmen characters in the DCU wasn’t something I’d hoped to see – we already had the Charlton heroes in there and writers have tried several times to make them into their Watchmen counterparts, The L.A.W. miniseries and the Pax Americana chapter of Multiversity come to mind. The artwork is really good and seems to have been the hold up with the stories. There were several articles that announced that the art for issue 12 was now done. The delays really hurt this series as it went longer and longer I presume that more people would have dropped the book or forgotten about it – some of the revelations and returns to continuity that should have debuted here had been preempted in other titles.

Friday, January 3, 2020

Watchmen: the comic. Alan Moore (story) Dave Gibbons (art)

Holy smokes!  I realised that I hadn't transferred my old Watchmen related reviews over from Opera so I'll be inter spersing the new reviews with the old

  What can I say that hasn’t already been said about this graphic novel? Well one aspect I think has been overlooked is the pulp/serial vigilante influence on Watchmen.

Let’s look at the pulp references in Watchmen. The obvious point to begin is with Hollis Mason, The original Nite Owl – whilst not strictly a pulp reference but when we first meet him on page nine of chapter 1 we see that he has a copy of Phillip Wylie’s Gladiator, a novel considered by many to have been an influence on the creation of Superman. Later in the “excerpts’ from Under The Hood, we see that Mason was a fan of the Pulps referencing The Shadow and Doc Savage (Chapter 1; PP4-5*) While Superman is also cited as an influence it is The Shadow that Mason references in the second excerpt from Under The Hood (Chapter 2; p7) in designing his outfit. Hollis Mason is the only Golden Age character we are privy to the full reasoning why and how they adopted a costumed identity and it seems that he is a fan of the pulps.

It is appropriate the second Nite Owl – Dan Dreiberg is also a fan. Dreiberg wrote Mason to get permission to become the new Nite Owl and Dreiberg spends his time with Mason reminiscing about the past. Dreiberg also owned a Silk Spectre Tijuana Bible when he was younger.

Much has been made of the comic book influences on the characters of Watchmen but there is a pulp/serial vigilante influence. Now in some cases it may be a stretch and I certainly don’t suggest that there is the simple correlation that Watchmen shares with the Charlton characters.

 The most obvious is Ozymandias (Adrian Veidt)– like Doc Savage he travelled the world gaining knowledge becoming the physical and mental peak of human ability – both Savage and Veidt have remote polar bases.

 Rorschach - His simple outfit of trench coat and fedora calls to mind Pulp private eyes like Sam Spade and Philip Marlowe and also Pulp heroes like The Shadow, The Spider (as seen on the covers), and The Whisperer. Rorschach’s journal calls to mind the war journals of the Executioner and the recordings of The Assassin Robert Briganti. (I would mention the Punisher but he’s a comic book character)

 The Silk Spectre (I & II) - The original Silk Spectre like The Domino Lady uses sex appeal to fight crime.

 The Nite Owl (I & II) –There is a similarity with The Black Bat as well as The Black Hood. The Black Hood is fairly unique in making the leap from comics to the pulps. The second Nite Owl invokes the wealthy crime-fighting playboy trope seen in many pulp heroes.

 The Comedian – Certainly Johnston McCulley’s The Crimson Clown invokes a similar naming convention, but I’ve long thought that The Comedian’s original costume resembled that of The Avenger especially as depicted on the covers of the 1970’s Warner books reprint and revival novels.

 Captain Metropolis- Many pulp heroes have a military background like Captain Metropolis such as Doc Savage, The Shadow and The Spider

Dollar Bill- The Corporate superhero as far as I can tell has no precedent in the pulps but several serial vigilantes, Hawker and The Expeditor come to mind, are sponsored by millionaire backers.

Mothman- This character had a fairly insignificant role in Watchmen but if we look at some versions of the penny dreadful character Spring-heeled Jack there is a slight resemblance in that both use mechanical aides to fight crime one flying the other leaping

Hooded Justice – His appearance is that of an executioner – possibly an allusion to Mack Bolan’s crime fighting persona.

Silhouette – Dressed all in black, a silhouette is a type of shadow, perhaps she was intended as a distaff version of The Shadow.

Like I said earlier these are very thin but it appears that the Minute Men are very much in the pulp/mystery men mould with the Shadow and Doc Savage as a partial inspiration for at least one of the members. The second generation of heroes – The Crimebusters (Watchmen in the movie version) with the exception of Doctor Manhattan would seem to borrow from the serial vigilante tradition as well as that of comic book characters.

Watchmen can be seen as a metaphor for the Superhero (Doctor Manhattan) replacing and superseding the non powered mystery men/pulp hero (every other hero mentioned above. We see this especially with Doctor Manhattan and Hollis Mason Nite-Owl I. One of the reasons Mason retires is the appearance of Doctor Manhattan which made Mason feel redundant. Mason plans on becoming a mechanic. Ironically, one of Manhattan’s inventions, an electrical car, quickly renders his new career equally redundant.

 Doctor Manhattan’s role in Vietnam meant that in this alternate reality, the events of that War most likely would not have caused the burst of vigilantes we saw in fiction in our world.

 * The page numbers are from the “pages” from Under The Hood.