Friday, April 01, 2005

Presenting: The Golden Age Red Ensign!

This is something I've been working on for my portfolio. The costume origins are of course pretty obvious, as is the reason why I've put this up here.

So, what's the story behind this character? Well, I don't know his civilian name yet, but I do know he was a geologist in the late 1930's. I know he's from Ontario, and I know that he had a limp that kept him from being conscripted later on in life.

In late 1940 he discovered a meteor in the northern part of Algonquin Park that gave of a weird reddish glow. Picking a piece of the meteor up, he learned he could project energy from it just by thinking about it. When he was attacked by poachers, he used the energy to drive them off, and this gave him the idea to become a patriotic superhero.

As I see it, the Red Ensign fought crime from 1941 (his debut) to 1965 (retired upon the debut of the new flag.) During his 25 year career as a superhero, he fought mainly around Toronto, Niagara and Windsor, with the occasional foray into New York and Detroit. His enemies were mainly Nazi and Communist sympathizers (that, I'm still working on; I figure I need to create 5 or 6 villains who can be a rogue's gallery of some sort. An organized crime lord, a spy, someone supernatural like a vampire, a mechanic with a penchant for giant robots, etc.) His superhuman powers are pretty much akin to the Green Lantern's, except of course that his glow red rather than green.

I know he's got a cantankerous, sometimes arrogant personality, especially as he gets older and when we get to the latter half of his career. (Think about angry_in_TO and you'll see the kind of personality I mean.) The problems of his hard-nose attitude lead directly to his decision to retire in the 1960s era.

He's worked with other superheroes, including one whom I'm designing as a main protagonist for a comic book or animated TV series. In that show, he and his progeny are backstory supporting character and supervillain, respectively.

I say "backstory" because I know when he died: in 1985, coming out of retirement to defend downtown Toronto from a shadow-demon invasion. He ascends to the top of the CN Tower, then burns off almost all of his energy vaporizing the attackers, before falling to the ground. He leaves behind either a son or who tries to assume his mantle, but becomes a supervillain instead because of a lack of understanding about the true nature of heroism. (We've all run into people like that, I think.)

Later on in the year I plan to showcase the design of this supervillain, essentially the modern-day Red Ensign. As well as the guy who's going to defeat this would-be hero.