On my blog I've been running a series of old Japanese Kaiju and giant hero tv episodes, and this is one of them.
I never realized when I was a kid watching Ultraman that he would be featured in so many movies and TV programs over time, but I guess the idea of a gigantic hero protecting earth is not lost upon all generations when our world is so full of violence and hatred.
I guess we all wish it could be better and there were super heroes to stop all the stupidity going on.
The last shivers of light from the setting sun slid behind the copious spread of trees about his mansion, settling his attic bedroom in a comfortable radiance of darkness. While vampires are immune to the effects of sunlight, they don't prefer it, instead preferring the more gentle light of the moon. As he slept upside down, his bare feet clinging to his favorite bed rafter, his eyelids slowly phased open, allowing more and more light to caress the weariness of the day before.
"Sheridan Holmes, The Curse of the Serpent King," is available at Amazon.
I always wondered if Sherlock ever allowed himself to settle down and be a father, and what kind of father he might turn out to be and in this story, you can discover what I did as his son and the very impish, but bright Emily Watson, the daughter of Doctor John Watson, pair off to team on an investigation that delves into mystical horrors and mythological beasts and gods.
And what would a Baker Street Adventure be without Sherlock and Watson, and a guest duo as well. Whom you'll just have to wait and read about when you read the story.
War of the Worlds, The Invasion continues. A sample of something I write a while back. Fun stuff with an odd bent to it.
In the year of our Lord
Eighteen Hundred and Ninety One
This August Thirty First
The Globe Theater
The Queen's Room
"To be or not to be...that is the question." My lead actor spoke upon our stage. I watched from the second level gallery, making sure his pitch and diction were strong and clear enough. He looked up at me and I gestured for him to continue, but my mind was elsewhere. So much has happened since I last put anything down in my journal.
I'm not sure where to begin.
When last I wrote I mentioned I had sent my favorite pigeon to bring a message to my friends in Paris. I needed to know if they were alright first, and then if there were problems, what I could do to help. I had the ear of our Queen, and was not loath to wax it with soothing words on their behalf if need be. She was a stern queen, but a fair one. She loathed men who were weak and full of folly, but she loved men who were brave and daring, such as Jules and Wells.
Wells had been on her list of men she was considering knighting for his pretigious output of fictional journeys and adventures. She likened him to her other favorite, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, whom I have not yet had the chance to acquaint myself with personally, as we do keep our lives in pretty much different worlds these days. I have passed him in the palace from time to time and we have chatted briefly, but that is not the kind of conversation that leads to a deep friendship, but rather a shallow courteous one.
I tend to the opposite. I like to know those I am around in all the ways possible. I suppose that is because I am a writer, an observer of life and as such my mind demands more details than most who go day to day on their life journeys.
As I was seated observing my actor deliver his soliloqy, Sarah returned. She always knew where I was and I always kept a treat for her. Perhaps that motivated her more than anything else, I can not be sure of what goes on in a pigeon's mind, other than utter kindness.
She landed on the railing beside me and cocked an eye on me, then nodded to her right foot where a note was attached. I gave her a treat, and hurriedly untied the message to read it. I was distressed while doing it, because my actor had just blown the next two lines and said, "whether it is bolder to go outside and face the storm than..." Furious at the disruption of my beautiful poetry, I almost chased Sarah away, but I kept my temper in check for both her and the actor.
He was having a rough time at home as I understood it. Something about a romance with another man that wasn't going well. I felt for him, for relationships were difficult with the opposite sex, let alone the same. It is the nature of relationships that they have difficulties. If you are looking for a peaceful and tranquil ride throughout your life, then do not seek a relationship, as they are not always tranquil or peaceful, they are human. And humans feel and sometimes too deeply. And sometimes too shallowly. The choices we all must live with.
I motioned to the actor to do it again and as he did I swiftly unraveled the note and read it.
"Dear Will, it is with the utmost sense of urgency that I request you speak with the brotherhood. Paris is in distress such as no man could ever have suspected to happen. Our beloved Eiffel Tower is now a broken toy, and much of our fair city has been burned and leveled to the ground. I fear that my dear friend Wells is taking this much harder than I, and I can barely look at myself in our mirror now, knowing we might have unwittingly set off the monstrous destruction we now survey about us."
It was a long note. I looked up and the actor was looking at me, an expression of what next. I glanced at my Stage Manager who stood right stage watching and motioned for him to cue the man. He did so and the actor got back in character again and continued.
I returned to the note, my hands trembling, for I feared the rest of the news that surely must be there.
"A strange device from another world has descended into our fair city and it immediately began destroying anything and anyone in its path. I fear it is but the advance guard for something far worse."
I looked up and muttered to myself. "Worse than destroying Paris?"
I shuddered in horror.
I read on.
"Contact the brotherhood, let them know we have a greater peril now than the war between our nations. That a War of the Worlds has begun.
"I shall endeavor to contact you again in two days if able. For now my friends and I must help as many as possible to survive this catastrophe.
"Your friend, Jules."
I looked up again, tears misting my eyes. It was that bad. The Captain's words rang in my ears again in remembrance and I knew at that moment that the play was not the thing in this case, and that the Great Wheel now turning was being spun by hands not meant to be guided by our Creator, but by something far darker.
Pardon me if I seem somewhat melodramatic, but that is my nature as an actor and writer, but as a human being I can only shudder in horror at the thought, "A War of the Worlds has begun."
And it was at that moment that a great shout arose from outside the theater, as if a great crowd were crying out in horror.
Rock and Roll the Comic Books."A Cartoon Story." by John Pirillo. "Love is sometimes a glow in the dark."
Rock and Roll the Comic Books.
"A Cartoon Story."
By John Pirillo.
It was a fierce battle, and no one was going to back off. No one was going to give an inch without getting blood in return. Lots of blood.
Trouble was, it was all from his picking fingers. They hurt like someone was cutting off a piece at a time and were starting to bleed. But he was relentless; he couldn't give up, because the fate of a world depended on him.
He was the Rock and Roll King and the beautiful Princess beside him, Cartoon, was the woman of his heart and soul and he couldn't let her be swept away by the hordes of Zombie guitar players who were hungry for her body, as well as her soul.
So he kept on picking at his electric guitar, his Jimmie Hendrix afro, flagging in the breeze of all the megawatt amps behind him and the ones behind the Zombie King, who was rocking on from the other side of the zombie horde, using the power of his rock and roll to stir them, to move them, to guide and rush them for he and Cartoon.
Johnnie had fought a lot of weird battles lately, but this had to take the cake for the most blood he'd shit.
"Oh shitzleputt!" He cursed as one of his picking fingers got so greasy from blood that he made a bad note.
That gave the zombie horde all the time they needed to reach the platform he and Cartoon were on. She took out her drum sticks, the ones he had gotten from the comic book Rock and Roll Stars and began poking at the closer ones. Each poke took out a zombie, but for every zombie she poked and annihilated into a cloud of gray and blood colored dust, came another one, just as eager as the last to take a bite of her tender flesh and anoint her into zombie hood.
"You won't win this battle, Johnnie!" Screamed the Zombie King. "My Mojo is greater than yours."
"You have no Mojo." He hollered back, staring down the monster. "Because you don't even know what it means, you son of a dog bone!"
The Zombie King snarled, revealed all twenty of his scary teeth, each one of them capped with gold and diamond studs. "Pretend you're tough, but admit it, this time I win!"
Johnnie reached into his back pocket where he kept the comic with the Rock and Roll King. Issue Number Ten, where the Rock and Roll King had a blaster for a right hand that could knock space ship out of the sky. He hurriedly thumbed through the pages, feeling the energies grow. He was getting better at this.
Then he started to lose the energies, until Cartoon put both her hands over his and gave him that smile that would knock the socks off a space suited astronaut.
His right hand flew up, now a cartoon blaster and he began firing into the horde. Zombie parts flew into the air, their snarls continuing as their heads separated from their bodies, then there was only one left. The Zombie King.
The Zombie King put down the bone guitar he had been playing and then stomped across the space of the auditorium towards them.
"I don't need hordes to finish you!"
Johnnie let the blaster hand dissolve back into his good right hand again, then pulled Cartoon against him.
He felt her warmth suffusing his body for a moment, and then said. "You don't have to stay with me."
"I'm not going anywhere without you. If you die, I'd rather not live!"
"But that monster won't let you die! He'll suck your flesh dry for centuries!"
"Just let him try!" She cursed, her eyes flashing with fury, and then turned to join me in the battle. We raised our silver swords tipped with Twinkies. They were deadly. The only way you can slice and dice a living zombie like the Zombie King is with one of those. It may sound a bit Disney, but it's true. They hate Twinkies. It separates them from their bones, and dissolves them back into dust ands them off to LaLa Land where they have to face the karmas they've created by their horrible deeds.
Oh yes, and in case you were wondering, not all zombies are made that way. Some choose to be that way. They're the worst and they're usually led by a scoundrel like the Zombie King. God knows I'd dissolved him a hundred times by now, but his hatred for me and humanity was so strong that he kept coming back from the dead.
Some day, when...if...I had the time, I'd have to do some research to see why he gets away with dying so many times and coming back. Was another human re-energizing raising him, a black sorcerer type like those from Doctor Strange? Speaking of which, I'd forgot to close up my Doctor Strange back home. I just hoped Elizabeth didn't sneak in and start reading it; it might let loose a horde of different monsters for me to take out.
The Zombie King leaped to the stage I and Cartoon stood upon and raised two swords over our heads. "Which to die first. Eeny, Meeny, Miney."
Cartoon and I both swung our Twinkie swords at the same time, one beheading him, the other slicing his body from neck to abdomen.
His head clunked to the platform we stood on, making a kind of squishy sound, then his eyes looked up at us. "Oops!"
Then the head the halved skeleton all made a powder puff explosion and vanished into gray and red dust.
Cartoon and I choked on it for a moment, and then took a deep breath as we leaped off the platform, which dissolved, along with all the remains of the battlefield. The local Wal-Mart store. Most of the patrons had scurried out as fast as they could when the zombies came a biting.
We exited the huge store, and then hugged.
"One of these days we really gotta get a life." I told her.
"You do." She said, smiling as she raised her lips for a kiss. "Me!"
We kissed. Oh, did I tell you that I really, really love this girl. Even if she is a cartoon that glows in the dark. Sigh!
Hey Writers and Readers!
You're missing out if you haven't checked out this site.
Lots of fun, good reading and if you're a writer, a place to land your ideas.
So don't be like that snobby guy above, click on Readers Gazette for reading and writing adventures!
Best to all.
Superman (1940s cartoons)From Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaThe title card from the firstSuperman animated short produced by Fleischer Studios.The Fleischer & Famous Superman cartoons are a series of seventeen animated Technicolor short films released by Paramount Pictures and based upon the comic book character Superman, and making it his first animated appearance.
The pilot and first eight shorts were produced by Fleischer Studios from 1941 to 1942, while the final eight were produced by Famous Studios, a successor company to Fleischer Studios, from 1942 to 1943. Superman was the final animated series initiated under Fleischer Studios, before Famous Studios officially took over production in May 1942.
Although all entries are in the public domain, ancillary rights such as merchandising contract rights, as well as the original 35mm master elements, are owned today by Warner Bros. Entertainment. Warner has owned Superman publisher DC Comics since 1969.
By mid-1941, brothers Max and Dave Fleischer were running their own animation studio, and had recently finished their first animated feature film, Gulliver's Travels; they were also well into production on their second, Mister Bug Goes to Town. Not wanting to risk becoming overworked (which could compromise the quality of each project), the Fleischers were strongly (but quietly) opposed to the idea of committing themselves to another major project, when approached by their studio's distributor and majority owner since May 1941, Paramount Pictures. Paramount was interested in financially exploiting the phenomenal popularity of the then-new Superman comic books, by producing a series of theatrical cartoons based upon the character. The Fleischers, looking for a way to reject the project without appearing uncooperative, agreed to do the series—but only at a (intentionally inflated) per-episode-budget number so exorbitantly high that Paramount would have to reject them, instead. They told Paramount that producing such a conceptually and technically complex series of cartoons would cost about $100,000 (in 1940s dollars) per short; this was about four times the typical budget of a six-minute episode of the Fleischers' popular Popeye the Sailor cartoons of that period. To the Fleischers' shock, instead of withdrawing its request, Paramount entered into negotiations with them, and got the per-episode budget lowered to $50,000. Now the Fleischers were committed to a project they never wanted to do—with more financial and marketing support than they had ever received for the projects they had done.
The first cartoon in the series, simply titled Superman, was released on September 26, 1941, and was nominated for the 1941 Academy Award for Best Short Subject: Cartoons. It lost toLend a Paw, a Pluto cartoon from Walt Disney Productions and RKO Pictures.
The voice of Superman for the series was initially provided by Bud Collyer, who also performed the lead character's voice during the Superman radio series. Joan Alexander was the voice of Lois Lane, a role she also portrayed on radio alongside Collyer. Music for the series was composed by Sammy Timberg, the Fleischers' long-time musical collaborator.
Rotoscoping, the process of tracing animation drawings from live-action footage, was used minimally to lend realism to the character's bodily movements. Many of Superman's actions, however, could not be rotoscoped (e.g., flying, lifting very large objects, etc.). In these cases, the Fleischers' lead animators—many of whom lacked training in figure drawing—animated "roughly" and depended upon their assistants (many of whom were inexperienced animators, but trained figure-drawers) to keep Superman "on model" during his action sequences.
The Fleischer cartoons were also responsible for giving Superman perhaps his most singular superpower: flight. When the Fleischers started work on the series, in the comic books, Superman could only leap from place to place (hence the classic phrase, "able to leap tall buildings in a single bound"). After seeing the leaping fully animated, however, the Fleischers deemed it "silly looking", and asked Action Comics' (which would later become DC Comics) permission to have him fly instead; the publisher agreed, and wrote the flight ability into the comics from then on.
Transition from Fleischer to FamousThe Fleischers produced nine classic cartoons in the Superman series before Paramount took over the Fleischer Studios facility in Miami and ousted Max and Dave Fleischer. By the end of 1941, the brothers were no longer able to cooperate with each other, and the studio's co-owner Dave Fleischer had left Florida for California, where he would eventually become the new head of Columbia Pictures' Screen Gems studio. After the Fleischers were removed from the company, Paramount renamed the organization Famous Studios, placing Seymour Kneitel, Isadore Sparber, Sam Buchwald, and Dan Gordon in charge of production. The sleek look of the series continued, but there was a noticeable change in the storylines of the later shorts of the series. The first nine cartoons had more of a science fiction aspect to them, as they involved the Man of Steel fighting robots, giant dinosaurs, meteors from outer space, and other perils. The later eight cartoons in the series, which were all Famous Studios productions, dealt more with World War II propaganda stories, such as in Eleventh Hour, which finds Superman going to Japan to commit acts of sabotage in order to reduce the morale of the enemy; meanwhile, an angered Adolf Hitler had a cameo role at the end of Jungle Drums after Superman foiled another Nazi plot.
Japoteurs was the firstSuperman short to be produced byFamous Studios, but was released without any screen credit to Famous Studios; the screen credit card stated, simply: PARAMOUNT Presents SUPERMAN In TECHNICOLOR.The first seven cartoons originated the classic opening line which was later adopted by the Superman radio series and in the live-action television series a decade later: "Faster than a speeding bullet! More powerful than a locomotive! Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound!" (The radio series also eventually used the cartoon series' theme music.) However, for the final two Fleischer-produced cartoons and the first of the eight Famous Studios-produced cartoons, the opening was changed to "Faster than a speeding bullet! More powerful than a locomotive! Able to soar higher than any plane!". For the remaining Famous Studios-produced cartoons, the opening line was changed again to "Faster than a streak of lightning! More powerful than the pounding surf! Mightier than a roaring hurricane!" This series also featured a slight variation of the now-classic exclamation (also from the radio series): "Up in the sky, look! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's Superman!".
Later historyFamous Studios ended the series after a total of seventeen shorts had been produced, replacing it with a series of shorts based upon Marge's Little Lulu. The high cost of the series kept it from continuing in the face of budgetary restrictions that were imposed after removing the Fleischers from the studio. The first cartoon had a budget of $50,000 (equivalent to $779,265.31 in 2012), and the other sixteen each had a budget of $30,000 (equivalent to $467,559.18 for each of the eight other Fleischer cartoons and $421,663.80 for each of the eight Famous Studios cartoons), bringing the total cost of the series to $530,000 (equivalent to $7,893,049.21 in 2012). In addition, Paramount cited waning interest in the Superman shorts among theater exhibitors as another justification for the series' cancellation.
The rights to all seventeen cartoons eventually reverted to National Comics, who licensed TV syndication rights to Flamingo Films (distributors of the TV series The Adventures of Superman). All eventually fell into the public domain, due to National failing to renew their copyrights; thus, they have been widely distributed on VHS, laserdisc, and DVD. Nonetheless,Warner Bros., via parent Time Warner's ownership of DC Comics, now owns the original film elements to the cartoons.
Related worksA 1944 Famous Studios Popeye the Sailor cartoon entitled She-Sick Sailors parodied the Superman cartoons, two years after production on the cartoons had ceased. In this cartoon, Popeye's enemy Bluto dresses up as Superman to fool Olive Oyl, and he challenges Popeye to feats of super-strength that "only Superman" can do. The musical score for She-Sick Sailors includes echoes of Sammy Timberg's Fleischer/Famous Superman score.
The previous year, Merrie Melodies did a parody starring Bugs Bunny called Super-Rabbit.
In a rare move for a competing studio, Leon Schlesinger Productions, producers of Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies (which were distributed by WB), featured Timberg's Superman theme in Snafuperman, a 1944 Private Snafu cartoon Schlesinger produced for the U.S. Army.
Paramount's involvement in the Superman franchise did not end with the sale of the cartoons. In 1995, after being sold to Viacom, Paramount's television syndication unit absorbedViacom Enterprises, and as a result, Paramount now held the TV rights to the third and fourth Superman films, along with the Supergirl film (which up to that point had been held by Viacom). Full rights to Superman III and Supergirl are now with WB, but Paramount still has some partial rights to Superman IV (as part of the Cannon Films library), and TV distribution is now held (on Paramount's behalf) by Trifecta Entertainment & Media.
InfluenceThis section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (February 2011)The robot's rampage in The Mechanical Monsters influenced later animated works.In 1985, DC Comics named Fleischer Studios as one of the honorees in the company's 50th anniversary publication Fifty Who Made DC Great for its work on the Superman cartoons. Writer/artist Frank Miller cited the influence of Max and Dave Fleischer, including them among a list of prominent Golden Age comics creators whose work he acknowledged at the end of his 1986 comics series, Batman: The Dark Knight Returns. The series strongly influenced the creation of the acclaimed animated television series Batman: The Animated Series, as well as the similar-lookingSuperman: The Animated Series. Award-winning comic book artist Alex Ross has also listed the shorts among the inspiration for his take on Superman's look.
The robot robbery scene from "The Mechanical Monsters" short has been echoed by several later works. In 1980, Japanese animation director Hayao Miyazaki, created an identical robbery with a similarly functioning robot in the last episode of the second Lupin III TV series, a robot design he used again in his feature film, Castle in the Sky. The elements of the scene were borrowed again in 1994 for The Tick (animated TV series), specifically, The Tick vs. Brainchild (season one, episode 9), this time with the robbery committed by Skippy, a cyborg dog. The 2004 feature length movie Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (which Paramount released in several territories, WB also distributed in a few countries) kept the setting in the 1940s, but scaled up the scene from a single robot robbing a jewelry exhibition to an army of gigantic robots stealing city infrastructure. The movie gave a nod to its source following the robbery with the newspaper headline, "Mechanical Monsters Unearth Generators."
A 1988 music video for the song "Spy In The House of Love" by Chrysalis Records recording artists Was (Not Was) borrowed footage extensively from Famous' Secret Agent episode.
AvailabilityThe Paramount Superman cartoons are widely available on VHS, DVD and online.
The first "official" home video releases of the series were by Warner Home Video in 1987 and 1988, in a series of VHS and LaserDisc packages called TV's Best Adventures of Superman. Four volumes were released, where each volume contained 2 selected episodes of the classic 1950s TV series Adventures of Superman (one black & white episode and one color episode), plus a selected Max Fleischer Superman short (marking the first "official" release of such as Warner holds the original film elements).
Among the best reviewed of these various releases was a 1991 VHS set produced by Bosko Video, the somewhat incorrectly titled The Complete Superman Collection: Golden Anniversary Edition - The Paramount Cartoon Classics of Max & Dave Fleischer released as two VHS volumes which featured high-quality transfers from 35mm prints. The Bosko Video set was later issued on DVD by Image Entertainment as The Complete Superman Collection: Diamond Anniversary Edition in 2000. The Bosko Video release was not associated with DC Comics or their parent company Warner Bros.
Another DVD was Superman: The Ultimate Max Fleischer Cartoon Collection from VCI Entertainment released on May 30, 2006, a month prior to the release of the film Superman Returns. DVD features included: all 17 animated shorts digitally restored in Dolby Digital 2.0 audio; a bonus cartoon: Snafuperman (a 1944 Warner Bros. wartime parody of the Fleischer cartoons, featuring Private Snafu and produced for the U.S. Army); "Behind the Cape" synopses and fun facts with each cartoon; a DVD fold-out booklet with notes on the series; bios of the voice actors, producer Max Fleischer, and Superman; a bonus trailer for the 1948 Superman serial with Kirk Alyn; and a recorded audio phone interview with Joan Alexander (the voice of Lois Lane). This release, like the Bosko Video release, was not associated with DC Comics or their parent company Warner Bros.
A more "official" release from restored and remastered superior vault elements was released on DVD on November 28, 2006 as part of Warner Home Video's Superman film re-releases. The first nine cartoons were released as part of the four-disc special edition Superman: The Movie set, and the eight remaining cartoons were included on the two-disc special editionSuperman II set. The entire collected Fleischer / Famous cartoons were included in the box sets The Christopher Reeve Superman Collection and Superman Ultimate Collector's Edition, where both sets also included a 13 minute short documentary on the history of these cartoons, entitled First Flight: The Fleischer Superman Series. This documentary (which was included on the Superman II two-disc special edition DVD) features interviews with surviving members, relatives and biographers of the animation and production team, also contemporary animators such as Bruce Timm (Batman: The Animated Series), Paul Dini and Dan Riba (Superman: The Animated Series) who detail the influence these cartoons have had on their own works. Upon this release though, there was controversy by some consumers over why Warner's chose to release these animated shorts amongst the Superman films DVD releases instead of packaging them as their own complete individual DVD release.
In December 2004, Warner made the shorts (albeit with the Paramount logos stripped out of the opening and closing sequences) available for free download in mp4 format on its Toonami Arsenal Web site. They posted one episode per day with the final episode, "Secret Agent", going live on New Year's Day 2005.
Another came on July 1, 2008, when Warner Bros. released the shorts on iTunes, via their DC Comics sections. Fourteen of the shorts are available for $1.99 for every two, while the other three are all in one video for the same price.
On April 7, 2009, yet another release was made, this time a collection of all the cartoons released by Warner Home Video as the first authorized collection from the original masters, titledMax Fleischer's Superman: 1941-1942 with a suggested price at $26.99; the set included one new special feature in the form of "The Man, The Myth, Superman" featurette, along with an old special feature seen in the Superman II 2006 DVD release entitled "First Flight: The Fleischer Superman Series".
List of filmsAs all of these cartoons are now in the public domain, free downloadable links from the Internet Archive have been provided.
Fleischer StudiosTitleOriginal release dateNotesSuperman (a.k.a. The Mad Scientist)September 26, 1941The short film Superman is available for free download at the Internet ArchiveThe Mechanical MonstersNovember 28, 1941The short film The Mechanical Monsters is available for free download at the Internet ArchiveBillion Dollar LimitedJanuary 9, 1942The short film Billion Dollar Limited is available for free download at the Internet ArchiveThe Arctic GiantFebruary 27, 1942The short film The Arctic Giant is available for free download at the Internet ArchiveThe BulleteersMarch 27, 1942The short film The Bulleteers is available for free download at the Internet ArchiveThe Magnetic TelescopeApril 24, 1942The short film The Magnetic Telescope is available for free download at the Internet ArchiveElectric EarthquakeJune 15, 1942The short film Electric Earthquake is available for free download at the Internet ArchiveVolcanoJuly 17, 1942The short film Volcano is available for free download at the Internet ArchiveTerror on the MidwayAugust 26, 1942The short film Terror on the Midway is available for free download at the Internet ArchiveFamous StudiosTitleOriginal release dateNotesJapoteursSeptember 18, 1942The short film Japoteurs is available for free download at the Internet ArchiveShowdownOctober 16, 1942The short film Showdown is available for free download at the Internet ArchiveEleventh HourNovember 20, 1942The short film Eleventh Hour is available for free download at the Internet ArchiveDestruction, Inc.December 25, 1942The short film Destruction, Inc. is available for free download at the Internet ArchiveThe Mummy StrikesFebruary 19, 1943The short film The Mummy Strikes is available for free download at the Internet ArchiveJungle DrumsMarch 26, 1943The short film Jungle Drums is available for free download at the Internet ArchiveThe Underground WorldJune 18, 1943The short film The Underground World is available for free download at the Internet ArchiveSecret AgentJuly 30, 1943The short film Secret Agent is available for free download at the Internet ArchiveSee alsoCartoon portalComics portalSuperhero fiction portalReferences
"A Jules and Wells Story."
By John Pirillo
"Their destiny is so entwined with that of the threads of time, that were you to unravel one thread, all threads would come undone." A Quote from Einstein.
When he awoke that morning, he neither recognized the bed he lay upon, nor the ornate wooden walls that enclosed the bedroom he slept in. He was stunned. But when he heard a noise beside him, a kind of soft nickering, he turned his head and found himself laying next to another man, whose face had a gentle composure to it. He almost screamed, but then held it back, muffling it as certainly as if his fingers could physically clutch its throat and cut off its air.
Where am I? Was his next thought. He gently untangled himself from the bedcovers and slipped to the floor, his feet touching a rich, plush carpet with thick piles of what felt like silk. He looked down and saw a pair of slippers, but they were ornate like the room and overly bright and gaudy. That alone was enough to send the alarm bells ringing, as if the sleeping man on the bed were not enough. He surveyed the room more closely and saw a tall coat rack like device that held clothes of gold and gold on two hooks. Clothing. But whose? Then he realized his arms were softly draped with a similar color as the cloth on the right of the hanging one.
He stood up and went to it, took it off and examined it. It had a hole in the middle and two arm slits. It was obviously meant to be worn like a dress of sorts. He slipped it on, doing his best not to disturb the sleeping man. He didn't want to make the situation direr than it already felt. He held no malice towards the sleeping one. He didn't know who they were, why they were there, or what they expected of him, though examining the bed sheets in the barely lit room, he could tell what might have been expected from him the night before. Except, that it couldn't have been him. He had no aversion to the male species, he just wasn't...well, male. Or female.
He looked around and saw a door of the most unusual sort. It was almost round with a well padded doorknob. He went to it and turned it quietly. He let himself out into a long corridor, where he could see endless doors stretching off into what appeared to be infinity.
Where in the hell am I? He thought.
Then a strange feeling welled within his body, as if every cell were waking up and about to explode. Ahead of him in the corridor something came. Something large. Something dark. He couldn't tell what it was. He only knew he couldn't stay there another second or he might never leave. He turned to run and as he ran, he felt the breath of something enormous blowing on the back of his body, and a heavy sound like labored breathing, then his feet vanished from beneath him and he seemed to stretch into a band of twisting ribbons of light. Before he knew what had happened, or why he did what happened next, he reached out and grabbed a string and was flung from that corridor of menace into a twisting, weaving inferno of dancing lights.
Stringers are neither devils or angels, but souls whose very essence is made up of the threads of time, such that they can easily dispose themselves from one timeline to another, with but a whisper of a trace of their existence or movement. Those were the thoughts that ran through his mind as he and Wells worked on their latest invention. A kind of radar for detecting movement through time, as well as space. True, they had one before, but it was too general. If they were to protect the fabric of time and space, they must be able to respond within nanoseconds of any disruption.
So the device that he and Wells constructed was enabled such as to pull either or both of them into a Stringer's current, so that they could mark the direction of the traveler, yet be unknown, unseen by them.
"Drats!" Cursed Wells when he accidentally burned his right thumb with the small welding unit he had built the day before. It was a micro welder, and capable of welding particles, even atoms together if necessary, but it also hurt like hell when it went off its course and touched a piece of human anatomy.
Wells could testify to that at this moment and Jules yesterday, when he made a neat little lancet of his own flesh by accidentally getting the beam off-center and drilling into his own palm. It still stuck the dickens every time he had to wash his hands, which was frequently, as he was a very neat and clean man, and the missus expected no less.
He smiled at the thought of his young bride. Even though they had grown children now, their travels through time had hardened their flesh to aging and none of them looked older than their original twenties when they began their time traveling campaigns to save the earth, and alternate earths their work had affected.
"See here, Jules."
Jules turned to look at the spike of golden energies that were spotting the screen that he had constructed for their monitor. "It looks human shaped."
Wells jumped up, grabbed Jules and the two of them danced about their warehouse, causing their wives, who had come over to bring lunches for them to think both had suddenly gone mad.
They stopped, grinned at their loved ones, and then settled back to their work.
"I think we need to test it further." Jules suggested.
The wives both exchanged knowing looks, and began to repack the lunches they had made.
Jules ran over to his loved one, took her close to him and whispered in her ear. "Tonight I shall propose a toast to your fine flesh that will tempt the gods."
She giggled, and allowed him to dimple her cheek with a wet kiss, then she and her friend, Well's wife, took exit from the warehouse, shutting the huge door that locked off their ventures from the outside world, then locking it, knowing full well that both men were likely not to be in the warehouse for long.
And they weren't.
They rushed to the Master of the World, whose boarding ramp was already down, raced into its passenger compartment, after in drawing the ramp, and then settled into the cockpit of the massive vessel. Powered by String Energy, the Master of the World, traveled not only through time, but space as well. It resembled a great golden, ornate jewel, so brightly polished and golden was its shape.
"Strings interacting." Wells announced, pleased at the swift response of the ship's engines. They had just serviced them. The battle against the Mummy things had caused a great strain on the engines, which were not supposed to be so close to the earth all the time. They had been fine tuned for space.
"Merci." Jules said. "Weapons?"
Wells checked their power ranges. "Fully charged and ready."
He quickly looked at Jules. "You don't think we're going into battle, do you?"
"Of course not. Do we ever think such, mon ami?"
Wells shrugged, knowing full well, there were few times they hadn't been in a battle when they flew the Master of the World. It seemed to be their fate to always be in the midst of a worldwide calamity, or battle.
"Launch!" Wells told his friend.
"Launching!" Jules said, the tension of doing so knotting the muscles in his neck and back.
They both silently prayed, for their new engines were supposed to be able to tell the difference between a roof and time space, and had been attuned to cross through solid objects by sliding slightly out of normal time and space.
The Master of the World rose like a mighty dragon into battle.
He erupted. More probably exploded through the maze of bursts of light and spectacular colors and found himself standing on a lonely landscape. Everywhere he looked in that cold domain there were collapsed structures, what must have been fallen buildings of some long lost civilization. He then realized his feet were naked, as was he. The clothing he had worn, the slippers, all gone. How? Why?
He shuddered. As much from fear as the cold that was seeping through his extremities into his limbs from the frosted ground beneath his feet. He looked down and saw something bright. He stooped to a knee and felt for it like a blind man might, not wanting to believe what he had found. He lifted it gently, as if it were the most precious thing in the universe, then a tear began to form. He had begun to recognize where he was. His heart pounded with the pain of it, flitting images of women and men whom he had loved, trusted and shared smashed through his mind, shattering on the reefs of cold, unyielding certainty. They were all gone. Forever.
"You know why." Jules voice spoke from behind him.
He turned around.
Jules and Wells stood there, a look of compassion written on their faces. They could feel his despair, for they had known it as well, but perhaps not as frequently as this man or being that stood before them.
"Who are you?"
"Where am I?"
"You already know that answer." Wells told him, feeling a kind of reluctance to speak, but knowing he must to help the man retain his sanity.
"You know that as well." Jules reminded him.
The man looked down at his feet, as if the solution to his questions lay there, then up again. "Can you help me?"
"No." Jules answered sadly.
"Then why are you here?"
"To point you in the right direction."
"Are you angels?"
Wells and Jules gave each other solemn looks bordering on mirth, and then looked back at the man. "If that will help you to understand. Yes."
"Then I will go with you."
"No. You won't." Jules told the man, who was looking more and more distressed as they spoke.
"You have nowhere to go." Wells told him.
The man sat down hard on a broken slab with an attached piece of metal to it. He glanced at the metal. It had San Francisco written on it. What did that mean?
"Do you know why I am here?"
"To escape the past and preserve the future." Wells told him.
"But there is no future here." The man said.
Jules and Wells sat down next to him.
Jules brought out some bread and offered it. The man took it and ate hungrily.
"No. There is no future here, nor anywhere for what you were. But there is a future for what you've become."
The man stopped eating and looked at them long and hard. "What have I become?"
"It sounds strange."
"It is. To us. But not to you."
The man suddenly nodded. He knew what they talked about. "I reached out and pulled myself from where I was with twists of color that stretched into infinity." He looked at Jules. "That is what a Stringer is then?"
"Yes. You can manipulate time and space."
"But why would I want to do that?"
"To save your sanity."
The man rose. "I am not hungry anymore."
Jules and Wells rose as well.
"You two don't belong here either, do you?"
"No. This world can no longer be helped. Its people made bad choices, and now they are gone." Jules responded.
Wells nodded. "It is one of many such chances for worlds."
"Chances?" The man asked, a bit amused at the way Wells said it.
"Yes. In the infinite tapestry of what the Creator has made, he has created many chances for us to learn what we must."
"You could say that our lives are our lessons and the world we live upon, the stage for those lessons to play out."
"You sound like gods."
"We do not feel like one." Jules said with the hint of a smile.
The man reached a hand out. "I think I understand now."
Jules took it and shook. "We thought you might."
"I'm not the first?"
"Then there are others?"
Wells smiled brightly for the first time. "Everywhere."
"How will I find them?"
"Just reach out." Jules said. "Just reach out."
Then he and Wells turned around and headed for what appeared to be a road of destruction, but as they continued a gigantic golden vessel began to become visible, emerging from the shadows like an invisible being thrusting into the light.
The man pondered the mystery of the two men a moment, then he felt something stir in the air near him. He felt a kind of radiance. He turned towards it and reached out. Something reached back towards him and he took hold of it and allowed himself to be thrust once more into bursts of twisting light that strung through infinity like endless coils of dancing laughter.
Wells closed the ramp door, and then he and Jules slid into their pilot and co-pilot positions in the cockpit. "You think we'll meet him again?"
Jules shrugged. "We did what we came to do. What will be, will be."
Wells sighed. "It must be lonely for them."
"I think not." Jules said with a smile. "For they have infinity to roam and forever to live and one can do so much with all of that."
"Yes." Wells said brightly. "That does sound nice."
Then Jules sent the Master of the World stringing back towards their home time and world.
Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Stricken Flag
By John Pirillo
The morning sun blazed across the horizon with fingers of fire that lit the dawn and stirred humanity from its dull slumber across the Victorian capital of London. Street vendors roused themselves from their simple beds, loaded their carts with apples, oranges, pears, walnuts and almonds, cashews from the India Isles and cinnamon from the Chinas. They folded dazzling, colorful silks woven in the Japans, as well as bright silver and bronze pots hand crafted in the Americas. Anything that could be made and made cheaply, or bought cheaply to be resold on the streets was game for them as they woke up and readied themselves for another busy day of striving to gain one more pound for their family to survive upon or themselves to drink down for that night.
The merchant ships stirred lightly against their restraining tethers, anchored to the wharves by sturdy rope and anchors, while sailors blinked blood shot eyes from sleeping off a drunk, or being up all night at the crow's nest.
The Queen's Royal Guard dressed to kill. Literally, marched through the dawn fog that was misting along the wharves as they made their way to a lone ship. It had slipped into its berth earlier the night before and had not stirred with life since.
Captain Mortimer Herald, a young man, with a future as bright as the morning sun, led his men to the ramp into the ship and was the first off to lead them up. He was never one to shirk responsibility or danger. He drew his sword, as did the others. None expected anything lethal, but better to be prepared.
They had been warned of the unusual stillness of the merchant ship by Wells and Jules, whose warehouse was several stretches down the wharf from it. They had returned from a flight to Paris where they had been tending to some friends they had there.
"Men, no harm unless attacked." Captain Mortimer insisted.
The men didn't have to answer. They knew how angry he was if thwarted in his instructions, and besides that, they took pride in such a strong and obviously brave young soul leading them into victory after victory. They were the most highly decorated platoon of her Majesty's royal guards.
The Captain climbed the ramp to the ship and stepped down on its main deck. Still quiet. He sniffed the air. A strange smell seemed to pervade it. He nodded to the men behind him and they all spread out, taking fore and aft of the ship, while several headed for the top deck.
He took two men into the hold, where he expected the Captain to be, since the Captain's cabin appeared to be empty with no bed slept in. Which was peculiar perhaps, but not unusual when a crew was anxious to get home and dared not rest if they had a certain deadline to make. Though in retrospect, remembering the expected merchant ships, there were none of this flag expected. Something about the flag stirred a memory, but he couldn't pinpoint it, which was unusual, as he wasn't one to forget. He filed it for later thought, and continued into the hold, his sword at the ready.
His right hand man shook his head. He looked to the other. "Shelly?"
Captain Mortimer nodded, uncertain nonetheless. Something smelled about the way the ship was so quiet...as if it had been abandoned. Or worse.
As they got deeper into the hold, Figgins began swinging his sword wildly, screaming. "Bloody Mary if you'll take me with you!"
Then Shell did the same. "Captain, we're surrounded."
Captain Mortimer looked wildly about him, fully expecting to see some activity, but there was none, until he stopped looking, then he saw them. He saw...
Watson put a handkerchief over his nose as he descended into the hold of the abandoned ship. He slowly removed it, sniffing the air, and then waved above him.
Sherlock descended, followed by Inspector Bloodstone. "What a disaster." He stated, eyeing the dead soldiers that lay on the floor, their bodies emaciated and torn by something sharp.
Watson kneeled next to one and Sherlock next to another.
"Cloves." Sherlock stated.
"Same." Watson agreed.
They both stood and looked at the Inspector. "These men were exposed to a deadly gas manufactured by the Germanies. It was used in the last war between them and the French." Sherlock explained.
"No, you don't." Sherlock explained calmly. "That gas was totally removed from the face of the planet. It does not occur naturally and none but the one man who invented knew its formula and Her Majesty, Queen Mary of Scots, had him behead."
"Nasty affair that." Watson said, remembering the public execution. "The executioner had to use his axe several times to finish him off. Poor man was in great pain before he died."
"As were these, dear Watson." Sherlock reminded him.
He looked at the Captain, whose face was filled with horror, his eyes forever frozen on something only he could see. "He had such promise. I knew his father."
"As did I." Inspector Bloodstone added. "Her Majesty was grooming to take over her forces in the current war against the Hollow Man."
"That will grieve her greatly." Watson said softly.
"Yes. Because she also loved this young man as a son. He was, after all, a nephew. However, distant."
Sherlock nodded. "Whatever gas was here now is gone."
"As it would be." Watson declared. "It only lasts twenty four hours."
"But it still doesn't explain the vanished crew." The Inspector pointed out.
"No. It doesn't." Sherlock replied, but one thing might.
He stooped and drew a finger across the wounds. "Notice that the slices are very light and though bloody, are not deep enough to have caused their deaths."
Watson kneeled beside him. "By Jove, Holmes, you have the straight of it. These men were plucked from this mortal coil by fear, not pain."
Sherlock eyed his friend. "Oh, they experienced pain all right. I imagine more than you or I could endure."
"Notice the extension of the young man's eyes."
"As if they were ready to flee their sockets."
"The color on the rim of the white."
Watson took out a magnifying glass. "Inspector, could you hold that lamp a bit closer."
The Inspector did so.
Watson inhaled sharply. "I believe the iris was actually detaching from the white itself." He looked at Holmes. "That's impossible."
"When the possible has failed..."
"We examine the impossible." The Inspector finished for them.
Sherlock stood up and swept up the stairs from the hold.
"That was strange." The Inspector said with distaste.
Watson laughed. "Oh, you don't know the half of it. Hurry, he's on to something."
They rushed up the hold stairs and came out onto the main deck. As they did, Sherlock was rushing to the jack mast where the flag hung limply in the bright afternoon sun. The Thames waters rippled noisily to the sides, swishing in and out, causing the ropes and pulleys of the sails to cling and clang as they banged against each other.
"Ah-ha!" Holmes cried out.
Watson and the Inspector caught up with him. The Inspector started to reach out and touch the flag that was near Holmes. Sherlock grabbed his wrist in a viselike grip and looked into his eyes. "If you value your life, you will not touch this flag. It is stricken."
The Inspector's face went white as a ghost.
"Smell the cloves."
"Dear God!" The Inspector uttered angrily. "The flag!"
"Yes." Sherlock affirmed. "Their very signal of safety and safe port was also their death. For if even one touched it, the poison would spread to the others and touching the flag released a mist like poison that swallowed the entire ship before all expired."
Watson shook his head. "The Hollow Man has struck yet again. And not one soul could strike a blow to save themselves."
Sherlock nodded. "Such is the nature of war, Watson. To those who lose, it is victory for the winner."
"But what happened to the original crew?" The Inspector demanded.
Sherlock clasped his hands behind his back and looked out to sea. "The Hollow Man always has a need to expand his crew of the living dead."
Watson and the Inspector both crossed themselves at the same time.
"The Dark War nears." Sherlock said with a scowl. "And has even begun in small ways, and none are as yet aware how deadly it has become."
"God have mercy on our souls." Watson muttered.
"And let us pray we keep them intact." Sherlock uttered, and then marched solemnly down the deck to the ramp to debark. He had much to ponder and think about.
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