The Family

"The Family" arises from the confluence of two notions: a female martial artist that I created while playing with Hero-O-Matic and the idea that in a world where superheroes have been around for decades there should be families of them. Kurt Busiak has explored this some via the "First Family", but that is something of an exception. And so, my little martial artist has started to develop a family. Few of them, even she, have names yet. This page gives me a place to sketch out ideas for names, powers and histories.

So far, there are ten or eleven characters in the family. As can be seen from the Hero-O-Matic generated picture below, they are a somewhat diverse group with something of a common look. My martial artist was initially dubbed "Red" due to being designed in maroon and black, with gold piping. The family maintains that scheme.

Red Paragirl Paragon Young-Paragon Mom Flash Sam Lupita Tink Nick Frank

Name Relation/Role Powers History
Nick Father Brilliant Scientist & Detective Nick, the head of the clan, is a first generation superhero. My current thinking suggest that he was a non-super pulp hero of the Green Hornet, Blue Beetle, Crimson Avenger genre.
Sam Nick's Sidekick
Red's teacher
Eastern Martial Arts Sam was originally Nick's sidekick, à la Kato, Sandy and the like. Later they were more like partners, and eventually he was Red's martial arts teacher. As I tend to view Red as a Kunoichi, Sam should be a master of ninjustu.
Frank Childlike monster, Fosterling Brute Strength Frank is a "reformed" monster, of the Solomon Grundy, Frankenstein's monster variety that Nick and Sam once had to pacify. In doing so, Nick befriended him and became a father figure. In a sense, Frank is Red's big brother. He certainly views himself that way.
Lupita Fosterling Werwolf Lupita is a more recent fosterling, a werewolf/beast girl, who knowing that Nick understood and befriended Frank, sought him out as protection from a cruel world that did not understand her. If Frank is Red's big brother, Lupita is her kid sister.
Tink Fairy If Lupita sought out the family for protection, Tink stumbled upon them and claimed them for her own. She seldom speaks and never explains herself, so it is hard to know her precise motives, but she is possessive and protective of Nick and his children, both blood and foster.
Flash Son
Red Daughter Martial Artist
The Visitor Alien foundling Flight, Strength, Invulnerability I'm calling him "The Visitor" as in "strange visitor from another planet who came to Earth with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men." I suppose he could be a new version of "Paragon", the Superman-analog in the Bette Noir world.
Mom Mother Ghost Mom passed away years ago, leaving Nick, Sam and Frank to raise Flash and red. She still invisibly watches over Red.

Tentative History

Nick: The Man in Red

Nick through the years, from The man in Red, through Capt. Challenge, to his current form
Since Nick is the patriarch of The Family, and this whole universe started with an effort to create a mystery woman who recapitulates the history of Pulp and comicbook heroes, it is tempting to make him, like Tom Strong or Jenny Sparks, a Century figure, born c. 1901, and embodying much of the history. I had thought to do something similar with Bette, but her chronology seemed to work better if she was born around 1908. So, starting with that premise, who is Nick?

If Nick started off as a Green Hornet-/Crimson Avenger-analog, perhaps he was "The Man in Red"? There have been plenty of characters known as "The Lady/Woman in Red", including perhaps the first super-heroine, but I don't know of a male variant on the name. Gender-swapping in the Bette Noir universe makes perfect sense. While playing with Hero-O-Matic, I did a whole rainbow's worth of fedora, raincoat and mask wearing characters, and even contemplated an organization known as "Fedora", the "Federation Of Regulators and Agents" or some such.

What if Nick, aka the Man in Red, was the originator, and there were a whole spectrum of color-coded masked men: Red, Orange/Brown, Yellow/Tan, Green, Blue, Purple, Gray, Black and White? I've been tossing around the idea of a Greycloak/Greymantle figure perhaps teamed up with the Silver Dagger for "Cloak and Dagger" work. He might fit in as a spin-off from Fedora.

Nick's sidekicks: Scarlet, Kid Crimson/Crimson (and Sam?)

When I was creating Fedora, I was also playing with a female equivalent of Fedora Red, with figures running from just the Red Fedora outfit on the female form to something a bit more sassy, like the black one I used for Masquerade. The female Red (who might be the only woman in Fedora) could be called "Scarlet" and team up with The Man In Red. She could be Nick's wife, or perhaps his first wife.

The Visitor: Paragon

"The Visitor", the family's super-powerful being from another world has undergone a number of revisions. He merges two lines of thought, "The Visitor", an adoptive member of the clan and possible romantic interest for "Red", and my long-standing Superman-analog for the Bette Noir world, "Paragon".

1st Paragon Paragon Red The Visitor Paragon Paragon Young Paragon Paragirl Paragon Young Paragon Paragirl

The evolution of Paragon, Young Paragon and Paragirl

Initially, I designed Paragon as a brown-haired Caucasian in a red and blue costume, a similar look to Superman, Ultraman, Capt. Marvel, the Samaritan and others. When I created The Visitor as a member of The Family, I gave him the maroon and color scheme that originated with "Red" and carried through the rest of the family. The costume was original enough, compared to all the other Superman analogs, that I quickly decided that the Visitor should be Paragon.

As I considered what little I knew of either Paragon or the Visitor, it occurred to me that if Paragon was, as I had sometimes considered, "The Man of the Future", a "strange visitor from another time" rather than another planet, perhaps I should rethink his ethnic appearance. As many have noted, with modern transportation and global migration patterns, the world is becoming more and more of a melting pot. Thus, the man of the future may well be the product of the interbreeding of many of the world's ethnic types, and so I gave him a swarthier complexion and brown rather than black hair. I also added Young Paragon and Paragirl, without quite deciding if Young Paragon was Paragon as a youth à la the original Superboy, or a sidekick à la Captain Marvel Junior.

The "Red Gang"

Here's my entry, "The Red Gang". They are a team that is an offshoot of a group from my comic book universe that are called just "The Family". The Family was founded by "The Man in Red", whom I've covered in other contests. This group, The Red Gang, centers around his twin grandchildren, "Scarlett" and "Flash". The "Family" is a large extended family of superheroes. I figured that if mystery men and women and superheroes started showing up in the 30's and 40's at least one large clan would arise.

The "Red Gang" are a group that formed around the latest generation. Scarlett and Flash, are the latest direct descendants of The Man in Red and his partner/wife, the original "Scarlett". Her grandfather really didn't think that Scarlett was ready to take up the mask, but she wouldn't hear "no". Flash stuck by her. Her grandfather relented, but only under the condition she work as part of the team. Her wise-Alec cousin, "Widget", was eager to join. Grandfather pretty much assigned the remaining two. "Tiny" has been Scarlett's bodyguard for years, and Tai is one of her teachers.

Scarlett is a martial artist, she was trained to be a "Kunoichi (くノ一)", a female ninja, by her grandfather's original partner, Akasan. As a Kunoichi, she's supposed to be a mistress of disguise, espionage, seduction and the like, and in fact she is. But subtly isn't really what she prefers. She is more the "all out Hell bent for leather" / "Kick ass and ask questions later" sort. Akasan is both very frustrated by her lack of subtlety and proud of her martial prowess.

Flash isn't any more subtle than his sister. His nom-de-guerre is also his family nickname. He's flashy and brash and egotistical. He'd actually be kind of unbearable if it weren't for how fond and protective he is of his little sister,--younger by about 10 minutes, she will remind him. Unlike his sister, Flash has inherited superpowers from his mother. He flies and projects energy blasts. Some in the family think he's more "Boomer" than Flash, but recently his teachers have been getting him to try to be a little more subtle, throwing only as much energy in his bolts as are needed for the job. But when he gets excited, he just blasts full out and then looks a bit sheepish.

Widget, as a boy was a practical joker, and loved tinkering up gimmicks in his grandfather's shop, much to the chagrin of his victims. Scarlett has always been the apple of her Grandfather's eye, and widget is jealous of her and Flash's abilities. She's clearly going to be one of the finest Martial Artists in the world when she's matured a little, and Flash throws energy blasts around and flies. Widget makes up for it with his gadgets and by being a smart-Alec. There's no way his cousins are having all the fun, and if they have a team, he's on it.

Neither Flash nor Widget are likely to help keep Scarlett out of trouble or safe. In fact, they actually make her look almost sensible. If anyone is going to keep the trio out of trouble, it is Tai, the master of the mystical arts of the far East. Though Tai looks no older than the three youngsters, he has looked just that way since before any of them were born. His name, "Tai" is from the Taijitu, the "Yin/Yang" symbol that is his emblem, but he is not, so far as anyone knows, Chinese. In appearence and the accent that occasionally shows up when he is excited, or as excited as he ever gets, he seems to be South Asian, Indian or Pakistani, but not clearly from any specific ethnic group. Quiet and control are his bywords. In the heat of battle he will be seen hovering in mid air, in lotus position, his hands cupping an energy or something that is not there. He is a powerful telekinetic, but seldom uses his power in any terribly obvious way. Missiles thrown his way tend to miss him, and his allies. Foes are often defeated because they trip, shoot each other, have their blows deflected against their team mates and the like. He was sent to join the team to teach the youngsters calm, restraint, patience, and deliberation. His success in combat seems to be making his point.

The final member of the team is "Tiny", the massive fighter who joined up with the kids' grandfather back when he was sill active in the superhero game. Tiny is slow witted and at times a little childlike, but he's not stupid or foolish. He just thinks things through slowly, and while he can actually move quite quickly when he has to, most of the time he moves slowly as well, and is not quick to action. When her grandfather retired from the field, he assigned Tiny to watch out for his granddaughter. Tiny adores her and has taken the role as her protector very seriously. For all his strength and size, foes often underestimate him due to his slowness of various sorts, and are taken by surprise when he "moves so quickly for a big man" at just the right time and delivers a blow, or absorbs one of astounding magnitude.