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Old 09-12-2016, 07:36 PM   #1
Jack T. Chance
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Exclamation My latest DCUO character, & a brief GL Corps History Lesson!

Hello everyone! I'm back with a new character for DC Universe Online, as well as a brief history lesson about the origins of the Green Lantern Corps concept!

A long time ago, back during the Golden Age of Science Fiction & Fantasy (and the late 1920s, to be more precise) a young, up & coming author named E.E. "Doc" Smith pretty much single-handedly invented a new sub-genre of SF; the Space Opera! It immediately got noticed by both readers and other authors alike, and it wasn't long before other writers started creating their own Space Opera stories. Smith's tales were a direct inspiration for Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, Flash Gordon, and many others. Since then, they've inspired everything from Star Wars, to Babylon 5, and beyond!

And one of those inspired was DC Comics Editor Julius "Julie" Schwartz. In the late '40s & '50s, E.E. Smith's most popular and enduring Space Opera, the Lensman Series, which was originally serialized in the pulps throughout the 1930s and '40s, began being republished as a series of novels. And Julius Schwartz worked for Smith's publisher on the editing of the Lensman Series.

The Lensman books tell the tale, spread across several generations of the Human race, of a group of "space cops" known as the Galactic Patrol. And from within the ranks of the Patrol, there eventually arises a new force for good in the Milky Way Galaxy, a race of "supermen" known as the Lensmen. The ultimate end product of a breeding and genetic engineering program that took 2 BILLION years to come to fruition, the Lensmen were created by the universe's oldest, most advanced race, the Arisians, to protect and defend the Milky Way Galaxy against an invasion by the Eddorians and their evil Boskone Empire.

While the Arisians were a benevolent, peaceful race, the Eddorians were their complete polar opposite, and were said to be pure evil incarnate. Once a few sentient beings in the Milky Way evolved enough to have the "Right Stuff", mentally speaking, the Arisians called these beings to their homeworld, Arisia, to receive the gift of the Lens, the ultimate product of the Arisians' advanced super science. A crystalline, lens-like object worn around the wrist, the Lens unlocked the full psychic potential of its wearer's mind, gifting them with psychic powers far beyond those of ordinary sentient beings, including, but not limited to, perfect, instantaneous telepathic communication, mind-to-mind, across vast, interstellar distances; the ability to wipe, reprogram, or even totally control another being's mind; and in a few rare cases, the ability to instantly project lethal bolts of psychic force across interstellar distances, killing an opponent with a single thought!

So, when the time came, at the Dawn of the Silver Age of Comics, to "re-imagine" the Golden Age hero Green Lantern, "Julie" Schwartz remembered his time editing E.E. Smith's most famous series, and drew direct inspiration from it! Gone would be the lone hero with a magical ring and lantern, a modern day Aladdin with His Magic Lamp, and in would be the Green Lantern CORPS, a group of thousands of space cops, empowered with rings and lanterns that were the product of advanced alien super science, and each member assigned to protect their assigned Space Sector against the forces of evil! The new Green Lantern, then, would be the first Earth man with the "Right Stuff" to protect Earth's Space Sector. He theorized that the youth of the late '50s and early '60s would devour this new space opera superhero just as readily as they ate up other popular space operas, and he was right!

If any of these names sound familiar to you, they should. Green Lantern's writers and artists have paid subtle homage to the Lensman Series on at least a couple of occasions.

One such occasion was when a writer on the book wanted to create a truly alien GL, rather than a standard, humanoid member of the Corps. Remembering that the evil Eddorians of the Lensman Series were said to be shape-shifters, who in their natural form were therefore amorphous, that writer created a sentient, gaseous member of the Corps, and named him/her/it Eddore as a tip of the hat to E.E. "Doc" Smith and his greatest series.

Then, in 1981, in the mini-series Tales of the Green Lantern Corps, it was decided that a new member would be introduced to the Corps, for whom Hal Jordan would be a mentor, and even her first crush. This extraterrestrial teenage girl was named Arisia as another tribute to Smith and his beloved books.

More to come in my next post! Please standby...
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Old 09-12-2016, 08:00 PM   #2
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...And I'm back. In the later books of the Lensman Series, the series' main hero, Earthman Kimball "Kim" Kinnison and a few extraterrestrial Lensmen progress far enough along in their abilities to become the next step in the evolution of the Lensmen. They're recalled to Arisia to receive additional training and new uniforms as they become SECOND-STAGE LENSMEN! The best of the best of the best within the Galactic Patrol, they had capabilities far beyond even the ordinary rank and file Lensmen.

And one of these Second-Stage Lensmen was one of the most unique and memorable characters in Smith's series. WORSEL, hailing from the planet Velantia (also sometimes called Velan) is a serpentine, extraterrestrial DRAGON some 10 meters (about 33 feet) long from the tip of his nose to the blade-like tip of his tail, with 6 pairs of limbs; retractable, leather-like wings; and multiple pairs of eyes on retractable stalks. His race, the Velantians, have such a unique anatomy in order to best serve their unique minds. Whilst humans and most other sentient races in the Milky Way have only a "single-compartmented" mind (think of a single-core CPU in a computer,) and are therefore able to focus on and perform only ONE task well at a time, the Velantians have SIX-compartmented minds, the organic equivalent of a modern day hexacore CPU, and are therefore able to perform 6 tasks simultaneously, with each task able to have one pair of limbs and one pair of eyes devoted to it, and they can perform all 6 tasks as well as a human can perform 1 task given our full attention.

Here's what a Velantian would look like, as painted by famous SF artist Wayne Douglas Barlowe in his book Barlowe's Guide to Extraterrestrials:



When I first read the Lensman Series back in the late 1990s, Worsel immediately became my favorite extraterrestrial character, because I LOVE dragons, and frankly, I'm a bit envious of his natural multi-tasking abilities. Just this week, I decided it was time to create my OWN GL done as a tip of the hat to E.E. Smith, and I wanted him to be a dragon named Worsel as a tribute to my favorite alien Lensman.

Unfortunately, DC Universe Online does not make the creation of such a unique creature possible. Players of the game are limited to humanoid characters only. Luckily for me, my very first exposure to the Lensman Series was in the late 1980s, when Japan's VERY loose anime adaptation of the books was dubbed into English and released in the United States. In that animated movie version, the animators completely redesigned Worsel as a humanoid "dragonman", presumably because that would be far easier to animate. Here's what he looks like in the anime version:





While the anime is a very poor adaptation of the books, being more like second-generation echoings of Smith's work, it WAS the first exposure I had to the Lensman franchise, and was directly responsible for me seeking out the books and reading them about a decade later when they finally went back into print.

So, I started exploring possibilities in-game to make Worsel as a humanoid "dragonman", who in the DC Universe would be a member of the Green Lantern Corps, rather than a Lensman! I started going through all the styles in the game, and found that, sadly, the game's Developers apparently had not yet thought that anyone would want to make a dragon-like character. So it took me awhile to figure out how to achieve a suitably alien, dragon-like look.

While the game DOES allow Player Characters to have a Reptile Skin, it's based on Killer Croc, and therefore, looks too human. Thankfully, the game's Marketplace came to the rescue somewhat! I was able to purchase what the Developers call the "Galactic Threat Mask", an alien head style that I can use on characters instead. With the Reptile Skin, that Head Style, and the Little Demonic Wings Back Style, I've gotten him as close to being a "dragonman" as is possible at Character Creation. Sadly, there are VERY few options in this game to give a character a tail, and the few tail options that exist are mammalian, not reptilian. So the tail I want him to have will have to come later, if a suitable option is ever offered. He also needs legs that look less humanoid and more dragon-like, preferably ending in claws. Again, there are few such styles, so that will have to come later.

So, without further delay, here's my own extraterrestrial GL creation and tip of the hat to old "Doc" Smith!



I especially like how the Head Style I'm using has 6 eyes, so it makes a nice tip of the hat to the original character having multiple eyes.



My personal "head canon" for this is that the Lensman Universe exists in another part of the Multiverse. But in the DC Universe proper, the evolution of the Velantians took a different turn at some point along the way, resulting in them becoming more humanoid than they did in some of the other universes. Perhaps some humanoid race interfered in their development, genetically "uplifting" them and making them more humanoid? Perhaps on this version of Velantia, some sort of drastic climactic upheaval changed the conditions of their world, making a more humanoid form a better option for the survival of the species? Who can say?

Anyway, if you've read through all of this, I hope you've learned a little something about the behind-the-scenes history of our beloved GL Corps, and I wish you happy gaming!
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Old 09-14-2016, 08:23 PM   #3
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Yo.

for the history lesson *and* the Lensman anime ref, I will give ya this in return:








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Old 09-14-2016, 09:25 PM   #4
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I knew of the Lensmen influence on GLC and have downloaded the first, but not read it yet. The rules were different in the 50s and 60s, but since you're so familiar with them, would you say in modern terms that Julie's GL crossed off into rip-off territory or would you still feel comfortable with "homage"?
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Old 09-17-2016, 04:36 PM   #5
Jack T. Chance
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Originally Posted by Space Cop View Post
I knew of the Lensmen influence on GLC and have downloaded the first, but not read it yet. The rules were different in the 50s and 60s, but since you're so familiar with them, would you say in modern terms that Julie's GL crossed off into rip-off territory or would you still feel comfortable with "homage"?
I prefer the term "pastiche", because what Schwartz and his team (Writer John Broome and Artist Gil Kane, If I Remember Correctly) did was take the basic powers or "gimmick" introduced in the Golden Age GL comics, and mixed in a number of ideas borrowed from the Lensman Series, in order to create a new Science Fiction spin on the character.
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Old 09-17-2016, 04:58 PM   #6
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^Thanks. Hopefully, I'll get to that book over the next year and weigh in myself.
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Old 10-07-2016, 09:05 PM   #7
Jack T. Chance
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Cool

Updated image. Tweaked a few things. And he's no longer a poozer; he's now got his proper GL Corps Emblem!



Still very much a work in progress, though. He needs a tail that is one of the rarest style items in the game. And he also needs a different foot style that will make his feet look more dragon-like.

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Old 12-20-2016, 05:39 PM   #8
Jack T. Chance
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Cool

Latest update as of yesterday, when I got a Promethium Lockbox, and with it, one of the rarer styles in the game: The Avatar Bombardier Foot Style! It gives his legs the more non-human look I wanted, but it's very heavily armored, so I had to change the Hand Style to something a bit more impressive, too:



The ultimate goal is to replace the Avatar Bombardier Foot Style with either Aegis of Azaroth, or Avatar Infiltrator, but this will do for now.
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