Me in Comic Books: Startup Untold Escalation 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005.


Me in the Marvel Universe

The Untold Story!

Hey, Kids! It's the very first Me In Comic Books stories! Now that optical character recognition technology has finally gotten viable for my old Apple ][e printouts, the originals are finally starting to come online!

You can ease your way in, with these links: Foreword Introduction ... or you can jump right in!

The Me Wars

(When my employer had a downturn in 1988, I had some free time to execute some plans.)

One day in 1988, my counterpart (henceforward referred to as "I"), while working at Hyperion Services (just like me), hears on the radio that the Soviet Union is exploiting stolen MX technology. I say to the first person who cares (henceforward referred to as "Jan"), "I ought to do something about that."

When Jan asks why it's any of my concern, I explain what my idol, Iron Man, did when the Russians stole his powered armor technology. He invaded the Soviet Union to destroy the powered armor they modeled after his - after he'd invaded U.S. Army bases and destroyed all the powered armor he'd sold to the U.S. Government.

[Note: I'm not kidding! This really happened in the Marvel Universe! My Marvel counterpart found out by reading newspaper stories prepared from press releases by Iron Man's employers. This wearer of the Iron Man armor was (supposedly) insane at the time, and (supposedly) died when the U.S. Army brought him to justice.]

Jan says, "But that's stupid!"

And I respond, "But that's what a real hero would do."

And of course, I have to do what the real heroes do...

[Apparently, exposure to the heroes of the Marvel Universe has made my counterpart slightly illogical at times.]

Within the next month, strange weather occurs over the MX missile bases in Montana. Several bases are incapacitated by lightning strikes. But, regardless of weather, the missiles of Wing V, Squadron 5 inexplicably show "Launch Facility Not Responding" status. America's MX capability is grounded.

(It's amazing what I can do with a Unix workstation with network connections and a nationwide weather control system.)

[May 1993: Obviously my counterpart has more time than I have to diddle with network connections where he works. Must come from being motivated by the spirit of an insane Iron Man.]

[March 1995: Obviously my counterpart got his computer network up and running from scratch in no time. Not like some of us Eilers.]

Soon thereafter, I take a month's vacation, buy an ultra-light aircraft kit, and commission a cruise out of the Aleutian Islands. (What the hell, I can afford it all if I really want to.) I plan to invade the peninsula of Kamchatka, where the Russians keep missile bases.

The aircraft I assemble can barely make 200 miles even with the gasoline supplies I bring; I hope to ditch into the ocean with a life raft, come ashore, do my thing, and radio for rescue. I've notified Greenpeace of my attempt. What the hell; they might listen to me, and they might sail into Russian waters to pick me up. They've done sillier things than that before, just to save whales.

When the ship gets within 200 miles of Kamchatka, I take off through a bank of fog. I fly low, to stay below their radar.

Of course there's rough weather, but of course I make it through. I land (actually, I almost go splat) about 1 mile inland in Kamchatka.

The Russian Army is mobilized against me (after all, I was detected by radar - though very near the shore), but I evade them, after recovering from my landing. (I'm dressed all in camouflage, with a khaki cape and infrared goggles - and wide-brimmed hat. It rains a lot in Kamchatka, after all. That's my idea of wearing a costume and fighting for justice.) [Thus I fulfill Rule 4.]

I make it into their command center, barricade the entrance, decipher its workings [see Rule 6: I can do most anything relative to computers, even if it's Russian computers], and disable it. While I'm at it, I leave a means for myself to access the system remotely through international telephone lines.

Unfortunately, I'll probably never see a telephone again. I'm barricaded within; there's no other way out.

And there are other command centers capable of launch. They launch all their missiles. Yes, it's World War III!

Right at that moment, the Green Lantern Corps arrives from the DC Universe, ready for its team-up with the Iron Man Corps. [May 1993: Or is it the Thor Corps?] [December 1993: And maybe it's the Superman Corps too.]

They notice a whole bunch of Russian missiles flying, and interdict them all without fail. One of the Lanterns remarks, "Not again!" (This isn't the first time they've done this... reference the comic book "Green Lantern Corps" #210.)

Meanwhile, on Kamchatka, I still can't get out of the command center. I'm waiting for the end.

But then I see a mystic portal, in the shape of a jewel. Obviously, I have nothing better to do than go through it.

I enter an amphitheatre ringed by flame.

Every living non-mutant villain who ever assaulted a mutant in the Marvel Universe is looking down at me. And so are all the non-living non-mutant ones.

It seems they want revenge for the last time they invaded Earth and fought all the mutants.

Inferno II

(One of those demon invasion / mutant crossover things.)

It seems I'm now in pretty powerful company. Aside from all the demons, ninjas and small-change villains, we have all the Sentinels (giant mutant-hunting robots), the Brood (mutant-capturing aliens), the Juggernaut (the Marvel villain who appears in the dictionary as the definition of "unstoppable"), and Loki (most evil Asgardian god - how'd the mutants cross him?). Plus Darkseid. (A toy villain to fight the mutants, as far as I know.)

And, back from the dead, we have Dracula himself, plus Baron Karza (yes, dead extradimensional toy villains fight the mutants too), plus the Dire wraiths, plus Count Nefaria, with all the Superman-like powers he briefly possessed. Plus Dark Phoenix, the ultimate semi-mutant cosmic entity. (How'd she get here?) Plus all the various ninjas who ever got killed by X-Men.

Apparently, everyone likes to fight the mutants.

The villains which look down at me decide, after some debate, that I'm worthy of their continued patronage. For some reason, they want someone other than them to fight the mutants before they move in. I have no reason why, other than the fact that the mutants seem to have creamed these people in most of their previous encounters.

Loki speaks first: "We have gained control of the Siege Perilous. It provides a mystic portal, which we sent to seek the most overambitious mortal on this sphere." Okay, I'll admit to suffering from overambition, since I just came from single-handedly invading Russia to restore America's glory, inspired by the spirit of a former Iron Man who did the same.

[Yeah, yeah, I know it's really the current Iron Man. But my counterpart in the Marvel Universe doesn't. Tony Stark is quite thorough in covering up for his employees.]

Loki continues. "And you passed through this portal. This caused you to die and be reincarnated as yourself." Yeah, right. Thor doesn't call him the God of Lies for nothing.

Anyway, they have something to give to me. Loki holds a green gem. A gift from Mephisto, he says. One of the others says; "He must really hate the mutants! He sent us Zarathos!" Then Loki invokes the gem's power. And I suddenly feel something else inside me.

It seems the gem contained the spirit of a demon supposedly named Zarathos, a spirit of vengeance which has dwelt upon the Earth before. I become indwelt by Zarathos and forced to spearhead an invasion of Earth.

[May 1993: It seems that it really is Zarathos who's indwelling me! It's something else who possesses the current Ghost Rider, who puts his hand upon a motorcycle's mystic gas cap to summon the demon. No, I'm not kidding!]

[December 1993: Looks like Marvel finally brought back the real Zarathos. I'd say, this does mean he's available to indwell me in 1988. Oh joy.]

In any case, the demon starts living up to Zarathos' reputation. Demons swarm onto several points on the Earth (including Manhattan, of course. It gets all the extradimensional invasions). And, of course, all the heroes of Earth get involved. And I get to lead the demonic invasion of Manhattan (of course).

Fortunately, Zarathos is a spirit of vengeance against evildoers. He is thus moved to oppose the invasion. It would seem that the "Mephisto" entity who gave the gem to the invaders tricked them.

The demon, in my body, waits until the right moment. Then he drives the dead villains back to the nether realms with soul fire, and (seemingly) destroys the Siege Perilous, which the live villains are relying on to subjugate the Earth. The invasion thus fails, before any of the Marvel heroes can effectively respond.

And I'm left with what I might as well call Zarathos.

If It Comes From Hell, It's For Me

(A sort of team-up with the Ghost Rider, before it was even cool!)

The demon Zarathos now inhabits my body, and he relishes the thought of being loose upon the Earth, even if it has to be in another human body. (Zarathos inhabited a motorcycle stuntman whose stage name was Johnny Blaze, once before.) The demon tries to form a flame cycle, that he may once again ride upon the land.

It's a flame computer instead.

Zarathos has no idea what to do with it; therefore, I'm left in charge. The flame computer dissipates.

Until I can figure out what to do with it.

I'd taken a month of vacation so I could single-handedly invade Russia and restore America's glory, just like my idol Iron Man did. The month isn't quite over, but I go back to work at Hyperion Services anyway.

It seems there's a lot of news about a supposed U.S. invasion of Russian missile bases, but no evidence saying the invasion actually was based from the U.S. (If you captained an Aleutian Island cruiser, would you admit to basing an invasion of Russia? I guess some of you might, but I picked the one who wouldn't.) Given that some U.S. missile bases malfunctioned about the same time, and given that we had another one of those extradimensional invasions in the meantime, the Russian charges are being dismissed. The Avengers and the Fantastic Four have no comment.

Good thing. Otherwise, I'd have had to fake my death just like my idols Doctor Strange, the Sub-Mariner, and the Incredible Hulk all did.

[August 2004: It seems Doctor Strange, the Sub-Mariner, and the Incredible Hulk would team up and invade Russia if they damn well felt like it too, as witness that whole "Order" episode. That makes me feel better about the whole thing.]

As I go to work through average Massachusetts traffic each Monday morning, Zarathos the Spirit of Vengeance definitely gets the urge to show my fellow Massholes what vengeance on the road is 1ike. And I'm quite willing to let him. But he still can't form a flame cycle!

But after work one night, I play with the user mail system at Hyperion. Zarathos gets interested, and takes over. I wake up the next morning, having slept on my office floor that night.

On the radio news that morning, the Russians accuse the U.S. of more security breaches, this time by computer link.

Oh, shit.

What exactly can Zarathos do?

Apparently he bonds with a human soul, and expands any of its abilities beyond the known limits of reality. I now know of unreal stunts Zarathos did with a flaming motorcycle, when he dwelt within that cycle bum. (So that's the secret behind the Ghost Rider!)

It seems Zarathos can expand my abilities to invade any computer system in the world, whenever he manifests a computer built of flame.

Zarathos and I have to decide what to do with this ability. I see no reason why he shouldn't have a voice in the matter; after all, it's his ability, even if he does need me to use it. And there may be occasions where I don't mind vengeance.

And Zarathos seems to be taken aback at this. He was expecting to have to fight his human host every step of the way to take any kind of retribution upon evil.

In the end, I take another week of vacation - after I take a trip to Huntsville, Alabama, where I used to work on the Strategic Defense Initiative.

[Note that in the Marvel Universe, the SDI is somewhat more advanced than it is here. See Rule 4, and envision lasers which can burn Siberian forests.]

Zarathos and I drive one day from Huntsville, after I visit some people I work with - all people who work on SDI. (Zarathos helps me remember their names.) We check in at a motel in western Kentucky. In our motel room, the flaming computer becomes manifest when we concentrate.

The last time I tried to neutralize ballistic missile commands, my effort was incomplete; I only got about one tenth of American missiles, and less than that on the Russian side.

But this time I have the paranormal power to invade any computer system that's linked to any worldwide power or communications line. And, besides, I left myself an access to Russian systems when I was over there.

We bounce our signals through the SDI communications net. Of course, the Russians monitor the SDI - but this works against them now.

This time, we disable Russia first. And this time, we get every launch control facility.

Zarathos is wholeheartedly behind this effort. How dare mortals try to usurp the power of destruction which rightfully belongs to hellfire?

But when the effort moves to the U.S. military bases, my government gets annoyed. Soon, the Avengers are alerted.

(For those of you unfamiliar with the Marvel Universe: Whenever something threatening happens which involves paranormal activity, the U.S. government calls the Fantastic Four or the Avengers, whichever responds first.)

Shortly, an Avengers quinjet lands in western Kentucky, and a troop of Avengers marches into my hotel room.

They see me, a skeletal demon in blue jeans and flannel shirt, spouting flame where my hair and fading beard should be, poised over some flaming machine from hell. Other than that, my pal Zarathos is invisible.

Two of the Avengers recognize my spiritual companion. Thor and Captain America have fought Zarathos before.

Thor marches right in and shakes me around. Zarathos spouts flame at him, with no effect. Then Zarathos disappears; the flame leaves my body, melting into the computer, which itself disappears. And I'm left alone, being shaken around by the strongest biceps on Earth. Thanks heaps, Z.

Thor's saying, "Speak, knave! What hast thou conceived here?" I don't quite know what to say.

Captain America calms Thor down. Then I notice the other Avengers; they're nobody I've ever seen before.

[How about Thena, Karnak, Ka-Zar, and Brother Voodoo as Avengers? They're recruiting some strange ones nowadays.]

[May 1991: Yeah, it's Sersi instead of Thena. But the others are just a matter of time.]

[May 1993: And Crystal instead of Karnak. The others are still just a matter of time.]

[August 2004: How about Spider-Man, Spider-Woman, and Wolverine instead of all those others? Really?]

Anyway, I blame it all on Zarathos. The Avengers go off to attack him. I go back to Huntsville.

On the radio news the next day, I hear about the Avengers fighting some demon in Montana. There's some word about damage to U.S. Air Force installations, but they can't say how much. There's a tight Air Force security lid.

I think for once the world owes you one, Zarathos.

Me in Comic Books: Startup Untold Escalation 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005.
Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, Zarathos, the Ghost Rider, Thena, Karnak, Ka-Zar, Brother Voodoo, Sersi, Crystal, Spider-Man, Spider-Woman, and Wolverine are all trademarks of Marvel Comics. Maybe Inferno and even the Armor Wars are too, but I surely wouldn't be too proud of that.