Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Story of Halogen Part 6: The Orchid

I created Halogen’s arch-nemesis, the Orchid, in 1986, as a villain for the role-playing game “Villains & Vigilantes.” The character became known as “Orchid” because he was fond of describing himself aloud as “beautiful but fragile.” (And you may notice the plant-like roots growing over his cyborg face.) Why “fragile”? This was due to a quirk in the rules of the game “Champions,” a different super hero role-playing game that became much more popular than “V&V” by the mid-1980s. The “Champions” rules provided that super hero characters could get more powers if they were also burdened by “disadvantages.” The more “disadvantaged” a character was, therefore, the more powerful they’d be as well. So it was never the good looking, well-built villains that you had to worry about in “Champions.” It was the blind quadriplegics with ADD and a speech impediment whose power you really had to fear.

Months later I noticed a contest in a magazine I was reading (did you like “Space Gamer” magazine, too?), asking readers to send in drawings of their favorite villains. The best one would be published in a subsequent issue. I entered the drawing of “Orchid” above in that contest and won. The first time I saw that illustration published in a real magazine, I decided right then and there to put together a package describing “Halogen” and his world (as well as a couple of my other, unrelated drawings and characters) and to mail it around to as many comic book publishers as I could. And I did. I was sure that this would lead to Halogen getting his own comic book and, one day, to me achieving my dream of drawing “The Incredible Hulk” for Marvel Comics.

Those mailings did achieve results all right. Just not the ones I expected. Treachery and Greed is next.

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