Doctor Who Vs Scratchman: Part 6

 

                         Based on a story by Tom Baker and Ian Marter

“Well which one of you wants to go first.” The Inquisitore said with a sadistic delight.

The flame had grown stronger and thicker with all of the villagers, standing behind Elena and Yarox, both of whom were just as terrified, despite how much they tried to hide it.

The Inquistore wandered up to a small boy who it could clearly tell was more scared than the others.

“It seems to me like he’s volunteering.” The Inquisitore said.

Elena quickly tried to jump the Inquistore from behind whilst the Goblin was distracted, but two more of the guards instantly pounced on her. Elena however managed to flip the Inquisitore over her shoulder and into one of the guards behind. The other she knocked down with a hard kick to the face.

Yarox and many of the villagers wanted to help, including Stanley and Mrs Tulloch (who held her daughter tighter than ever) but the Goblins had them completely surrounded with their weapons.

The Inquistore however was able to catch Elena off guard with a quick strike of lightening from its hand, knocking her down. Yarox foolishly ran to help her, but the Goblin knocked him out with another blast.

“Save the cyclops for last. I want her to see what’s in store for her. Get the boy.” The Inquisitore barked.

Stantley however quickly pushed the boy behind him and told the monsters to take him instead.

“Please he’s just a boy.” Stanley pleaded. “He has his whole life ahead of him. I’m an old man.”

Stanley’s pleas naturally fell on deaf ears at first, but the Inquisitore soon believed it could have some fun with the old man. He seemed so brave and self sacrificing and the monster wanted to see if it could break him in front of the others.

“Okay” The Goblin said whilst smiling.

Stanley froze.

“What’s wrong. Didn’t think I’d really take you up on your offer.”

Stanley tried to control himself as best he could, but he started to tremble.

“I’m not a coward like you attacking defenceless children.” Stanley spat back.

The Goblin simply laughed at him and put its hand on his shoulder. With one squeeze it brought Stanley to his knees, before grabbing him by his throat.

“We’ll see who the coward is.”

The Doctor struggled with the Goblin. He tried to reach for the wires at the back of the creatures head, but it was too fast and grabbed his hand which it started to crush slowly.

The Doctor however reached his other hand into a tiny hole in the monsters metal chest which had been created by the fall. The Goblin grabbed still managed to grab the Doctors other hand too just as it reached inside, but the Time Lord had still got good grip on the wires inside and pulled on them. The cybernetic Goblin fell backwards clutching its chest in pain whilst the Doctor quickly got his key out and opened the TARDIS.

Before the Doctor could shut the TARDIS from the inside however, the Goblin hurled itself at the doors. The Doctor tried to push back, but its strength was too great, even in its weakened state and it managed to push the Time Lord back onto the console.

The Goblin staggered into the TARDIS, limping and clutching its chest and struggling to breath. It soon collapsed to its knees before barely even reaching the console. The Doctor approached the creature carefully. He knew it was spent, but he was still cautious. Even on its death bed the creature could and would still try and tear his throat out.

The Goblin tried to hurl itself at the Doctor again, but it clumsily fell on the console instead, barely able to hold itself up.

“Please.” The Doctor said softly. “What’s the point anymore. Just let me help you. Maybe I can repair.”

“Never! For those who fail the master there is but one fate.”

“There doesn’t have to be. Please.”

Before the Doctor could even finish the Goblin reached into its chest and tore more of its own wires and innards out.

“Such a waste” The Doctor said as he examined the console. A large web of red tissue appeared to have grown from the bottom of the console to the top.

“Fools” The Doctor thought to himself. It was obviously a clumsy attempt to link the TARDIS with the beast he was trapped inside. The Doctor was still impressed however that the Goblins had been able to penetrate the TARDIS’ defences at all, but ultimately these red vines would soon wither and die. Perhaps the Time Lord could use them however.

The TARDIS was connected to this creature, which was in turn connected to the portal Scratchman hoped to enter this world through. The plan had been to drain the TARDIS’s power to widen the portal, but the Doctor now believed he could drain the power the creatures were using to stay in this world, using the TARDIS. He would reapply the dematerialisation circuits to create a partial lift off. It was risky and doing so would cause the TARDIS a tremendous amount of pain. Still he had no choice.

“I’m sorry old girl.” The Doctor said as he gently tapped the console. “This is going to hurt. It’ll be pain that you’ve never experienced before, but we have to to save the others.”

As soon as the Doctor was finished resetting the controls however the TARDIS console began to go up and down frantically and smoke began to appear in the room which choked the Doctor.

“Old girl please. I don’t want to do this but we have no choice.” He said whilst gasping for air.

As the Doctor reached for the controls again he was suddenly thrown towards the doors by an invisible force.

The TARDIS would never harm him. Clearly something else had got inside the TARDIS. The Doctor ran to try and help it again but something was holding him back and more red vines began to crawl up from under the console. It seems he had misjudged the Goblins. The Doctor using all of his strength managed to push through the force field and grabbed onto one of the tentacles.

The Doctor tried to pull it from the console, causing more of them to wrap themselves around him. Just as all seemed lost, the old dematerialisation sound started to chime in and the tentacles became limp.

“Thanks old girl. I knew you wouldn’t let me down.” The Doctor said as he brushed his suit down.

It would take less than 10 minutes for the TARDIS to absorb the power, but there were two major obstacles. The creatures who could enter the Tardis would all be down here to stop him. Also the Doctor would have just ten minutes to try and find Elena, Yarox and the others. If they were not in the TARDIS when the power was drained, they would be pulled into Scratchman’s hell!

The Doctor would have to hack into the Goblins monitors to find where they were, and then teleport the TARDIS to save them, which he could do as the two ships were now connected. However he would have to wait until the Hydra’s last few seconds in this dimension after its power had been drained. If he broke the link before then, the power wouldn’t be drained. If he was lucky, the Doctor would have just 30 seconds to rescue his friends.

The Time Lord quickly adjusted the scanner and to his horror saw where the Goblins were holding his friends.

He could see Stanley being brought to the flaming portal, but there was nothing he could do. Stanley could hear the screams of others who had been trapped in the flames as he was brought closer, but he still did not back down.

The Inquisitore was getting angry. He was sure that Stanley was weak and would have broken down and begged for mercy by now.

“Why are you willing to sacrifice yourself like this? Do you not know what awaits you? Are you a fool?” The Goblin said.

“Of course I’m scared. I’m absolutely petrified, but unlike you I’m not going to let that fear turn me into something I’m not. You’re only doing this because you’re afraid of your master, or because he’s already broken you. I pity you. He’s taken everything you once were away and replaced it with his own perversion.”

The Inquisitore spoke in a more calm, and serious tone to Stanley. “You will lose yourself eventually. No matter how hard you fight. No one has been able to withstand.”

The whole room started to shake, which was followed by the alarm.

“ALERT, ALERT THE HYDRA IS BREAKING FREE FROM OUR CONTROL.”

The Hydra could sense the Doctor draining the energy that was keeping them in this dimension and started to panic. Despite the Goblins conditioning the Dragon’s self preservation instincts kicked in. It flew wildly threw the air, and started to burn the forest on the island below. Several Scarecrow’s were caught in the monsters flame breath. The beast nearly flew itself into a small mountain before the Goblins were able to reassert control over the Dragon.

During the confusion meanwhile, Elena siezed her chance and jumped the Inquisitore. Her mutated metabolism had allowed the Cyclops to recover from the monsters blast a lot quicker than Yarox. Elena grabbed the Inquisitore from behind and after a brief struggle, she was able to use her larger body weight to push the Inquisitore into the fire. Just before the Goblin was thrust into the flames it let out a pitiful scream for help.

Stanley meanwhile tried to tackle the Goblin guard beside him, only to be hopelessly overpowered. Still he had not only bought Elena enough time to deal with the Inquisitore but distracted the guard long enough for Elena to then jump it from behind. She then threw the beast over her shoulder and into the flames to join its master.

“Yes” the Doctor said enthusiastically. “Just hold on for a little longer Elena.”

The rest of the villagers seized the opportunity and jumped the Goblin guards after they had all been thrown across the room by the Hydra. However the villagers were no match for the monsters. Only Yarox was able to put up a decent fight. Elena jumped straight onto two of the beasts from behind and ripped the wires from the back of their heads before they could get back up.

The rest of the Goblins then turned their attention to Elena. She was able to dodge the Demons blasts from their hands, though she wasn’t able to attack the monsters either. Whilst they were distracted, Yarox grabbed the arm of one of the two Goblins that Elena had killed and was able to fire it at three more Goblins knocking them to the ground. When they turned to face him Elena jumped two more and ripped the wires from the back of their heads, whilst Yarox blasted two more.

Unfortunately before Elena and Yarox could celebrate their victory, several more Goblins came pouring into the room.

“There must be something I can do.” The Doctor said as he frantically tried to work the controls.

Just then the Time Lord heard a thumping on the door. Several more of the Goblins had arrived back at the TARDIS. The Doctor had tried to block the two doors with various bits and pieces of furniture from the lower rooms that he had managed to drag up stairs in the short space of time. (He hated being away from the scanner for even a second.)

The Doctors clumsy barricade however didn’t do much to hold the Goblins back and he ran to the doors to try and push the Goblins back. All he needed was a few more minutes.

The Goblins however pushed the Doctor away and soon tore through the furniture.

“You have lost Time Lord.” The monsters said as they fired at the console.

“No stop you’ll rip us apart.” The Doctor screamed, but it was too late.

The Goblins blast caused black smoke to erupt from the console, flooding the entire room, as lightening bolts began to fire everywhere.

To Be Continued

The Circus Master: Journey To The Centre of Evil: Part 4: The Demon Gods

 

The Ishica came to a grinding halt as soon as it saw the Kardon hovering above the city. For the first time Carlene was able to get a good look at the monster above her.

It was completely black, with large piercing red eyes, though its iris was just as black as its skin. Its mouth was filled with massive silver fangs and a long pristine tongue, whilst it had a snout like nose. Its ears meanwhile were shaped like a bats, whilst two gigantic reptillian looking wings emerged from either side of its back. The creatures entire body was scaly, whilst a long tail ending in a spike emerged from just above its legs.

Whilst the Ishica was distracted by the giant, Carlene reached into her beehive and pulled out a silver knife. Now that the creature was still she had a far greater chance of hitting it. She didn’t have a choice anyway. She had to get Ashlei away from that monster as soon as possible. Carlene hurled her knife right into the Ishica’s heart, killing it instantly.

Ashlei quickly pushed the dead Demon away and swam back towards Carlene, who headed towards Ashlei as fast as her Vampiric strength would allow her.

The Kardon however reached down and managed to scoop both Carlene and Ashlei up in its immense claws, (smashing through the ruins of several buildings in the process.)

Carlene could scarecly believe the monster could even see her and Ashlei it was so large. The monster however had a very special interest in them. It knew right away that they did not belong here and wanted to know how they been able to enter the earth’s core.

Carlene and Ashlei both lay in the palm of the monsters hand, but before it could close into a fist and seal them in, Carlene jumped through the monsters fingers whilst holding Ashlei.

Just being near that monster was enough to make Carlene want to tear Ashlei’s throat out and crush her bones. Still Carlene had spent her entire life fighting the evil of the Kardons within her, that she was able to remain in control no problem.

Carlene and Ashlei quickly headed for the ruins of a nearby building, but the monster reached down and tried to grab them again, taking a large chunk of the building this time. Carlene and Ashlei however evaded the Demons giant hand this time, and Carlene using her superhuman strength, managed to propel herself and Ashlei through the water to ground of the city below. The landing would have killed Carlene (who absorbed the shock of the impact) had she been human.

The Kardon soon started to smash the ruins to pieces in order to try and find its tiny prey. The rubble from the buildings went flying everwhere, and Carlene did her best to try and shield Ashlei from it as they scrambled through what was left of the city to try and find a safe place.

Several large pieces of rubble hit Carlene. A few even impaled her, but she barely noticed them she was too focused on protecting Ashlei.

The Kardon spoke, its voice echoing through the oceans. “Who are you strangers? How did you break down the wall? Why would you choose to come here of all places? If you tell us I will allow you to join my children. If not? Suffer as those fools who defy us now.”

Florence meanwhile despite the giants presence was still focused on finding the Strange Boy who had vanished into a small part of the city. The Siren swam to behind a small crumbling building she had seen the Ishica head for. As she neared it however one of the Ishica’s heads floated by. When Florence got behind the building she could see the Strange Boy wrestling with one of the Ishica. Despite his smaller size the child Vampire had the upper hand in the scuffle. The little Jiang Shi managed to clamber on top of the Ishica’s shoulders and dug his talons into the Demons head. Though the Ishica tried to throw him off it was no good. The Strange Boy was absolutely savage in dealing with the Demon and tore massive chunks of its flesh off before crushing the Demons entire head.

Even after he had killed it, the Strange Boy continued to tear chunks off of the Ishica’s body in fury. Florence approached the child Vampire slowly and carefully.

The Boy hissed at the Siren, but she didn’t back down.

“Please its me Florence.” She said softly.

“Try and remember, we’re friends, well sort of, well not really, but we travel together.” Florence said.

The Strange Boy made a sudden jolt towards her, but Florence still didn’t back down. She simply floated there, staring the Strange Boy down, hoping that something would click in his mind.

The Boy stared at her for a few minutes before Florence’s attention was drawn to the sound of the Kardon crashing over several nearby buildings towards them. Florence quickly grabbed the Strange Boy and swam in the opposite direction. The Strange Boy didn’t appear to react to anything around him. In truth he was doing all he could to hold back his bloodthirsty urges that were now stronger than ever thanks to the presence of the Kardon. The Strange Boy had fought against them his entire life, but the Demon inside him was stronger than the one inside Carlene, and he was still in spite of everything else, just a boy.

Ashlei and Carlene meanwhile had managed to take refuge inside a large building, though the Kardon had still caused a large part of it to collapse, simply by passing it.

One bit of rubble had fallen on Ashlei knocking her out. She was badly hurt, and worse she was bleeding and her blood was travelling through the water, drawing several Ishica in like Sharks to a feeding frenzy.

Carlene pulled a long silver blade out of her beehive and started to fight the Ishica off. She managed to slice the head off of one of the Demons, and stabbed another Ishica through the heart, before slicing the hand off of another that reached out to grab the unconscious Ashlei.

The remaining three Ishica quickly backed away from Carlene, but 6 more soon arrived. She couldn’t keep this up for much longer, but she couldn’t just swim past the monsters either.

“Its just round here.” Kile said.

Her ship had been concealed beneath the sea floor to protect it from the Ishica. Kile quickly summoned the vehicle with a remote device, though as soon as she did more Ishica emerged from the various ruins around them.

“Go I’ll cover you all.” The Circus Master shouted as he started to hurl weapons from his hat at the monsters.

Kile’s ship was bright green, the same as the murky waters that surrounded them. It had a circular shape with a large red strip running down the middle and a golden circle at the top which was the hatch.

When the Circus Folk made it into the ship, they saw that the inside of the ship was completely gold too. It looked absolutely beautiful, more like the inside of a luxury hotel than a war ship.

“Why do you need a ship if you can breath underwater.” Denika asked as she slowly regained her strength.

“Well to start with we’re amphibians, and second of all we need these vessels because we can outrun the Ishica and the Kardons with them. See here.”

Kile piloted the vehicle through the horde of Ishica that had begun to gather round the vehicle sending them all flying across the ruins of the city before speeding past hundreds of the other Ishica. In the distance, Kile could see the Kardon pursuing a small figure. She tried to turn the ship around, but the Circus Master stopped her.

“That’s Florence and the Strange Boy out there. We have to help them, and Carlene and Ashlei if possible.” The Vandal said.

“Its too late, your friends won’t escape from the Kardon, and neither will we if we don’t get out of here now.” Kile said whilst trying to wrestle free from the Circus Masters grip.

“Please we can’t just leave her at the mercy of that thing.” The Circus Master pleaded, but it was no use. Kile was so terrified of those creatures having seen exactly what they were capable of to a greater extent than anyone else.

Denika soon took over and using her magic started to propel the ship forwards. She wasn’t really piloting it, she was simply pushing it with her mind, but as she hurled it closer to the Kardon, Kile frantically tried to stop the ship to no avail.

The Kardon soon noticed the vessel and instantly headed towards it. Denika released the ship, but Kile still simply tried to take the vessel in the opposite direction. The Circus Master was forced to stop Kile from driving the vehicle.

“You fool do you have any idea what that thing will do to us?”

“Yes, believe me I know, but we can’t leave Florence or the Strange Boy, or Carlene or Ashlei.”

Kile waited for a few seconds. She couldn’t possibly escape the Vandals iron grip, but she hoped he would see reason. As the Kardon came closer she eventually relented.

“All right, release me and I’ll no doubt kill us trying to save your friends.” Kile sneered.

Kile managed to evade the Kardon’s clawed hand narrowly and sped towards Florence and the Strange Boy. Florence continued to swim from Kile’s vessl however, until Denika fired a magical signal.

Kile took the vessel under Florence and opened the hatch allowing her to and the Strange Boy to get in. Unfortunately however the seconds the ship waited to allow Florence and the Strange Boy to enter were enough for the Kardon to catch up to them. The Kardon only managed to to graze the ship with its claw before Kile piloted it away, but the monsters vast strength caused the ship to go spinning through the oceans.

Denika using all of her strength managed to stop the ship in its tracks with her magic before it smashed into the ocean floor. Kile quickly managed to get the ship started, but again the Circus Folk would divert her course.

“We need to get back to the ruins. Ashlei and Carlene are still there.” Florence said.

“You are not serious.”

“Lets not have that discussion again.” The Circus Master said.

Kile took the ship down through the ruins, narrowly missing the Kardon in the process. As the monster chased after them it smashed its way through the entire city in rage.

After a few minutes the ship came across Carlene, still fighting the Ishica off. At the sight of the Kardon, Carlene instantly retreated back into the ruins to protect Ashlei, not noticing the tiny vessel.

“Damn it. I’ll need to get out and find them.” The Circus Master said.

“Are you insane?” Kile said.

“You said it yourself this ship is supposed to outrun those Demons.” The Circus Master said as he prepared to open the hatch.

“Just give me 3 minutes. Please!” The Circus Master said genuinely.

“Okay fine. Not that I have a choice with you freaks.” Kile said bitterly.

The Circus Master jumped from the vessel as it sped off from the Kardon. The Kardon was too preoccupied with the vessel to bother with him, but as soon as the Circus Master made his way to the ruins where Carlene was, he was jumped by several Ishica. The monsters quickly overpowered the Vandal. He fought back valiantly, but they were able to restrain him before he could reach for the weapons inside his hat.

In desperation he shouted on Carlene, but the monsters started to beat and claw at the Vandal. Fortunately Carlene heard his cries for help and she quickly threw her machete into the Ishica that was holding the Circus Master from behind. With his arms now free, the Circus Master started to slash at the monsters in front of him, driving them away before pulling several weapons out of his hat which he used to slay a further two of the Ishica. Carlene soon joined him and together the Vampire and the Vandal were able to drive the Demons away.

Unfortunately almost as soon as Carlene and The Circus Master had finished dealing with the lesser Demons, the Kardon soon turned its attention to them. The Kardon could always sense the presence of it children, which the Circus Master and Carlene were. The evil within them that they had fought their entire life, was ultimately created by the Kardons. The Demon had barely noticed that these strange creatures were its children at first due to the presence of so many of its other children, the Ishica nearby, but now that it was so focused on them it had noticed a sense of familiarity which intrigued the Demon even more.

As it reached out to grab the Vampire and the Vandal, Kile quickly and bravely flew her vehicle straight into the Demons face. She hoped that the the Demon might be taken by surprise by the boldness of her action. Sure enough the Demon instantly was taken aback a little, having never seen any creature run towards it before.

Carlene and The Circus Master used this opportunity to rescue Ashlei from the ruins. Carlene carried her out.

The Kardon flew into a rage and started to strike at the tiny ship, with Kile only just managing to dodge its blows.

The ship sped past the Kardon and towards The Circus Master and Carlene.

“This is their last chance.” Kile said. “If they don’t get on this time I’m not going back.”

The Circus Master and Carlene both jumped onto the ship as it sped past them. The Circus Master was able to hold on by digging his talons into the side of the ship. Carlene meanwhile wasn’t able to get a good grip and nearly fell off whilst holding Ashlei. Fortunately the Circus Master managed to grab onto her with his other hand and hurled Carlene over onto the top of vehicle to the golden hatch, after which Carlene then pulled him up into the hatch.

“See I told you it would be easy.” The Circus Master said after he entered the ship.

“Its a good thing I’m dead darling or I’d have had a bloody heart attack.” Carlene said, as Denika tended to Ashlei to heal her wounds.

“Thanks love, I, we owe you one.” Carlene said to Kile who didn’t acknowledge her.

“She’s not a people person, don’t take it personally.” Keptis said.

“Oh right she’s like you then.” Florence said jokingly to Keptis.

The Kardon continued to pursue the ship through the seemingly endless green waters.

“I can’t shake him, we should have just left before he spotted us.” Kile said in panic.

“We have a ship at the bottom of the ocean, if you take us too it then we can.” The Circus Master said before the ship suddenly ground to a halt.

In the distance, Kile and the Circus Folk could see two more gigantic red eyes emerge in the distance. Another one of the Kardons had spotted them .

Within a few minutes the two monsters had completely surrounded the small ship. There was seemingly no way out.

To Be Continued

Professor Fang: The Hopping Dead: Part 4: The Kingdom of the Dead

 

The Emperor slowly strangled the former Wizard. With his last ounce of strength Lee managed to conjur up a magical energy blast from both of his hands, which he thrust into the Jiang Shi’s chest. It ultimately did nothing however but singe the monsters robs. Lee was too weak to use the full power of his magics, and as the Wizard felt his life slowly slip away, he could see a hideous smile form on the Vampires face. It was almost as though the Vampiric Emperor could remember the Wizards betrayal in life. With its strength the Vampire could have snapped Lee’s neck like a twig in an instant, but it seemed to be savouring every second of its old friend’s torment.

Lindsey and Kirsten tried to pull the beast off of Lee, but it’s strength was virtually limitless compared to theirs. After Lee fainted, Lindsey quickly grabbed a large block of wood and tried to pull the Vampire back by the throat with all her strength, but again the Vampire didn’t even react to her presence. Suddenly however the monster jumped backwards in pain, as sparks flew from its chest. Lindsey and Kirsteen turned around to see Professor Fang standing where the Jiang Shi had been with a glowing sword.

The former Emperor retreated as the Professor continued to slashed at the bloodsucker, landing two more strikes across its chest, which knocked the Emperor flat on his back.  Kirsteen tended to Lee, whilst the Professor handed both Lindsey and Kirsteen similar glowing swords.

“What is that?” Kirsteen asked.

“I enchanted a few of the guards swords that I found on the floor, with a very basic Jiang Shi repellent. It’ll only last for a few minutes before the swords go back to normal however, lets use them wisely.” The Professor said confidently.

Both Lindsey and the Professor stabbed their swords into Emperor as the Demon jumped back up to face them. Neither stabbed too deep however as the sword could become embedded in the Vampires thick flesh. The Professor instead made a swing for the Emperors neck, which the monster only barely managed to dodge before jumping back on both feet.

The Emperor looked absolutely terrified. In its short time on this earth it wasn’t used to pain. The Vampire jumped back a few more feet into a wall, almost cowering like a frightened animal. The Professor and Lindsey confidently moved towards the Vampire brandishing their swords, when suddenly two of the corpses behind the Professor and Lindsey instantly rose up and tried to grab them. Lindsey noticed it in time and stabbed her Vampire in the stomach, whilst the Vampire behind the Professor sunk its claws into both of his shoulders, and lifted him over its head before throwing the Professor back across the room, to three more corpses that soon rose as Jiang Shi around him.

“Damn I forgot how crafty these Demons could be.” Lindsey said as she realised the Emperor had lured them to corpses it knew would rise as Jiang Shi.

Lindsey was now left to face three Vampires by herself. She repeatedly slashed at the three Demons as they tried to strike at her. She even managed to slice the fingers off of one of the monsters. As she backed away however, one of the corpses, a young maiden behind Lindsey suddenly rose up and grabbed her in a bear hug. Lindsey however still clutching her sword, was able to stab the Vampire in the leg causing it to release her. One of the Vampires quickly tried to jump Lindsey in the confusion, but she stabbed her sword into the bloodsucker’s eye. She stabbed her sword in so deep that she had trouble pulling it out. It was only because of the Vampire that threw her several feet backwards that she was able to pull the blade out. Kirsteen and Lee meanwhile were both preoccupied with holding off 5 more corpses that had risen as Jiang Shi around them.

“How many of these things are there.” Kirsteen said as she nervously held her sword up to the bloodsuckers.

“All of the corpses in this room that haven’t been completely torn to pieces no doubt.” Lee said grimly. “They want to create as many as they can.”Lee coprse as he looked round with regret at the corpse of the woman he had once loved. He picked up a sword and quickly parted the her corpse’s head from its shoulders.

“I couldn’t help her before, but at least I can save her from becoming one of them.”

Kirsteen slashed at the Jiang Shi as they drew closer, but each time the monsters were too quick for her and backed away before she could land a hit. Lee meanwhile was able to conjur up an energy beam that knocked one of the Jiang Shi off its feet and sent it hurling backwards into a near by pillar, though it did no lasting damage to the beast.

Whilst she was distracted, one of the Vampires quickly grabbed Kirsteen by the neck and lifted her off the ground. Kirsteen with all her strength swung her sword backwards into the monsters hands, severing them both. She then stabbed her sword straight into the Vampires heart, creating a small explosion that hurled it several feet across the room, taking the sword with it.

The other 4 remaining Vampires soon closed in on Kirsteen, but Lee quickly send them all back a few feet with an energy blast.

The Professor meanwhile had managed to fend off the three Vampires that had cornered him, even slicing one of the Demons heads off with with one swing of his glowing sword. He then headed for the Emperor who he tried to do the same too, but the Vampire grabbed him by the hand and threw the lesser Vampire into the two Jiang Shi behind who were advancing on Lindsey. The Professor simply bounced off of the two beasts however, causing one of them to turn round and begin throttling him. Lindsey seeing the Professors plight slashed the Jiang Shi that was closing in on her in the throat, before stabbing her sword into the Vampire that was grabbing Professor Fang. This time however she simply heard a snapping sound, with the Vampire not even reacting to her strike.

Lindsey looked down and saw, much to her horror that her sword, which was no longer glowing, had broken in half! As she looked round, Lindsey saw the magic on the Professor’s sword had worn off too.

The Professor struggled to break free from the Jiang Shi’s inhuman strength, but it was only with the help of Lee who quickly fired an energy beam into the beast that he was able to escape.

Lindsey, Lee, The Professor and Kirsteen all gathered round each other as more and more corpses in all directions began to rise as Jiang Shi. There must have been over 30 of the bloodsuckers in the main hall, and more were emerging from rooms on both the ground floor and balcony above.

The exit was completely cut off. 12 or so of the Jiang Shi or so stood between the time travellers, the Wizard and the front door, with the Emperor being among them.

The Jiang Shi were unlike anything Kirsteen had ever seen on her travels with the Professor and Lindsey so far. The Zombies had been on the level of animals, whilst those trapped in the Abyss were more pitiful. Even the hideous winged Demons she had faced at least had some intelligence. These beasts however were nothing but sheer rage and bloodlust. They constantly kept hissing and snarling, baring their yellow, sharp fangs and clawing at their intended prey. Some of the bloodsuckers even fought with each other they were so desperate to get at the fresh blood. Kirsteen could barely stand to look at the Jiang Shi. The idea that anyone could be reduced to this horrified her more than anything else she had seen.

Lee tried to hold the monsters off with his magics, but there were too many of them. The Professor frantically tried to enchant an axe he had found with the anti Jiang Shi magics as the monsters closed in on them from all angles.

“I don’t mean to hurry you Professor but.” Kirsteen said in panic. Just then the blade of the axe lit up and the Professor quickly swung it at an attacking Jiang Shi, parting its head from its shoulders.

“We can’t get out the front, there’s too many of them that way.” Lee said. “We’ll need to get upstairs.”

“We can fight our way out.” The Professor said confidently as he ran to attack the Jiang Shi. He managed to decapitate another one of the Demons and drive a few more of them back, before the Emperor himself grabbed the axe from the Professors hand. The Emperor placed his hand around the glowing blade. Though it burned his flesh horribly, the Vampiric emperor eventually crushed the blade to pieces, before backhanding the Professor back across the room into Lindsey, Kirsteen and Lee, using the same burned hand it had crushed the axe with.

“On second thought.” The Professor said as Kirsteen helped him up.

“Maybe a less direct approach is needed.”

The foursome ran up a near staircase ot the balcony aboe. There was only one Jiang Shi at the top of the stairs as the others had jumped off the balcony to get at the fresh blood below. The Professor and Lee, using their magics together were able to throw the Vampire over the edge of the stair case into the Jiang Shi below. Once they reached the top of the stair case however, more Jiang Shi began to pour out of every room and corridor.

“Jesus Christ how many of these bastards are there.” Kirsteen said in despair.

“Its what the Jiang Shi always do. They’ll kill as many as quickly as they can to create an army. Its part of why they’ve become Apex Demons.” Professor Fang said.

Lee tried to hold as many of the Vampires off as he could, but it was no use. The Professor with nothing to lose jumped on one of the Jiang Shi coming down the main corridor. Catching it by surprise he managed to push the Vampire into a nearby wall, but with one punch the Jiang Shi smashed the Professor backwards into another wall. The blow would most surely have killed the Professor were it not for his Vampiric constitution.

Still he bought Lee enough time to knock the Vampire the Professor was fighting off its feet with a quick blast. It was the only Vampire down that particular corridor, and so whilst the Vampire was temporarily down, Lindsey, Kirsteen, Lee and the Professor quickly ran down the corridor, with a horde of bloodthirsty monsters in pursuit.

The foursome were forced to retreat to the very top of the castle where the Emperor and Empress’ room were. The only way out, as far as they knew was a window at the end of the corridor. It was a huge drop below however, one that would kill Lindsey and Kirsteen under normal circumstances. Fortunately Lee could use his magic to slowly lower them to the ground, but the Professor still went ahead to see if the coast was clear below.

Outside of the window, the Professor could see there were dozens of Jiang Shi in the garden hopping aimlessly around whilst several more were heading out of the palace gates and into the village.

“We have to stop them.” The Professor said.

“They’re making their way to the village. If they reach there the entire kingdom coul be in danger.”

“What can we do now.” Lee said. “I warned them, I tried to, but now they will pay the price.”

“Maybe if you, you know didn’t try and kill them they’d have listened to you.” Lindsey said.

She was soon interruptedby the moans of more of the Jiang Shi hopping up the stair case after them.

“We’re trapped.” The Professor said as he tried to think of way past the Jiang Shi below. Suddenly the wall just ahead of them opened and a young boy stepped out. It was the Emperors son.

“Please you have to help my mother.” The boy said tearfully.

The foursome quickly followed the boy into the passage and shut it behind them. Inside they saw the boys mother lying on the floor bleeding.

“Its the Empress.” Lee said. “She caused all of this. Let me put her out of her misery. Its more than she deserves but still.”

The boy screamed and begged Lee not to harm his mother, but it took Lindsey getting in the way to stop him.

“We don’t know if she’s been infected yet. We’re not going to let you take another life.” Lindsey said firmly.

The Professor sat next to the Empress and chanted a quick spell which healed her. The Empress was quickly jolted awake and quickly recoilled in disgust at the sight of Lee.

“Keep away from my son you monster.” She said as she pulled her son towards her.

“I only ever wanted your husband. I wanted to end this plague before it could begin, but you stopped me. You have the blood of all those people on your hands not me.” Lee fired back.

The Empress offered no defence. “I know, I know.” “I don’t deserve to live after this.”

“You won’t. One of the beasts infected you.”Lee said with an almost perverse glee.

“We don’t know if she will yet.” The Professor interrupted. “I managed to heal her wounds with magic, but if she was infected then. We’ll know in a few hours.”

Two Jiang Shi’s claws suddenly came bursting through the wall behind them.

“They’ve found us? How.” The boy said.

“Its our friend here, and me.” The Professor said. “They can sense magic from a mile away. Its just about the only thing that can harm them, so it sends the monsters into a fury. We have to go.”

The time travellers, the Wizard and the Empress and her son quickly headed down the stair case before the Vampires tore down the wall and into the garden below.

Outside lay the body of the guard the Empress had been forced to leave. His head had been ripped clean off by the Jiang Shi that had attacked him, and his guts had been ripped out. One of his arms had also been ripped off and his heart appeared to have been torn out too. The Jiang Shi in its ravenous fury had left little of him.

“At least we won’t have to worry about him getting up.” Lee said callously.

Suddenly 5 more Jiang Shi emerged from behind the trees forcing the 6 reluctant travellers to quickly flee out of the garden, sealing the gate behind them.

In the woods outside, the Professor, the Empress, her son, Lee, and Lindsey and Kirsteen could see the village whose people were fleeing and panicing in the streets as the Jiang Shi descended on them.

“All is lost.” The Empress said as she held her boy.

To Be Continued

 

Doctor Who Vs Scratchman: Part 5

Image result for bruce campbellImage result for tim curry clue

                                 

                                     Based on a story by Tom Baker and Ian Marter

 

“What, what’s going on” The Doctor said as he was jolted awake.

“Its okay, it’s okay Doctor, well it isn’t, but at least we’re not dead.” Elena said as she helped the Time Lord up.

“I remember there was a giant dragon and it ate me, and you and Yarox too. Well obviously that can’t be right, so I must have dreamed it. Tell me then where are we?”

“We’re in the beasts stomach Doctor.” Elena replied.

The Doctor looked up and saw that the roof appeared to be made of flesh and was even pulsating. The walls and the floor meanwhile were all cold and hard metal. Clearly the Dragon that had devoured them was a cyborg that had been turned in a vessel of some kind, or more likely a war ship.

All around the Doctor could see the villagers huddled together in fear, whilst Yarox stayed closer to Elena. Yarox clearly felt safer with Elena than anyone else there, even the Doctor. The Doctor wasn’t surprised. On his first adventure I did get him eaten after all, though perhaps there was more to it than that, the Doctor thought to himself.

Before the Doctor could even attempt to figure out what was going on, the two doors behind him opened and a hideous, robed creature emerged.

The monster’s robes bright red, whilst its head was squat and green. It had no nose, just a snout, whilst its mouth was filled with small, pointy teeth. Its eyes meanwhile were bright red and set deep into its skull, whilst two tiny bat like ears protuded from either side of its head. Its cape was long and red, and though the Doctor couldn’t see it yet, there was a strange black symbol on the back of the monsters cloak. The alien appeared to be part creature, part machine, just like the Dragon they were trapped in. Its arms were competely mechanical, and its entire squat chest was also covered in gold metal, whilst large wires emerged from the top of its head, right down the back of its neck, much like hair would on a person. The entire creature was short. It stood no higher than 5 feet tall.

“We have your TARDIS, Doctor. You will accompany me now.”

Elena and Yarox both stood by the Doctor.

“What do you want with him.” Elena said defiantly.

“That is of no interest to you. You are all simply pawns for the Master. Try to get in his way and.” The creature shot an energy beam at Elena, bringing her to her knees in pain.

“Stop it, please” The Doctor begged the creature, who quickly released Elena.

“I’ll do much worse if you don’t help the Master.”

“Okay, okay.” The Doctor said begrudgingly. “Just so you know though, I don’t have the best track record with people called the Master.” The Doctor said as he left the room with his strange captor.

“The Time Lord’s vessel is in our custody sir.”

“Brilliant.” The Inquistore interrupted. “Now we can finally begin the sacrifice.”

“The sacrifice is not essential.” The section leader snapped back. “The Master simply thinks that it will help speed things along.”

“All the excuse I need.” The Inquistore said with glee.

“You never need any excuse.” The leader said with disgust.

The section leader was the oldest of all the strange creatures there. He remembered when their world was actually a beautiful planet, and their race a proud one. Long before he came, the abomination that the others now so willingly call Master. The section leader could hardly judge his underlings however, as much as they may have disgusted him. They had been born under the Masters rule. They had all been conditioned to be his warriors, creatures of hate who would kill for him without a seconds hesitation. It was the only reason his species had been allowed to exist. In all his own hundreds of thousands of years of existence however the Leader had never dared even lift a finger against the Master. He was happy to condemn thousands, millions if need be to the Demons pit if it meant he didn’t end up there. It wasn’t fair, he knew that and hated himself for it, but ultimately he didn’t have the strength to make the sacrifice that others had against Scratchman.

The Doctor was brought to the control room, which was also a weird combination of flesh on the roof with steel floors and walls. At the end of the room, several of the strange creatures gathered around a monitor, which contained images of the island from above. The Doctor could see several of the Scarecrow’s now wandering aimlessly in the woods below.

The commander of the Goblins, who was somewhat larger and had a long, gold cape to represent his rank approached the Doctor.

“I don’t understand why the Master cares so much about you? You look like one of those animals we have caged below?”

“Well.” The Doctor said modestly. “Appearances can be deceiving my good sir. For instance you look like an eldritch abomination, but I’m sure you’re actually a lovely person.”

The alien commander walked towards the monitor where it brought up an image of the Doctors Tardis, contained in what looked a large stomach. It was obvious to the Doctor where they were.

“Ah yes I’ve heard you’ve wanted my vessel. To bring someone who claims to be the Devil or something into our world.”

“You mean the Master? Yes the primitives of this world believe him to be a figure from their mythology, but the truth is far worse.”

“What is he?” The Doctor asked out of as much interest as fear.

“Even we don’t know exactly, but he is a creature from another universe. He devours each universe he visits. He feeds on negative emotions such as fear, hatred, and suffering. Whenever he visits a universe he tends to work in the shadows at first, playing us against each other, starting wars, until he is strong enough to not only take over, but reshape it in his own image.”

“Our reality is what these primitives would call hell.” The alien said with contempt. “The natural laws no longer apply. He can bend them anyway he wants, condemn any torture he wishes on us. Once he had finished with us he intended to move on as always, but this time he was imprisoned.”

“By who?”

“Creatures from many universes. After the great powers of our reality fell and our universe began to bend itself to his will, the final resistance travelled to other universes, and met with their great powers, the empires, the federation of planets, and managed to gather them together against the threat of Scratchman. Unfortunately the great powers weren’t able to destroy Scratchman either. Rather than lose billions of people fighting against the Demon, the great powers decided to place a barrier around our universe. They sealed us in with the beast. As far as they were concerned our universe was past saving and maybe it was. For an incalculable time Scratchman took his frustrations out on us to a greater extent than he had any of the universes he had conquered before. Our reality became the worst of all the hells he had created. Then a few centuries ago he discovered a tiny tear in the barrier. It led to one, seemingly insignificant planet.”

“This world.”

“Exactly. Scratchman wasn’t able to enter this world, but he was able to project his thoughts into it. Enter the minds of men, influence them throughout the planets history. He was also able to draw the minds of several earth people into his universe after they had died.”

“How many.” The Doctor asked in horror.

“Only a very few at a time, though over the centuries possibly millions have come to us, which in turn led to myths about hell or similar places appearing around in every culture in this world. The Master was even able to send some of us into your world, through the tears in reality. As time went on the tears became bigger, but not big enough for Scratchman himself to escape. Worse the more he tore at our reality, the less he was able to use it as a food source. Even Scratchman was beginning to give up hope until he saw your machine.”

“I don’t think I like where this is going.”

“Yes the master has been observing your visits to this world for quite a while Doctor. Your vessel, run down and obsolete as it may be, is still a relic of arguably the most advanced race in your universe. The power it contains will be able to widen the gaps just enough for Scratchman to enter this world. Then your universe will become like ours. Just think of what the Master will do with your race, Time Lord.”

“It will never happen.” The Doctor said proudly.  “Why do you serve that monster? There must be some part of you that still remembers what it was like think for yourself.” The Doctor said in desperation.

“Before Scratchman came to our universe we were conquerors. We had an empire spanning hundreds of galaxies. Now thanks to Scratchman we shall conquer universes. Scratchman chose us to be his most loyal foot soldiers. He believed that out of all the life forms in the universe we were the strongest.”

“Or maybe he knew you were the weakest and would be most likely to bend the knee.” The Doctor hit back.

The Goblin grabbed the Doctor by the scruff of his frock coat and held him up for a few moments before dropping him.

“Take him to the vessel. He can help us divert its power to the tears. I don’t have to tell you what will happen to those animals below who you seem so desperate to protect if you disobey us.”

“I take it back.” The Doctor said. “You’re clearly not a very nice person.”

Little did the Doctor know the Goblin was lying to him. All of the villagers and Elena and Yarox had been brought to the lower section of the Goblins stomach, just below where the Tardis was kept.

The Inquistore couldn’t wait to have his fun with the prisoners. Even though the section leader had strictly forbidden him from sacrificing any of the prisoners before the time was right, the Inquistore went ahead anyway as he often did.

“Why have you brought us here?” Elena said a she stood in front of the others.

“What a strange creature.” The Inquistore said at the sight of Elena.

“I like its large eye. I’ll keep the eye after I’m done with it.”

Elena went to attack the the Inquistore, but it blasted her with its gauntlets. Elena however fought through the pain and actually managed to grab the Inquistore, who was more impressed than anything else. Ultimately however the pain was too overwhelming and the Goblin quickly overpowered her.

“Perhaps the Master will have use for you after all. The rest of you meanwhile, you are here to help his ascension.”

A large ball of fire began to appear in the middle of the room.

“What is that.” One of the villagers cried out in fear.

“A little piece of home.”

The Goblins led the Doctor across a large walkway. 50 or so feet below, the Time Lord could see the TARDIS.

“It must be hard for you two Demons from hell not to have to kill me.” The Doctor said.

“It is.” One of the Demons answered back. “We’ve helped to break so many who looked like you when their minds come to our domain.”

“Yes but you need me. You need me to help rewire my own ship to bring your vile Master into this world, so there’s only one thing I can do” The Doctor said as he quickly jumped over the railing of the walkway. One of the Goblins reached out to grab him, but the Doctor who held onto the railings with grabbed onto the Goblin as it reached for him, and pulled it over the railing. The Doctor then hurled himself over the railing into the other Goblin as it came nearer.

“I’m a lot more spry than I look.” The Doctor said as he tried to subdue the Goblin with a bit of Venusian karate. The creature however proved to be immune and pushed the Doctor back before firing its energy beam back. The Doctor however quickly ducked and rammed into the Goblin to try and push it over the edge. The monster however quickly overpowered the Time Lord, and in desperation the Doctor ripped the wires from the back of the Goblins head. The creature staggered back in pain before collapsing dead.

The Doctor stared at its lifeless corpse as well as that of the Goblin below for a few seconds. He hated having to do this, but the monsters had left him no choice.

The Doctor quickly ran to the end of the walkway and down the stairs to where the TARDIS was.

“Oh old girl I honestly though I wasn’t going to see you again.” The Doctor said with affection as he reached for the key.

“Don’t worry. I won’t let them.” Suddenly the Goblin the Doctor had pulled over the edge of the walkway reached up and grabbed him. It was still alive and strong enough to crush the life out of the Doctor.

To Be Continued

The Circus Master: Journey To The Centre of Evil: Part 3: The Survivors

 

The Ishica had formed a circle around the Circus Folk. Carlene quickly handed Ashlei a weapon from her beehive. It was a golden knife, which had been “enchanted” by the darkest magics and was capable of harming even the most powerful Demons.

“Time to see if that training has done any good love.” Carlene said somewhat nervously to Ashlei as the Demons hovered over their prey.

The Ishica all had blue bodies, with sagging, rotting, putrid skin. Their fingers ended in large sucker cups, whilst the beasts all only had one, large, red eye each. Each monster had a mane of scraggly hair at the back of their heads.

The largest of the Demons was the first to attack, but a quick energy blast from Denika sent it flying backwards. The Circus Master and Carlene meanwhile searched through their hat and beehive and started hurling as many weapons as they could at the Demons to try and find their weaknesses. They soon discovered that a weapon made of silver could harm the Ishica, when Carlene landed a silver knife straight into one of the beasts hearts.

Keptis and Ashlei meanwhile used their weapons to try and hold more of the Demons off, with Ashlei managing to slice the throat of a particularly large Ishica. Ashlei’s wound didn’t kill the beast, but it still incapacitated the monster so much it collapsed to the sea floor in pain, allowing Keptis to slice its head clean off, whilst Ashlei held off another one of the beasts with her weapon. Carlene looked on with pride at how far Ashlei had come in such a small time.

Florence meanwhile also asked Carlene for a weapon from her beehive. The Sirens hypnotic singing voice would not work on the Demons (as it often didn’t on surpernatural creatures.)

Carlene rummaged through her beehive. Most of the time even she wasn’t sure what weapons were in there. “Ah here you go darling” Carlene said as she pulled out an electrical whip (really magical). “Anything you strike the whip at will be vaporised. From what I can remember love, its unstable though. Try not to use it to many times too quickly or else the power will heat up.” Carlene cautioned Florence, though it would be difficult for Florence not to use it. More and more of the monsters kept emerging from the ruins around them. There were hundreds of the Demons now, gathered round the Circus Folk like a swarm of locusts.

Florence managed to take down five of the monsters at once with one swing of her whip, whilst she carried the Strange Boy in her other arm. (Having taken the Vampire child from the ship) The Siren was able to take down a further 10 with another swing, which also caused the rest of the Ishica to scatter.

“Well who wants to be the first.” Florence boasted to the cowed monsters.

One of the Ishica however had managed to grab the silver knife that Carlene had thrown into the chest of one of the monsters, and hurled into Keptis stomach. Florence instantly ran to Keptis, letting her guard down and allowing the Ishica to swarm the Circus Folk again. Though Denika managed to blast several of the monsters back, The Circus Master and Carlene were soon quickly overpowered, whilst 4 of the monsters also managed to corner both Florence and the dying Keptis. In the struggle one of the Ishica whose strength dwarfed that of the Siren’s, managed to knock the whip from Florence’s hand, knocking it across the sea floor.

In desperation Ashlei quickly grabbed the whip and started to lash at the beasts several times more. She slaughtered dozens more of the monsters, and scattered the rest away from her friends, but the whip’s power soon started to fluctuate. Its handle became so hot that Ashlei was forced to let it go. Several more magical blasts then began to fire from the whip, which vaporised a few more Ishica. One of them very nearly hit Ashlei herself, but Florence managed to push her out of the way.

Denika meanwhile used her magic to quickly heal Keptis’ wound, whilst Ashlei tried to grab the whip again. Carlene quickly stopped her however. “We can’t use that again. It’ll blow up soon and take us with it if we don’t get out of ere.” The Circus Folk tried to flee, but the Ishica formed a wall around them and started to attack again.

“You idiots you’ll die with us.” The Circus Master said as he tried to fight off the monsters with his claws. The monsters weren’t listening however.

In desperation Florence pulled the enchantment off of the Strange Boy’s head. The Circus Folk had kept the enchantment on because if it was taken off he’d be far more violent, as all Jiang Shi are after a period under the enchantment.

Still Florence in desperation ripped the paper off the boy. The Circus Master saw what she was doing and shouted at her to stop, but it was too late. The Vampire child instantly went crazy and threw Florence aside, before jumping head first into the monsters. The Strange Boy tore his way through 5 Ishica, ripping thier arms and legs and even heads off. Eventually however the Ishica began to swarm the Strange Boy. Ashlei and Florence quickly swam to try and help him, but one of the monsters quickly jumped Florence and threw her back into Ashlei. Three more Ishica then swam around Ashlei, and whilst she was able to stab one of the monsters in the chest, the other two easily overpowered Ashlei and dragged her away along with the Strange Boy.

Carlene tried to swim up and help Ashlei, but again several Ishica got in the way. Carlene was able to dispatch the monsters quickly with a silver blade, but by the time she was done, the monsters were gone. In the very distance Carlene could see one of the monsters carrying Ashlei, whilst 5 carried the Strange Boy. Carlene quickly swam after the monsters, with Florence who felt tremendous guilt following her.

The rest of the Circus Folk were too busy dealing with the Ishica. Keptis called out after Florence, but he couldn’t hope to match either Vampires inhuman speed.

“I told her not remove the enchantment.” The Circus Master said as he fought off one of the Demons. “The Strange Boy is unpredictable at the best of times. With that Kardon above and the pent up bloodlust from the spell., Florence and Carlene should probably run away from him more than these brutes.”

“We need to get them back ” Keptis said frantically as he slashed at the attacking monsters with his flaming saw, but that was easier said than done. More and more of the Ishica were emerging from the what was left of the city and they were emerging from the direction Carlene and Florence had followed the Demons.

The Circus Master quickly grabbed the whip by the handle. Even though it burnt his hands, the Vandal fought through pain and hurled the whip into the mass of Ishica above just as it exploded, killing hundreds of the Demons, though many still remained.

“We need to take cover.” Denika shouted as she fired multiple energy blasts to hold the Demons off. The Circus Master and Keptis reluctantly ran after Denika in the opposite direction from where the Demons had taken Ashlei and the Strange Boy.

The three time travellers quickly ran behind a few crumbling buildings, but several more Demons started to emerge from what was left of the buildings around them. Denika and Keptis held them off, whilst The Circus Master desperately searched around for somewhere to flee. He soon found what looked like a small hatch behind one of the buildings that led underground. The Circus Master had no idea where it led to. For all he knew there could be hundreds of thousands of the Ishica underground, but they were too exposed in the open, and so the Vandal quickly jumped down the hatch after shouting on his two comrades to join him.

Denika was the last to go in, and afterwards she placed a magical barrier around the gate. It wouldn’t take the Demons long to tear through it, but it might buy them a few more minutes. The caverns were long and dark and filled with bodies.

“Lets just hope none of them wake up”. Keptis said as he struggled not to trip over the corpses.

Florence and Carlene had followed the Demons across the dead city. What was left of the swarm after the explosion were more interested in the rest of the Circus folk, though the two Vampires had been forced to dodge several Ishica along the way. Despite starting after Carlene, Florence had quickly overtaken her due to the Siren’s greater experience in the oceans. They were both still a good distance away from the Ishica and their prisoners however.

“I’m so sorry.” Florence said to Carlene. “If only I.”

Carlene interrupted her. “No use in that now. We have to rescue the children. Besides love I’m the one that put that enchantment on the boys head. I’m responsible too.”

In the distance the Strange Boy started to fight with the Ishica. He managed to push one of them away before quickly fleeing down into the ruins of some buildings, with the Ishica quickly followed him.

“I’ll go after him, you get Ashlei” Florence said as she swam towards the ruins.

The Ishica had broken through Denika’s barriers and into the tunnels, but Denika had created several more barriers along the way to slow the Demons down. Each time she created a new barrier however it weakened her greatly.

Finally after 15 or so minutes of wandering through the dark, dank tunnels, the time travellers came upon what they had originally come here for. Even in the dark tunnels the Circus Master continued to trace the signal from the sub. He knew it was underground, but even then he had only fled there out of necessity.

The trio came upon a large reinforced steel door. The Circus Master tried to shift it with his Vandal strength, but it was no use.

“If only the Strange Boy were here.” He muttered to himself.

“Let me have a try” Keptis said as he pushed the Circus Master aside. Keptis thrust his flaming saw into the door, and in a few seconds he managed to slice it in half down the middle.

The trio could hear the sound of the ravenous Demons in the distance. “I won’t be able to keep holding them off with forcefields.” Denika said. Keptis was the first to enter the room, brandishing his weapon.

As soon as he entered however the Martian was shot at. Only the Circus Masters lightening fast reflexes saved Keptis from certain death. The Circus Master would be shot at a further two times, but it didn’t phase him. The Circus Master quickly overpowered the perpetrator, a young woman with green skin, and blue hair.

“Who are you.” The Circus Master said as he restrained the woman. As he looked around he saw an Ishica’s corpse with a silver knife in its chest. The rest of the room looked like it had been hit by an explosion, the Vandal thought to himself.

“Who am I? Are you kidding? You freaks don’t look like anything I’ve ever seen.” Kile said.

The Circus Master recognised the voice. It was Kile the woman who had summoned them.

“Ah of course.” The Circus Master said. “You’re the person we’re here to rescue, although I’m starting to wonder if that was a mistake now considering you just shot me.”

“I’m sorry.” Kile said, now also recognising the Circus Master’s voice. “I thought you were Demons of some kind, You don’t look like us, but you’re clearly not like them either.”

“No in fact we don’t know who either of you are. We just got here.” The Circus Master said in his usual flippant tone.

“You lie. No one has entered or left these dark oceans for thousands of years..”

“You’ve been trapped here by the Kardons all that time? How did you survive this long.” Denika asked.

“They kept us alive just so they could torture us for their own amusement, turn some of us into those things.” Kile said as she looked down at the corpse of her former team mate, who she had been forced to slay.

“They didn’t trap us here. We were trapped with them.” Kile said.

Suddenly the sounds of the Ishica came closer. They had broken through Denika’s forcefield and were coming their way.

“You idiots! You led those things here and you broke the door down? There’s no way out, we’re doomed.”

“Not necessarily.” Denika said as she tried to summon up a magical blast against the wall behind. It was difficult as the wall was strong and she was already weak from the forcefields, but Denika managed to fire a blast so strong in not only shattered the back wall completely, but knocked herself, The Circus Master, Keptis and Kile off their feet.

The Circus Master was forced to help Denika up she was so weak after the spell.

“Come if we can get outside I have a ship that can get us out of here.” Kile said.

Carlene had been following the Ishica for close to half an hour now and she was still nowhere near the monster. It had too big a head start on her. It was agony for Carlene. She could see Ashlei constantly kick and struggle to get free from the monster to no avail.

Carlene thought about throwing a silver knife from her beehive at the monster, but as it was moving so fast she wasn’t sure she wouldn’t hit Ashlei. The Ishica had only taken Ashlei because much like Kile it was curious as to what she was. It felt that its masters may be interested to see seemingly new creatures in the oceans.

Suddenly a massive black shadow cast itself over the ruins. Carlene looked up to see the massive, horrifying image of one of the Kardon’s descending over the city.

To Be Continued

 

Professor Fang: The Hopping Dead: Part 3: The Demon King

 

(Apologies for the delays in Doctor Who, The Circus Master and Professor Fang over the last few weeks due to my illness. Everything will be back to normal with all 3 series resuming over the course of this week.)

“Please, please Cheun if you can hear me” the Empress said in desperation as her husband stood, seemingly motionless by the door. Was there still something of him in there after all she thought? Why hadn’t it attacked yet?

Whilst the Empress tried to keep her husband distracted, one of the guards jumped the former Emperor from behind, but the Jiang Shi quickly spun round, grabbed the guard and sunk its fangs deep into his neck. The Empress in response grabbed a chair and smashed it over her former husbands back, but he didn’t even flinch. The Empress then reached for the guards sword that he had dropped and thrust it into her husbands back, but the sword broke in half. The Empress then reached for a large pot, but the Emperor dropped the guard’s lifeless corpse to the ground before turning round to face his former wife.

Up close the Empress could see for sure now that this monster was not her husband. His mouth, which was dripping with the blood and flesh of his own loyal men, started to distort into a hideous fanged grin. There did perhaps appear to be more under the surface to this beast, but it wasn’t in any way shape or form the man she had once loved.

The Emperor with one hit sent his wife flying across the room, before turning his attention to his son, who was so overcome with terror he didn’t even attempt to flee.

The Empress quickly jumped up and delivered an air kick to the Vampire Emperor’s back, causing the Vampire to spin round and face her. The Empress tried to punch her husband, but the Vampire grabbed her arm and brought the Empress to her knees, before sinking his fangs into her shoulder. The Empress had never felt pain like it before in her life. The Vampires fangs cut clean through her skin, muscle and bone!

The Empress desperately grabbed a nearby candle stick and started to hit her husband repeatedly which did nothing to deter the Vampire. Almost blacking out from the pain, the Empress with her last ounce of strength rammed the Vampire into a wall which caused the beast to loosen its bite slightly, allowing her to wiggle free. The Empress had lost all use in her arm however as a result of the Vampires bite. Most people would have fainted by now, but the Empress’ iron will drove her on.

When the Vampiric Emperor tried to move in for another bite, the Empress rammed the candle stick down her former husbands throat and pushed him back. The Empress then quickly picked up her son with her remaining arm. Her son had been to terrified to even move during the Empress fight with her former husband. Not that there was anything he could have done, but it was traumatic for the boy that he couldn’t even look at what was going on. “This can’t be happening.” He said to himself over and over again. “My father could never be taken over by any curse.” Whilst the Emperor bit through the candle stick and tore it apart with his claws, the Empress jumped over the bed with her son and out of the room.

Outside however the Empress could see to her horror, her entire special guard lay slain. Some of them had bite marks on their throats, others faces were mangled beyond recognition, some had even had their heads torn off!

“What have I done”. The Empress said to herself. “If only I had listened. Those poor men. All of them deserved so much better.” Suddenly one of the slain guards rose, followed by another and another. They all had the same expression of rage and hunger that the Emperor had, and all bore the same yellow fangs and red eyes that he did.

The Empress quickly jumped over the monsters and ran down the hall screaming for help as the horde of bloodthirsty Jiang Shi, including her husband hopped after her, but there was no one around to help. She could hear her servants and guards screaming for help from the lower levels.

The Empress reached the end of the main hall and prepared to descend down the stairs, but she could see a whole horde of Jiang Shi ascending from the bottom of the stair case. Caught between two hordes of monsters, the Empress simply sat hugging her boy.

“Its okay, it’ll be okay.” She said to her boy knowing that it wouldn’t be. As she prepared for her last breath, the Empress quickly noticed that the guards and her husband were fighting among themselves. They were all nothing but animals now, clawing and biting at each other for the last bit of food.

The Emperor still appeared to be the strongest of the Jiang Shi. He tossed the other guards aside effortlessly, but it didn’t take long for the other Jiang Shi to dogpile on the Emperor and start clawing at him. The Empress seized her chance and ran past the ravenous Vampires, and down the other side of the hall.

There was somewhere she could run on the top level. A safe passage for her and the Emperor during emergencies which led to a backdoor exit from the castle. She just hoped that monster that bore a twisted caricature of her husbands face didn’t remember the safe passage either.

The safe room was hidden through a secret passage in a wall, just beside the Empress and the Emperors room. She hadn’t ran to it before as her Vampiric husband had blocked the way, but now that he was distracted, the Empress who kept a key for the room at all times was able to quickly enter it with her son. The room was relatively small, narrow and dark, but still they were both able to fit reasonably well. The Empress told her boy to wait whilst she checked the exit which lay below at the bottom of a spiral staircase.

At the bottom of the stair case the Empress opened the door which led to a small garden path outside the castle. In the garden however lay two guards corpses, whilst another of the former Empress’ guards wandered dazed and aimless, clutching at his neck which dripped with blood. The Empress could see one of the Jiang Shi, a young female hopping towards the guard from behind. The guard was in too much pain to notice the monster creeping up on him. The Empress was torn. She couldn’t leave one of the guards who had sworn to protect her above all else just be torn to pieces, but at the same time there was nothing she could do to help him. She was struggling just to stay awake herself. Furthermore if she tried to fight the Jiang Shi she would be exposing her son upstairs, to this and possibly other monsters that were around.

With regret the Empress shut the door quietly and headed back upstairs, though she could hear the guard screams of agony, as well as the Jiang Shi’s ravenous roars as the Demon tore her loyal servant to pieces.

The Empress barely made it up the stair case she was so weak. The adrenaline that had helped her fight through the pain and blood loss was beginning to wear off. Back at the top she almost fainted and her boy quickly ran to help her up. The Empress son sobbed almost uncontrollably as his mother almost collapsed, but she quickly regained her composure.

“Please, please son you have to stop crying. You can’t make a sound. If those Demons hear us.” The Empress said faintly as she struggled to stay awake.

Every second was torment as the Empress and her son heard the Jiang Shi’s roars and hisses from outside, terrified that at any second the monsters could tear the wall down and find them. The screams and cries of her guards, maidens and servants rang through the entire castle.

Worse still the Empress knew she was infected. For all she knew she could turn at any minute. It had taken her husband several months, but the guards and servants had risen in a matter of minutes.

She would have happily gone outside and allowed the monsters to tear her to pieces to save her boy, but doing so would alert them to him. “Who will come to save us?” She thought. Those monsters tore their way through the elite guard effortlessly. How would the villagers be able to cope? What would become of the kingdom?

“What have I done.” She said to herself over and over again.

The Professor, Lindsey, Kirsteen, and Lee had reached the palace doors. The Guard who had come from the palace had decided to stay behind in the village in case any of the creatures had come down from the palace. There was no one in sight, and an eerie silence to the place.

“I fear we are already too late.” Lee said, before the giant doors burst open. Two guards came running out, both covered in blood, and bites and scratches.

“Run those monsters, they” The two men shouted before the Professor and Lee stopped them in their tracks, though the Professor was more gentle in stopping his guard.

“Relax we’re not going to hurt you” The Professor said as he held his in guard in place, whilst Lee hoisted his up in the air using his magic.

“Please lets us go its the Emperor, he’s, he’s become a monster.” The guard who was held in the air said.

“He started to attack the guards, some of them, they, they’ve become monsters too.”

“Wait a minute I thought you said the Emperor was bitten months ago?” Kirsteen asked? “How are the guards changing so fast?”

“If the Jiang Shi kills its victim then the change happens faster. If you’re alive it can take months.” Lindsey said. “Its worse if you live however.” Lindsey continued. “The Demon is allowed to grow over a longer period of time and become stronger. The Emperor will be extremely powerful from the sounds of things. The undisuted leader of the new pack of Jiang Shi.”

“There’s nothing we can do.” Lee said as he lowered the guard to the ground.”My magics aren’t powerful enough to deal with what the Emperor has become.”

“Well you’re in luck.” The Professor said boastfully. “I know a thing or too about the Jiang Shi. Even before I became a Vampire I had more than a few encounters with them. Granted it will take time to get together some of the spells, but.”

“We don’t have time. Bloodsucker.” Lee spat back. “They got us in the end. They got us.”

“Who?” Lindsey asked.

“The Hissians. A rival kingdom of ours. We fought for centuries, and just when they we were on the cusp of victory they destroyed the ancient magics that had protected our kingdom for years.”

“What do you mean?” The Professor asked?

“The reason nobody here knows about the Jiang Shi is because many, many centuries ago, a great sorceress, with a far greater knowledge of magic than you or I banished all Demons from this land. As I told you before the unholy monsters used to dominate what would one day become our and the Hissians kingdoms to a greater extent than in any of the other kingdoms.

The Sorceress named Asia Moon would go on to be celebrated as our greatest hero. Whilst the Jiang Shi spread all over the rest of our land like the plague they are, our tiny little patch of land enjoyed a freedom from their evil.

Unfortunately however as time went on and we had no need for the black arts, very few in our kingdom came to knew about magic. Even the Demons passed into legend. The Hissians were the same, but when we were on the brink of victory, the Hissians made a discovery that would allow them to doom us even as their kingdom fell.”

Lee continued. “They discovered the ruins of the first kingdom beneath theirs, the one the Jiang Shi and other Demons had destroyed. I was part of a slave force to dig the ruins out. In their desperation they hoped they could find some powerful form of magic to use against us. They found the amulet that Moon had used to constantly repel the Demons from kingdom and they destroyed it.”

“That doesn’t make any sense? They’d die too?” Kirsteen asked.

“They knew they were beat. Their leader tried to blackmail The Emperor Cheun. He told him that they would unleash the dark forces if Cheun didn’t surrender, but Cheun didn’t believe them. The Hissians would rather die than live under us. As soon as they broke the amulet one of the Jiang Shi returned to our kingdom, though they may have brought it here I don’t know. I was liberated just after the Emperor had been infected. I had been able to transcribe the old ruins left by Moon where I learned the truth of the ancient beasts that once roamed the land. I just managed to seal the original Jiang Shi in the old ruins, but when I tried to warn the Emperor that he too would become one of those monsters, his wife refused to listen to me. She is a remarkable woman in many ways. She fought at his side, she helped to save the kingdom from the Hissians, but now she has helped to doom it.”

“Well I can’t say that we can permanently purge this kingdom of evil like this Moon woman did, but we can help deal with the Jiang Shi” The Professor said. “Please help us. From the sound of things you’ve been through a lot for this kingdom already. Do you really want to give up now?”

“Well I suppose I don’t have anything to loose?” Lee said begrudgingly.

“First however we must stop the spread of evil.” Lee said before he quickly snapped the necks of both prisoners.

“You murdering scum.” Kirsteen said in rage.

“They were infected by the beasts. If you are serious about protecting this kingdom then you will do the same too.”

“They might not have turned.” Lindsey snapped. “Not all those the Jiang Shi bite become members of their kind. We could have had time to see.”

“Its that type of thinking from the Empress that doomed the kingdom.”  Lee said as he hurried into the castle not wanting to discuss it anymore.

“I’m still not sure if he’s the real monster.” Kirsteen said.

The inside of the castle was filled with corpses, all mangled and in some cases torn to pieces. There were no signs of the Jiang Shi however.

As the foursome wandered through the blood stained palace, Lee was suddenly struck by the sight of one of the corpses. It was of a young woman who he had known many years aho, one of the palace guards. Though their relationship had ended a long time ago, and she too had come to despise Lee for his crimes against the Emperor. Still Lee had always maintained his feelings for her, and broke down at the sight of what those monsters had done.

Unfortunately whilst Lee was distracted, neither Lee, nor Lindsey, nor the Professor noticed the Emperor himself slowly creeping towards them from the upper balcony. Covered in cuts and bite marks, the Emperor had nevertheless managed to fight off the other JIang Shi and establish his dominance.

The Vampire jumped from the balcony behind Lindsey, and Kirsteen who he quickly tossed aside. The Professor tried to fight the monster off, but it quickly hurled him through the air too and went straight for Lee. It seemed to target him above the others.

Lee tried to repel the beast with his magics but it was no use. The Emperor grabbed him by the throat and started to slowly crush the life out of its old friend.

To Be Continued

My Favourite Heroes: Batman: Part 2: The History of Batman

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Batman has a long and varied history spread out across multiple different mediums and universes. There has never been just one Batman per se, even within the continuity of DC. He’s been rebooted, (both in and out of universe) killed off, replaced with alternate counterparts, as well as his children and even in one instance his deceased father.

Across his many iterations, the Batman has been everything from a gritty crime fighter, to a gothic anti hero, to a sci fi superhero, to a loving father.

Both in universe and from a real world perspective the history of the Caped Crusader is a fascinating and somewhat tragic story. Whilst the modern image of Batman may be one of the most beloved fictional characters, that image was the work of many great artists and writers over the course of several decades, many of whom’s contributions have sadly been overlooked.

Creation and Controversy

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Bob Kane with Bill Fingers Batman.

For decades the official story about Batman’s origins was that he was created by cartoonist Bob Kane in 1939 for National Comics (later known as DC.) Kane was the only person ever to be credited on any form of Batman media for the first 70 or so years of the characters history. In the majority of interviews throughout his life, Kane would only ever credit himself with creating Batman and his supporting characters and enemies like the Joker and Catwoman.

In recent decades however it has been revealed that writer Bill Finger contributed far more to the Batman character and mythos than Kane ever did.

Kane came up with the name Batman, but his initial sketch bore little resemblance to the Batman we know today. Kane’s Batman had no cape, a dominos mask and dressed in red.

See here.

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It was Bill Finger who not only came up with the Caped Crusaders look, but much of his character too. Finger suggested that Kane give Batman a cowl with bat ears, that he change the wings to a cape, and that he make Batman’s eyes white to suggest an air of mystery. He also suggested giving the Batman a grey and black colour scheme too.

Finger also came up with Gotham city, Commisioner Gordon, Alfred Pennyworth and the Batman’s civilian identity of the billionaire playboy Bruce Wayne. (He apparently named Bruce Wayne after the famous Scottish king Robert the Bruce.) Finger also came up with Batman’s tragic origins of being motivated to fight crime by the death of his parents.

Finger also created, or co-created most of Batman’s famous enemies including the Joker, Catwoman, the Riddler, the Scarecrow and the Penguin. Other artists and writers also contributed to the creation of many of Batman’s iconic rogues and supporting characters too, such as Jerry Robinson, Dick Sprang and Gardner Fox.

In all fairness to Kane back in the 40s the standard policy was for one person’s name to be stamped on the cover. The likes of Finger and Robinson were also hired as ghost artists and writers too. It wouldn’t be until the 60s when Marvel pioneered crediting all involved in the comic, with the famous Marvel bull pen.

Disputes over who created an iconic character are also common in the comic book and television mediums, where unlike a novel several people are always involved in a characters creation.

Stan Lee though pioneering the bull pen method, still always argued that he was the sole creator of the likes of Spider-Man, the X-Men and the Fantastic Four, as he came up with the initial concepts for all characters.

The difference between Lee and Kane however, was that Lee always credited the likes of Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko with designing the characters, and always said that the characters would not have been successful without the artists contributions. Lee was also always happy for his artists to refer to themselves as co-creators too.

Kane however not only took credit for things we now know he didn’t do, like Batman’s final design, but he also tried to silence Bill Fingers claims to helping create the Batman.

In the 1960s when Bill Finger mentioned his contributions to the Batman character at one of the first comic conventions, Bob Kane was quick to discredit him in a Batman fan magazine.

See here.

Now, Biljo, I’d like to emphatically set the record straight, once and for all, about the many “myths” and “conjectures” that I read about myself and my creation, “Batman,” in your “Fanzine” and other publications. I can only call all the stories I read about myself “conjectures,” because most of them are written without my advice or consent, and, therefore, cannot be entirely the truth, because how can an article about me or the Batman be the true story, when I am not consulted or interviewed?

Here, for the first time, straight from the “horse’s mouth” is the real inside story about myself and “Batman,” with no holds barred, and I intend to explode the myths about myself and get down to the real truth about the legend that is “Batman,” so, fasten your seat belts, Batmanians, as the fireworks begin.

We can call this story, “Inside Bob Kane,” or will the real creator of “Batman” sign in, please!

The Myth: Bob Kane is not the sole creator of “Batman.” (I’ve heard this a thousand times in my lifetime), that “Batman” was really created by Bill Finger, Jerry Robinson, Carmine Infantino, Jack Schiff, Julie Schwartz, my publisher, etc., etc., and my housekeeper!

The Truth: All hogwash! I, Bob Kane, am the sole creator of “Batman.” I created “Batman” in 1939, and it appeared, if memory serves me correctly, in Detective Comics as a six or eight page story, and I signed the first strip, “Robert Kane.”

I read your article that you sent to me, “If the Truth be Known,” ”A Finger in Every Plot,” and it seemed to me that Bill Finger has given out the impression that he and not myself created the ”Batman”,  as well as Robin and all the other leading villains and characters. This statement is fraudulent and entirely untrue. That is ”myth” and I quote an excerpt from the article written by Jerry G. Bails, “The Cowl and Cape, the utility belt and gauntlets were all Bill’s contribution.”

Also, further down in the article and again I quote , “Bill also created Robin, of course, but also Commissioner Gordon, (who appeared in the first Batman story), Alfred the Penguin, The Catwoman, etc., etc.

I challenge Bill to repeat those statements in front of me. I am sorry that I was absent from the comicdom’s convention so that I could have answered him. The truth is that Bill Finger is taking credit for much more than he deserves, and I refute much of his statements here in print The fact is that I conceived the ”Batman`’ figure and costume entirely by myself’ even before I called Bill in to help me write the “Batman.” I created the title, masthead, the format and concept, as well as the Batman figure and costume. Robin, the boy wonder, was also my idea, . . . not Bill’s.

The only proof I need to back my statement is that if Bill co-authored and conceived the idea, either with me or before me, then he would most certainly have a by-line on the strip along with my name, the same as Siegel and Schuster had as creators of Superman. However, it remains obvious that my name appears on the strip alone, proving that I created the idea first and then called Bill in later, after my publisher okayed my original creation.

Now, Biljo, in all fairness to Bill, I will admit he was influential in aiding me in shaping up the strip, and there are certain characters Bill created, aside from my main characters’ and many other characters that I created, including the Batmobile. It’s been 25 years now, and truthfully, time sometimes blurs the memory and it is difficult to separate, at times, the myth from the truth, so that I cannot blame Bill too much if at times his memory “clouds.”

Aside to Jerry G. Bails: I ought to sue you for misrepresentation and distortion of the truth about your “Finger Article” that blatantly intimates that Bill Finger was the true creator behind Batman, and not Bob Kane. Your article is completely misleading, loaded with untruths fed to you by Finger’s hallucinations of grandeur.

May I say to you, Mr . Bails, that before you wrote so smugly and assuredly about Bill Finger being the real creator and ”tour de force” behind the Batman for publication, don’t you think that you should have double-checked your information back to me, so that I could verify and clarify Bill Finger’s comments? After all, I was involved with the Batman, don’t you think? But, of course, you minimized my part in the creation and maximized Bill Finger’s part, only because you listened to one side of the story – Finger’ s side. I am sure that you have heard that there are “two sides to every story”? At any rate, now you’ve heard my side. Are you still convinced about Finger’s immortality?

I am sick and tired of opinionated people, like yourself, who throughout the years have written distorted and untrue stories about how Batman was created and by whom, receiving their information from unreliable sources, when it would have been much easier to get the true story simply by contacting me, the one and only creator of Batman, that could be proven so easily by merely asking my publisher or simply by looking at the lone by-line of “Bob Kane” on the strip.

I’d also like to state here, Mr. Bails, that although Bill Finger literally typed the scripts in the early days, that he wrote the scripts from ideas that we mutually collaborated on and that many of the unique concepts and story twists also came from my own fertile imagination and that I was not just a puppet cartoonist alone, following a writer’s script and contributing nothing more than the art work.

Finger never received the credit he was due during his lifetime as a result, and died in both obscurity and poverty in the 1970s. Contrary to popular belief he was not buried in an unmarked potters grave. He was cremated, with his only son Fred Finger scattering his ashes in the shape of a Bat on a beach in Oregon, as per his wishes.

Bob Kane would later express regret for the way he had treated Bill Finger. In 1989 after the release of the first Batman film starring Michael Keaton, Kane said.

In those days it was one artist and he had his name over it [the comic strip] — the policy of DC in the comic books was, if you can’t write it, obtain other writers, but their names would never appear on the comic book in the finished version. So Bill never asked me for it [the byline] and I never volunteered — I guess my ego at that time. And I felt badly, really, when he [Finger] died

Now that my long-time friend and collaborator is gone, I must admit that Bill never received the fame and recognition he deserved. He was an unsung hero … I often tell my wife, if I could go back fifteen years, before he died, I would like to say. ‘I’ll put your name on it now. You deserve it.

However many saw this as too little, too late, and argued that Kane was only recounting now that Finger had passed away and could not recieve any royalties. It would not be until 2015, following a campaign by author Marc Tyler Nobleman and Fingers grand daughter Athena, that Finger would be officially credited as the co-creator of Batman, beginning with the film Batman vs Superman and the television series Gotham.

Kane’s reputation has naturally dropped considerably as a result. Many others in the industry have come forward with less than favourable stories about Bob Kane in recent years, with arguably the most infamous being comic book author Jim Steranko’s near physical confrontation with Kane, who Steranko derided as both a coward, and back stabber who took advantage of Finger.

Its ironic in a way, as now I feel that people perhaps don’t give Kane the credit he deserves.

Kane did play a vital role in the creation of Batman and various other important characters in the Batman canon. One thing people often overlook about Kane’s initial drawing of Batman is that even there, the character lacks superpowers. Kane’s Batman couldn’t fly like Superman. He had artificial wings instead which he had designed to help him fly.

This would ultimately prove to be a vital component in Batman’s character, that he has to rely on gadgets rather than super powers and it was there in Kane’s initial concept.

Bob Kane also did play a role in the creation of the Joker, Catwoman, the Scarecrow and the Penguin too. Jerry Robinson, who spoke very unfavourably of Kane’s treatment of Bill Finger, (going as far as to say he never forgave him for it) nevertheless said that Kane can be considered a co-creator of the Joker. It is also known that Kane played a key role in fleshing out the Catwoman’s character. He apparently based much of Catwoman’s personality on his cousin Ruth Steel.

The real Catwoman.

Kane also created the final design for the Penguin and was the sole creator of Two Face, one of Batman’s most iconic foes. Finally it was also Kane who personally assembled the original team of artists and writers on the Batman comics, Bill Finger and Jerry Robinson.

Had Kane not been so desperate to hoover up all the credit, he would be revered as the man who helped kick off, and flesh out the Batman mythos. The lesson here is to never try and take too much credit or else when the truth comes out, people will be loathe to give you any credit at all, as seen with Kane.

Whilst its tragic that Finger was never given the credit he was due, at the very least his reputation among fans and critics is considerably stronger today than Kane’s.

The Early Years

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Batman first appeared in Detective Comics 27. In his first few appearances Batman was depicted as being willing to murder his enemies and use guns. It was also a policy of earlier comics to make sure that none of Batman’s enemies would recur, so as not to undermine his status as a hero. Despite this however there were two recurring enemies in Batman’s earliest days with Detective Comics, The Mad Monk, a hypnotic Vampire, and Doctor Death, a mad scientist. Death’s origins of having his face scarred in an accident and developing a grudge against Batman as a result, would later be reused for the Joker.

Whilst Bruce Wayne was best friends with Commissioner James Gordon in the earlier stories, the police still viewed Batman as a dangerous psychopath who needed to be put down. Bruce Wayne also had a fiance too in the early years, Julie Madison, who has been seldom seen in most adaptations.

Whilst featuring many larger than life concepts from death rays, to robot Dinosaurs to Vampires, the earliest Batman comics still took the stories and character very seriously, and were very dark in tone.

During Batman’s first year with Detective Comics, several key elements of the Batman mythos would be established, such as the characters tragic origins in Detective Comics 33, his utility belt in issue 29, and his famous Batarang as well as the first ever Bat themed vehicle, the Bat plane in issue 31.

Finally in Detective Comics 38, Batman’s sidekick Robin was introduced. Created by Jerry Robinson, Robin, whose real name was Dick Grayson, was a young boy whose parents had been murdered just like Batman. Robin’s popularity would lead to a surge in similar kid sidekicks. Robin has remained a somewhat controversial figure in the decades since, with many feeling that he made Batman too light a character. Robin has nevertheless remained one of the most enduring icons of the Batman mythos.

Batman proved to be such a big hit that he would soon get his own series, whilst continuing to star in Detective Comics. The first ever solo issue of Batman saw the character face both the Joker and the Catwoman (then just referred to as simply the Cat.)

The Joker in his first appearance was depicted as a true monster clown, murdering his victims in gruesome ways simply because he thought it was funny. His origins were shrouded in complete mystery. Whilst more details have been revealed about the Jokers past in the ensuing decades, to this day the villains identity and real name have never been revealed.

From the start the Joker was depicted as Batman’s most dangerous and evil adversary, being ten steps ahead of the Batman and the police, and in a stark contrast to his later appearances; he was even depicted as being able to best the Caped Crusader in a fight.

Catwoman, whose real name was Selina Kyle, meanwhile was depicted initially as more of a manipulative villain who was no match for the Batman physically, and was far more unsympathetic than later depictions. From the start however the two were shown to have a romantic interest in one another, though this would become more prominent after Julie Madison was written out.

The Penguin meanwhile would be introduced in 1942. Though initially a more comical villain than the Joke, The Penguin would go on to be one of Batman’s most recognisable and recurring foes. Over the decades the Penguin’s character would be fleshed out more, and he would go from a campy supervillain obsessed with birds, to a gritty and brutal crime lord.

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The King and Queen of crime?!

The first appearances of the Penguin and the Catwoman, two of Batman’s main enemies. The papa spank line isn’t one of the Caped Crusaders finest moments.

Another major enemy of Batman introduced during the early years was Doctor Hugo Strange. Originally intended to be Batman’s archenemy, Strange was more of a match for Batman in terms of intellect than his other enemies, being a genius scientist in his own right. Ultimately however the more colourful Joker, Penguin and Catwoman would soon eclipse Strange, though Strange would continue to recur over the decades, and has even appeared in many adaptations such as the recent tv series Gotham.

The Joker was originally to have been killed off in his second appearance, but a last minute decision by editor Whitney Ellisworth ultimately spared the character, and the Joker would quickly cement himself as Batman’s arch foe, appearing in 6 out of the first 9 Batman issues.

The first appearance of what would quickly become Batman’s greatest enemy, the Joker.

Ellsworth would also make another major contribution to Batman’s character, deciding after an issue of Detective Comics which featured the caped crusader murdering mutated giants with a machine gun, that Batman would never use a gun or kill his enemies again.

This has gone on to be a vital aspect of Batman’s character ever since, not just in the comics, but in most other adaptations too. In universe the reason Batman hates guns it would be established is obviously because they were used in the brutal murder of his parents. Some versions of Batman however, such as Michael Keaton’s in the first two Burton Batman movies have returned to using weapons and lethal force, but generally speaking, most versions of Batman have stuck to Ellsworth’s policy.

In addition to starring in his own series and Detective Comics, Batman would go on to appear regularly in World’s Finest in 1940, a series which featured stories starring both Batman and Superman, DC’s other most popular character. It would not be until 1952 however that World’s Finest would bring both characters together in the same story. Batman and Superman would quickly be established as being best friends, and would remain so until the modern age, when the darker Batman’s methods often clashed with Superman.

Batman would also be established as an honorary member of the first ever superhero team, The Justice Society of America early into his career. First appearing in All Star Comics 3 in 1941, Batman and Superman however unlike with the later Justice League were not allowed to appear in with the Justice Society in a regular basis, as they already had their own titles, unlike most of the other members. Still one of the Justice Society’s base of operations was in Gotham City.

Batman would remain one of DC’s best selling characters throughout the 40s, though as the decade waned on, Batman would be made into a much lighter character, and more of a traditional father figure to Robin.

The End of the Original Batman

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From an in universe perspective the original Batman’s adventures would come to an end in the 50s. DC would later establish in the early 60s, that all of their stories from the 1930s to the mid 50s took place in another universe to those from the mid 50s to the then present.

The original 30s-50s stories took place on Earth 2, whilst the then modern stories from the mid 50s-present took place on Earth 1.

DC did this to explain away the major continuity issues that had emerged over the decades, chiefly concerning the Justice League and the Justice Society, which had each featured their own version of the Flash, Jay Garrick and Barry Allen, whilst Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman had been members of both teams. (Barry and Jay had been established as the only versions of the Flash in their own titles leading to some confusion.)

The multiverse idea was introduced in the story Flash of Two Earth’s which saw Barry Allen, the modern Flash travel to Earth Two where he met Jay Garrick the original Flash (who had visibly aged since we last saw him.)

The meant however that the then current Batman of the 60s was not the same character as the original from the 30s-mid 50s. It was never made clear when the adventures of the original Batman had come to an end, and the adventures of the new Batman began, as the multiverse was a retcon, but it would later be established in universe that the Earth Two Batman had retired at some point in the 50s.

The original Earth Two Batman’s final fate would be revealed in the late 70s. At some point in the mid 50s, Batman married a reformed Catwoman, and the two soon had a daughter, Helena Wayne. Years later however Catwoman would be blackmailed into carrying out another crime, and Batman would inadvertantly cause her death.

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The marriage of Batman and Catwoman.

Vowing to never don the cape and cowl again, Bruce was left a broken man by his wife’s death, but his daughter Helena Wayne would later become a masked crime fighter, The Huntress who would bring the criminal who had blackmailed her mother to justice.

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Helena Wayne vows to avenge her mothers death.

The Huntress would go on to become a popular character throughout the 70s, continuing her father’s legacy on Earth 2, joining the Justice Society, and later crossing over to Earth One where she’d work with its version of her father.

The Earth Two Bruce Wayne meanwhile despite his vow would later become Batman one last time to battle the Wizard, Frederick Faust which resulted in his death.

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Following Batman’s death ironically the Joker would take it hardest of all. Furious that he had beaten his long time enemy, simply by outliving him, the Joker refused to believe Batman was gone and would go on a massive rampage to try and draw The Batman out. An older Dick Grayson would be forced to pretend to be Batman in order to convince the Joker that his foe was still alive. Happy that Batman was not dead, the Joker willingly surrendered, and continued to plot his final duel with the Batman that would ultimately never come.

This classic scene from Batman the animated series where the Joker (voiced by Mark Hamill) believes Batman has been killed and grieves, not over Batman, but simply of being deprived of his revenge; was inspired by the original Earth Two Joker’s reaction to his Batman’s death.

Whilst some critics felt the multiverse format was needlessly complicated, personally I think that it was a brilliant formula that ultimately allowed DC to finish their characters stories, whilst not having to stop producing Batman stories altogether. In contrast Marvel, whose characters all live in one floating timeline’s stories can never end, or even develop in any meaningful way that upsets the status quo. Take a look at Peter Parker and Mary Jane’s wedding for instance that had to be retconned in the most ridiculous way, to restore Spidey to being single. The original Batman and Catwoman’s marriage meanwhile remained final and even produced another superhero, the Huntress.

Personally I enjoy reading the earliest Batman comics knowing that he and Catwoman one day end up getting married, and that their legacy continues on through the Huntress, who is one of my favourite heroes.

Ultimately whatever your opinion on the multiverse, its important to remember that your Batman is NOT your grandfathers Batman. The Batman we read about in any story from his introduction to the mid 50s died decades ago, and has been replaced since by three alternate universe counterparts.

50s: Sci Fi Hijinks

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From a real world perspective the 50s would mark a radical change in Batman’s character. Batman had been completely watered down by this stage from his darker past into being a totally family friendly hero, but as the decade rolled on the character would be turned into more of a sci fi hero. The 50s would see Batman regularly travel to other worlds, travel through time, battle aliens, giant robots, and other atomic age monsters and strange creatures.

Sci Fi had been a vital component in Batman’s character from the very beginning. His gadgets and Batcave were often presented as being far in advance of contemporary technology. (One of the most famous and longstanding trophies in the Batcave is a gigantic robot Tyrannosaurus Rex.)

Added to that many of Batman’s most iconic enemies such as Doctor Hugo Strange were firmly rooted in sci fi too. The 50s however ultimately took it too far and had Batman spend more time in outerspace, or the future or on other worlds, than in Gotham.

As a result the 50s is often seen as a low point in the characters history. Nevertheless there would be a few important developments during this decade. The Jokers origins would be finally be revealed in the story The Man Behind The Red Hood.

Originally the Joker had been a criminal known as the Red Hood who planned to steal a million pounds and then retire, but during his final robbery of the Monarch Card company, Batman accidentally knocked the Red Hood into a vat of chemicals, which bleached his skin chalk white, dyed his hair green and distorted his mouth into a permanent hideous grin, driving him insane in the process

Whilst presented as a light hearted story at the time, this development ended up having major repurcussions on the Batman/Joker dynamic. Now Batman was made responsible for creating the Joker, and was therefore accountable for all of his crimes. By this stage however the Joker had been turned into more of a harmless prankster, carrying out wild, over the top schemes, but rarely ever killing anyone. It would not be until the 70s, when the Joker was restored to his old murderous persona that writers would explore the ramifications of Batman’s role in the Joker’s origin, as well as his role in the creation of his other major villains too.

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The 1950s also saw the introduction fo Mr Freeze, then referred to as Mr Zero. Freeze would go on to be one of Batman’s most famous foes in popular culture, thanks to his appearances in the 60s Adam West series and the 90s Batman the Animated series.

Justice League of America

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In 1960 Batman, along with Superman, Wonder Woman, The Flash (Barry Allen), Green Lantern (Hal Jordan) and Aquaman would form one of the first superhero teams, The Justice League in The Brave and the Bold issue 28.

Initially however Batman and Superman would be relegated to more minor roles in the strip with DC not wanting to overexpose their two most famous characters, though the two heroes did still go on several adventures with the league, and even played key roles in saving the day in some of the earlier strips. Eventually Batman and Superman would be allowed to play more major roles in the Justice League.

Batman despite having no superpowers of his own, would still be able to keep up with his allies in the league through his gadgets and fighting skills. (Batman had already been shown to tackle super powered and paranormal threats on his own, such as Manbat, and Mr Freeze.)

Batman would often end up being the key to many of the Justice League’s success’ as his scientific genius would enable him to disarm the villains weapons, or rewire their technology in a way that the other heroes couldn’t, whilst his deduction skills would often allow him to figure out the villains weaknesses, hideouts, or their plans when the other members of the League could not.

An example of Batman’s usefulness to the rest of the League despite his lack of powers.

In spite of this Batman’s history with the league has not always been smooth. In the 2000 miniseries, Towel of Bable, Batman’s archenemy, Ra’s Al Ghul steals files Batman as gathered on the rest of the League in case they ever went rogue and uses them to very nearly kill the League.

Though Ra’s plan is stopped, Batman is forced to leave the League afterwards, with Wonder Woman, Plastique Man and Aquaman being unable to trust Batman afterwards.

Batman has often clashed with other members of the League due to his secretive and somewhat paranoid personality. Still he has nevertheless always remained a prominent member of the team, and in many versions has even helped found the League.

The Bat-Family

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Towards the end of the 50s and the early 60s, two more sidekicks would be introduced for the Caped Crusader. Kathy Kane aka Batwoman, and her niece Bette Kane who became the first ever Batgirl. Both were introduced as love interests of Batman and Robin respectively. In addition to this Batman would also inherit a trusty hound known as Ace during this period, and another sidekick in the form of Batmite.

Batmite was an imp from the 5th dimension, similar to Superman foe Mr Mxylptzlik, though Batmite in contrast was shown to idolise Batman and would frequently help him out.

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By the mid 60s the Bat family would be phased out, with editors feeling that there were too many characters detracting from Batman. Kathy Kane would nevertheless be revived many decades later as Kate Kane, whilst the concept of Batgirl would similarly be revived towards the end of the 60s.

Many critics and comic historians have argued that Batwoman and Batgirl were introduced simply to offset complaints that Batman and Robin were gay lovers. Ironically the later version of Kate Kane would be depicted as one of the first openly lesbian heroes in comics.

The Silly Years

Batman’s sales declined rapidly throughout the 60s to the point were there was talk of cancellation. Ultimately however the character would reach new heights of popularity during the later half of the decade thanks to the live action Batman television series starring Adam West.

Premiering in 1966, Batman was a comedy series that spoofed the characters. Though undoubtedly one of the greatest comedy series of all time, the show did change the pubic perception of Batman to being a campy, silly character which made it difficult for later more serious film pitch’s for the Dark Knight to be taken seriously.

Still overall the 60s show had a positive impact on the franchise. Bob Kane himself credited the show with saving the comic, with the 66 Batman helping to kick off a craze that would become known as Batmania. The 60s show would also elevate the characters of the Riddler and Mr Freeze into being among Batman’s most iconic enemies. Prior to the 60s serise Mr Freeze had appeared just once, whilst The Riddler had made only a handful of appearances.

The 60s series would also be responsible for the creation of the second Batgirl. This version of the character named Barbara Gordon was the daughter of Commissioner Gordon, and generally worked on her own. The new Batgirl proved to be very popular with readers and would go on to become one of the most successful female heroes for DC comics.

In order to emulate the success of the 60s show, the Batman comics would start to adopt a campier, more light hearted tone, but after the show came to an end attempts would be made by writer Dennis O’Neil and artist Neal Adams to take Batman back to his darker roots.

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Classic examples of campier Batman stories of the 60s.

The Night of the Stalker

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Throughout the 70s Batman would be depicted as a much darker character. Now operating alone, with Robin having since grown up and established himself as a hero in his own right. The Batman of the 70s still retained many of the lighter elements that had been developed in the decades since his introduction. The 70s Batman still had a sense of humour, was friendly to those closest to him, and genuinely enjoyed his life.

Still the stories took themselves more seriously than ever before, and explored much darker content.

A classic example of the more mature and sophisticated stories of the 70s, can be seen in the strip “The Night of the Stalker.” Here Batman witnesses the murder a couple in front of their child by common criminals who he then pursues through the woods of Gotham. Batman is absolutely vicious in dispatching the criminals, as he is forced to relive the horror of his parents death yet again. Night of the Stalker was widely praised by fans and critics alike for its depiction of Batman as a dark, ruthless anti hero, whilst at the same time touching on the tragic elements of his character in a moving way.

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Batman’s enemies would similarly be given a makeover during this era. The Joker having been portrayed as a silly prankster throughout the last two decades, would be returned to being a vicious, sadistic, mass murderer in O’Neil’s “Joker’s 5 Way Revenge”. This story saw the villain murder his former henchmen in gruesome ways, with Batman only managing to rescue the last, who the Joker attempts to feed to a shark!

This version of the Joker however was different to the original in that he was still comical, and his plans still more outlandish, but the humour was instead very dark. Unlike later depictions of the Clown Prince of Crime, the 70s, early 80s Joker also still despised the Batman and genuinely wished to kill him. Later versions of the Joker would instead enjoy fighting with Batman, viewing him as the straight man in their double act. The 70s Joker however had a more traditional hero/villain relationship with Batman.

 

Classic examples of the Jokers sick sense of humour from the 70s-early 80s.

The 70s would also see the introduction of the only villain to ever challenge the Jokers claim as Batman’s archfoe. Ra’s Al Ghul. Ghul was a warlord who had been kept young for several hundred years, through the Lazarus pits.

Leader of the league of assassins, Ghul had countless resources all over the world to use against the Batman. He was also Batman’s equal in terms of intellect and physical prowess, and was able to deduce Batman’s secret identity when he first met him. Ghul initially saw Batman as his heir to the position of the Demon’s head, but the two would soon come into conflict which would be made all the more personal by Batman’s feelings for Ghul’s daughter, Talia.

The 70s would also see Batman work with many other DC heroes to a far greater extent than ever before through The Brave and the Bold which saw Batman work with a different DC hero every issue.

The Brave and the Bold was originally conceived as an anthology series, before becoming a team up series.

From issue 50 however The Brave and the Bold came to revolve entirely around Batman working with a different hero each week. This decision was made to cash in on the popularity of the Batman series, but the strip would remain a Batman team up series, even after the show had been cancelled. Throughout the 70s The Brave and the Bold would become the most popular Batman title.

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The series helped to put Batman into more fantastical and outlandish settings, but unlike in the 50’s comics it didn’t stop the Batman from going on more traditional crime stories in the main title. The Brave and the Bold also helped to examine Batman’s greater role in the DC universe and flesh out his relationships with other DC characters to a far greater extent than ever before. We got to see Batman’s strange friendship with Deadman, his partnership with Wild Cat (which unlike with Robin was on a more equal footing) and his rivalry with Green Arrow. One strip even saw the Caped Crusader trapped in a love triangle with Wonder Woman and Batgirl!

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Batgirl Loves Batman

One of the most ridiculous stories ever written.

For me the late 60s to the early 80s represents the best period of Batman’s history. There is a much wider variety of stories during that decade than any other. The silly, light hearted approach is not entirely jettisoned as seen above, but at the same time there are darker, more serious stories such as Night of the Stalker. The 70s still saw Batman battle ordinary criminals in his own series, yet through the Brave and the Bold it saw the character go on sci fi and fantasy adventures too. The 70s also featured more Batman team ups than any other decade. Brave and the Bold would come to an end in 1982, and when it was revived in 2007 it would be restored to a team up series, rather than a Batman comic.

Batman in my opinion is a better fit for team ups than any other hero. His lack of powers means that he can be vulnerable to any other heroes enemies, whilst his gadgets and deduction skills enables him to be of use to even the most powerful super heroes too. In contrast Superman or Wonder Woman or even The Flash are all too powerful to help out a hero like say Wild Cat, as they’d deal with his problem in a matter of minutes. Its a shame that no other decade would make use of Batman’s adaptability in working with other heroes as well as the 70s did.

For me the 70s best shows off all of the different sides to Batman’s character and it has gone on to be widely praised as a golden age by many critics and comics historians. The 70s would go on to have a large influence on Batman the Animated Series in particular. Sadly however despite its popularity with fans, Batman sales would actually decline greatly throughout the 70s.

End of the Earth One Batman’s adventures

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In 1985 DC would produce a multi crossover story called Crisis on Infinite Earth’s which saw a vastly powerful and evil cosmic entity known as the Anti Monitor destroy every universe, with only one universe, New Earth, created from the ruins of the last 5 universes surviving.

As a result of this the Earth One Batman’s adventures came to an end, and all main DC stories from 1985-2011 would take place on New Earth.

The Huntress, daughter of the Earth 2 Batman’s life would come to a tragic end too. Though she survived the erasure of her own world, she would later be murdered by minions of the Anti Monitor during a final stand against the Anti Monitor’s minions. The Huntress would die a heroesdeath saving some children from falling rubble. The Huntress was one of many heroes to die during the Crisis, alongside Barry Allen (who would be succeeded by Wally West) and Supergirl.

Crisis on Infinite Earth’s had been designed solely to wipe the Multiverse from canon. DC felt that the Multiverse, which had since expanded to include hundreds of earths aside from earth’s 1 and 2 was too overly complicated and in danger of putting new readers off. Therefore New Earth was designed to serve as a single timeline that readers could easily follow.

Ultimately the multiverse would be brought back gradually over the next few decades. The 2005 crossover Infinite Crisis saw one of the final survivors of the multiverse, a heroic alternate version of Lex Luthor, create 52 new universes, whilst a 2015 crossover event called Convergence erased the events of Crisis on Infinite Earth’s restoring the multiverse.

Still from 1985 to 2011, it would be the adventures of the Batman of New Earth that readers would follow.

The Dark Knight Returns

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Batman sales declined in the early 80s, but the character would be given a major boost through a number of much darker, more violent works which fully helped to restore Batman’s reputation as an anti hero.

The first of these was Frank Millers mini series The Dark Knight Returns which depicted an aging and bitter Bruce Wayne come out of retirement. Set outside of the New Earth continuity, The Dark Knight Returns was most notable for featuring Batman and Superman clashing with one another, and its final brutal showdown between Batman and the Joker.

The Dark Knight Returns proved to be a massive success and finally helped Batman shake off the campy image from the Adam West series. The levels of violence in the story far exceeded those of previous Batman adventures. According to Frank Miller, Bob Kane himself hated the miniseries, feeling that it was too nasty. Still The Dark Knight Returns made an immeasurably huge impact on the industry, and similar darker Batman stories followed.

The 1988 graphic novel, The Killing Joke written by Alan Moore and with art by Brian Bolland, expanded on the Jokers origins, whilst taking the feud between the Clown Prince of Crime and the Dark Knight to a whole new level.

The Killing Joke reveals that the Joker was original a failed comedian, who attempted to rob the Ace chemicals plant to support his pregnant wife. On the night of the robbery however, the Jokers wife is killed in a freak accident. The criminals then force him into helping to carry out the robbery, during which the Joker falls into a vat of chemicals, finally pushing him over the edge.

In the present the Joker attempts to prove that one bad day can drive anyone to lunacy. He targets Commisoner Gordon and shoots his daughter Barbara through the spine and then tortures the Commisoner by showing him pictures of Barbara’s bleeding, naked body!

The Jokers origins and his heinous crimes against Jim and Barbara Gordon from the 2016 adaptation of The Killing Joke, starring Mark Hamil as the Joker.

Barbara Gordon who had earlier retired as Batgirl would be permanently crippled as a result. Originally Alan Moore had intended the Killing Joke to be a one off, outside of DC canon, but DC would incorporate it into the New Earth timeline nonetheless. Barbara Gordon would still continue to appear regularly however, as the character of Oracle, a computer expert and skilled hacker. Ironically as Oracle Barbara would go on to have greater significance than she ever did as Batgirl.

Later that same year the Joker would be responsible for another tragedy in Batman’s life in the mini series Death in the Family. Here the Joker murdered the second Robin, Jason Todd in cold blood. Todd had replaced Dick Grayson in 1983. Though popular at first, the character’s more aggressive personality quickly caused readers to turn on him, so much so that in the final panels of Death in the Family, readers were given a choice to vote on Robin’s death or survival, with readers ultimately choosing to kill him.

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The Joker’s murder of Jason Todd, the Second Robin, as voted for by contemporary readers.

These stories, combined with the 1989 Batman movie, directed by Tim Burton and starring Michael Keaton as Batman, and Jack Nicholson as the Joker; helped to cement the darker portrayal of Batman in popular culture.

From this point on Batman would always be depicted as a darker, more violent, tortured anti hero, paranoid, untrustworthy and in some ways as disturbed as many of the villains he faces.

The Modern Age

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Throughout the 90s Batman would continue to enjoy new levels of popularity. Burton’s Batman film had been a record breaking success and a bigger cultural phenomenon than even the 66 series. The character would go on to enjoy greater success in animation with the classic Batman the Animated Series which would kick off the entire DC Animated Universe. Much like the Burton movie, the DCAU would treated the source material seriously. The DCAU would also influence the comics themselves, just like the 66 Batman series.

The character of Harley Quinn, Jokers sidekick and lover who first appeared in Batman the Animated series would later be incorporated into the comic books, becoming one of Batman’s most recognisable enemies in popular culture. Another character from the DCAU who would later be incorporated into the comics would be Terry McGinness, the second Batman.

McGinness was introduced in the series Batman Beyond, which was set 50 years into the future. McGinness was originally a street hoodlum who would stumble upon the Batcave after Bruce Wayne helped save him from the Jokerz Gang. Terry would later steal the Bat suit to avenge his fathers murder, and though Bruce disapproved of his actions at first, Bruce would later take Terry on as his protege, training him to be the new Batman proper.

It would later be revealed that Terry McGiness was in fact Bruce Wayne’s biological son.

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The second Batman, Terry McGiness. Despite his popularity, Terry would not be incorporated into the mainstream comics until 2014 with the new 52 crossover series.

In 1993 one of Batman’s most iconic enemies, Bane would be introduced in the Nightfall arc. Bane would be responsible for breaking the Dark Knights back. For the first time someone other than Bruce Wayne, Jean Paul Valley would be forced to don the suit until Bruce Wayne was able to recover.

Batman would continue to enjoy further acclaim with the No Man’s Land and Hush story arcs, both of which would go on to influence further stories and adaptations.

21st century

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Throughout the first decade of the 21st century Batman would continue to enjoy mainstream success due to the Christopher Nolan trilogy, which reached its peak with The Dark Knight, the second entry in the series. The Nolan trilogy presented audiences with a more realistic, gritty interpretation of the Caped Crusader than any before.

Despite Batman’s popularity however, DC would seemingly kill the New Earth version of Batman in 2008 in the major crossover story Infinite Crisis. Batman seemingly died in action against Superman’s enemy Darkseid, with Dick Grayson taking his place as the new Batman, and Damian Wayne, Bruce’s son taking over as the new Robin.

It would later be revealed however that Batman had simply been sent backwards in time by Darkseid’s Omega beams, and Bruce Wayne would make his return in 2010. Just over a year later however the New Earth Batman’s adventures would come to an end in 2011 when DC rebooted its titles with the New 52 crossover series.

Since 2011 DC has followed the Batman of Prime Earth’s adventures, though as the full multiverse has been restored then the Batmen of Earth One, and New Earth now both still exist, as does the Huntress of Earth 2.

As of the writing of this article Batman still maintains a large presence in popular culture, and with no signs of slowing down its doubtless that we will continue to see more adventures from the Batman of Earth Prime and dozens of other universes for decades to come.

In the next entry of the series we will examine the influences on Batman and the influence the character has had on popular culture.