Sunday, October 21, 2007

Hughes High: Time After Time

No matter what you think of him personally, Matthew Orenthal's newest release, The Forgotten Kings of America, has caused a lot of discussion in the media. It doesn't matter whether you believe him or not. The book is a NYT bestseller #1 for four weeks running. Recently released from Lockdown, he was holed up in a posh Highrock hotel waiting for interviews. I'm not sure what a time traveler is supposed to look like, but he looked very normal to me.

Orenthal claims to be the villain known as Stopwatch, a time traveler from the future trying to put the world back the right way. His book detailed his various capers, from his multiple attempts to assassinate Hitler to running automatic weapons to the Confederates during the Civil War. In his book, he claims that an organization known as the Continuum has thwarted his attempts to remake the time stream into his own image.

"I realized early on that the Continuum was an organization of temporal fascists," he said as I asked him about his nemesis. "They have one very specific timeline in mind and any deviancy from it is crushed quickly and efficiently."

Stopwatch has tussled with the heavyweights like Pendragon and the Guardians, and down to the small fries like Abe 2.0. The Continuum's interference has kept his name out of the limelight.

"I wrote this book as non-fiction, but their interference put it into the fiction section. Either way, these stories had to be told. They can't destroy me, but they can discredit me."

One of Orenthal's most shocking opinions is that the Event was engineered by the Continuum as a major threat to their monopoly on the time stream. He claims to have been there as Stopwatch.

"All of the world's biggest masks in one place at one time? What better place to eliminate your biggest threat than in one fell swoop."

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Hughes High: Lay of the Land

First off, a welcome to the new readers of this blog. I never expected it to be a big deal, but apparently being a keynote speaker after Prodigal gives you an unexpected Q bump. I hope you find this blog informative, entertaining, and possibly even a bit nostalgic. The Eighties were a unique time for superheroes, and Hughes High was a unique place for superheroes.

Since this is my first blog with a national audience, I think it's a good time to talk about the city of Muellerburg a bit more. The students at Hughes High patrolled and pummelled in the neighborhoods here, so if I talk about the Bankhearst Commons Mall, I want you to have an idea of where that is. Muellerburg was a different city in the 80's. Since it was not targeted by Omnus during the Event, the city reorganized thanks to the refugees that never returned home once cities like New York and Los Angeles were replace by Empire City and San Angelos.

Bankhearst: The affluent suburb of the 80's. Bankhurst reached its peak as the yuppies moved west and built subdivisions to shelter themselves from the world. The Bankhearst Mall was the hangout destination for Hughes High teens and their shopping.
Downtown: the financial center of the city. Largely empty on the weekends, the center of town was home to the larger corporations that had offices in Muellerburg. Hughes High was technically part of this district, even though it resides on an artificial island in Lake Michigan.
Merton: What once was a rural community was turned into a commercial district with the opening of General Walter Mitchum Airport, later renamed Jack Jupiter Memorial Airport. The main streets were lined with hotels, restaurants, and things to do. But head outside those main drags for a few blocks, and you were back to old farmhouses and rusted tractors.
Rustville: The northwest side of Muellerburg was the heart of its industry, which took a severe blow thanks to the rise of importing products. Rustville soon became a neighborhood where the poor and disenfranchised were swept too. They were often distrustful of outsiders, and groups like the Street Sentinels made ths problem worse.
Southlake: The section of town between Merton and downtown maintained its middle class feel. The story goes that there is a pub on every street corner in Southlake. This section of town was where the Muellerburg Sentinels played their games at Southeast Stadium. Thanks to the bad record the Sentiels had throughout the decade, the area around the stadium suffered as well.
Seville: The buffer between Bankhearst and downtown. Seville evolved into a middle-class neighborhood in the 80's. It struggled with a rise in crime as well as the loss of tax revenue. But it also became the rare place where different classes would meet and drink together.
Weissberg: Many of the rural familes displaced by Bankhearst's expansion moved north of the city. While it wasn't incorporated until the 90's, Wiessberg gave rise to the awful local epithet 'Weiss-trash' to indicate someone was of poor upbringing and education.

This will do for now, as there were other, smaller neighborhoods that grew up and eclipsed these conclaves. I grew up in Seville and even moved to Partridge Street when I first started at the paper. Partridge Street was a section of downtown that was made up of students going to the local state university. It was also a haven for the hippies that had been hiding out since Woodstock. Moonbeam Monroe, an art teacher at Hughes High, even lived in my building for a while.