Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Meet the Morgans

If you haven't already noticed, there's been a NUELOW superhero universe developing in our comics and ROLF! titles. A version of it is slated to appear as part of the CORE RPG project headed up by Lester Smith, but it will also continue to develop here and in our publications.

For your enjoyment, here's a text piece that I wrote last night and some version of it will end up in Complete Golden Age Oddballs, the next NUELOW release. It focuses mainly on the Prankster and the Purple Tigress, establishing them as brother and sister. Other luminaries show up as well.

The Morgan family had been the beating heart of the Guardian City’s financial and political power since a gold rush in 1842 caused it to explode from a tiny stagecoach way station into a thriving trade hub. Always canny power brokers and highly diversified with their investments and income sources, the Morgans not only survived the Great Depression, but they emerged from it wealthier.

As a result, Michael Morgan (b. 1923) and Anita Morgan (b. 1925) grew up in luxury, even while large parts of Guardian City fell into squalor. Their parents weren't indifferent to the suffering of the less fortunate among the city's population, and they kept businesses running at a loss and sponsered soup kitchens, all while trying to instill the same sense of community responsibility in their children.

Some say they succeeded a little too well with their son Michael. In love with both the spotlight and helping those less fortunate, he spent his early teenage years putting on magic shows at orphanages and children's hospitals. When the Nazis grew to be a real threat to America, Michael tried to enlist, but is father used his influence and wealth to make sure that the armed services refused to take him. Micheal angrily turned his back on his family and set out making a name for himself as a nightclub performer--and he quickly became very successful, much to his parents mortification. His angry father disinherited him, making sure that the entirety of the vast Morgan fortune went to his sister, Anita.

While it is almost certain Michael would have reconciled with his parents eventually--if for no other reason that his sister Anita was working hard to mend the rift between her father and brother--fate intervened. The elder Morgans were killed in a car accident in June of 1943, and Anita, at the tender age of 17, became the sole possessor on a commercial and financial empire.

Her first act was to set her brother up with a trust fund that he could draw upon as he chose. She then set out to enhance a reputation she had already began to gain by chance--that of a jaded, somewhat foolish rich girl. Behind this facade, she began to watch for corrupt government officials, predatory industrialists, Fifth Columnists, gangers, and run-of-the-mill criminals, taking them down in her secret identity as the Purple Tigress. By early 1944, the Purple Tigress was the talk of Guardian City.

The Purple Tigress in action against the nefarious Flasher
While Anita had dreamed of being a costumed crime fighter since she saw the mysterious Blue Lady in action a few years earlier, and  planned her career as a superhero, Michael dabbled in being a masked crime fighter, too, assuming the identity of the Prankster.

For Michael, crimefighting is never more than a lark and his dual identity quickly becomes something of an open secret. His "career" as the Prankster barely lasts six months--from late 1943 through early 1944.

Anita, however, carefully guards her identity, relying on an innate power that allowed her to appear differently to anyone who saw her to conceal it. On Christmas of 1945, she reveals that she was the Purple Tigress to Michael, and he often assists her when she needs to slip away from the eyes of the press and the would-be future husbands who were always hanging around.

Michael supports his sister's crime-fighting activities on-and-off until  late 1948. During these years, Michael becomes one of America's leading comedians and by 1950, he has relocated to Hollywood where he stars in his own weekly television variety show. In 1953, he starred opposite  Linda Turner in the romantic comedy A League of Redheads. They became fast friends and eventually fell in love and were married.

In 1955, Linda reveals to Michael that she is the masked crimefighter Black Cat. and her sidekick Black Kitten her ward Kit Westin; Michael finds himself once again assisting a superheroine in her duties. Linda and Michael marry in 1956. By 1960, with their show business careers waning, Michael and Linda both enter semi-retirement. Linda also retires as Black Cat so she and Michael can have a child together, and Kit adopts the name.

Meanwhile, Anita Morgan continues her career as the Purple Tigress. She is admired and loved in both her identities. In 1949, she began teaming up with the Yankee (formerly the teenaged hero Yankee Boy, who relocates to Guardian City to attend college in 1945). Their heroic team-ups soon develop into a personal one, and in 1952, Anita Ann Morgan and Philip Victor Martin are married.

The Purple Tigress drops out of sight for almost two years--between 1954 and 1956--and Anita gives birth to the next heir of the Morgan financial empire in 1955. She resurfaces every now and then after that, usually with the Yankee during particularly dangerous battles. By 1959, the Purple Tigress vanishes forever, as Anita becomes pregnant with her second child, and turns her attention to her family and running overseeing the operation of her many businesses.

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