Week 8

by David Meadows 15. July 2016 19:22

This week's new story installment is issue 5 of Heroes. This chapter introduces Harry, and gives some idea of how Paul Smithsteen's multiple personality "power" operates. Other than that, it feels a bit like filler (I probably shouldn't be admitting that!). I was still finding my way, and working out what type of story worked for these characters. I think the two part story coming up in #6 and #7 is where I hit my stride, so bear with me while I set up the pieces for that.

Talking about setting up pieces, you might also spot the first obvious link back to Strikeforce in Heroes #5. There's a slight problem in telling two linked stories set 20 years apart, in that things you will read in one story will spoil certain things that are supposed to be revealed in the other story (and it will happen both ways). But there really isn't anything I can do about that if I want to write both stories (and I do). So consider it a feature, not a bug.

Elsewhere this week, you'll find articles on the Council of Science and Police Chief Kadnez from the 24th century, and at the opposite end of the timeline some hints at a story to be told in 11th-century Constantinople.

Onwards and upwards...


Week 7

by David Meadows 8. July 2016 20:07

Over on the site's home page you will find links to this week's new content: chapter 4 of Strikeforce, a timeline of the events of 1987 revealed so far (read this after you read chapter 4!), an encyclopaedia entry on the Institute for Temporal Studies (are these the real villains of the piece?), and a who's who entry for Viper (which rounds out the quartet of 24th-century villains and lets me move on to more interesting characters).

I think chapter 4 of Strikeforce is the one that I've most enjoyed writing. This shows the first steps of the characters changing from super-powered science-fiction police officers to real, proper super heroes in the traditional mould. We get secret identities, the start of a permanent supporting cast, and some actual proper intra-team relationships developing. In the Game, this marked the moment when I think I realised it had long-term potential and that the players were happy with the direction I wanted to go.

Ah yes, the Game...

I've promised to write a blog about the Game that this site sprang from. This post isn't it, but I'll get right on it...

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Week 6

by David Meadows 1. July 2016 21:28

If you hop over to the home page, you'll see the usual gaggle (collective noun for waffle: "a gaggle of waffle") of new pages.

This week's story update is chapter 4 of Heroes: In The Woods. Don leaves the group to fend for themselves, and you just know that's not going to end well...

The history update is a timeline of the "Heroes" year, 2014, which at the moment is pretty short (the events have only covered two days!) but will grow from here on into something substantial.

In the encyclopaedia, there's a complete contrast to last week's science article, as this one explains how magic works. Yes, my universe has both science and magic, and they coexist very comfortably thank you.

Finally, a skeleton bio of Discord, the sonic-powered villain from Strikeforce chapter one.

Next update will be next Friday, see you there.

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Week 5

by David Meadows 24. June 2016 21:40

This week sees the conclusion of the first Strikeforce story: Chapter 3, "Time's Past". (There's a prize* for the first person tell me what I've taken the titles of the three chapters from.) As you might guess from the bombshell at the end (what do you mean, what bombshell? Go and read it!) there is more to come, and we'll go straight into the second storyline in chapter 4 in a couple of weeks.

Also this week there's an article on the Graviton Flywheel, and I apologise for the quality of the diagrams, I didn't have time to paint them or draw them to scale. (There's another prize** for the first person tell me what that's from.)

The history article covers Roman Britain in A.D. 366. One day I'll write the stories for these different eras, but not today.

And as usual there's another biography of another minor villain.

Next update is scheduled for Friday 1st July, and I feel pretty confident of making the deadline again.





* May not actually be true.

** Also may not be true.


Week 4

by David Meadows 17. June 2016 18:53

Site updates roll into their fourth week, with the main feature being issue 3 of the Heroes story. The group undertake their first "mission" together and ... well, let's just say things don't go completely smoothly.

The History feature this week is all about Egypt. It introduces the background to a minor storyline that does tie into to main stories, but filling in the full story will have to wait for another day.

The Encylopaedia gets an article about the Special Police, and you've already encountered that organisation if you've been reading the Strikeforce story (and if you haven't been, why are you reading this blog?)

Finally, Who's Who in the Heroes Universe continues to document all the minor characters with all the biographocal information that is known about Blockhead.

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Why Superheroes?

by David Meadows 12. June 2016 21:14

Funny, 15 years ago this post would have been titled "What are Superheroes?" Now, half the blockbusters coming out of Hollywood are superhero films, and my life-long, slightly strange ("you're a grown man and you still read comics?") hobby has become a mainstream thing. You all know what superheroes are.

So, why superheroes? Specifically, why have I spent 30 years creating a world full of superheroes which I'm now documenting on this web site?

Comics have been a part of my life ever since I first started reading. (I was reading books too, of course. You're allowed to read and love both, just like you're allowed to love both books and films. They're different things.) The earliest comic I can remember was T.V. 21, a comic that featured television spin-off stories. From there, I went on to all the popular British boys' comics. I read adventure stories, war stories, sport stories, science fiction stories, you name it I read it in comics. I read just as many different genres in comics as I was reading in books.

Plus one extra genre that wasn't in books. When I could get my hands on exotic imported American comics (and that wasn't easy in the 70s, as distribution was spotty and arbitrary), I devoured their stories of superheroes.

You all know what a superhero is: a larger-than-life figure with amazing abilities, who fights villains and saves people. It's not a new idea. Before Superman, Robin Hood was a superhero, so was King Arthur, and obviously so were Heracles and Sinbad the Sailor.

But American superhero comics did something that those old myths didn't do: they built consistent worlds. Huge, massive, self-referential worlds. In American comics, Captain America was best friends with Iron Man and they would pop up in each other's comics to help each other from time-to-time.

And superhero comics had been going for years, and told an ever-unfolding story over those years. Spider-Man started as a high-school student, graduated and went to college, went through several girlfriends (one of whom died, damn you Gerry Conway), and had a massive cast of supporting characters who came into and out of the on-going story. Spider-Man's comic wasn't about a man in a costume who punched other men in costumes, it was a soap-opera about Peter Parker's life.

And one more thing: superhero stories could do anything. Superheroes could go anywhere on Earth. They could visit lost cities in remote jungles. Fly to different planets. Travel through time. Fight aliens, dinosaurs, bank robbers, or evil corporations. They could save the world from meteor strikes, stand up for persecuted minorities, or rescue cats from trees. Superheroes could get their powers from anywhere, so a wizard could fight on the same team as a genius scientist, and neither would think that was odd.

If you want to tell a big story, the superhero genre has all the tools you could ever need to do it with.

That's why I love superhero stories, and have done all my life.

Fast-forward from a boy reading comics in the 70s to an adult (still reading comics) in 1987. I'm thinking about running a new role-playing game for a few friends, and I've found a set of rules for running superhero games. How can I resist?

The problem is, if I'm going to run a superhero game, I'm going to do it properly and make a proper superhero universe. A proper, big, consistent, multi-genre, soap-opera, decades-long, complete universe. So here I am, 30 years later... and here is my universe.

Now, I've just realised I need to write another post explaining what I mean by "role-playing game". Sigh...


Who's Who

by David Meadows 10. June 2016 21:06

This week's update adds a new section: Who's Who in the Heroes Universe (as well as a new Strikeforce chapter and new history page; see the home page for all  the links). The new section will give complete biographies of all the characters featured in the Strikeforce and Heroes stories.

And immediately, there's an obvious problem with that idea: these characters' stories are still being told. I know how the stories end, but you don't. So if I write the biography of, say, Nightflyer, it's going to spoil all the main plots coming up in the Strikeforce story.

The only real way round this is to only give the biographies of the minor characters, the villains and bit-part players. Characters who probably won't appear in the story again, or if they do nothing will be spoiled by knowing their backgrounds. Except their backgrounds are often fairly scanty when they are just throw-away ideas meant to feature once, and particularly so for the characters created for the very early chapters of the story (before I realised it was here to stay and I started writing richer backgrounds).

That's why the section (currently) looks a bit pointless. What I've got at the moment is effectively just a template for how the biographies will look when I get to the more interesting characters. And I will get to more interesting characters. I just need to wait for when the time is right to introduce them. Bear with me.


This week's update was produced to a soundtrack of ABBA (singles and B-sides). Not that you really needed to know that...

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Graviton Flywheels

by David Meadows 5. June 2016 23:08

Spent the evening writing an essay on how the graviton flywheel works. Yes, that's the kind of thing I'm planning to put on the site. Riveting, eh? Why would anyone ever want to know that? I don't know, I just like writing this stuff.

This is how it works, if you're desperate to know:


Suddenly, One Week Later ...

by David Meadows 3. June 2016 21:58

The site has been active for a week, and so far so good. Most of it worked (there was one broken link, but I think I fixed it before too many people noticed), and my server logs tell me that people really are looking at the site (though it's entirely possible that they all hate it and won't come back).

So here I am, miraculously keeping up with my commitment to add content every week. Not a huge amount this week: a new chapter of Heroes and a couple of essays about Atlantis, which will (at the moment) seem unrelated to either of the ongoing stories.

I've helpfully added links to the new content on the home page, so you don't have to go hunting all over the site for it.

I'm going to alternate chapters of the two stories, so next week you can expect chapter two of Strikeforce, with chapter three of Heroes the week after that. Realistically, I can't write two 6,000-word stories a week, so aiming to alternate them seems to be the best way to keep on track. I should also manage at least two essay-type articles a week, as I have this week. Plus a blog post, of course, which hopefully will be more interesting than this one has been. Friday seems like a good day for me to update (I never do anything on Friday nights, it's so sad...) so next update should be June 10th.

You can leave me comments below or e-mail me and tell me what I'm doing wrong, if you like. Otherwise I'll just assume you're one of the people who looked at the site and hated it...

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Welcome To The Heroes Universe

by David Meadows 27. May 2016 19:54

Did you follow a link straight to this blog without seeing the site first? Ok, you probably ought to at least look at the home page first, or you won't have a clue what I'm talking about here: www.dmheroes.co.uk.

This site has been a long time in coming.

The Heroes Universe started as a game, in the summer of 1987. Me and a group of friends playing out the adventures of a group of colourful heroes, inspired by the comics we were all reading at the time. I started it, I created the world background and the basic plot, and I thought it might keep us amused for a few weeks.

Three decades later, we're still playing it, and I have no idea how. My simple ideas just... grew... and grew...

I wasn't just running a game, I was writing stories. Whenever I introduced a new character to the game, I had to have a backstory. Half the time the players would never be aware of it, but I needed to write it. So I wrote, and I wrote, and...

This is what some of those three decades of writing looks like:

I have no idea how many pages or words that is. But it has grown amorphously into an unorganised mess. Many times over the years I have tried to put it into some kind of publishable format. Sometimes I've even succeeded (which is why parts of this site may be familiar to some people). But it has always defeated me in the end.

So this site is my new attempt, and this time I shall win. I am committed to eventually putting every bit of documentation (even the parts that only exist in my head) into a readable format, logically organised, cross-referenced, and available to anyone who wants to read it. And hopefully it will be interesting enough to make people want to read it.

But what is it? And why should you care?

It's a work of fiction. Simple as that. But I've tried to present different elements in different ways. Parts of it will be written in story form, parts of it will be pseudo-factual histories and character biographies, and parts might be whatever else I think up as an interesting way to document the universe. You can read the stories by themselves, but hopefully the supporting articles will be interesting in their own right.

As to why you should care... that depends entirely on my ability as a writer. I hope I can portray the characters and the universe they inhabit well enough that you will come to love them as much as I do.

And if it's not your cup of tea... that's fine. Thanks for giving me a chance and for reading this far.

I'll keep writing this stuff even if I'm the only one reading it. After all, that's what I've been doing for the last three decades.

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About this blog

The Heroes Universe is an ongoing work of fiction, conceived and chiefly plotted by David Meadows, with help from a group of friends, over a 30-year period.

I am slowly documenting the Universe on this web site.

This blog is a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of that history.

If you're new here, the series of posts listed below will explain what it's all about. I hope...

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