Character and Setting Encyclopedia (Cliff Notes)

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A universe, way, way out there somewhere is protected by valiant and honorable superheroes who battle against the devious plots and sinister schemes of the worst supervillains this side of the Milky Way.

I do not own any rights to David Okum's Monster Book of Manga Universe or any of its stories, characters, and settings. The (affectionately called) "Okum Universe" and all related stories, characters, and settings is the property of David Okum and Penguin Random House, and are not my intellectual property. There is no financial gain made from this nor will any be sought. This is for entertainment purposes only.

This is a work of fan fiction using characters from the Okum Universe, which is trademarked by Penguin Random House and copyright by David Okum. Any of the superheroes or supervillains, and any supporting characters, are all characters and character concepts created and owned by David Okum and Penguin Random House, and I do not claim any ownership over them or the Okum Universe. This story concept is of my invention, and it is not purported or believed to be part of the Okum Universe story canon. This story is for entertainment only and is not part of any official story line. I am grateful to David Okum for his vision and desire to help fools like me learn how to draw. Without Okum's How To books or his doodles over the years, this story would not exist.

Thank you David Okum for sharing your imagination and talent with the world!
the following is an (incomplete) encyclopedia of character types, settings, and plots:

Manga World of Okum

Mystic Realms and Galactic Worlds

Kingdom of Zadlan
This mystical realm, now ruled by an evil sorceress, has been detached from the varied dimensions of existence by an immensely potent spell cast by its former Guardian Mage. For more than five centuries Zadlan has suffered from endless conflict as rebel forces attempt to regain control of the Planetary Throne, in the hopes of bringing peace and beauty back to their world.

. . .

Basic Manga Character Types

The Dashing Hero is young, confident, and looking to take revenge on the Big Bad (his archrival) or to right some wrong. He is usually on his very first adventure and almost always falls in love with a woman from the “dark side”. Their love could be tragic, or it might be exactly what’s needed to stop the two sides from fighting each other.

The Magical Girl is usually a popular but somewhat ditzy girl in middle or high school who has lots of embarrassing problems. Somehow she is the heir of special powers and abilities that are triggered through a magical item.
Costume details are very important for Magical Girls. The costume should be elaborate and unusual, but have a playful, feminine appeal. Some Magical Girls get a makeover every time they transform to their heroic selves. The details of the costume can be an interesting sidebar to the main story.
Her raised hands are positioned to cradle her scepter, the source of her magical powers. Her power of flight will come from magical mechanical wings. Clunky shoes give her a sense of gawkiness, as if she hasn’t quite grown into her role. She’s young and innocent, with huge eyes; her fingers gesture playfully, making the scepter seem lightweight; her scythe-like scepter is decorated with two rubies and she has similar gems on her chest and headdress.
Her short hair reflects her perky personality (if a Magic Girl’s hair is longer, it’s usually in ponytails or braids). Her dress mirrors her wings, and her winged headband tops off her aerodynamic look. Her costume is predominantly blue, a color representing spirituality and the otherworldly.

The Rebellious Hero is the shadow side of the Dashing Hero. Usually just as strong and capable, the Rebellious Hero lacks the discipline and control of the Dashing Hero. Strong and powerful emotions cloud his judgment and cause him to act rashly, putting everyone at risk.
Often the most powerful character in the group, the Rebellious Hero lacks the cool-headed charisma to be a leader. He is constantly frustrated with his role in the group and is prone to royal temper tantrums if his brilliant ideas are shot down by the Dashing Hero. He often makes a deal with the dark side that threatens the whole group, but provides valuable insider information about the bad guys. This betrayal must be repaid with his life or some form of redemption, such as admitting he’s wrong or rescuing the Dashing Hero during the climatic struggle.

* * *

Okum Superhero Madness

Planet Earth and Galactic Locations

Township of Monroe
Quaint, serene, and surrounded by maple woodland, it is a place where everyone knows your name; Monroe is the town that Chris Franklin, the Scarlet Avenger, grew up in. The townsfolk pride themselves on their optimistic American ideals, like hard work and helping those who cannot help themselves.

Five Points
This gritty and dreary urban epicenter consists of five distinct boroughs, and hosts some of the most corrupt, selfish, and cruel citizens that the United States has ever witnessed. The streets are filthy, economic poverty is common, crime is rampant, and buildings are in all manner of decay. Even with a vigilante presence, citizens express little hope for the place that should have been known as Star City.

Atom City
With skyscrapers piercing the heavens, parks and gardens that hover on anti-gravity platforms, sleek trams racing through demanding commercial districts, and an experimental Atomizer Plant supplying energy, this colossal metropolis is the future. Vital to the human presence within the universe, Atom City has constantly attracted many of the world’s iconic superheroes and detestable supervillains.

Capitol Hill
Historically, patriotic monuments, base of operations for the American Guardians, and where the United States president calls home for their term of leadership, Capitol Hill has been the city from which great men and women have transformed a mass of British Colonies into a modern era Superpower Nation.

A crimson skyline darted with gothic spires, stone gargoyles, and hydrogen-powered airships, Golgoth is an archaic European city shrouded in shadow and the arcane. In the late 1400s the city was founded by a group of wizards seeking sanctuary from persecution, and since then the Great Church has reformed and rebuilt the city many times. Now the city is an international wonder for the faithful.

Hosyn Mothership
Resembling the shape of a Praying Mantis, the Hosyn Mothership is actually a mobilized military space station equipped with a quantum drive teleportation pylon, and is accompanied by a massive fleet of space fighters, battle cruisers, and invasion freighters. Very few of Earth’s superheroes and supervillains have personally seen the Mothership, currently believed to be in orbital stasis near the moon Titan.

Gurdal Imperial Citadel
Orbiting a Gas Giant ten light years away, this artificial world is the base of the mightiest and most dominant power that the Milky Way Galaxy has ever been witness to. Nearly the size of the planet Saturn, it is the habitat of over two trillion denizens. At the center of the synthetic planet is the fortified Temple of Supremacy, the militant headquarters of the Gurdal Empire ruling class known as the Tribunal. The Tribunal consists of only three highly advanced species, though nearly two hundred other species have been absorbed into the Galactic Gurdal Empire by the planetary conquering force.

. . .

Basic Superhero/Supervillain Origins and Types

The Ultimate Hero is the toughest hero on Earth. Whenever there is a problem the Ultimate Hero is there to save the day. He’s been around for a few years and has been an inspiration and mentor to countless other heroes.
Like the ancient Greek hero Achilles, the Ultimate Hero often has a weakness that renders him powerless. It could be a special type of space rock or chemical, magic or technology. Inventing details of the weakness is part of the enjoyment of creating this character. It’s not very interesting if the Ultimate Hero always saves the day unless he really has to work for it.

The Arch Villain is one of the most powerful enemies the superhero will ever encounter. The origins of the main superhero and the Arch Villain are usually linked, creating an instant conflict between them. The hero should always appear to be overwhelmed by the power and magnitude of the Arch Villain as the story progresses.
Arch Villains should have earth-threatening goals of power, conquest, and destruction. The heroes must have a really good reason to risk their necks time after time. The black-hearted Arch Villain is almost always defeated when the hero exploits some little-known weakness or character flaw and foils dastardly plans. But the defeat of the villain should never be the death of the villain. Buildings might collapse around them, but no body should ever be found. The villain should always have a chance to return again another day.

The Detective Hero is a tireless investigator. Although she usually possesses no superhuman abilities, she has been trained to the peak of human ability both physically and mentally. Her lack of powers doesn’t stop her from jumping into the most challenging cases against powerful villains. There is often a wide range of weapons, tools, and gadgets available to the Detective Hero to help level the playing field. She usually works alone, but a sidekick or two may assist her at times.
The Detective Hero is one of the oldest character types in comics. Many of the most popular superheroes were originally featured in detective or crime comics. The key motivation of the Detective Hero is acting as an agent of vengeance or defender of the innocent. This driving desire for righting wrongs makes it difficult to have a “normal” life, especially when she can’t rely on superpowers. Every spare moment is devoted to research, training, and pursuing leads – anything to give her the edge against her superpowered foes.

The Tough Villain is the adversary that superheroes face on a regular basis. The lieutenant of the Arch Villain, he ends up doing all the dirty work. This character must be defeated before the heroes can get to the Arch Villain. Much stronger than a lone hero, it often requires the teamwork of several heroes to overcome him.
In ancient myths, the Tough Villain was usually a guardian monster that tried to stop the hero from completing the quest. Keep the readers guessing by making it appear as if the Tough Villain is defeated, only to have him rise again to battle some more.

One of the most basic yet awe-inspiring superpowers is flight. The sight of a colorful superhero soaring above the city is one of the most familiar images in comics. Flying heroes are necessary to save all the people who fall out of airplanes and tall buildings daily in the comic book universe.

The Gadget Hero always has just what is needed to get out of a tricky situation. They may not have any special powers, but they can join the ranks of superheroes by using items that can be just as powerful. They may not be able to hurl bolts of energy from their fingertips, but they could build a device to do the job.
Their identities are usually more defined by their gadgets than the Detective Hero. Gadget Heroes might be funded by governments or huge corporations, or they may be backyard inventors. Or, they may have just stumbled across their gadget or received it as a gift to carry on the traditions of the superheroic identity.

Powered Armor Heroes are a very specialized form of Gadget Hero. Their powers come from high-tech suits that they wear, which also hide their true identity. Underneath they are normal people. The armor doesn’t need to be technological in nature. It could be magical armor, or even an organic life form that merges with the hero to create a new identity.

The Sidekick is the second banana that follows the hero into battle against the forces of darkness. The writer usually uses this character as an opportunity for the hero to explain what is happening in the story. The Sidekick also provides convenient bait to lure the hero into a trap. The hero knows it will be a trap, but his sidekick must be rescued at any cost. The Sidekick can also temper the more vengeful vigilante tendencies of some heroes.
The Sidekick provides a bridge between the reader and the hero. Readers who are younger and less powerful than the hero can identify with The Sidekick living the dream of a junior superhero. Many former sidekicks graduate to become independent heroes who pursue their own adventures.

Energy Blaster Heroes can focus vast amounts of power and launch it at their enemies. This energy can come from a wide variety of sources. The hero may be able to summon bioelectric energy from a mutated nervous system and fire it from his eyes or hands. Other heroes must rely on special objects such as wands, rings, or other artifacts.

One of the first classic superhero types was the mystical hero. Some were masters of magic; others had the ability to cloud the minds of men with amazing mental powers. Magic Masters provide endless stories where their magic gets out of control or produces effects they could have never imagined. How they cast their spells, either from massive spell books or by saying magic words, is part of the fun of creating the character.

Mystic Heroes are based on legends and myth, but unlike Magic Masters, they don’t necessarily use magic powers. Some resemble heroes like King Arthur or Hercules. Others are mythical creatures like satyr or pixies. Mythic Heroes were, of course, the first tales of superheroes.

The Big Tough Guy towers over his teammates and can often level a building with a stomp of his foot. This villainous type represents the extremes of anatomy and raw strength with inhumanly exaggerated muscles and proportions. What could be more intimidating than a screaming wall of muscle tearing through the landscape, heading right for you?

Speedsters are the fastest things on the face of the Earth. Many are able to circle the globe in minutes, running so fast that they can move across water or up walls.

Superheroes make a lot of very powerful enemies. Most heroes can take care of themselves, but their friends and loved ones cant. Why hide your identity? Because keeping your identity secret keeps your “normal” life normal. Villains are a cowardly, vengeful lot and would love to use a man-eating plant or bait for an elaborate trap.

The Teen Hero is a staple in classic comics. Entire comics are devoted to teen heroes. More than just sidekicks, they have set out on their own. Teen Hero stories are characterized by angst-ridden soul searching, betrayal, goofiness, pimples, awkward infatuation, and strange powers that make the hero feel alienated.

Thugs are essential in superhero stories. They let the heroes relate to real-world threats, showing off just how powerful they are. Thugs also help slow down the heroes just long enough to let the villains escape.
The Goon may not be the sharpest tool in the shed, but he gets the job done. He may be only human, but he can still give a superhero a rough time. They possess all kinds of expressions and attitudes. Just think of the look on his face when his strongest punch has no effect on the Ultimate Hero.

Skullions are people possessed by Sir Skull. Scullions do his dirty work because he is an evil spirit and cannot physically affect the world around him. At his most powerful, Sir Skull can possess an entire army of Skullions, which allows him to move around in broad daylight. Skullions are flamboyant risk-takers who dive recklessly into battle. They are mind-controlled puppets that show no emotion; their eyes turn pure black the moment they are possessed.
Eventually the Skullions become sensitive to sunlight, so Sir Skull must act quickly. The heroes have to be careful; hurting a Skullion ultimately hurts an innocent person once Sir Skull’s possession wears off.

Acrobats use flips and jumps as a martial artist. They can scale the sides of buildings and keep up with flying characters by leaping from building to building. They also have an impressive ability to get out of the way very, very quickly.

Comics are filled with traditional martial artists. Many comic heroes started out as simple brawlers, but today most are experts in a wide variety of martial arts from kung fu to ninjitsu. It is a good idea to identify the martial arts style used by the character, research that style’s moves and basic stances, and then work hard to make the character’s movements true to that style. Little details like this add an air of authenticity to your creation.

Not all strange visitors from other worlds are friendly. Some of them are downright hostile. It’s a big, bad, beautiful universe out there, and it’s up to Earth’s heroes to save the day!
The Alien Leader is insect-like and well…alien. It’s hard for readers to relate to something totally alien, so some human qualities will make it easier to identify and respond to emotions and motivations. It is important to understand why the aliens are invading. Are they just exploring? Do they seek power? Is Earth in the way of a galactic superhighway? Know why they are here?
The Alien Warrior does the Alien Leader’s dirty work. They can be the nameless, faceless drones that the heroes cut down in droves, or they can be trained warriors who give the heroes a real battle for control of the Earth. The Alien Warrior often uses a combination of special alien abilities and technology far beyond the imaginations of human beings.

Monsters should surprise the reader with unexpected powers or abilities. Make them immune to power blasts or have them hoist armored cars over their heads. They need to appear scary even to Earth’s mightiest heroes.

Robots are ideal opponents for superheroes. They can be horribly beaten and nobody feels bad because they are just creatures of metal and plastic, not flesh and blood.
Robots embody humanity’s fears of becoming obsolete and being replaced by machines. There is also something chilling about the precision and cold logic of the robot. Robots provide an endless supply of untiring opponents that relentlessly pursue their goals.
An unstoppable creature with no mercy, the Exterminator Robot is a single-minded destruction machine. It has a powerful laser beam/machine gun built into its arm, and seems to be designed to cause as much havoc as possible. Who sent this threat and what do they want?
The Crab Bot seems alien, almost insect-like. The many legs, killer claws, and blaster weapon would make a superhero scratch his head and wonder what to do first when confronted by this mechanical nightmare. Crab Bots could be more spider-like and shoot webs that tangle up their targets.

The Giant Monster is one of the classic calamities that a group of heroes can face. Rampaging through the streets, seemingly unstoppable, it is the ultimate challenge for those with powers beyond mortal men.
What is a supergenius going to do to threaten heroes who can literally move mountains? Make a mountain that hits back. Giant Robots can come from a variety of sources in comics: alien warriors, military hardware, out-of-control prototypes, instruments of vengeance, or malfunctioning helpers.

Submitted: September 01, 2022

© Copyright 2022 CENTAURI ADAMS. All rights reserved.

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