Webcomic Trivia: John Domeck, the Gray Champion

Webcomic Trivia: John Domeck, the Gray Champion

In keeping with @LadyTerror and her series, I've decided to do this one about another character in my stock. For those of you who've read the one on Lemon Witch, these characters aren't in the same continuity. But they are both major names in Dozerfleet both on Wikia and on DeviantArt.

As I'm writing this, I'm also planning one on Semaphore - who is in the same continuity as Lemon Witch!

Without further adieu:

13. John Domeck gets his alias from Hawthorne's short story

This should be a no-brainer. Many of you probably had to read "The Gray Champion" by Nathaniel Hawthorne in school. The exact nature of that version was very different from the John Domeck incarnation that came later, but was a large part of how the character came to be.

I had to read it, and the ambiguous ending about the Champion returning led to a class exercise back in the fall of 2001. Everyone had to write their own takes on the Champion returning - and what it would mean in a different time period.

Above: The real OG

12. He launched the earliest known incarnation of the Gerosha Universe

There are a few things constant in all versions of Gerosha continuity. One of them is that Boonville, Indiana became Gerosha in 1990.

Another is that there was a version of the Gray Champion in all versions. That he and Oraphim I defeated a demon-possessed blue-spectral Marlquaanite (one of the most powerful possible) known as the Shrouded Entity ("Black Man" in The Scarlet Letter) by trapping him in the ice in Greenland.

The original take also introduced Hea Pang (dubbed "Heeshwa Pwong" originally.) the first entry, which also introduced the Marlquaan to the mythos, was a short story written for that class assignment. In it, John Domeck has become the new Gray Champion. He is sent through time, until he arrives in the present. At one point, he saved a plains woman named Chastity from hostile Indians.

With some revision, the basic mythos was revised for Uber-Proto Gerosha (Earth-G1) around the time the Meshalutian Trilogy of mock-J-horror novels was being written. (A project since abandoned, inspired by The Ring.)

That highly-revised take on John Domeck becoming the Gray Champion was dubbed The Gray Champion: Modern Legends. It would later be proposed as a trilogy. Initially set to be a two-parter, with the first being subtitled Modern Legend and the sequel dubbed End of Decadence, it was later re-written to be Freedom's Apparition, Chillingworth's Revenge, and Shaken Dust.

Further development was put on hold throughout Proto Gerosha (G2), Test Gerosha (3.0), Gerosha Prime (3.1), and Despair Gerosha (4.0).

Little was done with Modern Legends during the heyday of Classic Gerosha (Earth-G5,) as that era focused on building Ciem as a character - and putting her in adventures that felt like a cross between Alias and Spider-Man.

(Note: The long tentacle centilegs seen above have since been replaced with stingers. Feruga uses mechanical whips.)

It wasn't until Comprehensive Gerosha (Earth-G6) that ideas to pursue a Modern Gray Champion mythos were once again taken seriously. The idea was transferred over wholesale when Cataclysmic Gerosha (Earth-G7) was forged in 2012, in reaction to the 2012 elections. It was in 2015 that Shaken Dust was finally proposed, in an alternate history where Boston is destroyed in 2015.

11. There were originally going to be other Champions following him

This early-era idea never saw much light of day since its inception. There were to be Red, White, and Blue Champions following the Gray one. However, the idea was ruled too cheesy and was thrown out.

Instead, the Blue Champion was re-written as Chillingworth II, and became an Icy Finger-affiliated (the Gerosha equivalent of Hydra) supervillain.

10. He is modeled after several Marvel heroes

His first battle with Eric Andro and Eqquibus (Dereck Johnson) was initially planned to be modeled after the 2002 Spider-Man / Green Goblin first battle. Eqquibus' part was also initially written as a Green Goblin clone, before later being rewritten to make him a blended mix of Bill Clinton, George Soros, and Bill Gates trapped inside a demonic pegasus monster and acting like a generic villain.

This, along with Chillingworth II being revised out-of-costume to look more like Loki, took the Gray Champion away from being just an Old Puritan Totally-Not-Spider-Man, to being like a Captain America prototype from an era before there properly was an America.

However, his power set and elderly, authoritative voice also got in the way significantly with this portrayal. He also could transmit himself through wires or other sources of electrical current, in addition to ghost mimicry and matter phasing. All this being said, he began to resemble Thor a bit more as the concept evolved.

Giving him some Cap undertones was easy, especially since making the Icy Finger (an ancient Anglo death cult from which both Chillingworths got their powers) into a Hydra knock-off suited the narrative well. (Centipede Charlie is another character based on Cap, his real name being Charles Hammerstein.)

Making him more like Thor was as easy as giving him one additional power, which he acquires by the Shaken Dust timeline: to channel nearby electrical energy into his sword, and then use it to launch lightning bolts at enemies!

This served another purpose as well: giving Gray a weakness! During that arc, Brackett and Hibbins figure out that disabling the power grid and satellite feeds over Boston takes away John's easiest means of transporting himself quickly around town - effectively grounding him!

He can still turn invisible, age really slowly, be super-strong, hover for a bit, phase through matter, etc. But without his electrical speed and near-teleportation, rescuing his friends from harm's way becomes a lot harder!

9. He is one of the earliest Dozerfleet superheroes

Cagegirl (by Adam-00) and Camelorum Adventures (partially by Prodigal-Gamer) weren't even around until 2015.

Earwig came about due to a reinterpretation of Dolly Malestrom, the current form of which wasn't a thing until 2012, when Sodality was first inceived. Meerkat and Mukade were envisioned originally to be small parts in the since-canceled Ciem 3, back in 2008 when that was first inceived in its Classic Gerosha form.

Extirpon and Navyrope were both created in January of 2009. Purge-Flare (co-created with VH1's Chris Wilson) came about in late 2009 (as Chris Kennal in Blood Over Water), but didn't get his costume until around 2013. Pilltar and Strawberry were first envisioned around late 2010. Volkonir didn't show up until 2008. Col. Flix of the Q-Basic Gorillas fanfic wasn't even around until 2003.

John Domeck took up the Gray Champion's mantle in a story dating all the way back to 2001. (Copies of that story have not survived to the present day.) This makes John Domeck one of my earliest creations to have survived to the present in my brand.

8. He has more sidekicks than anyone else, short of Navyrope

In the 17th century, John Domeck swore to find a way to keep the world's Marlquaanite Ruby supply out of the reach of the dastardly Society of the Icy Finger - which wanted to combine them with black magic and rule the universe as physical gods. To make things scarier, their founder Samuel Fortin had a lot of clout with key members of Parliament!

When this caused John too much trouble in England, he escaped from the city jail in London and fled with the most powerful (and stable) of the rubies to live in Lynn, MA. He had a friend named Miles Wealthington, who briefly became Oraphim with the aid of the Grand Ultimate's Ruby.

It was with this bond to the Marlquaan (like a red Jell-O superpower battery in space) that Miles was able to - with John's help - trap the Shrouded Entity near the North Pole and keep him there. Miles later relinquished the power, since he feared it would cause him to lose faith in God.

John faced constant opposition to his status as a guardian over the Marlquaanite rubies, which he believed were only allowed by God to exist specifically to address a later time period when man would temporarily need to harness such a power, and for no other reason. Until that appointed time, he believed it was his mission to ensure nobody ever got their hands on this power!

He at one point saved a squaw named Kicked Deer - after the Icy Finger wiped out her tribe when they refused to give out the location of the Grand Ultimate's.

With her pet wolf pup Fellerfang, Kicked Deer proved very grateful to John. The two eventually wed and had a daughter, whom they named Margaret Domeck.

However, the years went by and the Icy Finger's tenacity to recover the rubies marched on. They eventually stirred up trouble for John in Lynn, attempting unsuccessfully to turn the entire town against him and his family. When all else failed, they forced the Domecks to flee into the woods. They eventually set an ambush for the Domecks, and murdered Kicked Deer. They captured John and Marge, and brought them to the beach to be executed.

Little did they know that a careless billionaire in 2012 in Boston was trying to start a controlled Marlquaan storm inside a science lab.

This storm would turn the billionaire, Dereck Johnson (not to be confused with any real-life one) into the evil horse-headed incubus known as Eqquibus. It also traveled back in time, sending John and Marge through history and bonding them to the Marlquaan.

John became a phanto-mimic and electro-elemental, whereas Marge became a fire elemental. John was sent to the year 2012, whereas his daughter found herself in Miami in 1995. Marge was adopted by the Ramirez family - Cuban immigrants who were also the keepers of Hester's Locket (more on that in a bit.)

It was in this time period that John met Hea Pang, the Korean-American daughter of a museum curator in Boston. Marge would grow up to become a fashion model, as well as the vigilante "Mapacha del Fuego" (Fire Racoon.)

Hea was curious about becoming an agent of the Phexo-and-Marlquaanite-monitoring Phaelite alien-created quasi government organization known as SCALLOP (Security-Centric Alliance Lending and Learning Of Phaelites.) Her boyfriend, Kyle Medsor, was already a junior agent in training. Thevia Longindil and Darius Philippine believed that Hea had great potential. Her being close to John Domeck meant she could keep an eye on him.

When Gray gets captured in one battle with Eqquibus, Hea and Kyle make a point of trying to save him. But before they do, Kyle convinces Hea to compromise on her family's high morals just once - to remember him by in case he doesn't survive. Unable to get the backup they need, the two teens set out on their own to rescue Dae Pang (Hea's mother) and John. They succeed, but Eqquibus murders Kyle before John can finish the monster off.

Hea winds up pregnant from these events, and eventually gives birth to Tabitha as a result. Trying to be a close friend to John, a mother to Tabitha, and an agent of SCALLOP proves too much, and Hea is eventually thrown under the bus by Darius when he starts getting corrupted by Icy Finger spy Jim Oisdaat - and decides that Hea is too much political liability.

Hea finds herself during the blackout in to be vulnerable. She - and an innocent farm girl - are captured when Halal Affadidah and his men seize control of Boston. Hea is able to break herself and the farm girl out of the city jail, but they are saved by John at the last minute - with aid from what appears to be a God-sent bolt of lightning in the sky that John doesn't hesitate to exploit.

After learning of Marge, John pays her a visit. Mapacha soon becomes a valuable ally to the Gray Champion. As Tabitha grows up, she too pitches in where she can. Marge's adoptive parents, the Ramirezes, also prove valuable allies to John - even when Darius' SCALLOP is too embroiled in political games to be of much help. Flintirah also helps him, briefly.

Alas, MPF (Marlquaanite Prison Field Animation Suspension) Generators prove to be a major weakness for this ghost of liberty of yester-year. So he does get captured again at some point. When he is freed, during the Augmentation arc in Sodality, he gains the entire Sodality of Gerosha as allies, if not direct sidekicks.

His lengthy history of sidekicks comes in handy for Battle for Metheel, especially when time travel gets involved!

7. His involvement in Gerosha makes The Scarlet Letter (mostly) canon

Hawthorne mythology is used in The Gerosha Chronicles in much the way Norse mythology is used in Marvel. When Miles Wealthington and John Domeck first reach Massachusetts shores, they knew they had to disperse of the Marlquaanite Rubies quickly. They entrusted the Beamer's Ruby - one of the most stable and dangerous - to a particular Hester Prynne for safekeeping. Miles had met her before, and deemed her trustworthy.

He was confused by her sudden incarceration on allegations of adultery, and went to pay her a visit for that reason too. When the Bondsman was put at ease that Miles was not Pearl's father, he took notice of the jewel casing that Miles was hiding the Beamer's Ruby inside of. Only Hester was informed that the ruby inside must be kept out of the wrong hands at all costs. She did not, however, know how to use the ruby.

The casing allowed her to wear it as a necklace pendant, and the exposure beam control carving etched onto the front looked a tiny bit like a letter "A." The glowing power of the ruby's eeriness notwithstanding, the Bondsman didn't know that the "A" stood for "aim." He believed it stood for "adored." But since Hester was being charged with a crime of adultery, he stated that the "A" should stand for that instead.

She was made to wear the necklace in public, it's glowing power's creepiness reminding everyone of the almost witchcraft-like nature of her crime.

As time went by, she encounters a time-traveling Hea Pang - who had survived a battle with her estranged husband. Roger Chillingworth had acquired literal freezing powers by way of his involvement with the Icy Finger. But...the ruby that bound him to the Marlquaan was destroyed by the bonding process! He needed to help his masters recover a stable ruby...but where could one be? He was also distracted by his quest to get revenge on whoever stole his wife.

He immediately recognized Hea Pang as a threat from the future. Her un-womanlike stand in opposition to him alarmed him further. She was able to knock him out - and then borrow Hester for a mission to destroy the Grand Ultimates using the Locket. This ensured that King Morzhuk of the Hebbleskins could not use it to make him a Meethlite-god over Metheel in the 21st century, and thus rendered him vulnerable to Extirpon!

Hea takes pains not to explain too much to Hester about how the Locket works, for fear that this could rewrite history. Hea left her own version of the Locket behind in Desulon's lab on Phaelon - to avoid creating a time paradox. She is also careful to recruit Kicked Deer to show her and Hester where the Grand Ultimate's was buried - without revealing herself to John's 17th century counterpart, so his memories of when he and Hea first met won't be altered.

Hester later activates the Locket by accident - and kills Chillingworth with it. (It takes away his bond while he is using his powers, causing him to freeze himself into a human popsicle and then shatter when he was trying to do that to Dimmesdale!)

The Icy Finger finally connects the dots to what happened to Chillingworth about 400 years later - and sends Miles Charleston as Chillingworth II to find the Ramirez family in 2014 (when they had the Locket) and recover it. He also wreaks havoc on Boston to mess with John and Hea, given the Icy Finger and Gray have that 400-year-old feud still going on and all. He cements his place by trying to turn Dae and Hea against each other. And when he slips up and Dae decides to forgive her daughter for getting pregnant, Chillingworth murders Dae and leaves her body for Hea to find. Chillingworth also very nearly defeats John Domeck, but fails to account for Mapacha joining the Gray Champion's side when the fight is taken to Miami.

6. Most of his rogues gallery are named after Hawthorne characters

This should surprise no one. Eqquibus is an exception, being based on a painting by Henry Fuseli. Chillingworth, Rapaccini, Blackveil, Brackett, Hibbins, and more of Gray's enemies are references to works by Hawthorne.

5. He didn't originally want to be the Gray Champion

As referenced above, John didn't think anyone was ready for a world full of Marlquaanites. After Eqquibus lost control and the Marlquaan storm of 2012 created a world full of them without the rubies, John concedes that the time has come.

After all, 2012 is also the time that Extirpon and Cocklebur show up - reality warping emotion eaters that leave massive trails of death and destruction in their wake! (And they're just the "good" guys! That's not even getting into their enemies!) It isn't long after their arrival that non-Marlquaanite imitators like Purge-Flare begin showing up either. The Gray Champion is those old fashioned liberty-minded values and God-fearing moral centers needed in a sea of lost, insane demigods.

4. He actually failed to save most of his hometowns

He was unable to stop London from being filled with Icy Finger sympathizers. Lynn was eventually overrun by his ancient enemies.

Boston in this timeline is destroyed in 2015, when they teamed up with Halal Affadidah. (Hillary "winning" the 2016 elections allows Affadidah to become powerful enough to conquer / destroy 1/4 of America by 2018.)

John's title of "Champion" is further disgraced when the Icy Finger's plants take over all of Arkansas in 2026, and celebrate by putting most of his sidekicks in prison (including Tabitha, who is only 13 at the time!) It isn't until the Swappernetters timeline that he gets his revenge, and the Icy Finger is forever destroyed.

3. He was a key inspiration behind the Beliah Amendments

You can read more here about the Kirby Act. Suffice to say, the religious unity in the Sodality is the only reason this didn't lead them into their own version of a Civil War story arc - though Vindication is still superficially similar, with the Sodality being divided into two strike teams.

Hea ends up getting herself captured - along with a lot of her Sodality sisters - so that John and a few others can foil the Icy Finger's evil plan in Italy while keeping the political unrest at home distracted. Yet, the father-daughter bond between them proves stronger than Hea's annoyance at being wrongly imprisoned. (For a third time, no less!)

2. Has trained a protege

Roy Bernald (from WWI) becomes a new Gray Champion when John retires.

1. He was forced to abandon his loved ones to save them

After Vindication, he goes into hiding and joins the Navyrope Society. He remains in contact with Hea, but can't visit her often. He watches Tabitha from a distance.


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