Striker / Striker Zero

Random brainstorming for a superhero RPG

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Joshua
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Striker / Striker Zero

Postby Joshua » Sat May 14, 2016 11:15 pm

(I apologize, but was just watching ERB again.)

Mr. Riker's Neighborhood: Not to be confused with a similarly named show, there are some disturbing parallels. Mr. Riker likes his educational bookends at the beginning and end of all of his comics. He is aimed at slightly younger readers and is always polite and calm when dealing with the world around him. He even keeps a model of the city in his basement and has a few puppet friends who talk to him.

Striker: On the other hand... When the trolly needs help, he dons a colorful costume and leaps to help those in his neighborhood. He uses some fairly low-end gadgets (grappling hook, body armor, occasionally tear gas or similar as well as a deadly level of martial arts training to brawl with the best of them. this might include helping with groceries and getting cats out of trees, and was the real-life superhero movement decades before that was a thing. As "Striker" he mostly deals with lower-end thugs and criminals, and due to the educational nature of the comic, he does focus on why criminals might behave that way and how to keep oneself safe. Ironically, this put his comic in direct violation of the comic code for a long time making this a kind of underground children's book in the early to mid seventies. In response, it was published without the "comic's code" approval which did hurt sales somewhat. (and most PTAs hated the frank and open discussion of such topics. stating children were not ready for that at any age.)

Striker Zero: As the comic's code relaxed, the comic got slightly more mature. While Striker still helped, and attempted to redeem villains when he could, sometimes he would get dragged into other comics. Striker Zero, while functionally the same hero, dealt with more mature themes. Like resisting drug dealers in a neighborhood and avoiding gangs. The comic always dealt with such issues honestly, admitting why someone might want to be in a gang or use drugs before offering alternatives. This is also the 'imprint' that appeared in other comics if there was a team-up. This was published at the same time as Striker.

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Re: Striker / Striker Zero

Postby Joshua » Tue Dec 06, 2016 10:27 pm

Not-Batman: So, Striker Zero fills a similar aspect in this comic as Batman. Except... he's straightforward and focuses on the redemption of criminals. None of the thugs in his comics are nameless. Every one has a reason they're a criminal and Striker specializes in finding out and breaking them of the criminal habit. Sometimes he fails. The comic shows that while everyone could be redeemed, that real life often isn't that simple.

Zark, the Wonder Dog: Striker Zero has no powers. Later on, it was believed he needed a super-powered sidekick. There was no consensus as to what powers this super-being should have... so, they thought, what if he had all of them?

Zark (named for his initial misunderstanding of how to make dog noises) is an alien from outer-space. This allowed for more exploration of issues about why life works the way it does as Zark tried to understand humans. He took the shape of a dog because it was easier to move about without having to make too many decisions. (and perhaps, because having a friendly talking dog join the Striker comic was seen as a plus.)

Zark has the ability to absorb any super-power he's exposed to. This has helped keep Striker Zero relevant in comics with more powerful superheroes.

In the Striker imprint, he's one of a small group of friendly talking animals that Striker sometimes interacts with to demonstrate lessons. Zark is the one Striker is closest to and the only one that actually lives with Striker.

Recently, Zark has become more popular, and there was talk of spinning him off into another comic.

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Re: Striker / Striker Zero

Postby Joshua » Sun Jul 02, 2017 10:43 pm

Cypher, Cryptic and Enigma

Originally semi-vililans from the Striker imprint, these three aliens crash landed well before Xark. In the original run, they were 4-foot tall muppets that used a vast array of gadgets and alien technology to terrorize Mr. Riker's Neighborhood.

Their evil plots to take over the world was foiled by Striker many times over. Originally designed as an anti-bullying measure, these three aliens used force and intimidation to get humans and animals to do what they wanted, and were generally foiled when Striker showed them empathy and explained how they were hurting others.

Cypher: A small (4' 9") green-furred alien with a large aardvark-like nose, was the leader, and in charge of coming up with the various schemes. He was the most intimidating, and least sympathetic of the aliens. It would often take the combined efforts of Striker, Cryptic and Enigma to convince him to give up on a particular plan. His alien powers included the ability to speak any known language and intuitively understand how to build machines.

Cryptic: A human sized (5' 6") bird-like alien with purple plumage, was the scientist. She followed Cypher out of unrequited love (which grew as he gained a deeper understanding of people). The least intimidating, she often would give Cypher reports of how humans behaved or interacted, with a distinctly alien spin. Her alien powers allowed her to speak any unknown language (which here means any invented code or cipher) and intuitively understood how interactions worked (although not what they meant).

Enigma: A tall-ish (6'3") brown and red furred alien with bull-horns, was the special ops ninja of the team. He was the one who usually went toe-to-toe with Striker in battles. Ironically, he was the most empathetic of the group, and was usually the first to realize his actions were cruel. His alien powers allowed him to speak any non-verbal language (mostly animals and plants, although he knew ASL and other sign languages) and had an intuitive understanding of any weapon he picked up (including martial arts, once he realized his own body was a weapon). In almost all cases, he was stronger and more powerful than Striker.

The Striker Cryptarch Arc* (Striker Issues #112-#124 and Striker Zero #1) won an award for the even-handed and honest look at bullying, and has been used by a number of anti-bullying campaigns that focused on preventing children from becoming bullies in the first place. It culminated in Cypher realizing he had driven several humans to self-harm. The group stopped being villains at that point and sought redemption. The optional epilogue of Strike Zero #1 included a teenager who committed suicide as a direct result of Cypher's actions and Striker attempting to console both his former enemy and the teen's family. The lesson, of course, was that there are certain things that you can't take back once you break.
This arc is credited as causing the Striker Zero imprint as the suicide was deemed too sensitive for younger readers.
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*: Say that 5 times fast.


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