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Sentinels Publication History

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I don't know where a good place for this would be, but I'll say it here. "Stormriders" came from a hobby I have of imagining elements of FPL mythology as actual comic books. As evidenced by DC's "New 52", comics have gone through a crazy train of evolutions, revolutions, reboots, deconstructions, and a whole host of other changes. I always try to keep the basic eras in the back of my mind, and since the SLJ is the FPL team with most obvious "mainstream" superhero analogues, I try to reinforce that connection when I can. With Wally I was able to explore that a little bit. It is important to note that a fictional publication history is wholly separate from an in-continuity, in-character history. Having said that, here is a rough chronology of how the SLJ-related comics would've worked in my imagination:


Pulp era: Blind Mike was one of the first heroes, in his earliest incarnation as Mike the Magician (obviously inspired by Mandrake,) an illusionist and mystic who wore a tuxedo, a tophat, and cape, and fought crime. Khazan made its first appearance as a Savage-Land type place, inevitably explored by Brave White Men and their racist caricature sidekicks.


Golden Age: Sollus first appeared (directly drawn from Shazam/Captain Marvel,) and Miss March (a pin-up girl who fights crime, but mostly just needs rescuing, in the mold of Bettie Page.) Mike the Magician's stories become more fantastic, and involve actual magic. Khazan is still a far-off jungle island, but it is revealed to have a high-tech futuristic metropolis. Early versions of Jupiter League characters like Beacon and Dr. Gemini also appeared.


EC Age: Wally first appeared (originally a Werewolf by Night figure named Wanderlust Werewolf) as did Ghost Girl in her first (almost unrecognizable) incarnation as Daughter Dearest, a horror comic about a savage Victorian ghost. Miss March's book is canceled and she fades into pin-up obscurity. Lord Greenwood first appears here as a villain, and possibly the world's first eco-terrorist. The October Queen- a voluptuous woman who commands monsters to do her bidding, (usually to exact gruesome justice,) was the most popular character of this era.


Silver Age: Mike crossed paths with both Wanderlust Werewolf and Daughter Dearest. An in-company joke comic written for Christmas has Mike the Magician and Wanderlust Wolf meeting "off-duty" at a bar, (directly inspired by tales of the Marvel Bullpen and Warner's "Ralph Wolf and Sam Sheepdog" cartoons.) These are super-rare and valuable, and this is widely considered the beginning of the idea for the SLJ. Wanderlust Werewolf became Mike the Magician's sidekick, revealed to be a man named Walter afflicted with a horrible curse. The two traveled around the American Southwest until they met a newly imagined Miss March, who was now a calendar model dying of a mysterious illness, saved by the technology of a scientist- the original Dr. Donato- who fell in love with her picture on his wall calendar, after so many lonely nights working in his lab. The three: Wanderlust Werewolf, Miss March, and Mike the Magician continued to have adventures in the American Southwest. Popular demand eventually had the trio assisting Sollus in Khazan. The group is eventually christened the Sentinels of Liberty and Justice, and placed in the now slightly-less futuristic metropolis of Khazan. Characters like Dr. Raven the Psychic and Mr. Tempest and villains like Frost Viper and Penny Dreadful all first appeared in this time period as well.


Post-Code: The SLJ was split- with Miss March, now a woman in a robotic suit built by her late husband, leading the Alpha Sentinels. Mike the Magician, Dr. Raven, and Daughter Dearest- now severely re-imagined as Ghost Girl, (a reformed petty thief with invisibility and phasing powers,) served on the Bravo Sentinels- a new team dedicated to charity and public works. Wanderlust Werewolf was given a new team, the Stormriders, (inspired by the Thunderriders,) and returned to the formula of traveling the American Southwest. In a shameless copy of the SLJ, the most popular heroes- like Sollus, Beacon, Mr. Tempest, and Dr. Gemini were shoehorned into a newly created team called the Jupiter League.


Deconstruction (Watchmen era): The critically acclaimed Stormriders series addressed politically relevant issues of drugs addiction, racism, and political corruption, but the book proved controversial and was canceled, as was the Bravo Sentinels book. The characters were folded back into the Alpha Sentinels comic, which was renamed Sentinels but kept the same numbering. A wildly popular story resulted in the permanent blinding of Mike the Magician. Lord Greenwood was resurrected, this time as a solo hero and staunch environmentalist.


Early 90's Excess (Image era): Spinoff books cropped up left and right. Delta Sentinels- an inexplicable SLJ assassination squad, and Gamma Sentinels- a Suicide Squad inspired team of reformed villains, both existed briefly in this era, as did Street Justice, an SLJ subgroup filled with angry minority characters (a riff on godawful comics like The Crew and Blood Syndicate.) Wanderlust Werewolf became a cigar-smoking contract killer. Dr. Raven was suddenly a deadbeat dad and alcoholic divorcee. In spite of the fact that she had been written as having a mostly robotic body for years, Miss March gave birth to a human baby, code-named Brainchild, who grew to her teens in a time-acceleration chamber. Mike the Magician was transformed into a being of otherworldly power (although he was still blind) and renamed The Solar Architect. The Death of Sollus occurred during this time. Blades, shoulderpads, pouches... the SLJ was not immune to the trends of the time.


Late 90's/Early 2000's Sensibility (Vertigo era): One of the most popular books of the era was a re-imagining of The October Queen as a descendant of Oberon and Titania, ruler of a dying magical dimension that drew its strength from people's faith (inspired by Sandman.) The complex storyline re-imagined and/or re-introduced many popular heroes- it was revealed that David and Karen Fairweather, former Stormriders, had married and had a son, William, who would grow up to become the hero Steel Will. Ghost Girl's past as Daughter Dearest was retconned back into existence, and revealed to have been engineered by the October Queen. The story even managed to add a touch of human drama to Dr. Raven's previously ill-conceived custody battle. A Sentinel/KPD police procedural book called Division One (inspired by Gotham Central/Powers/Top Ten/Sam & Twitch) got rave reviews. There was a genuine attempt to meld many of the previous versions of different characters, and establish a continuity that embraced the book's entire history. There was also a marked attempt to streamline the universe a bit by killing off some of the less popular characters.


Modern Hyperstupid Crossover Crisis era: The team has been strictly delineated into three books: Alpha Sentinels, SLJ, and Sentinel Academy, which serves almost no purpose as there is a crossover happening every week. Mr Tempest and Ghost Girl have their own books, which are largely unconnected to the SLJ. There has been talk of a line-wide reboot to try and market the books to demographics which nobody is sure even exist. The current Alpha Sentinel roster is: Miss March, Brainchild, Spectrum, Dr. Raven, Lord Greenwood, Sage, and Steel Will.

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