Steve Steel, Epoch – Spring, 2000

Maybe I’ll chalk this one up to watching a lot of so so Hercules movies on Mystery Science Theater 3000.

Hercules always seemed like a fun loving guy who didn’t know his own strength and got into some crazy adventures. I decided to create a demigod called Steve Steel — basically, a combination of the old Hercules movie actors Steve Reeves and Alan Steele.

His only real appearance in this form came in the Epoch anthology book I did with some other illustrators at my studio. My story in the collection was a 14 page adventure where we come in during the tail end of a huge battle. We hit the ground running and maintain a fast pace throughout. A very powerful demon/god named Be’el, had mopped the floor with most of earth’s heroes. Even Steel, who had to be brought back to consciousness by Mataak (who I talked about yesterday), one of the others still standing. John and Theresa Longbow (*see yesterday) were doing what they could to stall the demon long enough to come up with a plan. 

Steel’s natural strength was too devastating in our fragile world, so he’d had power regulating implants put in his body to lower the levels. Be’el had managed to take control of the power dampening implants in Steve’s body to steal his strength away. Once Steve realized this, he ripped the implants out of his body, thus unleashing his full strength. While usually all too powerful in that state, it’s what was needed to defeat Be’el and drive him back through the dimensional portal to his home.

I actually had a few other interesting characters I brought in here as back up villains to Be’el, including a feminine android, a levitating Sumo wrestler and a hyper kid that flies around bouncing off walks called High Impact. During the course of the 14 page story, everyone pretty much interacts with and/or battles everyone else. 

Also, I’ve got two narrators who are watching the story along with us, with one explaining certain details to the other for some built in exposition. All’s made clear by the end. This one holds up fairly well across the board.

It would be 2008 when we next saw the altered version of the character, as Elof, an Asgardian prince as part of The Battalion in my graphic novel “100 Covers”, which I’ll get to later on this month. 

The Epoch anthology story would be the last time I’d play with most of these characters, especially John and Theresa Longbow. John especially had some potential, with his mental powers. Maybe some day.

Epoch was a vanity project where most of the illustrators in our storyboard studio got together and contributed. Mike Dammer contributed a page, Scott Larson did a two or three page short story, Seitu Hayden, Jim Wisnewski and Mike Edsey and I all did various longer stories for the book, with Mike Sobey doing the cover. 

I only add this to the proceedings this month as this was the start of the Epoch imprint I used for my solo books for the next several years and kicked it off by organizing the group project. 

All in all, it being an anthology book, black and white, and created by unknowns, we didn’t do too badly as far as sales. We all pitched in the proportionate amount of money based on how many pages we contributed and after it hit the stands, we each even got some of our investment back, so that was cool. 

All in all, a win-win.

It was definitely a one time deal though. 

Illustrators are much like cats when you try to herd them, so this was our one shot *together*. It’s been 20 years, but while I think Seitu might have had something published since, I don’t anyone else has. 

Published by rickjlundeen

Storyboard and comic book illustrator/creator/publisher

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