The Danners have become something of a pillar of the Wayward Earth with Abednego the mad scientist of the Victorian Era and his biological and conceptual offspring spread through most permutations of the field with Hugo as the misunderstood superman, Iron Munro the adventurer hero, Joe Hercules the Mystery Man, etc. Completely unrelated to the Phaetons Meteor or the Immortal Cavemen the Danner Legacy provided a new era of super heroes that lent themselves to the high drama and dense storylines of the 20th century and with perpetually mid-grade power levels they could hang with and observe the more fantastic characters without being the Big Dog in the room or Snapper Carr. Like a comic book version of Ralph Bakshi's American Pop. www.youtube.com/watch?v=6-UCLi…
The legacy of Abednego Danner would stretch from the latter days of the nineteenth century to the dawn of the twenty-first and beyond. Danner was a biological science professor at a university outside Indian Creek, Colorado. In the 1880s, with his assistant John Tower, Danner began researching what he believed to be a way for mankind to reach the next stage of human evolution. When he seemed almost within sight of his goal Danner suddenly and publicly disavowed the research and ended the project. Publicly. Privately Danner continued his studies and experimenting, as did Tower. Tower was sure they had been close to their goal and wasn't so easily persuaded to give it up.
In 1890 Tower produced his first 'Vitacap' and took it himself. While it increased his vigor (and appetite) the effects were not as astounding as he had hoped. In 1891 Danner had made enough progress to try the formula on a cat. While the physical results were everything he could have hoped for the resulting situation involving the kitten Samson left him with concerns that would haunt him the rest of his life. In 1892 Danner's wife became pregnant (through little effort of Danner's, and more than a little effort of the local pastor) and he saw an opportunity. Claiming scientific imperative, and ignoring what spite may have been involved, Danner drugged his wife and injected her womb with his formula.
In 1893 Hugo Danner was born. Through his continuing research Abednego Danner was convinced that his son would be sterile, and if not entirely incapable of reproduction then have no chance of passing on his miraculous traits to any unlikely offspring. This theory proved to be entirely incorrect. For all his wisdom Abednego Danner was wrong about the effects of his serum on future generations. What he had failed to observe in his experiments was that each successive generation simply took longer to realize it's abilities. While Hugo Danner had exhibited superhuman traits from his earliest days his children would not come to their extraordinary potential until puberty. Additionally only the males of the bloodline would be enhanced unless there were twins in which case the female did acquire enhancements.
By 1895 John Tower had left Indian Creek and moved to Detroit to continue his research, this time using dogs as test subjects. The research was funded by the mysteriousIram Society (which in turn was a cats-paw for General Immortus).
These events would lead to two lines of parallel development: the Danner Bloodline and the evolution of the Danner Formula.
Hugo Danner - Born 1893 The King of the Cuckoos. This guy, assuming he himself was sterile because Dad was a great scientist and would know these things, schtupped and ran from Colorado to New York and half-way back leaving kids to be raised in other fellow's nests. Thing is, there's a very specific power-set associated with the Danner Formula, Hugo had relations with only four women (before swearing off human women to save them from his “savage passions”), and synchronistically enough there are very few characters of the era with this particular power-set. The enhanced strength, reflexes, and durability without energy projection, flight, mental powers, or stated origin gets a bit rare on the ground.
After the conclusion of Gladiator, when Hugo was struck by lightning, Doctor Dan Hardin had him walled up in an already explored tomb, as would befit a god amongst men, but thanks to Danner's amazing physiology he was not dead. In a week's time he was healed and smashed down the rocks of the tomb entrance and wandered out into the jungle. There he stayed for a time, hunting and getting his strength back. Hugo had decided that the world could ill afford any more like himself, but he would dedicate the remainder of his life to uncovering the ancient secrets that might reveal other superhumans in history.
While he was recovering in Mexico Hugo was summoned to Cairo by Doctor Mist and was there with the Cairo Club until 1936. While in Egypt Hugo learned all he could about archaeology from the European explorers who thronged the place, and wrote his journals. During a mission for the Cairo Club that took Danner to the Wallis Islands he encountered a man who only identified himself as “Fido”. Upon learning Danner's tale the man grew exceedingly excitable and in turn told Danner the story of John Wainwright and the Wideawake Colony. Over the next month the man carefully copied for Danner everything he had on Wainwright and the papers the Wideawakes had supplied him with. Upon discharging this duty the man returned to the states. After leaving the Cairo Club this would be Danner's mission – to encounter these Wideawakes and help those he could, perhaps even discovering where they had come from. Hugo left the journals in the Blue River where they would be discovered by his son Arn during WWII. The only location Hugo had definitively identified as a possible destination was Maple White Land in South America. Danner traveled to Tibet to search for Langatse, a blind monk only to find that he had disappeared about the same time as the Colony. In France Danner discovered the same was true for Jacqueline Castagnet and concluded as they had been connected to the island collective at the time they ascended to whatever higher plain the islanders had. The only other Wideawake John Wainwright or Fido had positively identified was one Fido referred to as theCormorant in South Uist in the Outer Hebrides. The encounter did not go well and Danner killed the creature, in part to save himself and in part as justice for the Colony. From the Hebrides Danner would travel to America where he encountered his sons, who he was until then unaware of and stave off an attack by the mad Dan Hardin and his Sons of the Dawn. After this affair Danner traveled the world seeking the Wideawakes, saving those he could and occasionally putting those he couldn't out of their misery. Danner assumed they with their mental powers, and he with his strength, were aborted attempts to regain an earlier glory of the human race.
It was set up in the novel that Anna left Indian Creek due to pregnancy, but never followed up on. I understand Roy Thomas' decision to have Hugo return later to make Iron Munro the appropriate age, but with Joe Hercules available there's no need and the original cause for Anna leaving can follow through and leave Iron Munro old enough to inspire a Golden Age Superman.
Not much to the guy; he was there to make Anna an honest woman and raise Arn, then he died.
Arnold Munro - Born 1912 Hugo Danner always assumed his father was correct and he was incapable of fathering children, so when Anna Blake was 'sent away' in the autumn of 1911 he assumed it was as her parents had said and she simply had to 'get away'. When Hugo "received a letter from Anna saying that she was going to marry a man she had met and known for three weeks...” he should have suspected, but was too emotional to make the connection. Anna married John Munro in the spring of 1912 and baby Arnold was born soon after – a “miracle baby”.The Munros lived in Colorado Springs until John died in 1922, when Arn was ten, at which point Anna and her son moved back to the family stead in Indian Creek. Not yet full-grown, but already bigger than most of the men in Indian Creek, Arn left home at sixteen in 1928.
The novel provides an earlier date for Iron Munro's birth and allows him to be an accomplished adventurer before the onset of WWII. On Wayward EarthMunro's place is somewhere between Doc Savage and Elijah Snow from Planetary – uncovering and recording the weirdness that was early century fiction and fighting giant monsters and alien invaders along the way.
With a secret pregnancy before they were married, a stolen child after, and all the secrets involved in working for the OSS and Argent it's a wonder Iron Munro and Sandra's marriage lasted as long as it did. With her flagrant disregard for convention, family connections, position in super(human) spy history, and later teaching position at Université Notre Dame des Ombres one could argue the original Phantom Lady was one of the most influential heroines in the DCU. Kuno Reiter
The child stolen by Baron Blitzkrieg and raised in his image. See Lost Generation. Was always just the “Munro-Knight baby”, never given a proper name, so I went with the only name given for Blitzkrieg “Reiter”, which is a surname and added Kuno which while obscure is a good German given name. Kuno's daughter became Baroness Blitzkrieg under the mistaken assumption that her biological grandfather was the Baron and not Iron Munro. Pretty much tried to update the Barron's costume here – no helmet so no rivets, but a bib shirt provides buttons for a similar effect. Went with red and brown instead of pink and orange.
This was a strange one. The story was that he got his surname because Al Pratt was there when he was born and given away. Of all the random folks... Strange then that Pratt's own son would get snatched. In the comics Walter was drawn to look like an old Clint Eastwood, so that's kind of cool.
Proof that the Danner Formula was unkind to women. Her father, her son, but skipped her entirely. Not that she needed it. Right out of the gate and Kate dropped a villain who gave Batman fits then went on the work with the DEO and the Birds of Prey. Manhunter v3 by Marc Andreyko and Jesus Saiz also featured the return of Cameron Chase from Dan Curtis Johnson and J.H. Williams III, introduced Dylan Battles (the all-purpose henchman), and advanced Obsidian's character more than had happened in almost thirty years. Amazing series.
His grandfather gave him a robot dog, how cool is that? And it was a robot dog based on Dan Richard's robot dog which tied the two rather convoluted legacies together even more. Peter Robinson
Violet Elizabeth Robinson
The Robinsons made for a lovely bit of real-world normalcy amongst the heinous villains, shadowy government agents and general long-underwear mayhem.
Clever high-society gal she no doubt had her pick of suitors and went with the one who most resembled Hugo Danner
Martin Benetti Made up whole-clothe to fill a void Jake Benetti - Born 1913 Created by James Robinson in the pages of Starman v2, Robinson even had his editor going that Benetti was properly out of the Golden Age rather than a retcon. Former Navy, pure class bank robber, and even mentioned he'd tangled with Iron Munro. His age and sheer sense of class fit perfectly with the Foresman dynasty.
Charlotte was the biggest stretch of the ladies, but she was portrayed as an opportunist early on and the timing mostly worked.
Thaddeus Bodog Sivana
fav.me/d8wts1t Charlotte, having already done an unkind thing and not thinking particularly well of herself, went with Valentine Mitchell to New York where she abandoned him and began going by the name Portia. Knowing she was pregnant, but not yet showing Portia was on the hunt for a rich husband when she instead met Thaddeus Sivana. Sivana was an idealist trying to sell his inventions to governments or corporations to help change the world. He was a dreamer and absent minded in the way of geniuses and Charlotte's practical nature complimented him. He needed her and they found love. Charlotte was quite pregnant when Sivana finally gave up on Earth and using a rocket designed with Stuart Blake launched the two of them to Venus. The twins were born en-route and the stress of the trip and giving birth to two such healthy children was too much for Charlotte who died soon after. Sivana always assumed they were four months early and buried his wife on Venus. Conquering an entire planet and raising two children alone caused Sivana to descend into madness (and lose his hair) and when he felt they were old enough and prepared enough to rule the planet themselves he set off back to Earth to add it to his empire. Sivana would in time acquire a secretary named Venus and by her fathered two children. Beautia Sivana
Magnificus Sivana -Born 1914 and raised on Venus In 1930 their father left Venus for Earth and left the twins in charge of the planet. While Beautia ruled Magnificus explored and eventually found an underground humanoid race who were descended from the Homomagi who had left Earth long long ago. The twins installed the humanoids in positions of power and in 1940 followed their father to Earth. Venus Sivana
Thaddeus Bodog Sivana Jr
Georgia Sivana – Born 1932 See SHAZAM Without Billy and Mary Batson in the Golden Age there wasn't much need for the “Most Wicked Boy and Girl in the World” to be teenagers.
When Ralph Cane died it was found he had gambled away what was left of the Bishop fortunes and was deeply in debt. The house and lands were foreclosed on by J. Willistone Jyppe, a crooked banker in the pay of the same mob to whom Ralph had lost the money. Rosanne, who had become quite fragile after the birth of her son, died of a heart attack soon after.
Joseph Cane - Born 1924 The easiest by far of Hugo's Boys to place. Joe was only ever called Hercules, which his mother wasn't, and his origins were vague enough (northern woods) to fit in to Upstate New York. I almost wonder if Roy Thomas was simply unaware of Joe when he created Iron Munro. Joe was the right age already without fiddling with the timeline of the novel, and fit perfectly within the narrative as a child of Rosanne one never heard of, as there wasn't any follow-up on Hugo's limited conquests.
Died sometime around the first German push into Greece, never much mentioned and mostly here through inference.
A Fifth Columnist and quite dead.
Perhaps the biggest stretch of the project and relying on the most retcons. Helena was created by Roy Thomas to replace Wonder Woman in the Golden Age after the Crisis, but on Wayward Earth there was no Crisis and Queen Hippolyta was the Golden Age Wonder Woman and mother of Lyta Trevor – Fury. Almost no reason to keep the character at all except for a “brief but disastrous” marriage to Iron Munro (which transferred to Joe Hercules), a daughter, and a mad race across the world.
With snatched children being a thing that happened to a lot of Golden Age heroes, (thanks to writers of the 1970s-90s) and had already happened to Danner offspring (Kuno Reiter), one more sort of fit. And with Jeremy Rice being a part of the Lost Generation who was conflated with the Teen Titansvillain Epsilon there needed to be a blonde Theta and a daughter of Fury and Joe Hercules more than fit that bill.
The Danner Formula
Professor John Tower
John was a scientist who made himself superhuman and had been about for a REALLY long time. Then he became a villain. Ends and means sort it seemed. Linking this back to Abednego Danner's lab assistant was a small stretch and it provided the origins of Bannerman Pharmaceuticals and everything that came after.
The relationship between the Towers was never delved into, but somehow John broke the gender barrier on the Danner formula and gave his wife powers. For someone as long lived as John Linda could have been another long-term experiment – possibly from the same orphanage as Master Man.
Thomas “Tommy” Tower
He was dead before his first appearance, that's how little there is on this guy. I'm going to imagine something of a rock-star hero here, but the (decidedly not-white) mother of his children was never revealed because his pop was a little too into the Racial Purity thing.
Daria “Dusk” and Daniel “Ducky” Tower
Ivan Velez, Jr. the writer of Static for Milestone remarked on goodcomics.comicbookresources.… “Yeah, there was a great origin for Dusk coming, but when I left the book (asked to leave), I couldn’t finish it. Dusk and Ducky are twins. Ducky does have super strength… and we would have found out that her grandfather is John Tower from the Holocaust mini-series.”
Good enough for me to call it canon. And this reinforces the gender aspect of the Danner formula introduced by Roy Thomas and confirmed with Kate Spencer – that it doesn't work on females except when there are twins. Or John Tower makes a special project of it.
David Aaron – Master Man Master Man was a classic sort of character in that he had the most rudimentary of origins and introductions. Orphan, but no given name, given mystery pills with no origin of their own by a random “wise old doctor”, and then sued out of existence. That last bit was a tad unusual. Figure the “wise old doctor” was John Tower in disguise, a very ends and means sort of thing to do, “The boy is an experiment; nothing more. If he should prove true then the experiment was a success and the world the better for it. If not, then he suffers none and I try again.” The given name? Vaguely biblical and I was reading Scalped at the time. MM was never provided a name in the comics so the field was fairly wide open.
David was just a boy in an orphanage when a “wise old doctor” began visiting him. David was sickly and weak and the doctor gave him a special pill and proscribed exercise and diet regimens for the boy. The doctor would return occasionally and provide more Vitacap pills, check on his progress, and tell the boy stories of mighty heroes.
See Tyler Family
See Scarab Doctor Vaughan
See Great Defender
General Immortus and his Iram Society provided the funding for Bannerman Pharmaceuticals based on the Vitacap research conducted by John Tower in the hope of developing a more permanent Immortality Serum. The chemists involved in the very hush-hush research were Doctors Tyler, Franz, and Vaughan. All were suspicious of the end goal of the project, but while Tyler published false results and continued to work for the company, excelling in other less dubious projects, Franz and Vaughan stole what samples and notes on Vitamin 2-X (Vitacap v2) they had and vanished – Franz to Chicago and Vaughan to San Fransisco. Rex Tyler would test the modified formula he called Miraclo on himself and take to the streets as Hourman inspiring a legacy through both his own family and the decedents of the Minutemen of America. Through one of the less scrupulous Minutemen the Miraclo formula would be leaked to Ameritec where it was developed into the super-drug Tar for potential military applications. The main differences between the original Vitacap and Miraclo were the specific and variable time limit associated with the dosage and the size altering properties. Tar would increase the size and muscle gain but severely cripple the duration – from an effective hour to only minutes. Otto Franz became the friend and confidant of Chicago police officer Dan Garrett and would assist Garrett in his role as the Scarab providing both Vitamin 2-X and technical support. The Scarab legacy would, thanks to Doctor Franz, become a Chicago hallmark. Vaughan meanwhile set himself up as a corner pharmacist and helped local soda jerk Stormy Foster peruse a career as the costumed crime-fighter the Great Defender. The Vitamin 2-X formula was an adrenal variant on the Vitacap that remained effective in the system of the user for as long as adrenaline levels remained high. While the increases in strength, speed, and endurance provided by Vitamin 2-X were not as staggering as either the original Vitacap or Miraclo they didn't require the slow build up of Vitacap to gain efficacy nor cause the debilitating hallucinogenic side effects of Miraclo or require as long a purge cycle between doses. An unseen side effect however was Vitamin 2-X's effect on the offspring of users causing them to exhibit the enhancements provided by the formula, albeit at a reduced level, without ever having to consume it themselves. Due to one misadventure or another the Vitamin 2-X formula got out and resulted in the creation of Venom and the steroid A39.
Dr. Daniel Hardin
The Sons of the Dawn
Even before the revelation of Danner's abilities in the temple Professor Daniel Hardin knew who and what he was. Even before Hugo joined the expedition Hardin was aware of Le Colorado and the Miracle of Webster University. From the beginning of the journey south to the Yucatan Hardin had been suspicious and had rifled Hugo's belongings finding the journals. He had set to secretly copying the books a week out of port and had completed the task long before Hugo disappeared into the jungle.
Hardin would replicate Abednego Danner's formula and use it on himself causing an amazing transformation that made him go mad. Having well and truly lost his mind, and believing himself to be Hugo Danner and the proper heir to the the Legacy of Abednego Danner, Doctor Hardin set up shop in Maple White Land a “Land that Time Forgot' in South America. After creating an entire generation of super humans from the native population Hardin and his Sons of the Dawn invaded Washington DC in 1942.
Hardin's formula would prove unstable and given the extreme stresses of fighting a horde of super powered individuals the Sons of the Dawn broke down and in some cases exploded. With the real Hugo Danner on the field Hardin was faced with what he'd done and his own madness. He subsequently killed himself.
The only survivor of the Sons of the Dawn was the only female of the lot Xavi, twin sister to Xhoti. Xavi would build a connection with Flying Fox (II) and after a period of incarceration be released to his custody. This lead to a relationship of the sort that lead to a son, Arak Fox, who was stolen away before his first birthday by parties (then) unknown.
Flying Fox (II)
Arak Fox – Wind Walker I think it was in Alter Ego somewhere that Roy Thomas said his intention all along was to make Flying Fox a decedent of Arak Red-Hand and for the Arak of Helix to be Flying Fox's son. This wasn't revealed before the comics (Young All-Stars, Infinity Inc. & Arak Son of Thunder) were canceled, however, bit it's close enough to canon. It seemed strange to me when I was first introduced to Helix in the pages of Infinity Inc. that a bunch of weird kids raised in seclusion would have any sort of racial identity, even ones as cliché as Arak Wind Walker, Mister Bones or Tao Jones. It just didn't track and raised-by-TV didn't cover it. Here Arak was abducted by Kamikaze of Axis Amerika and his costume reflects that. It being amusing to have Wind Walker raised in the image of Divine Wind had nothing to do with it of course...
An assistant of Doctor Hardin's took the opportunity provided by the good doctor taking leave of his senses and made his own copy of the Danner formula, which the assistant promptly sold to the Nazis. The Nazis then did what Nazis did and created a Super Soldier. Über got sent to America with the rest of Axis Amerika to act as sleeper agents and then as troops for Red Panzer and Atoman when they came to sabotage the war effort. Not much was said about the fates of Axis America after the war. I figure Über escaped into America and reinvented himself, and that there are more entries coming thanks to sewn wild supremacist oats.
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