Sam’s selection for Bop City’s location was never really in doubt. Although he considered many possibilities, Rockville’s fabled heroic tradition made its eventual choice inevitable. The explosion of heroes in the Rockville area from 1935-1945 was phenomenal and is overshadowed only by the similar Quanta explosion since the rise of the Park. Why did these heroes appear when and where they did? Only recently has the full story been revealed, and it sheds new light on Rockville’s history and the reasons for the Park’s erection there.
The crash of the Sheb and arrival of the LGM account for the rise of the Quantas, but the earlier boom of non-Quanta heroes is harder to explain until one understands the story of Rockville. When the Rockville Warrior and his juvenile lieutenants the Thunder Road Irregulars first appeared in Rockville in 1935, they were the first of their kind in the country. Although some people contend that their prominence led to the rise of similarly colorful outré criminals, the truth is those criminals began to appear nationwide and would often come to Rockville to test themselves against the Warrior and his peers who soon arrived. It was a virtual flood of sometimes-megapowered heroes and villains. By the time Pearl Harbor was attacked, these heroes had settled in Rockville: the Midnight Cannonball, Blue Mountain, the Sublime, the golden age King Cougar, Bluesfather, Southern Cross, the Dixie Dog, S’tina, the Brakeman and the Wonder Family. The Hipster, who had first protected the innocent on the streets of New York, had left his charges the Swing Kids in the care of his partner Hip Rick and relocated to Rockville, joined by fellow ex-knickerbockers the Swing Sisters, the Black Flare, and Screwy Louie, along with New Orleans’ Dr. 88 and the Brass Blaster; the Texas Swinger, Cowboy King, Allegro, the Cruiser and the Singing Cowboy from the Lone Star state; Detroit’s Sax Master; Oklahoma’s Satin Suede; and still others from throughout the nation.
A notable exception to this migration to Rockville was the Steel Dragon, who left the U.S. and the planet to defend us against the threat of invasion from space. After repelling the famous attack known as Worldswar 1938, Paul Stellar took his crew off-planet and battled the Barsoomians for years, his heirs carrying on the battle long after his tour of activity. The Dragon’s son Evim became the Space Cowboy, and numerous adventurers joined forces with the Stellar family to defend the planet. Among these were the Coral Coaster and his Sea 7, the Rayon Ramjett, the 4th Power, Mother and the Atomic Dawgs, Space Driver, and Blueswing.
Still, the reason so many adventurers seemed attracted to Rockville remained a mystery, until sealed USAF records revealed that the Sheb crash was not so random as it appeared. The Rockville area had long seen an abnormally high incidence of UFO reports. The usual explanations were given: weather balloons, unregistered aircraft, swamp gas. The truth was, the CIA had been conducting experiments creating megapowered operatives (codenamed EDIs–Evolved Defense Individuals) for decades in the Rockville area. The frequent misfires had resulted in the high number of unusually-powered citizens in the region, both criminal and vigilante. Even if they were considered failures by the government, the test subjects were usually conspicuous and most were loathe to return to their hometowns and stand out from the norm. Conversely, the CIA and USAF were usually unable to persuade these individuals to bow to their wishes and did not want to terminate them (hoping to avoid potential disaster), so the subjects had gravitated to their somewhat-facetiously named Megatown outside Rockville and watched and waited for more exiles to arrive. As word spread through the “powered” community, more and more such figures came to the town from across the country and farther. It turned into an unexpected blessing for Rockville, which had long suffered a disproportionate crime rate, even for a southern river town.
Sam had followed the careers of many of Rockville’s (really Megatown’s) icons for years, planning to make greater celebrities of them through use of the media and perhaps acquiring some of their mystique for himself. He could not have foreseen the role he would play in creating the universe of Quanta heroes native to Bop City, but that serendipitous accident was one of the happiest occurrences in Sam’s life. With the success of the Quanta program, Sam had become a curator of rock and roll, an animation mogul, and a creator of heroes. All his dreams had come true.
Or had they?