Tag Archives: Franz Amwerth

Dr. Amwerth and the Quantas

I’ve told you about the Elgim and alluded to how Dr. Amwerth was involved with them. Everyone has wondered how Sam maintained Bop City’s record of safety, the perfect weather, even the seemingly impossible activities within the park. The answer is an interplay of Amwerth’s quantum research and the abilities and technology of the Elgim. While Amwerth had been quite successful with Quantum, the Elgim controlled and manipulated matter and energy with greater precision because for them it was organic and innate. The five represented the five ways their race manifested these abilities:
Lyno, the guitarist who assumed the Terran name Teddy Bulloch, possessed photo-manipulative powers.
Atomo, bassist Cal Moor, controlled the physical world: strength, endurance, resilience, speed, etc.
Xemo, guitarist Zachary Strother, manipulated the environment: temperature, the elements, gravity, pressure, magnetism, etc. Spiro, keyboardist Abe Hanks, was a telepsychic. Bongo, drummer Woody Thomas, manipulated soundwaves.

Elgim as band Because of the Elgims’ prominence in and around Memphis, Amwerth had an abundance of their genetic material with which to work. But the doctor did not work exclusively in combinations of the Elgims’ DNA. Instead, he had a nearly unlimited palette because Sam had requested a way to present the most authentic recreations possible of music’s greatest artists and performers. Amwerth drew on the genetic databank he (and, inadvertently, Sam) had collected to create the quanta-rockers, super-powered rock-and-rollers who provided security for the park as well as the most eerily accurate impersonations imaginable.
After only two seasons, Sam called his quanta rockers together to announce they no longer needed to worry about providing security. There were no loss-prevention issues, no health or safety concerns. The Elgim themselves (and later a handful of quantas like the Dude and the Bard) monitored and rectified all dangerous situations: no cars went out of control, no one stole, no one ran a traffic light. No one was hurt or died of preventable causes within Bop. It rained daily for 45 minutes; a minor inconvenience, and in the middle of the night. It provided a brief celebration for some.
Relieved of the security concerns, the quantas were repurposed. Sam conceived the Fight SeenTM: quantas would stage battles among themselves or with the new quanta-villains he charged Amwerth to create. It was an immediate hit with crowds, as they responded to the conflict the Park had removed.
An unintended consequence of this new direction was the rise of meta-villains Sam had not commissioned. None was foolish enough to attack Bop City, where it was understood that kind of random activity would not be permitted, but it did force Sam to turn his attention beyond the Park. He instructed Amwerth to create quantas specifically to address these threats, which led to another, much more dire development.
The doctor began creating ‘extra-Park’ quantas, beginning with the 4th Power, the Rebels, and the Answer. Basing them in London, they appeared to be beyond Sam’s influence. Luckily, the Mystery Tramp had been created the previous year and had been providing all quantas, both new and pre-existing, with the story of Amwerth’s larger plans. This had led to three camps of quantas: those loyal to Sam and willing to defy Amwerth; those who followed Amwerth and the direction he provided, including those farmed out beyond Bop, to the government and elsewhere; and a group who became increasingly independent, many of whom joined Billy Blue in a loose affiliation that would be quite important on the day of the Great Change.

Billy Blue

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Bop City: A Synopsis

This week I decided to lay out the story behind Bop City. It reveals several of the big moments (today’s comics would call them beats) but I hope it will stir interest in potential collaborators and get this project produced.

Bop City is a theme park the size of an entire city with numerous areas themed around and devoted to different periods in rock/comics history. The Park’s location was chosen because of radiation from a spaceship crash that led to unusual phenomena in the area.  Amalgams of superheroes and rock stars live in Bop City, providing an alternate history of rock and roll and the golden age of comics and animation through adventures, celebrating and paying homage to rock, comics, and history.

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Sam Bop, 1952

Sam Bop is an orphan, born in 1927, from L.A. After passing through a few foster homes, he runs away sometime before 1935 and travels, meeting or seeing John Robertson, Abe Goodie, Pedro Gilbert, Blind Blue Willie, Hamilton Johns, the ParKer Family, Chris Charleston, Mon Williams, Tad Dowd, Red Eddie Buhlett, Jordan Lewis, and Jet Nourre. He enlists, underage, in the Navy back in L.A. and meets his future partner in animation, Burk Wise. He eventually lands as the radio operator on the USS Yorktown where he meets brilliant scientist Dr. Franz Amwerth and his artificial man Quantum. Sam is injured in the battle of the Coral Sea and comes home. He rejoins Wise in Hollywood and along with Wertham they develop 3D tech which gives their studio a huge boost. Sam goes to work at the border radio station XION in Mexico where he makes his first million with Amwerth’s help, selling bizarre tech trinkets. He also meets and hires Angel Black. Joining Wise as the Wacky Boys, he finances their first animated short, Manic Melody, in 1945. Stars continue to pass through Sam’s life, either visiting the studio or when he goes to see them, and the idea of building a venue to celebrate American music coalesces.

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Rockville, Crittenden County, Arkansas

In 1950 two spacecraft arrive in the Memphis area while Sam is there scouting locations. One ship carries a vicious killer, the Sheb; it crashes due to damage inflicted by its pursuers, the Elgim (Little Green Men). Radiation from the two ships (primarily the first) contaminates a huge area around Memphis, travels down the Mississippi, and is carried upstream by rail travelers to Chicago. The Sheb’s ship crashes at Junior and Maggie Yasgur’s farm and causes their livestock to be mutated into anthropomorphic, cartoon-like creatures which Sam gathers, christens the Wacky Wascals, and takes to Hollywood to begin making live-action toons. The Sheb suffers severe neurological damage in the crash and the Elgim seize the opportunity to use their talents, which we perceive as musical, to heal him. Because both ships are damaged beyond repair, they decide to pursue a career as entertainers. Amwerth is aware of them and helps them assimilate to human society as he gathers their genetic material for his own uses.

In 1951 the Wacky Boys’ first feature, Time Machine: 2051, is released, beginning a phenomenally successful reign for the studio in animation and live-action. Over time the Wacky Boys studio is responsible for hundreds of films and television shows and expands into a media titan, encompassing Broadway, touring productions, concerts, publishing, software and net content, and advertising.

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Dr. Franz Amwerth, ca. 1939

Amwerth frequently accompanies Sam as he visits entertainers. As Sam builds relationships for his project Amwerth is collecting DNA samples for his own: combining the aliens’ DNA with that of the performers to create a quanta-powered army to facilitate his planet’s takeover of Earth. Amwerth is a deep-cover agent who orchestrated Hitler’s rise to power with the intention of conquering the planet while it was in chaos. He did not foresee the development of atomic weapons and his plan failed, so the Quantum project is Plan B. Because of his failure from a lack of foresight, he has developed the Cassandra 6000, a prophecy device. It allows him to predict trends but not to see individuals’ futures. He develops quantas and places them in positions of power in the government and military, waiting for the chance to complete his mission. He also develops quantas for the Park, creating entertainers who can provide their own lightshow or stage spectacular displays, especially in combination with other quantas. These events are referred to as Fight SeensTM and can be compared to professional wrestling.

In 1953 Sam makes his pitch to Rockville, Arkansas, to buy their town, relocate anyone who doesn’t want to stay, and build Bop City. He promises a generation of prosperity for any who remain. In 1955 he holds a groundbreaking celebration and invites several golden-age adventurer-heroes to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the end of WWII. Amwerth seizes the opportunity to gather the heroes’ DNA while Sam encourages them to remain and participate in his Park. These heroes are representative of heroes past, with patriotic, jungle, cowboy, detective, spy, aviator, and science-hero archetypes.

overview2 Bop City Opening Day, 1959

After a series of successes and setbacks, Bop City opens in 1959. Founded on the burgeoning rock and roll sound, it is ridiculed and expected to fail. Organized crime figures are infuriated at Sam’s development, as it encroaches on their operations in the river town. As a measure of revenge, they bring about a plane crash that kills some early stars of rock. Nevertheless, the Park endures and truly explodes in the next decade when the Littlepool theme opens, capitalizing on the British Invasion. The figures responsible for this explosion allow Amwerth to create several significantly more powerful quantas. Amwerth believes his mission will be accomplished much more quickly, but the reverse is actually the case; the Elgim have known about Amwerth all along and have maintained control of the quantas through manipulation of their alien DNA. It is during this period that the quantas begin to form three groups: those who know about Amwerth and oppose his efforts, those who know but go along, overriding the Elgims’ control, and those who are unaware of any subterfuge and operate on the superficial level of entertaining Bop City’s visitors. A particular high point for the Park is the opening in 1967 of the PINC, the Point of Inter-Necine Contact, a prismatic, pyramidal stargate allowing unlimited expansion room for the Park in another dimension. The truly other-worldly opportunities prove to be a great boon. This coincides with the rise of Hy Matt O’Reily and Ron Tungsten, a pair of renegade scientists who begin developing a new type of quanta by introducing psychotropic chemicals to the process.

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Arrendem

By the late ‘60s the number of quantas within and outside the Park is reaching a critical point. Amwerth cannot control them all and several are particularly powerful, given the potency of their originals (the entertainers whose DNA was used). A series of public and political tragedies create an unstable atmosphere for Amwerth’s plans between March 1968 and July 1971, a period known as Bop’s Dark Ages. The Park was probably saved by the opening of Arrandem in August 1969 in the alternate dimension accessed by the PINC, celebrating other types of American music: Country, Jazz, Gospel, and Folk, allowing several of the forms that had been shoehorned into Bop to have their own place to grow.  On May 4, 1970, the Great Change occurs, when the opposing factions of quantas begin to battle in earnest, primarily in the Park but also in other locations across the country. With intervention by the Elgim and a number of powerful quantas, the conflict is ended. Amwerth is ousted and returned to his home planet with a warning to leave Earth in peace.

A period of gloom persists as Sam is forced to sell off the Park and private owners operate Bop City with numerous unpopular changes in policy. The ensuing confusion and near-collapse of the Park leads within a year to Sam returning as owner and a renaissance as new themes are opened every year as the music grows and expands. In 1980 Sam visits London and meets Nigel Stuart at the Venue. They discuss how music might have been different had the tragedy of February 1959 not taken place. Moved by this talk, Stuart decides to pursue his work in time travel and initiates the series of events that would create REWIND, an organization of operatives who rescue entertainers from the accidental deaths to which rock and roll seems so disposed.

Sam dies in 1982.

Ldmks-Nborhds-ThemesBop City Themes, Landmarks, and Neighborhoods

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How the Elgim came to Bop

A Tale of Bop City, from Angel Black’s memoirs
The reason Amwerth had been so intent on Sam basing his operations in Rockville was his knowledge of the area’s peculiar history. Rockville had been one of the few small towns before or during the war with meta-heroic activity. The Mechanic was Rockville’s first powered hero, but he was soon joined by the original King Cougar, the Prophet, the Rockville Warrior and the Thunder Road Irregulars, Man O’War, and others. This heroic tradition appealed to Sam also, and led directly to some of Amwerth’s later activities. The doctor really exploited the city’s pride in its native heroes by introducing new versions of the classics and originals of his own creation by the combination of his quantum research, genetic material collected over the years of his association with Sam, and one more element about which almost no one knew.

Everyone is familiar with Wacky Ranch, the theme unlike any other. Established in 1985 on the site of Junior and Maggie Yasgur’s farm, it is the home of Hillbilly Cat, DooWop Duck, and all Bop’s other cartoon mascots. What is lost on most people, though, is that these characters are actual living beings. They were once normal household pets, farm and wild animals, but were mutated and evolved by sudden exposure to radical energies.

And those energies? Beginning in the 1940s, there was a sharp rise worldwide in reports of UFOs, particularly in the US. There was a reason for this, but I have much more to tell you about Sam and the Park before we get to that. For now, it’s important to know that this ‘flying-saucer fever’ made the reports of August 1950 much easier to dismiss. Many reports came in that night not only of a flying saucer, but a flying saucer seemingly in distress, even crashing a few miles west of the Mississippi River in Rockville. Additionally, some sharp-eyed observers reported a second craft that appeared to be following, even chasing the first, but which seemed to wink out of sight before it passed over the river.

All of that was true. The first craft was the stolen escape vehicle of the Sheb, a notorious monster of the spaceways. The Sheb was an assassin and a cannibal, six feet four inches tall, 320 pounds, and best described as a demon: short horns protruded from his forehead and a spiked tail from his lower back. The second vehicle carried the agents sent to rehabilitate him: five members of an altruistic race who did not believe in punishment, but who had developed skills and abilities enabling them to benefit the inhabitants of any world. It’s unclear if they came from another planet, dimension, time, a combination of some or all of these…we would come to know them as the Little Green Men, or Elgim (LGM).

They landed normally in Memphis and approached the site of their quarry’s crash. The Sheb’s craft had been demolished, and only the creature’s inherent resilience prevented his death. As it was, the Sheb lost an eye and a horn in the crash. In a relatively fortunate development, however, he also suffered from amnesia, so the entire question of his rehabilitation could be set aside. His crimes had already made him the scourge of the galaxy, unwelcome anywhere his reputation reached. Because the Elgim had assumed responsibility for him as part of their mission, and also because of their own nature, they promptly decided to remain on Earth.

Energy Map

 

Stars indicate locations of extraterrestrial energy release

from the Sheb’s and the Elgims’ ships and fragments.

Now what has all this to do with Sam? The reason this particular group of Elgim was sent after the Sheb was the Sheb’s one weakness: music. Particular sequences, harmonics, tempos, progressions would render him vulnerable, malleable, even unconscious. These five Elgim were not only law officials, but musicians. With their primary mission no longer one of capture or containment, they elected to pursue their melodic mission along with the Sheb.

The influence of the Elgim and the Sheb cannot be overestimated. Their music electrified the Memphis area, while the energies leaking from the Sheb’s ruined ship flowed downriver and precipitated the rhythm & blues/rock & roll revolution. The energy also spread northward to St. Louis and Chicago, west and east: the vital waves were not restricted to the flow of the river. As the music prospered, more Elgim and other extraterrestrials came to Earth. Unknown to most Terrans, this influx of alien culture radically altered the sound of the music and the face of law enforcement.

That’s how the energy from the Sheb’s damaged craft brought the Wacky Boys characters to life on the Yasgurs’ farm and how flying saucers brought rock and roll to Memphis.

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