This is an attempt to provide a background history for the super-hero games I run. Most of them have used the Champions rules system, but I am lately branching out. This ties us all into a version of "comic book reality" which allows for the creation and at least prior existence of most of the characters we all know from comics, and yet gives us a world which is not tied down to who has done what when in actual published comics. Most characters who have appeared in "this" world's comics are licensed adventures of real heroes (like all the Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, etc. comics which used to be published). However, the adventures presented in the comics are not at all necessarily true ones.
This is a constantly updated and revised document; it is not carved in stone. All additions, questions, suggestions, and objections are welcome.
Every hero and villain ever published by DC and Marvel (including such stalwarts as Doc Savage and the Shadow) and all the characters DC has taken over during the years from Quality, Fawcette, and Charlton may exist (or have existed in the past) in some form or other in this world, up until 1980. Later heroes and villains may or may not have existed or still exist. In no way is this meant to invalidate the copyrights held on these characters by their respective publishers. This background is in the spirit of fan fiction, a long and hallowed tradition.
"Beyonder-scale" entities, such as the Celestials, the Beyonder himself, the Guardians of the Universe, have not been on Earth in the last millennium or so. If there is a Green Lantern Corps, it does not have a representative on Earth (although there is a Green Lantern...). There are Asgardians, Olympians, etc., but actual members of the pantheons rarely come to Earth to muck around except under very special circumstances and only for a brief time. However, most of the pantheons have, in one manner or another, established avatars of themselves on Earth, many of whom are still around.
Every published character extant started his career when his stories were first published. If Doc Savage and the Shadow are still around, they are getting along in years, etc.. Thus, most of the original heroes who started in the 40's and, to a lesser extent, the 60's are now retired or largely inactive. After all, this is supposed to be a game about our heroes.
Also, the power levels of the original heroes are about what they were when they first appeared. Thus, Superman is faster than a speeding bullet and can leap over tall buildings with a single bound. Green Lantern's ring affects a limited number of materials, etc.
If there is a conflict (such as in a name or origin) between a Champions Universe character and a character first published in comics after 1981, the Champions character usually takes precedence, especially if that character has had a prominent place in local Champions games. Similarly, you may assume that most of the universe-destroying-reshaping events of the last 17+ years (from the Crisis and Secret Wars onward) did not happen. Although I suppose you could consider the Perrinverse to be the product of a Crisis on Infinite Earths or Zero Hour that turned out a whole lot different. However, there was a very limited "Crisis" about 18 years ago (as this is written) that did have a major effect on the world as our characters know it.
Approximately 1,000,000 years ago. The Galactics come to Earth and take away about half the humanoid population. Those taken away are re-seeded on other planets and genetically altered to become agents of the Galactics.
Approximately 20,000 years ago. Galactics revisit Earth and alter some of the population to become Eternals and Deviants. Vandal Savage is early Deviant whose deviance from the norm is Eternal-like immortality.
Approximately 3500 years ago. The highly developed humanoids known as the Pantheon come to Earth and insert some alterations into some genetic structures. First appearance of Shazam and Nabu.
1895 First invasion of Earth from Mars. Martians defeated by bacterial infection and the efforts of Professor Challenger, Sherlock Holmes, and other heroes of the time. Early appearance of the Cabal.
1900 First recorded appearance of heroes with super powers. First appearance of a heroine called Britannia who in some form or another operates in defense of her homeland to this day.
1920s Demon organization breaks with Cabal.
1930s Doc Savage and the Shadow and the Avenger are all active.
1936 First appearance of heroes in San Francisco. The Blue Hornet, the Blue Ghost, Lash, the Monk, the Robot Killer, and others battle a series of supernatural and super-scientific menaces.
1937 First Appearance of Superman.
Second Invasion of Earth from Mars. Defeated by Earth viruses and efforts of Superman and others.
1938 First Appearance of Batman and Crimson Avenger,
1939 First Appearance of Captain Marvel, Human Torch and Submariner, numerous others.
1940 First Appearance of Flash, Green Lantern, Hawkman, Johnny Thunder, and Captain America, among others.
Justice Society of America formed late in the year. The initial membership consists of Atom, Doctor Fate, Flash, Green Lantern, Hawkman, Hourman, Sandman and Spectre. Superman and Batman and Johnny Thunder are honorary members. Others join during the Forties including Dr. Mid-Nite, Starman, Johnny Thunder (as a full-time member), Wonder Woman and Black Canary.
1941 More heroes jump out of the woodwork.
Several women also join the heroes. One of the first was the Red Tornado, who wore a bulky costume and whose sex was never actually known. The most prominent was probably Wonder Woman. Others included Miss Liberty (Quality's Miss America, renamed to save confusion), Liberty Belle, Miss America, Lady Luck and others. Two superhero organizations formed after Pearl Harbor,
The All-Star Squadron and The Axis powers unleashed a secret weapon which made all of their territories safe from Allied heroes who are either magic based (such as Green Lantern, Dr. Fate, and Captain Marvel) or unusually susceptible to magic (such as Superman). The big guns of the All Star Squadron cannot campaign behind enemy lines the way the Invaders (see below) can, so they take on guarding the home front. The Justice Society, the Seven Soldiers of Victory, and the Freedom Fighters are all subsidiary organizations under the All-Star Squadron, which also liaisons with the Invaders.
The Invaders consist of Captain America, Submariner, Human Torch, and other British and American heroes who can operate inside the magic Axis Shield. Members of the All-Star Squadron who assist the Invaders at various times include the Flash, Starman, Bulletman, and several costumed gadgeteers and detectives..
1942-45 World War II. What the comics say happened in the way of characters active (including retcon comics published since the 40s) mostly happened in some fashion.
1946 Aftermath of war. America somewhat apprehensive about superfluity of super-powered people about. Most powerless costumed heroes retire their tights and go back to civilian life.
Accident scars Victor Von Doom--Doctor Doom is born.
Accident scars Albert Zerstoiten--Doctor Destroyer is born.
Criminal organization known as VIPER starts organizing. Initial quarrels within the organization split off Hydra and AIM.
1947-48 Steady decline in superheroic activity in the United States.
United Nation forms Vanguard, also known as the UNHeroes. One hero from each country of the original United Nations.
First incursion of the Cretacians, a race of intelligent dinosaurs only now waking up after hibernating during the age they are named for.
1949 Marriage of Captain Marvel Jr. and Mary Marvel and announcement that they are leaving Earth to "honeymoon among the stars". There is some suspicion that they just retired on Earth.
1950 Villainous organization known as FIRE starts as alliance between rogue scientists and gangsters desperate to get an edge against super-powered lawmen.
1951. Attempt by HUAC to interrogate Justice Society. JSA refuses to reveal real identities and disbands. Most members retire entirely. HUAC hearings put most of superhero community in bad light. Only Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, Green Arrow, and Aquaman keep up active careers after 1955. Captain America (actually the third hero using the name) officially retires.
1953. Third attempt to invade Earth from Mars. Defeated by resurgent Justice Society, Superman, and other heroes, and the advent of a new, mutated, virus the invaders proved vulnerable to.
1955. Invasion of Mars by various supers finds base where invasions started and remnants of a race called the Jovians (not actually from Jupiter) and their Barsoomian slaves. Despite extensive building by the invaders, there is no sign of any native civilization ever existing on Mars.
1960 Justice League of America formed by Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Arrow , and Aquaman, and new heroes the Martian Manhunter, Green Lantern (a new, brown-haired, hero using the old Lantern's ring), and the new Flash (No one remembered the original Flash at this time).
1961 Reed Richards leads best friend, fiancee, and fiancee's brother on an unauthorized space journey. They come back irradiated with cosmic rays and with superpowers. They call themselves the Fantastic Four - Mr. Fantastic, Invisible Girl, the Thing, and the Flame. F4 stops Mole Man and the Skrulls just to start with.
1962 Original Appearance of Kid Flash and Spiderman.
Original Green Lantern re-appears, manifesting powers without the use of a ring. He announces a new hero name of Sentinel of the Flame, immediately shortened to Sentinel.
Several of his JSA cohorts and he announce the reestablishment of the Justice Society as a mentoring and backup hero group.
1963 A time of change as new heroes appear and old heroes disappear or change allegiances.
Leading members of Vanguard team disappear.
Human Torch (the one from the 40s) teams up with some new and old heroes, including Iron Man, Ant Man and the Wasp, Thor, Spiderman, and Captain Marvel, in a successful attempt to capture and neutralize the Hulk. Bruce Banner is cured mystically of the Hulk "infection." Torch, Iron Man, Ant Man and Thor establish the Avengers.
First appearance of the mutant group known as "X-Men".
Selena Kyle-Wayne killed by criminals when she attempts to stop them as her old identity, Catwoman. She is survived by her husband, Bruce Wayne, and her pre-teen daughter, Helena.
Green Arrow retires, his place taken by his partner, who is now known as Speedarrow.
1964 Original Captain America found floating in ice floes and brought back to life by Avengers.
"Captain America" currently in retirement admits to actually being the Patriot, who took over Captain America's identity when the original Cap disappeared.
Disappearance of Vanguard members causes United Nations to form the wholly internalized organization called THUNDER, consisting of both regular agents and a projected elite corps of agents who use high tech items to give themselves super powers.
Members of the old Vanguard organization and some new and old heroes from elsewhere are invited to join the New Vanguard, an international organization of earth's protectors.
1965 Batman retires, naming Robin to be his successor, taking over the Batman name, in a similar costume but with a circle around the Bat insignia.
Rumor has it that Batman is actually dead, and some ringer was brought in to wear the Batman costume for the official retirement ceremony.
Bruce Wayne named Philadelphia Commissioner of Police. Wayne's former ward Richard Grayson, now a lawyer, is named trustee of the Wayne estate while Bruce Wayne is commissioner.
First appearance of Genocide.
First appearance of Teen Titans, consisting of several young versions of known heroes. Some don't seem to be old enough to be "teens," while others are obviously in their late teens. Membership consists of Batgirl (who later became Huntress), Wonder Girl (the current Wonder Woman), Aqualad (son of Namor and sidekick of Aquaman), and Kid Flash (currently Flash III). They are soon joined by Miss Arrowette.
THUNDER finally develops the super-powered gadgets they were working on thanks to the genius of Dr. Emil Jennings, and is immediately occupied by a full scale invasion from Underearth by the Underlords.
1966 SHIELD formed with former CIA agent Nick Fury in charge.
Batman II takes on a new partner, the young crusader and Teen Titan formerly known as Batgirl who takes on the name Huntress. She later trounces the original villain Huntress in a "name fight."
1967 First known activity of the Defenders, a mystic group centered around the Sorcerer Supreme and the Submariner that is said to continue to this day.
First public manifestation of the criminal organization known as THRUSH, now also known as Raven.
1968 Original Human Torch dies. Fantastic Four member known as the Flame takes Human Torch name as tribute to the original Torch.
First appearance of the Hawk and Dove.
1969 Doom Patrol destroyed by their enemies. Only the young Beast Boy is known to survive.
1970 Fantastic Four disappear from Baxter Building.
1971 First Appearance of villain group known as Squadron Sinister.
1972 "Thor" leaves Earth for Asgard, rarely seen since.
Wonder Woman formally retires, revealing her identity of Diana Prince, now Trevor. She hands the Wonder Woman name and most of her equipment to the now-grown Teen Titan known as Wonder Girl. Steve and Diana Trevor retire to places unknown.
1973 Teen Titans break up as the members, all in their early to mid-twenties, depart to take care of their independent careers.
1974 UNTIL organization created out of remnants of the previous Vanguard and THUNDER Agents organizations.
1975 "Fantastic Four" reappear in Latveria as superpowered bodyguard/aides of Latveria's absolute ruler, Dr. Victor Von Doom. Now call themselves the Doom Squad.
1976 Teen Titans revived for short-lived career. Members include Beast Boy, Batgirl II (later called Flamebird), Hawk and Dove, Golden Eagle (an early incarnation of Silverhawk) and adult members Huntress, Wonder Woman, and Flash III,
1977 Major scandal in SHIELD administration. Many administrators found to be agents of Hydra and AIM. Intensive investigation by Nick Fury with the assistance of Batman II, Captain America and Iron Man ends in massive battle in SHIELD's airborne HQ resulting in its destruction and the death of Colonel Fury. SHIELD disbanded. Hydra and AIM are also apparently destroyed in the conflict.
1978 Iron Man, revealed to be Tony Stark, dies during final Avengers battle with Ultron. Attempt by federal agencies to take full control of the Avengers results in resignation of most of the original team. Only Captain America remains. Government forms new group with some of the remaining, newer, members and some of the original members, calling it the Legion of Honor.
Second incarnation of Teen Titans breaks up.
1979 Guardians begin operation in New York. Membership includes Marksman, Hunter, Icestar, Goliath, Flare, Gargoyle, Rose, and White Dove.
Commissioner Bruce Wayne killed in the line of duty in Philadelphia.
Institute for Human Advancement opens its first office in Salt Lake City.
1980 Captain America retires, turning his shield over to a successor who takes the name Captain Avenger and takes the original Cap's place in the Legion of Honor.
New Teen Titans formed. New heroes Protector (who will become Arsenal), Raven, Cyborg, and Starfire join Beast Boy (renamed Changling) and the very young Tornado Twins for an eight year career at the forefront of crimefighting. Original Wonder Woman's daughter, Fury, is founding member but leaves to join Infinity Inc. in 1984. She is replaced by the young Nightwing.
1981 Stark Industries releases many of Tony Stark's secrets to the world--battlesuits start to proliferate.
The Punisher, Frank Castle, shortly after embarking on revenge against the Mafia family who were responsible for the death of his wife and child, was arrested and was subsequently stabbed to death in prison after being mobbed by the prisoners.
Canada creates the Sentinels of the North program.
1982 Dr. Destroyer attempts to use Mind Control Satellite to take over the world. He is foiled by superheroes assembled by UNTIL acting on information originally supplied by Victor von Doom.
San Francisco hero Cyclone, exposed as entrepeneur Vernon Carlysle, starts Nemesis Inc. as a service corporation.
First activity by Terror Inc.
1983 Death strikes the superhero community.
Legion of Honor assassinated by Eurostar. (Membership of Legion at that time includes Iron Man II (Jim Rhodes), Captain Avenger, Falcon, Black Knight, Vision, Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, Hawkeye, Yellowjacket (Giant Man), Wasp and Hercules. Only Vision and Hercules survive. Vision has not been seen regularly in years, Hercules went back to Olympus. Both occasionally surface as members of the Secret Avengers.
Captain America comes out of retirement, changes his name to Captain Avenger and dedicates himself to hunting all the Eurostar members and agents down, wherever in the world they may be.
Daredevil and Elektra are killed by Bullseye. Bullseye, in turn, is blinded by Daredevil's mentor, Stick, in a barroom brawl in Hell's Kitchen. Bullseye, now useless to anyone, languishes in prison.
First intrusion by the Spirt Warriors in Arizona.
First appearance of John Stewart as Green Lantern, as predecessor gains full personal control of Green Flame power and leaves to tour the Universe.
1984 More disasters
Batman II killed by the Joker. His partner, the Huntress, takes on the Batman legacy and swears vengeance. The Joker seemingly dies in an explosion of his own planting.
Dick Grayson is reported killed by intruders in Wayne Mansion. Helena Wayne is the trustee of his estate and guardian (along with Grayson's wife, Bette) of his teenage son, Bruce.
Scourge begins his spree of killing has-been and never-seen villains, starting with the Melter.
Heirs of the Justice Society start Infinity Inc. in Los Angeles on the same model as Nemesis Inc.
1985 A year of sudden changes in the super community.
The supersoldier Nuke stopped by Captain Avenger.
Besides those chronicled elsewhere, Scourge succeeds in murdering Killer Croc, the Riddler, and the Penguin. After his initial spree, Scourge fades back into the shadows.
Captain Avenger, focused on finding and stopping Eurostar, ignores Scourge's massacre of many of the no-importance villains.
The Great Supervillain Contest pits villain against hero, then villain against villain, then hero team against hero team, then hero team against villain team. This evolves into the Great Secret Crisis Contest Wars.
Fourth Invasion of Earth from Mars. Martians revealed to be Skrulls. Destruction of Justice League's satellite is taken as demonstration that the League cannot deal with all invasions and other menaces.
1986 Reactions to the events of the previous year
ISIS established as "first contact" force to deal with alien influences.
First appearance of commercial use of battlesuit technology.
Capture of Magneto, Master of Magnetism and leader of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants in Israel by X-Men. They are forced to turn him over to Israeli authorities for crimes committed in that country.
1987 Missing members of Vanguard Team, missing since 1963, rescued from being used as "power batteries" by villain organization Hellspawn.
1988 Mile High Laboratories makes first known exploration of other dimensional worlds.
Starguard International opens its doors as the premier supplier of super agents, and supers, for hire.
New Titans (formerly New Teen Titans) break up.
With the disbanding of the New Titans, the elements of two Dallas area teams, Men of Iron and the Dallas All-Stars, combine to form the Texas Titans.
1989 Because most of the members of the Guardians have retired or moved on, a new superteam is formed in New York to deal with local issues. The Champions (name licensed from Warren Worthington III) consist of Defender (leader), Obsidian, Jaguar, Seeker, Quantum and Solitaire. This team continues to this day, though only Defender of the originals is still working with them. The current team is very similar in makeup to the originals.
1990 Fall of Berlin Wall, start of decline of USSR. Former Soviet super teams splinter along moral grounds and slowly take shape as The New Guard, the official Russian super team, the People's Heroes, an unofficial group of supers dedicated to protecting the Russian people, and Red Doom, a group of petty authoritarians and sadists who have embraced the supervillain life and seem to have the backing of important interests in the former USSR.
1991 Huntress takes on new sidekick, a fully adult Nightwing.
First commercial use of Anti-Gravity.
1992 Demon invasion of Dallas. Initial gains by demons with strong opposition from Texas Titans.
1993 Demons driven from this dimension by Texas Titans and various allies. Some still around, several in local Stronghold.
Dr. Harly Quinn, inmate at Arkham Asylum outside Philadephia, almost killed by villainess who claims the name Harlequin. Only intervention by the Huntress stops the assault. Psychiatrists claim Dr. Quinn has been "scared sane" and release her from Arkham.
Green Lantern John Stewart reveals that he no longer needs the ring to use his powers. He renames himself Darkstar and passes the ring on to a new bearer.
1994 New Captain Marvel, a young black woman, appears in Dallas and moves to St. Louis.
Villainess Harlequin found beaten and tied up by entangling yo yo on Philadelphia police station doorstep. Her weapons (illusion glasses and mesmerizing lute) are missing.
Starman IV (son of original) assassinated in Cincinnati (his home town). Another hero, the brother of the assassinated one, takes his place, but his status is somewhat ephemeral.
1995 Start of first full ISIS campaign. ISIS foils master plan of Mechanon to masquerade as the deceased Tyrannus and cause a new war between the Underearth and the surface world. First appearance by the Wild Geese.
Second Green Lantern, manifesting self-generated GL powers, apparently dies in the course of destroying a semi-sentient "Berserker" planet-killer.
First appearance of new Wonder Girl, who is acknowledged to be daughter of current Wonder Woman. She displays most of her mother's abilities, plus incredible speed.
1996. ISIS discovers that "Doom Squad" and Doctor Doom are all robots, though the Doom robot is being manipulated by a boy named Kristoff who claims to be the reincarnated Doom. This is disproved by the return of the real Doom and the freeing of the Fantastic Four from the chambers in which they were held while the robots used their personality matrixes and acted as the F4.
1997. ISIS stops the Master from using the Sub-Mariner as a pawn in a plan to Take Over The World!
ISIS, with the aid of the newly active Fantastic Four, stops alien invasion of the world. First Space Plane flies.
1999 New Titans reforms after a couple of previous false starts. Membership includes Wonder Girl II, Kid Flash, Jesse Quick, Cyborg, Arsenal and Arrowette, Nightwing, Tempest, Argent, Changling, Go Joe (Child or grandchild of Dollman and Dollgirl). After earnest discussion, they and Texas group decide the world can handle having two teams called Titans.
2000 Starman V retires, turning over the Star Rod to the new Star Spangled Kid.
2001 New ISIS team led by Cougar stops the Blue Horror and several duped underwater villains from using a stolen alien warp drive to strip the Earth of its atmosphere (he doesn't have to breathe).
2002 Nemesis Inc. Establishes new franchise in St. Louis, the Gatekeepers.
Green Lantern announces that he has now internalized the Green Flame power and turns ring over to woman. This Green Lantern, GL V, joins ISIS to gain experience.
ISIS stops development of Plasmoid into Emissary, saving the Earth, again.
Batman appears again in Houston. After several significant contributions to the ISIS team, he is revealed to actually be Foxbat.
2003 Gatekeepers start racking up an impressive resume, defeating Black Paladin (with the help of Doctor Strange), the new Female Furies, an invasion of invisible alien warriors, and the Vietnamese versions of Eurostar.
2004 Gatekeepers capture Interface, a cyborg villain originally created by FIRE. Interface was stopped after initiating an elaborate plan to record all the powers of the Gatekeepers that involved the manipulation of villains from Foxbat to Holocaust to Genocide.
This is a very tame outline. Most of the heroes are still alive, the world is quite a bit like the one we are familiar with in the comics, etc. The various heroes are just older. If people would like a more abrupt change from what is presented in the comics, or just drop the idea completely, just let me know and give me your suggestions.
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