The History of Origin: 1940-1960

The History of Origin: 1940-1960

Part 3 of the History of Origin series, hopefully shedding some light on this world where the Nobody serial takes place.

 

World and U.S. History

The 1940’s

A golden age of heroes both at home and abroad. War continues. Japan strikes at America, pushing her to enter the war on the Allies’ side. New Science and new methods of war dominate the battlefield on both sides as superhumans become more integral than ever to battlefield superiority. The atomic bomb effectively ends the war with Japan and ushers in a new age, the aptly named Atomic Age. Once again, the world is reminded of superhuman potential for destruction.

1940- In response to massive crime waves fueled by black market super weapons and gadgets, Right Cross forms the first team of superhuman crime fighters with Jade Empress, Spirit Wolf and Serpent Lord, calling it the American Hero Society. April LaRue arrives in Britain after being spirited away from occupied Paris by agents of the Meta Club. Her work is crucial in breaking German Ubermind developed codes.

1941- Using cutting edge stealth technology, Japanese planes bomb the American Naval Base at Pearl Harbor. The U.S. enters the war soon after. Columbia, the Spirit of America, does her part by lending her image to recruitment posters and other war propaganda. In Europe, Germany launches Operation Barbarossa, the Axis invasion of Russia. Harold Sterling claims many lives in his fighter plane and is named an Ace pilot by German High Command.

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1942- President Roosevelt signs Presidential Directive 0406, establishing four Super Squadrons dedicated to winning the war. Rumors of a secret fifth squadron based in the Nevada desert persists for years but no evidence of their existence has ever come to light. The United States military begins many “inquiries” into developing ready-made superhuman troops to fight the Axis powers as America is severely deficient in superhuman manpower. The American Hero Society is able to secure its stay at home fighting fifth columnists and secret Nazi sympathizers.

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1943- Harold Sterling is killed in flight by Natalya Denisova of the Night Witches, earning her a Hero of the Soviet Union medal. The battle of Stalingrad comes to an end with the surrender of the German 6th Army, signaling a tidal shift in the war in Europe. In the Pacific, the fighting heats up and the U.S. captures Guadalcanal, the first major step in the American offensive. The brilliant, and mad according to some, scientist Nikola Tesla is found dead in his New York City apartment. The FBI raids his lab soon after and confiscates his research.

1944- After multiple failed attempts, Operation Valkyrie finally succeeds in killing Hitler in March. With the Furher gone, the conspirators work to arrest the remaining leaders of the Third Reich, but Himmler takes control and within a month the conspirators are rounded up and executed for treason. Himmler attempts to reorganize the Wehrmacht to make it more efficient, but by this point in the war it is too little too late. D-Day goes off without a hitch and with the Eastern Front in full retreat, it isn’t long before Germany’s dream of European domination ends.

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1945- Japan surrenders after the U.S. deploys two superhuman developed atomic weapons against them. The war is over, but not without grave losses. Superhumans return home from abroad to find many things have changed. The stigma of their condition has been replaced with acceptance and gratitude. With the dissolution of the OSS, a majority of superhuman soldiers are freed from military service and return to their civilian lives while others go on to hold prominent positions within business and government. Some, however, follow Right Cross’s example and dedicate their lives to fighting the endemic crime that has sprouted seemingly everywhere in the post war world. Black market trading in superhuman developed war material explodes and many supervillains make their debut as a result. Opportunity is everywhere for those willing to seize it. Organized crime and supercrime continues to escalate in America.

1946- Tired of being exploited into developing computer technology, April LaRue becomes a full time member of the Meta Club and works in their Paris branch on her true passion, miraculous and affordable medical devices for the common man. Meanwhile, in the USA, the American Hero Society exposes and takes down the Ku Klux Klan with help from intrepid reporter Stetson Kennedy. This puts the Society in the national spotlight as a serious crime fighting organization and no longer as a “passing phase”.

1947- India receives its independence from Britain. Before the British withdraw, which they do very promptly, they partition the country into Hindu India and Muslim Pakistan to ensure that no power base can grow and threaten imperial possessions in South East Asia. In response to growing Soviet influence in Europe, President Truman authorizes the creation of the Central Intelligence Agency, a spiritual successor to the old OSS. An event in Roswell, NM is covered up, first called a UFO and then a weather balloon. The truth is much stranger and will change the course of the modern world. Soon after, technological development explodes.

1948- The nation of Israel is founded in Palestine to much European fanfare and Arab confusion. Jordan quickly enters into a peace agreement with the fledgling nation despite uproarious protest from Britain. Jordan is expelled from the Arab League as a result, forcing them to strengthen relations with Israel while the British shore up their defenses in Egypt.

1949- The Soviet Union successfully tests its first atomic weapon. The world superhuman population grows exponentially, leading some to speculate that radiation has something to do with the superhuman condition. Mao Zedong proclaims the founding of the People’s Republic of China, a major shift of power in the East Asian sphere.

 

The 1950’s

The end of the golden era of heroes. Science and technology advance by leaps and bounds. Space and space travel capture the public imagination. A Cold War begins as the two remaining super powers compete for domination of world affairs. Fear, paranoia and hate come to dominate culture. A less than successful war in Korea reveals China’s formidable power and sparks a debate in America on just how to deal with this new Communist threat.

1950- Federal authorities establish the first government run supercrime fighting unit, the FBI’s SCORE Team. The first superhuman enforcement meetings take place between Federal and civilian crimefighters. Meta Club founder Tobias Brighton is a key liaison in these meetings and argues that since more superhumans are fighting crime than ever before, some form of self-policing is necessary to curtail unnecessary collateral damage. Anti-communist sentiment spurs members of Congress to enact draconian measures against all powered individuals rather than just villains alone. Debates in Congress and society at large rage over the role of government in regulating superheroic activity. As a result of all these concurrent events, the first Mask laws are passed and superhero activity falls for the first time.

1951- The U.S. Army spreads a biological agent over San Francisco meant to suppress superpowers in order to test the army’s superhuman fighting capabilities. The test backfires and a thousand people end up sick or dead while hundreds actually develop superpowers due to the biological agent.

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1952- The United States has the highest concentration of superhumans in the world for the first time, over ten thousand, surpassing Russia and Mexico. Radiation research has surged ahead thanks to the work of Dr. Wilhelm Krause, a former Nazi super scientist brought to the U.S. as part of Project Paperclip. Krause believes the key to unlocking human potential lies with the power of the atom itself. Occult experimentation within the U.S. military leads to new discoveries about the mind and the superhuman condition, but is ultimately abandoned as madness spreads through the ranks.

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1953- Armistice in Korea. The Demilitarized Zone is established at the 38th parallel. Though the war never truly ends, the fighting is over for now. The national mood sours in America over the perceived stolen victory. Science and technology based heroes become the norm over their brightly costumed forebears. Superhero levels continue their drastic decline.

1954- Dr. Frederic Wertham publishes Seduction of the Innocent, showing just how vulnerable youths are to the words and actions of superhuman crimefighters, even claiming lurid tales of homosexual and pedophilic love between established heroes and their side-kicks. The Red Scare is in full swing and the McCarthy hearings begin in earnest. The House Un-American Activities Commission goes into overdrive, investigating humans and superhumans alike for signs of communists and communist sympathizers. The Supreme Court rules in Brown v Board of Education that it is unconstitutional to separate schools by race. This Civil Rights victory soon sparks a movement that will march, fight, resist, and sing for the next two decades in the name of equal rights for all Americans.

1955- Sputnik I is launched into low earth orbit. In a panic, the United States forms the agency that would one day become NASA and staffs it exclusively with super scientists in an attempt to catch up to the Soviets. Mere months after the agency’s formation, new missiles capable of intercontinental reach are tested and launched from Cape Canaveral proving grounds. The space race has begun.

1956- Egypt nationalizes the Suez Canal Company and halts Israeli shipping. Israel rejects Britain’s plan to invade Egypt and seeks a peaceful resolution with Jordan as a go between. Britain and France brazenly invade Egypt anyway, hoping to take back the canal and oust the Egyptian President. Israel, Jordan, the U.S. and the United Nations denounce the invasion and Britain is forced to withdraw. For many, this signals the end of Britain as a superpower. Meanwhile, in America, a new generation of superheroes rises to fill the shoes left by their predecessors. The first of these is Power Hour, the son of the original Hourglass who takes to superheroics with gumption and style. The FBI ups their game as well with the implementation of COINTELPRO, a counter intelligence program aimed at disrupting domestic political organizations.

1957- A black bus passenger named Evalise Paquet refuses to give up her seat at the front of the bus for a white passenger. She is arrested for the offense and is heralded by the NAACP as a champion in the fight for Civil Rights. The Montgomery Bus Boycott begins soon afterwards. The campaign lasts until the much delayed Browder v Gayle takes effect, ending bus segregation in Alabama. A crisis erupts in Little Rock, Arkansas when black students attempt to enter the now supposedly desegregated schools. The National Guard is called out to keep the students away, but President Eisenhower calls in elements of the 101st Airborne Division to protect the students. Scarcely a month later, the finance minister of Ghana, Komla Agbeli Gbdemah, is refused service at a Whites Only restaurant in Delaware. Eisenhower personally apologizes for the minister’s treatment. The event further publicizes the effects of segregation and the long delayed Civil Rights Act is finally passed in December.

1958- At 33, Dr. LaRue establishes the LaRue Medical Institute in Lyon, France. It’s mission statement is medicine for all and a cure for hopelessness. The brilliant Dr. Robert Cole develops the first iteration of space suit for NASA based on older high altitude suits. He attempts to get into the actual rocket development program but is spurned by higher ups. His long path to corruption begins.

1959- In a major blow to the public image of the Civil Rights movement, Evalise Paquet is revealed to be an alcoholic and an adulterer. Around this same time, Martin Luther King Jr. and his wife visit the devastated ruins of Northern India. Inspired by Ghandi’s message of nonviolent protest and horrified by the stunning casualties wrought by the Communist insurgency, King begins preaching the importance of non-violence in regards to the Civil Rights movement. The Steel Strike of 1959 brings the U.S. steel industry to a screeching halt. In response, President Eisenhower invokes the Taft-Hartley Act, forcing the workers back to work. The labor unions sue to have the act declared unconstitutional but the Supreme Court upholds the law. The domestic steel industry never recovers.

1960- U2 spy plane pilot Gary Powers is shot out of the sky deep in Soviet territory. The Eisenhower administration denies involvement until the Soviets reveal their evidence to the world. The Semicentennial of Superhumans is celebrated across the globe.

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Local History of Jet City and the Pacific Northwest

1940- John Trent is struck by a vision. The city of the future… today! The World is at War and America sits idly by. An example of the possibility, of the potential of the American citizen must be made! Returning to his father’s old stomping grounds, John sees that Jetty is where the future will begin. He begins a massive revitalization project which empties his coffers, but in the end launches the city into a bright new era.

1942- The Super Squadron known as Unit 34 establishes a base in Liberty Bay, Washington per Presidential Directive 0406. The region experiences a small economic boom as a result.

1943- Jeremiah Brighton, son of failed industrialist Abraham, is certified as a super genius and begins working for the U.S. government developing weapons technology.

1945- Unit 34 is officially disbanded and the base at Liberty Bay is decommissioned and dismantled. The Kitsap region begins its slow decline.

1946- The war is over. In a little over five years, thanks to funds from the war effort and John Trent’s backing, Jetty has transformed from a provincial backwater to the pinnacle of modern cities with a population close to 100K. Factories once part of the war machine now churn out commercial products of a middle class lifestyle. Winning the mayoral election, John Trent launches a renaming campaign for Jetty. Phase two of his vision will soon commence.

1947- Thanks to the support of local war hero Timothy “Jet” Ryder, the renaming campaign is a success and the name Jet City is officially adopted.

1949- The Headquarters for Brighton National Labs is built in Jet City. It is a beacon of learning, innovation and invention and many local heroes become patrons, purchasing heroic gadget technology at affordable cost as part of crime busting initiatives. Police departments participate in pilot programs to test criminal catching devices. Technology theft gives villains access to neat Brighton toys as well. Good or bad, everyone’s buying Brighton! Around this same time, Jet Ryder sets off to travel the world in a jet plane of his own design.

1951- Fifty years after Jetty’s founding, John Trent’s vision has come to pass. Jet City is a shining metropolis that rivals Seattle in size and prosperity.  Science labs and independent research facilities develop cutting edge tech for the burgeoning Military-Industrial Complex and their jet planes are the envy of the world. Public transit and infrastructure are state of the art and its beautiful skyscrapers, built amidst the lush natural Northwest beauty, are a wonder to behold. Mayor Trent boasts that Jet City has more eggheads per square capita than any city on Earth. Boeing has massive competition in Jet City’s homegrown companies.

1954- The Brighton testing facilities at Stillwater are built just outside of city limits. There, secret technologies are developed and tested for military use. The compound develops a reputation for dangerous experimentation and boundary pushing ethics.

1955- Jet Ryder returns from his travels abroad and establishes himself as Jet City’s resident superhero. His adventuring ability is second only to his sharp mind and his jet plane designs are second to none, even in a city of jet makers. After Mayor Trent shares his vision of Jet City’s future, Ryder partners with him and Jeremiah Brighton to help this vision come to pass. Their brain trust becomes known as the Triumvirate.

1956- The American Hero Society sets up its first West Coast branch in Seattle with plans to expand to Portland and LA. Their connections to the Meta Club and the Brighton family mean they get their run of the neat toys Brighton Labs is pumping out.

1957- Stillwater is officially annexed by Jet City, causing friction between Trent and Brighton over jurisdiction and ultimate ownership of Brighton’s property.

1958- Mayor Trent begins working in secret on a project that he hopes will change Jet City and the world for the better. He enlists the aid of Jet Ryder to make sure the project goes through without a hitch.

1959- The State of Washington passes a bill officially changing the state college’s name to Washington State University.

 

Notable Figures

Columbia- A veteran of the Great War, Columbia was ready to fight when WWII came knocking. She lent her likeness to war propaganda and was even called to lead one of the Super Squadrons established by President Roosevelt. She met her end fighting exotic Nazi weapons of war in the siege of Berlin, mere days before victory.

Harold Sterling- An American superhuman pilot who defected to Nazi Germany in order to fight Communists in Europe, staining his legacy and bringing shame to his family for decades to come. His estate was seized by the U.S. government following his death and his many relics and acquisitions were catalogued and sold to the highest bidder.

Dr. April LaRue- Child super genius turned Allied code breaker, LaRue revolutionized early computer technology and information theory but later returned to her original passion of creating affordable medical devices for the masses. In her later years, LaRue would see her medical institute operating in almost every country on Earth, with a major focus on Third World outreach and community enrichment.

American Hero Society- Founded by Right Cross, the initial roster consists of Jade Empress, the magical mystery of the Far East; Spirit Wolf, the Native American Shaman Supreme; and Serpent Lord, a master of tricksss, illusion and hypnosissss.

John Trent- Son of Jonathan Trent and inheritor of a floundering hotel empire, John saw bigger things for his life. His vision of a better tomorrow drove him to Jetty where he would create a blueprint for the city of the future. His election as Mayor of the newly christened Jet City would bring him one step closer to realizing his dream.

Jet Ryder- Jet fought as a young pilot in WWII and later became a superhero in his own right. An avionics genius, he developed new jet plane designs that revolutionized military planes and the commercial airline industry. His support of Mayor Trent’s campaign resulted in the naming of Jet City itself.

Jeremiah Brighton- Son of Abraham and nephew of Meta Club founder Tobias, Jeremiah was a super scientist who started a number of private-public ventures focused on scientific and technological research, the most successful being Brighton National Labs. His collaborations with the American Hero Society and his uncle’s Meta Club resulted in a slew of breakthrough inventions which standardized superhero equipment for generations such as one size fits all utility belts, mass produced grapple guns, and miniaturized wireless communication devices.

Evalise Paquet- A controversial figure in Civil Rights history. She was the impetus for the Montgomery Bus Boycott and was a symbol for the Civil Rights movement until she became mired in scandal when Civil Rights opposition dragged her name through the mud and sullied her image. The movement dropped her soon afterwards and she is scarecly remembered today.

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