Friday, November 21, 2014

Continent of Myrra home of the Nightmaster!

First Appearance: Showcase #82 - 1969

Clipped from Fanzig by John wells : The circumstances that would transform Jim Rook into the Nightmaster began nearly a millennium before his birth in the other-dimensional land of Myrra. The world was full of strange sights, from the benevolent Zelks (grasshopper-like steeds that the natives rode: SHOWCASE # 82) to Hackies (animated suits of armor "filled with vile souls of dead Warlocks": # 83) to Smoke Spiders (giant arachnids that materialized in unlimited numbers from magic vapors: # 84) to Arivegs (monstrous flying plants that "devour anything that falls within their grasp: # 84).

In a kingdom of Myrra, a monarch had once commanded the court magician, the blue-skinned Farben, to provide two renowned warriors with weapons that they would use in defense of the realm. The blue-fleshed barbarian Brom was given the enchanted Mace of Mists. The pink-skinned Nacht, a goateed man clad in a blue hood, blue body suit and a red cape, was bequeathed with the Sword of Night. Corrupted by power, Brom and Farben conspired to murder their sovereign and the loyal Nacht. The two warriors fought "for a full day" but ultimately the Sword of Night was victorious. Before Nacht could react, Farben cast a spell to exile the hero to "a separate spiritual plane" that overlapped with Myrra -- Earth. The Sword of Night was stuck fast, Excalibur-like, in a stone column in the royal chamber. With the disappearance of Nacht, the balance of power shifted in the favor of Brom and his descendants. The faction known as the Warlocks reserved a special fate for the kingdom that their patriarch had coveted. Its "magnificent buildings crumbled" and its "people shriveled under the mystic onslaught," reduced to short, withered blue-skinned creatures.On Earth, Nacht, using his family name of Roke (inferred from SHOWCASE # 83 & 84), had no choice but to adapt to the strange new world of 10th Century Earth. He took a mate and began a family that would extend for centuries to come. His legacy would ultimately fall on the shoulders of a child born in 1942, a kid from the slums of New York City named Jim Rook.

After beating three hecklers into semi-consciousness ("You think because I don't look like a bank manager I'm weak -- because, I favor peace, I'm a coward … fair prey for bullies?"), Jim was pulled away by Janet. Walking through the streets of lower Manhattan, Jim spotted a store called Oblivion, Inc. and, convinced that a vacant lot was supposed to be on the spot, felt compelled to try the door. He and Janet immediately realized that they'd made a mistake. The door locked behind them, the temperature began to plummet, and a spiral of golden energy tore them away to the land of Myrra. With Janet nowhere in sight, Jim was brought before the wizened King Zolto. The monarch admitted that he'd taken advantage of a fracture in the barrier that had long separated Earth and Myrra and summoned a descendant of Nacht before the opportunity passed. Jim kept his cool but insisted that he and the missing Janet be sent home at once. The conversation was disrupted by the humming of the Sword of Night, still sheathed in the pillar. The song of the sword was a warning of approaching Warlocks and Zolto pleaded with Jim to release the blade. Despite Rook's insistence that "from swords I know zero," Zolto assured him that "the weapon will guide your arm." As predicted, the heir to Nacht could draw the weapon and he instantly felt "some sort of weird strength surging through my arm -- through my whole body. The blade seems ALIVE … to KNOW what it wants to do. I didn't even see that Warlock bolt coming. The sword pulled my hand to parry. Since this obviously isn't my show -- I'll follow the sword's lead -- and hope for the best!" It was a strange scene, the Earthman with the turtleneck, Nehru jacket, and striped pants fighting otherworldly magicians in green robes. Though Zolto had to bail out his young defender in the end, he pronounced Jim Rook's first battle a success. 
"I feel like a character from Howard or Tolkein. Pretty soon, though, I'm gonna wake up and find this is a spaced-out dream. And I'm gonna swear off reading sword-and-sorcery sagas!" -- Jim Rook, 1969 (SHOWCASE # 82).

No comments: