What interested me in VSF gaming to start with was the actual fiction of the Victorian era, Verne, Wells, Burroughs and so on. Even Dickens and non-SF Victorian writers are something I really enjoy, having studied Literature at University. So I've been mulling this problem over for a while, how do I make heroes that are Victorian, but still recognisable as heroes? The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is one way, but after some though, I've hit upon another.
The League of Justice
As much as I'm a Marvel kid at heart, I realise that the characters of the JLA are far more universal and easily translated in their mythos. Below is a take on 5 characters (a SS3 team) that combine a character from the Justice League and some Victorian Literature
Tarzana (Wonder Woman)
Found in deepest Africa, living with the apes, this wild woman is cautious around men and is frequently escaping from all attempts to "civilise" her. Tarzana, however, seems to have an inborn sense of justice, breaking up fights and preventing assaults whilst she is loose in London. Possessing the strength of many men and the agility of a great ape, Tarzana is a force of nature unto herself.
Miniature: Reaper do a nice (if naked) wild woman with panther.
Jade Lantern (Green Lantern)
Famous adventurer Halbert Jordan returned from the far East with a most extraordinary treasure, a Jade Lantern that can form out of green light whatever the person holding it can imagine.This wonder was at first used as an item of unique entertainment, dazzling all those with the coin for a ticket. When Hal was set upon by thieves intent upon the Jade Lantern, he was forced to use it's conjuring in an aggressive manner. Since that day, Hal has used the Lantern to defend the less fortunate as well as Queen and country. (Not technically a character from Victorian Literature, but think of it as a "Boys' Own" style hero and it works pretty well.)
Miniature: Any Victorian Gentleman holding a lantern. West Wind's old Watson is a good match.
J'onn J'onzz (Martian Manhunter)
Many know the story of John Carter, the American gentleman and soldier who became a Warlord of Mars. Few, however, know of J'onn J'onzz, the proud Thrakk warrior who was transported to Earth in much the same manner Carter came to Mars. On Earth, J'onzz was hunted and feared as a possible invader related to the dread Tripods. A warrior born, J'onzz knew only one way to prove that he meant the Earthlings no harm and ever since, he has fought evil wherever his Warrior's Code leads him.
Miniature: In my opinion, it's hard to go past Tin Man's Horde Warrior.
Captain Nemo (Aquaman)
Some say he is an exiled Prince, some say he rules Atlantis and some even say that he commands the loyalty of sea monsters. The Great Nations of Europe fear his wrath, but when the Martians invaded, Nemo showed himself willing to defend innocent people from the wrath of the monstrous Tripods. Not always on the side of justice, Nemo can still be counted on to defend the planet from great threats.
Miniature: There are plenty, but I feel that the West Wind one really captures the "feel" of Nemo from "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea".
Ok, so Zorro isn't technically Victorian. However, more than one Zorro Text indicates that the title is hereditary and that sometimes brothers have shared it. Also, Batman (post-crisis at least) was partially inspired by "The Mark of Zorro", so there's a good lead in there as well. I like the idea of a Victorian Batman, but I just couldn't reconcile it with a mythos until I hit upon Zorro, it may not be to everyone's tastes, but I think it fits fine.
Miniature: Again, many out there, but Boot Hill's has a great deal of character.
- James "I'm Bat-Zorro!"