Toys

Stacks Image 1023

Soon after creating the GI Joe Masterpiece Edition, I was contracted by Hasbro to write the very first GI JOE CHARACTER STYLE GUIDE.

Creepsters


CREEPSTERS were character-cars manufactured by Playing Mantis Toys. I wrote their backstory and character bios (see below).
CREEPSTERS Backstory and Notes

In the misty gloom of
Creepstervania, a cursed, near-forgotten burgh in the heart of the small nation of Vania, stands the horrible hulk of Castle Creep atop Skull Mountain. Surrounded by misty bogs, the stone edifice is ancestral home of the family Creep. Its dank halls and maze-like catacombs have witnessed the misbegotten creation of scientific travesties by generation after generation of increasingly unbalanced Creep scientists.

Quick montage of Universal Monster-like beasts “coming to life” and/or wrecking havoc. Show just enough of each monster to INDICATE a relationship to classic monsters without trademark violations (ala some of your car designs).

It might be humorous to show in rapid, almost rhythmic repetition the familiar “feverish work - spark of creation - monster breaks free - rampage and panic” sequence with various “Dr. Creeps” who all look like variations of the same person. All in glorious black and white, of course.

The horrible castle and its contents have remained undisturbed for over a century since an uprising by the long-suffering villagers at the foot of Skull Mountain finally ended untold years of torment.

Its malevolent history now largely forgotten, Castle Creep becomes the inheritance of
Dr. Otto Mobile Creep, a largely benevolent scientist of mixed repute whose radical theoriesas well as his absentmindedness and inattention to detailhave led to his being banned from carrying out his research at all of the world’s major universities and installations.

Show cover after cover of pseudo-journals referring to Dr. Creep as “mad,” and “reckless.” Sample headline: “How Many Rampages Are Too Many?” accompanied by photo/illustration of the aftermath of some indeterminate “lab accident”; perhaps show Dr. Creep in foreground shrugging his shoulders as if to say “Ooops!”

You could also mix in a “Man of the Year” as featured in “Mad Scientist Monthly.”


Dr. Creep, taking up residence in Castle Creep along with his
faithful assistant, Hyde, feels reborn in the castle of his forefathers, surrounded by equipment and elixirs of centuries past. He is certain that the castle and its apparatus will provide the missing ingredients he needs to complete his dreamthe mad pursuit of which caused him to become shunned by the “mainstream” scientific communityof using the molecular essence of living things to create a car that eats food for fuel.

He is, alas, blissfully unaware of his family’s checkered past, even after locating the remains of notes kept by his long lost father, grandfather, great-grandfather, etc. A fevered night lost in the study of these fragmentary records results in the construction of three
Bio Vehicular Hybridation Chambers, each of which he and his assistant load with raw data and various auto components.

With a flick of the switch, the BVH chambers draw essence and energy from the bogs and craggy land under and surrounding Skull Mountain and Castle Creep, where the restless remains of cast-off “spare parts,” defeated monstrosities, chemical waste products
the unholy flotsam and jetsam of centuries of science and folklore gone haywireeagerly flow into Dr. Creep’s invention.

The BVHC is a chamber with clear walls, hooked up to an array of machinery and lightning-driven contrivances that represent a “Frankenstein” mix of old and new technology.

When the BVHC’s are “fired up,” they glow fluorescent green, and a wide exterior shot of the Castle and countryside shows the green reaching out and causing mysterious stirrings beneath the surface. We see the green effect pulling back toward the Castle like a net being quickly drawn into a fishing boat.


The results are astounding and nearly tear the lab apart. As the smoke clears we see the first results stirring in one of Dr. Creep’s BVH Chambers; a living skull mounted on mag wheels, the red, glowing orb atop its cranium throbbing with evil intent. This is •Drag Skull•, first of the Creepsters and soon to be their leader.

As more and more Creepsters metamorphose into the chambers, each roaring out to make room for another, a shaken Dr. Creep begins his escape. He frantically attempts to free his assistant Hyde from the mounting wreckage in his lab, but Hyde tells him to get out without him while there is still time. As Dr. Creep crosses the drawbridge-exit from Castle Creep, he looks over his shoulder to see blasts emanate from the tower containing the lab
and innumerable Creepsters burn rubber into the surrounding countryside. The Castle, smoking atop Skull Mountain, looks ruined.

Seeking shelter in a cave complex with the mountain, day after day goes by as Dr. Creep gets word of various acts of automotive mischief committed by his creations; foul gasses emitted from exhaust pipes, racing in hospital zones, constant squealing of tires at all hours of the night, etc. Residents of the now-sprawling cities surrounding Skull Mountain report seeing incredibly strange vestiges of their frightening past reflected in the phantasmagoric bio-autos terrorizing their streets.

Dr. Creep works night and day to find a passage back to Castle Creep through the caverns of Skull Mountain, hoping to rebuild his equipment
and reverse the effects of his BVH Chamberswithout detection by the evil Creepsters, who clearly want to do him harm. •Drag Skull• also seeks to re-enter the Castle and ruined lab, hoping to create more evil Creepsters.

One night, just as Dr. Creep encounters a dead end while exploring yet another cavern, he hears revving engines and the squeal of rubber approaching
he has been discovered! Resigned to his fate, he awaits the evil Creepsters but is surprised to see instead his loyal assistant Hyde, now morphed into the shape of a powerful hot rod, leading a rag-tag group of Creepsters who, Hyde quickly explains, are on the side of Right and ready to assist Dr. Creep in winning back Castle Creep and putting an end to the evil Creepsters and their leader, •Drag Skull•.

And so begins our adventure…

CREEPSTERS NAMES and BIOS

1.
NAME: Hi-Beam Scream
ALLEGIANCE: Dr. Creep
BIO:
Not much gets past the four powerful orbs of HI-BEAM SCREAM, Head Case’s highly reliable sentry and forward observer. Scanning in four directions at one time, Hi-Beam is able spot the movements of Creepsters allied with Dr. Creep no matter how stealthy they try to be.

2. Motormouth
(I like this name, so I kept it)
NAME:
ALLEGIANCE: Dr. Creep
BIO:
Often heard long before he’s seen, MOTORMOUTH is as likely to open his yap as he is to open his throttle. Despite his tendency for excess yakking, he’s a valuable and loyal member of Dr. Creep’s team and perfect for sending messages to allies near and far.

3.
NAME: Brain Drainer
ALLEGIANCE: Head Case
BIO:
As Head Case’s faithful lieutenant, BRAIN DRAINER uses his ability to absorb the thoughts and knowledge of those with whom he comes into contact to gather information vital to various nefarious schemes of the evil Creepsters.

4.
NAME: Orb-It
ALLEGIANCE: Dr. Creep
BIO:
ORB-IT acts as the visual warning system for Dr. Creep’s forces of good, using his colossal bloodshot eyeball to spy out trouble while it’s still many miles away.

5.
NAME: BIG BAD BOOGER
ALLEGIANCE: Head Case
BIO:
With a nose like that, you know BIG BAD BOOGER is able to sniff out enemies of his boss, Head Case, wherever they may hide. Creepsters know to stay clear if a sneeze is imminent.


6.
NAME: Coupe de Corpse or Coupe de Cadaver
ALLEGIANCE: Dr. Creep
BIO:
While other Creepsters often rely on guile and speed to succeed, COUPE DE CORPSE simply deploys raw brute strength
he’s been known to put pedal-to-the-metal through stone walls when angry enough, and it doesn’t take much to make him mad!


7.
NAME: Head Case
ALLEGIANCE: Head Case
BIO:
The first Creepster to emerge from Dr. Creep’s Bio Vehicular Hybridation Chambers is also the most dangerous. HEAD CASE is a sinister mastermind who controls a small army of evil Creepsters. His goal is no less than world domination, and he will stop at nothing to get the secrets of creating more evil Creepsters from Dr. Creep.

8.
NAME: Chassis Chopper
ALLEGIANCE: Head Case
BIO:
CHASSIS CHOPPER is a perfect eating machine
simply steel-shredding teeth mounted on mag wheels. Not the smartest hot rod on the block, but nonetheless a formidable and loyal weapon at Head Case’s disposal.

9.
NAME: Turbo Tarantula
ALLEGIANCE: Dr. Creep
BIO:
As nimble as he is fast, TURBO TARANTULA is a valuable ally of Dr. Creep and the forces of good. His superstrong webbing helps fortify the network of caverns beneath Skull Island and Castle Creep, making Dr. Creep’s base nearly impenetrable to the minions of Head Case.

10.
NAME: Haulin’ Hyde
ALLEGIANCE: Dr. Creep
BIO:
Unlike the other Creepsters, HAULIN’ HYDE knew and worked for Dr. Creep before Hyde’s accidental transformation into a top-hatted turbo machine. Happy with his new pedal-to-the–metal form, Hyde continues to be Dr. Creep’s devoted assistant and leads the forces of good.


11.
NAME: Nightro Stalker
ALLEGIANCE: Dr. Creep
BIO:
The dangerous NIGHTRO STALKER presents a threat to any Creepster unlucky enough to encounter him alone and unprotected
he gains his asphalt-churning power by draining the life essence of his victims! Though aligned with Dr. Creep and the forces of good, Creepsters both evil and good wisely avoid contact with this hot rod denizen of the dark.

12.
NAME: Gear Gremlin
ALLEGIANCE: Head Case
BIO:
GEAR GREMLIN is Head Case’s “right wheel man,” a stone-cold enforcer who will stop at nothing to complete whatever evil task he’s given. The other evil Creepsters are all sure to stay on his “good” side.

Games

As the twentieth century dawned, Joshua L. Cohen grew bored with a plant and flower illumination system he’d been working on and gave it away to one of his salesmen, Conrad Hubert. Hubert took the lightbulb-and-dry-cell-battery combination used in the project and developed the flashlight, which became the basis for American Eveready Company. Hubert left behind a $15,000,000 estate, nearly all generated from the invention Cohen gave away. But Cohen had more up his sleeve. In 1901, he offered to power a train he saw in a department toy window, captivated by the idea of toys with movement. He named his new company after his middle name, Lionel, and the rest is toy train history. No poor decision is the last decision you’ll be able to make. Is there a poor decision in your past that you will obliterate with future positive action?
Game card example
The little paragraph above seems easy enough to come up with, right? Now do the same thing 99 more times for game cards. That's trivia game development.


Route 66

ROUTE 66 was a trivia-type game for which I wrote stacks and stacks of questions and puzzlers related to America's "mother road."




USTR05lg

SPIRIT OF AMERICA: Another trivia card-based game, for which I wrote hundreds of questions about U.S. history.