Bit-Sized Level Design

Quick Games Education video I worked on for Ultra Creative Games, all IP and associated rights belong to them. This was created to share knowledge with our Beijing sister studio, unfortunately we never got an opportunity to build on this with anything further. I currently have no plans to follow this up further, but felt like it was neat enough to share.

Below Is a collection of articles I wrote for the VFS Arcade (


Back in July of 2012 five students (David Dryden, Ian MacGregor, Rishi Patkar, Marc St-Onge, and Jay Zhou) finished off their final project “The Last Phoenix”: the crown jewel of their year at VFS, but little did they know that this would just be the start of their journey.

“It was a tremendously visually impressive game, with unique mechanics, and a huge expressive world. Also they were the first group to pioneer with advanced shader techniques at VFS”
- Chris Mitchell: Game Design Instructor

A month later they graduated from VFS’s Game Design program, and won the award for Best Final Project of their class. Seeing as they had a prototype that people were reacting positively to they decided to further its exposure by posting it on Steam’s then new Greenlight service, where it would go on to garner thousands of votes and even more exposure from articles posted on sites like ‘Alpha Beta Gamer’, ‘Cinemablend’, and ‘Rock, Paper, Shotgun’.

“It had a great whimsical edge, and they made great use of vibrant colors to achieve a fun art-style.”
– Tanya Jensen: Program Manager

After all that exposure and positive feedback the student-developers of “The Last Phoenix” felt like they might be onto something that they could turn into a real success, and now they are taking the ultimate plunge by starting a Kickstarter Campaign to fund a full scale release of their game under the new name of “Igneos: The Last Phoenix”.

“The Key to The Last Phoenix was that they had three solid pillars that they stuck to, which allowed them to implement features early and fine tune those features to great effect”
- Dave Warfield: Head of Game Design

With their new journey decided on, the team conducted a post-mortem on their final project and they have concluded that they would like to rebuild the game from the ground up while redesigning it to increase its marketability for the Kickstarter audience. It appears as though the team is going back to the drawing board to start from scratch to make the game bigger and better than ever before, while structuring it to allow for content to be added or cut depending on the amount of funding they raise.

“They were a very technically skilled team, they were the first team to master custom shader work using a shader editor and implement it with the Unreal Development Kit. They also figured out how to fill out a large open world with modular pieces to make the game look very distinct for a project built in UDK.”
- Peter Walsh: Programming Instructor

So now, almost three years later this dedicated team of five has taken the lessons they learned on the production floor and used them as a launch-pad to turn their final project into an exciting new prototype in hopes of bringing their full game to reality and bring it to the masses. It’s great to see a VFS project go from post-its on a whiteboard to a staff pick on Kickstarter and hopefully they will make it all the way! Currently they are sitting at $3,600 out of their $40,000 goal with 29 days to go!

“It was a great project when it was here. A well-polished and unique experience. I’m backing it!”
-Andrew Laing: Game Design Instructor

So please check out their page Here to back this exciting project (there’s special offer going too! act now to get $5 off of the $25 tier!) and tell your friends!

To cap off this article I’d like to include a quote from one of the designers of “Igneos: The Last Phoenix”:

“It’s come a long way from their initial napkin sketches to this big campaign, but looking back, its equal parts exciting AND terrifying. We’re reminded of that first time we took a step onto the podium at VFS’ Pitch-and-Play nights: we’ve done this before. We showed off what we can do, now we just need to show that passion to the world. Time to make a game.”
- David Dryden


Hey all, with the end of 2014 fast approaching and a new year around the corner we here at VFS thought it would be nice to look back at the year and highlight everyone’s hard work as well as look forward to 2015! (and put the spotlight on all the new games that have been updated in this websites library!)

When I consider 2014 it’s hard to believe all that has changed since I was in my second term at this time last year. Students have graduated, Staff has come and gone, Alumni have gotten exciting jobs in Vancouver and around the world, a new program that VFS is offering here at the Game Design campus has started: “Programming for Games, Web, & Mobile”, and perhaps most importantly we have made a lot of really cool and exciting games. Five Game Design classes have graduated with one more class, the GD37′s (who are notable for being the first GD class to collaborate with the new Programming program) graduating in the coming weeks.

To celebrate the conclusion of another year of the VFS Game Design program I’d like to highlight each of the classes that graduated this year and show off their hard work; so let’s start with the GD32′s who graduated all the way back in February. This class of eleven turned out three great projects with: The pulse pounding rail platformer Rails of Fury (Click to play!), The gloomy and competitive multiplayer online battle arena Tempt, and the rail shooting solo project HighLights. Also of note is that graduating student Sebastian Pachmayr has joined the VFS staff as a Teachers Assistant for Art.

Next up graduating in April we had the GD33′s which were a group of twelve that made four games that were great fun: The team based beat ‘em up Jukebox Paradise, The cooperative forest crawler Camp Roanoke, The high octane 2-D run-and-gunner Hero of Space, and the 2-D puzzle platformer Minerva

The summer began in June as the GD34′s finished off their time at VFS; this class of twenty five produced seven games and one artistic portfolio. The games this group turned out were: The epic interplanetary multiplayer online battle arena Nebular Online, The downhill kite racing mobile game PaperWings, The medieval endless runner Atrophy, The first-person and literal puzzle game The Puzzle Guardian, The anime/manga inspired endless runner for mobile IInside, The action/(not)-rhythm game Misorderly, and finally the UDK action/exploration solo project Ghost Light. Joining the VFS staff from this class is the new Teachers Assistant for Unity, Spencer Goring.

Without any trace of bias the greatest class in VFS Game Design history graduated in August; the GD35′s. This class of twenty six produced six excellent games running the gamut from 2-D mobile horror platformers like The Exhibit, to the inter-stellar dreadnought combat of Eclipse, to the neon covered action-adventure game (that I happened to work on!) Kinetic, to paradox inducing first person action like Forgotten, to the psychedelic parkour of Lucidity, and the cybernetic tactical combat of Carrion. If you need further proof of GD35′s greatness it should be known that VFS hired three of the graduates within two months of their graduation; Dustin Williamson who has now moved on to Relic, Jamie Thompson the new Program Assistant, and myself Thomas Pierce the Technical Teaching Assistant.

With my class out of the way, next up was the GD36′s, this ambitious class of eighteen chose to experiment with things such as multiplayer or the new Unreal Engine 4 software for the development of their four final projects. The experimentation with Unreal Engine 4 paid off very well with the two teams being able to create the chilling action thriller Arc, and the medieval mech combat of Dwarven Petroleum. Meanwhile the other two teams experimentation in multi-player made industry night a chaotic affair with the free-for-all motor combat of Deathceleration and the team based kung-fu chaos of Wuxia Warriors

Last but certainly not least we have the upcoming graduates the GD37′s; This class of twenty one created five great games with a new twist! four of the five teams brought on a Programming Collaborator (one group brought on two) from the first class of VFS’ new Programming for Games, Web & Mobile (PG01) to contribute to their projects. These final projects demonstrated a wide variety of genre’s, like the mind-bending first person puzzles of Recollection, or the tower defence infused action combat of The Witching Hour, to a strategy board game translated into a video game Brave Tactics, or the head to head tubular racing of Stick Shift, and even the Oculus Rift enabled exploratory puzzler Certainty Condition.

So that was 2014 in a nutshell! a year where a hundred-and-thirteen students from around the world graduated after creating twenty-nine great games that I highly encourage you to play by clicking the links peppering this article. These games had groups ranging in size from solo projects to a group of seven. Their genres ran the gamut from racing, to platforming, shooting, to puzzling, and beyond. They varied in perspective from 2-D as well as 3-D and a couple groups even experimented with Oculus Rift. These games could accommodate single player sessions, or multi-player, or even online! and finally these games were made in varying engines from Unity, to UDK and UE4, and even a Construct game. With all this variety, hard-work, and talent on display we should have a game here to suit almost any taste so give them a try; after all the price is right with them being free and all!

So here’s to the amazing year that was. From all of us here at VFS I’d like to wish everybody a happy holiday season and a fantastic new year. I know I’m not the only one looking forward to 2015 so we can see what classes like the 38′s or 39′s will turn out in addition to the exciting work that the Programming for Games, Web, and Mobile Students are toiling away on!

And if you are really into games, check out the past 9 years of games from VFS Game Design under the “Desktop Games” and “Browser Games” links at the top of the Arcade website.

Happy Holidays!


Mythology can be described as collections of characters, monsters, and stories used by various civilizations throughout history as a means to explain the world around them, provide examples of heroism and villainy, or use as examples to teach the populous important lessons. In previous entries Dave has provided examples of a diverse sampling of mythologies originating from the distant past, which is often the case but I would argue that humanity is still creating mythoi to this day.

The best example of this is the rise of the super-hero beginning in the 1930’s with the likes of The Shadow, and Mandrake the Magician; which ultimately coalesced into the Marvel Comics and DC Comics universes that formed out of the popularity of the original Human Torch from Marvel Comics #1 and Superman from Action Comics #1 respectively. In this article I will pluck a few examples of interesting super-heroes from the Marvel Universe and explain their origins with an eye on mythical influences, I hope to follow this up with an article about three heroes from the DC Universe.

Wow that was awfully formal huh? I apologize I’m more used to writing report papers than I am blog posts, I will try to be a little more personable from here on out.

Jim Hammond: The Original Human Torch


No not Johnny Storm of the Fantastic Four, Jim Hammond is the grand-daddy of the Marvel Comics publishing empire dating all the way back to 1939 when Marvel Comics was still called Timely Comics. This character featured alongside Namor the Sub-Mariner in the first super-hero crossover in Marvel Mystery Comics #8 & #9 which is considered by many to be the origin of the shared nature of the Marvel Universe.


Jim Hammond is an android created by Dr. Phineas Horton and revealed to the public to demonstrate his new “Horton Cell” technology that allowed the creation of synthetic tissue and organs that simulated human cells perfectly. However when the android was exposed to oxygen it would spontaneously burst into flames, naturally this caused public hysteria; so in disgrace Dr. Horton sealed away his creation in a block of concrete and tried to fade into obscurity. However a crack in the concrete caused the android to ignite exploding the block giving Jim his freedom; he took advantage of this freedom by acting as a hero overseas in WWII alongside Captain America as a member of The Invaders.

 Mythological Take-Away:

The story of Jim Hammond contains a lot of elements of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, as well as an aspect of the story of Prometheus. He is a hero made by man that the very people he protects fear as a destructive force, but chooses to fight to save them anyways as it is in his nature.


In official Marvel continuity he is the man that killed Adolf Hitler by burning Hitler alive with his fire.



Danny Rand first debuted in Marvel Premiere #15 in 1974, and is easily one of my favorite characters in comics, despite the ludicrously high collar and the goofy ballet slippers. Danny’s father Wendell Rand had a lifelong dream to claim the mantle of the Iron Fist even before he served as a ward to Orson Randall the previous Iron Fist in the 1930’s. After moving past that dream and becoming a successful businessman Wendell funded an expedition into the Tibetan mountains to find the mystical city of K’un L’un to finally fulfill what he saw as his destiny.


So 9 year old Danny Rand, his father Wendell, mother Heather, and his father’s business partner Howard Meachum set out on the expedition, along the way Danny slips on some ice and in his parents attempt to save him causing all three to end up dangling over the edge of a massive cliff.  Meachum who was secretly in love with Heather takes this opportunity to dispose of the competition and forces Wendell to fall from the cliff, then he offers to help Heather and Danny up if she pledges her love to him; naturally she rebukes him and the two are abandoned on the cliff side. After falling from the cliff and surviving Danny and his mother try to find safety but are soon confronted by a hungry pack of wolves, Heather sacrifices herself to the wolves so Danny can escape, and that is how 9 year old Danny Rand became stranded in the frozen Tibetan mountains.

Danny carries on towards K’un L’un eventually being found by Lei Kung the Thunderer of K’un L’un, who brings him before Yu-Ti the August Personage in Jade who decides that Danny shall be allowed to stay among them provided he trains with the other boys. When he comes of age he will also have to compete in a tournament for the chance to earn the title of The Immortal Iron Fist by facing Shou-Lao the Undying a dragon that is imprisoned in a mountain cave outside of the city walls. Shou Lao is a dragon forced to forever guard its own molten heart which was cut out and cast into the cauldron kept inside the cave, the scar the dragon received still glows bright on its chest because of the chi that still flows from its heart.

At the age of 19 Danny wins the tournament thus earning the chance to face Shou-Lao; he makes his way to the cave, squares off with and defeats it by choking the life out of the by forcing his chest against the dragon’s scar severing its connection to the chi from the heart. This burns a dragon shaped mark into his chest marking him as the next Iron Fist, afterwards he approaches the cauldron and plunges his fists into the dragon’s heart. This causes him to absorb the dragon’s chi; granting him astounding abilities, in particular the ability to focus the totality of his chi into his fist turning it into a thing of iron allowing super-human strikes, enhanced agility, strength, etc.

Danny emerges from the cave and is presented with the garb of the Iron Fist and is given the opportunity to return to earth if desires; he elects to go to seek out Howard Meachum, to bring him to justice for his father’s murder. Ultimately he becomes a well-known hero in the Marvel Universe forming the Heroes for Hire with his partner Luke Cage, and eventually joining the New Avengers in the wake of the super-hero Civil War.

Mythological Take-Away:

Over the course of his father’s expedition Danny effectively loses everything in his world, and is effectively reborn into the mystical city of K’un L’un and learns their martial arts and customs in hopes to fulfill his father’s dream. Effectively the “man forged into a weapon” concept akin to Achilles having his mortality burned away in some interpretations of his myth.

Fun Fact:

Wolverine’s arch-enemy Sabretooth first battled Iron Fist in Iron Fist #14 in 1977.



Of course I had to talk about Spider-Man somehow, but his origin has been discussed to death so instead I’m breaking the cardinal rule of Spider-Fandom; yep we’re going to talk about The Clone Saga. This was a Spider-Man event that began in October 1994 intended to run through four Spider-Man titles over the course of the year, this story proved very profitable so it was extended past the two year mark ending in December 1996 which caused the plot became very convoluted and unwieldy.  However when it started the Clone Saga showed a lot of promise as a story, mainly because it raised a lot of really interesting questions about identity and the nature heroism via the inclusion of Ben Reilly and Kaine.


Ben Reilly was created by the mad-scientist Miles “The Jackal” Warren; he was Warren’s first successful clone of Spider-Man and was unknowingly sent out to disrupt the hero’s life. Before even taking the name Ben Reilly the two Spider-Men ran into each other and battled each believing they are the real Peter Parker. During the battle they both managed to become confused, after an explosion “a” Peter escaped victorious and the “other” Peter slinked off into anonymity and took the name “Ben Reilly” as a cover identity. Five years later Ben returned to New York and again ran into Spider-Man after coming to terms with each other Ben took the name “The Scarlet Spider”, began acting as a Super-Hero in his own right, often working as an ally to Spider-Man, and ultimately sacrificed himself to save Peter from being killed by the Green Goblin.

Kaine however is another story altogether, he was The Jackal’s first attempt at cloning Spider-Man, which proved unsuccessful as the mutations causing Spider-Man’s powers were very hard to duplicate, because of this defect his powers, appearance, and mindset were dramatically warped. On top of that Kaine was experiencing greatly accelerated cellular degeneration, so because of these defects The Jackal did not bother to implant Peter’s memories into Kaine and effectively discarded him as a failed experiment. Kaine eventually learned of Ben Reilly’s existence and spent his life following his clone “brother” tormenting him while pursued a life as a mercenary an assassin until he too was brought to New York by the intervention of The Jackal looking to force another confrontation between the three Spider-Men. During this battle Kaine comes to learn that Peter and Ben are not to blame for his existence but rather The Jackal and he sets out to hunt down his creator; this results in Kaine being mortally wounded and reprogrammed by The Jackal.  Eventually Kaine does escape from The Jackal’s control, later becoming a reluctant ally of Spider-Man’s, and most recently he has relocated to Austin Texas where he has taken on Ben Reilly’s legacy as the Super-Hero known as The Scarlet Spider.

Mythological Take-Away:

When a hero is presented with a carbon copy of himself it often raises the question of the path not taken, Ben Reilly represents this question in the Spider-Man mythos. When a hero looks back at a path they could have taken without regret it is a massive testament to their resolve, whether Spider-Man has this resolve is debatable but raising the question is very interesting.  Testing a hero’s resolve is a major component to mythological stories especially when said challenges is reflect the heroes own nature, I can think of no better interpretation of this than a confrontation with a perfect clone.

Kaine on the other hand, is the idea of the opposite from common origins, heck it’s even in his name; he is a clear allegory for the biblical Cain. In this story and that of Cain and Abel we are presented with a pair of brothers: The elder the darker and more spiteful, while the younger is seen as the favored by god. Another parallel to Cain and Abel is the fact that Kaine outlived Ben and grew to regret it. The favored brother vs. the spiteful brother is a common theme in mythological pantheon’s (Thor & Loki, Zeus & Hades, etc.) because it established rivalries based on something real people can relate to, and Kaine & Ben follow this model very closely.


The original plan for The Clone Saga was to actually have Ben Reilly replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man permanently, but the editors pulled the plug fearing that fans wouldn’t accept it.


Through the lens of Marvel’s super-heroes we are presented with tales and lessons very reminiscent to those of mythological heroes from the distant past, stay tuned for part two where I will examine a few DC heroes as they represent the mythical gods.


In my last article I discussed the mythological structure of the Marvel Universe via the origins of The Human Torch, Iron Fist, Ben Reilly, and Kaine. This time I would like to look at the flip side of that coin and post about three heroes from DC Comics because this notion is equally as prevalent in the DC Universe as it is in the Marvel Universe, if not more so.  Also in part one, I chose three somewhat obscure entries, this was a side-effect of my more in depth experience with Marvel Comics, in this entry I am selecting three of the heavier hitters from the DC Comics catalog.

As a disclaimer I should point out that by and large I am more of a Marvel Comics fan; mostly because of personal taste and what I grew up reading and watching. But I have always kept an eye on what DC Comics is doing and wound up with a decent amount of knowledge on their lore. Additionally I will be speaking about characters as they existed before the recent “New 52” universe reset, mostly to avoid confusion, for the most part everything should be basically the same except in a few instances there will be some key differences.



In the early 1930′s  Jerry Seigel and Joe Shuster created the original “Super-Hero” with the concept of Superman. Superman went through a number of iterations before finally being published in Action Comics #1; the prototype Supermen included aspects of telepathy, villainy, heroism, and even time travel. The Superman we know today came from pulp fiction inspirations and a desire to combine the appearance of a circus strongman with the legendary heroism of Samson or Hercules, these influences are very evident in Superman’s appearance with the contrasting shorts over tights and muscular build. Adding nobility and a sense of patriotism to this hero cemented Superman as the American ideal in The Great Depression and World War II, which served as inspiration for the nation’s youth in such turbulent times. Today Superman is a pop icon, that has been in continuous publication during his entire 80 year history, and is a cornerstone of the comic book industry.


I’m pretty sure everyone knows this story, it’s Superman for crying out loud, but I will go through it for anyone who may have grown up on Mars;  Superman was born as Kal-El on the planet Krypton just before the catastrophic destruction of his home-world due to its unstable core. Superman’s father Jor-El was a brilliant scientist on Krypton that saw that the explosion was imminent, so he seized the last opportunity to send his newborn son off into space towards Earth before the planetary explosion.

Upon reaching Earth, Kal-El crashed in a field near Smallville, Kansas where he was recovered by Jonathan and Martha Kent who raised him as their adoptive son, Clark Kent, while keeping his origins hidden. When he came of age Clark became aware of his origins and powers and eventually moved to nearby Metropolis where he protected the city and the world as Superman and cultivated his secret identity as a reporter for the Daily Planet.


Originally Superman took heavy influence from mythical heroes like Samson, Thor, and Hercules, especially given his primary power being super-strength, which played into his circus strongman like costume. Later as the character developed, after being handed from writer to writer, he changed in many ways mostly with the addition of flight to his super-powers. However a number of writers began to portray Superman as a messiah type figure where a lot of Christ symbolism began to come to the forefront, as Kal-El was sent to earth by his father to protect the people of Earth, it is rather on the nose. They took the symbolism to it’s logical end point in 1992 with the story The Death of Superman, where Superman sacrificed himself trying to protect the people of Metropolis from the menacing Doomsday. Finally another important aspect of Superman is that he is basically the “Sky-Father” figure in the pantheon of DC Super-Heroes and is the de-facto leader of The Justice League because of this, making him somewhat analogous to beings like Zeus and Odin.


The original concept for Superman by Seigel and Shuster in 1933 portrayed the character as a bald villain with the power of telepathy and a desire to conquer the world, this concept was later reworked into the very first super-villain Ultra-Humanite. Also, Joe Shuster was born in Toronto, Canada… who knew?



Alan Scott, the original Green Lantern, debuted in the 1940′s and was portrayed as a Batman analogue with a somewhat mystical spin. The concept was redefined in 1959 as a Sci-Fi based Green Lantern Corps., who acted as guardians fueled by the green energy of willpower throughout the universe, with Hal Jordan as the Green Lantern assigned to Earth. Hal developed into a very integral character in the DC universe earning a prominent role in The Justice League, and spin-off Green Lanterns like John Stewart and Guy Gardner. However in the mid nineties, Hal Jordan’s popularity began to wain so DC had him become possessed by the cosmic entity Parallax turning him into a villain, ultimately leading to his death in the story Emerald Twilight. His replacement, Kyle Rayner, became the most prominent Green Lantern at DC. Some years later, writer Geoff Johns wrote Green Lantern: Rebirth which brought Hal back to life and led up to the reveal of a rival Lantern Corps called the Sinestro Corps which were powered by the yellow energy of fear. Sinestro Corps were led by Hal’s former mentor Sinestro, further Lantern Corps followed, filling the color spectrum of light with nine factions that all contributed towards the fulfillment of a prophecy called “The War of Light”.


Instead of speaking about the formations of each individual Lantern Corps that harness the various emotional energies associated with their respective colours, I would like to speak about the energies themselves, because they have been tied into the very creation of the DC universe in a rather interesting way. When the main DC universe was created, there was nothing but darkness, because of this the black energy force that powers the zombie like Black Lanterns was content; that was until the angelic white energy life form known as The Entity entered the universe filling it with the white energy of life. The black energy force fought back against the white light and ultimately failed but it managed to split up the white energy into the seven energy forces that correspond with the colours we know today.

The effects of the splitting of the white light were many; The Entity was placed in a hibernation of sorts, and the black energy took the form of Nekron, the grim reaper like being, so it could squash out the remaining colours. Matter began to coalesce in the universe leading to the formation of earth as a large cocoon of sorts around The Entity. Because of The Entity’s hibernation within the earth, organisms began to spring up and eventually spread throughout the universe, seven early organisms showed great potential and became empowered by the coloured energy forces that sprang from the white energy:

  • The first organism to move under it’s own willpower became empowered by the green energy force of willpower and turned into the whale like entity known as Ion

  • The first organism to fear it’s own destruction became empowered by the yellow energy force of fear and turned into the insect like entity known as Parallax

  • The first organism to become spurned by love became empowered by the violet energy force of love and turned into the alien like entity known as Predator

  • The first organism to consume more food than it needed due to greed became empowered by the orange energy force of greed and turned into the snake like entity known as Ophidian

  • The first organism to feel the rage of loss due to the first murder became empowered by the red energy force of rage and turned into the bull like entity known as Butcher

  • The first organism to experience compassion for the plight of another became empowered by the indigo energy force of compassion and turned into the octopus like known as Proselyte

  • The first organism to hope for its own survival during a fierce storm became empowered by the blue energy force of hope and turned into the bird like known as Adara

These seven entities dispersed throughout the universe being the sole users of their respective energy forces until various factions like the guardians of Oa began to harness the energies through technological means forming the various lantern corps to fulfill various ends. The colored energies are harnessed via a large central power battery that is used to fill smaller power batteries which are channeled  into the power rings of deputized citizens of the universe as lanterns. Those who become lanterns are charged with dispensing each energy forces respective kind of justice via lust for vengeance, theft, intimidation, enforcement of laws, prayer, affection, or assistance but not all the respective lantern corps pursuit justice nobly. Finally in times of great strife, the various entities have been known to possess someone that is exhibiting their respective emotion, this creates hyper powerful variations of the typical lantern’s that only exist for periods of time until the entity is stripped from them or it leaves of it’s own accord; this often occurs to lanterns but it has been known to happen to normal citizens as well.


The development of this Lantern Corps based creation myth for the DC universe takes on a lot of fascinating facets; firstly with the light versus darkness dichotomy being used to explain everything from colors to matter to life itself. The creation myth is also used to explain why an overwhelming amount of events in the DC universe occur on earth because it is the origin point of life in the universe. Similarly the personification of emotions through abstract animal like deities, and the selection of those that are worthy to act as their champions takes from both Asian and Greco-Roman mythologies to create a very interesting hybrid of the two concepts. Meanwhile the origins of the various entities themselves pull from some Judeo-Christian concepts, Butcher is implied to be a by-product of the murder of Abel by his brother Cain, Ophidian takes clear inspiration from the snake that seduced Eve into eating the forbidden fruit, etc. This all filters down into the various lanterns that employ the powers of the emotional spectrum and act like soldiers in servitude to nations that worship certain deities like those of ancient Greece.


There have been a number of strange Lantern’s in DC history including: a house cat, a squirrel, puff balls, viruses, a sentient math equation, and even Mogo the sentient planet.



In many ways Wonder Woman is the female counterpart to Superman, immensely popular through her 70 year history, earning the title of most popular female Super-Hero and a place in DC’s ‘Trinity” alongside Batman and Superman. Even though her powers and abilities are similar to Superman, she’s is not a direct analogue to him like Supergirl, Wonder Woman exhibits a lot of important traits to set her apart primarily due to her ties to Greek Mythology which instilled a warrior spirit in the character. Created in 1942 by psychologist William Marston who originally called the character Suprema, he set out to create a character that was a female counterpoint to the rise of  the muscle bound male Super-Heroes of the 1930′s. The main inspiration behind Wonder Woman was Marston wanting to create a character with a warriors spirit, but was driven by compassion and love, someone who sought to protect the innocent and restrain her opponents instead of just defeating them.


Wonder Woman comes from the isle of Themyscira, a paradise hidden from the world of men, that is populated by beautiful warrior women called the Amazons. The ruler of Themyscira is Queen  Hippolyta who, like all Amazons, was once a mortal woman that was brutally killed by a man. Amazons were created by the patron gods of Themyscira by sending their souls into the crust of the Aegean sea, where they are reborn. Hippolyta was pregnant at the time of her death, so Aphrodite took pity on her and crowned her, because she could not bring her child back to life. The loss of the unborn child caused a deep desire in Hippolyta to have another, but she could not, because Themyscira is a female only society, so she frequently prayed to the Greek gods to let her have a child. Eventually the gods heard her plea and told her to go to the beach and sculpt a child out of clay. She did this, and the gods appeared before her and blessed the clay to bring it to life, which granted it special abilities greater than normal Amazons. Overjoyed Hippolyta brought the child before the women of Themyscira and proclaimed her Princess Diana, the future champion of the Amazons, and began raising her new child as best she could, even having her tutored personally by the various members of the Greek pantheon.

One day when Diana had grown, American pilot Steve Trevor crash landed on Themyscira, where he was rescued and nursed back to health by Diana. This was against the Amazonian code that men could not set foot on the island, eventually Diana was found out and the two were brought before her mother. Hippolyta bound to enforce the laws of Themyscira, but not wanting to hurt her daughter, declared that Steve would be escorted home by an Amazon. The Amazon would be  be determined by winning a tournament that Diana was forbidden to enter. As one would expect Diana managed to enter and win the tournament by wearing a mask, when she was asked to reveal herself she complied and shocked her mother. Despite this act of defiance Hippolyta respected Diana’s tenacity and allowed her to enter the world of man. After returning Steve Trevor to New York, Diana came to realize she was falling for him, so she elected to stay there under the name Diana Prince. When needed she would become the Super-Heroine Wonder Woman, which led to her becoming the foremost Super-Heroine in comics.


With her roots deeply entrenched in Greco-Roman mythology, a lot of inspirations from figures like AthenaArtemisAtalanta, and the mythological Amazons should be quite evident, but there are some aspects to the character taken from myths that are not immediately apparent. Foremost among that is the relationship between Wonder Woman and her mother Hippolyta, which is very similar to that of Thor and Odin, just with a gender switch. Hippolyta like Odin is a powerful leader that enforces the rules of her society to a very strict degree, while her daughter and champion Wonder Woman, much like Thor, is a somewhat headstrong heir that is willing to be very defiant should the situation call for it. Another aspect can be seen from the story of Perseus, a bastard son of Zeus, who went on a quest acting as a champion of the gods blessed with a number of enchanted weapons. Wonder Woman’s journey to the world of man follows a similar pattern, right down to the enchanted weapons, with her receiving  her Lasso of Truth, Bracelets of Victory, Royal Tiara, and the rarely seen Magic Sword.


Wonder woman’s creator William Marston was also the inventor the lie detecting polygraph machine in 1915, Wonder Woman’s golden lasso of truth took heavy inspiration from his machine.