Tuesday, March 20, 2012

TUESDAY TANGENT: The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, 1910-20s

Yes, I’m starting to run out of eras with this. So if it annoys you, relief is almost here! If you like this, then prepare for sorrow! Once again, I plumb the depths of nerdiness to come up with a list of who I think would make a good League of Extraordinary Gentlemen in the era of the 1910s-1920s. Once again, the ground rules are that the person in question cannot be part of a ‘mainstream’ comic universe (i.e., no Marvel or DC Superheroes). Also, I reserve the right to take a little liberty with the background of said characters in order to fit them into a ‘shared’ (and weird) universe. Also, with the First World War being smack dab in the middle of this Era, I am making the decision to have this particular league set up just AFTER the end of that war. So here we go:

Colonel George S. Patton
Based upon the romanticized version of the historical figure
Portrayed by ??

A truly remarkable person, Colonel Patton is a soldier, horseman, Olympic athelete, master swordsman, theoretical tactician and (according to some accounts) believer in ‘past lives’. He has served in campaigns against Pancho Villa in Mexico and on through World War I, where he was decorated for his actions. He is a gruff, no-nonsense man with supreme confidence in his ability to command and to handle any situation he comes up against. It is for these many reasons that he was chosen to lead this incarnation of the League (though in truth, he is only ‘on loan’ from the U.S. Army- partly as a way to get him ‘out of their hair’ with his constant pressure to adopt new tactics and technology). In the League universe, Patton would have been exposed to many strange goings on during his career, especially during the horror of trench warfare on the Western Front. He also has a unique perspective to bring to the team, sometimes able to use ‘hunches’ and impressions from his past lives (he believed he was the reincarnation of many generations of soldiers from throughout history) to help solve current problems. His only weakness would be his sometimes bullheaded and blunt nature.

Hercule Poirot
Based upon the works of Agatha Christie
Portrayed by Albert Finney (from the 1974 film: Murder on the Orient Express)

Though not a combatant per se, Hercule Poirot is one of the best detectives and analytical thinkers to have ever lived. He began his career as a police officer in his native Belgium. During the great war, he was forced to flee his home. Eventually, he was recruited by British Intelligence to help in their efforts against the Germans. Thus, he became involved in all manner of espionage and counter intelligence operations. With the end of the war, he planned to return home and start his own private investigation agency. Even as he did, however, he was approached by the League and given an invitation to join. Though brilliant, Poirot is not a leader, or even a particularly good ‘team player’, thus he serves as overall advisor to the team and its leader.

Anthony “Buck” Rogers
Based upon the original story presented in Amazing Stories, 1928
Portrayed by Gil Gerard (from the 1980’s TV series)

Buck Rogers flew with the allies during the World War, becoming an ace and decorated hero. On several occasions he was shot down behind enemy lines and had to escape- proving himself to be a versatile and capable combatant on the ground as well. It was for these reasons that he was chosen for special missions during the war, including espionage work. It was during this work that he encountered his friend James “Biggles” Bigglesworth, a British Pilot (and fellow League recruit). Buck is brave, forthright and idealistic- good features, to be sure, but the League felt he lacked the pragmatism (and years of experience) to be made team leader. Instead, he was posted as second in command under Colonel Patton.

James “Biggles” Bigglesworth
Based upon the Biggles series of youth adventure books
Portrayed by Neil Dickson (from the 1986 film: Biggles: Adventures in Time)

James Bigglesworth lied about his age to enter the British Army at the age of 17. He earned fame during the war as a pilot and was decorated several times for bravery. Like his comrade, the American Anthony “Buck” Rogers, “Biggles” (as he came to be known) was shot down several times and had many adventures behind enemy lines. Also like Buck, he was recruited for a variety of special missions during the war- at least one of which had to do with stopping some strange German experimentation with time travel. Though hardened by war, Biggles has lost none of his youthful enthusiasm or idealism. Though he may not have the experience of his fellows, he makes up for this with an indomitable sense of optimism and nobility.

Randolph Carter
Based upon the works of H.P. Lovecraft
Portrayed by ??

Though at first a seemingly odd choice, the bookish (failed) author Randolph Carter is more than he seems. A mysterious event during his youth revealed he had a ‘gift’ of prophecy- a limited foresight into things the could be. He studied antiquities at Miskatonic University in Massachusetts, delving into many strange ancient tales. When the war in Europe broke out, he joined the French Foreign Legion and fought through to the end of the conflict. The horrors he experienced there cause him to rarely speak of this time. Indeed, there are hints that his experiences were more than ‘just’ the simple horrors of war. Rather, he encountered strange forces almost beyond comprehension. Since the end of the war, he has begun to delve even further into these secrets. It was for this occult knowledge and experience that Randolph Carter was recruited to the league. Quiet and introspective, Carter struggles daily with the knowledge he has gained- determined to use it despite the fact it may be driving him mad.

Rin Tin Tin
Based upon the various Rin Tin Tin movies and radio dramas
Portrayed by Himself

A shell-shocked pup rescued from the bombed out trenches of the World War by American servicemen, Rin Tin Tin became mascot to an elite group of ‘special services’ fliers, including Anthony Rogers and James Bigglesworth. The dog proved to be especially clever and brave- even going so far as to rescue several of the squadron and thwart several German schemes. At the end of the War, “Rinny” accompanied Buck Rogers and was subsequently brought along by him to serve with this incarnation of the League.


David Innes
Based upon the Character from the novel “At the Earth’s Core”
Portrayed by Doug McClure

A maverick mining mogul and engineer, David Innes and his partner, the elderly Scientist Abner Perry, developed a machine in 1914 called the “Iron Mole”. They disappeared on their first test ‘flight’. David returned some months later with a wild tale of a subterranean world. Before further questioning could be conducted, however, he had stocked up his (apparently quite functional) Iron Mole with supplies and returned to this world below.

Patrick O’Malley and Eve Tozer
Based upon the Characters from the movie “High Road to China”
Portrayed by Tom Selleck and Bess Armstrong (respectively)

Patrick O’Malley is a decorated World War I flier turned stunt flier. Eve Tozer is the heiress to a business Empire. Together they tracked down her missing father- finding him helping to defend a simple Chinese village against a cruel local warlord. After defeating said warlord, Eve and O’Malley returned to the world to head up her father’s Empire. Though adventurous and capable, the two were ultimately passed over for recruitment in favor of more qualified candidates.

Milo Thatch
Based upon the Character from the animated film “Atlantis: The Lost Empire”
Portrayed by Michael J. Fox

Milo Thatch is a brilliant young linguist and cartographer, working at the Smithsonian and specializing in the lore of ancient Atlantis. He disappeared mysteriously in 1914, evidently part of an expedition to find the fabled ‘lost city’. Several of the crew of this expedition did resurface, however- though they have had nothing to say about what they found- or the whereabouts of Mr. Thatch.

Sergeant Alvin York
Based upon the romanticized verson of the historical character
Portrayed by Gary Cooper

A simple Appalachian farmer and woodsman before the Great War, Alvin York proved himself to be a hero. He was decorated for his extraordinary actions against the Germans in the closing days of the war and became a national hero. He is an expert marksman and incredibly brave, in his own humble way. He is also a religious and conscientious person who wanted nothing more than to settle down into a life of peace. It is for this desire that York was passed over for recruitment into the League.

T.E. Lawrence “Of Arabia”
Based upon the romanticized verson of the historical character
Portrayed by Peter O’Toole

A brilliant, flamboyant but troubled young officer, T.E. Lawrence was responsible for helping unite various Arab factions during the Great War to strike at the forces of the Ottoman Empire. Though clearly a forward thinking tactician and inspiring leader, Lawrence is a troubled person as well- a result of his traumatic experiences during the war as well as his own creative-yet-obsessive mind. The failure of his efforts to help create an Arab state has also left him highly disillusioned. For these reasons he was passed over for inclusion in the league.

“Red” Baron Manfred von Richthofen
Based upon the romanticized verson of the historical character
Portrayed by John Phillip Law

Were it not for the Great War, this talented soldier and pilot could have easily been a recruit for the League. Unfortunately, his death during combat resulted in the loss of a potentially powerful League agent.

Mata Hari
Based upon the romanticized verson of the historical character
Portrayed by Greta Garbo

A dangerous, beautiful and remarkably intelligent woman, Mata Hari (real name Margaretha “Margreet” Zelle) was an exotic dancer who worked throughout Europe and the Middle East during the Great War. It was eventually discovered that she was working as an agent for the German Empire during this time. Capable as she was, she was captured and executed for her crimes of espionage. Had she survived the war, it is likely the League could have ‘forgiven’ her activities in order to secure her talents.

P.S. I know I skipped the 1930-40’s era, I’ll get to it though.


  1. I forgot to suggest this guy:

    I've mentioned him before, but he's another WWI soldier, so that might get monotonous.

  2. Harry Houdini! Al Capone! Nucky Johnson!

  3. Hehehe. Cukela (spelling?) is one eccentric bird, alright, P-Word.

    Totally forgot Houdini! Yes, I could totally see him in the League. Capone...not so much. Though I could easily see him as a villain opposing the league. Same with Nucky Johnson- who I had never heard of before this, Brunomac. Oh internet and odd hobbies, is there nothing you can't teach?