Hot Shot 8: Ginferno Bio

November 29, 2008

“Finally, I am delighted to be receiving an honorary Doctorate of
Literature (LittD) from Dublin University (Trinity College Dublin)
on 12th December. I’m sure that there will be photos.

Terry Pratchett”

-Accursed Trinity!

. . .

And now back to our regularly scheduled madness:



Powers of nothing short of metachemical manipulation, one would think such a figure could cut niche and name for himself with greatest of ease. Alas this was not to be the case. Either too practical or too prandial to ever fight over name alone, Ginferno suffered no less than eighteen confirmed name changes. His costume was just as ostentatious – the everyday dress of a backstreet barman of the time (green waistcoat, suspenders and bow tie, white shirt, black spats). His one concession to a secret identity was a green domino mask and hat set that one could have picked up in any huxter’s front window. He was criticised for not taking the role of ‘hero’ seriously, especially in the particulars of his powers. Ginferno‘s MO was to use his ability to ignite igniferous chemicals spontaneously only in a last resort, and even then only on inanimate objects. Otherwise, he would recombine the metabolic mix of anything from a single villain to a whole raging mob to replicate the effects of heavy alcohol consumption.

Essentially, he made his enemies drunk.

Modus operandi:

Anything from friendly drunks to outright coma cases, in fact, leaving them for handy pick up by the NYPD. This made him an object of disgust for many of the superteams, of both good and evil, for the degrading nature of his attack, his casual attitude to law enforcement, and the fact that despite their disapproval, he was one of the most popular and (technically) powerful heroes of his age. He would, with respectable dress and reasonable aplomb, debilitate the supervillainous elite with minimal damage or destruction. Being one of the few supers of the time that the police did not, on some level, wish to jail, was effected primarily by his statement that he was merely doing his public duty. Never getting the key to the city, he won the key to the hearts of many New Yorkers, his crimefighting a street-theatre rather than street-threat to the average pedestrian. No public edifices were erected in his glory, but he didn’t bring down any in the course of his adventures either. The most public criticism ever aroused in his opposition were by public abstinence groups, and these were still some time from their apex.

Known Places of Frequent:

In retrospect, it was his bar that made his name among the cape-wearing massses of New York.

Dante’s Ginferno

was the first known bar to be openly owned and staffed by a superhero. Six nights out of seven, apparently tireless, Ginferno worked the bar after a day of clobbering Captain Cataclysm or inebriating Insect Intellect. Theoretically, an open place of business would be a target for one’s various enemies, nemeses and evil mirror dimension selves. However Ginferno reasoned that it was like such open locations as the Libertines living in The Lady’s torch and tiara, the Thinker’s display in the Met or the Castle Fantasia just outside Vermont. In fact, it was far less vulnerable than any of these locations.

Firstly, this was because while supers could indeed go drinking in their alter egos, they could rarely do so in any degree of comfort while esconced in cape and cowl without attracting due attention. Meeting with people of similar view, hue and occupation was somewhat difficult for them, and any relationships where one is dating a man in a mask or a girl from the past has enough problems as it is. Secondly, this was because while some supers understandably enjoyed their powers of constant invulnerability, quick metabolism and enhanced healing factor when staring down the barrel of an aptly-named Omega Pistol or when failing to suffer the painfully distinct and briefly lethal effects of iocane powder, it did mean one could never be drunk, one thing crucially necessary after reaching into the dark heart of a proton star or killing Vince the Invincible.

Thirdly, no villains attacked because they might be barred afterwards. Might. It was a bar after all.


And now:Other Emo heroes, courtesy of




Hot Shots: Five to Eight.

November 22, 2008
An early competitor, “Hot Shot Five” of the uptown scene spontaneous combusted on one Christmas, taking a downtown department of Macy’s with her. A bipolar, pyromanical/kinetic masochist, Five was the shortest holder of the Hot Shot title in public record. Possibly linked with the abrupt disappearance of a disturbed young socialite.

“Hot Shot Five” was eighteen at the time.
“Hot Shot Six” had no special powers but did have something of a genius for mechanics. A fireman’s daughter, there was some ambiguity about his death on the Department’s watch that implied a low-down cover up from on high to the young madam. Taking on the mantle of “Hot Shot”, she raged crimson glory upon the homes and work places of several city officials, with absolutely no body count and a dramatically minimal injury rate. In the course of her vociferous vendetta, she created the persona of a goggle-wearing canister-carrying kid chaos with a distinctive high-pitched laugh that rattled thily and tinly through her gas mask as a result of her nitrous oxide canisters. None of her targets ever guessed her identity, the strong fumes from her weapons consistently creating the hallucination of a flame-swathed avenging angel or damning devil. After exposing the cabal that murdered her father when he threatened to unveil their pension-pinching perfidy, she kept her unlawful lawbringer status, and later became the “Arsonist’s Daughter”, teen ward of the “Arsonist”. May have mothered the “Anarchrist”. Or the “Annarchrist”.
“Hot Shot Seven” was little known – striking out on his own after dropping the “Kid Sparks” mantle and his mentor Mister Sparkle, Seven never gained much notoriety under the “Hot Shot” name, only ever achieving sidekick status when he turned to the dark side and teamed up with the “Legion of Diablo” (“SuperCasaNova”, “Firebird”, etc.) to destroy Niagra Falls. Quenched in the first of many joint efforts between Canadian “Aqua Vitae” and the American “Fire Hose”, he was lost to the turbines and thought dead. He resurfaced a year later as “Plasmate” with a new set of plasma powers, with little to no reference to his “Sparks” or “Hot Shot” days. On something of a different level, he had no less than three almost-successful city-stealing events, mostly north of the Canadian border. Implied in the eventual deaths of such tenacious villains and heroes alike (“Quebecois”, “Voulez-Vous” and “The Super Nova Scotian”, to name but a few), he was eventually brought by “Mr. Sparkle” himself in a long-awaited, long-avoided duel to both their deaths.
“Hot Shot Eight” was “Hot Shot”, was “Black Out”, was “Inert”, was “Methmanol”, was “Gin Sang”, was “Methylater”, was “Cock Tail”, was “Hangnovar”, was “Beer Baron”, was “Drinque”, was “Buzz”, was “Wasted”, finally “Ginferno”.

Iconography: Hot Shots One to Four.

November 15, 2008
Before Icon branding, any super picking up a name did so with the high possibility that somebody else already had taken it, somebody else would take it, or that it suited somebody else better. In 1910, for instance, there were no less than eight supers operating under the unoriginal moniker Hot Shot in New York alone. They can be broken down as such:

“Hot Shots One & Two” were boys from the Robin Hood; accuracy lads of bow, blade and blunderbuss. They’d found out about each other, in that community of five guys that ran the capes-and-catapults gig at the time. In the end it came down to a duel. It always did with the types whose ‘powers’ were accuracy or strategy; no power at all, many considered.

With a lot to prove both had wounded a couple of egos in exclusively winning monikers like the ‘Sherwood Shaft’ and the ‘Green Hood’. To keep the title of “Hot Shot”, they’d wound far more than egos, and they exchanged shots from sun up to sundown. They did this for three days: first with bows, second with bullets, third with blades. Partly because they were entirely equal in all matters, partly because they’d done next to nothing for crimefighting in New York with their grandstanding, they mutually acquiesced.

In a bid for commiseration and consolidation, they ditched the “Hot Shot angle”. One and Two thus became respectively became the duo “Trick Shot” and “Quick Shot”. Not all that cinematic; they never broke beyond street violence and kids parties. But it mattered to them I suppose.

Such things would to men in matching red and black leotards.

“Hot Shot Three”: Never really operated in New York to tell the truth, just used to come to the Smithsonian to work with Professor Prandial, but all that stopped after the good professor played technical confessor to one too many supers and started wearing a cape himself. That damned experimental rocket pack. They should never have classified jet back-packing as a sport.

Sufficed to say, Prandial’s fireworks work was far more successful for his subjects than himself and “Hot Shot Three’s” fire/metallurgy powers increased, later becoming known as “Meat/Ore”, later “MeteOracle”. Linked to UFO cult in the 1980s, and in no part older then than in 1910.

Except his eyes. Of course.

“Hot Shot Four” was the signee in a Faustian bargain for super powers. It was never fully determined whether he meant to fight good or for ill, as he seemed to do both with equal aplomb. Going under “Flare”, “Fire Hazard” and, of course, “Hot Shot”, if “Hot Shot Four” had ever been accredited with stopping a robbery, the damage he did to the victim’s premises in the meantime usually exceeded the value of the item rescued. Usual ironic bargain rules applied of course, and in time “Hot Shot Four” simply decided to donate his considerable talents to full-time evil, rather than the part-time incompetent kind.

Got to be known in certain circles, but by the time he’d racked up a couple of real nemeses, his year and a day were up and he disappeared while screaming in Central Park, in spot where nothing but wolfsbane grows to this day. A lost soul, “Hot Shot Four” is still thought by many to be still in Satan’s employ as “Ginfernal”, nemesis to “Ginferno”.

Others say the devil merely took away his ability to with stand the flames that constantly surrounded him. An Elegant Disposal.

On The Eleventh Day, of the Eleventh Month, At The Eleventh Hour

November 11, 2008
Pride of Hamelin

Pride of Hamelin

How the War was Won.