First thing you might be asking yourself is, “What the great, green heck is Cobalt City?”
If that’s you, stay keep reading for a peek at the secret history. For those of you who are familiar with the Cobalt City universe of super-hero fiction, here are the links right up front. For instance, the timeline for the various stories and novels set in and about the city. There’s also a fairly detailed “Cobalt City Visitor’s Guide” that give a look at the city and some of it’s heroes for those seeking a more in depth look. Finally, here’s the very first story written in the Cobalt City universe. Available only online, Masks features the cycle-riding vigilante known as Gato Loco.
Cobalt City began, and continues, as a shared universe. Originating from a role-playing game enjoyed by my family and friends, it evolved into a novel so I could share one particular story that didn’t fit within the game format. That novel, Cobalt City Blues, became the cornerstone for a universe occupied not only by me, but also by a small cadre of amazing authors all spinning their own tales within Cobalt City. Think of it as comic books without the comic books, without the pointless company-wide crossover events, without the forced shuffling of creative teams. Stories told in a diverse superhero world to touch on the themes we want to explore within our own world.
So what is Cobalt City? In short, it is a city like few others, a small metropolitan center on the coast of New England where the heroes–and villains–from around the globe have been drawn for centuries to prove themselves. With a rich tradition stretching back to the Revolutionary War (if not sooner), the city is host to psychics, madmen, technological savants, immortals, mutants, the avatars of old gods, and the occasional robot. It is also a open sandbox for a growing list of talented authors who grew up with comic books, dreaming of the chance to play with and write larger-than-life heroes.
Just a few of the cornerstone heroes of the city include:
- Huntsman, the mysterious archer embodied by the Castile family who has assumed the mantle to potect the city since the Revolutionary War.
- Stardust, the power-suited tech innovator (communications and security devices) who has been one of the premier heroes of Cobalt City since coming to the city in 2004.
- Kara Sparx, the hot-shot science hero with jet pack and zap guns who would much rather be using her optics knowledge creating holographic light stage shows for rock acts with her robotic companion Lumien than fighting crime.
- Gato Loco, the cycle-riding vigilante detective and former underground racer from Mexico City who became a roving force for justice along the backroads with his panda sidekick and mechanic, Snowflake.
- Kensei (created by Jeremy Zimmerman), the young sword-wielding hero who speaks with spirits and is trying to find her place in the world between a heroic legacy and the very real world trials of being a teen.
- Louis Malenfant, the misanthropic occultist who just happens to serve as the anchor to the otherworldly being known as the King in Yellow–whether he likes it or not.
- Madjack, the rock n’ roll daughter of the former Majack, the “alien conqueror who fell to Earth,” Atlas McVittie is walking the hard road of reconciling the truth of who and what her father was with her desire to forge a music career on her own terms.
- Velvet, the former a-list celebrity party girl, whose accidental overdose on an unknown drug cocktail imbued her with super-strength and sense of purpose she’d never before known.
The long history of heroes in the setting allow for superhero tales throughout a broad span of time periods. I tend to think of the particular eras broken down as such:
- Early history (Pre-Columbian up to WWI)
- Pulp Era (WWI through 1952)
- Iconic Era (1952-2003)
- Protectorate Era (2004-2007)
- Post Protectorate Era (2008-current)
The Protectorate Era encompasses the period covered by the RPG, and the resulting characters from that game. As such, it is one of the more story-dense periods despite being only 3 years. The Post Protectorate Era gives it a run for its money, however, with novels and novellas by several other authors (all of which can be found at the online Cape and Cowl Bookstore).
Cobalt City is a vibrant, constantly evolving world, spread across multiple novels, several anthologies, and individual short fiction (including stories created exclusively for patrons via a Cobalt City specific Patreon). More is coming every year.
Like any real city, Cobalt City continues to grow and expand.
The adventures continue.
Welcome to the city.