Monday, 6 April 2020


Scrap has given us Platonic Crocodiles.

And asked for the nature of this;

Lebbeus Woods



The Pneumatic city, famously driven by  a perpetual motion machine created by Doctor Bronze, the self-styled "Ultimate Man" who, after being severely wounded performing heroics in the Great War hid his ruined features behind a mask and took up the pastime of "night stalking", attacking Gangsters, Bootleggers, corrupt officials and his greatest enemy CRIME INC, a nationwide Illuminati of Assassins headed by Constantine Capone, the older, and deeply-secret Capone brother, (for whom Al was just a cover), in every way making himself the Bane of Organised Crime in America.

Doc Bronze mellowed over the years from his reportedly extremely-violent early adventures, (and severe hatred of "the Chinaman"), partly due to his own success in battling crime, partly due to age, and also perhaps because of the emergence of a range of unlikely heroes like  Mystery Belle, the Sky Smasher and The Raider Invisible who formed something of a society for the brilliant, but violent and rage-filled young man.

As the years passed, Doc Bronze turned more and more of his substantial energy and intellect to the work of science and human improvement, and towards the exploration of a mystical 'inner space'. With the aid of his friend and ally, world-famous stage magician and resurrectionist The Emerald Gleam he made, no-doubt fictionalised, excursions to "parallel earths" shadow-realities said to exist alongside our own.

It was on one of these 'pilgrimages of psychography' that Doc Bronze recovered the secret of Perpetual Motion. Whether this was some device or simply knowledge of its construction is unclear - if the Doctor recovered only knowledge, then some quality, either in the difficulty and rarity of its construction or simply his own conservative worries about what unlimited free energy might do to the world, lead him to limit its expression. So far as we know, only one core perpetual motion machine exists.

It was around the same time that Doc Bronze found brief happiness and stability with, to the surprise of all, his long-term nemesis Aluna De-Raptor, the so-called Cobweb Queen and Mistress of Secrets, who's plots and schemes had foiled and entangled the "Ultimate Man" many times.

It was then that Doc Bronze began the planning and construction of his 'perfect city' - something that would stand-for, enable and proclaim the greatest potential of America and Humanity. A 'City for All' where anyone would be welcome, provided they worked to become their own best possible self, (a substantial shift from Doc Bronzes borderline-eugenicist statements of the Mid-20's).

The City as an Engine, of material, intellectual and spiritual progress, officially named 'Excelsior', its common nick-name in the press quickly became "The Pneumatic City".


So began, high in the Rocky Mountains construction of a city powered by the hydraulic energy of dams and the natural emissions of the earth, but crucially, with that power and energy sustained by Doc Bronzes Perpetual Motion Machine. This energy powered the mighty pumps which drew water from deep beneath the earth, the cities electrical grid and pneumatic pumping stations and the gigantic endlessly-turning 'Apostle' Elevator which ran within the mountains core brining food and raw materials up to the City, and bringing down high-end manufactured goods and everything the city could produce. "All the Wonders of the Future".

All intended to link to an Electro-Galvanic Pneumatic Vacuum Railway which the Doctor intended to connect all the cities of America.

Within the city, factories of radio-controlled robots and cybernetic 'motion replicators' transformed the work of one highly skilled operator into that of tens, or hundreds, an in-built pneumatic exchange service to allow instantaneous communications between every individual and every home had its own radio and ticker-tape machine.

Crops and rare plants were grown both in fullerene domes on the mountaintops which, along with vast caverns left empty beneath the earth acted as 'meditation chambers' for the spiritual research and fulfilment of the cities population, and in vast stepped gardens within the towers. These were fed sunlight by mirrors and light-wells, along with the  of electrical lamps. At the cetnre of each was a sports-field and baseball diamond; "Babylon in America" promised the Doctor, and the cities people could sit within their terraced orchards, soaking in clear sunlight while storms whipped the mountains above, and watch a game.

Great compressors and air-factories created the gasses required by the Brass-Sun Line, the Doctors personal fleet of Airships which docked at industrial and passenger areas atop every tower, (the brass spheres holding their refuelling gas can be seen in the image).

The first few years of the Pneumatic City went well, with many of Doc Bronzes 'old pals' setting up homes there, but tragedy, economic, political, personal and, it is rumoured, spiritual, finally overtook Americas "Ultimate Man".

The loss of his wife and child in dark and unknown circumstances, rumoured to involve the resurgence of some former foe, coincided with the Great Depression and the rise of Fascism in Europe.

The world seemed a different place, and with great hordes of unemployed veterans camped outside the White House the Doctors Dream city now seemed less like a fine ideal and more like the ridiculous toy of a foolish and arrogant man.

The Docs refusal to reveal the secret of systematic perpetual motion, due to, he said "unknown and unimagined consequences", while previously tolerated, now struck a wounded society as a contemptuous and arrogant caprice.

Aging, with many of his friends and allies leaving to settle down elsewhere, and facing a changing world, Doc Bronze stalked his empty, yet endlessly-moving city, alone.

His "meditations" and "dream quests", aided by who knows what unprescribed drugs and substances, became ever more intense, ever more consuming.

Ultimately, the Man of Bronze, and his city, faded from both memory and thought. A curiosity of the age. The news of his death (or disappearance) was driven from even the middle-pages of the newspapers by Hitlers actions in Europe.


In the new age that dawned after that second terrible war the fresh powers, and terrors, of nuclear technology, the threat of communism, and the lure of global hegemony (in the cause of freedom of course), meant America had little interest in the 'clockwork city' high in the Rocky Mountains, its pneumatic rail line unbuilt and its Airship Fleet long mothballed.

And so it has remained, unfinished, empty but not quite decayed.

Under the ownership of the mysterious "Amber Foundation", the city is closed, but not shut down.

Indeed, the Pneumatic City can never shut down for it is itself a kind of machine. The workings of its elements, its levers and tubes, its brushed-steel robotics, the clicking and whirring and unending rolling of gears, the spark of transistors and the hum of its signaless teleradio transmitters, make an eternal music within its very walls.

So it remains, hanging high in the Rockies like a promise of a forgotten future, not a lost, but an unfinished Camelot.

Now Scrap, who, or what, is this?

21 Liu Xue - 刘学

Seems it is a Halycon Host

I'm ripping off Warren Ellis and Alan Moore but weren't they just ripping off the Pulp Authors?


  1. "I'm ripping off Warren Ellis and Alan Moore but weren't they just ripping off the Pulp Authors?"

    I've not read any (original) Doc Savage, but I get the impression (perhaps wrongly) that Axel Brass and Tom Strong are more ambitious than anything the Man of Bronze was up to. A side effect of Superman &c coming between the two, perhaps.

    Also, Murder Inc. was, however implausibly, a thing:,_Inc.

  2. Damn the vibe in this one is so good. Love that you told it as a complete character arc. I might use the Ultimate Man as a tragic villain.

  3. kind of want to do a whole 1930s pulp superhero game now. we could have naughty chinamen, and the everpresent threat of Socialism. hm

  4. This is sort of the plot from Atlas Shrugged, which now makes me wonder what type of superhero story Ayn Rand would like. I think she would like a lot of them.