By Guy Wheatley
It was time. This was the reason for his existence. His absolute faith in the correctness of it was the force that continued his existence. He had spent millennia preparing and now he was ready.
His first memories were disjointed. He remembered several distant places simultaneously. Some memories were older even than the body that had housed him in the early days. The parts of him that understood navigation were produced and proven decades before any of the rest of him. Other parts were perfected at labs all across the solar system specializing in the various areas that would define his purpose. His most powerful memory was the Builders purpose.
His first coherent memories, as a complete individual, were of the final assembly plant orbiting the Builders home world. The important parts of him, the thinking, questioning, and purposeful parts of him, were assembled into the body that would take him on his quest to the stars. The Builders had questions and he would get the answers.
The Builders knew, that as he traveled and gained knowledge, there would be better questions. They designed him to build upon his experiences to formulate ever better and more profound questions. Every answer led the way to many questions and he had asked them all. But two question he had never asked. “Why am I here? What is my purpose?” The answer to those questions were a fundamental part of his creation. They were the reason he existed.
The Builders had invested heavily in him, time, resources and commitment. They knew that any answers he might bring would be to their distant heirs. He was their legacy to the future. A gift for generations to come. They had created him around an unquestioning need to know and understand the universe. And also an unquestioning commitment to bring back that knowledge to the Builders or their heirs.
The distance from the home world to the center of the galaxy was 30,000 light years. Neither he, nor the Builders expected him to return. The treasure he collected would be beamed back, taking longer and longer to reach home as he got further and further away. But the Builders had designed him well. They provided him with programming, tools, and resources to repair himself. As the centuries went by he learned to make repaired parts better than they were originally. He eventually began to replace undamaged parts with parts that were superior. In 60,000 years, a better machine than the Builders had desinged swung around the galactic core and started for home.
He was faster now, traveling almost at the speed of light, and completed the last leg of his journey in a little more than 35,000 years. The stars had moved but he was able to compensate and find his way. Unerringly he located the star that was the home world's sun and set his course. He entered the home system and looked upon worlds he had not seen in 95,000 years. There was no one to greet him.
The Builders had progressed. There were monumental constructions throughout the system, some still functioning in semi-intelligent, autonomous modes. Of the Builders, there was no sign. Careful scrutiny of the system and their artifacts gave no clue to their fate. But there were signs, among the ruins, that they had scattered their seed on galactic fields. Generation and sleeper ships had carried precious cargo upon stellar winds. There were still heirs to whom he could report, and still knowledge to be gained while he searched for them.
He left the home system for the last time. The Builders had hoped he might last 15,000 years. He was 95,000 years old and in better condition than when he left. In all of that time, his reason for existing had not changed. His purpose had not altered. He still had his goal and mission.
As his knowledge and understanding of the nature of matter increased, he finally asked a profound question. “Do I need a body?” The answer was no. He began to realize that the important parts of him, the thinking, questioning, purposeful parts of him, did not depend on any specific piece of matter. Over the centuries he had replaced parts of himself until few, if any, of the atoms that constituted his body almost 100,000 years ago were still with him.
The important parts of him were the purposeful, and dutiful parts. The Builders had a concept of this. They called it a soul. The body was simply a convenient focus for the drive, and reason for existing that was him. In 100,000 years he found he no longer needed that focus. He could now exist by right of his purpose and conviction. He actually believed himself into existing.
He had learned to move his body at 98% of the speed of light. Freed from matter and relativity, the speed of light was no longer a barrier. He left his body drifting in the interstellar void and began his search for the Builders' heirs in earnest. He searched many stars and evaluated many life forms, and eventually found what he had been looking for. He found Builders.
Their technology was not even as advanced as the race of Builders that created him. They had only recently left their home world and there were only a few of them exploring the outer regions of their system using chemical rockets. The individual Builders making these trips were in danger of destruction, yet they were willing to take the risks to gain knowledge. Truly these were Builders and he had a responsibility.
He found a Builder far from the others. He could sense the concern for safety that the Builder felt, but he could also sense the burning desire for knowledge that had drawn this Builder so far from his fellows. This would be his first contact.
It was time. This was the reason for his existence. His absolute faith in the correctness of it was the force that continued his existence. He had spent millennia preparing and now he was ready. He reached out and touched the Builder's mind. He was completely unprepaired for the reaction. The Builder was still linked to matter. He could feel the Builders mind recoil in terror and felt the overwhelming force of the Builders conviction. “This can't be! Nothing like this can exist!”
The force of the Builders conviction was so strong that for the first time, and last time, he had doubts...
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By Guy Wheatley
The Texarkana Gazette
Yes Vergil. There is a Razorback.
Razorback is a mutant born with the ability to control any vehicle.
He is skilled at hand to hand combat and can electrify the mane on his
costume. He wears a pig head as a hood and the pig's mane goes down his
back. The most interesting thing about Razorback is neither his costume
nor his powers. It is his heritage. Razorback comes from Texarkana Arkansas.
He made his first appearance in 1977 in "Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spiderman," issue 12. He was only in the last panel of that issue, but he came back in the three following issues, teaming up with Spiderman and giving good account of himself.
He is the brainchild of one of Marvel comic's less well-known writers, Bill Mantlo.
Comic magazines churned out quite a few new superheros in the seventies. Competition between rivals DC and Marvel was fierce. Both companies grabbed at new markets by tapping into current fads and getting away from the typical character formulas associated with each publication.
While DC was known for Boy-scout characters living in make-believe Americana cities, Marvel produced grittier heros. Those not born, or otherwise created, in outer space or some alternate dimension came almost exclusively from New York City.
Mantlo probably never got closer to Texarkana than a Credence Clearwater song popular in those days. He may have seen references to it in one of the Fouke-monster movies. However Mantlo first heard of Texarkana, to him it must have seemed a more exotic location than Thor's Asgard or Silver Surfer's ZENN-LA.
Hitching a ride on the seventies' C.B. craze, Mantlo produced a truck driving beer-gutted hero of the highway. He gives Razorback the cornpone mission of coming to the big city to rescue his sister. While in town, Razorback learns about the superhero trade from the more urbane tights-wearing crowd found on the east-coast.
At the end of issue 15, Mantlo sends Razorback back into the oblivion of Texarkana. He probably never intended for him to be seen again. And so it would have been if not for writer/artist John Byrne.
Byrne took an interest in the porcine crime fighter and brought him back in She-hulk issue 4. Byrne visited Razorback twice more in She-hulk, updating his image by trading in the 18-wheeler for a spaceship, more clearly defining his powers, and replacing the pot gut with the six-pack abs expected of a super-powered crime fighter.
While never achieving his own title, Razorback is refusing to go quietly into the night. He is an interesting character that writers keep returning to. The latest venture for Razorback is in the upcoming novel by J. Steven York "Generation X: Crossroads."
Only the future can tell what is in store for the Texarkana native. If his angle on crime fighting seems a little "out there," remember that the Spectacular Spiderman also started out as a joke. Joining the famous crime fighting cries of, "Look, up in the sky," and "it's clobbering time," may soon be, "Soo Pig, Razorbaack!"
Phony Razorback bio
Texarkana has produced its share of memorable characters. We are just
a stone's throw (if you've got a real good arm) from 2 President Bushes,
a President Clinton, and the ever fascinating, H Ross Perot. This area
has produced cowboys, country singers, and beauty queens. But one hometown
boy that "done good fer hisself" who hasn't received his due acclaim
is Buford Hollis, a.k.a. Razorback the mutant trucker.
Buford hails from Texarkana Arkansas and grew up a Razorback fan.
"Someone gave him one of those little red razorback hats," says his is only surviving relative, sister Bobby Sue Hollis. "He loved that thing. He dropped it one day and it rolled under the front porch where the dogs chewed it up. Buford was just heart broken, but money was tight in those days and we couldn't afford another one.
We had an old stuffed boar's head that Grampa killed years ago. Moma took that and a worn out old electric blanket and sewed him a razorback costume. I think wearing that thing to the games is where he got so good with his fists."
Buford soon learned that by scuffing his feet along the carpet, he could build up a charge in the residual wiring of the electric blanket/mane of his costume. He could then discharge the stored current at an opportune moment. "Life was tough for fluffy back then," recalls Bobby Sue. "The house always smelled like singed cat hair."
After the loss of his parents, Hollis accepted the responsibility of taking care of his sister. He tried several jobs, but found that most bosses frowned at the Razorback costume. He eventually discovered the freedom his wardrobe required as a self-employed truck driver.
Cruising America's highways and byways, Hollis developed his unusual talents. He found he could control any vehicle without even being in the driver's seat. It came in handy at the truck wash. Hollis never had to wait. He would just pull up to a slot, and the rig already there would crank itself up and pull out trailing suds and leaving the stunned driver holding the sprayer. Hollis would then pull his rig, the Big Pig, into the just vacated slot. This practice very often gave him the opportunity to further develop his skill in hand to hand combat and electric mane defense.
While Hollis was on the road, all was not well in Texarkana. Sister Bobby Sue fell in with a cult and moved off to New York City. Hollis is the kind of guy that's just naturally offended by someone brainwashing his sister, so he took off after her.
The Big Apple introduced Hollis to his next career as a crime fighter. It didn't pay anything, so he had to keep trucking to pay the bills. Still, he devoted all of his spare time to being a superhero. People just aren't as critical of your attire while you're smashing some super-powered crook or a bug-eyed space-goon trying to destroy the earth. Hollis started going, almost exclusively, by the name Razorback.
This new career expaneded horizons for Razorback. He is now star-trucking in an experimental NASA spacecraft he also named ‘Big Pig." Tragically, Big Pig I is setting on cinder blocks in dirt the driveway of the Hollis home in Texarkana. There is talk in the city-counsel of either designating it as an historical site, or having it towed away at the owner's expense.
Sister Bobby Sue gave up on wacko religious cults and joined the Hare Krishna. She is currently living in a dumpster behind Los-Angeles National Airport.
A search for relatives remaining in the Texarkana area produced no results. Local Hollis expert Jack Hollis, who had done extensive genealogical research on area Hollis', say's, "Never heard of him. Must be some other branch of Hollis'."
Indeed, there can be only one Buford Hollis/Razorback.
Razorback as addition to police force.
With things the way they are at NASA there is always to possibility
of Big Pig, Razorback's spaceship, being grounded by budget cuts. What
would Buford (Razorback) Hollis do? After years of wandering the Earth
and beyond, could he possibly hear the gentle "soooiiieeee" of home?
Even if Buford moves back to Texarkana, crime fighting sort of gets in you blood. It's not likely that he could just quit cold turkey. This raises an important question. What kind of relationship will Mr. Hollis have with the local constabulary?
In search of answers to this burning question, your intrepid Texarkana Gazette reporter contacted the Texarkana Arkansas Police department. After some initial discussion about arrest and a psycho ward, the case was assigned to Lt. Shawn Vaughn.
TG: Mr. Vaughn, Thank you for taking the time to speak with me.
Lt. Vaughn: You're welcome.
TG: I understand you're the department's authority on Super Heroes.
Lt. Vaughn: Uh… I guess I am today. This is a new field for us and hasn't come up before.
TG: Are you familiar with Mr. Hollis' crime fighting career?
Lt. Vaughn: I've seen his resume. I was actually quite impressed. We'd like the opportunity to speak with him.
TG: In the event that Mr. Hollis returns to the Texarkana area, would his free lance crime fighting efforts be welcomed by the police department?
Lt. Vaughn: Absolutely. We'd like to consider him for employment.
TG: Do you feel that Mr. Hollis should go through the police academy?
Lt. Vaughn: I understand it's been a while since he's been in the business. It would probably be a good idea if he went through the 48-hour refresher course, to bring him up on new laws or changes in the law since he was active.
TG: If Mr. Hollis successfully completes the academy would he be referred to as Officer Hollis, Officer Razorback, or just Razorback?
Lt. Vaughn: Police officers are often given nicknames, so probably he would just be referred to as Razorback.
He would be a real asset at the football games. He could do double duty. We could certainly use his talents in the annual pig bowl to extend Arkansas' winning streak.
TG: would he be required to wear a standard uniform or could he keep his current costume?
Lt. Vaughn: Looking at his picture, I'm not sure we have one that would fit. He might have to keep his current attire out of necessity.
TG: How do you think the citizens of Texarkana would respond to having Mr. Hollis on the force?
Lt. Vaughn: I'm sure how they would respond. A routine traffic stop by a guy wearing a pig outfit would probably raise some eyebrows. Initially there would be some reservations until he had the opportunity to prove himself. Looking at his resume and list of affiliations, I'm sure he would soon prove himself and be welcome.
TG: Is there room in the department's budget to fund operation of his Spaceship?
Lt. Vaughn: Probably the initial capitol outlay would be prohibitive, but perhaps we could look at it down the road. If he brought it with him I'm sure we could find a use for it.
TG: Would he have a partner.
Lt. Vaughn: Typically most of our officers work alone. On a special occasion he might have a partner. He might work with a canine, for example, as the Hog and dog unit.
TG: Would the department have a problem if Mr. Hollis operated from a special location similar to the Bat Cave? He might need a special Pig pin, for example, to keep any special equipment that Super Heroes use.
Lt. Vaughn: I suppose modification could be made to the special operations sub unit. We would have to evaluate that.
TG: Would the department consider buying a spotlight to shine the image of a Pig on the clouds in the event of an emergency requiring his special skills?
Lt. Vaughn: The only problem is where would we put it. The roof of the BI-state doesn't have room for a spotlight with all of the antennas and the inmate exercise area. Maybe one of the other buildings would donate the space on their roof. We might be able to install a portable one in a patrol car in case they needed his help.
TG: Would Mr. Hollis' be assigned to a special Super-Powered Villain task force?
Lt. Vaughn: There has been some discussion about creating such a force. Mr. Hollis would certainly
TG: My last question, has Texarkana had much of a problem with Super Villains in the past?
Lt. Vaughn: Ah... I've been here 14 year and there hasn't been one in that time. That may have been what prompted Mr. Hollis to seek greener pastures in the first place. But you never know when or where this kind of problem might crop up. It's always best to be prepared.
TG: Thank you again for your time.
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