O’Barr, J. (James)
Born in Detroit in 1960, the creator of The Crow graphic novel lived in orphanages and relatives’ homes for his first seven years before being adopted. By then, he had already developed a keen interest in art. In 1978, O’Barr’s fiancée was killed by a drunk driver, and his life took a dramatic turn. He joined the Marines to cope with his loss, and while stationed in Germany, he created his signature character: a man brought back from the dead to avenge his and his fiancée’s murders. Taking 10 years to complete, then sitting untouched for seven more years, The Crow was published in 1989 by Caliber Comics. It has since sold over 4 million copies, and it’s been called the best-selling independent graphic novel of all time. In 1993, the now-cult-classic film version was released, starring Brandon Lee in the title role. It is reported that O’Barr has donated his profits from the film to charity. Since The Crow, O’Barr has worked for various major comics and graphic novel publishers. Also during the 1990s, O’Barr was affiliated with an experimental metal band called Trust Obey, which released the album Fear and Bullets: Music to Accompany “The Crow” in 1993. He resides in Dallas, Texas, where he continues to paint and write.
O’Neil, Dennis “Denny”
Born May 3, 1939 in St. Louis, Missouri, O’Neil is a comic book writer and editor who worked principally for Marvel Comics and DC Comics in the 1970s. His best-known works include Green Lantern/Green Arrow and Batman with Neal Adams, The Shadow with Mike Kaluta and The Question with Denys Cowan, stories which were all hailed as sophisticated for their respective periods. As an editor, O’Neil is principally known for editing various Batman titles. He has been praised for getting back to the Dark Knight’s darker roots, after a period dominated by the campiness of the late Silver Age/early Bronze Age. He particularly sought to emphasize Batman’s detective skills. This grimier and more sophisticated Dark Knight, as well as new villains such as the mysterious Ra’s al Ghul, brought Batman back from the verge of pop culture oblivion. His work would influence later incarnations of Batman, from Frank Miller’s seminal comic Batman: The Dark Knight Returns to the 2005 movie Batman Begins. During the 1970s, he was apparently so committed to the resurrection of the darker Batman that when he was forced to write in Silver Age Super Friends style, he generally used an alias. Today, he sits on the board of directors of the charity A Commitment To Our Roots.
O’Toole’s Corollary of Finagle’s Law
Fully titled “Finagle’s Law of Dynamic Negatives,” it is a variant of a variant of Murphy’s Law. While the well-known Murphy’s Law states that “Anything that can go wrong, will,” Finagle’s Law adds to it, stating that “Anything that can go wrong, will … at the worst possible moment.” This “law” was popularized by John W. Campbell Jr., editor of Astounding Science Fiction and Analog. Science fiction author Larry Niven professed a religion and/or running joke that involved “the dread god Finagle” and his mad prophet Murphy. The much wackier O’Toole’s Corollary of Finagle’s Law states: “The perversity of the Universe tends towards a maximum.”
As a young orphan, Oberon was taken in by a traveling circus. He worked for the abusive ring master for a time, until he met Thaddeus Brown, the original escape artist “Mister Miracle,” and the two became friends. Thaddeus got Oberon out of his bad situation, and Oberon became Thaddeus’ assistant and protegé. When Thaddeus goes to Vietnam to find his missing son, Oberon goes with him, and when Thaddeus is killed by an enemy know as Steel Hand, Oberon is devastated. Thaddeus’ friend Scott Free takes over for the original Mister Miracle, and he helps Oberon find Thaddeus’ son and bring Steel Hand to justice. Oberon then became Scott’s manager. Oberon also has a close relationship with Fire. They have at least one one-night stand, and it is clear that they have feelings for each other. In an alternate future storyline, they are shown as a married couple. Oberon was created by Jack Kirby for DC Comics, and made his first appearance in Mister Miracle #1, released on April 1, 1971.
See Ockham’s razor.
Also spelled “Occam’s razor” and sometimes called the law of economy or the law of parsimony, it is a principle stated by the philosopher William of Ockham (1285–1347/49) that “Pluralitas non est ponenda sine necessitate,” or “Plurality should not be posited without necessity.” The principle gives precedence to simplicity: of two competing theories, the simpler explanation of an entity is to be preferred. The principle was actually invoked before Ockham by Durandus of Saint-Pourçain, a French Dominican theologian and philosopher of dubious orthodoxy, who used it to explain that abstraction is the apprehension of some real entity. Ockham, however, mentioned the principle so frequently and employed it so sharply that it was called “Ockham’s razor.”
See Dr. Octopus.
The central character in Norse mythology, Odin Borson has many aliases: All-Father, Atum-Re, Farma-god, Hanga-god, Hapta-god, Harbard, Infinity, One-Eye, Orrin, Sigtyr, Val-Father, Wad, Woden (Anglo-Saxon name), Wotan (Old German name) and Wulf the Wanderer, to name a few. Odin is the son of Bor and the Frost Giantess Bestia, Odin pined for the day he would ascend to his father’s place as leader of the gods, and when the time-traveling god of evil Loki arrived from the future and transformed Bor into snow, Odin claimed his father was dead and assumed rule over his lands alongside his brothers Vili and Ve. The three brothers returned to their father’s kingdom of Asgard, which had become home of the gods. Upon the apparent deaths of his brothers at the hands of the fire-demon Surtur, Odin absorbed their life essences, increasing his own power. Assuming sole rule of Asgard, he sought out the primordial Earth Mother Gaea (known to the Asgardians as “Jord”), siren to the thunder god Thor, so that he could be brought to Asgard to be raised. Odin later had the dwarfs Eitri and Brokk forge the enchanted Uru hammer Mjolnir, which Thor inherited. In approximately 1000 AD, Odin help found the Councils of God Heads, who interceded when the extraterrestrial Celestials threatened to cut the gods off from Earth; Odin constructed the unstoppable armored Destroyer and the Odinsword, should he face the Celestials in battle upon their return. Odin engaged the “mad titan” Thanos in a battle that ended in a stalemate, after Odin mistook Thanos’ efforts to cure Thor of warrior madness as an attack upon his injured son. Odin later perished during a battle with Surtur, and Thor assumed his father’s place. The father of the Norse god Thor made his first Marvel Comics appearance in Journey Into Mystery #97 (1962). In the Hollywood films Thor (2011), Thor: The Dark World (2013), Odin is played by Sir Anthony Hopkins.
In Greek mythology, Odysseus (Ulixes in Latin, Ulysses in English) was the king of Ithaca and a celebrated hero, best known for his role in the Trojan War (as told in Homer’s Iliad) and for his ten-year journey home after the war (as told in Homer’s Odyssey). Odysseus was generally said to be the son of Anticlea and of King Laertes of Ithaca. However, some stories maintain that his father was Sisyphus, founder of the city of Corinth and a cunning man who outwitted the god Hades. This version says that Sisyphus seduced Anticlea before her marriage to Laertes and that Odysseus inherited his cleverness from Sisyphus. Educated by the centaur Chiron, Odysseus began to display great strength and courage at an early age. While out hunting with his uncles and his grandfather, the young hero saved the adults by killing a wild boar. Before the creature died, however, it wounded Odysseus on the leg with its sharp tusk, leaving a permanent scar.
When Odysseus reached manhood, King Laertes stepped aside and let his son rule Ithaca. Around the same time, Odysseus began thinking of marriage. Like other young rulers and heroes in Greece, he desired Helen, the beautiful daughter of Sparta’s King Tyndareus, but Ithaca was a poor kingdom, and Odysseus had little hope of winning her. Nevertheless, he went to Sparta as a suitor. While there, Odysseus displayed some of the cunning for which he became famous. Crowds of men had come to Sparta to seek the hand of Helen, and King Tyndareus feared what might happen when he chose one of them to marry his daughter. Odysseus advised the king to make all the suitors swear an oath to protect Helen and the man she married. The suitors agreed, and Menelaus was chosen to be Helen’s husband. To show his gratitude, Tyndareus helped Odysseus win the hand of his niece Penelope, with whom the young hero had fallen in love. The couple returned to Ithaca, and Penelope bore Odysseus a son, whom they called Telemachus.
When the Trojan War began with Paris’ capture of Helen, Odysseus tried to avoid participating. An oracle had told him that if he went to war, he would be away for 20 years and would return a beggar. So Odysseus pretended to be mad and sowed his fields with salt instead of seeds. When officials came to fetch him, they suspected a trick, so they placed the infant Telemachus in the field. Odysseus stopped the plow to avoid killing the child, something a madman would not have done. According to the Iliad, Odysseus’ role in the Trojan War was mainly as an adviser and speaker rather than as a warrior. He helped discover the whereabouts of Achilles and convince the great hero to join the war. When a go-between was needed to settle quarrels between Agamemnon and Achilles, Odysseus stepped in. He also spied on the Trojans and discovered their plans. It was also Odysseus’ cunning mind that came up with the idea of pretending to sail away from Troy and leaving behind an enormous wooden horse, in which Greek soldiers were hidden. This trick enabled the Greeks to enter Troy at night and defeat the Trojans.
After the fall of Troy, Odysseus set sail for Ithaca, but because he incurred the anger of the sea god Poseidon, his journey took ten years. Along the way, he outwitted and defeated the Cyclops, survived the song of the Sirens, who had lured and killed many sailors, and he also lost all his companions and the treasure he had gotten from Troy. Arriving home at last after a total absence of 20 years, Odysseus had to defeat rivals trying to take possession of his wife and his kingdom. Then he had to prove his identity to his wife, Penelope. There are several different accounts of Odysseus’s final years. Some stories say that he was accidentally killed by Telegonus, his son by the enchantress Circe. Other tales tell that he married Callidice, the queen of Thesprotia, and ruled there for a time while Penelope was still alive. Still other versions of the story report that Odysseus was forced into exile by relatives of the rivals he killed upon his return to Ithaca. In Hollywood, Odysseus has been portrayed by Kirk Douglas (as “Ulysses”) in the 1954 epic Ulysses, and by Sean Bean in the 2004 film Troy.
Due to Sigmund Freud’s well-known “Oedipus Complex,” many modern readers focus on the tragic hero’s apparent love for his mother and hatred for his father, which is not consistent with the Greek mythological tradition of Oedipus and the classic plays of Sophocles.
Oedipus was the child of Laius and Jocasta, king and queen of Thebes. Laius journeyed to the oracle at Delphi to learn of the future, and was told that his newborn son would grow up to kill the king and marry the queen. Agitated by this news, Laius gave his new son to a herdsman and ordered him to be killed. A spike was driven through baby Oedipus’ ankles (causing his ankles to become inflamed and earn him his name, which literally translates as “swollen-footed”), and he was left on the side of Mt. Cithaeron to die. Oedipus survived, rescued by a peasant in the employ of King Polybus of Corinth, and the peasant took the infant to his master, who adopted him gratefully, as he and his wife Merope had been unable to conceive. Polybus and Merope raised Oedipus as their own, but one night at a public feast, a drunken man shouted at Oedipus that he had been deceived as to who his father really was. Although his adoptive parents implored Oedipus to ignore the man’s ravings, he could not put his mind to rest. Oedipus resolved to travel to the Oracle at Delphi and ask her the identity of his parents. The Oracle, however, did not tell Oedipus who his parents were, revealing instead the disturbing prophecy that he would eventually couple with his mother and kill his father. Resolving that this should never come to pass, Oedipus did not go back to Corinth, to those he believed to be his parents, but rather headed for Thebes. On his journey, Oedipus came to a crossroads and was faced with a carriage driving the opposite direction. The driver struck Oedipus to get him to move out of the way, but this enraged the young man, who proceeded to fight and kill the driver and the man he was transporting, King Laius. Thus, Oedipus unwittingly carried out the first half of the Oracle’s prophecy.
The Sphinx, a terrible monster with the body of a lion, wings of an eagle and head of a woman, had been sent by the gods to terrorize Thebes. This fiend would ask passing travelers her riddle, and if they were unable to answer correctly, she would devour them. Since no man had been able to guess the answer, Thebes was effectively cut off from the outside world. Although the Sphinx’s riddle is not specified in any early Greek texts, late tradition states that the question she asked was: “What has four legs in the morning, two legs in the afternoon and three legs in the evening?” When Oedipus came to Thebes, the Sphinx asked him her riddle, and Oedipus replied “Man” (for as a baby, man crawls on all fours, as a grown man he walks erect on two legs and in old age he walks with the aid of a stick), she was bested. The Sphinx then went mad and threw herself off a cliff, freeing Thebes from her fearsome influence. The people of Thebes were so grateful to Oedipus that they proclaimed him their king, since Laius had been mysteriously killed on the road. They also suggested that he marry his widow, Jocasta, to solidify his position as ruler of the city. Thus the prophecy of the Delphic oracle came to pass.
Sophocles’ tragedy Oedipus the King gives the most detailed account of his fall from grace after his coronation. Sophocles sets the scene many years after Oedipus came to Thebes, when he has been married to Jocasta for many years and sired four children: Antigone, Ismene, Polynices and Eteocles. When a plague strikes Thebes, Oedipus sends his brother-in-law Creon to the Oracle at Delphi to learn how he must appease the god Apollo and stop the plague. Creon returns with the answer: the city itself is unclean as it harbors the killer of Laius, and he must be found and punished before the city can become cleansed. Oedipus swears to find and execute the murderer and brings down a curse on anyone who harbors him (in effect, cursing himself and his family).
Oedipus calls Tiresias, the blind prophet, to help him in his quest, but when the old man reveals that it is Oedipus himself who pollutes the city and is the murderer of Laius, Oedipus rails against the prophet and accuses him of being in cahoots with Creon in an attempt to usurp his throne. Oedipus remains resolute that Tiresias is lying until a messenger informs him of Polybus’ death and also of the fact that Oedipus was adopted. Against Jocasta’s protestations, Oedipus sends for the man who “disposed” of Laius’ son, who happens to also be the sole survivor of Oedipus’ earlier attack on Laius’ carriage. The revelation comes to light that the old king was killed at the same crossroads that Oedipus had his fight, and it is also revealed that Oedipus was the child Jocasta and Laius tried to expose to prevent the prophecy from coming to fruition. When Jocasta realizes that she had married her own son, she immediately hangs herself. Oedipus himself takes a little longer to reach this conclusion, but when he does, he follows his mother/bride inside, removes her dress pins, and uses them to gouge out his eyes, in a gesture (which many translate psychosexually as Oedipus violating himself by the phallic brooches, as Jocasta had previously been sexually violated by her own son). Oedipus emerges from the palace blinded and bloody, and is sent out of Thebes into exile by Creon, the brother-in-law he had accused of plotting against him.
Although Sophocles’ play is the quintessential version of the story of Oedipus, the unfortunate king of Thebes is mentioned by other Classical authors. For example, Aeschylus wrote a trilogy concerning Oedipus, including the well-known Seven Against Thebes. Ovid also mentions Oedipus, but only in reference to him being the man who defeated the Sphinx, with no mention of his later misfortune (thus, it can be surmised that Oedipus’ patricide and incest were not as central to the ancients as they are to us today). However, the king’s sins are mentioned in Homer’s Odyssey, which references Epicaste (an alternate name for Jocasta) as the woman who, unbeknownst to either of them, married her son Oedipus (although Homer claims that Oedipus went on ruling Thebes). It has been suggested that the myth of Oedipus is a metaphor for the ancient scapegoat ritual, practiced when a community was in a state of emergency, such as plague or famine. The suffering town would expel a pharmakos (human scapegoat), often a person of little consequence, such as a criminal or a cripple. The pharmakos would be led like a sacrificial animal to a sacred precinct, and either killed or beaten (sources are unclear on this point), then ejected from the city, taking with it the evils and sins of the community and, thus, purifying the town. The Oedipus story parallels this practice quite closely, as Oedipus (technically a cripple) would normally be of little consequence to the city of Thebes. Furthermore, he is physically harmed, albeit by himself, and exiled from the city. It is said in Sophocles’ version of the story that when Laius’ killer has been removed from Thebes the plague will abate, thus implying that Oedipus is taking with him the sins of the community, filling the role of the pharmakos and ending the crisis in the town.
Mostly inspired by the Great Old Ones of H. P. Lovecraft‘s Cthulhu Mythos (along with some ancient Egyptian and Babylonian influences), and also appearing in the Hellboy comics, the Ogdru Jahad are serpentine/crustacean entities which once resided on and presided over Earth. They are pitiless and chaotic creatures, bent on destruction and subjugation, often said to be so horrific in appearance that the mere sight of one of them sometimes induce madness. The individual members of this horde are: Adad-Jahad, Amon-Jahad, Beuu-Jahad, Irra-Jahad, Namrat-Jahad, Nergal-Jahad and Nunn-Jahad.
In the summer of 1988, the internet age pioneer and creator of the Internet Relay Chat (IRC) was working at Finland’s University of Oulu in the Department of Information Processing Science, where he administered the department’s Sun Unix server, running on a public access bulletin board system called OuluBox. Partly inspired by Jyrki Kuoppala’s “rmsg” program, and partly by Bitnet Relay Chat, Oikarinen decided to improve OuluBox’s existing multi-user chat program, called MultiUser Talk (MUT), written by Jukka Pihl, and in turn based on the basic talk program then available on UNIX computers. Oikarinen first deployed the IRC at the end of August 1988. Markku Järvinen made the client program more usable by including support for Emacs editor commands, and before long IRC was in use across Finland on the Finnish network FUNET, and then on the Scandinavian network NORDUNET. Oikarinen then got an account on the well-known machine “ai.ai.mit.edu” at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), from which he recruited the first IRC user outside Scandinavia, Mike Jacobs, and gave the IRC software to Vijay Subramaniam. Subramaniam passed the software to his friends Jeff Trim at the University of Denver and David Bleckmann and Todd Ferguson at Oregon State University, who began running IRC on their machines, respectively “orion.cair.du.edu” and “jacobcs.cs.orst.edu.” They emailed Jarkko and obtained connections to the Finnish IRC network to create a transatlantic connection, and the number of IRC servers began to grow rapidly across both North America and Europe. The program became well known to the worldwide public in 1991, when its use skyrocketed as users logged on to get up-to-date information on Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait. When IRC first started regularly hosting users, Oikarinen asked some friends at Tampere University of Technology and Helsinki University of Technology to start running IRC servers to distribute the load. Other universities joined soon after.
According to the Sin City graphic novel series by Frank Miller and the movies it inspired, Old Town is a sleazy section of Basin City. Full of bars and prostitution, the cops in town have a deal with The Girls of Old Town: They steer clear, and the Girls deal their own brand of justice if anyone steps out of line. Everyone knows that the Girls of Old Town can be your greatest fantasy or your worst nightmare. It all depends on how you treat them.
Old Witch, The
- In the Dragon Ball series, a character who fused with Elder Kai, an action which caused much of his physical abilities to disappear, although he did gain several magical abilities in their place, the foremost of which was the ability to release a person’s hidden power.
- In graphic novels, the “hostess” of The Haunt of Fear series, as well as a presenter of tales in Crime SuspenStories, Tales from the Crypt and The Vault of Horror.
An advertising executive is kidnapped and held hostage for 20 years in solitary confinement. When he is inexplicably released, he embarks on an obsessive mission to discover who orchestrated his punishment. Based on the 1996-98 Oldboy (manga) series, the 2013 film was directed by Spike Lee.
Manga title character who for ten years had been confined in a private prison without knowing why. His only contact with the outside world was a television set and the voices of the other prisoners. In time, he transformed himself into something hard and lethal. One day, without warning or explanation, he is sedated, stuffed inside a trunk and dumped in a park. When he awakes, he is free to reclaim what’s left of his life, and seek out his revenge. The illustrated series inspired Oldboy (film).
OMAC Project, The
Sometime in the not-so-distant future, an alien named Professor Z discovers a mathematical equation that can predict futuristic events with a 98% degree of accuracy. Z predicts that Earth will face a “Great Disaster” and human civilization will end. This causes Z so much distress that he becomes mentally unbalanced. Seeking a way to avert this disaster, his fellow aliens create The Global Peace Agency (GPA) and disguise themselves by appearing to have no facial features whatsoever. The citizens of Earth believe they are highly placed individuals within the world’s governments who did not want to create a national bias, nor carry weapons that would instill fear and anger that would cause The Great Disaster. There are, however, times in which violence is needed. The GPA names Dr. Myron Forest to head the OMAC project. He creates Brother Eye, an extremely advanced computer housed in an orbiting satellite. Brother Eye uses electronic surgery to perform a computer hormone operation on a civilian named Buddy Blank by means of meta-human biotechnology. Blank is transformed via technologically-driven biogenetical upgrades that became the leader of the GPA into the One Man Army Corps, or OMAC, to battle the international criminals that the GPA cannot deal with. Dr. Forest is murdered and his secret dies with him. Buddy has a child and later a grandchild that he will call Kamandi, after the Command D bunker in New York. The Great Disaster occurs on Earth-51, though the initial Crisis on Infinite Earths stop it from occurring.
After the Infinite Crisis, the remains of Brother Eye are collected and stored in a bunker at Northern American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD). Brother Eye’s programming is split between a hard drive in the bunker (which contains the majority of its core programming) and a backup satellite orbiting the Earth. Brother Eye awakens, but its programming has been corrupted. It believes that all humans, metahuman or not, are to be exterminated. It has also manifested a form of multiple personality disorder: at least two “voices” are heard in its internal conversations.
One OMAC sleeper agent, Michael Costner, is held back by the artificial intelligence (A.I.) as the last potentially active cyborg, in case the A.I. gets into a desperate situation. It activates him, saving him from a police round-up. Retaining strong aspects of his personality, along the way Michael fights off heroes such as Firestorm and Cyborg.
Brother Eye rebuilds itself out of space debris. It reasons that Michael’s resistance can be dampened by heroin in his blood system, and it becomes dormant until such a situation appears. The A.I. also plans to remake Vienna Barstow, Michael’s lover, into a more obedient OMAC after he unintentionally infects her with OMAC nanotechnology. Batman detects its activities in space and sends Superman to investigate, but Brother Eye traps Superman in a kryptonite-laced chamber. Brother Eye reveals to Michael that it is planning to end humanity by smashing the moon and the Earth against each other. Michael manages to free Superman, but it is Barstow who destroys the satellite, sacrificing herself and her unborn child by destroying the nuclear furnace powering it.
Buddy Blank’s belt is a receiver for the Brother Eye satellite to control and transform him into an OMAC. In his OMAC form, he has superhuman strength, partial invulnerability, super speed, flight, energy projection, and self-repair, all of which are controlled by increasing and decreasing the density of the biotechnology inside Blank. Buddy Blank also appeared on Batman Brave and the Bold, in which Equinox made him and Shrapnel fight to the death.
OMAC was announced as one of the 52 new #1 titles that would be released in September 2011 as part of DC Comic’s relaunch of their entire line. Issue #1, written by Keith Giffen and Dan Didio, was released on September 7.
A popular term on many fan art and anime sites, it is a Japanese word meaning “bonus” or “extra.” It basically encompasses any material on the site that does not fit into any of the available categories on the sites such as downloads, photos, rants or links.
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