December 11, 2023

Gabbing Geek

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Slightly Misplaced Comic Book Heroes Case File #217: Mystek

Copyright issues lead to a character going away.

DC and Marvel Comics are, above all, corporate entities.  Characters that appear in their works are owned by the company and not by the creators who made them unless some sort of special arrangement is made ahead of time as in the case of previous Misplaced Heroes subject Sovereign Seven.

That brings us to the case of Mystek.

Mystek was the creation of fan favorite writer Christopher Priest.  Priest is the guy who made Black Panther more or less what he is today for Marvel and revived the Ray over at DC.  In point of fact, Mystek’s first appearance was in the pages of the Ray’s own solo book.  Here’s what Mystek looked like.

By the by, Google Images was not all that good for pics of Mystek.  There were a few, but many were relatively small.  That should be a good indicator of why Mystek might be a good candidate for this series, and I suspect the big reason why I haven’t covered Mystek before is because of that lack of pictures.

And yes, I am being very deliberate not to use personal pronouns, and the reason for that is this:  Mystek was a woman who wore body armor to make herself look like a male superhero.  She was really private.

The many faces of Mystek.  Note how small this pic is.

Anyway, she had some energy manipulation powers, she was a bit paranoid and…that’s more or less all I can find on the character.  All I really remember was the woman who dressed like a man aspect of the character and how she flew around by surfing on some kind of energy beam.

Now, why don’t we know more?  Therein lies the tale.  It seems Priest had this idea for a new hero he wanted to publish in a creator-owned series.  He went to DC and they suggested that he could do it, but since he was also writing a series called Justice League Task Force, he should put Mystek on that team and build some hype.  Stuff happened, the mini-series never got a green light, and Priest decided to kill Mystek off when she suddenly had an attack of claustrophobia and jumped out an airlock…into the vacuum of space.

Yes, he killed her off before he got through most of her origin out.  There were a few hints out there, and heck, he never even got around to giving her a full name.  And as for killing her off, Priest even explained himself online around the time he wrote that story that he didn’t blame DC.  He simply said it was a lot of people getting and giving mixed signals, and he found far more fault with himself for selling the character to DC in the first place, so he killed her off in part because he got the impression he never was going to tell the story with her he wanted to tell, and furthermore, he’d done so little with the character up until then that he figured (probably correctly) that no one would have minded her dying.

Well, she hasn’t really been seen since, so he was probably right there.