Super Collie Adventures
by John R. Plunkett & Terry Knight

Super Collie!

Look! Out in the pasture!
Faster than a speeding farmbike!
More powerful than "Federated Farmers!"
Able to muster whole flocks in a single bound!
It's... Super Collie!
Standing for truth, justice, and the absence of flystrike!

So it began. Just as it is said that one face started the Trojan war, thus it is that one picture, casually sketched by Mr. Terry Knight, set into motion a train of events that none of the involved parties (myself and him) could have imagined or anticipated.

As soon as I saw the picture (duplicated at right) my mind began to work. Her Mystic Staff of the Shepherd telescopes, better to hook those crooks. Her Super Bark, used judiciously, will stun people. Used at full power it's concussion will shatter almost anything it touches. Her Super Speed allows her to run as fast as the speediest getaway car- and her Super Strength permits her to deal with it most handily once she catches it. She could even bury it in the garden if she chose, employing her Super Digging ability. And since criminals are wont to have guns- or even super powers of their own- the Mystic Power of the Shepherd surrounds her with an aura that will turn aside any but the most fell of assaults.

The (somewhat) mild mannered Esmerelda Braithwaite

Of course there's more to a super hero than Spandex and gnarly powers. Thus it came to be that Super Collie was the crime-fighting alter ego of the mild mannered but somewhat obsessive-compulsive Esmerelda Braithwaite, who by day is a beta tester at a large software company. My parents had once owned an Australian shepherd and it was the most unbelievably hyperkinetic creature I had ever seen. It became Super Collie's (and Esmerelda's) prime psychological weakness: a certain amount of obsessive-compulsiveness linked with a hyperactive disposition. She types 120 words per minute without hardly trying, and would have to spend an hour every morning arranging her desk except that with her speed she gets it done in fifteen minutes. Her closet at home contains a month's worth of clothes, all labelled with the day, hour, and minute they are to be used. Every two days she vacuums her flat, including the furniture. All of which makes her an excellent beta tester; if anything is wrong with a piece of software she will find it. And, as is typical with super hero alter egos, she is completely oblivious to the effect she has on her co-workers, particularly the male ones. Office boys wander by her desk whenever possible. Programmers deliberately put bugs in the software so they will have reasons to speak to her. Usage of the company gym skyrockets whenever she chooses to work out there. There have been one or two heart attacks, no doubt due to the frenetic pace she sets (or perhaps the effect that pace has on her curvaceous form while it's wrapped in a skin-tight Spandex workout suit).

Terry then proposes an origin. While travelling through the Canterbury high country in New Zealand, young Miss Esmerelda's car breaks down. Alone in a remote place she sets out on foot seeking help- and stumbles upon an ancient cairn. Compelled by some strange force she opens it- and finds a dried up skeleton clutching a staff. She touches the staff and suddenly strange power is flowing through her. A spirit rises up from the stones and informs her that she has been chosen to carry on the legacy of the Shepherd, protector of the helpless, defender of all that is good and just. In a flash she is transformed: from the plain Esmerelda Braithwaite into the powerful and sexy Super Collie! Being fundamentally a good and decent person at heart she gladly accepts her responsibilities. Esmerelda's friends and co-workers have noticed the small gold medallion she always wears around her neck, but little could they imagine that when she takes it in her hand and raises it above her head it transforms into the Mystic Staff of the Shepherd, and her into New Zealand's greatest (and prettiest) super hero!

Every hero must have a love interest, someone who's constantly getting captured by the bad guys and having to be rescued. These persons are always shockingly incompatible with the heroes they adore, and for Super Collie the answer was obvious: John Palmer, Impressionist painter. His gentle demeanor and relaxed attitude are at the same time endearing and madding to Esmerelda. He loves to paint but has no great drive, just sort of drifting aimlessly from job to job. His apartment is always a mess and looking at his paintings for any length of time is enough to give her a migraine.

What's that? Am I overlooking something? What, you ask, is a super hero without super villains to fight? Very good question. Naturally it is something that Terry and I discussed at great length. Rather than introduce them here, I advise you to read on and they will introduce themselves....


All illustrations and stories authored by him:  2000 Terry Knight
Stories authored by me:  2000 John R. Plunkett
ZigZag:  2001 Malcolm Earle
Joe Hooper/Steel Toad Boot:  2001 Steve Burt
Herr Doktor Catlove:  1997 Albert Temple
James Sheppard:  1999 James Bruner


Sex:  Nudity, graphic depictions of coitus, fetishism
Violence:  Killing, action movie combat
Language:  All audiences

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