Here’s the first appearance of the Amy Harris photograph that will show up several more times in the story.  This was fun, as I recall many occasions where I’d be telling Jon over e-mails, “Re-use that photograph from before!” and he’d be struggling to hunt it down.

This page is a pretty damning indictment on human nature, and the way we treat our celebrities.  We put them up on a pedestal, so long as they keep on saying and doing exactly what we want them to say and do.  When they go off-message, we’ll very quickly tune out.  And if they keep on at it, we’ll turn on them.  Hollows callously dismissing the topic of a missing girl to prod Alex to share some more stories about superheroes from the good old days serves as a reminder of that.

We also get a mention of The Gentleman Giant, another hero I’d presented in that 30 Characters Challenge back in 2009.  I basically just imagined him as a house-sized Stephen Fry.  Here was my attempt at a drawing, and the accompanying profile:


A little over 40 years ago, around the time that The Standard first revealed himself to the American public, the United Kingdom’s greatest superhero was born.

Intrepid English explorers Arthur and Dolores Winterham travelled to a forgotten corner in the far reaches of the world, and found the dying remnants of an undiscovered civilisation.  A lone giantess, dying after childbirth, her newborn baby cradled in her arms.  Knowing death was near, the giantess past her son onto the human explorers, hoping with her last thoughts that they would keep him safe.  The Winterhams honored the giantess by taking the baby giant home to England with them.  They raised him as their own, and so his name became Harry Winterham.

Harry was raised with love and support.  Though he grew more and more with each passing year, they made sure he attended the best schools, made friends with the other children, and never in any way felt excluded.  He had a happy childhood, a normal childhood.  His parents instilled in him a love for culture, of literature, theatre and history.  He went to Eton College, then Oxford University.  By the time of his graduation, he was an adult, and was over 20 feet tall – about the size of a two-storey suburban house.

There was no tragedy that made Harry decide to become a superhero.  His parents are both alive and well.  He just decided it would be the right thing to do.  Paying tribute to his fascination with Victorian culture, Harry had a tuxedo reflective of the era custom made, and took on the alias of The Gentleman Giant.  Fighting crime on both sides of the Atlantic, The Gentleman Giant has come to be a respected and popular hero in America.  But in England, he is a national treasure.  Recently, he was very proud to receive a knighthood from the Queen.