Sunday, August 11, 2013
It's time for another Unusual Hero, so let me introduce you to Captain Zilog, who became the face of Zilog Inc., the microcontroller manufacturing company. It was 1979, and Zilog had just released the Z8000, a 16-bit microprocessor for computers, and wanted to come up with an eye-popping brochure for their latest product at the upcoming Wescon conference.
And from the looks of things, they found the right guys to make it. Lou Brooks wrote and designed the idea, while the legendary Joe Kubert provided the pencils, and by adding a rich amount of four-color brightness Captain Zilog was born.
The first part of the comic details the origin of Captain Zilog as we watch programmer Nick Stacey get eaten by a glowing CRT screen, where he is given a microprocessor which shall be the "beginning of a new freedom for man's imagination!"
Before we know it, Cityville is invaded by a giant spaceship inhabited by the diabolical Dr. Diabolicus, who warns the citizens that he is now the SUPREME MASTER! Nick finds a restroom to turn into Captain Zilog and the battle begins.
The Cap uses his innate knowledge of microprocessing power to trick Dr. Diabolicus into faster, more lethal moves!
It's very strange reading about the kind of technology we had way back in 1979. To see 8 megabytes of computing power as the godsend back then is a thing to behold. I mean, take a look at some of this tech!
The second part of the story focuses on Dr. Diablolicus' plans for revenge. He decides to use his miniturization process to shrink down to microscopic size, allowing him to infiltrate Captain Zilog's computer! But as you are about to see, the Z8000 is one computer not to mess with!
The Zilog Z8000 CPU went on to become one of the first true multi-user systems that could share resources before networking became common, but was soon overshadowed by Intel brand microprocessors in the early 80's.
In any case, this Captain Zilog comic was only distributed during the Wescon '79 conference, and therefore insanely rare. If you perhaps stumble upon a copy, I'd say it's well worth a purchase just for the Brooks/Kubert artwork alone.