Zen the Intergalactic Ninja
|Zen the Intergalactic Ninja|
Zen the Intergalactic Ninja video game cover
|Publisher||Zen Comics Publishing, Archie Comics, Entity Comics, Devil's Due|
|First appearance||Zen, Intergalactic Ninja #1 (1987)|
|Created by||Stephen L. Stern and Dan Cote|
|Place of origin||Baltoon|
|Abilities||Skilled martial artist|
Zen the Intergalactic Ninja is a fictional character created in 1987 by Steve Stern and Dan Cote, and initially published under their Zen Comics imprint. In the early nineties Zen was licensed to Archie Comics, and then to Entity Comics. Zen became a popular cult comic inside the comic book community at a time when comic books were becoming more mainstream.
Zen has been depicted by many well-known comics artists, including Paul Pelletier, Mike Mignola, creator of Hellboy and Sam Keith, creator of The Maxx, as well as silver age legends Ross Andru and Mike Esposito. Other artists who have drawn Zen include Jae Lee, Frank Brunner, and Bill Maus. Maus has been credited with redesigning the character's classic look from the late '80s to the popular version seen today, of a taller, more muscular character who is bit rough around the edges. The first appearance of Zen's new look was in Entity Comic's Zen #0, published in 1993.
In 2008, a new series of Zen trade paperbacks was to be launched by publisher Devil's Due. In addition, Devil's Due has announced an all-new continuing Zen comic-book series, written by fan favorite Joe Casey and illustrated by Joe Abraham. Devil's Due published only the first book in limited amounts. When the creators refused to surrender shares in their IP, Devil's Due discontinued the project. First Comics stepped up in 2010 publishing a full immersion 3D comic. Artist/creator Dan Cote retro-fitted his Earth day annual original pen and ink book into anaglyph 3D (red/blue, readable only with anaglyph red/blue glasses). First comics published "the best of zen" in 2012. A compilation of stories including full color version of book 1, (originally published in airbrushed black and white), and ending with a short story never before published in the current digiital rendering style Cote devised using a combination of 80% adobe illustrator and 20% photoshop. Sandwiched in between are stories by noted contributors throughout Zen's publishing history.
Fictional character biography
Zen is a native of the planet Baltoon, where he was raised in a test tube as part of a genetic experiment. When the scientists in charge decided the test was a failure, they scheduled the infant Zen for termination. He was saved by Teslah, a scientist on the project, who fired the infant into space in a transport pod. Zen landed in the Om system, where he was found by the mysterious Masters of Om. They raised him as an acolyte, and trained him in the martial arts. Once grown, Zen becomes one of the finest martial artists the Omnians had known. Zen uses his skill as a mercenary, hiring himself out to the highest bidder.
Powers and abilities
Zen is a skilled martial artist, trained in the ways of the Masters of Om. He is a master fighter, and knowledgeable in all forms of hand-to-hand combat.
Zen also communicates through a unique type of telepathy that nobody truly understands. He is able to simply "talk" into your head, allowing you to hear him as though he was simply speaking out loud. When you speak back to him, he "hears" you though a combination of sound waves and thought patterns that he takes in as language and sound. Zen has an amazing awareness of his surroundings thanks to the fact that he "hears" more with his "mind" more than we could take in with just our ears. This ability does not mean he can "read your thoughts" on a whim though. You have to be projecting or transmitting your thoughts or intentions in order for him to be able to receive them—so if you can clear your mind, you "might" be able to keep him in the dark...maybe.
Zen's other mental abilities allow him to dematerialize food with his mind so that he can eat—allows him to communicate with his mentors on distant planets—and even allows him to move objects through the air, including making himself hover while he meditates.
The comic was later adapted into a video game for both the Nintendo Entertainment System and Game Boy in 1993 by Konami. The games feature Zen fighting an alien villain known as Lord Contaminous, who is keen on harming the Earth's ecological environment. The music for the NES game was composed by Kôzô Nakamura, Junichiro Kaneda, Yuichi Sakakura, Ayako Nishigaki and Tomoya Tomita and has been played on the Swedish radio-channel P3's programme Syntax Error.
In addition to the video games, Zen was licensed for numerous products, including a set of six action figures from the Just Toys company. Other licensed products include posters from the Starmakers company, phone cards from Patco, chromium cards from Maxx, and a vinyl model kit from Inteleg International.
- "Comic Book 'Zen' Is No Extraterrestrial Wimp". The Los Angeles Times. 1989-12-08. Retrieved 2010-08-30.
- "Zen: Intergalactic Ninja to Return at Devil's Due". Comic Book Resources. 2008-05-13. Retrieved 2008-11-26.