NETSHAPE

Real Name: Jonathan Gatesworth

Identity/Class: Human; technology user

Occupation: Former computer programmer and entrepreneur, vengeance seeker

Affiliations: Former partner and co-founder of Compuboot

Enemies: Green Goblin (Phil Urich); Compuboot; Marc Portaccio; Larson Toddsmith

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: New York City

Appearances: Green Goblin#9 (June, 1996)

 

Powers: Gatesworth wore a suit that used "virtual reality" technology enabling him to take on the forms and abilities of other beings, objects, or even fictional characters. The suit could form functional weaponry and ammunition, and could apparently increase Gatesworth's mass to an unknown extent when shapeshifting; he transformed into a dragon much larger than his own form at least once. Gatesworth was also a brilliant game designer, computer programmer, and electronics wizard.

Weaknesses: He depends on his suit for all his powers. And probably to pick up chicks, as well.

History: Jonathan Gatesworth was one of the founders of Compuboot, along with Larson Toddsmith and Marc Portaccio. Gatesworth created Compuboot's top-selling game, Killer Teenage Aliens from the Mutant Death Star, but was nonetheless ousted by his partners because he spent too much on research and design for their profit-hungry tastes.

(Green Goblin#9)- Wearing a "virtual reality" suit that granted him superhuman powers, Gatesworth attacked Portaccio and Toddsmith at a videogame expo, where Compuboot was unveiling the sequel to the Teenage Aliens game. Gatesworth, in the form of a large dragon, threatened his former partners and then fled. The greedy Toddsmith determined to steal Gaatesworth's suit, and sent men to Gatesworth's apartment for that purpose. However, Gatesworth disguised himself as a statue and evaded the goons.

The next day, Gatesworth again visited the expo, and was confronted by more Compuboot goons. This time, Phil Urich, who had seen Gatesworth's assault the previous day, was present as the Green Goblin, and quickly found himself in battle with Gatesworth. The battle was a stalemate until Urich realized that Gatesworth's powers all derived rom his suit, and shredded the costume with a slew of razor-edged bats. However, within moments dozens of representatives from videogame companies swarmed over Gatesworth, offering him legal aid and high-paying contracts for his technology, presumably assuring his future success.

Comments: Created by Tom DeFalco and Scott McDaniel.

No one in the comic calls Gatesworth Netshape, though he gets that name on the cover. In fact, Gatesworth pointedly rejects taking a codename in the story itself.

If it weren't obvious, much of the story seems to be a parody of both Microsoft and Image Comics. Larson Toddsmith is named for Erik Larsen and Todd McFarlane (and possibly Beau Smith?), while Marc Portaccio is named for Marc Silvestri and Whilce Portaccio. All were "hot" artists at Marvel in the 90s who left to form the creator-owned Image Comics. Within a few years of this story, only McFarlane and Larsen were still actively publishing under the Image banner. The Gatesworth name, and the vicious business tactics used by Toddsmith are also parodies of similarly-maligned software giant Microsoft.

Among the more recognizeable forms Netshape takes are: Sub-Zero from the Mortal Kombat games, Kung Lao from the same series, Spider-Man, a thinly-disguised Batman, the Hulk, Vectorman from the Sega Genesis game of the same title, and a T-800 endoskeleton from the Terminator movies.

As with some other DeFalco stories round this time, Netshape's "virtual reality" technology has nothing to do with real VR, and can apparently alter actual reality - the female Doctor Octopus has similar technology in DeFalco's Clone-era Spider-Man issues. Add in the obvious videogame references, and you have a Megatak for the 90s. (God help us all - editor caliban; What's up with Omar and video game villains, anyway? Will he be covering the Grungy Gobbler next? - Prime Ed-ternal)

Profile by: Omar Karindu

Clarifications: Netshape should not be confused with:
Netscape, the popular internet browser, @ 1994
Net Prophet, actually John Tensen of the New Universe, @ Justice#1, Spider-Man 2099#12

The Green Goblin, Phil Urich's short-lived heroic guise, is not to be confused with:
Green Goblin, Norman Osborn, Spider-Man's number one foe, @ Amazing Spider-Man I#14
Green Goblin, Harry Osborn, son of Norman Osborn @ Amazing Spider-Man#31
Green Goblin, Dr. Barton Hamilton, Harry's psychiatrist who took up the criminal Goblin identity, @ Amazing Spider-Man I#176
Green Goblin, an unstable genetic construct created by Norman, @ Spectacular Spider-Man II#251
Green Goblin, a brainwashed Peter Parker (Norman's fault again), @ Amazing Spider-Man II#23
Green Goblin, Normie Osborn, Harry's son in MC-2, @ What If? II#105
Golden Goblin, Urich's sometimes-alias in MC-2, @ Spider-Girl#20
Proto-Goblin, Nels Van Adder, a man mutated by Norman Osborn, @ Amazing Spider-Man#-1
Or any alternate universe versions, Hobgoblins, or other goblins or goblin-like creatures. Whew!!

Last updated: 08/02/02

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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