BRONT

Real Name: Emmanuel Cody

Identity/Class: Alternate reality (Reality-81665) human

Occupation: Warrior;
    previous occupation unrevealed

Group Membership: None;
    group membership as Cody unrevealed

Affiliations: ;
    formerly Katrin, the Kell, Shlime, Soreana;
    his name was derived from Brontnekkhar, the god of light and life worshipped by the Amazons, but whether Bront had any actual connection to Brontnekkhar is unrevealed;
    unrevealed relationship to the "White Elder" (who partially narrated some of his stories, and about whom pretty much nothing else is revealed);
    affiliations as Cody (beyond his brother and sister-in-law) unrevealed

Enemies: (As Bront): Amazons (Axomeen, Keelooah, Soreana (to some degree)), beast-man, an eeoynai, Katrin and her dwarven servants, the Kell (Ghort, Phork), Shlime, a whampa
    (as Cody) Inquisitor, Societal Balance Squad;
    other enemies as Cody unrevealed

Known RelativesIsaac (brother, deceased), unidentified sister-in-law

Aliases: Citizen 09346-NW2

Base of OperationsBackworld;
    formerly Earth-81665

First Appearance: Savage Sword of Conan#65/2 (June, 1981)

 

 

Powers/Abilities: Neither Bront, nor his previous identity as Emmanuel Cody, had any superhuman abilities; nor did he demonstrate any specific skills, beyond a general toughness and stubbornness, as well as an enjoyment for combat. He was successful and persistent in a brawl, though not through any obvious mastery or fighting skill. Even as Cody, he was a tough enough brawler to take out several guards before being overwhelmed by a large group of them.

Height: Approximately 6'2" (no real reference for comparison)
Weight: Approximately 210 lbs.
Eyes: Unrevealed (black and white comic)
Hair: Black

 

 

 

History:
(Savage Sword of Conan#65/2 (fb) - BTS) - Emmanuel Cody (Citizen 09346-NW2) apparently originated on an Earth-like world (or perhaps Earth itself that had succumbed to savagery -- see comments) that was a world of swamp and savagery before being colonized by the ancestors of his race.

(Savage Sword of Conan#65/2 (fb) - BTS) - Isaac Cody (aka Citizen 09339-NC7), Emmanuel's brother, was involved in and maintained records of unspecified activities for which the government had labeled this individual as "The Worm" and considered him a fomenter of violent revolution. Isaac knew eventually the government would come for him, but figured it would not be for a long while.

(Savage Sword of Conan#65/2 (fb) - BTS) - Emmanuel Cody apparently had no knowledge of his brother's activities.

(Savage Sword of Conan#65/2 (fb) - BTS) - Emmanuel visited his brother, Isaac  in his residence on the 45th floor of the Houndstooth North-Central Co-op.

(Savage Sword of Conan#65/2 (fb)) <Thirteen hours before the main story> - A Societal Balance Squad -- dispatched to locate "The Worm" -- knocked on Isaac's door, requested access to his quarters in accordance with mass protection act AB-ZZZ-0011. Panicked, Isaac rushed to burn his documents, while Emmanuel wondered what was going on. The SBS agents then melted Isaac's door and then apparently fatally shot Isaac in the back just as the documents had started to burn. Both Emmanuel and Isaac's widow were distraught and surprised, and Emmanuel furiously attacked the SBS agents. He apparently took out five SBS agents before being knocked unconscious by blunt trauma to the back of his skull from a hand blaster.

(Savage Sword of Conan#65/2 (fb) - BTS) - Emmanuel Cody was taken into custody, chained, and eventually brought to the Hall of Equilibrium. During this time, the events were holographically reconstructed from direct memory tapes of surviving participants.

(Savage Sword of Conan#65/2 (fb) - BTS) - According to Emmanuel, these recordings were altered to make it appear he had slain the SBS agents that he had merely subdued.

(Savage Sword of Conan#65/2 (fb) - BTS) - Emmanuel Cody, as Citizen 09346-NW2, was held in chains before the Inquisitor and numerous jurors in the Hall of Equilibrium during his trial for his actions.

(Savage Sword of Conan#65/2) - After Cody clearly voiced his disgust for the jurors and inquisitor, questioning whether they claimed equality with the "proud breed that rescued this planet from swampland and savagery," the Inquisitor assured him that such outburst would only stand as further evidence against him, and further reminded the citizen that personal nomenclature was not permitted in public. After reminding the citizen that the charges against him were serious and that a verdict of guilty carried the penalty of mindwash-exile, the Inquisitor then showed a hologram of the previous conflict, apparently demonstrating Citizen 09346-NW2's savage nature, including the invoking the name of a deity "Oh my dear God," and the brutal slaying of five SBS agents The Inquisitor noted that while deeper investigation had shown that 09346-NW2 had been unaware of his sibling's covert activity, the holo-film had made it clear that 09346-NW2 was a danger to the equilibrium of the state -- a genetically defective murderer.
    Cody conceded he might be defective -- if that meant that he was a man with feelings -- but countered that the film had been doctored, and that he had only attacked, but did not kill. The Inquisitor responded that feeble lies would not save him, and he instructed the jurors to channel their votes through the sensuboard. The court swiftly found Citizen 09346-NW2 innocent of treason, but guilty of three counts of murder and three counts of societal imbalance. After the Inquisitor sentenced 09346-NW2 to immediate complete personality eradication and subsequent exile on Backworld, Cody briefly responded, "Why are you doing this?! Why falsify evidence just to see me g--" before being struck by the electroencephalic waves, the rays of which flensed selective bits of memory "like dead skin," and a thousand names, placed, and events in his mind grew dim. Citizen 09346-NW2 collapsed, retaining merely a shell of general knowledge and facility surrounding a primal core of instinct and intuition (essentially speech, self-preservation, and basic motor skills). His limp body was quickly gathered up by waiting squadsmen, carried along winding subterranean roads, and then dumped into a cheaply constructed cylinder, which joined other cylinders containing other state-designed pariahs, in a dimly lit spaceport.
    A starship transported the cylinders into Backworld's proximity and dropped them. The former Citizen 09346-NW2's craft came to rest in a verdant glade, in the shadow of a great oak; and, after 27 minutes, the cylinder decompressed, an alarm shrilling sounded, and a time-lock was released, opening the cylinder.
    A thunderstorm drove an approaching dinosaur-like creature away from the cylinder, but after the storm passed, an Eeoynai (a large cat-like creature) approached while the former Cody slept, jerking spasmodically as if dreaming. Observing this, a female warrior named Soreana nailed the cat with an arrow in the shoulder region, but then the rotted branch on which she was standing broke before she could fire another arrow. She twisted her ankle and dropped her bow and arrows in the fall, and the branch trapped her injured leg under its weight, leaving her with only her spear. Knowing that pinned as she was, she had little hope against the giant cat, Soreana uttered a long-forgotten childhood prayer. The man in the cylinder's eyes opened, and he sat up, fighting down the nausea and trying to shake the darkness enshrouding his thoughts, after which he spotted Soreana's plight.

 

 

 

(Savage Sword of Conan#66/2) - Awakening lazily and having no memory of who he was or how he got there, the former Cody was rendered alert by the sight of Soreana beset by the Eeoynai. Pulling himself to feet and forcing himself to move, the former Cody grabbed a broken branch and struck the cat-creature. After the two briefly sized each other up, the cat engaged the former Cody, who dodged its strike, leapt on its back, and killed it (the image showed him pulling the cat's jaws apart, but a broken jaw is not fatal, or even sufficient to render a cat unconscious, maybe he was twisting the jaws and broke its neck?), during which the former Cody regained his ability to speak and also realized that he had enjoyed the kill, which seemed wrong to him. When Soreana stifled a moan, he turned to her, trying futilely to dispel her alarm (the difficulty was further enhanced by the two speaking different languages) at his approach and realizing she feared other fates at his hands more than death; after snatching her spear with his hand, he decided to convince her of his good intentions by showing her, as he lifted the immense branch from her ankle.
    With Soreana still uncertain of him, the former Cody briefly tried to explain his current situation (lacking any memory of his life before awakening in the tube), but he was swiftly subdued by a bola hurled by a member of the Amazon women warrior tribe to which Soreana belonged. The queen, Axomeen, ordered the others to crush his skull and cut out his heart to make certain he would not do further violence to one of their own. Before the women could strike with their spears, Soreana rushed forward, explaining how the man had saved her and imploring Axomeen to spare him. After Soreana answered in the affirmative to Axomeen's question of whether she wished to take the man as her private property, Axomeen announced Soreana's claim and asked if any others disputed it. Keelooah responded with her challenge, further claiming that Soreana had too long been Axomeen's favorite when Keelooah, the bravest and strongest, had been overlooked.

    Whispering to Soreana that Keelooah had too long spewed poison against her queen, Axomeen gave Soreana her own blade and encouraged her to "do what must be done." As Soreana acknowledged that she would try, the former Cody looked on, understanding enough to realize what was going on between the two amazonian women; he was flattered, but not pleased. Ultimately, Soreana slew Keelooah. The warrior-sisters broke into a wild song of praise, an ancient song in honor of the god of light and life: Brontnekkhar. As Soreana claimed Bront, he told her that, though he lacked a past and a name, he was still a man, a free man, and he refused to be anyone's servant. When he grabbed one of the warrior-sisters' spears, Soreana struck him with the shaft of her spear, knocking him out.

(Savage Sword of Conan#66/2 - BTS) - With the former Cody unconscious, the warrior sisters bound his arms behind his back around a thick branch.

(Savage Sword of Conan#66/2) - As he recovered, Soreana apologized, telling him this was necessary if he was to stay alive; "Be faithful and obedient and I will reward you well."

(Savage Sword of Conan#66/2) <From the Chronicles of the White Elder> - Shackled and weary, the man was led through the lush jungle -- out toward the Amazon city. As the group reached the rocky outlands, the night wind whispered excitedly to the stars: "This man is special. He will remain no one's slave for long -- he has a destiny."
"What shall we name the man?" asked the stars.
With a mighty gust, the wind replied" Bront."

(Savage Sword of Conan#79/2 (fb) - BTS) - The sorcerer Shlime sent one of his undead servants (aka the Kell) via a boat to capture Bront and bring him to him.

(Savage Sword of Conan#79/2) <perhaps continuing from the Chronicles of the White Elder - or just a narrative> - The night wind whispered the name even as the amazons led him captive through the rocky crag. It was picked up and carried by the tides and eddies swirling below: Bront...Bront...Bront!

(Savage Sword of Conan#79/2) - As they crossed a stone bridge between two cliff edges, presumably hearing the voice in the wind, Soreana told Axomeen she had decided to name the man Bront.

(Savage Sword of Conan#79/2 / Savage Sword of Conan#79/2 (fb) - BTS) - Suddenly, Soreana saw the approaching Kell and warned the others. Shlime, acting in unseen fashion through his servant, caused the stone bridge to crumble, and Bront and the amazons fell into the water. Wondering what was happened, Bront told the others to cut him loose so he wouldn't drown; as he sank beneath the surface, Bront hoped to avoid the rocks, reach the surface, and float, but a rock struck his head, knocking him out. As he faded out of consciousness, Bront recalled the first four digits of his designation on his native planet. Shlime had his servant reach into the water and drag Bront to the surface, then -- speaking through his servant -- guided him to gently lift Bront over the boat's gunwale (the upper edge of a boat's side). As the servant rowed the ship from a stand, Axomeen warned Soreana that she had feared her pet would anger the elders...and that she would be whipped for this. Soreana sobbed over the loss of her Bront.

    As the undead servant brought Bront to Shlime's home, Shlime admired Bront's physique. Arriving at Shlime's home within the misty mountains, the servant carried Shlime up the steps to a room, and all the while Shlime chided the servant and noted Bront's powerful form would serve him well. Shlime sent the servant out of the room, so as to not contaminate it further, and instructed him to summon three other servants.

(Savage Sword of Conan#79/2 - BTS) - The latter three servants changed Bront into new clothes made from fheta-skin.

(Savage Sword of Conan#79/2) <hours, minutes, or days later> - Speaking telepathically, Shlime awakened Bront and guided him -- via a game of "hot and cold" through his base, explaining that his servants were dead and thus could not speak. As Bront entered his chambers, Shlime greeted him, assuring he meant no harm and wondering if he liked the costume. When Bront noted the clothes were fine, Shlime apologized somewhat, noting that the barbarian thing was a bit ďde la rue,Ē but that he was never partial to those stuffy office clothes. Realizing he was prattling on while Bront must be starving, Shlime had a servant bring in some mushroom soup (he hoped Bront could tolerate it as it was nearly all the undead servants were capable of preparing). At Bront's request, Shlime introduced himself, then deflected Bront's query of where he was.

    Shlime then summoned another servant, the warrior Ghort, to test Bront's fighting ability. Fully armored and wielding a shield and axe, Ghort shattered the chair Bront tried to use against him. As Ghort nearly smashed Bront's head with his axe, Shlime advised Bront that Ghort was the castle champion. Bront grabbed Ghort's axe-holding arm, only for Ghort to swing Bront into the air and then smash him against the wall. After Bront got his feet against Ghort's head and ribs, pinned his arm, knocked him to the ground, and began battering him, Shlime commended him on his performance, but halted the fight, as Bront couldn't kill Ghort any more dead than he already was. As Shlime sent Ghort away to polish his armor, Bront angrily asked who Shlime was and why he was just sitting there like a statue while making wisecracks about his clothing. Acting as if offended, Shlime opened his robe to reveal that he was indeed half-statue, his legs an immobile block of stone.

(Savage Sword of Conan#80/2) - Carried by one of his servants, Shlime led Bront to another chamber/throne from which Shlime detailed his own origins. Bront rightly suspected that Shlime intended for him to obtain the cure, but decided instead to depart, until Shlime told Bront he both knew who he was and could send him home. Shlime gave Bront a heavy battleaxe (which Phork had sharpened) and a dagger, and them mentally guided him along the way. Bront hacked his way through thick wooden branches until he came upon a still-living man suspended by his upper arms from a tree branch. Ignoring Shlime's orders to ignore the man, Bront cut him down, only find the man to actually be a monstrous being. Shlime instructed Bront to stab the being with his silver dagger, but when this failed to subdue the creature, Shlime considered that Phork must have given Bront the wrong dagger. At Shlime's guidance, Bront then threw his battleaxe to cleave the creature's head right between the eyes, which indeed felled the creature.

    Bront followed Shlime's guidance over a ridge and to a cave; as he approached, Bront was unaware he was being watched by several man-creatures armed with axes and other weapons.

(Savage Sword of Conan#81/2) - As Bront expressed reluctance to enter the cave, questioning whether it was necessary, Shlime assured Bront he was seeking to cure his own malady and wouldn't lead Bront astray. Soon after, however, Shlime realized he had made a mistake and that this was indeed the wrong cave, but it was too late to stop Bront from being ambushed by at least seven dwarven creatures; armed with battle-axe-like weapons, they swiftly subdued Bront.

(Savage Sword of Conan#81/2 - BTS) - The dwarves bound Bront's hands and feet to a pole and carried him through the caverns to their mistress, Katrin.

(Savage Sword of Conan#81/2) - Bront awakened near the end of the trip and futilely attempted to re-establish mental contact with Shlime, and his one-sided conversation amused Katrin. Intrigued, she wondered what else he could do; her queries included whether he could ride a wild ass, and he responded that it depended how wild and whose a--; this response led her to have him brought to her bed and left there (hands still bound). Once alone, she tried to establish a carnal relationship, but while Bront was also interested, Shlime then re-established their rapport and instructed him to leave "Crazy Katrin" behind. Annoyed by both Shlime and Katrin's reactions to his responses to Shlime, Bront departed Katrin's abode, fighting his way past a number of dwarves in the process.
    Outside, Shlime protected Bront from the airs as he approached the flaming sea surrounding the monkey-puzzle tree. Shlime then alerted Bront of the approaching Whampa (a giant lizard-creature) and guided Bront (including the use of a "cerebral nudge" that drove Bront off of a rocky prominence he had climbed to escape the creature) to slay it with a stab to its forehead. Per Shlime's instructions, Bront skinned the Whampa, wrapped himself in its flesh (which protected Bront from the flames, during which time Bront had a brief flash of memory, thinking he could make a fortune selling the hide to...places he couldn't remember), climbed the tree, plucked the desired fruit, and then got out of the sea of flames before the whampa hide dissolved into powder (though the impending dissolution may have been a threat or a joke Shlime used against Bront). Though Bront considered a brief rendezvous with Katrin, Shlime urged him to return to his base, as the deal wasn't complete until the fruit was in his hands.
    After following a safe path back to Shlime's base and listening to Shlime's instructions to trust him, Bront withheld the fruit from Shlime, demanding to first learn where he was from. Shlime quickly told Bront he was from St. Louis, and when Bront remarked that he had never heard of St. Louis, Shlime corrected himself as having meant Mars...and then Altair Seven...and then Phobos. Despite Shlime's insistence that Bront's memory was still weak, Bront turned and headed out of Shlime's chambers, taking a bite of the fruit as he did so. Shlime desperately warned him that the fruit was full of worms...would give him diarrhea...would make him impotent...; Bront apparently finished the fruit (or discarded it) and left Shlime's castle behind, exclaiming "Well, that's the end of that!"

Comments: Created by John Buscema, with aid from J.M. DeMatteis.

   The name and behavior of Isaac and Emmanuel Cody (and later Bront, as he was known)'s behavior and a few references to Earth location, etc., make it seem like Cody's people were humans, though this is not confirmed. What is less clear is whether the planet was, in fact, a future Earth, or a planet colonized by humanity (or some other human-like race).
    Cody referred to his people as "the proud breed that rescued this planet from swampland and savagery." Does that mean that Cody's people colonized a savage swamp-world...or does it mean that Earth descended into savagery, etc., and a group of people restored civilization...or maybe some alien race restored civilization to a savage Earth...who knows?
    Regardless of the planet's exact nature, if associated with humanity, the stories take place at least 700+ years after known history of Earth. Defectives had been sent to Backworld for 500 years before the main story, and Backworld was acquired in a "centuries-long intergalactic conflict."

    Based on names like Emmanuel and Isaac, as well as later modern Earth references by Shlime (scripted by Bruce Jones), Iíd have to think that Earth was the world from which Emmanuel Codyís people came.

    The end of the final story on Bront followed Bront's "Well, that's the end of that!" with a caption stating "The End? No, Bront, just the beginning." And finally, the caption, "To be continued...? That was October, 1982!

    Sadly, John Buscema is no longer with us, but he gave us a wealth of material to enjoy.
Here's some comments from J.M. DeMatteis, who scripted the first two chapters/issues:

To be honest, I barely remember working on Brontóbeyond the beauty of those Buscema pages (which he inked himself:  a rarity)óso I donít know if I can help you. I do recall that John plotted that story, all the basic beats were his, and I filled in details and emotional texture via my script.

Where did he come from?  I always assumed it was a future Earth.  I donít recall if there were any notes from John B indicating that, just my assumption.  Iím pretty sure I came up with the names (the fact that my sonís name is Cody is the tip-off and Iíve always liked, and used, biblical-sounding names like Emmanuel). 
    And, for the unidentified wife? Letís  keep it biblical.  Naomi.

As for future plans:  I donít recall there being much talk of the story continuing.  It was ďhereís a story Buscema plotted and drew, want to dialogue it?Ē  And I never heard anything about it again.

Any other questions, feel free to send Ďem along.

JMD

    It occurs to me that "Emmanuel Cody's World" may not (necessarily) be an alternate (or divergent) Earth at all, unless I'm missing something & it's stated in the source material as such. Cody's origin world could be an alien planet and the "Backworld" may very well be - - Earth in the (distant - ?) past!!
    While the names of individuals seem very much "of Earth", this may not necessarily pose a problem. As evidence, I would point to Prince J'son/Jason of Spartax among a few others as examples. Indeed (if my guess is correct), Spartax could be a possible candidate as the origin world. Other candidates could be Xandar, Dakkam, or any number of worlds populated by decidedly humanoid beings (for further discussion, see the Xorri). The arrival of (future) descendants of the human race in the distant past, in the form of Prince Wayfinder's/(Wayfarer's?) followers, leads to further possibilities. The arrival of these individuals would not necessarily discount other origins for humans on Earth as they could very easily have been incorporated into existing societies or even possibly interbred with indigenous peoples.
    I know you tend to use Occam's Razor in these debates but it really seems to me to be a very real possibility. The whole story seemed to suggest an allegorical or moral bent pointing to the origins of our decidedly martial or defiant race. The whole thing seems to point to the story suggesting that Earth was a penal colony of sorts, which was a somewhat popular trope in fiction at the time of publication.
    It's just a fun thought - & it would open up a score of possible stories & could very well explain others. I hope this at least keeps your imagination going & proves helpful in some way.
--Wil Plaza

 Sure sounds possible. Only John Buscema could tell us for sure, and sadly, he died years ago. JMD took Bront's homeworld to be a future Earth, but nothing in the stories really confirm it one way or another.
--Snood

    Big thanks to MarvellousLuke for cleaning up the images, which were like 33 years old and kind of yellowed.

Profile by Snood.

CLARIFICATIONS:
Bront should be distinguished from:


images: (without ads)
Savage Sword of Conan#65/2, pg. 1 (Cody on trial);
        pg. 4, panel 1 (Cody's face)
    #66/2, pg. 2, panel 3 (vs. eeoynai);
        pg. 10, panel 5 (Bront face) - not much different, other than facial expression...
    #80/2, pg. 6, panel 1 (full/main)
    #81/2, pg. 8, panel 5 (vs. whampa)


Appearances:
Savage Sword of Conan#65/2-66/2 (June-July, 1981) - John Buscema (art/plot), J.M. DeMatteis (script), Danny Fingeroth (associate editor), Louise Jones (editor)
Savage Sword of Conan#79/2-81/2 (August-October, 1982) - John Buscema (art/plot), Bruce Jones (script), Danny Fingeroth (associate editor), Louise Jones (editor)


Last updated: 01/01/15

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