Piloot Storm

Real Name: Arend Storm

Identity/Class: Normal human

Occupation: Test pilot.

Affiliations: Buck Ryan, Charley, Sandra (fiancée), Xotis (Native Green Valeronese), Val Marlan (sort of Valeron head defense), Captain Marc (one of the strongest Titans and a good officer), Jeni (Marc’s sister), Sentor (Marc’s father), Major

Enemies: Zorin, Dr. Drago

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: Capitano Storm

Base of Operations: Tarmac (“Top secret” USAF base)

First Appearance: Tom Poes Weekblad (1947).

Powers/Abilities: Arend was one of the very best fighter pilots available to the US-Air Force.

The Hornet seemed to have a top speed well above 2000 km/h. In its first speed test run the speed in level flight at an altitude of just 400 meters measured from the ground was 2104 km/h, which improved the standing speed record by hundreds. The Hornet seems to be designed as a two-seater deltawing. The plane could operate higher than any other contemporary plane (at the time of the story), and that was before Arend Storm’s Hornet was improved by the technology of a humanoid species, which had mastered faster-than-light travel already when dinosaurs roamed the Earth. They were just trying to make the primitive plane a bit safer and easier to use, like an old timer being updated to modern safety standards. The first of those “alien” abilities shown in the series is a speedy and nearly soundless vertical take-off, it does not need fuel anymore and goes much faster. The Hornet was of course designed as a weapons platform, but the prototype Arend flies seems to have been kept unarmed, or lightly armed, for a long time.

Another product of the Titan-technology Arend Storm used before anybody else on Earth was the paral, a ray gun putting the target to sleep. If used properly it was harmless, but an overdose could cause an absolutely irreversible coma, if not death.

In the Matto Grosso Arend had for a time a club with special powers. Arend Storm had taken it from a temple of the wargod Huitzilopochtli.

On Valeron Storm is the strongest humanoid being. There he can jump further and higher than any other man. As a result of the fencing training he got as part of his officer’s training and his great strength, he is an extremely dangerous swordsman. To a degree the Valeronese arms make sense, the paral seems to be the most common ranged weapon and the sword the most common lethal weapon for the pirates.

Storm can block telepathic access to his mind, keeping other people out of his mind and thus keep his secrets a secret from telepaths, even from the best.

Storm seems able to speak at least Dutch, English and the language of the Valeronese Titans very well, and Spanish sufficiently well to communicate with somebody to whom Spanish is a foreign language too.

History: Arend Storm was a pilot of Dutch descent (explaining why he has a Dutch first name: Arend means Eagle, which makes it a good name for a USAF fighter test pilot), who had adventures catching spies, dealing with secret agents, inventors and the like. He later took up preparation to test fly a new record breaking fighter plane, the Hornet, designed by Buck Ryan, with USAF deeply involved in the Hornet's development of the Hornet. During the official test flight in front of Pentagon officials the Hornet demonstrated its agility, played a bit with a Shooting Star fighter plane, showing that the Hornet was smaller and faster and thus a harder target, and then breaking the speed record for level flight and demonstrating offensive possibilities of the sonic boom too. The next day the Hornet was launched from a B-29 in a successful attempt to break the altitude record, but when the old record was beaten by nearly 900 meters Arend Storm started to feel strange, thinking he could see alien space ships, and then passed out. With his plane vanished from the radar, and a hunt finding not a single piece of wreckage, it was assumed that the Hornet had exploded up in the air where no man has gone before. Despite of the fact that the prototype malfunctioned when it reached an altitude no other plane had ever reached, the Hornet was approved for production, and soon the first Hornet squadron was formed, and named after the pilot who gave his life in testing the Hornet. However, in reality the Hornet was plane-napped by the Valeronese, who had taken advantage of his being made easy to acquire thanks to his high altitude flight, and had telepathically assessed him to be the right kind of person for their plans.

Valeron is Venus, but the Valronese were descendants of people from the planet Titan (not to be confused with the moon Titan). They are white, but not blond. The native people of Venus were the Green Men, who were stronger than Titans, but Arend Storm was even stronger. Long ago there were big wars between the Green Men and the Titans; the Green men lost and just kept a single continent, while the rest of Venus lived in a Union of States. However, with the war long in the past, there was peace and trade between the races. The Valeronians were a bit worried about nuclear explosions on Earth, but they had a big problem. A Titan pirate had conquered large parts of the land of the Green Men and was ruling it as an independent country, plundering anybody else using his army consisting of Titans and Green Men. He was also getting raw materials - fuel, uranium or something like that - from the Earth. Since they had not been closely monitoring Earth, Venus' peaceful peoples needed human information about the Earth, hence snatching Storm. Informed of their dilemma, Storm volunteers to help.

Zorin captured Arend, Marc and some more people. In Zorin's arena they faced a bunch of bad pirates, then a santhor (basically a T-rex, roaring “Honk-honk”) before Marc’s sister Jeni was scheduled to be devoured by a pack of monster dogs. Marc, his father and Arend volunteered to defend her, and they managed to escape, during which Storm learns that Zorin is active in the Matto Grosso. They discover one of Zorin’s most important spies and go of to the planet Earth, where Arend Storm picks up his fiancée Sandra before they go to the Matto Grosso, where Zorin’s mines are discovered.

Later the Valeronese battle fleet makes contact with the Earth people. The United Nations accept their conditions and receive technology in exchange. Storm, Sandra, Buck, Charley and two scientists go with the Terra 1 (named by Sandra) to the Moon, where they discover a fourth humanoid race (which is resting in suspended animation for millions of years, waiting for better times). By the time they return Terra 2 and Terra 3 are already operational. Mankind united in Arend Storm’s Universe in 1955, after the discovery that they had friendly neighbours with much more firepower.

Comments: Created by Henk Sprenger

Storm had ten regular adventures, catching spies, dealing with secret agents, inventors and the like before his space escapades began. Piloot Storm was less popular, but older and more enduring than the other success series Henk Sprenger wrote and drew: Kick Wilstra. The two protagonists look very much alike, except for a difference in hair style. Kick Wilstra was a comic series which was very much engaged and experimental, but focussed on the King of Sports: Football, but much less so than other football comics. Arend Storm himself was more or less a reboot of Arend Stork. Arend Stork was a war aviation comic published in De Geïllustreerde. This had been the comic establishing Sprenger as a comic. The war was over for some time in 1947, so his series for the Tom Poes Weekblad (Coverdate 1st issue 28-11-1947), was more or less a reboot of Arend Stork, the name of the protagonist had been changed as little as possible, while keeping an acceptable Dutch (-American) family name which had in it twice a reference to flight, and actually sounds more martial and heroic. The title was changed a little bit more to Piloot (= Pilot) Storm and the series theme changed from war aviation (with the Fokker 21) to aviation. The series ran in the Tom Poes-weekly magazine until the magazine folded in 1951. Arend Storm became a newspaper comic in a number of regional newspapers and would stay that way until the series stopped in 1973, when Sprenger got a job in airplane design. By that time the comic was record holder and rather well known. However, something had happened… During the first 10 adventures Piloot Storm was an aviation comic, not really different from ones like Biggles, Buck Danny, Tanguy & Laverdure except in format. In the 11th adventure Piloot Storm flies into a UFO. In an aviation comic you expect that after the adventure with the aliens, flight continues as usual, but that was not to be. Adventure 11 was the transition point from a realistic aviation comic to the longest running SF-comic in Dutch history, a full 74 adventures followed. That makes Arend Storm the King of genre bending; he did not stop, change or protest when his ongoing comic was shifted from realistic aviation to the SF-genre in the middle of an adventure without any break in continuity.

Like all the “decent” Dutch comics of its time, Tom Poes, Pa Pinkelman, Eric de Noorman, Kapitein Rob and others, Piloot Storm was published in the form of a strip of three pictures above two blocks of text, that way becoming a sort of hybrid between novel and comic and surviving the outbreak of hatred against comic books, which destroyed the picture novels.

Piloot Storm is sometimes described as the Dutch Flash Gordon, but the influence of John Carter, Warlord of Mars seems much stronger in the early SF-stories. Piloot Storm himself was not without influence either. After the end of his adventures in 1973, a new Storm was created first punlished in the 11th week of 1977. That the two most famous Dutch SF-comics series are named after a main protagonist named Storm, that both Storms adventured around in a number of worlds with one female companion, that the technologically most advanced humanoid species in the Solar system in both series a widespread alien race, that both Storms had to deal with time travel and seemed to have a home in the USA is a bit too much to accept all as coincidence.

Republication of the adventures of Piloot Storm in albums continues, but most currently remains uncollected.

Profile by Theodoor Westerhof.

CLARIFICATIONS: Not to be confused with

Any Additions/Corrections? Please let me know.

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