Created by Phil Sheridan
Real Name: Philip Sherman
Alias: Zap, Master of Power II
Current Occupation: Store Owner
Parents: Richard Sherman (aka Pac Man) and Pauline Sherman (aka Zap Mom)
Spouse: Patience Glenndale Sherman
Children: Tara (aka Zap, Master of Power IV), Alison, and Carter Sherman
Group Affiliation: Super-Trio, Powerkid Police, Zap Family, Heroes of Earth, Champions, NighTforce
Place of Birth: Paradise City
Current Place of Residence: Paradise City
First Appearance: Powerkid # 1, September 1982
In the 1960s, three cosmic beings decided to create three champions to protect Earth from their evil brothers. The three decided that three sisters would bear the children who would be those champions. One of the three, Zeus, then chose to create his champion by visiting Pauline Hasser in the form of a leaky roof to impregnate her.
Pauline found herself an unwed pregnant teen, and was kicked out by her mother. Pauline left her home city of Worcester and moved out west to Paradise City, where she met and married a political intern, Richard Sherman. They decided to let the public think that the child was his.
The child born was Phil Sherman. Phil grew up with a fairly normal childhood, even though his father, who became mayor, would disappear occasionally (because he unexplainably transformed into a monster from time to time) and his mother maintained no contact with her family, thus Phil didn't know he had cousins.
When Phil was 10, however, he started developing abilities like super-strength. He started secretly using his powers to fight crime, and his powers continued to increase and evolve. Over a three year period, he became super-strong, nearly invulnerable, super-fast, able to fly, and even shape shift. He did also develop strange weakness to cheese, that was never explained.
When Phil was 13, he was visited by a Venusian named Ooga Booga, who claimed to be responsible for giving Phil his powers. Ooga Booga was actually acting under the instructions of Zeus, who did not wish his son to know his true origins. Shortly after, his cousin (though he didn't know they were related at the time), Chris Kowalki, had publicly debuted as the hero Powerkid. This inspired Phil to do likewise, and he became the hero called Zap, Master of Power.
Zap decided to meet Powerkid, and the two became great friends and allies, eventually sharing secret identities and learning of their relationship. Phil and Chris eventually met another cousin, Shon Crest, aka Speedy, and the three created a super-team called the Powerkid Police.
Zap became a celebrated hero in Paradise City, and set up a headquarters underneath his home. He eventually discovered he could bestow some of his powers on others, and eventually a Zap Family was formed, with Pac Man, Zap Mom, Zappette, Girl Zap, and Zap Dog.
When he turned 16, Phil's mom told him the truth about his true father and the source of his powers. Phil lost those powers in 1988 when Zeus was killed by a time renegade named Cronstar. He spent a few years living the life of a normal college student, but in 1991, Allorin Vonski gave Phil a portion of his cousin Chris' power in order to aid him in a battle with Krusher. However, a few months later, Vonski took the powers away in order to use them to create a new replacement hero for Powerman in the form of Chris' sister Michelle.
Less than a year later, during a War of the Gods, Phil found his powers restored. At ths time, there was another hero now calling himself Zap, and Phil fought the newer hero to reclaim the title, but lost. Phil chose to then operate without the title, and went to work for the government as an agent briefly. But once again, he found his powers faded away.
Phil opened up a convenience store in Paradise City, but working for the first time as an ordinary guy in his city, he realized that there was a serious crime problem, even without the super-villains, mad scientists, and alien invasions. Paradise was overrun by gang violence and corporate greed. Phil decided to create a new identity as a masked vigilante to fight crime. He took the name NighTrain, as he was "Loaded like a freight train with power, and flyin' like an aeroplane at the enemy...".
During this time he became an ally of a local gang called the Illusions and a major adversary of Mr. Brownstone, who ruled the town. He also met and fell in love with Patience Glenndale, who turned out to be a member of the Interstellar Peace Organization, assigned to monitoring and protecting Earth.
In 1992, it appeared that Mr. Brownstone had shot NighTrain to death, but in fact, the hero had been not died. He managed to escape after being left for dead, and for months hid while recovering from his wounds, only to re-emerge and take the villain down.
Shortly after, the government imposed a ban on vigilantes. NighTrain refused to stop his activities and was arrested.
After his arrest, an alien invasion taking advantage of the act caused the government to reverse its decision to allow the heroes to return to duty and save Earth. However, NighTrain was not retroactively pardoned, and was forced to serve his sentence.
Bitter about being confined with the scum he helped put away, NighTrain was visited by Satan, who offered to restore Sherman's former Zap powers. Sherman accepted and used his powers to escape. He now became a wanted man, and clearly with his new powers was being swayed by it's demonic source. His own friends, such as Powerman and Patience, tried to convince him to turn himself in, but he chose instead to fight them and flee.
However, when the villain Continuity almost destroyed reality, NighTrain sacrificed his life by using his power to stop the time wave that was erasing history.
Because NighTrain was a demigod of Greek heritage, when he died he went to Hades, where he challenged the prince of the underworld and won, regaining his life.
When Sherman returned from the dead, he was without his Zap powers, but had gained some dark abilities, which he generally only used subtly and didn't reveal to others. He returned to operation as NighTrain. Shortly after this, Phil married Patience.
About a year later, a mutant named Adam used his ability to take control of Earth, creating a new society where mutants and metahumans were of a higher class of citizenry. He maintained a police force of metahumans who were under his mental domination. He also forced aliens off the planet, as well as humans associated with the IPO, such as Patience.
NighTrain led an underground resistance, though he was unsuccessful for three years until Powerman, who had been in a self-imposed exile, returned to free the metahumans from Adam's control and defeat the villain.
After Adam's defeat, Powerman spoke to Earth's heroes. He told them that he had traveled to the future often, and in the future, there are no super-beings or costumed vigilantes. Humanity achieves great things on their own. To establish this future, with the consent of the heroic community, Allorin Vonski uses his magic to remove all super-powers on Earth and remove any memories of super-powers except from a very select few who chose to retire or leave Earth.
Allorin also did one other act. He sensed that Patience was pregnant with Phil's child. He took the powers from Keith Sheridan, the hero who had been operating as Zap using the original Zap powers and placed them within the unborn child.
NighTrain was among those to leave Earth, boarding a spaceship with Patience (who he had married during the rebellion) and their unborn child. The others were Powerman and his alien bride Yana Oo, the hero Marvel, and some comrades of Powerman called the Group.
Those who left Earth explored the galaxy for some time, and Tara Sherman was born in space (though her powers wouldn't surface until years later.) In 2000, the group found a rift in space and wound up in an alternate reality where the Justice League had become the lead heroes of Earth. They lived there for a year, but eventually left and found their way back to their own Earth.
Returning home, Phil and Patience quietly retired to have a normal family life, opening a new store in Paradise City. The couple had two more children, Alison and Carter.
But in 2007, the machinations of the evil god Morgoth caused the world to remember metahumans, and the evil terrorist occult cult called the New Power Organization was revived. When Phil learned of this, he gathered together a team of crime investigators and paranormal experts and created NighTforce, dedicated to taking down the New Power.
At the same time, Tara's powers surfaced. Rather than prohibit her from taking on the mantle of Zap, Master of Power, he instead trained her so she would use them as safely as possible.
Eventually, the New Power was defeated, and NighTforce rededicated itself to hunting demons, as an after effect of the defeat of the New Power was a release of demons upon Earth.
Sherman, meanwhile, was transported for a year to an alien planet along with his daughter and several other heroes and villains in order to do battle for the amusement of a god-like being.
Upon their return, Phil left NighTforce to devote more time to his family, though he didn't fully uninvolve himself, as their headquarters was under his store.
Recently, Phil and Patience had more trouble with their children. It turned out that Alison was a slayer, part of an ancient order of chosen girls who inherit natural abilities to fight vampires. And Carter was abducted by a time travelling villain named Cronstar. Seconds after he disappeared, Carter returned, now in his 30s, having lived his life in the 22nd century.
The Shermans had to accept having one child out battling super-villains, another being trained by a Watcher to kill demons, and another who had aged 30 years and had an unpleasant personality.
Eventually, Carter returned to the future, and moments later, young Carter returned, having been rescued by his older self, thus negating his own existence in the hopes that he could grow up to be a better person if raised by his parents.
Phil Sherman aka Zap, Master of Power and NighTrain, is the creation of Phil Sheridan. He first appeared in a cameo in Powerkid # 1.
Though Super Comics has many characters not created by me, most fall into two categories. Either they are characters created by my friends specifically for the purpose of Super Comics, thus giving me ownership of the characters to use as I wish. The other are unlicensed properties which I have adapted, such as Lord of the Rings or Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which I use without permission under the laws regarding fan fiction.
But there are two characters (and affiliated supporting characters) that are actually owned by the creators but in which I have permission to use for Super Comics. Phil Sheridan's Zap, Master of Power is one of them. John C. Barstow's The Misadventures of Captain Zippy in the 24 1/2 Century is the other.
As I said, Phil's Zap first appeared briefly mentioned in Powerkid # 1, and became a regular recurring character in that series. At the same time, he was a member of the Powerkid Police, appearing regularly in that title as well.
A year after his debut, Phil launched Zap, Master of Power in his own title. This was the first Super Comics title that I had no creative input in at all. But it still fell within the Super Comics reality.
Phil's series, a brilliant satire of the super-hero genre, lasted for two years. After this, Phil retired from writing the character, but allowed me to keep using him. However, I soon after retired the character, relegating him to a non-powered supporting cast member for Powerkid/Powerman. Meanwhile, Bill Nault had created a new character using only the "Zap, Master of Power" name, but redefining everything else about the character.
In 1992, the character was officially licensed under a formal contract between myself and Phil Sheridan.
However, I chose to pass the Zap title onto a younger generation hero, and turned Phil Sherman into NighTrain, in a series that played tribute to the band Guns'n'Roses (a favorite band of both Phil and myself at the time). This series lasted a few years, but in 1995 was cancelled with the entire Super Comics line.
The character appeared in the 1998 mini-series Timeline, and then became a regular in Powerman for a few years. In 2001, he disappeared into comic book limbo until the revival of the Super Comics. He appeared in the initial 2007 storyline that spanned both Powerkid and Powerman, and then in 2008 became the lead character in NighTforce and a supporting character in the new Zap, Master of Power.
Phil currently appears in both those series. NighTforce is slated for cancellation in May 2012. Zap, Master of Power will be continuing, but and Phil Sherman will be appearing, though there is a dramatic change that I am not planning on revealing just yet.