Dr. Honen Calzoun is a scientist who specializes in aeronautics, mechanics, and mathematics. He has a genius IQ and an unstable temperament. He has an unusual talent for creating and building robots, airships, vehicles, weapons, and other mechanical contraptions and desperately wants his brilliance to be recognized and appreciated. He is also a blackbelt in Oni Island martial arts and a master pilot.
Although Honen's race was mysterious to all those he met for many years, the truth is that he's a Snow Mountain Oni from the uncharted Oni Island. Onis are generally a reclusive race that shuns modern technology in favor of worshipping nature. However, Honen was abandoned by his parents at a very young age, for reasons unknown, in the jungles of the island. He met up with Zumo, a giant sentient talking worm (or annelid, as he prefers to be called), and the two helped each other to survive.
Eventually, Honen and Zumo discovered an abandoned airbase on the "forbidden" side of the island, full of "Old World" technology. Honen learned from the technology he found there to build weapons and machines. He also taught himself how to pilot the planes and other flying machines that were still functional.
However, one day when Honen and Zumo were gathering food in the jungles, Honen was attacked by a wild animal and gravely injured. Zumo returned him to the Oni Village for help and he was taken in by Leona Starling, a young priestess of the Snow Mountain Temple.
Leona nursed Honen back to health and the two of them eventually fell in love (though perhaps Honen more so with Leona than Leona with him). Honen also learned martial arts and swordsmanship during his stay at the temple, and quickly mastered both. He was given a sword hand-crafted by Dante Razeena, the greatest Oni swordsman who ever lived. To this day, he carries the sword with him wherever he goes.
Knowing full well that the Oni religion forbids use of modern technology and weapons, Honen continued to make trips to his airbase lab in secret to work on his projects. Leona eventually discovered this and demanded that he stop or risk banishment. Honen attempted to justify his work by saying they could use the technology to improve their quality of life and to protect the island if it ever came under attack. Leona was not convinced and still forbade him from going to the airbase again. When Honen was caught there a second time, Leona banished him from the island for good and threatened to kill him if he ever returned.
Honen took as much with him from the airbase as he could and set up a ramshackle lab on a much smaller island far away from Oni Island. At some point, he and Zumo began traveling around the world, looking for a way to convince Leona that he was right. At some point, he began attending a university in Aridia Kingdom. Though he calls himself "Dr. Honen Calzoun", the circumstances of his graduation are a bit unclear. At some point he was dismissed from the school for problems related to his temperament.
Since Onis are a race that do not have any magic in their blood, Honen developed feelings of paranoia about races that do. He believes that people without magic powers, such as himself, are at an immediate disadvantage to those who do possess them. Honen feels the world needs to re-embrace technology to combat this situation. His contemptuous outlook was justified in his mind when he returned to Oni Island and found that it had been nearly wiped out in an attack staged by magical-blooded creatures. Minions of the Demon God, Zara, had gone to the island and killed almost everyone (including Leona), razed the villages, and put a magical barrier around Honen's old airbase that he never figued out how to dispel.
After being booted from the university and discovering his home country destroyed, Honen hit a low point and began spiraling into delusions of megalomania. He joined a gang of thieving pirates, the Quixotic Tigers, led by the "baroness", Desiree von Blueblood. He created a giant robot for them to use to attack and destroy towns and villages. Honen believed that this was his first step in global conquest and felt that he would eventually take over as the pirates' leader. However, it wasn't long before he realized how incompetent they all were and determined he'd be better off without them.
Honen returned to his private island and utilized his resources (largely funded by Zumo's gambling habit) to begin creating a robot empire. Amongst his more infamous creations were his robotic dragon-like assistants, Torque and Flune, the giant Megallon robot, and the enormous sky fortress, XERA. When he was all prepared, he began a campaign of world conquest, but his attempts kept getting foiled by Dr. Nucleo Amadeus McRaven, Lt. Rosalyn "Deuce" Koma, and their associates. As such, Honen and Nucleo became mortal enemies, with Honen feeling especially determined to destroy the magical-blooded mountaindevil archaeologist.
After many incidents of stopping Honen's diabolical schemes, Nucleo and Deuce finally managed to infiltrate the XERA sky fortress and destroy it from the inside. Though the two of them escaped, Honen's fate was unknown as the ship was seen plunging into the ocean with him presumably still onboard. Much later on, Robin Calypson discovered Honen was still alive on his secret island, but suffering from a bronchial infection caused by a rare fungus that had overtaken the island. Though Robin was in her "demon" from and clearly a magical-blooded creature, Honen was unable to bring himself to kill her. Though he claims it was because he was too sick at the time, Robin suspects otherwise.
When Nucleo found out about Honen's illness, he offered to help him, but Honen refused. However, Zumo begged Nucleo to help him anyway, so they waited until Honen slipped into unconsciousness to take him to Dr. Victor Markino's lab. Dr. Markino was able to cure Honen's affliction, and Nucleo explained to him that they could use his help fighting against the Nightmare God, Droma, and Zimosa, a madman who was planning to eliminate all non-human races from the planet (which might include Honen, too). Realizing how this problem could affect him, he reluctantly agreed to help Nucleo and his friends.
Because of his expertise with technology, Honen was able to greatly assist Nucleo, Deuce, Chance, Robin, and all the others in infiltrating the Main Phainein Tower. After a destruct sequence was initiated, the tower began crumbling and Honen's robot companions, Torque and Flune, were destroyed when an upper floor collapsed onto them. Torque and Flune held the fallen ceiling up long enough for everyone else in the room to escape, but were ultimately crushed under its weight.
After the Great Elemental War was over, Honen realized he couldn't return to his island because of the fungus infestation. With no place else to go, he went with Nucleo to the Grimmora Mage University, where he has diligently attempted to settle into a normal life as a teacher of mathematics and aeronautics. He is also the assistant director to Chance Tomasaro on the Airship Bluejay restoration project. Due to Honen's bad temper, fear of magic users, and past criminal activity, he has had great difficulty adjusting to his new life and remains one of the most conflicted characters. He does not know if he could ever truly let go of his desire to conquer the world and his past hatred towards magical-blooded people. And he is worried that even if he did, others still might not completely accept him or appreciate his work.
Complicating matters is that his former arch-nemesis Deuce Koma has fallen in love with him. Although he realizes they have much in common, their past bitterness as enemies and his uncertainty about his future cause him to doubt that a relationship between them would never work. Honen receives regular psychiatric therapy from Dr. Preston Abirok to control his violent tendencies and mood swings. Zumo also now lives and works at the university and he is constantly trying to influence Honen back into a life as a supervillain.
Character Design Notes:
Dr. Honen Calzoun is a very early character concept and design. He was the main villain of the untitled preliminary episodes and a reoccurring (though not the main) villain of the Image Arcane series. Since I couldn't draw very well and my free time was limited back then, I wanted a villain that could be drawn quickly and easily multiple times for many scenes. I sketched up a short character with spherical body parts that kind of looked like a snowman. I am not certain where I got the idea to dress him in Mongolian-style clothing, except that maybe I thought that since he came from a cold snowy mountain, he should dress like a miniature Santa Claus.
I have been told he resembles the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man from Ghostbusters, and while that may seem a likely source of inspiration, I don't believe it was because Honen's original color was green, not white. Despite looking like a snowman, he was originally more reptilian than mammal, and I changed this later. If anything, he may have been influenced by The Muppets, and maybe by the saxophonist Zoot in particular. I did not initially have a name for Honen's race until sometime later when I heard about "Onis", the Japanese equivalent to "trolls", and I just decided that sounded right, even though he does not resemble any traditional drawings of Onis.
Honen's trait of talking with an accent was most likely inspired by the fact that many cartoon scientists talk like Albert Einstein, but I wasn't content to leave it at that. I threw in a little bit of Russian (likely inspired by Boris and Natasha from Rocky & Bullwinkle), some French (possibly from cartoon depictions of Napoleon Bonaparte), and a few others I'd picked up on so basically we'd have this guy who was nearly incomprehensible when he'd be shouting over his megaphones.
I've improved Honen's design somewhat over the years while still remaining true to the original version. I wouldn't want to change him too much because I feel the way he looks is an integral part of his character - his insatiable demand to be taken seriously is undermined by his bizarre appearance, yet it doesn't deter him. Several changes and inconsistencies in earlier versions of the character include:
1. The oldest version of Honen is a lot "fatter" around the midsection than the new, more streamlined version. His hair was all completely tucked under his hat so he arguably looked bald. His hat was also missing the horn in many old drawings.
2. I changed Honen's clothing slightly after awhile. Sometimes he's wearing a karate gi that doesn't look quite the same as his normal Oni monk clothing. In that outfit, he doesn't usually wear the hat. His modern clothing is a cross between both of these outfits.
3. I've noticed that some old drawings of Honen have a horn on his head, but I think that's a mistake and it was really supposed to be on his hat. Unless the hat had a hole in it for the horn to poke through. In any case, the modern version only has a horn on his hat.
4. Honen's skin and hair color changes quite frequently in the old drawings because I had a hard time deciding on a palette for him. Sometimes he's white and sometimes he's green. Sometimes his hair is blonde, and other times it's black.
5. Honen normally has two toes and wears sandals, but some of the oldest drawings depict him with what appears to be either "rabbit" feet with no visible toes, or wearing shoes that I have no idea how feet as big as his would fit into.
In the non-canon, preliminary episodes, Honen had no backstory and almost his entire personality was just a mad scientist who wanted to conquer the world. He did not have Zumo for a partner in these comics, but he did have Torque and Flune. He was the main villain for this series, but after I retconned it and started the Image Arcane series, I decided to downgrade him to a reoccurring villain instead of the main villain, and gave him a much more elaborate backstory. Though his past is rather tragic in many ways, Honen has always been used as comic relief in the stories, as he was a parody of incompetent 80's villains who never actually succeed in their plans and never kill anyone. There were hints early on in this series that he may not be entirely a bad guy, and eventually I switched him over to the side of good completely, but without changing his personality (which sometimes happens when characters switch sides and is a pet peeve of mine). Honen is still paranoid, temperamental, and racially insensitive, but he may be gradually mellowing out a bit now, as he seems to take comfort in the fact that Nucleo and Deuce, his former rivals, now legitimately care about him.
Facts & Trivia