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Jiggawatt

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Villain Name: Jiggawatt
Real Name: Malice Nathaniel Jiggs
First Appearance: Belch Dimension Comics #29, 2007 ("Jiggawatt!").
Abilities: A being of "living lightning"; can enter, travel through, or manipulate anything electrical ; can produce high and deadly electrical charges

Jiggawatt is a Smoking Cat Productions supervillain. Created by Jonathan M. Sweet, he first appeared in The Belch Dimension Comics (September 2007).

Jiggawatt was once Malice Jiggs, a psychopathic mass murder sentenced to die in the electric chair in Lowndes, Georgia. A bizarre and unexplained fluke caused his spirit to be ionized and dispersed into the prison's power grid, where he killed over a dozen more people, including the attorneys and judge who presided over the case, and the members of the jury who sentenced him to death row. He attacked Molina, mistakenly believing her to be responsible for his execution (as she shared the same name with one of the participants in the trial), then nearly killed Josh and Jon. As Jon's weakness is electricity, this makes him especially vulnerable; also, most of Josh's inventions contain metal or are powered by electricity, making conventional weaponry next to useless against Jiggawatt.

He is one of only two supervillains to appear in both comic and novel formats, the other being Rasputin. Both villains were mentioned in "Beautiful Dreamer", a short story written by Belch Dimension artist and creator J.M. Sweet, published in 2002's Almasheol .

Fictional character biography

Malice Jiggs was a black supremacist living in Savannah, Georgia, and was responsible for at least thirty murders, all of them white. He was tried and convicted of better than two dozen counts of first-degree murder, and a number of lesser charges, and sent to death row at William Tecumseh Sherman Penitentary in Lowndes, Georgia. When they strapped him in the electric chair, Jiggs' last words were non ominus moriar--magni nominus aere perennius (I will never die; my name will live on forever). He laughed madly even as the current coursed through him, and his laughter echoed through the execution room even as he died.

Shortly after, a rash of unexplained deaths started happening in the community. All of them were electrical in nature, and all of the victims were connected to the Jiggs case. It seems, somehow, Jiggs has fufilled his promise, as he would now "live on forever", as a disembodied spirit made of pure electricity.

Josh made light of Jon's extensive study of the Jiggs case, until their friend Molina was suddenly attacked by an unseen force that leaped out of the television, and her body possessed. Jiggs--for it was he--spoke through her mouth, calling her a "bruja girl", then leapt from her and escaped back through the set. Molina was alive, but left weak and in a coma. While Jon looked for answers, Jiggs continued his rampage, causing a series of rolling blackouts all over town. Eventually, reaching a cybernetics development plant, he constructed a humanlike body for himself, with a latex face that looked like a (unscarred) version of his human countenance. Jiggs rechristened himself "Jiggawatt" (a deliberate misspelling of "gigawatt", a unit of electrical charge) in honor of his reborn state.

Jon, meantime, learned that one of the prosecution's key witnesses was a woman named Gloria Molina, and figured out that Molina has been attacked in a terrible case of mistaken identity. Though he knew that he was weak against electricity, he elected to fight Jiggs; this decision nearly cost him his life and Josh's in the bargain. As Jiggawatt prepared to destroy the two of them, he poured out a sad story of young Malice Jiggs growing up in the South--poverty, racism, a tryst with a white girl, the gunshot wound that killed his lover and left him scarred, foreclosure, rage, revenge, murder. However, with some unexpected help from Molina (who in her unconcious state astral-projected herself into Jon's mind), he was able to summon up enough telekinetic energy to rupture a tank of liquid latex that drowned Jiggawatt and acted as an insulator.

Jiggs was placed in Apex Asylum. There Jon learned that Jiggs has "sung [him] some sweet bullshit"; the truth was, he had grown up middle-class, been well-educated, and had never lived on a farm or known poverty. Jiggs, it turned out, was a pathological liar who had deluded himself into believing he had lived through the woes and troubles told in old stories and folk songs.

Jiggawatt returned in "I Swing The Body Electric!" when an out-of-control construction crane accidentally knocked down a wall of his cell, freeing him.  However, as his voltage began increasing exponentially,the android shell containing his spirit was barely able to contain his  output. As it was powered by a small thermonuclear heart,  his robot body was becoming dangerously unstable and threatened to suffer a meltdown that would destroy half the town. Following a fight in which he brought to life the robot band at Minister Cheesy's Pizza Palace to attack the Warriors, Jiggawatt's robot shell was deactivated. However, it was fast discovered he was no longer inside it. Free, the bioelectric villain then seized control of Jon's body.

Editor J.M Sweet on the story:

"The script, largely written off-the-cuff, suffered from numerous rewrites during production. The B-story was originally to involve a search for a part of Flunger's ship that had inadvertently been activated and threatened to blow up half the city. Concurrently, the rest of the gang was fighting  Jiggawatt  on the other side of town, and he was threatening to destroy the other half.  

I originally wanted an ending with more drama and pathos. My concept was for "Jigga-Jon" to corner Angela and nearly put an end to her; however, his intense love for her, as well as Malice Jiggs' residual feelings for the girl from his boyhood, made Jiggawatt willingly leave Jon's body. Rapidly dispersing and having no host for his essence, Jiggawatt slowly lost cohesion and disintegrated into a cloud of freefloating electrons. Jon muses later, upon watching a storm with Angela, that  one day Jiggawatt could conceivably return."

The final ending is quite different, however. Jiggawatt possesses Jon's body, but the other Warriors have no idea. A week passes before Jiggawatt suddenly announces his presence and loudly complains that the Warriors lead a mundane and sedentary life of doing nothing but watching television, eating junk food, and going to school, which he deems "worse than prison". He departs from Jon's body in a bolt of lightning. Jon is furious that his friends failed to realize that he was possessed all that time and do something about it. Joshua Cline admits that he couldn't tell the difference, as Jon has been in a bad mood since Pushing Daisies was cancelled, and Angela seems ecstatic that, technically speaking, for the past week she has been allowing a black man to touch her in an intimate fashion.

Sweet admitted that he didn't like making the changes and was "disappointed in the effort, where my grandiose ambitions far overreached the confines of the space budgeted".

Other Appearances

Jiggawatt was also mentioned in"Beautiful Dreamer", the first commercial fiction by author and artist J.M. Sweet, and third story in the Almasheol collection. He is mentioned in passing as something akin to an urban legend (similar to The Candyman), based on stories about a man who once served time in the same prison Albert Watson is sent to.

Continuity?

Events of "Beautiful Dreamer" are set in 1991 and 1992. It's never said how long before Albert's sentencing the murders by Jiggs' ghost occurred (if they even did, in this continuity). Assuming Belch Dimension takes place in the present day, then--if we go back from the date of the issue's publication--the oldest Warriors would have only been two years old when Watson was sentenced for the homicides of Mary North, Leon Rogerstein, Ira Phillips, and Karen Cottmichel. However, owing to having been in preproduction for a number of years before its release, the series has a number of out-of-date jokes, chronological and continuity incongruities that are to be expected of any long-running series.

Character Inspiration and Design

Inspiration

Jiggawatt owes much to a character from the Wes Craven film Shocker, about a convicted serial killer named Horace Pinker who dies in the electric chair and returns as a vengeful ghost. However, in the film it's mentioned Pinker dabbled in black magic before his death, which allowed him to cross over; Jiggs is never mentioned to have occult ties, and his return from death is passed over as a fluke. An episode of The X-Files used a similar storyline for one episode; interestingly, Mitch Peleggi, the star of Shocker, was a recurring guest star as FBI Asst. Director Walter Skinner. He also bears some resemblance to Electro, from the Spider-Man comics--both of which being men who, by some million-to-one-mishap, have bodies made of living electricity and must wear some sort of special containment suit. Jiggawatt, when in his robotic form, also looks similar to both Superman foe Metallo and a Terminator droid. Both have humanlike metal bodies and facial damage incurred in roughly the same place--the left side of the mouth.

Design

In his human form, Jiggawatt is a formidable fellow, described as a "hulking black man", with the left half of his mouth drawn up in a sneer due to a badly-stitched scar. This deformity carries over to his robotic body, after part of the latex face shell he wears is ripped torn during his fight with Jon. In his electrical form Jiggawatt is depicted as either a crude human-shape figure traced in "neon" lines or--more often--a formless mass of lightning.

Powers/Abilities

Jiggawatt describes himself as the "master of all things electric", and indeed he seems to carry out his boast. He can travel through wires quite literally at light-speed and attacks his victims from either a distance (by manipulating something as small as a kitchen appliance to large as a vehicle) or at close quarters (by entering them as a lightning bolt and either possessing them or fatally electrocuting them). He can control magnetism and charge anything iron, even something as small as the ferrous fibers in one's blood. He is also quite intelligent--if rather disturbed and deluded--and familiar with conversational Latin, despite supposedly only having a grade-school education (indicating he is self-taught, or, more likely, that the poor rural background is simply part of his schizophrenic madness). However, his most notable weakness is that he can be stopped by sealing him in a substance that doesn't hold a charge (any insulator, like plastic, rubber, or cloth will do). He can also be shorted out if exposed to water. Also, his metal robot body is slow, clunky, and vulnerable if struck from his blind side. He can move faster in his "natural" form of living lightning, but if outside his robotic shell or other conductive element for too long, he will lose cohesion and begin to disperse into freefloating ions.

Appearances

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