Pitch #10 of 10: I wasn’t going to put out any more superhero-ish ideas here, but Mogo’s idea for a period piece and Jason Rivest’s “something to do with time travel” reminded me of one more item on my shelf, The Legend of the Black Mask.

In 2029, the Black Mask’s century-long heroic career comes to an abrupt end on the shores of Indonesia. In 2030, a quartet of starry-eyed adventurers with access to limited time-travel technology hurl themselves into various eras, hoping to recruit the hero at some point in his development to avert the resource wars of their own age.

What they discover is far more sprawling and complex than they could have expected. In one version of the Black Mask’s story, his enhanced physique left him nearly unaging, which meant he was 127 when he died. Another version had it that the Black Mask is a family legacy, passed down from generation to generation, and that there were four men behind the Mask. In fact, there were nine people… not always men… who kept the “Mask” going, but each of them changed it profoundly, bringing in the moral perspective, technology, and approaches of their particular era and muddying accounts of the past to match their present.

The origin of the Mask, such as it is, was a scared rookie cop who smudged his face with charcoal one night, hoping not to be recognized by the mob. That set off a few folk tales and urban legends that a better Black Mask would use to his advantage, but the cop joined the mob a few years later. Two of our hero-hunters find a clear message in this troubled history, but the others aren’t ready to exchange nostalgia for forging ahead… and there’s only one set of time-travel controls between them.