41 years ago - Roland Desmond is born.
25 years ago - 16-year-old Roland drops out of school.
20 years ago - 21-year-old Roland goes to prison for armed robbery.
16 years ago - 25-year-old Roland is diagnosed with a degenerative disorder.
15 years ago - 26-year-old Roland is released from prison. His brother Mark Desmond graduates, beginning his masters program, focusing on the development of an experimental steroid that could save his brother
12 years ago - 29-year-old Roland's brother Mark Desmond tries to invent a cure for him, and inadvertantly turns himself into Blockbuster. Roland manipulates him into fighting Batman while he commits crimes.
11 years ago - 30-year-old Roland discovers that Mark Desmond's treatment is sucessful, but that it requires a sample of his effected blood. Mark dies in the procedure, and Roland injects the new serum, treating his disorder and becomes the new Blockbuster.
9 years ago - 32-year-old Roland moves into Bludhaven & begins building cosolidating his new empire.
7 years ago - 34-year-old Roland's criminal empire is slowly picked apart when Nightwing moves to Bludhaven.
2 years ago - 39-year-old Roland implants a gorilla heart in an effort to extend his life, but when he finally battle Nightwing one-on-one, it explodes in his chest.
Generally speaking when any character is being given their own series you can tell how good it's going to be by how much it reminds you of early Spider-Man. There are certain story beats that always feel lush and fresh; giving the character a realistic life and challenges outside the costume, making their adventures as a hero feel like a lush garden of adventure all centered around that one hero. These were all in full effect in 1996 when Chuck Dixon crafted a new ongoing series for my personal favorite superhero, Nightwing. One core element was to build a physically imposing and very connected central villain to doggedly persue the hero. For this Dixon tapped a classic but little used Batman villain, Blockbuster. He was largely reimaginged for the role but it was a great fit, and the conflict between these two characters defined the early stories of what happens to be one of my favorite comic series, ever.
Blockbuster's Comic History
Roland Desmond first appeared in 1965, but he wasn't Blockbuster. Blockbuster was a chemist that accidentally mutated himself into a simple-minded superstrong behemoth (as chemists often do), and Roland was simply his criminal brother that manipulated him into helping commit crimes. He was a servieable, if not especcially notable, comic villain. After Mark Desmond's death Roland actually became a very similar creature when he had to take his brothers steroid formula. He was one of the many villains who sold their soul to DC's Satan allegory Neron in exchange for more power. In his case, he became a genius, and this was where we first got the notion of the Blockbuster actually being a criminal mastermind.
Even here, you could be forgiven for not remembering the character, but when Chuck Dixon was crafting the criminal world of Bludhaven as he crafted his take on a new city and new series for Nightwing, the mystery as to just who was running the show was answered in Nightwing #7 when we discover that Roland Desmond had become the supreme crime lord of Dick Grayson's newly adopted city.
Blockbuster would go on to be a fantastic antagonist toward Nightwing, picking apart his life and constantly targeting him with hired assassins. He would eventually die thanks to his own body giving out during a battle with Nightwing, but his time as a series antagonist were some really great comics.
Our Blockbuster Story
We didn't include Neron's involvement in Roland's story... instead we just took it as a given that the character's mutation also enhanced his mental capacity the same way it hampered his brothers.
Other than this, his story needs to really focus on his time as the main crimelord of Bludhaven. His body is obviously deteriorating the entire time; we're treated to awesome looking panels of this gargantuan slab of a man in his pajamas, hooked up to all sorts of life support as if it's nothing to him, contemplating having a his heart replaced with one stolen from the chest of a murdered Gorilla City gorilla. That's the sort of thing you can really only have in comics. Desmond, by virtue of serving as the central antagonist for one of the best characters in comics, has essentially become a DC stand in for great characters like the Kingpin or Norman Osborne, and that's always something we can use more of.