It’s a day of mixed emotions here at the Mechs. We’re excited about moving forward with the team and our stories, but to do so we have to leave behind a part of ourselves that we’re going to miss very much.

The Mechanical Maniacs operate under a different creedo than all of the other teams that have come and gone over the years, one that states that the team is more of a club than a production mill. We pretty much make stories and new content as we please, which can sometimes lead to long droughts of activity, while at other times you may struggle to keep up with everything that’s going on. But the common thread between these times is that the members themselves are actually good friends, and we all hang out, both online and at least once a year in the real world.

Just about the only requirement for staying on the team is that we’re around when we can be. Its a pretty lax set of terms, but its worked out pretty well for us.

In the past few years, the team members have grown older, and with that comes new responsibilities that may not jibe with keeping an active online persona. Hey, its just how these things go, and the more responsibilities we end up with, the less time we have to hang around online. Some of us have more responsibilities than others.

A few years ago, during one of his increasingly rarer appearances on the forum, Hardy stated that his goal was to start a family and basically be a normal guy. Without going into details about his personal life, this was a perfectly acceptable goal of his.

And so, after a year of no communication with our friend, and before that, fewer and fewer visits form the big lug, the team has come to the painful decision to move on without our friend. There’s no ill will from us, and we’re hoping that if Hardy ever does come back, he’ll understand our decision and not feel any ill will towards us.

Wherever you are, Hardy, we’re hoping you’ve made it, safe and sound and happy.

With Hardy gone, that’s leaves some awfully big shoes to fill, and not just because Hardman had reached nearly Godzilla-sized proportions during Hadrian’s time in the Number 020 boots. He was quite the accomplished author, being able to command the attention of all of his audience no matter how much time had passed between then and his last story.

But, luckily, we’re pretty confident in his successor, because he isn’t the type to merely fill shoes- he’s the kind of guy that makes his own foot ware and walk his own path. A legend in the old team community in his own right, and a guy all of us know by name, if not reputation.

So, we introduce our old friend and former Sinister Six alumni, Ben, as our new Hardman!

And with that, no orphanage will be safe from being crushed beneath his maniacal might…