Doktor Sleepless (Ellis Avatar Comics)

Doktor Sleepless

Doktor Sleepless ? Mad Cartoon Scientist. Insane Genius. Philosophy. Dystopic Future. Unrevealed Motives. Spider Jerusalem Redux. Biopunk.


  • Real Name: “John Reinhardt”.
  • Other Aliases: Doktor Sleepless, Professor Zero (on the old imminent.sea blog).
  • Marital Status: Unrevealed.
  • Known Relatives: Father (deceased), mother (deceased).
  • Group Affiliation: imminent.sea (formerly only).
  • Base Of Operations: The castle.
  • Height: 6’1” Weight: 160 lbs.
  • Eyes: Blue Hair: Black


The future is now!

[Sleepless broadcasting on the radio] “Everywhere I go, I hear the same thing: Where’s my fucking jet pack? Where’s my flying car? You’re thinking it right now. Where’s my vacation on the Moon? Where’s my robot lover? Where’s my alien dancing girls? Ok, that bit might be just me. But still. Where’s the future you were promised? That’s what I hear you say. Who’s cheated me out of my spaceship and my ray gun?

“Stop looking for something that isn’t there. You live in the future and you don’t know it. Your own bodies talk to your environments all the time without you doing anything. You can interrogate buildings and have conversations with objects.

Doktor Sleepless (Ellis Avatar Comics) and nurse Igor in a club

That wasn’t in the future you were expecting. You can rebuild your own fucking bodies at home with stuff you bought from the hardware store. You think that hardware store guy ever expected to sell anything but pots and pans 30 years ago? Bullshit.

“The future sneaks up on us. It leaks in through the small, ordinary things. You want your jetpack, but you don’t even think about your IM lenses and your phones. Were you born with them? No. You’re science fictional creatures. Each and every one of you. You know what you are? You’re Grinders.

While you wait for the real future you think you’re owed, you fuck around with your bodies like they were virtual-world avatars. You add things to them. You make them better. You treat them like characters to be improved and you grind them.

“There’s no future coming. No-one thinks they owe you shit. You’re waiting for a day that’ll never fucking dawn. My name’s John Reinhardt. I grew up here, and I’ve been away a long time. Grinding. Becoming someone else. And now I have a Grinder name. I’m Doktor Sleepless. And I’m here to stay. And now: Music.”

Doktor Sleepless (Ellis Avatar Comics) smiling

The future may not be exactly what everybody expected, but it is still full of powerful and new technologies. Below follow examples:

  • Internal I.D. Tags: swallowed electronics capsules that remain in the system, identifying the individual and granting access to voting, medical care, and allowing them to make payments.
  • BioMetr: an internal tag that monitors the person’s medical history from the inside, allowing their doctor to use a BioReadr get a complete report and more easily diagnose any illness.
  • IM Lens: popular hi-tech contact lenses that display an interface over the wearers vision allowing them internet access, such as checking their buddylist as soon as they wake up.


  • Clatter: a wireless IM Lens instant messaging system built on to a soft contact lens. Clatter differs from other, commercial lens services by being open source and “riding” other services to create free crossplatform access.
  • Shriekyware: almost exclusively used by the “Shrieky Girls” subculture. It consists of a set of networked receivers and transmitters – usually two false fingernails or rings, a tongue-ring or false tooth, neckwear and an IM Lens (most often a Clatter system). Put together, they form a crude motion-capture unit and haptic interface that allows transmission of simulated touch between wearers.
    If one Shrieky Girl is taken by the hand, for example, every other Shrieky Girl on the net experiences the same sensation of their hand being held. In this way, Shrieky Girls are never alone. They live in an invisible web of constant secret conversations, transmitting raw feelings like they were texting notes.

Powers & Abilities

Doktor Sleepless is a technical genius without peer. He designs, operates and builds new cutting edge technology, particularly that related to biotechnology and biocybernetics. Naturally, he also has good knowledge of biology and medical problems.

Doktor Sleepless (Ellis Avatar Comics) manor 666 logo searchlight

His technical prowess also covers computer programming, operational, security and hacking; none could properly access Clatter and the imminent.sea blog after he had left it, and he easily hacks into high security facilities, such as the Apocalypse Bunker, which has multiple access points around the city.

He seems to, oddly enough, never sleep. It is unrevealed whether this is a genetic defect, a mental discipline, induced by drug use, the effect of trauma, or a side effect of experiencing Lovecraftian horrors. In any case, this condition has been active for at least a year.


John Reinhardt was born in Heavenside, where his parents had an estate just outside of town. The young John was deeply traumatised by his parent’s deaths, though the exact circumstances are unclear.

Officially it was recorded as death by misadventure, the police apparently deciding it better than listing it as suicide, which was the general consensus. Doktor Sleepless has told another version:

The Reinhardt’s were obsessed by the book, The Darkening Sky, by Henrik Boemer. They believed that encoded within it was a system to allow them to see the true nature of the world. They succeeded, but what they saw also saw them. As food. John walked in to find an other-dimensional entity sucking the life from them.

Whichever version is true, John was deeply traumatized by the incident. Some accounts have his inability to sleep coming from this time.

Doktor Sleepless - Loose Time sign

John was remanded into the guardianship of Dr. Albert Cannon, a friend of his father’s. The relationship wasn’t easy with the troubled boy, and as he grew John’s ideas about changing the world disturbed his guardian.

Cannon lost his sway over the boy when the genius John developed Identity tag: tablets that would remain in a body, encodeable with all kinds of information to make life easier and more watchable. He sold the technology for a fortune, gaining a degree of independence.

During this period he also developed clatter – a freely distributed communications network that was hard to monitor and piggybacked other systems.

He also wrote under the alias Professor Zero on imminent.sea – a group blog for a select group of futurists specialising in various areas. John covered human-computer interface, other contributors including Max Cale on criminology, Gabrielle Pichette on environmentalism, Irene Adler on sex, and Captain Swing on security.

Becoming obsessed with his plans to change the world, John managed to alienate everyone with his frustrations at not achieving anything, including his girlfriend, Sing Watson. An attempt to win over Police Commissioner Preston Stoker, who’d been a uniformed officer attending his parent’s death, backfired.

Realising he’d scared Stoker into action, John decided he needed to leave Heavenside, but knew he’d have a hard time escaping. So he gave Stoker a John Reinhardt to lock away. The exact identity of the other John Reinhardt is unclear, as is which of them is the original.

One story both of them told is that John summoned a tulpa, a thoughtform given substance through intense meditation. One of the Johns was secretly abducted by Stoker and locked up in a basement cell, while the other left Heavenside.

Before leaving, he dropped bits of his technology around where it could be found and used. It was adopted by the growing grinder movement, who used technology to changed their bodies into what they wanted them to be.

Doktor Sleepless sign - conceptual breakthrough

His travels led him to the Amazon, where he sought out Don Bastardos in La Chupacabra to aid him in expanding his mind, as his existing one wasn’t big enough for his plans. Don Bastardos was selling drugs and an experience to gullible seekers after enlightenment, but John interested him.

The extent of his world travels are unrevealed, but in a bar in Helsinki he recruited an embittered former CIA assassin who wanted to bring down the system that had made her what she was. John offered her a way to do that.

Doktor Sleepless sign - strangelet impact

Returning to Heavenside after 3 years absent, John reinvented himself as Doktor Sleepless, an over the top cartoon mad scientist who most would have a hard time taking seriously. With his bodyguard now dubbed Nurse Igor (as an Igor to his own Dr. Frankenstein), he set about reintroducing himself to the city.

Retaking his old broadcast frequency, 98.7 MHz, from the recently deceased DJ who’d been using it – after his machinations introduced said DJ to a past indiscretion that caused him to commit suicide – Doktor Sleepless began speaking to the city, gaining a devoted following among the grinders.

His presence alone was enough to cause friction in the city, which he helped along in small ways, such as republishing the long out-of-print The Darkening Sky and anonymously sending large consignments to Sing’s grinder bookstore.

Doktor Sleepless sign - cultural flux

He was shaken by news that his imminent.sea colleague Max Cale had been murdered following a talk he gave in Heavenside. What he didn’t know was that Nurse Igor was responsible, revenge for Cale having recruited her for the CIA as part of his paying them off for some indiscretions.

Following a broadcast where he called for a minute’s silence for Cale, the Doktor caused a power outage to all of Heavenside apart from his mansion. He then had Nurse Igor dispose of the evidence before Stoker arrived with the police.

Unable to find any evidence, Stoker used the opportunity to confront Reinhardt and accused him of being an impostor. Prepared for this, Doktor Sleepless took some of his own blood for them to check. Except that he didn’t, switching it with someone else’s so it didn’t identify him as John Reinhardt.

Stoker also accused him of outbreaks of St. Teresa’s Eyes, a virus that caused people to see angels and bleed profusely from their eyes. The Doktor denied it, but hinted that other former members of imminent.sea could also be upset at Cale’s death, and would have the resources to release the virus.

Doktor Sleepless sign - eschaton event incoming

As he continued to advance his machinations in small ways, Nurse Igor sought more information on his plans. So he introduced her to the apocalypse bunker.

Around Heavenside were a number of H plates – metal plates in alleys with a H symbol on top, and numbered H signs on nearby walls – which most assumed were to do with city maintenance. They were actually access routes to a vast underground bunker, one mirrored in other cities, built by the federal government in preparation for resisting a coup.

No local officials knew it was there, but John had discovered it and acquired the codes before leaving Heavenside. It had allowed him to shut off the city’s power, and could do far more for his later plans to bring about an apocalypse.

When Sing confronted him over the chaos he was causing, he revealed to her what he recalled of his parents death, and how it made him see the world: a source of food for a race of tenth-dimensional animals (based on the Cthulhu Mythos stories) that feed on souls and live in a realm similar to Heaven.

He claimed that while he originally wanted to organize people against these creatures, he now just wanted to kill the whole world to spite the monsters by starving them.

Doktor Sleepless sign - wavy lines of deth

He anonymously sent a grinder bar a fabricator programmed to produce masks of his own face, along with the message “Faces won’t be legal forever”. On learning the masks also hid their ID tags, making them anonymous, grinder thugs ran riot in the city’s affluent pay-cop zone, causing anarchy and mostly escaping unidentified.

This served to elevate tensions in the city, as Doktor Sleepless continued working to turn factions against each other and didn’t denounce the grinders as they committed terrorist acts against ’the man’ that they thought would please their patron. All without anything linking back to him in a way Stoker could act on.

He watched the city fall apart, waiting for Stoker to make his move, and unaware he was being stalked by his old guardian.

The now-psychotic Dr. Albert Cannon returned to Heavenside shortly after Doktor Sleepless appeared, determined to kill anyone who might help John’s mad crusade, or anyone who just happens to get in his way. And after reaching an agreement with Commissioner Stoker, Cannon now does so without police interference, always getting closer to his true target: Doktor Sleepless.

The story remains to be concluded.


Doktor Sleepless dresses in teal scrubs and rubber gloves, with a white lab coat, heavy (sometimes colored) goggles, tight black trousers, and heavy black big stompy boots with metal bits on.

He’s seldom seen without the goggles in public, and rarely removes the gloves at any time.

Doktor Sleepless (Ellis Avatar Comics) shelter entrances


Adopting the persona of a larger than life cartoon mad scientist, Doktor Sleepless maintains the charade with everyone but Nurse Igor, the only one he (maybe) trusts with his true plans. Or the only one who believes him, since claims he’s going to end the world from a cartoon mad scientist can meet with scepticism.

After going in search of a way to permanently change his mind – because the one he had wasn’t big enough – it appears he either succeeded, or broke the one he started out with. He often talks to himself in the mirror, and if his reflection talks back then it doesn’t necessarily mean anything definite one way or the other.

Either way, he remains a genius, inventing technology at the leading edge, and enacting plans that seem to go the way he intends.

Doktor Sleepless (Ellis Avatar Comics) signs plastered on a wall

He’s claimed his goal is to end the world. Whether actually or metaphorically is a matter of how you choose to interpret him. But if true about how he believes he saw his parents die, he wants to wipe out the human race to spite the creature which killed them.

Or he may just be trying to tear down the current system, as he promised Nurse Igor (Nurse Igor, by the way, appears to be his trusted confidant, assistant and bodyguard, although she may also have a secret, ulterior motive of her own).

Either way, Heavenside is his test bed for the things he’ll do to the rest of the world.

It’s unclear now much of his claims he truly believes, and what his true goals are.


“Today I stop being real. No-one’s going to listen to a boy genius. No-one’s going to listen to a philosopher or a traveller. No-one cares about an orphan, or a rich man, or some grown-up grinder kid from Heavenside. All the thing’s I’ve been: no-one’s ever been interested. Weird little Johnny from the big house on Scartop; who ever really gave a shit ? People like listening to characters. Characters are safe, because they’re not real. So today I become a character.” [Dons his goggles for the first time] “John Reinhardt and all the things he’s seen: he’s a bit too real. The things he wants to do are a bit too obvious. But if you cover his eyes, you can’t see that he hasn’t slept for a year. But Doktor Sleepless. He’s something else entirely.” [smiles grimly] “Who’s afraid of a cartoon mad scientist ? Who’s afraid of Doktor Sleepless ?”

(Restarting a man’s heart by electric shock) “There. I am a science Jesus now. A shot for me and a shot for my nurse, please, barkeep. Electricity can only be replenished by whisky. This is actual physics. Do not argue with me. I am a doktor.”

Doktor Sleepless (Ellis Avatar Comics) restarting a man's heart with lightning

“I have a terrible prescription.”

“Love is very important, Nurse Igor. Love is a gateway emotion. Without it, you cannot fully comprehend and experience things like… vengeance, for instance. Or terror. Loss. Hate. Hate is all you need. Hate means never having to say you’re sorry. You can’t hate properly without ever having been in love. Because nothing will teach you hate as well as being in love. You can’t understand a place without loving it. And it’s the act of loving it that teaches you to hate it, as it chips away at your heart with its daily failures and disappointments. I grew up in Heavenside. I know every inch of it… I know it like the face and body of my first love. We’re going to burn it all down. Because this is not the future we were promised. And if we can’t have that, then we shouldn’t have anything at all.”

Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG

Tell me more about the game stats

Doktor Sleepless

Dex: 03 Str: 02 Bod: 04 Motivation: Psychopath/Nihilist
Int: 08 Wil: 08 Min: 05 Occupation: Mad cartoon scientist
Inf: 06 Aur: 06 Spi: 08 Resources {or Wealth}: 018
Init: 017 HP: 030

Interface: 05, Radio Communications: 10

Artist (Radio Broadcasting): 05, Charisma: 07, Gadgetry: 10, Medicine (Medical Treatment): 05, Occultist (Occult Knowledge, Ritual Casting): 06, Scientist (incl. Computers): 10, Thief (Security Systems): 08


  • Radio Communications represent his various internal tags.
  • Interface is a theoretical Power as also derived from his internal tags and implants, and may be considered a Minor Marginal Power (-1).
  • The Occultist skill is also theoretical based on his (secret) origin and the possible creation of a Tulpa.

Area Knowledge (Heavenside), Credentials (Government, Medium, faked; for example to access the Apocalypse Bunkers around Heavenside), Expertise (Virology), Headquarters (Expansive, Dr. Sleepless’s Mansion), Life Support (The Doktor never sleeps, or so we are led to believe), Local Hero (Among Heavenside’s Grinder cultures), Scholar (Biocybernetic technology, Biotechnology), Stroke of Genius.

Nurse Igor (High).

Minor Psychological Instability.


  • Dr. Sleepless Goggles [BODY 01, Shade: 03].
  • Omni-Gadgets (x3) [BODY 02, C-Omniability 08 APs, Note: He has simulated the effects of Lightning and Illusion (creating blueprints in the air) with these gadgets.]
  • His Mansion contains a Laboratory suitable for technology, chemistry and biology at 16 APs.

Doktor Sleepless (Ellis Avatar Comics) mirror abnormal reflection

Design notes

The Occultist skill is also theoretical based on his (secret) origin and the possible creation of a Tulpa or two. If this is believed correct – and not simply a mind game he pulled on Stoker – its use need not be considered a Marginal, but regular ability.

On the other hand the thing that killed his parents looked Lovecraftian, which may be more science fictional than purely magic, so if this view is taken then he does not have the Occult skill at all.

Doktor Sleepless (Ellis Avatar Comics) HUD contact lens social network

By Dr. Peter S Piispanen and Gareth Lewis.

Source of Character: Doktor Sleepless by Warren Ellis, Avatar Press.

Helper(s):, (now defunct).

Writeup completed on the 8th of September, 2015.