Podcasts/Episode 167

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The Letters Page: Episode 167
Writers’ Room: Cosmic Tales Vol. 2 #528

Cosmic Tales Vol 2 528.png

Original Source

Primary Topic

Fashion

Intro

Another tale: told!

Show Notes:

Run Time: 1:36:15

Back to the drawing writing board!

We do some goofs, as per usual, then get into it. We set the story straight on Fashion — her appearances, her character changes, her disappearance, her reappearance... look, there's a lot.

Then! We craft a tale! For you!

After over half an hour of story making, we get to question answering! And then cover discussing, the results of which you can see above.

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Characters Mentioned

Summary

Overview

  • Talking about Fashion today. They need to set the record straight on her as the details that they’ve shared have changed a bit over time.
    • The comic Stylin’ Shirley started in January 1944 and runs through #274 in October ’66, so that’s a pretty good run.
    • In the midst of that run, Justice Comics #149 (September ’52) has the first appearance of the hero Fashion. She’s still got the same kind of ditzy, fun Shirley Shane personality, just with a “fighting bad guys” plot. It’s an attempt to bring the romance comic audience over to the broader superhero genre (and maybe a little crossover the other direction as well). This largely fails in both directions.
    • She continues to show up here and there over the next few years as they continue to try to make her work in a variety of books (mainly in anthology titles where they can try her out in a variety of story types). She never really finds a home, though.
    • Finally, in Cosmic Tales #194 (February 1957), Fashion is lost in space. The character is just disregarded at that point, never to be heard from again. Note that the Stylin’ Shirley book is still going strong and will continue to do so for almost another decade.
    • Then, in 1994 we have the big Kaargra Warfang crossover event. In Cosmic Tales vol. 2 #287 (January) we have the revelation that the human gladiator S’sdari the Bloody (who had appeared here and there) was, in her old life that she barely remembers, Shirley Shane. At this point it’s basically just an Easter Egg for people who really know the history. She’s still in the Colosseum when the story ends.
    • She continues to appear in later Bloodsworn Colosseum stories as a background character. She’s just a consistent presence as a gladiator. She wasn’t in the Hero in the Arena #1-3 series as that was several years prior to the above crossover, but she was in the #4-6 set in 2013. At the end of that book, as part of the big Sky-Scraper/Kaargra fight, many gladiators are liberated/escape. Now, this story is still happening out in space somewhere rather than on Earth, but this lets some of the characters we’ve become used to seeing as gladiators show up here and there outside of that context. S’sdari is one of them.
    • This leads us to June 2013, Cosmic Tales vol. 2 #520 features Fashion once again. She’s a bit more gritty and sarcastic, but still trying to be fun (Adam: She’s now a more “Smile while she shoots you in the face” kind of character than “ditzy model”). She continues to show up here and there in various space stories. Eventually, she winds up back on Earth and is around just long enough for her to be involved with OblivAeon. She hasn’t been around long enough for her to get her own book, but it leaves her well-positioned for that in the post-OA relaunch.
  • So, with all of that out of the way they need to decide what story they want to actually do for today’s Writer’s Room. There are basically two options: they probably don’t want to do one of the ’50s stories as they were pretty one-note (there’s a bank robbery, choosing an outfit to stop it, having to wear the stopping-a-robbery outfit on a date instead of the one she had picked out for the date specifically, etc.) and they tended to still have a fair bit of the romance comic genre stuff in there with the crime-fighting (which is why the character didn’t do well - it was trying to appeal to both audiences, failing to attract either). Talking about how ridiculous these stories are both guys confess that they’d totally read them, but they likely would have had an actual audience if they were intentionally tongue-in-cheek rather than earnest (Adam points out as a humorous aside that a while back Marvel republished a bunch of their old romance comics, but with new dialog written to make them funny). This leaves the post-Colosseum period as a more interesting option.
  • This leaves 2013 and 2014 as the available time frame. Maybe 2015 - but by then we’re getting into serious OblivAeon setup mode where anything involving Fashion is going to be about her working with other heroes in the setup to that event instead of being a story about her. They’re also just not terribly interested in telling more OblivAeon stories - there’s room for maybe some interesting side stories about things, but they feel like they’ve pretty well covered the main events by now. Within this option, there are two things Christopher would want as options. Either just a random story of her having space adventures and dealing with weird situations and showing off her outfit modularity thing, or do the specific issue where she returns to Earth.
  • Based on the former, Adam suggests some big spaceship that she’s on where we can have something like an “escape” story, but there’s enough of a variety of rooms she has to navigate to give some opportunities to show off her outfit’s capabilities as she deals with obstacles. Christopher suggests that there can be a general bounty that Kaargra put out on any escaped gladiator, so there can be a bunch of bounty hunters after her and she can be trying to evade them, play them against one another, etc. (plus, an opportunity for a Greazer cameo!).
  • Why is she on this big space cruiser at all? Maybe she’s already been captured and is in a cell at the beginning, then some other bounty hunter attacks the ship to get to her (and a few other gladiators that had also been captured at this point) which shuts down security and she gets free. Adam thinks this makes her seem too important. Even if there are a few other bounty targets present, attacking a big ship that already has them locked up seems like a poor use of resources unless the target is the biggest payday in the galaxy, which these aren’t. Oh… maybe the Bloodsworn bounties aren’t the only ones present. Maybe there’s a MacGuffin that is worth the trouble and Fashion just happens to be present. Maybe she makes off with the Macguffin and turns it in herself at the end.
  • Ok, so let’s say that the “Celestial Codex” is on the ship, the attack happens, high jinks ensue that they’ll hash out, then she escapes with the Codex. The twist is that the Celestial Codex isn’t an object, but a person. Having this big of a ship as a bounty hunter’s thing is a bit weird. Maybe it’s something like a known transport “service” - like a bounty hunter can drop off a target to be delivered, but other stuff can be sent along too.
  • Se, we could begin with a ragtag team of bounty hunters (or other variety of shady characters) who are setting up to pull a heist on this transport ship. Whatever blast they use to disable the ship also knocks out the records, so they don’t have any quick means of finding the Codex and they have to start rooting through stuff in the hold while discussing things. This might be getting a bit too in the weeds.
  • Let’s refocus on her. Transport ship is still good. Instead of it being attacked, it runs through some kind of “ion storm” in space and gets disabled. In the process, much of the ship gets vented to space and so most if not all of the crew is dead. The ship is just drifting. Fashion manages to get her cell open and also lets out another prisoner who’s some little alien person (who turns out to be the Celestial Codex, but we don’t know that until the end). Maybe some other dangerous creature gets loose, maybe some space pirates find the ship and board it so they can do some looting - either way there’s now some threats on board to evade.
  • How to relate that the Celestial Codex is 1) really important/valuable and 2) present on the ship without revealing that it’s the alien? Backing up again - ship isn’t derelict, space pirates attack, they kill the captain and get on the communication system to announce to the rest of the ship that they’re just here for the Codex, so give it to them and nobody else gets killed.
  • Meanwhile, Fashion manages to break out of her cell and is about to make a break for it, when this other prisoner (which looks like an alien child) gets her attention, so she reluctantly accepts that she should help it too and breaks it out (she’s “gritty” but not heartless). The power is still on, hazards/traps in the ship are still active, pirates are stalking the halls and can still keep tabs on things using the internal surveillance systems as they look for this Codex thing. Space Die Hard starring Fashion who is just trying to escape and keep this kid safe.
  • First things first, she’s got to get her stuff back from the locker or whatever where her captors put it. As they traverse the ship, she’s got to pause now and again while she adjusts her outfit to handle whatever the current situation is (stealthing their way past a camera, fighting some pirates, etc.) which is a good showcase of how her outfit works and how she goes about using it to get through a variety of challenges.
  • Something she’s lacking, however, is a translator and so she has no idea what this kid is saying to her (speech balloons have weird symbols rather than text). Eventually, they make it to an escape shuttle or whatever and she uploads its systems to her outfit, including the translation program. Then she can understand it - “Hello. I am the Celestial Codex and I’ve been alive for 9000 years.” or whatever right at the finale of the book.
  • Eh, Adam prefers it if the Codex doesn’t reveal itself. Maybe Fashion winds up having to fight the pirate captain and it’s demanding the Codex. She doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Then he points out that the little alien guy is the Codex. Then, once they’re on the shuttle and she can talk to it, it confirms that and asks her to take it to a particular place so it can do its job.
  • Ok, they’ve got the general structure of the issue, how about some story beats. Open up with her in a cell talking to the kid, which replies in the symbol language nonsense. “Great, at least I’ll have some scintillating conversation before I get dropped off at the Bloodsworn Colosseum.” (More symbols in reply).
  • Lights flicker, transition to show the space battle happening outside. Pirate ships just attach to various points on the hull and cut their way in to make their own hatches, letting them infiltrate the ship quickly (this also prompts the idea that she steals one of these ships at the end rather than a shuttle belonging to the transport - there can even be a moment when she’s gotten to the escape hangar or whatever and the pirates jettison/destroy them before she can use one).
  • The various missing pieces involve her avoiding pirates, fighting pirates, sneaking past various hazards, probably a stealth kill on one of the pirates (kid watching, she notices and shrugs with a “sorry”). They really like the idea that she’s working under the assumption that this is a young child of some sort that turns out to actually be an ancient being (also - the “Celestial Codex” is obviously very important, but it’s not like the book actually gets into what it actually is/does).
  • About all they need for specifics at this point is the pirate leader (they had mentioned having a Greazer cameo earlier on, but now that it’s gone from bounty hunters to space pirates he’s not involved anymore). A neat idea is for the pirate leader to be an established character - somebody whom long-time Cosmic Tales readers would recognize. They also want to avoid any cyborgs/missing limbs or other coding for “space pirate” instead opting to just be a group of aliens who attack/raid other spaceships. They’ve got beat-up ships and consist of a bunch of different kinds of aliens. Think Captain Phillips, not Captain Hook in terms of “pirate” and more Mad Max/barbarian/punk in terms of aesthetic.
  • When did the pirate leader first show up. Maybe in a Captain Cosmic story in the late-80s? Post-Voss invasion? Maybe more recent - sometime after the Prime Wardens break up in ’02 and we have more solo Captain Cosmic stories? No - La Capitan was introduced in ’04 and they don’t want to muddy the “pirate” waters.
  • They’ve got it - in June ’89, Cosmic Tales vol. 2 #232 they already have Captain Cosmic on the Celestial Tribunal. Maybe this pirate guy is “on trial” there and CC frees him. “Thank you. I’m in your debt.” hits CC with a stun baton or something Then he goes on to do bad stuff in subsequent stories here and there.
  • While they’ve been referring to him as a “pirate captain”, they don’t want to have his name be “Captain [something]” if he’s going to be a Captain Cosmic foe. Additionally, while they’ve been using the word “pirate” in general up to this point, they think that the word itself isn’t used in the comics - maybe they’re just called “raiders” (further distancing from the pirate stereotypes). Upon some off-the-air naming discussion, they come up with the term Scravagers (like scavenge and ravage) for the group of raiders and their leader is Trickline the Despoiler. He’s a big, spindly, spider-like guy.
    • Other Scravagers: Killistine, Snagfist, Deathcringe, Deathflip, Skullker, etc. - basically any name they came up with for the leader that they discarded wound up as another member’s name.
  • Anyway, eventually Fashion has the big showdown with Trickline. Using her outfit’s abilities she manages to trap him in a web of his own devising and leaves him there as she and the Codex escape in a Scravager ship. She doesn’t know how to fly it, but has her outfit interface with it. That’s when she gets the ability to communicate with the Codex, who then explains how to fly the thing and asks her to take it where it needs to go.
  • Why can the Celestial Codex not communicate with her before she hooks her suit up to a pirate ship? Oh, because they were coming to capture the Codex, they had a “key” to understanding it already loaded onto their systems. It can understand her just fine, but it only speaks in that one format which required the key.
  • Adam wanted to verify/state for the record that Fahion’s suit is alien technology at this point. [It had been mentioned in a prior episode that this was the case post-Colosseum.] She’ll keep making alterations with whatever tech she can get her hands on, but just note that it’s not all tech that she made herself. She still wants to look good while having all of this functionality, though.

Questions

  • What made the writers decide to make Fashion a gladiator instead of just killing her off? Well, they kind of “killed her off” by having her just become lost in space. There was no intention to bring her back at that time, just the later writer decided to include this nod to Sentinel Comics history by equating her with S’sdari the Bloody.
  • Why give her a solo title again after nearly 70 years? Well, after she’s back as S’sdari she kind of becomes a d-list cult favorite. She just keeps trucking along, but her popularity just kind of snowballs and by the 2010’s she’s well-written and people just get into her as a character. When the 2017 relaunch happens, they decide to shake things up a bit by having some out there/unexpected titles as well as the ones everyone figured would be there, so they give her a shot.
  • Did they ever go into how she became “S’sdari the Bloody” and how she earned that particular title/name? What trauma came along with this after having been a fashion model? In the issue that revealed that this human gladiator was Shirley Shane they went into it a bit (fashion model/hero, lost in space, captured and thrown into the Colosseum) and how one older gladiator convinced her that to make it here you have to make an impression (y’know, prison rules). So, she went into her next fight and used her suit to basically fillet them during the fight. As for trauma? Yes. Lots of trauma. They don’t view her as having PTSD so much as just having to become hard to survive in the situation she was put in. Not to say that holding back all of the emotional trauma won’t ever be a problem.
  • Do any of the heroes to get involved in Colosseum stories ever recognize her as Fashion? They don’t think so. Recognizing that she’s a human and that that’s weird is the more obvious thing. Also, during that brief few years when she was a hero in the ’50s, there weren’t a lot of crossovers between comics in the first place. It’s mainly just a handwavy retcon to reintroduce her.
  • As S’sdari, did she have any notable battles against the heroes? Did she ever win? You mentioned that people might recognize her as a “deep cut” from Sentinels history, so what might tip off the readers? On the latter point, it’s just that readers are told who she is, but you’d have to know your history to recognize the name. She’s too deep of a cut to include without also having the explanation of who she is right there. They don’t have anything in mind regarding a noteworthy story about heroes fighting her, but she was around as a gladiator for long enough that there were certainly stories where it happened just incidentally. There’s likely even some story that involves something like a 3-on-3 gladiators/heroes battle where the heroes lose, but she’s still just support cast rather than being the focus of a story. The fact that she’s not ever a main villain is part of why they’re able to bring her back as a hero (like, there aren’t any heroes who’d have any reason to have a specific grudge with her).
  • What motivates her to become Fashion again after having been S’sdari the Bloody for so long? Freedom. When she shows up again outside of the Colosseum, she isn’t S’sdari the Bloody anymore. She’s got this alien tech/outfit… I guess I’m Fashion again. She’s just in escape/survive mode at this point, rather than being a “hero”, though. The arc that leads her back to Earth and lands her right at the beginning of the OblivAeon stuff, so there’s not a lot of time for heroes to be suspicious of her or anything, because we wind up in the “all hands on deck” situation real quick.
  • Does the new Fashion book feature any conflicts with the Bloodsworn Entity (now independent from Kaargra)? Time will tell on that.
  • Does Kaargra ever feature in her stories? Yes, they’re ok with stating that at least.
  • Is she still positioned as an “inventor” or has she drastically changed how she fights? It’s less that she’s inventing things, and more that she repurposes whatever tech she can find to incorporate into her outfit. Because she can command her outfit to change shape/functions, you can almost better say that she’s “inventing” what she can do with her outfit on the fly. The creativity is there, but it’s more in adapting her outfit to the situation at hand than hammering together new gear on the fly.
  • When should we expect to see Fashion in RPG materials? In the future. If they have their way we’ll see her, but it depends on the viability of the product line [therefore, we can surmise that she’s in a planned book, but not one that was already funded by the Kickstarter].
  • What happened in the Metaverse that prompted the return of what was, from what we’ve been told, a not-particularly-popular character? The writer for the issue that equated S’sdari with Shirley Shane just had grown up reading comics and whose parents had read these old comics and they just remembered her (Shirley Shane had been around for over 2 decades after all, it’s not like she had no impact on comics history - more as Stylin’ Shirley than as Fashion, but still…). That first mention was more of a “sure, why not?” moment more than something planned extensively. Then somebody else took that and ran with it a bit, and so on.
  • Can we pin her return on the destruction of the Bloodsworn Colosseum? Not quite - she got free and returned to Earth before that happened. The destruction of the Colosseum does mean that we have a lot more gladiators showing up in stories all over the place, though.
  • With the destruction of the Colosseum, has the Bloodsworn force lost its hold on the gladiators? Yes, but not necessarily its connection to them.
  • How does Fashion handle the adjustment from gladiator to “normal” life? Is her aesthetic sense woefully outdated (or retro) now? The emotional/mental adjustment is much bigger of a deal than the aesthetic one, but even so the latter is less retro than it is influenced by her time spent off-Earth. Out of this world style! Bringing space fashion to Earth is the direction that aspect of her book takes.
  • Any supporting cast from Stylin’ Shirley (potential boyfriends, rivals, etc.) show up in her superhero stories? Did her stories involve having to try to keep her heroics and her modeling life separate? How about in the modern stories? The romance comics definitely had a large cast of characters like you mention and some likely crossed over into her Fashion stories. They’re imagining that most of the elements from the old comics are just set aside entirely for her modern comics - Christopher even suggests that in the issue of Justice Comics where she finally returns to Earth she might meet the character who had been Stylin’ Shirley’s best friend back in the day as the one point of connection to her old life. She’s old though - Shirley’s been gone for decades (they’re suggesting that she really has been gone since the ’50s or whenever and has missed all of the fashion trends in the meantime), but has barely aged (due to time dilation or other “I’ve been in space” excuses).
  • [Letter that lays out the somewhat confusing series of statements we’ve been given about Shirley’s timeline as a character] Yeah, that’s why we needed to give the summary up top, we see how what we’ve said in the past has not been particularly clear. Hopefully the record they’ve set out here can be taken as a correction/replacement for whatever they’ve said previously.
  • I have a theory that when the new Fashion book gets going, Sentinel Comics also releases an omnibus reprint of the old Stylin’ Shirley books with the later revelation that the old books were really just the rose-colored memories/a fictional construct that Shirley invents in her head to handle the stress of being a fashion model and the dangers of celebrity; meanwhile, “S’sdari the Bloody” itself was a bit of a separate persona that she develops as a survival tactic - how close is that to reality? Does modern Fashion have both the bloody pragmatist and naive optimist personalities in her head (acting as a kind of angel and devil on her shoulders dynamic)? That’s a cute theory (and prompts Adam to posit another not-true story where Stylin’ Shirley itself was something she made up as a way to try to handle the trauma of being in the Colosseum). No, Stylin’ Shirley was who she was and is her actual backstory, but most of that got stripped away from her personality by her years of trauma.
  • What’s Fashion’s secret/public identity like? How many people know her identity as a model/designer? That she was abducted by space gladiators? Now that she’s back, that she had once been the model/designer? In the old Fashion stories she had a public identity as a model who also fought crime. Modernly, she has a secret identity for a few reasons. Stylin’ Shirley was a famous model decades ago, but she’s not old enough to be her (not that many people who knew Shirley Shane are still around, but there’s always the “Oh… yeah… she was my grandmother.” excuse). She’s in a weird situation that she doesn’t necessarily want to broadcast. Do people put together that Stylin’ Shirley’s “granddaughter” shows up right when a hero named Fashion becomes active? Time will tell on that - Stylin’ Shirley was famous way back when, but Fashion wasn’t so there might not be a connection instantly.
  • Has Dana Bertrand, as a model with an inventor for a spouse, ever made appearances in Fashion stories? Well, the Fashion book in particular is future stuff, so time will tell there, but Dana and Stylin’ Shirley never crossed paths.
  • If you had to stat Fashion in the RPG, would you model her as a gadgeteer with self-boosts or maybe form-changer or modular to reflect different defined outfit configurations? Is she odd enough to appear in the Guise book? They could see using any of those options as ways one could build her using the core book - how they’ll actually build her is a future problem given that new source books introduce new options. She might be odd enough to fit in the Guise book, but not in terms of tone - she’s not in that book at any rate.
  • How has an extended period of time spent among non-humans affected her sense of style? She’s definitely got a bunch of space-aesthetic stuff she’s bringing back with her, but she’s also missed out on decades of real fashion trends here on Earth.
  • What current oddities of fashion trends does she most like and which does she not care for? She dislikes Fast Fashion - that women’s clothes have trended in a direction that they’re not built to last. You get an outfit to wear once for a big occasion, and that’s essentially it for that outfit. She really likes big chunky scarves.
  • Has her time in the Colosseum caused her to gain an interest in combat sports? Not really. She knows a lot about combat now, but she’d likely scoff at an MMA match.
  • Will the process of dealing with all of the trauma she’s experienced be a major theme of her stories? Yes. Very much so.
  • How does she view Sky-Scraper (as a traitor to the “fraternity” of gladiators or with joy that she managed to get out and found new purpose)? Neither, really. Certainly not the “traitor” angle. She’s glad that both of them got away, but seeing her would just be a reminder of everything. She’s more jaded than Sky-Scraper. Dok'Thorath is a worse place than Earth pretty much across the board, so having grown up there and dealing with that adversity from a young age meant that she could be seen as somewhat “used to” the situation in the Colosseum. As such, the greater disparity in experience between Earth and the Colosseum made for a larger necessary shift for Shirley.
  • What are your plans for Fashion in the RPG and in Definitive Edition? They have plans for her in the RPG. “You might see Fashion in some Definitive Edition content.” (and specifically, not just in the Colosseum if/when they get to it again).
  • What does each incarnation of the Phoenix actually do once they find out what they are and come into their power? Fire and lots of it? Demanding worship from the populace? Some long-term goal that gets worked towards piecemeal by each incarnation? Certainly a lot of fire and flying around (setting things on fire). Wanton destruction until it dies. It can burn itself brighter than the sun and turn an oasis into a desert in a matter of seconds. It’s bad news for anything in the vicinity. There isn’t a grand plan as a descent into madness/loss of humanity is part of the whole deal. A Phoenix who retained its intelligence and agency would be a bad time, but could make for an interesting story.
  • There’s totally a story where Guise meets a unicorn and rides it into battle, right? They don’t think that Guise meets unicorns. That’s a little out of his area/atonal (unless it’s Wager Master pretending to be one). I mean, sure, the fact that unicorns are a thing means that it’s possible that any given character might run into one, but they don’t think that there’s an extant story where Guise does.
  • In the Ra/Setback episode you mentioned Ra as being something of an expert in terms of curse removal - how so? Can curses simply be burned away? For Ra, a “curse” amounts to a quest. If somebody he knows gets cursed and he has to deal with it, it’s a quest to find the person/thing/whatever that can undo it. Also, Christopher posits a situation where Adam is cursed such that he can never remove his headphones. If Ra were to immolate both Adam and the headphones, that curse has been lifted (or Adam’s head is now immortal with the headphones still attached, but no body).
  • How is the Scarab Lord a challenge for the God of the Sun in battle? Is he throwing around generic magical blasts of some sort or is he more straight insect-themed? He has some “insect swarm” kinds of things going on, but an important detail about his origin/how he was imprisoned/how he returned is that he’s more or less immune to the kinds of magic that the Egyptian deities throw around, including Ra’s fire.
  • Did the writers put in some thought into what he wants and what his plot is? Not at first because they didn’t know when the arc started that he was even a thing. As that developed, the plan involves him drawing power from the various artifacts in the exhibit, allowing him to regain his old form and power and eventually his own empire. He’s a “take over the world” villain.
  • Does he survive this story arc? They certainly deal with him in such a way that he could never come back [Christopher says in a tone of voice belying the truth of that statement].
  • Given the tendencies for comics writers to start a plot without having an actual end point in mind, was the Scarab Lord plot meant to be seen as the “payment” that Anubis exacted on Ra for curing Marty? The price in that case was the Ennead stuff - Anubis making the Ennead’s artifacts resurface so that they could find new bearers was the price.
  • How close is this theory for why Ra and Blake Washington Jr. are the same person, but don’t necessarily share goals/interests: Ra acts this way due to Dr. Washington having a lot of pride, brashness, and whatnot buttoned up inside but Ra has all this power and, deep down, operates under the assumption that he has servants/worshipers who will clean up after whatever mess he creates, so why hold back? Ra wants to burn things, to be Ra God of the Sun, and at some level to be worshiped. He doesn’t want to have to cultivate a following - just that he’ll be who/what he is and it will happen on its own. Dr. Washington wants knowledge and to make the world a better place through the unearthing of that knowledge and sharing that information. Dr. Washington sees the good he can accomplish as Ra, but Ra doesn’t really want to go back to being the “boring” Dr. Washington more than is necessary. There’s a struggle there. “They’re not different people, and they’re also not the same person.”
  • What’s the dynamic between Setback and Ra like? You mentioned that they butt heads a lot, but what common ground do they find (beyond their tendencies to get romantically involved with angry ladies who aren’t direct about their feelings)? Do they stay in touch after this or is it just “that one time I had to work with this guy I don’t get along with”? This immediately prompts Christopher to ask why they haven’t heard from any Setback/Ra shippers yet (Adam: “Don’t encourage them”). They think it might be because Ra/Fanatic (or Ranatic) and Setback/Expatriette (Sexpatriette? No can’t let that stand, how about Setpatriette - yeah, definitely that and not the first one) are OTP. Their taste in romantic entanglements is one commonality as you pointed out. They are both trying to help and stop the bad things from happening - they just have different approaches/motivations. The “buddy cop” angle comes into play as Ra initially thinks of Setback as a clown and chump and Setback sees Ra as out of control and a danger to everyone. Ra develops a level of respect for Setback due to his sense of honor, duty, and getting stuff done to take care of people (and how much he’s taking the brunt of his bad luck to make sure it doesn’t affect others too much). Ra coming to recognize and accept Setback’s curse is a big step in their friendship. And they have a friendship. Now, Setback’s probably better friends with Blake Washington Jr., and sees him as afflicted with a “Ra curse” of a sort - because of the “curse” he can do great things, but he’s got to mitigate the downsides. Pete knows all about that.
  • Having seen Setback’s ’90s look (with the jacket and long hair), what other heroes sported such quintessentially ’90s appearances? Adam’s pretty sure he’s drawn everybody in the ’90s at some point (Legacy has that ’90s hair). Ra and Fanatic likely have the most ’90s looks. Ra is such a pain in the ass to draw in the ’90s. He’s got this massive physique, which is a pain on its own, but he’s also got that necklace made of lots of tiny gold medallions/coins. Then there’s the hair. He’s just a thing to behold. Fanatic is as well - he’ll try to get them up on Twitter before too long. ’90s Setback even made it into the core DE set (in the Megalopolis deck).
  • So, the Extremeverse was a thing, but surely there were versions of the characters that those were based on, right? Yes.
  • Can we look forward to a lot of alternate costumes/looks for the heroes through the decades in DE or the RPG? Yeah, DE has a lot of those, don’t worry. One of the first DE arts that Adam tweeted is a ’90s Absolute Zero where he’s just huge. Then there’s stuff like his post that showcases the evolution of Captain Cosmic (even if the costume doesn’t change all that much, it’s still a character evolution).
  • So, we’ve heard about two kinds of corn chips: Toditos (“They’re the crunchiest!”) and Todd Lito’s Pressed-Corn Snack Biscuits (“They’re awfully crunchy!”); those names are suspiciously similar, are they the same thing? Yes. The latter (referenced in the Radio Play episode) were meant to be the company that eventually became Toditos. You figured it out.

Cover Discussion

  • This one almost has to be Fashion leaning up against a bulkhead with the kid next to her. She looks down the hall where we can see some Scravagers looking for them.
  • What words? “Will Fashion’s first appearance be her last?” They do that a lot (granted, comics do that a lot). “Fashion Returns, but can she survive?” or similar? “The Last Fashion?” with the first two words small?
  • Nope, here we go: “After a Fashion” because they’re chasing her, plus the pun. The other option is “Fashion: Victim” is also a good option, but they’ll save that for later. “Crimes of Fashion” is another. They’ll just keep saving these that they’re not using.