Podcasts/Episode 191

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The Letters Page: Episode 191
Writers' Room: Alpha: the Wolf-Woman Vol. 3 #12

Alpha Vol 3 012.png

Original Source

Primary Topic

Intro

Something wicked (awesome) this way comes!

Show Notes:

Run Time: 1:27:09

Adam and I recorded TWO episodes on the same day, and they're both great! You'll only get to hear one of them today — you'll have to wait a week to hear the other. Don't worry! The wait will be worth it.

Lots happens in this episode, including going into WAY more issues than just the one pictured above. Why? What about? Involving WHOM?! I mean, this episode was promised to involve both witches and at least ONE werewolf, and it does! But what else? Well, you'll just have to listen and find out!

Join us next time, when we tell a Daybreak Halloween story! But don't send in letters for that one — it's already recorded! Instead, send in letters for the following Editor's Note, and the episode after that one: a Disparation story involving Oni Mr. Fixer!

Stay spooky, kids!

Characters Mentioned

Summary

Overview

  • The topic this week is “Witches and Werewolves: Harpy and Alpha”, but that pairing is just a witch and a werewolf if you count Harpy as a “witch” at all. Yeah, it likely gets thrown her way by the occasional writer, but it’s not a regular descriptor for what her deal is and “sorceress” is probably a better one if you’re set on choosing a specific category. They think of “witches” as doing the whole herbs and bubbling cauldron thing. You can get some of that with NightMist, but even she is a “paranormal investigator who also does magic” as her gimmick and “mage” might be a good category for her.
  • Something they can do to make this a bit less of a semantic argument would be to do a story in an era where Harpy is being a bit more “witchy” than usual. They also figure that this can be a duo story of her and Alpha rather than being during the big Dark Watch crossover thing. What are our options? The earliest it could possibly be is January 2000 as that’s the first appearance of “Harpy” (obviously, even that is too early, but just as a baseline - although they joke about making this an issue in Alpha: 2000). Something in the 2007-2012 range sounds right.
  • The next ongoing series for Alpha (and the most successful one) was Alpha: The Wolf-Woman and that started in October 2008. There was the Alpha: The Lost Years limited series in 2006-7 that brought her back into prominence. That was popular enough that maybe it could have prompted a story involving her elsewhere in the meantime as well. The crossover event was 2010-11 and they kind of want to have this be prior to that.
  • Adam suggests that they maybe don’t define which book this is in until they work out more of the story. Christopher says that would be a good idea, but in perusing the spreadsheet, he’s found a good place to drop this. The Eclipse arc was largely about Expatriette and Setback with NightMist and Mr. Fixer largely acting as support. Harpy was not really involved beyond some background stuff. Maybe the reason for that was that she was more prominent over in Alpha at the time. That DW arc overlaps nicely with what would have been the second 6-issue arc in Alpha. The timing could also imply some setup where we get an editorial cross-reference for readers to go pick up Alpha #7 for what Harpy’s up to. This also gets some good “Alpha and Harpy know one another/worked together” ground-laying done, then we have another 6-issue arc in both books, then they start the 18-month crossover event in both books.
  • That being said, because of that later arc they don’t want to have this one be werewolf-related. It’s also not Eclipse related. Maybe this one should be witch related [nicely getting back to the semantic discussion at the beginning]. Thoughts: maybe there’s some death that looks like a werewolf kill so Harpy goes to check on Alpha, finds her okay, and they go from there. Another option is that there’s some coven of witches who approach Harpy. They know she’s learning from NightMist, but she could do well with them too. She goes to check with NightMist to see if they’re legit, but NightMist is constantly “too busy” with something to talk to her about it on several occasions and Harpy gets fed up with that and decides to just go see what they have to teach her. The first thing they want to do is to capture a werewolf to use in a ritual. That could even start with an in medias res thing where they’ve captured Alpha and then we get a flashback to show the reader how things got to that point. Adam’s got an additional idea here that we eventually show that Chaos Witch is behind this whole thing (like, the coven is in her service or something, but her involvement isn’t revealed until later). Sounds good.
  • The first issue (of this #7-12 arc) is the witches and Harpy capturing Alpha. The Chaos Witch angle could get revealed as something like the end of part 3 (issue #9). We get a few issues to set the scene and get some of the witches/Harpy/Alpha dynamics in place, then throw this in to shake things up as soon as that’s sorted out as we learn who the witches’ leader is and what the actual plot is. Maybe the coven is amassing power derived from a number of different “monsters” (a werewolf, a gorgon, etc.). It could be a neat feature to establish this early in the Alpha book that there are all of these other types of magical creatures out there besides werewolves.
  • Oh, here we go. The witches are upset about how they get demonized by everybody, but when was the last time anybody went on a gorgon hunt? They’re going to capture all of these beings, reveal them to the world, and show that witches were the ones who captured them/are keeping people safe from them. This “we’re going to stop some bad guys and simultaneously clear the name of witches” pitch would be something that Harpy could initially sign on for. It’s only later when the “monsters” they capture turn out to all be people and not inherently bad that this plan becomes suspect to her.
  • In reality, when we finally find out that Rose Griggs is behind things we know that her goal is really just to cause a mess. The chaos is the point. The “plan” will reveal not only all of these various “monsters” to the public, but a lot of witches and the plan for the witches to “take care of” the monster threat involves violence so we’re going to get some good fights going in the process. The public doesn’t want/need to know about any of this and it will cause a panic. A thing about Chaos Witch, which we’ve seen before, is that she’s involved in/drawn to times of conflict. Often where there’s conflict we’ll see her off to the side. Recent mundane conflicts haven’t been doing things for her (A cold war? What’s the point?), but starting a magical world war sounds like it might be useful for her. In a conflict between witches, monsters, and the weapons of normal society she doesn’t know or care who would win - she just knows that she’ll get what she wants from it.
  • This in turn sets up where the story in the comics actually goes - the finale is going to be the witches, the monsters, Harpy, and Alpha teaming up against Chaos Witch. Issue #11 would involve the heroes talking the witches around to seeing the problem here and the situation that Rose is setting up. That’s a cool setup for the finale, but how do we narrow things down to the more important Heroes vs. Villain setup? Maybe Rose, having been in charge of this coven for long enough, has managed to set up a magical “fail-safe” and can just kind of “turn off” the witches when she needs to. Harpy, having “learning things the right way” experience from NightMist notices some kind of weird magical infiltration thing affecting her and she’s able to undo it. She didn’t necessarily know what it was at the time, but it’s enough to protect herself. Then, when it’s activated later and she sees what’s happening to everybody she’s able to undo it on Alpha so that they can get to work. Of course, in the end Rose’s plan is foiled, the heroes remove her influence from everybody here, but Rose manages to escape to cause more problems another day.
  • Hmm… that story outline doesn’t actually have Alpha involved with much so we probably need to flesh out what her role in the story is other than “captive”. It’s likely that the first and last issues in the arc are the ones with her involved the least. The first involves her being trapped and so likely has at least a third of it with her just being “tied up with silver ropes/nets” or similar and in the last she’s incapacitated for at least a little while. That leaves the middle four books as being where she can be more involved in things.
  • By the end of the first issue, Harpy is still “on board” with the witches’ plan, but is already starting to have doubts about it considering that she already knew Alpha from a prior encounter. She frees Alpha and voices her suspicions - not that the witches themselves don’t have good intentions, just that there’s something else going on. Alpha expects that Harpy wants her help fighting the coven. In reality, she wants her investigatory skills. Harpy keep working with the coven like she had been until the end of issue #10 when she convinces them to rather than following through on the plan, so go up against Rose Griggs. So, issue #7 ends with Alpha being freed, but then in #8-10 she’s kind of skulking about trying to figure out what’s really going on and she’s the one who discovers Rose’s involvement. Those three issues are mainly from her perspective as she does that with Harpy either just being background as part of that process and maybe the occasional bit from her perspective.
  • At this point they’ve kind of done an “editors’ room” for the arc as a whole - they’ll probably zoom in and do more detail on that last issue, #12. The previous one is the big fight with everybody up against Rose, but at the end she’s had enough of this as she has more important stuff to do, which is when she disables everyone and draws in all of the chaos energy that’s been generated by the fight.
  • The issue opens with a powered-up Chaos Witch facing off with Harpy on her own. This is “curious” as Rose thought she had taken sufficient precautions - how did she resist. Harpy’s pretty honest here, she didn’t. If she hadn’t noticed that it was happening when it was first being done, there would have been nothing she could have done now to avoid it. The fact that she noticed it is not surprising, though, considering how careless Rose was in the attempt [Burn!]. Now it’s time to stop you.
  • Rose thinks this is cute. Good luck, child. You’re not nearly powerful enough, yadda yadda. Harpy’s response is along the lines of “Yeah, you might be right. Screw it.” At this point she pulls out the Mask of the Matriarch and puts it on. At this point it’s been a while since she’s used the mask - most of what we see from her is maskless with maybe the occasional chips-are-down, Red Zone use. This time she’s just going straight for the big guns birds.
  • The fight goes on, the birds are enough to start to overwhelm Rose for a moment and as that’s going on Harpy takes a moment to assess and plan a bit. Chaos Witch is currently distracted but I could use some help. There’s Alpha over there. If I can get her back in the fight without Rose noticing we might be able to take her by surprise. Adam has a general problem with “magic stories” in that they often seem like “and then they ‘magic at’ the problem and it’s fixed” - he’d like “fixing” Alpha to be more of a puzzle. Christopher’s suggestion: the initial magical intrusion is basically a “seed”. She takes a look at Alpha to find/encapsulate/isolate the magic so she can remove it, but by not taking care of it back when it was first set up it’s had time to sprout “roots” and pulling it out now would basically fry her nervous system. This is beyond her abilities.
  • Well, beyond her usual set of abilities. She notices the scar on her hand from the Blood Raven thing [[[Podcasts/Episode 158|episode 158]] true believers!] that she’s been purposefully ignoring. This is a fight for pulling out all the stops. Fighting the Chaos Witch? Fine, Mask on! Need to deal with something major that’s entwined with somebody’s body? Blood Magic it is! She embraces that power, has her aura turn a sickly red instead of her usual colors and does the thing. She can’t remove this thing that’s interfacing with Alpha’s nervous system? Fine, we’ll just take it and use it to empower her. As she’s been down, Alpha’s been reverting down to near-human form, but when this brings her back up she’s the biggest, baddest, obviously-magic wolf you’ve ever seen.
    • To be clear, they’re not setting up a “magically-empowered Alpha” arc or something. Harpy is sustaining this herself and this will go away when this issue wraps up. They imagine that there might be something in the story wrap-up part of the book where Harpy and Alpha are convalescing in the basement of Diamond Manor as NightMist talks about how they need to take some time to undo all of this magical nonsense. Good job saving the day, but now we’ve got to deal with the consequences. That’s a genuine kudos as well - NightMist thinks that Harpy did the right thing in solving the problem that was in front of her using the tools she had available. It’s also a good growth moment for Harpy in that she didn’t try to hide any of it from NightMist afterwards. She knew that she’d need help and came right to her mentor to get it taken care of.
  • Back to the fight. Harpy is sustaining Alpha who takes the spotlight. Chaos Witch isn’t going to die here or anything, but this needs to cost her. She’s amassed all of this energy that she was happy to then leave with and do whatever it was she was going to do. Fighting Alpha makes her use it all up. First she tries just making some kind of shield, but Alpha manages to break through that and attack her. She uses more of the energy to heal the wounds that are inflicted on her (maybe with a reaction panel that after she does so some of the monsters wake up - something to show that as she’s using up the power she took, her influence on everyone is weakened).
  • They consider whether or not to actually have the heroes defeat her here. Well, they can certainly frame this as a defeat while also showing that Chaos Witch is one to know when to cut her losses and just run for it. Or, rather, in her case she turns herself into a bunch of bats or something to escape. Hmm… making it a bit more “chaotic” we’ll do an air/land/sea thing. She simultaneously turns herself into a plague of locusts, a labour of moles, and some sturgeon (they’re near a lake). Harpy sends birds after the bugs, Alpha is able to dig up/claw at the moles, but the fish manage to get away. So, Chaos Witch escapes, but there went 2/3 of whatever power she even had left at the time.
  • So there we go. In the process of all of that, Rose has to use up/loses enough power that the control she had over everyone (including Alpha) is expended and so Tabitha can “come down” from the magical wolf state. Let’s say that point in particular comes during the thing with the moles and so we see her obviously drop down back to a more normal (for her) state and so the fish getting away isn’t seen as an urgent “we have to get her!” sort of thing. Everybody wakes up. Everybody has a “maybe we had more in common than we had differences all along” kind of realization. Harpy and Alpha know each other better now and it sets up the Dark Watch collaboration nicely and they go get help from NightMist.

Questions

  • What’s the age difference between Harpy and Alpha? They’re both characters created before “Dark Watch” was a thing (and Alpha in particular before even the other characters of Dark Watch were there), so do they fit into the same “non-aging” comics category as Wraith? Yeah, Wolf-Woman was introduced in the Golden Age [3 months before Black Fist’s introduction], although she wouldn’t have her own book until the ’70s and the company started pushing back on Comics Code rules. Both of them are characters who undergo soft reboots. Wolf-Woman is basically treated as a “new” character when her book starts and her earlier appearances in horror comics is largely ignored and that kind of happens again when the Alpha stuff gets going later on. Lillian starts off as the Matriarch as a teenager (juxtaposed with her older cousin Tachyon who was old enough to have earned multiple doctorates even before she got the speed powers - Christopher imagines the difference being between “late teens” and “early 30s” at that point). Harpy should probably be in her 30s by the time she’s reintroduced, but comics. They retold her story in the Night’s Plutonian Shore book [October ’98] in kind of a “what if this just happened a few months ago?” kind of mentality. Even over the years, whenever Tachyon would visit her in prison she’s never moved beyond the idea of “this is Tachyon’s teenage cousin who’s in prison for being a supervillain” no matter how long it’s been since she was captured. It’s not until she’s out and starting to have character development as the Harpy that she’s “allowed” to progress in other ways too so she’s maybe early 20s in today’s story (if not just 20). Alpha, on the other hand, got reintroduced in the Alpha book in the ’80s as being an adult with a career and so might be early-to-mid 30s at this point. All ages are kind of wishy washy in comics anyway, but if Harpy is vaguely 20 and Setback and Expatriette are vaguely 30, Alpha is vaguely 35.
  • Roughly how old are the various Dark Watch members (and Alpha) in the RPG era (Kismet is listed as “early 30s” and she has to be roughly Setback’s age due to their backstories, which means that they and Expat are all older than Wraith and Bunker?!?)? Yeah, it’s weird but that’s comics for you. In comics there are really only 4 “ages” people can be: child, teen, adult, and old. All of these characters are just in that “adult” category and so while a strict ordering of who’s older than whom winds up weird in some cases, it doesn’t really matter much. Mantra is old, like in his 80s. Setback and Expat are in their early 30s as stated. Alpha’s in her late 30s by the RPG. Pinion is still early-to-mid 20s. At the time of her Being the Gate, NightMist was mid-to-late 30s. Bunker and Wraith are about the same age as one another, as are Setback and Expat. NightMist and Alpha would have been. Harpy/Pinion is around Unity’s age. Mr. Fixer/Mantra doesn’t really have any contemporaries. People who are older than him are older for some weird reason (like Tempest just being a long-lived alien, Haka having that whole thing going on, and etc.).
  • Since you’ve worked out the official timeline, it seems like Harpy has become a more important feature of Dark Watch (and for a longer period of time), is that a safe assumption? Is it likely that when they appear in DE she’ll be part of the set from the beginning, much like how Unity was added to the core set to be alongside the Freedom Five? Adam has not yet needed to draw any Harpy art for DE (although he’s about to start drawing Harpy art for DE). [Note that he’s currently working on the first expansion which we already know has Expat and Mr. Fixer at the least due to art that’s been shown, but also that he draws things for them in “chronological order” to help his era-appropriate art process. Since Harpy was introduced in 2000 he just wouldn’t need to do so until later in the process anyway.
  • The other villains-turned-hero decks (like Luminary and Lifeline) make sense to only show up at the end because of their reasons for becoming heroes, but Harpy seems like a more and more important part of the team, right? That’s accurate. Part of Definitive Edition is that now that they have a better overall view of the timeline, they have a better idea for where characters fit in and when that happened. It’s not that stuff in the EE is wrong, just that it’s wound up being somewhat misleading due to the lack of this timeline knowledge when they made it.
  • How much do Lillian’s parents know about her heroics? While there’s probably a fair amount of media coverage of the Freedom Five, Dark Watch kind of by necessity are more in the shadows (at the very least of their problems, the media in Rook City is very hostile to these sorts of costumed vigilantes, these “so called heroes”). The Chairman’s hold on so many civil institutions makes things this way. That being said, Tachyon has probably told her aunt and uncle about their daughter being in a kind of “rehab” program - learning to control her powers and become a productive member of society from one of the most capable members of the community. They also think that she’s likely at least in some contact with her parents - the occasional text now and again by today’s story for instance.
  • After the Setback/Harpy Team-up episode I went looking for more information about Huginn and Muninn but couldn’t find much (snippets like them being of “above average, but still non-magical intelligence), could you tell us more about them please? Did she find them or vice versa? It sounds like Huginn is more rune-scarred and magic while Muninn is more the brawler type, is that an accurate assessment? Do they have particular skill sets to distinguish them? Can they actually talk (to Harpy, other people, one another)? Are they always around Harpy, or only when convenient/necessary to the [narrative(https://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0658.html)? Can she summon them to her with a noise or with magic? They were these creepy listeners in the Matriarch story. Like the heroes would be talking about something, then a bird would fly off from a nearby tree. They were also kind of treated as”leaders" among the birds during fights. When Harpy became a hero, these two birds were brought back and were shown to be loyal to Lillian in particular rather than just being controlled by the magic of the mask. They don’t have intelligence beyond that which is possible for ravens to have normally, but that’s nothing to sneeze at as ravens are ridiculously intelligent as far as non-human animals go. There’s an assumption of communication without it really being made explicit. Like, she’ll talk to the birds and they will act as if they understand and when they show up they might do some little hops and head tilts and Harpy will be able to get information from this. There is communication happening between them and Harpy, but it’s not as overt as them getting speech/thought bubbles or anything. They don’t speak English but appear to understand it. That being said, they do mimic speech occasionally, which is something that they can do to some extent normally. They do get a bit overtly supernatural here, though - we’ll see them land and “speak” with, say, Haka’s voice as they’re reporting what he had to say by mimicking him. Yes, Huginn is the “magic” one and Muninn is the “feral” one. The DE art for them in the Matriarch’s deck will try to showcase that a bit better than the EE version did. They do have distinct skills and personalities along those lines. They’re not always shown to be around her, but it’s assumed that they’re close enough to help whenever she needs them. She can call them to her, but if it proves necessary she can also summon them with magic.
  • How many people who aren’t part of the hero “community” know that Harpy was the Matriarch? Since Dark Watch aren’t that “public” of a group, it’s not really widely known that there’s a person called Harpy that’s part of it. Most people probably just think that Matriarch was stopped by the heroes, put in jail, and was never heard from again. It’s worth noting that while Harpy does do “bird stuff” in the big villain battles when its necessary to pull out all the stops (like in today’s issue: when the chips are down, you put on the mask and now it’s bird o’clock), in the day-to-day activities of Dark Watch, she doesn’t really. As such, there is very little knowledge that the Matriarch is now a hero, let alone who she’s working with. While they’re talking about it, it’s also the case that the Prime Wardens aren’t really known to the public either. So much of what they’re up against is “off the grid” in one way or another.
  • In the Harpy/Court of Blood episode you mentioned that at the end of the story Harpy is left looking at the wound on her hand; does that leave a scar? If so, does it scar naturally or is it some kind of Blood Magic remnant of her experience (possibly put there by Blood Countess Bathory to try to keep a string tied to Harpy), possibly as something she could then use to solve a dire problem? [Laughter because they did this exact thing in today’s issue.] The wound/scar is not something that Blood Countess put there, but it is something that acts as a reminder to Harpy that she has Blood Magic abilities that are right there and she’s only not using them through sheer force of will. She’s got two nice little temptations that while she’s always trying to do things the right way, at any moment she can put on the mask or draw on the Blood Magic and go to town. There are a lot of instances where the reader is led to believe that this time she’s gonna do the thing, but doesn’t. Today’s issue is a great exploration of a time when she no longer holds back and does both - the cost is that she’s laid up for a while. The important thing is that she did the right thing afterward in telling NightMist about everything.
  • Given her general “bird control” powers, and the fact that birds are technically dinosaurs, can she control the dinosaurs of Insula Primalis? No, although she might have some luck with the pterosaurs, because the lineage of modern birds are far enough removed from the lineage that survived on Insula Primalis that the magic of the mask doesn’t view them as the same thing. Since the extinction event that killed most dinosaurs, the ones on Insula Primalis evolved down a more reptilian path than birds did. [Note, pterosaurs are actually farther removed from modern birds than classic dinosaurs like T. Rex and Triceratops - in fact, they’re not actually classified as dinosaurs at all due to the way that the dinosauria category is defined (anything descended from the most recent common ancestor of modern birds and Triceratops - the branching off point of pterosaurs was well prior to that point).]
  • In the Animalverse, what kind of creatures does she control? Humans? If so, does she just summon a bunch of people to get in the way as she makes an escape? Do they fight on her behalf? What would the collective noun for such a group even be (an Anxiety?)? That’s upsetting to think about. Hmm… what would her name be? Harpseal? They’ve already used “seal”. Maybe the Sharky? The Harpy Eagle is cheating. Harpeacock isn’t bad, plus the look is right. The thing is, however, that Animalverse characters are all anthopomorphic, cartoon-style animal people. She probably still just summons “regular” birds. The joke is that nobody in the Animalverse has any idea what those things are. A problem with having her summon humans is that to keep the “birds of ill-repute” shtick going she’d be summoning, like, thieves and tax collectors or other people that other people don’t like associating with. The main problem with it, however, is that it’s stepping on the toes of Animalverse Plague Rat who is a rat who’s turning into a horrible human.
  • Is Alpha descended from the the witch that started the whole werewolf thing? Was Alpha’s mom a witch? Does Alpha weigh the same as a duck? She might weigh the same as a duck the size of Fright Train (what with birds having hollow bones and everything). That’s upsetting. Alpha can’t be descended from the witch that made the first werewolf because that story is a legend. It isn’t known whether it is true or not and so we can’t say that she is related. Is Alpha’s mom a witch? That’s not answered in the comics either - she was in this werewolf story to be involved with werewolves and then turn her back on them for her daughter’s safety. During the time we see her in Alpha’s backstory there isn’t any witchy stuff happening. When Alpha is retconned to be a naturally-born werewolf, that story was reletively late in the timeline and certainly there are still lingering questions that haven’t been fully explored yet. There’s even an air of “these might be impossible to answer” and an intentional mystery about things.
  • Something that I thought of for somebody to try and Alpha seems like she might be ruthless enough to try it: Has Alpha ever intentionally turned a villain into a werewolf in order to gain an advantage (say somebody who’s reliant on a lot of fine control that would then be having to fight werewolf urges, or somebody who is nigh-invulnerable, but who now has a handy weakness to silver)? If so, how did this backfire spectacularly? First off: what in the world have they said to give you the impression that Alpha is “ruthless” enough to violate somebody’s bodily autonomy like this? Alpha’s lack of ruthlessness is a notable character feature. When she needs to go full-wolf, her attacks can be fairly ruthless, but as a character she’s got a lot of self-control to keep the wolf at bay and is in no way malicious enough to do this. This kind of plot is more up Baron Blade’s alley to try to give Legacy a weakness to silver that he could then exploit, but he’d probably scrap that idea before making any progress on it. They can not stress enough how much this sort of “maliciously turning somebody into a werewolf” goes against Alpha’s character.
  • Which villains would wind up weaker if turned into a werewolf? [Question was tied into the previous line of questioning, but was not addressed.]
  • If she encountered another long-term werewolf who was trying to hold things together, would she work with them or see it as more of a “mercy kill” situation? She’d try to help and to teach them, but she would have it in mind the whole time that there’s not a lot of hope there. This has never worked out, but she’ll always give it a shot.
  • If she turned Expat into a werewolf, would Dawn welcome her back into the Citizens of the Sun? Is there a Disparation Citizens of the Moon story? There is now! Alpha wouldn’t turn Expat into a werewolf, but Apex might try. It’s possible that Dawn would welcome her back, but it’s far more likely that there’s too much bad blood between them by now. Expat was exiled and that’s that. They really like the Disparation idea for werewolf Expat joining up and going on a rampage during a full moon. She turns the rest of the Citizens but kills her mother, taking her place as Citizen Moon and leading this group of super-powered werewolves. Or maybe she’s Citizen Eclipse leading the Citizens of the Moon.
  • What does it take to make somebody a werewolf in Sentinel Comics? Every time you get bitten by a werewolf there is a chance that the curse transfers. Not every chomp is going to do so and some people might be more resistant to it than others. There’s not any intentionality behind it (a werewolf can’t try to turn somebody beyond just biting them), but it’s a blood-borne curse and getting savaged by a werewolf gives a bunch of opportunities for the “infection” to set in in at least one of the wounds. There’s also a period of time in which case it’s possible to reverse it as that’s prime “a hero has been bitten, we need to undo the curse before it’s too late!” comics storytelling right there.
  • Is it just down to being bitten or could somebody magic a victim into being a werewolf? Are there any characters who are particularly resistant/immune to the curse? They think that somebody like Blood Countess could, given access to somebody who had been bitten or by controlling a werewolf could likely intentionally give somebody the curse (and Blood Magic is likely a good candidate for how to isolate/remove the curse from somebody). Using magic to turn somebody into a werewolf is not impossible, but it’s certainly not trivial. Only the most accomplished practitioners of Blood Magic would have a shot at it and they would need access to somebody who’s already part of the curse lineage rather than being able to just create a new werewolf curse from scratch. We’ll rapid fire the suggested list of potential resistant/immune characters:
    • Absolute Zero: entirely resistant.
    • Fanatic: could get affected but would eventually drive it out.
    • Haka: same as Fanatic.
    • Ra/Ennead: Not affected by werewolves, but the human form (say Dr. Blake Washington Jr.) could become a werewolf and that could then get carried over into the divine avatar state.
    • Anubis (original, pre-OblivAeon flavor): absolutely not possible.
    • Aliens in general: grab bag/depends on the physiology.
    • Dark Watch Mr. Fixer: No.
    • NightMist: yes, especially in the ’90s, super unlikely post-Void.
    • Scholar without any active transmutations: theoretically possible, but you’d have to keep him in a coma or something for him to not just trivially remove the curse from himself before it takes effect.
    • Scholar with transmutations active (like we see in his deck): not possible.
    • Omnitron-X: not possible.
    • Guise: very possible, but also very possible for him to just change back into his normal form. It’d affect him in a weird way, like he’d be losing control of his shape and upset about it and… he’d wind up a poodle or something and then eventually just change back.
    • Post-OblivAeon Guise: probably the same. It’s the weird Wager Master energy that’s causing the weirdness and that hasn’t gone away.
    • Naturalist: yeah.
    • Dr. Medico: no.
    • Writhe: early on yes, but the longer things go the less possible it becomes until we get to impossible territory.
    • Akash'Thriya: no.
    • Blood Mage Lifeline: yeah.
    • Plague Rat: yes [in a very interested/excited tone].
    • Spite: Ugh… before the ’90s yes, after the ’90s no.
    • Apostate: same as Fanatic, but he could choose to just embrace it if he wanted.
    • Bugbear: yeah, sure.
  • How do you spell the name of Apex’s vampire handler? Magistra Damaris.
  • Could you read the summary of Alpha’s RPG-era book for us? There’s a misunderstanding here. At one point they were reading the briefs of the post-OblivAeon books and they had to redact a bit of it. At another point they were talking about the list of currently-published books at the end of the Multiverse Era and had to redact some of it. The latter was them not revealing the presence of Alpha: The Wolf-Woman, but the former was just skipping a bit of detail regarding The Paradigms. There will be more books added to that post-OblivAeon roster eventually (after a few years of publication), but just those 20 titles they already talked about are around immediately post-OblivAeon. There is an Alpha-related title down the line, but it’s not in that initial set. [He runs through the 20 titles again, but see Publisher’s Note #3 for the titles plus the accompanying brief for each.] If there’s any of those that they hadn’t read before, let them know because Christopher doesn’t think there’s anything in any of them they’d be unwilling to talk about at this point [so somebody get on asking about an unredacted Paradigms brief].
  • I’m just gonna come right out and ask it: have Harpy and Alpha ever smooched? “Harpy and Alpha have never smooched on-page during the Multiverse Era.”

Cover Discussion

  • This is the last issue of the arc, Alpha: The Wolf-Woman #12 from September 2009. They liked “Chaos Witch: Ascendant!” as cover text. Probably have Rose on there looking all menacing with all the power she’s accumulated. Likely also both our heroes on there too because you want the title hero on there if you can. Adam will see what he can do - he winds up with a lot of similar compositions on these when we try to include too many details like this and he’s trying to mix it up a little bit. The important thing is Rose looking awesome as we haven’t seen her in comics for a while. Also: new trade dress for Adam to create, always fun!

Bonus

  • They’re officially out of print on the RPG Starter Kit and don’t want to be, so they’ll be updating a few things (fixing “the funniest typo in the world”, updating to the more formalized/final Villain sheet, updating the bookmark to have the bit that talks about the podcast to include the phrase “Award Winning”, y’know the important stuff).