Podcasts/Episode 210

From Sentinel Comics Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The Letters Page: Episode 210
Writers' Room: Neighborhood Watch #5

Neighborhood Watch 005.png

Original Source

Primary Topic

Intro

A new story! A new team of heroes face some new villains!

Show Notes:

Run Time: 1:49:52

We start in rare, ridiculous form. And then it gets even more ridiculous. But then! Finally! We start telling stories! And we tell several, to make up for all the ridiculousness.

A lot of the content in today's episode references the newest Sentinel Comics RPG book: The Guise Book! You can get the physical book from our webstore or from your friendly local gaming store, or get just the PDF from DriveThruRPG!

Thanks for listening, everyone! Join us next week for a discussion on the game mechanics of Definitive Edition! Get your questions in now!

Characters Mentioned

Summary

Overview

  • Today we’re doing a story involving the Neighborhood Watch, they neglect to actually say anything about where you can find out more about the team until almost 13 minutes in, but they’re featured in The Guise Book - the first supplement for the Sentinel Comics RPG that just recently became available for purchase for people who missed the RPG Kickstarter. See the show notes for links where you can buy it, or just go to your local book store and ask them to get it or something. Technically, Pool Shark and Hedgelord were created for the “Neighborhood Watch” and Casa-Nova in the D-List Heroes Creative Process episodes (and elements of Postal were taken from the backstory for Pool Shark they developed there), but the RPG book is where the official bios and whatnot are found.
  • Anyway, this is the team of heroes that Guise… “organized”? They say “Guise and friends”, but then have to qualify things a bit. Guise is probably friends with Pool Shark, wants to be friends with Postal and Hedgelord. He has given Hedgelord something of a new “home” here in this reality, but they’re probably not “friends” yet. Pool Shark and Hedgelord are friends. Postal sees them as co-workers and this is her second job so it’s not even as high a priority for her as delivering the mail is. Also, Casa-Nova and Guise-Cat are sometimes there! It’s probably the case that more members of the team like Guise-Cat than like Casa-Nova.
    • Does anyone actually like Casa-Nova? Adam starts to suggest that he thinks Postal does, but Christopher strongly disagrees. She’s the most no-nonsense, “we’re here to do a thing” member and Casa-Nova is the least like that. Adam then suggests Guise-Cat, but they both agree quickly that that’s not right either as the weirdness of Casa-Nova would not go over well with a cat. Guise probably likes them the most just by default. Postal and Guise-Cat actively dislike them, but Pool Shark and Hedgelord likely only tolerate them (they’re useful to have around, but they only show up occasionally and there’s no means of contacting them when they’re needed).
  • Anyway, in actual functionality the team consists of Guise, Postal, Pool Shark, and Hedgelord. Guise believes that Guise-Cat is a member of the team (and that Guise-Cat is a hero/more than just a cat).
    • They also point out, again for clarity, that Guise-Cat is just a feral street cat that lives in Guise’s apartment because it’s warm and there’s food - he’s not Guise’s pet. Sometimes he’ll sit on or near somebody, but that’s not an invitation. If you pick him up, prepare to be scratched - that happens to Guise all the time, but he figures that’s just how Guise-Cat shows affection. However, Guise-Cat likes Pool Shark, and sure Guise too. Like, Guise-Cat likes the living situation with Guise and so they get along okay, but he’ll climb right up into Pool Shark’s lap whenever he comes over. This is because Pool Shark is incredibly allergic to cats. Like, takes an antihistamine before coming over and carries an epi-pen with him levels of allergic. Postal is not a pet person.
  • They spend their nights patrolling the somewhat seedy downtown neighborhood of Megalopolis in which they live. When it’s initially described that way Hedgelord is concerned (“Seedier!?”), but they explain that it means something different here.
  • Timeline - Guise is one of the 20 books in the initial post-OblivAeon relaunch in May 2017. Two of the early issues from that title are playable Issues from the RPG book mentioned above. As part of those stories, we introduce and establish these other characters in a conflict involving the villain formerly known as Argentium (now “Nega-Guise” - the dude just wants a boat and some batteries, but Guise keeps getting in his way so now he’s out for revenge). After that, Neighborhood Watch gets picked up as an ongoing title in the second round of books that start in May 2018. The first 6-issue arc of their title is kind of there to show off the team dynamic - do we want today’s issue to be from that arc or for the second one? Given how unfamiliar the characters are to basically everybody, it’s probably best to actually do one of those early issues. Not issue #1, though. This introductory arc isn’t all one villain plot/story, but it’s also not really an “anthology” style thing either - it’s a contiguous story that just happens to show a variety of things the NW are dealing with. This includes a 2-part story involving the She-Nanigans in issues #4-5 and we’ll do one of those issues for today.
  • So, what’s the story for those two issues and which half of that story do we want to tell today? Dinah-Dozen, Concealin' Carrie, and Polly Hedron have all shown up in Guise before now. Guise thinks that there’s a Batman/Catwoman thing between him and Concealin’ Carrie, but she has no interest in such a thing. Dinah-Dozen is “the chaos one” who’s just there to party (or also “be really sad” or “really happy” or any number of other emotions as that’s part of her deal). Polly Hedron is the motivated one who makes plans and has a purpose (she wants to do science experiments, she wants to do magic experiments, and she really wants to do sciency magic experiments/magical science experiments - let’s just say now that we’re never going to do a team-up story between her and Biomancer, that can only go poorly for everybody who isn’t the two of them).
  • Hmm… This isn’t the first appearance for any of them, but let’s say that issue #4 is where we get the story told in the Guise RPG book where they become a team. That one can end with the villains in a position where they’re trying to do a thing in Megalopolis and then #5 can be the Neighborhood Watch dealing with them. There we go, #4 starts with some “normal” NW story but eventually somebody runs into an invisible barrier. Then we get a flashback to the She-Nanigans formation and the beginning of their plot before returning to the “present” that sets up issue #5.
  • So, our issue starts with the team needing to find a way through this barrier to figure out what’s going on. Inside the barrier we have Polly wanting to do one of her ill-conceived magical science experiments, Carrie is providing a safe space where they can be undisturbed, and Dinah is keeping watch (they leave “the sad one” with Polly and the rest go take up positions to keep watch [note for people who can’t get to the book - Dinah can make copies of herself, but each copy takes an emotion, exemplifying the expression of that emotion which the “main” Dinah no longer can feel until they recombine].
  • What’s Polly actually doing? Her interest in these experiments is proving that magic and science can be used together. These almost always fail because they don’t work together well (or rather magic and technology don’t work well together). She’s saying that there’s room for magic to fit within the framework of “science is our understanding of the ‘rules’ by which things work”. Making magic and technology work together is her thing. She does things to accumulate power not because she wants more power for herself, but because she needs power to channel into these experiments. Like, she’s not interested in “being more powerful than [person x]” but she needs “more power so that she can do [y]”. Let’s say that she has found a conjunction of ley lines here in Megalopolis that are also tied into the whole Akash'Flora thing which is a magic thing interfacing with mundane technology. She’s going to tear up some root cluster or something so that she can see what’s going on, which is a bad idea.
  • Not that we know that at first. All the NW know is that a bunch of people got kicked out of their homes by “officials” (or maybe just one? everybody mentions talking to a young woman with short red hair although their descriptions of her demeanor are all over the place). The uniform seemed legit enough, but the reason given for why they needed to evacuate for a few hours was vague. It’s not a very big area, maybe a city block, but this consists of a few rather large apartment buildings so we’ve got quite the crowd gathered in the park across the street getting increasingly irate about not being able to get into their homes. That’s what gets the Neighborhood Watch’s attention and it’s then that they discover the invisible barriers.
  • Guise and Pool Shark are taking point on this one. The first few issues of the title establish that the book generally operates in terms of duos. Like, you might have Pool Shark and Postal doing a thing and then Guise and Hedgelord doing a thing. It’s a good way of establishing the character dynamics by pairing them off in the various permutations. Anyway, we start with the two of them and after they get to the point of messing with the invisible barrier they call in the other two since this looks like it might be a more serious thing. They keep investigating while they wait for the others to arrive, but Postal is their way past the barrier and the Akash’Flora connection likely comes up quickly once Hedgelord is there. That’s fun as it allows Guise and Pool Shark to fail to do much while they wait.
  • Wait, can Carrie just make barriers? Adam thought she could just make things invisible. Christopher starts to argue that between Illusions, Infernal (she’s actually trained in magic in her backstory), and Invisibility (three of her RPG Powers) she can do so, but Adam argues that she can’t. So, now they have to come up with another reason for her to be able to keep people out of the buildings. Easy! She gets a bunch of big trucks and just parks them around the block and makes those invisible. As part of the “failing” bit, Guise can try to get through this “invisible shield” by attacking it, which causes an explosion. As he’s getting up after being exploded away from the “wall” there’s now the remains of a truck on fire that is blinking in and out of invisibility and that’s when he realizes that Carrie is behind this. After the explosion, Pool Shark runs up to Guise who’s all charred from the explosion but he sits up with heart eyes “It’s her!”
  • That’s a good cue to transition our POV to Carrie herself. That also lets us have the sense of “time passing” between the explosion and when we get back to the heroes, during which time Postal and Hedgelord show up. Hmm… or maybe we start at Carrie here, but then follow the rest of the She-Nanigans until the heroes bust in. Like, we don’t really need to show Postal and Hedgelord arriving, we can just trust the readers to understand the sequence of events outside.
  • Anyway, we cut to Carrie who’s reporting to Polly that the jig is up. One of the trucks got blown up and that’s making it hard to keep everything invisible (as the amount of invisible stuff she was doing was already stretching her limits). “How much time do you need?” It’s at this point that we finally see what Polly’s up to. She’s dug a hole in the ground and has some kind of clamps attached to a big, glowing green root. She’s excited because this is “the first successful combination of magic and technology that we’ve seen” - of course, that’s ignoring Akash’Mecha and Terrorform stuff, but Polly’s relatively new to this so she can be excused for not knowing everything that’s gone down before.
  • In keeping with Polly Hedron’s shtick, which is “floating geometrical shapes” we’ve got like a circular ring around the root with triangles and squares attached around it, including triangles around the inner surface of the ring and when she activates this stuff after saying the above, the ring starts spinning and the triangles are like sawteeth biting into the root. Or, better, it’s forming something like a mechanical iris that is just biting into the root rather than cutting through it. The idea is to interface with the root, not cut through it. Okay, so when she pushes the button three things happen: the aperture closes around/into the root, the power goes out in the buildings around them, and the rift in spacetime opens as Postal delivers the Neighborhood Watch into the situation.
  • Guise starts right in with a Hero speech, but he quickly gets shouldered aside by Hedgelord when he sees what’s happening. Sure, he’s only been in this universe a few months, but he knows this tree and that what Polly’s doing is bad (not that he knows what she’s doing exactly, but don’t mess with the tree). Anyway, Polly can definitely put up some of her shapes as a barrier that stops Hedgelord. Then she gives a signal to Dinah who sets off the explosives that destroy the rest of the trucks (which is why that first one blew up as easily as it did). The reader is treated to a 3/4 overhead view of the block and we see the ring of fire around the block also has other elements to it - this whole thing is a giant sigil for doing more of Polly’s techno-magic stuff. Now we’ve got a setup for a big fight between the She-Nanigans and the Neighborhood watch within a giant fire rune that’s pulling power from Akash’Flora.
  • The setup then is that the evacuation wasn’t just to keep people from prying, but also because (since explosions were part of the plan) they didn’t actually want to cause unnecessary casualties. We’ve got the ley line convergence tied into the root system that’s now being tapped by Polly’s device. What does the rune actually do? Christopher comes up with a really bad idea - it’s connecting the life energy of the tree to Æternus. Polly and Carrie both have a fair amount of magical training and so know about it. The plan here is to actually use the positive life energy of the tree to drive back Æternus which they know is always trying to encroach upon Earth. This is a good thing, right?
  • Adam has a visual idea that the fiery rune turns green when it connects with the tree energy. Christopher likes that but has another idea too - the rune actually transports this portion of the city to Æternus. That 3/4 overhead view we had earlier can also show that the area of the city beyond the ring of fire gets washed out as the block gets disconnected from the real world and enters Æternus. Then Polly throws another switch and that’s when the rune and circle transition to being green, going on to flood Æternus with this energy.
  • From there, we have Polly give her monologue about how she’s using this blend of magic and technology to drive back the torment of Ætenus, etc. Hedgelord breaks in to try to tell her that she doesn’t know what she’s doing (regarding the tree), but Polly is “the only one who knows what [she’s] doing!” As this exchange has been happening we’ve been seeing the gradual shift of the fire from orange/yellow to green. Then, we have an abrupt change to red as Æternus takes over. Close-up on the device locked around the root where the root is also turning red. There’s some straining before the device explodes. The block is back in Megalopolis, and the redness starts advancing into the rest of the tree. Not only has the experiment failed, it’s given Æternus a connection to and means of taking over Akash’Flora.
  • Something that they were not intending when they started this story, but is absolutely what happens: this story has become The Neighborhood Watch and She-Nanigans team up against Æternus as the area gets flooded by demons (that emerge from buds from the tree - Adam started to go all gory on the details here, but this is a goofy slapstick book; sure we’re fighting demons now, but calm down a bit on the XTREME). Anyway, the root segment we’re dealing with sprouts a gnarled, twisted trunk that the demons are budding from and the redness is spreading towards the main trunk. Hedgelord says that the only way to stop this is to prune it. They need to cut this part off to save the rest, which is likely going to cause problems for the neighborhood (they’ll be without power for a few days in addition to all of the property damage), but it’s better than Æternus.
  • Polly helps augment Hedgelord’s chainsaw and while he works on cutting things down/off she then also goes to try to stop the rot from spreading. Ultimately they’re able to prune things enough to stop it. Meanwhile Dinah and Guise fight a bunch of demons while Carrie and Pool Shark work together to take down one big one (maybe it’s blocking Pool Shark’s shots easily until Carrie starts making them invisible). While all that’s going down, Postal is the one taking care of the civilians. Guise, Pool Shark, Carrie, and Dinah are all somewhat short-sighted. Polly and Hedgelord see and are dealing with the big, overarching root [heh] of the problem. Postal is the one who really cares about the people of the neighborhood. She’s outside the perimeter corralling the demons or helping people get away. She’s the most heroic of them even if not the most directly combative.
  • Maybe we have her visibly struggling to keep up with everything, but then maybe opens her mailbag to the fire hydrant over on 3rd to release a blast of water to push back demons and put out fires [her mail bag only delivers to places that have some connection within her mail route]. The initial idea (before remembering the limitation) was to open it to the bottom of the ocean, but this is better. Like, she knows that this fire hydrant is in rough condition and so she opens the bag there, gives it a good whack to break it and then uses the spray. This only works because she knows her route so well.
  • Anyway, Hedgelord and Polly cut the root just in time and the demons melt away (maybe some disembodied voice of Æternus yelling some threat as it fades away - like any of these people know what that is). The heroes round up and start to address “you three” when Dinah interrupts with “The She-Nanigans”. “Shenanigans?” “That’s us!” But before the heroes can actually take them into custody, Carrie makes them vanish and they get away.
  • So, we’ve succeeded in turning the part of town that was a kind of seedy neighborhood into “powerless slums” and the people in these specific buildings likely have to find new places to live, but hey, at least it’s not actually merged with a plane of eternal torment. How much impact does this have on other books? Maybe at least there’s a known “blighted” section of town where the tree won’t grow - in other places, if a root gets damaged it will eventually grow back, but not here. Sure, you can run power lines from the perimeter into this district, but it will not power things on that block where the Æternus crossover happened and the closer you are to that point the more prone to brownouts and whatnot you are.
  • As such, this area tends to be kind of anachronistic. Since power is unreliable, they light it with gas lamps at night. Stuff like that. It sets up “The Blighted District” as an interesting section of this otherwise thriving City of Tomorrow. The Neighborhood Watch operates kind of of the edge of this district, so they have power but it’s the flickering, unreliable kind (since that’s appropriate for the team). For Postal, this is just her route and she’s not changing. For Guise, this is his rent-controlled apartment so he’s not moving either.
  • So, Guise-Cat didn’t show up and that’s good. Issue #1 is where the team comes together in a Nega-Guise story. Issues #2-3 are duo vignettes to establish the character dynamics. In one of those, Guise-Cat supposedly saves Guise (he claims that Guise-Cat did, but nobody else saw it happen and don’t believe him). Issue #6 is entirely from Guise-Cat’s point of view - it’s a recap of the preceding stories from a feline perspective. As part of that, we see that the terrible thing was about to happen to Guise when Casa-Nova showed up, stopped it from happening, had a brief “conversation” with Guise-Cat, and then left without Guise actually knowing they were even there, thus starting this trend of Guise attributing heroic acts to the cat.
  • Casa-Nova not being around is also good as it gives an opportunity for the team to give them a hard time for not being around to help. They think they can fix things with music now anyway, but then it doesn’t work. Æternus still has a hold here.

Questions

  • In the Guise RPG book, we have a purpleish cat named Guise-Cat and in the Sentinels of Freedom video game we have an orange cat named Guise Cat, what happened there exactly? They’d call him more of a gray cat, but Adam did intentionally put a little purple in there, but that’s mostly supposed to be lighting. The discrepancy here is that the people behind Sentinels of Freedom just took a cat model they had and ran with it. The orange cat is just the wrong color. To be fair, they hadn’t worked this out and so hadn’t provided instruction to Underbite regarding the cat’s color, but neither did they ask.
  • Does the team treat Guise-Cat as a member? How do they view it when the cat enters fights with villains? Does Guise speak for the cat/how do writers convey anything the cat wants to communicate to others? Guise probably does a funny voice when speaking as the cat, yeah. That’s not necessarily a common thing, but he’s likely done it a few times. The cat doesn’t speak. Even in issue #6 which is from the cat’s perspective it’s not shown to “speak” or have an inner monologue. There are caption boxes that explain what’s happening or the cat’s mental reactions to things, but it’s handled as third-person-omniscient narration, not the cat’s thoughts. Adam brings up that cats are hard to draw expressively without anthropomorphizing them, so he can imagine a case where some writer/artist team uses symbols in thought balloons to try to achieve some expressiveness from the cat.
  • Goes Guise get annoyed with/correct people who forget the hyphen in Guise-Cat? Probably. That’s kind of a classic joke.
  • Is the team actually recognized as an official neighborhood watch organization, say by local law enforcement? No.
  • How bad is the neighborhood they’re in? Well, it wasn’t that bad. It’s kind of bad now. It’s not “terrible danger crime” like Rook City. It’s just “not the best part” of Megalopolis.
  • How do the various members of the Watch handle the silliness and fourth-wall-breaking antics of Guise? Most of them don’t see that happen. Like, when Guise turns and talks to the reader people tend to not notice or at least ignore him. There’s also the thing where in the RPG era Guise loses his cosmic awareness due to the sandwich bag. He’ll still act like he knows he’s in a comic book, but he is less likely to address the reader directly. He also had a habit of “talking to” the Scholar (or more like talking to himself/at his memory of the Scholar), so since he’s already in the habit of talking to himself, people tend to brush any fourth-wall breaks to be just him “talking to himself” again.
  • Do the members have a better idea of who John Rhodes was than anyone else given that Guise probably talks about him a lot? None of them met the Scholar. They hear about “his friend John” a lot, but he’s not trying to relay the story of The Scholar to other people. They might just assume that “John” is the “reader” of the “comic” that they’re “in”.
  • Has Guise come up with a catch-phrase for the team (or constantly workshops one) that nobody likes? Yup, that sounds about right.
  • Is there a Metaverse “my first gardening” kit for Shear Force? The crossover there is weird. Shear Force was at least one point a popular property. Maybe not a “first” gardening kit, but maybe in the ’90s they attempted to do a thing where you grow plants that you’re supposed to try to bonsai into a headquarters for the action figures? They’re ill-advised toy tie-in products that don’t really work.
  • Can Guise turn into a vehicle that others can ride in? Probably… would people want to ride, though?
  • Does Guise-Cat like belly rubs? No. Feral cat, don’t touch.
  • Preferred spots for pets? Some people can sometimes give him ear/chin scratches, but not for long.
  • Where is a sure-fire way to get scratched if you try to pet him? Most places on the cat.
  • Does he prefer wet food or dry food? Probably wet, but he’ll eat anything.
  • Does he run around all the time or is he a constant napper? He’s moving around a lot. Occasionally you’ll see him napping in the background of a panel, but those kinds of cameos are more likely to be him peeking an eye around a corner or otherwise stalking somebody/something.
  • What’s his preferred thing to scratch? Anything that Guise wouldn’t want him to. The couch is a good one.
  • What’s his favorite lounging spot? Probably on top of the fridge. The compressor that keeps the inside cool generally means that it’ll get warm up there, plus if he’s back against the wall he’s largely out of sight.
  • Does catnip make him go crazy or more likely to just stare at walls? He probably hasn’t encountered any.
  • Is he the type of cat that will leap into action when he sees a mouse, or more likely to just think “yup, that’s a mouse” and then ignore it? That mouse would die. He’s a hunter.
  • Who’s his favorite member of the Neighborhood Watch? Pool Shark, because of the allergies. His least favorite is Casa-Nova.
  • Where did Guise find Guise-Cat (or was it the other way around)? Guise-Cat lived in the alley behind Guise’s apartment. When it got cold the cat managed to sneak into the basement and stayed there for a while. Then, one day it was wandering the halls and Guise’s door was open (he had been beat up in a fight and was passed out/recovering on the couch) and the cat wandered in and started drinking the nice warm bowl of soup that was there. Guise briefly woke up and noted that a cat was eating his soup, stop that. *passes out again* Now there’s a cat that lives in his apartment.
  • Does Guise-Cat have a really cool origin story? See the previous question.
  • What breed of cat is Guise-Cat? Feral alley cat.
  • Will there be plushies of Guise-Cat? If there’s enough demand. Let’s say at least 300 people demand it. Send your demands for a Guise-Cat plushie to contact [at] greaterthangames [dot] com (chuckles at the work they’ve just created for somebody).
  • What are Guise-Cat’s favorite treats? Your stereotypical “alley cat” things - discarded fish, almost-spoiled milk/cream.
  • Has Guise-Cat been spayed or neutered to help control the pet population? Absolutely. [Christopher talks here about how the reason he’s shown with a docked ear in the art is because that’s something that’s done when a street cat is rounded up and “fixed”. Adam thought that was just an old injury. I will note here that the RPG bio mentions that Guise took the cat to get “fixed” after they started living together and that “neither of them enjoyed that experience. Guise lost a lot of blood. They don’t talk about it.”]
  • What are Guise-Cat’s likes and dislikes? You basically just asked about all of them.
  • Seriously, where’s my Guise-Cat plushie? Get that petition going.
  • Was the “Silent Toe-beans” ability shown in a Guise Book preview from Guise-Cat? Yes.
  • Does that mean Guise-Cat will be a stand-alone character, or an extension of Guise like he is in Sentinels of Freedom? Stand-alone.
  • Will the Guise-Cat plushie have retractable claws? Depends on how successful that petition is.
  • Did one of Christopher’s cats provide inspiration for Guise-Cat? Not really. A lot of his experience with cats, and especially feral cats, made it easier for him to write a good bio for Guise-Cat and understood how to tell a “cat story”, but there wasn’t a specific cat that was a model. Maybe this one he knows named Percy who was a feral cat who now lives inside (and is still a feral cat who lives inside). They’re good friends, but Percy will take all the skin off of any hand you try to touch him with.
  • Did one of Christopher’s cats do the voice acting for Guise Cat? No.
  • Does he have an archenemy? Maybe in the future one will be revealed. Baths?
  • If so, who could hate someone as amazing as Guise-Cat? Does Guise-Cat canonically have 9 lives? Adam and yes. All cats canonically have 9 lives.
  • How do people feel about potential violence befalling a cat in comics? It’s scary and bad and you want to keep it out of harm’s way, but this cat is his own boss. Nobody is taking this cat and putting it in front of danger. The cat is attacking villains that show up and do bad stuff. Guise is a good person to pair the cat up with because he can basically take an infinite amount of abuse and be okay. The vast majority of people-scratching we see that isn’t directed at villains is directed at Guise. That’s the joke - he’s constantly affectionate towards this fur ball that scratches the hell out of him. Nobody gets a vendetta against the cat. There’s definitely a story where the Watch are sitting around Guise’s apartment and the cat wanders over to investigate Postal’s mailbag and then winds up somewhere else.
  • Is Guise-Cat the king of the Animalverse? No.
  • Where was he during OblivAeon? He was just living in that alley under a dumpster.
  • Why doesn’t my spell-check understand “GuiseCat” yet? Where is my plushie? It doesn’t understand it because you’re not hyphenating it as “Guise-Cat” [I have been except for “Guise Cat” when it’s specifically referring to the SoF version as that one doesn’t have a hyphen in the name - for some reason SoF character names can’t have a hyphen, which I wanted one of mine to have. I’m not going back to “correct” this back throughout this letter].
  • Who on the Neighborhood Watch can boop Guise-Cat’s snoot? Guise and Pool Shark have the best shot at doing so without consequence. Guise for familiarity and Pool Shark because Guise-Cat’s all up on him already. Hedgelord might - he can edge up slowly enough to not arouse suspicion. Postal likely can’t and Casa-Nova has no chance.
  • What heroes not connected to Guise could? None of those heroes are regular features in Guise’s apartment and so as soon as they come in the cat makes himself scarce.
  • Can any villains boop the snoot? No.
  • So, in the RPG book we learn that Casa-Nova sometimes hangs out with the Neighborhood Watch, but Guise’s opinion of them boils down to “I like their music, but they’re still a little weird” - however, I see some similarities between Casa-Nova and the Scholar (very old entity, cosmic awareness hidden behind a laid-back attitude, advocates for peace over war, and somewhat anachronistic); whether intentionally or not, has Guise ever found himself comparing them? When he first met Casa-Nova, did he (subconsciously or not) compare them and that colored his interactions with them? A lot of those similarities are very superficial, but there’s also likely at least some point where Guise is ranting to John about this Casa-Nova person who just shows up unexpectedly, telling people to be chill, etc. and Guise winds up making that comparison. The coming-and-going/can’t rely on their presence angle is probably the hardest since John’s death lends itself to giving Guise abandonment issues. It’s not necessarily warranted, but it’s a legit response some people have to death. Casa-Nova is also kind of an exaggerated example of “flighty” behavior - Scholar would drift in and out of people’s lives but that’s because he has so much that he’s wandering around and taking care of. Casa-Nova is easily distracted by that space butterfly they see 16 lightyears away. Also, most of the “wisdom from the Cosmos” that Casa-Nova imparts is far-out nonsense, but every once in a while they come out with something that sets Guise back on his heels as it’s a real “John thing” (although it’s presented as more “broken clock is right twice a day” sort of thing where it’s likely that Casa-Nova doesn’t really get how deep they just got either). “Casa-Nova is the weird mid-point between the Scholar and Wager Master. This character is made of bad feelings for Guise.”
  • Or maybe his unease with Casa-Nova is down to them being this kind of weird cosmic reality-warper and he has plenty of experience with another (blue) weird cosmic reality-warper? See the thing they just said above.
  • Who among your heroes do you think would view Casa-Nova with the most respect? Not Argent Adept… Likely the ones who are the types to view basically everybody with respect, say Haka or Legacy. In terms of actually respecting who and what they are and the good they’ve done with their not-unsubstantial power… maybe Mantra? Like, he could take one “look” at them think a moment and get it. He’s used to people like Pete here who’s kind of a nonsense mess of a person, but while Casa-Nova seems like this nonsense mess of a person Mantra can see how disjointed from reality they are and how their way of perceiving the universe that’s different from everyone else results in them seeming like a nonsense mess of a person. Adam hesitates there as people would look at Casa-Nova and wonder why, with all of their power, they aren’t doing more good with it. Christopher responds with the thought that Mantra would be the one to understand that, no, Casa-Nova couldn’t do better than they’re already doing. They’re doing the best that they can, it’s just that “best” looks really weird to everybody else and Mantra accepts them for what they are.
  • Does any of the above speculation regarding Guise and Casa-Nova seem reasonable? Yes.
  • What’s Dinah-Dozen’s power source (her RPG bio is unclear)? Was the box she was put in actually magic (possibly from NightMist’s house)? Is she an Omega? What’s not to get. She was at a magic show, went up on stage to be the volunteer who got sawed in half and afterwards she was two people. That’s how magic works, right? They’ll say that it wasn’t the box (which was not from NightMist’s home).
  • Who is the Captivating Carlotta anyway? She was previously mentioned back in one of the animated series episodes. There was a story where the Enthralling Enzo was a magician who fell under suspicion of doing bad stuff and it turned out that his assistant Carlotta was really the villain Catatonica. Dinah’s story is porting a minor animated series villain over into the comics.
  • Is the number 12 the maximum number of duplicates she can make (I get the pun of her name, but is it an actual limit as well)? She’s never gotten to 12. Getting up in the 9 or 10 range is getting to the point where she has trouble managing everything and so 12 is imagined to be the actual limit as if there are enough of her around such that none of them have more than 1 emotion none of them would ever want to recombine.
  • How much self-expression do her duplicates have? Could a Guilt duplicate come out and try to fight the rest of them? Yes, absolutely.
  • If base Dinah puts out emotion to feel apathetic about a situation, would the others lose focus/start working on something else? They’re not of a singular mind. They start out that way, but the main thing that drives them is the emotion that they represent. There’s a lot of conflict amongst the Dinahs themselves and also between Dinahs and the rest of the She-Nanigans.
  • How different are the emotions? Is there a typical “set” of them we see like in the Inside Out film? Do we get into some highly specific ones like “frustration” or “depression”? They’re generally the big emotions. Like if you just need a couple of them why not use “angry” and “sad”? If a writer wants to say something specific then you get the other ones like “nihilism” or if she’s needing to make a bunch of copies and she’s already used up the big emotions you’ve got to get more granular. Even so, “angry” can manifest in a number of ways so it’s not like Angry Dinah acts with a specific consistent characterization or something.
  • What defines an emotion? frustrated groans at the scope of that question
  • [continued from the above] Would we consider something like “remorse” or “pity” as emotions or would they count as subsets of the “big ones”? Yup. Here’s the deal, these are allowed to be pretty broad and can get into the weird stuff like this (“it’s less of an emotion and more of a mindset” - doesn’t matter, still works for our purposes with Dinah).
  • Does she have a cool-down on her duplication ability? If she gets an emotion she doesn’t want can she just immediately recombine with it? If she’s fishing for a specific emotion can she just spam her power until she gets it? Both of those have happened. That being said, both making the copy and reabsorbing take energy and she can wear herself out doing it. Also, if she’s just making the one duplicate, she has a fair amount of control over which one comes out. It’s not as easy as just picking it, but she can at least “lean” in the direction she’s looking for by trying to get into the specific emotional state she wants. The more of them she has out already the less control she has, though.
  • How much does she go in the other way when a copy is out? If she makes the Happy Dinah does she just remain neutral in situations where she should be happy or would other emotions fill that space and she’d find herself sad or angry or something? She would feel nothing in place of happy in that case (barring another emotion that could be applicable in the situation). Like in Inside Out, emotions can mix and so if something would normally evoke a mixed emotion, if one of them is already in a copy then you’re just left with the other.
  • Dinah-Dozen vs. Proletariat: how does that turn out? Depends on the story. In most cases it probably goes to Proletariat just because he’s just generally more competent than Dinah is, but there could be a situation where Dinah’s reliance of emotions could be a specific benefit to give her an edge.
  • What happens to Dinah’s ability to feel an emotion if that duplicate is killed? We’d rarely be in a situation where we would see a Dinah die. Christopher posits the question of what happens if you were to take Happy Dinah far away from the core Dinah and then kill Happy Dinah. Adam’s’ impulse is that the duplicate would dissolve and the “spirit” (for lack of a better word) would just return to Dinah. Christopher agrees in practice, but that he thinks that it’s not that simple. He thinks that the “dead” emotion would have to “regrow” and Dinah would be without that emotion for a non-negligible length of time and that it’s a painful process. That has probably happened, but Adam would want the specific “dead” emotion to be anger or sadness or something where the showcase of what the drawback is when you lack a “negative” emotion. Christopher then suggests that the interesting one to eliminate is fear.
  • Did you completely rewrite Green Grosser’s backstory for the RPG? Why? Green Grosser’s backstory as told in the podcast is still applicable, what they’ve changed/added is how that change manifested. Both stories were told in comics, both are true and don’t conflict.
  • Did The Banana Game still happen as told? Yes.
  • If so, who even knows that Green Grosser blew up a building by selling Guise a load of explosive bananas? Not a lot of people would know that Green Grosser was behind it. Guise knows, but the world doesn’t know that Green Grosser is a “blowing a building up” kind of person.
  • The heroes don’t treat him like a mass murderer when they encounter him in the Adventuring Party story, so do they just not know about it? They don’t know, but in that specific story (one of the adventures in the new Guise RPG book) everything is a little bit sillier and the villains have more pathos. The story is a silly romp. Those kinds of stories happen in comics, even when they involve villains who are terrible people.
  • You’ve mentioned that having Guise’s chest insignia be different in every appearance in the card game got more difficult to deal with as things went on; what were some of them that took you longer to think of? Sometimes the problem was coming up with something that would encapsulate the feeling of what was going on, Gritty Reboot’s rose was one of those. The ones he did for the video game character panels were tough as well. This kind of “what was an example of [x] that was hard/took a long time?” questions are difficult because once they’ve gotten past whatever the problem was it’s now just a thing they’ve done and it’s hard to remember the struggle.
  • Will Guise still have unique chest symbols in each appearance in Definitive Edition? Yes.
  • Will those be different from the EE versions? There will most likely be overlap between the editions.
  • You’ve said that the symbols aren’t unique in the comics and that you’ll often see the same symbol across multiple panels (although often also with slight changes like rotations or whatnot) - will that be a feature in DE? That would require them to have sequential panels depicted across several cards and they don’t anticipate that being a thing for him. They do have a few sequential panels on cards, but not within the same deck. There’s an example between Mr. Fixer and Setback that they can think of immediately, so we’d need a situation where Guise shared a scene with another character that they’re highlighting.

Cover Discussion

  • Brand new trade-dress needed for a modern comic!
  • Probably don’t want to show the fire rune, but we can show that the She-Nanigans are going after Akash’Flora. Maybe have a thing where they’re sitting in the branches like they own the place. Adam also brings up that he can get more abstract in modern covers and Polly Hedron especially plays well with that, so maybe her shapes are intermingled with the tree. Adam writes down the note “this is our tree now” to play with - not that there will be text, but it indicates the vibe we’re going for.