Podcasts/Episode 240

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The Letters Page: Episode 240
Writers' Room: Cosmic Tales Vol. 2 #412

Cosmic Tales Vol 2 412.png

Original Source

Primary Topic


Let's go to space with a couple of gals who are pals!

Show Notes:

Run Time: 1:47:33

K.N.Y.F.E. and Sky-Scraper are a couple of fan favorites, especially due to to burgeoning "ship" between them... but where did it all start? Right here! This is that story!

We tell stories from three (THREE!!) issues of Sentinel Comics, then we answer a bunch of questions! What more could you want?

If there were something more you wanted, I'll bet you could find it as part of the Letters Page Patreon! Check it out!

Join us next time for an episode about foes of The Naturalist and Akash'Thriya! Who could dislike them? Time will tell!

Characters Mentioned



  • So, the prompt here was a little weird. During the “which issue do we put this in?” portion of episode 233 (Writers’ Room Justice Comics #588 - Scholar vs. Count Barzakh) they offhandedly remarked that that story was published at the same time as a Sky-Scraper and K.N.Y.F.E. story over in Cosmic Tales. The prompt for this week was just to tell that latter story. This 3-issue arc is the first major interaction between the two of them and is what eventually inspires the StarCrossers title post-OblivAeon because this story is (unintentionally) where the K.N.Y.F.E./Sky-Scraper shipping phenomenon began in the Metaverse. It wasn’t a thing the writers meant to be a thing; but the readership just kind of collectively decided it was and eventually the lunatics start running the asylum readers who had that as their headcanon for years become writers for Sentinel Comics, and so it just becomes the story.
  • The plan for today is to tell a good adventure for them and also create some chemistry between the two characters. Shouldn’t be too hard. Adventure in space, shared adversity, fun/personable characterization/styles of communication (one has a rosy disposition and quirky speech style, the other has that fun “come at me, I’ll [choice of 'fight' or another verb starting with f] you” energy). It’s built for a ship and it’s funny that it wasn’t intended. They both have a combat background and are “on the run” from the organization they fought for.
  • So, space. We know that they wind up in space and it seems like this might be a case of one character corralling the other into going with them. Do we know much about what either of them were up to at the time? Sky-Scraper is hanging out at Freedom Tower and she seems less likely to be the instigator. Christopher thinks that what happens is that K.N.Y.F.E. shows up at Freedom Tower with a problem that she needs help with and Sky-Scraper is the only one around at the time, so she’s the one who gets to go. That setup is surprisingly common, by the way: somebody shows up at the tower for help and nobody’s around except the janitor and a rat who owns a gun, so that’s the team for the issue. Anyway, that’s what happens here. The Freedom Five are off on some mission (and 2004 Aminia Twain is just so sorry about this but the only person available is this alien).
  • In 2004 we’re past the “Rogue Agent” story for K.N.Y.F.E. but we’ll probably have her in her regular outfit (that’s very common - in most one-off things like this she’ll typically be in her classic red armored look). It’s also quite possible that this is an “inventory story” (i.e. one that the comics company had produced just to have on hand for when there’s a gap in the schedule; often they’d be from a notable creator, but one who just wanted to do a story that stood on its own without reference to whatever the ongoing continuity was - the company would put the story aside for the purpose of slotting it in where a missed deadline or the need for a filler story provided the necessary space). These kinds of things are frequent in Cosmic Tales, Justice Comics, Freedom Five sometimes, occasionally Prime Wardens. Dark Watch really doesn’t wind up with them, but most books have them at least sometimes.
  • Another thing to bring up (since it’s been quite a long time since it was first mentioned) is that K.N.Y.F.E. is the one who teaches Sky-Scraper that her tiny form is valuable. This is a great story for that to be showcased. For one thing, being in space makes growing to enormous size less useful. As such, some kind of “space heist” wouldn’t be a bad idea for the story here.
  • We probably want to not use F.I.L.T.E.R. here. Maybe somebody in space that K.N.Y.F.E. owes in some way. Adam has the idea that the villain(s) of the story not come in with baggage against our heroes, but develop it by the end. We can wind up with villains who are specifically antagonists for this hero duo. Maybe K.N.Y.F.E. can owe somebody some space money and that’s what kicks this whole thing off, but that’s not where the conflict comes in. Christopher was going to suggest “there’s somebody that K.N.Y.F.E. owes some sort of debt to, she recruits Sky-Scraper for a job to get the thing that will pay off the debt, but in the process of doing so anger some third party who turns out to be ‘the boss’ above the original debt holder and so have made things worse.” A tweak is rather than being some random person and their “boss” we have a situation where there’s a more even partnership between the two (which is unknown to K.N.Y.F.E.) and so making the latter person mad simultaneously makes the former one mad.
  • Adam’s idea: in the first two issues (which would be Cosmic Tales vol. 2 #410 and #411, April and May 2004) we focus on one of these people each. In the process of each issue we have K.N.Y.F.E. and Sky-Scraper ruin their lives in one way or another. Maybe one of them owns a security firm of some sort and our heroes steal whatever it is that they’re being paid to protect, which ruins their reputation. Then we do something different with the second person that similarly makes them mad.
  • Issue #410: we have K.N.Y.F.E. needing to infiltrate a place to steal a thing. Due to her prior access to F.I.L.T.E.R. stuff, she’s aware of a tear in the spacetime continuum. It’s being caused by some Macguffin in another reality which is where the “tear” connects - by bringing this reality’s version of the Macguffin to the tear, they will cancel each other out and fix the problem. She came to Freedom Tower to get help from Tachyon who can do “science stuff” and maybe Wraith for “sneaky stuff”. Unfortunately, all that’s available is this big strong alien who can become an even bigger alien (and smaller, but she doesn’t know that yet). It’s later when we get a discussion between them where it comes out that Portja can be tiny too, but thinks it’s useless until K.N.Y.F.E. points out the whole part of the job where we’re doing a heist.
  • So, they’re breaking into a place to get this cosmic resonator thing. Who has it? Some kind of collector of curiosities, a power broker? This is largely unimportant. Let’s say some rich “corporatist” with a space base where they keep the items that are valuable/important. The “security firm” mentioned earlier is responsible for guarding the place and we probably don’t even need to show the person involved here. Maybe a stinger at the end of the issue just to show that there is an individual whose reputation has been ruined. Or maybe we do have them in the story, but we are led to think that the rich person is going to be the antagonist. It’s only in the stinger where we get a scene where they’re firing the security person and we get some “I’ll see to it you never work in this industry again” kind of thing.
  • A bit of an aside here as the “corporate guy” is some generic male-presenting business dude. Totally unimportant. They think that both of the actual antagonists should be female-presenting. We’re setting up a “gal fight”.
  • K.N.Y.F.E. has to fight through some stuff here. Sky-Scraper goes tiny to try to infiltrate the place but bungles it somehow because she’s not used to operating at that scale and so K.N.Y.F.E. has to come in. It’s not a problem exactly, just something she had hoped to avoid.
  • We should at least have the aesthetic of the security people. Standard sci-fi “power armor, laser guns” kind of thing? How about we have the gimmick of the lady in charge is that she gives her team cybernetic augmentations. “Join up and I make you a cyberpunk.” Man, do we want to just have her group be “[her name] and the Cyber Punks” Do we hate that? It’s 2004 and it’s also a thing that comes up here and then gets disbanded so what’s it matter? It’s fine. They wouldn’t want that to be the name of an important “faction” in Sentinel Comics, but a one-off is possible. Adam’s thinking “militarized ninjas” in the laser-ninja-sword robot-mans sense. You see “cyborg ninjas” and immediately understand everything there is to know about them. They and the business guy are intentionally generic as they’re just setting up the lady who gets fired over this fiasco.
  • They still need to name her, but let’s hold off on that until we get to the other person so we know who they are together. At the very least they get a vibe for her look which is still “cyborg” but in a big, strong, stompy space-marine way rather than ninja. The visual touchstone they both land on is Zarya from Overwatch. She has cybernetic parts that aren’t always obvious. Like an arm that looks like a normal arm until she does something with it. If we’re going to pair them up against the heroes, this one specifically hates K.N.Y.F.E. since she was the one who murdered all of her guys. On the security footage she basically just looks like “person in an armored suit who has a knife” and so being able to “single-handedly” take out the Cyber Punks is a serious black mark for the boss.
  • For #411 it seems obvious that the next move for the heroes is to take the cosmic resonator out into space where the problem is so that they can fix it. The wrinkle can be that the spacetime tear has, in the meantime, been used somehow. Our next villain has set up shop and is using it for power or transportation or something. Maybe they’re an information broker and they are using the tear to look into the other reality, but can move where they’re looking around so that they can look into places that they can’t access in this reality. Maybe not exactly that, but something that’s the “opposite” of the big strong cyborg they set up in the last issue.
  • Adam’s idea is that something happens to this second lady when they close the tear in reality - like it dumps a bunch of power/knowledge into her. Christopher still thinks that “taking something from her” in some way is what brings about the animosity with the heroes. Adam then suggests that in this reality the tear is the site of a research team that’s studying it. K.N.Y.F.E. knows about this whole situation in the first place due to her time with F.I.L.T.E.R. doing stuff in the Block and other realities - on “the other side” this tear with the cosmic resonator was part of some militarized thing and so she expects something similar here. Nope, this is being run by some scientist lady who has high expectations that the research she’s doing here will do good in the universe (well, she’s not aware of the danger inherent to the spacetime tear itself which is why K.N.Y.F.E. wants to close it).
  • Maybe we play the classic “publish or perish” scenario. The people funding this whole thing expect results and so if this science lady doesn’t produce something tangible soon, she’s going to lose all of her funding. That leads to her pushing a bit here - she’s taking things a bit faster and looser than she might otherwise. [From a bit later on] Let’s also say she’s got a bit of an ego here: sure, the research will be beneficial to people, but she’s also out to make a name for herself as the foremost expert/pioneer in this field of spacetime stuff and so that reputation is also something the heroes take from her.
  • Okay, the setup is some kind of “orbital ring” habitat around the actual anomaly that’s full of labs and stuff. They’ve got a force field/energy barrier thing set up in a sphere around the whole setup so that things don’t drift into the tear - you’ve got to actually go through the hatches they’ve set up in the ring to get through the barrier.
  • A lot of this just falls into place where the heroes go in with the resonator and shut things down, etc. What we need specifically is why the scientist is more mad at Sky-Scraper than she is at K.N.Y.F.E. We also need to work out the pre-existing connection between our two antagonists (friends, relatives, etc.). Adam had just figured that they wind up at the same space bar and bond over their shared misery, but having them already know each other is better. Christopher suggests that in the coda of #411 the scientist calls up her sister to vent about how awful her day has been only to hear about what happened with her security gig. Then they realize that their lives have been ruined by the same pair of interlopers. They toy briefly with the idea that they’re twins, but in comics “being twins” tends to be the gimmick for those characters and that’s not really necessary here.
  • Adam opens with the plan being that K.N.Y.F.E. just wants to sneak in to “put the thing on the thing to shut it down” and her idea is for Sky-Scraper to just be a big ol’ distraction. Christopher counters with that being how K.N.Y.F.E. expects to do this, but Sky-Scraper just hails the research station in a good-faith expectation that if she explains the situation of course the people will agree. She goes aboard the station to discuss things and it’s in those talks that we get all of the detail about the research that’s being done and why they can’t (or don’t want to, for various reasons) shut things down. She’s even given a tour of the place and gets to see all of the good stuff that they’re doing and so “Hmm… Yes, I see. It’s with great regret that I have to betray you” at which point she pulls out a device to knock out the scientist. She then lowers the shield so that K.N.Y.F.E. can put the thing on the thing.
  • Do they want to have the scientist awake for them closing the tear? We really need that personal betrayal from Sky-Scraper who’s been so earnest the whole time. Maybe there’s some kind of technological Chekhov’s Gun situation where as part of the tour they show the “containment fields” they can set up so that stuff that they bring in from the tear are safely quarantined from the base personnel who are testing/observing it and Sky-Scraper uses one of those to “lock up” the scientist who can then still see out. Let’s combine the ideas: Sky-Scraper knocks her out and then we cut to when she wakes up in the containment field just in time to see K.N.Y.F.E. close the tear. Sky-Scraper is still there (she’s got to let this lady out of the containment thing when they’re done, after all) so we get some additional discussion between them. Where K.N.Y.F.E. ruined the other lady’s life in a very impersonal way, Sky-Scraper’s actions here feel very personal.
  • They’ve set things up so far such that Sky-Scraper’s three sizes all come into play. The first issue has her trying to sneak in while tiny. This one has her doing stuff while at her normal size. She’ll be huge during the third issue. That’s fun.
  • Let’s finally name these two. Adam looked up things that rhyme with “sister” but nothing there worked. It would have been fun to be something like “The Blister Sisters” but we’ll have to do something else. For the first one, they play around with concepts related to “being in charge of things” for a while. Christopher eventually suggests “Drill Master” (being similar to a “Drill Instructor” but then we can also give her a cool drill arm as one of her cybernetic things). At that point, Adam just suggests Drill-Bit as something a bit “tighter” for the name. After not too much more playing around they come up with Qubit (a “quantum bit” in terms of quantum computing). These are aliens and while having these be “villain names” they take up after their run-ins with the heroes is an option, it’s kind of funny if Drillbit and Qubit are just their given names (with an alien surname - Ranzevlet). “Oh, our names mean something in your language?”
  • What does Qubit do? Okay, so how about Sky-Scraper locks her in the containment thing but doesn’t particularly want to still be there when she’s let out for the obvious reasons, so after Qubit wakes up they have their talk and Sky-Scraper tells her that she’s set the computer to deactivate the containment in an hour. Unfortunately, Portja accidentally sets it to disable all of the containment fields. That means that all of the other spacetime weirdness that was being studied before our heroes arrived gets out too and gives her powers somehow. Do we want Sky-Scraper to be responsible for her getting powers? It also seems kind of careless on her part. Maybe she had some kind of device connected to her brain that lets her do stuff.
  • Anyway, what Christopher had been getting at was that Qubit has some quantum powers. Like she presents as a speedster or teleporter, but the mechanism is that she’s doing quantum/spacetime manipulation stuff. Adam suggests rather than she has “part detachment” as the gimmick where she’s just creating small portals that she reaches through. “She can quantum her ‘bits’ like her arms and legs.”
  • Getting into #412, our heroes are heading home (but taking some time along the way for some R&R - we want an opportunity for some character interaction between them in the first half of the issue) but had the poor judgement to tell the people they’ve been causing problems for where they’re from (K.N.Y.F.E. in taunting the Cyber Punks that for all of their tech, they were being bested by a single marine from Earth, Sky-Scraper presented herself as an “envoy” from both Dok'Thorath and Earth as a reason to discuss things with Qubit). They get ambushed along the way.
  • Christopher likes the idea of Sky-Scraper getting big and winding up looking even more so given the size of whatever they’re on for this fight. He starts off looking up Charon (which is about half the diameter of Pluto), but that’s still way too big for what he’s imagining. Maybe they crash onto an asteroid and so they can pick a rock of whatever size they feel like. She can even get so huge that she reaches out to grab another rock to throw at the baddies.
  • Hmm… their ship crashed and so they obviously have to steal the sisters’ ship to get home, but do they just leave them stranded on the asteroid? Maybe Qubit does some quantum folding nonsense to teleport the two of them away when they lose. It can be presented as kind of a desperation move where it’s unclear if this actually got them away safely.
  • An important conversational moment during the first part of the issue is that K.N.Y.F.E. says something to Sky-Scraper about how this was fun. Maybe you should just stay out here in space with me. That can set the stage for later developments. Now, however, she just wants to go back “because the Freedom Five depend on me”. Then at the end she gets back to Freedom Tower, announces she’s back, and gets something like a “Oh. Were you gone?” response. Eh… that’s a little mean. Maybe the place is just still empty with the team being elsewhere.
  • Oh! We do the thing where the ship lands in the parking lot of Freedom Tower to drop Sky-Scraper off and then it blasts off back into space. Sky-Scraper walks in with a “I’m back!” thing in a close-up panel. Then we go to a wide shot of the big foyer area that’s empty showing her look very small. We hold there for another beat panel. Then we get it with a word bubble “I miss K.N.Y.F.E.” to end the issue. That’s enough for legions of fans to launch a ship over.


  • Is K.N.Y.F.E. even capable of being happy if she were to “settle down”? Is Sky-Scraper, so desperate for a stable “home” in the universe, capable of being happy with a partner so prone to roaming? Can these two, in the end, do anything but hurt one another? That’s kind of the point of that subplot! You get stuff that happens that makes you think that they could work and then more things that tell you that they probably don’t. It’s a will they?/won’t they? story and the question is the important part.
  • We have Earth-based heroes that wind up in space pretty frequently; how do they get there? Do they fly? Teleport? Take the public space bus? Have their own private space ship, possibly named after a famous actress? Here’s a list:
    • Sky-Scraper and K.N.Y.F.E.? Ships. K.N.Y.F.E. steals a series of ships for her various space travels. She may occasionally use a ship that she didn’t steal, but they rarely last very long. The StarCrosser is the major departure from this trend as it becomes the third character of the book. A big part of that is because Vantage is responsible.
    • Void Guard? They can fly through space, but they have a “ship” as well. They can use their shards to fly through space, but not at a speed sufficient to really get anywhere.
    • Captain Cosmic? His powers work in a way such that he can fly interstellar distances on his own.
    • Parse? She’s in space against her will at first. She rarely has a ship of her own and is usually on a ship that she has no agency over. She’s usually a captive, a stowaway, or a hitchhiker.
    • Prime Wardens? Argent Adept can “do a thing” such that they wind up somewhere. Fanatic can “do a thing” do accomplish that as well. Tempest is capable of piloting alien spacecraft (and a ship is how they get to Dok’Thorath). The needs of any individual story dictate how they get around.
    • Guise and Scholar? Similar to Parse where they’re just on a series of ships that they aren’t in charge of, hopping from here to there on the whims of circumstance. They’re “unwilling participants on a space road trip.”
  • In the future section of episode 50 you mentioned that in the RPG era Sky-Scraper and K.N.Y.F.E. have new names (Vantage and Rival), are palling around out in space, doing space adventures, but these are centered on this specific space threat they’re dealing with named Malyce; who or what is Malyce? Was this just a placeholder so that we wouldn’t expect the Voss stuff? Is Malyce Voss himself, or maybe Sergeant Steel? The Malyce stuff starts vexing them while they’re in the process of transporting Voss. They’re connected and it’s not either of the known villains you mentioned. Malyce is a, if not the most notable foe for the duo. Voss is there, but it gets kind of annoying in that “oh no, something bad is happening” and then Voss has to be the one to save them. Like, he’s on the ship so he has an interest in the ship not getting blown up. But now it’s awkward that they have to lock him back up in the power-dampening thing again. Maybe it would be nice if you would let him out to stretch his limbs now and again. The rhythm of the book is “we’re trying to get from here to there in our space train, but there are constant train heists”. They’ve got this payload (Voss) that a lot of people have very strong feelings about in one way or another (kill him, free him, use him for something or other, etc.).
  • Considering Voss’ personal power, how do Rival and Vantage keep him contained while they transport him back to Dok’Thorath? If he were to get out of containment, how would they overpower him/stop him from escaping? Isn’t taking Voss back to Dok’Thorath a bad idea given that it’s the place in the universe where he’d have the most loyalists? Most of his power was drained into the tree in Megalopolis, he’s in power-dampening binders, and is locked in a cell. There are a number of redundancies and fail-safes (which all eventually fail, because story has to happen). He eventually gets out and they’ve got to figure out how to get him locked up again. He turns out to have this “come now, we have this working relationship” demeanor and so the heroes are left wondering what he’s up to/what he’s already done while he was out. Their mission is to get him there safely and some of the stories involve people trying to kill him and so he at least appreciates the fact that they’ll protect him. The idea regarding Dok’Thorath is that by now most of the loyalists have been rooted out by this point and he’s heading there to face a tribunal (Christopher: “That’s certainly the Dok’Thorath that’s being presented in the comics. Yes. I’m sure that when they arrive there will not be any surprises.”).
  • When Paige decided to leave F.I.L.T.E.R. it was partly over the fact that she was being sent after aliens like Tempest who were more like people than they were monsters, but then when she learns about Citizen Dawn she tries to kill her (and for all of her faults, Dawn is still a person), so what exactly is her stance on such things? First, K.N.Y.F.E. doesn’t have a “no killing” policy. Second, her plan wasn’t exactly “I’m going to kill Dawn” but more just that she was going to stop Dawn. Everybody is taking too much time working out things like “plans” or otherwise doing stuff other than just going head-to-head with her. Stopping her might involve killing her, but something needs to be done. K.N.Y.F.E. is all about getting stuff done. Additionally, the F.I.L.T.E.R. situation was that they were sending her against aliens who weren’t doing anything to anybody. Dawn is definitely doing things to people.
  • In Editor’s Note 55, you mentioned a spectrum of swearing with extremes of Expatriette on one end to Legacy on the other - surely K.N.Y.F.E. would have been at the top of the list? Is she so foul-mouthed that she transcends the spectrum altogether or is she more clean-cut in her speech than she is in any other aspect of her life? Here’s the issue: she does swear a lot, but a lot of it is also unnoticed since much of her swearing is in Scots and so flies under the radar (and in American comics you can usually get away with including non-English swears uncensored). Christopher says Expatriette does swear more than K.N.Y.F.E. who does a fair amount of “havering”. Adam also points out that Expatriette is much more likely to get the occasional “Mature-rated” comics run (“And if [K.N.Y.F.E.] were to get one, the rating wouldn’t be for the language”).
  • Aside from “hurting Progeny more”, what are the properties of blightsilver? Is it radioactive? Caustic? Is it a gel at standard temperature and pressure? Will it be represented in her Definitive Edition deck? While it does feature into the Headhunter story, it’s not really a “thing that she has” to the point where it would feature in her deck. They think of it looking kind of crystalline (not a gel). Adam thinks of it as dangerous like mercury is dangerous - you’ve got to be careful when you’re working with it so as to not give yourself space cancer or something. Christopher thinks it has a variety of properties that you can tease out through different refinement processes.
  • What’s the evolution of K.N.Y.F.E.’s power armor over time (going from mainly the one arm and torso in her red costume, to a more fully-covering look for Rogue Agent, and then paring back down during Headhunter)? Her first look is just a standard F.I.L.T.E.R. uniform, but then she gets that red power armor with the big arm. Unfortunately, there’s not really a straight line to draw through these different outfits. We still see her in the red armor occasionally even after the Rogue Agent thing happens. In her deck we’ll even see her getting ready for a fight while in civilian clothes. She doesn’t need the armor to fight. Power-wise, the Rogue Agent armor is probably trimmed down some from the red armor. Headhunter is probably her sleekest look “for space reasons”. The thing they’re trying to convey is that armor or no, she’s going to fight you.
  • While labels around sexuality are social constructs, would you consider Sky-Scraper as “gay” or “bi” (we know that she’s got a crush on K.N.Y.F.E. and while she dated that Theodore guy, the way that fizzled makes me wonder)? They’re pretty sure they answered this question before. They don’t think that this is a reason for why things didn’t work with Theodore. Regarding the main question, they don’t think that she knows. She has certainly been attracted to both male-presenting and female-presenting people at various points. Christopher suggests maybe pansexual or simply “questioning” rather than definitively in either of the presented options. She’s figuring it out and they’re not comfortable labeling that for her (as if she was a real person). It is certainly the case that the writer of the Theodore story was not intending for this to be a reason it didn’t work out - it was about her trauma. Now, that doesn’t prevent a later writer from inserting that into how the story is referenced later on as a retcon. Your headcanon will vary and that’s how retcons wind up happening all the time.
  • [Postscript mentioning how StarCrossers would likely be the RPG-era comic they’d most want to read, well maybe except the Voss stuff early on] It’s quite possible that the Voss stuff is some of the best stories in the book. It’s almost certainly the best “Voss stories” given that it’s an opportunity to deal with him in a modern context where he’s not just a world-conquering tyrant and you get to spend some time with him and he gets some good “playing people against each other” stuff in there. Or he overhears Sky-Scraper say something to herself about not knowing what to do about K.N.Y.F.E. where he chimes in with a “So, you’re into her?” (“I don’t want to have this conversation with you!”). They preempt any speculation on the matter by stating outright that neither of the heroes has a relationship with Voss.
  • Has Sky-Scraper been shown speaking her native language to other Thorathians like Censor or does she continue to speak her… idiosyncratic English? If she does speak Thorathian sometimes, how is that shown in the comics? Does she suddenly become eloquent with a note to the reader explaining that it’s a translation? Are her text bubbles written in an alien script and the meaning is left up to the reader to decipher from context? We see a bunch of options. Sometimes the color of the text bubble changes with a note saying that it’s translated from Thorathian. Sometimes we get the conversation between them being “a bunch of weird symbols” with or without translations in caption boxes (possibly with a third character asking to know what was said and she repeats it in English). Maybe her swears are still in the weird Thorathian symbols.
  • Given some of the heroes deal with aliens frequently (say, K.N.Y.F.E. or Captain Cosmic) and so theoretically have “universal translators”, have we ever seen Sky-Scraper talk to them in her native language if she needs to communicate something quickly and precisely? Both of those heroes have definitely had something like a translator at various points, but they don’t consistently have them. This is a very hand-wavy subject in comics in an “it’s only there if it needs to be” sense. If you need there to be a misunderstanding/language barrier, then they don’t have them in that story. A lot of the time you get a situation like in Star Wars where everybody knows and speaks Basic.
  • Has Portja’s English improved by the RPG era? What parts of speaking does she still struggle with? She still definitely has a thick accent - it’s part of the charm of her as a character. They can see her in the RPG era using some broken idiom and Rival points out that they’ve discussed that one and she knows how it’s supposed to go and Vantage just says that she likes it that way. If you have a character who’s endearing in the way that they misunderstand things, don’t take that away from them. You can have them get better at understanding, but removing the idiosyncrasy in their own speech takes away from the character’s unique voice in a print medium. Christopher uses his father as an example here too: he’s been speaking English far longer than Christopher himself has spoken English, but he still has an accent (not unintelligible, just something that marks him as a non-native speaker). He struggles with idioms or other turns-of-phrase. He’s been in the US for ages now, but he spent his first 20 years in Venezuela speaking Spanish and not everybody will manage to pick up a second language perfectly in their adulthood. Portja is very good at English and communicating; she’s just still got some quirks. Here’s a question for you, though: if you’re listening to a podcast hosted by Rival and Vantage, which of them is understandable more of the time?
  • Is Thorathians’ affinity for twos the reason that they tend to have two-syallable first names and two-syllable last names? If that was an intentional choice, is it also the reason that Kronz is the one who breaks the pattern given that he already bucks the trend with that third arm? Most first names are two-syllables and many last names are too. Kronz is a degenerate and he knows what he’s doing, although “Kronz” is like “Voss” - sure, the latter’s full name is Kel’Voss, but we still call him just Voss with regularity. Kronz just goes by “Doctor Kronz” though, the weirdo. He’s not going to tell you his prefix.
  • Do letter counts matter at all? No. We’re transliterating the language to begin with, so this wasn’t a consideration. Adam throws in the detail that it’s a syllabary writing system so the number of syllables equals the number of “letters”.
  • The surname prefix system also brings to mind Dok’Thorath itself - what does the “Dok” mean in this context? It’s a marker indicating which planet it is in their system, counting outward from the star (in this specific case, it’s the second one - i.e. the best one; you know where Kronz keeps his lab? Planet 3, the pervert).
  • How did Busybody acquire the technology she uses to… multitask? She’s got a lot of good contacts. She buys some from RevoCorp, but not exclusively. There isn’t a particular person/group that’s making this stuff for her - she buys stuff and then modifies/assembles/installs it herself. She knows what she’s doing.

Cover Discussion

  • Which issue? You’d get to see the two aliens together as villains if we do #412. That’s convincing (Christopher was beginning to make a case for another, but this was enough).
  • They’re weird alien ladies - what do they look like? Long faces? That might look weird on “the big one”. Christopher suggests “ear caps” instead of normal ears? No noses? Don’t want them to look too much like Maerynians. Do they have hair? Could give them any sort of “head ornaments”. What color skin? They haven’t really used orange. How about just green? It’s just going to be “design an alien” day for Adam.